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#377392 - 11/30/11 05:29 AM Scouts--good or bad experience?
learning2remember Offline
Member

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 263
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.

Thanks

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

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#377395 - 11/30/11 06:05 AM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: learning2remember]
George Offline
Member

Registered: 01/29/01
Posts: 120
Loc: NY metro

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.


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#377419 - 11/30/11 10:26 AM 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.

_________________________
-StringsAttached

Survive, then thrive



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#377465 - 11/30/11 06:08 PM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: StringsAttached]
learning2remember Offline
Member

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 263
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

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#377466 - 11/30/11 06:09 PM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: learning2remember]
learning2remember Offline
Member

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 263
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

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#377467 - 11/30/11 06:23 PM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: learning2remember]
Castle Offline


Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 731
Loc: NJ
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 orientation...so my daughter is free to enjoy.

_________________________

My posts can self destruct at any time..read them while you can.

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#377469 - 11/30/11 06:48 PM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: Castle]
Edward Wong Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/25/11
Posts: 40
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.




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#377474 - 11/30/11 08:06 PM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: learning2remember]
pbert53 Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/26/09
Posts: 576
Loc: Washington, USA
L2R,

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

peace

paul

_________________________
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

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#377498 - 11/30/11 11:45 PM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: pbert53]
Chase Eric Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 1412
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.

_________________________
Eirik




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

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.

Allen




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#377502 - 12/01/11 12:30 AM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: pbert53]
learning2remember Offline
Member

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 263
Loc: Europe
Every reply--good, bad or neutral, helps. Thanks.

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

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#377504 - 12/01/11 12:45 AM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: pufferfish]
learning2remember Offline
Member

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 263
Loc: Europe
Thanks for all of the replies so far. I'm glad for people who had a good experience in scouting, and sorry and angry for those of us who didn't.

It gives me mixed emotions to see that I was not alone in having a bad experience, while also hearing that it didn't have to be that way. I have heard women say that if men are in their own group, without women, it will always turn violent and aggressive. I resist this notion, but my experience and that of others in scouting would seem to prove their point in many cases.

The fact that at least one of you had a good time, and that my boys seem to, gives me hope.

On the other hand, those of us who didn't have a good experience really make me wonder about things. THe problem with the lack of appropriate adult supervision (and, sadly, I think there are some adult leaders who remember hazing from their day and see it as part of the package.) There is this idea that hazing is a rite of passage. You become a man by putting up with this stuff and later doing it to others. (And you are a girl if you cry or quit or otherwise can't cope).

For years and years I have thought I was less than 100% male, just because I didn't like these things and didn't think they were funny, even when they didn't involve me at all.

Is co-ed scouting the answer?

Of course not, since I was actually abused by a woman.

I will always say abuse is not about gender, but about power and the abuse of it.

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

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#377518 - 12/01/11 07:20 AM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: learning2remember]
mike13 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/02/11
Posts: 419
Loc: California USA
I was a cub scout and a boy scout. My experience was great til I was gangraped, not by boy scouts or leaders. The scout troop found out about my attack, in the 70's it was a common myth that once you experienced anal reguardless of why, if you were not already gay you would become gay. Most of the troop bullied me for the rest of my days in scouting. The adult leaders saw this and did not help me. They wanted me out too. Our church uses scouting for the young mens organization. I could not escape and still belong to the church. My parents made me go til I was 17 and had job conflicts. I have served as a scout leader several times. Naturally I have been very proactive in stamping out bullying. The program as a whole has many good points but as parents we still must give constant oversite to keep it safe.


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#377568 - 12/01/11 02:02 PM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: mike13]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
A few hours ago, I posted about my worst experience in the Boy Scouts.

I recently found that my worst fears about some of the slightly older scouts in the troop were justified. At the time I perceived them as ruffians. I have found that some of them are now registered sex offenders in the community near where I lived. The residence of the offender I just posted about is also near there.

Allen (aka Puffer)




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#379518 - 12/14/11 11:26 PM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: pufferfish]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA

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#379522 - 12/14/11 11:51 PM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: learning2remember]
Undefeated Offline


Registered: 12/12/11
Posts: 175
Loc: Colorado, USA
Being someone that was sexually abused by my Scoutmaster, if I had a son I would be very reluctant to let him be in scouting, unless I went to everything and kept a close eye on him the whole time.

The Boy Scouts kept secret "perversion files" for decades and did nothing to protect boys from abuse by pedophiles. It is my understanding that they have made a lot of changes to ensure that boys and parents are better informed and protected. I think I read that no leader is ever allowed to be alone with a boy at any time. Personally, I think this would be very difficult, if not impossible to monitor. Pedophiles are very sly and will take the very slightest opportunity.

You can read a bit about my experience here:
http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showthreaded&Number=379102#Post379102

My abuse was in the 1970's, so I am sure things are very different now. You may need to hear from fathers who have had boys in Scouting more recently, but this is my two-cents worth. I wouldn't risk it.

_________________________
"The sexual abuse and exploitation of children is one of the most vicious crimes conceivable, a violation of mankind's most basic duty to protect the innocent." ~James T. Walsh

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#379528 - 12/15/11 12:51 AM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: Undefeated]
ShortedDiode Offline


Registered: 11/26/11
Posts: 104
Loc: Hamilton, ON Canada
I'm lucky, I had a good experience in cubs and scouts. The troop's leaders were great and some of the kids had parents who really helped out a lot with the camps and other events. It was good to get out of the house and away from my family for a little while and get to enjoy doing ordinary kid things.

_________________________
If it's a choice between laughing or crying, I'd rather laugh.

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#379532 - 12/15/11 01:34 AM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: learning2remember]
whome Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 1734
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
BAD BAD BAD BAD

My Father was the group scout leader. He used the perfect example of the overachievers to hang over his sons heads as to how useless we were. He was able to give to the other boys his love and attention that he could not find in his heart to give to the "spawn of Chucky" His wicked wife's children.
It is only now in my forties that he is trying hard to make amends.
A few of my mates were sexually abused in the scout movement, but then go figure, you have a 1000 young boys in one organization, do you not think that this is going to attract a lot of attention from the perverts?

Heal well all
Martin

_________________________
Matrix Men South Africa
Survivors Supporting Each other
Matrix Men Blog

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#379540 - 12/15/11 04:21 AM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: learning2remember]
WriterKeith Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/10
Posts: 951
Loc: southern California
My father (a perp) was a Boy Scout leader. I don't know why, but after 15 years of hardcore scout leading he suddenly ended his involvement. No explanation, no mention of it. Nothing. Scouting was never once mentioned in our home afterward. When I got older I asked what happened and there was no explanation given, just the clear message that it was not going to be discussed.

_________________________
"A burned bridge can be a gift; it prevents us from returning to a place we should have never been."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JfvAPZGjds

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#379649 - 12/15/11 09:27 PM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: WriterKeith]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
There is a book: Conversations With A Pedophile, In the Interest of Our Children, by Amy Carter-Zabin. 2003. 237 pages.

The book consists of that author's actual conversations and letters with a pedophile who was in prison for life. He claimed to have abused over 1000 boys. He was very clever and very skilful at that. His occupation was in the realm of computers. He moved into town and immediately joined a church and became a boy scout leader in order to have access to boys. He was very smooth in talking to parents. He convinced them that he was OK! Does this remind you of someone else in today's news?

He claims, according to this book, to have had as his goal the ultimate breaking of the will of his victims. Apparently he achieved sexual gratification from this horrible deed. The book relates some space to this.

http://www.amazon.com/Conversations-Pedo...mp;sr=1-1-spell

Note: If you are a therapist or in law enforcement, this book is required reading. If you are a victim, then beware this book can make you depressed. If you are a pedophile, then this book will show you how wrong it is and how you will be caught.

Puffer






Edited by pufferfish (12/16/11 02:05 AM)

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#379679 - 12/16/11 02:21 AM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: pufferfish]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3460
Loc: somewhere in Africa
My experience of Scouts as an organization was mostly positive BUT my experiences with some of the individual scouts and small groups was very negative. I loved the idealism and values and sense of worth I got from achieving some of the goals and getting badges and even the corny award ceremonies. I benefitted from the skills that I learned and got some self-confidence boosts to bolster my very wounded self-image from things like completing hikes or winter camps. It was also one of the few times i was able to work as a team with other boys on projects and compete at non-sports activities cause i really sucked at anything athletic.

BUT --- there was some bad stuff that happened too. There was bullying and hazing and initiations that sometimes got out of hand. There was some sex play which to some of us was NOT fun. There was not enough responsible moral adult supervision.

When my son was the right age we BOTH joined a cub scout troop and as a leader, I was never alone with a single boy and I never let my son out of my sight with an older boy or another man. I think it was a good experience for him. When he was old enpough for the next step - actual Boy Scouts - there wasn't a convenient troop for him to join near enough so I didn't have to worry about what might happen. Just as well!

Lee

_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#379751 - 12/16/11 07:06 PM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: traveler]
Survivinguy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/09
Posts: 310
Loc: Colorado
So I saw this thread when it was first created and I thought - nope nothing to add because I was never in the Scouts. And then it dawned me - I was never in the Scouts because my pedophile of a father would always say his sons weren't allowed into the Scouts because of all the perps in it! Isn't that a laugh!? He's raping me from the time I'm around 5 till I'm 12 or 13 and professing that the Scouts are bad. I'd like to think he didn't want to share me but since he involved me in creating child pornography and sold me into a child-sex ring - that doesn't quite line up either.

And now as a father of two - my sons are in Cub Scouts and I sit in every meeting and attend every outting worrying that there are perps lurking amongst us! Why the hell do I do adopt the bullshit he taught me as truth?

In my mind - there is potential harm in every single organization for kids on the planet (Scouts, youth groups, church groups, athletic groups, you name it) but if you are careful, if you are attentive to whether older kids or adults respect boundaries, if you ensure that your kids know that their bodies are their own - then there's a chance your kids wont be that 1 boy in 6 sexually abused).

I imagine it's possible to avoid letting your kids participate in any organized group what's so ever but then at some point you might be cheating them out of a childhood - just like you were cheated of your own.

My two cents

_________________________
Survivinguy

============================================
I have to survive and I hope to thrive.

Alumni Dahlonega WoR May 2010
Alumni Sequoia WoR March 2012

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#379811 - 12/17/11 03:19 AM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: Survivinguy]
mike13 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/02/11
Posts: 419
Loc: California USA
Way to go Survivinguy! Our childern need the opportunity to have fun with their peers outside of the home and scouts can be a good thing but you make the point so well. Scounting is only as good as caring parents make it. A strong culture of parent partisibation can go along way to keeping things safe. Bravo for your courage


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#379812 - 12/17/11 03:30 AM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: mike13]
FormerTexan Offline
Site Administrator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 11117
Loc: Denver, CO
Scouts - good or bad experience? Hm. Though life at that time in general was bad, my experience with the Scouts was not that negative. I learned a few things and carried those lessons into adult life. My perspective would likely be very different were there a perp in that part of my life, and I hate that those of you who were abused in the Scouts had that ruined by a perpetrator.

_________________________
List of things ain't nobody got time for:

1. That


If I could meet myself as a boy...

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#379865 - 12/17/11 05:21 PM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: learning2remember]
whome Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 1734
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
Just came to me
My Father was a scout leader, and although he is not a pedo, two of his friends were. One was caught and one died before he was caught. When he had passed, my dad told me that he was sad that he had died. My response to him was,"I'm glad, now he cant hurt kids any more." He got so angry, and wanted to smack me.
Again, a highlight in My life where He trusted and believed others before he would listen to me.
I hated Scouts for this reason.

Unfortunately, where you have a group devoted to the betterment of young boys, some sick shit will weasel his way in and stuff it up.

Heal well
Martin

_________________________
Matrix Men South Africa
Survivors Supporting Each other
Matrix Men Blog

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#379867 - 12/17/11 05:43 PM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: whome]
roninsteve Offline


Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 16
Loc: Victoria Australia
Scouts was just another way that it was proven that I didn't measure up.
The hazing and bullying stuff wasn't too bad, certainly not as bad as what was happening at school.
Because of the problems with my hands it was painfully obvious that I had failed when everyone else was getting merit badges and I just couldn't do it.


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#379870 - 12/17/11 05:53 PM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: roninsteve]
learning2remember Offline
Member

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 263
Loc: Europe
roninsteve--The failure was not yours, it was the leaders who didn't measure up to Scouting. (Ironic that I still love the ideal of scouting, even though my troop didn't match up to it at all.)

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

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#379902 - 12/18/11 12:37 AM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: learning2remember]
Thebo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 328
Loc: NYC
I was a Boy Scout. Hated it. Many similar experiences to yours.


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#379912 - 12/18/11 07:21 AM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: Thebo]
onlyakid Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/31/04
Posts: 1552
Loc: New Jersey
I dont remember much about my experience as a Boy Scout. I don't believe there was any hazing or bullying but I dont think many of the times were happy ones. One memory I do have is of going camping at a BSA camp and not wanting to shower at the community shower. Dont remember if I did or not. Not wanting to is all I do remember. When I told my mom about the abuse before I told her who (she had to drag it out of me, it was my older brother), she thought something happened at Boy Scout camp. Not entirely sure but I believe this was during the summer before my brother abused me. Maybe something happened there, I really dont know. I do know that I never was good at sports or anything that we would have done at Boy Scout meetings.

The Boyscout Camp was located in Forestburg, NY if anyone else went there and remembers that community shower.

_________________________
"Being with people that understand you...Priceless"

"and i don't want the world to see me, cause i don't think that they'd understand"

"You don't know what love is...you just do as your told"

"My life has changed. What you take as a simple thing, is not so simple for me anymore"


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#380790 - 12/27/11 12:46 AM Re: Scouts--good or bad experience? [Re: onlyakid]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA

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