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#377392 - 11/30/11 10:29 AM Scouts--good or bad experience?
learning2remember Offline

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 406
Loc: Europe
I'm wondering what experience people out there have had with Boy Scouts or similar organisations.

It was not within scouting that I was abused, but I was a Boy Scout and did not like it. There was a lot of bullying involved and the boys were not supervised by adults very well.

I remember one time a boy was locked in the trunk of a car.

I myself was tied up once, and a boy acted as if he were going to kick me in the groin while I could do nothing to stop it.

These kinds of things were pretty usual. It was a kind of hazing. If you could get through the bigger kids picking on you, you'd have your turn when you became one of the older ones.

Because this was my experience, I always assumed this was just what scouting was about. Sure, there were camping trips and other activities, but most of the time there was this dynamic of the little ones being the brunt of the humour of the big ones.

Now I have two sons in scouts, and it seems to be different for them. I also have a nephew and that seems to be different.

I am wondering how many of you enjoyed Scouts and experienced it as a positive thing? How many of you had an experience similar to mine or negative in another way.

I'm trying to get a perspective of how typical my experience of Boy Scouts was.


"This is not my shame, this is their shame." Mona Eltahawy

#377395 - 11/30/11 11:05 AM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: learning2remember]
George Offline

Registered: 01/29/01
Posts: 373
Loc: NY metro **PM's are welcomed

I was in a church scouting group for from 11-13, two older guys ran it & occaisionally on camp outs some other older guys from the church came along to help out. My abuse was in full swing by then, so I was hyper vigilant and know nothing ever happened within that group. The best times of my childhood memories are from being involved with that church & scout group. There wasn't any bullying or hazing at all.

I know it sounds strange to be thankful for them not joining on the bandwagon, for not molesting me, but I am thankful for that. As I've gotten older and have kids of my own, I know how precious time is. Every Wednesday night these guys gave up their own precious time to invest in our lives for nothing, not one dime. I have so much respect for those guys & thank God for them. My father never took us camping or anything else like that, so getting to do that really opened my small world. Today I take my kids camping all the time and always think back to those great times I had growing up & know that I'm giving my own kids the same good memories. I know the guys who were the leaders are dead & gone by now, I wish that I got the opportunity to thank them for all that they did for us.

My Updated (2017) Story, it focuses on the abuse, the aftermath & poor coping mechanisms & breakthrough...Healing ;

#377419 - 11/30/11 03:26 PM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: George]
StringsAttached Offline

Registered: 11/19/11
Posts: 59
Scouting can be the highlight of a boy's teen years or it can be hell on earth for him. I was a Cub Scout and went to Webelos but stopped there. My son skipped all that and went straight to Boy Scouts at age 11. It was a fabulous experience for him, as far as I know.

Of course, it can be the perfect environment for abuse, with older boys supervising the younger ones. BSA has training and rules for every scoutmaster and assistant scoutmaster. If those rules are followed, it is safe. The rules include things like any adult cannot be alone with a scout unless the scout is his own son.

There is also the rule about "grey areas" which are topics that are off limits for discussion. The scouts and leaders are trained in the rules and if the rules are broken they are trained in how to deal with it.

It might be exceedingly difficult for a young scout to tattle on his scoutmaster or older scouts in the troop, which is where the process fails. I was always worried about abuse or bullying for my son and so I went on all the camping trips, at least the local ones. I did not go on all the treks but went as often as I could.

Ultimately, it will depend on the adult involvement in the troop. If the adults are diligent in their responsibilities, it is likely that scouting will be a positive experience for all involved.


Survive, then thrive

#377465 - 11/30/11 11:08 PM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: StringsAttached]
learning2remember Offline

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 406
Loc: Europe
This feedback helps. I thought that my experience defined scouting, and since I couldn't live up to it, I was less of a boy or a man. Now I realise that I was in a bad troop, in my opinion, at least. There wasn't enough adult supervision. It means the problem wasn't with me. My brother fit in so well with that group, and he bullied me some at home, so what I learned from scouts was reinforced at home and vice verse--that I wasn't masculine enough. I've been thinking about this lately and thinking I have a lot of unlearning to do. It is sad, though, to think that I didn't experience what real scouting can offer.

"This is not my shame, this is their shame." Mona Eltahawy

#377466 - 11/30/11 11:09 PM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: learning2remember]
learning2remember Offline

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 406
Loc: Europe
I wouldn't mind hearing about more experience, though, good or bad.

"This is not my shame, this is their shame." Mona Eltahawy

#377467 - 11/30/11 11:23 PM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: learning2remember]
Castle Offline

Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 758
I have never been a scou, and i wont let my son be a scout...IMO they have some "grey areas" that are bigoted twords multiple groups.

It's a shame the leaders are so foolish in their thinking, that it's challenging to be supportive. When I hear "Our Local chapter do not follow "those" rules" it aggrivates me, because it's turning a blind eye to the organizations bigotry and allowing it to go on in secrecy.

These are just my feelings, like them or not.

Please note, The girl scouts of America are a completly different organization that doesent neccesitate god for involment or dismiss gay people for their my daughter is free to enjoy.


#377469 - 11/30/11 11:48 PM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: Castle]
Edward Wong Offline

Registered: 11/25/11
Posts: 42
My abuser knew me in both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. He abused me on secret "camping trips" with no other boys. My parent's didn't really speak English, so they didn't talk with the other parents and figure out I was the only boy who went "camping" on certain weekends.

When I was 12, my abuser left the troop. I blocked out all memory of the abuse until I was 17. In the meantime I enjoyed my time in scouting.

I agree with the point that youth protection rules weren't always followed. If they were, I wouldn't be here.

#377474 - 12/01/11 01:06 AM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: learning2remember]
pbert53 Offline
Greeter Emeritus

Registered: 10/26/09
Posts: 576
Loc: Washington, USA

I was in 3 different troops of scouts cuz we moved a lot. All 3 groups did hazing of new scouts which amounted to taking off all the clothing of the new guys. That freaked me out. I didn't like it at all but that is what i thought was normal and acceptable as a scout.

There was also a lot of mutual masturbation and showing off of privates. I know that many guys will show off about their penis size and mess around in a bantering way, but to a csa person it was too much like abuse.

My experience with scouts wasnt a good one, but I know that most of the guys in scouts were just being nasty boys and not predators. That didn't help my situation. Luckily I was never made to take off my clothes for the group.

I dont know if this helps you in any way, but that was my experience.

Take care



If you cannot control what happens to you, you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.

~ adapted from: Sri Ram

#377498 - 12/01/11 04:45 AM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: pbert53]
Chase Eric Offline

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 2954
I was in the scouts. Never got abused thank goodness - really nothing that remotely approached it. The adults were very engaged.

At patrol leader training camp, we were all walking in our bathing suits and suddenly the bigger guys wrestled one of the smaller kids and tied him face-first to a tree with his arms around it and his wrists bound. They stuffed a whole bunch of leaves in the back of his suit, then poured water in it. There was no nakedness or sex play - it was just horseplay I think. But the kid was really upset. I tried meekly to intervene but being smaller than the others and having no leadership clout, I was pushed aside. Not desiring the same treatment, I was in the majority of the others who just watched.

After he was untied, the kid was in tears and pointed to each person saying either "you're not my friend" or "you're my friend". I was a friend in his eyes. But I didn't feel like I deserved that regard, having failed to do much more than watch.

I didn't know how to process that back then - and I guess I still don't. But I remember feeling proud he picked me as a friend and was determined to earn that. That was years ago - I'm willing to bet he remembers it. He was extremely upset about it at the time.

I think it was right before my CSA started - I was 11 or so and really didn't see things in sexual terms back then.


#377500 - 12/01/11 05:14 AM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: Chase Eric]
pufferfish Offline

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
I had an extremely bad experience at a summer camp operated by the Boy Scouts (National Capital Area Council of Washington, D.C.). I was 12-years-old. I was taken out of bed while asleep by the person in charge of the unit. I awoke nude while being tied to the bed, one limb to each bed post. I was sexually abused repeatedly. Some was sadistic sex. The "leader" apparently had read manuals on brainwashing techniques and practiced them on me. I was told repeatedly that if I ever "told" I would be found and killed. I was subjected to torture, such as having a coke bottle pushed up my bottom. I watched another boy killed and experienced a similar procedure the next day. The experience as a whole was terribly damaging.

The vivid memories surfaced in my mind about 30 years later. Then I had severe PTSD and depression and other problems. There has never been any justice for this. I know his name and his background. I have found that the leader I'm citing is known to law enforcement as a sex offender. The information has been suppressed from public perusal. I have had 2 persons that I know of approach the principle law enforcement agency in this country about what happened. I have found his picture on the internet. No action has ever been taken. The response seems to be to bury the incident. He can't have abused fewer boys over the years than the recently highly publicized material from PA. The person is still alive and free although he is an old man now. His father was extremely famous, but the abuser's reputation is clandestine. I assume that to be the reason that what he did is supposed to remain buried.

As you can see from this post, I'm not willing to bury the incident. I have posted a detailed report as pufferfish story part 5. I have also posted pictures taken of me afterward that clearly show damage.


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