This article is from the Scouting FAQ, by Bill Nelson email@example.com, Soaring Golden Eagle firstname.lastname@example.org and Alan Houser email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ari Klein)
Date: Tue, 12 Jul 1994 14:28:26 GMT
This past week at summer camp I was quite impressed with the new scout
patrol. No homesickness, cooking and cleaning was going well, spirits were
high, everyone seemed to be having a good time. Friday during breakfast
cleanup.......WHAMMMMM! All of a sudden one of the boys hit another and
we had two boys crying. "Everyone is always making fun of me...." etc.
Things got calmed down, but I knew that I had to figure out
what to do not to lose this boy and probably others. I remembered an
activity told to me by an elementary teacher and modified it for this
situation. At lunch time, I had the patrol leader (who is older) draw and
cut out a cardboard person with a "Rip me" sign on him. I sat down with
the patrol after lunch with this poster. They all were eager to rip into
him. The patrol leader eagerly ripped off the ear of the poster as I
instructed him ahead of time. Without any other prompting the boys all
eagerly ripped off parts of the "guy." I was amazed.
After calming them down, I asked, What's left? "nothing" Which was
better, your part or the original? and so forth our discussion then went. We
agreed that the boy in the poster was no longer any good to help anyone and
that the parts were not too useful. We needed to put it back together. They
all worked together, some reluctantly, putting our "guy" back together with
tape. When they finished, I put him in front of everyone and after a long
silence of them looking at him, wondering what was going on, I asked if he was
the same as he was before, and did they thing think that he had wanted to get
ripped up. They agreed he wasn't the same as before, but some did not buy
into the idea of him having any feelings.
I turned their attention toward the event that happened during
breakfast. I told them it bothered and saddened me that one of the boys in
the patrol felt as though he was picked on so much. I made the analogy that
every time they said something bad about someone else it was just like ripping
off a piece of him, he would not be the same after being called names or being
put down. ....Dead quiet. I then said that the boy who blew up that morning
was probably not feeling too good having had comments thrown at him throughout
the week, he has in the same shape as our "rip me guy." We needed to find
some way of building him back up and making him whole.
I asked all the boys to think of something that they liked about the one
boy. After a little while, some of the boys volunteered the thing that they
had thought of, more of the boys said something until all of them had said
something good about the hurt boy. It was clearly obvious that the boy
appreciated the comments.
I concluded by asking the boys to think about what they say to others,
that they might be hurting them in a way that they did not want or expect.
They didn;t have to like everyone else in the patrol, but things would work
out better of they didn't say nasty things to other people.
I was surprised at how well this activity went. In a way, it was a
modified team building activity we use sometimes during our annual troop
orientation workshop weekend for boy leaders. A group of 11 year olds seem so
mature to us, but they are still quite young. This was a heavy thing to lay
on them, but I believe that they got the point and may be just a little better
for it. I hope that this article is worth the bandwidth.