The Gray Areas




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By Douglas C. Fullman

Scouting's program is designed to develop boys in character, citizenship, and fitness including mental, moral, spiritual, and physical fitness. Activities, meetings, camp programs, and campfires all contribute to Scouting's aims. Therefore, some items that may be acceptable in other segments of society are not part of the Scouting program. 

One of the important elements of Scouting is FUN. In our attempt to use humor and fun activities, we must continually remind ourselves that these amusing and entertaining programs are excellent opportunities to teach the values of Scouting, and must not detract from, nor contradict the philosophy expressed in the Scout Oath and Law. 

Although many leaders are able to determine the appropriateness of most program choices, there are certainly numerous songs, stories, skits, and stunts that force the leader to make decisions. To add to the complexity of the decision is that in many cases it is not so much what is done, but how it is done that makes the difference. The areas that fall between the inappropriate and the absolutely acceptable, we call the gray area. 

Just because a skit, song, or story falls in one of the gray area categories does not, in itself, establish that it may not be done. At the same time, if an item is in the gray area, then a leader must exercise his judgment concerning not only the subject matter, but also the performers and their sensitivity to the values and ideals of Scouting. The final decision must be the impact the item has on developing character, fitness, and citizenship or setting the wrong example of what Scouting is all about. 

The following "Gray Areas" should alert leaders to exercise their best judgment: 

1. Underwear 

bullet Concerns: Nudity, natural modesty of Scouts, mental fitness, and cleanliness.
bullet Judgment Note: The J. C. Penney Skit can be done in Swimsuits as an example. 

2. Water 

bullet Concerns:  
bulletVictims (self-worth and self-esteem) 
bulletPersons may be hurt physically and emotionally. Equipment/clothing damaged.
bullet Bodily Functions - Skits, etc., portraying urination, sexual acts, or defecation do not contribute to developing Scouting's Ideals and Values. 

3. Toilet Paper 

bullet Concerns: Bodily Functions (see above) and Toilet Humor.
bullet Judgment Note: "The Viper is Coming" can have a person with Paper Towels and Windex to clean someone else's eyeglasses.

4. Inside Jokes 

bullet Concerns: Only the participants or those in the "KNOW" can appreciate the humor, etc.  Don't bore, or even worse, ignore the rest of us in the audience. 
bullet Judgment Note: Staff Banquets, and Last Wills and Testaments, are great uses of inside jokes and most, if not all, of the participants are "in."

5. Alcohol/Drunkenness 

bulletBSA's Unacceptables - Alcohol is the most abused drug especially within the age group Scouting is trying to serve. 
bullet Drunkenness - Making fun of people. Courtesy. Self-esteem and self-worth.

6. Cross Gender Impersonation 

bullet Concerns:  
bulletBodily Functions and excessive, inappropriate exaggeration of body parts. 
bullet Embarrassments. 
bullet May become a form of sexual harassment. 
bullet Judgment Note: Can be great fun. Area that most probably fits into the "not what is done, but how it's done" category. 

This guide has been prepared with the sincere desire for wholesome fun, recreation, and enjoyment for all at Scouting activities, especially campfires. Hopefully, you the leader, A find these guidelines helpful as you thoughtfully approve these activities, guide boys in making the right decisions, and personally set the example for Scouting at its best. 






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Peer- Level Topic Links:
5 Camp Fires ] Bibliography ] Firelight ] Council Fire ] Week Program ] Heart of the Camp ] Ceremony from India ] Invocation ] Mowgli Story ] Oath Ceremony ] Pantomime ] Pointers ] Evening Pow Wows ] Accounted For! ] Scout Law ] Story of Fire ] Good Story Telling ] Timber Wolf Ceremonies ] Traditions ] Scout Yells ] What To Do? ] [ The Gray Areas ] Philmont Song Book ] Campfire Skits & Stunts ] Scout War Songs ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.