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  • Merit Badge Counselor youth protection

    Can someone point me to a definitive answer on this question - Can a Merit Badge Counselor meet separately with two youth working on a MB (i.e. no other adults) each acting as the others "buddy"?
    I realize this is not the ideal situation however logistically it is very helpful at this time with limited adult help.

    The Merit Badge counselor instructions state the all meeting between Scout and Counselor must include a buddy which can be a parent, relative, or friend - adult or youth is acceptable.
    However, Youth Protection states that you need two adults at all times.

    Can someone show me an official declaration on this situation in writing that Counselor and two youth is acceptable?

  • #2
    Youth Protection training does not state that you need two adults at all times. See the list of "Scouting's Barriers to Abuse" here: http://www.scouting.org/youthprotection.aspx. Two adult leaders are required for all "outings", but a merit badge session is not an outing. The second bullet point applies: "One-on-one contact between adults and youth members prohibited." Youth Protection policies seem to often be interpreted to be more difficult than they really are. Don't add restrictions that don't exist.

    Comment


    • #3
      What Tim said.
      Yours is actually the ideal situation IMHO. Unless the second adult actually adds something to the instruction (e.g. a fellow climbing instructor), he/she can be more of a distraction.

      And like Son #2 said to me "You can put up with nearly anything, no matter how boring, if you have a friend with you!"

      Comment


      • #4
        The two adults at all times is one of those scouting myths we talk about from time to time. When I was our OA Chapter Adviser, I had an SM who wouldn't drive the 4 boys from his troop to the Ordeal because he didn't have a second adult to come with him. If it's a single boy, you need a second adult. If it is multiple boys, you do not. No one on one. As long as you have "witnesses" who can say you were never alone with a boy, you're good. That's why the old school way of MB's (non-class setting) is to have a buddy.

        Comment


        • #5
          As long as you don't put yourself in a one on one situation, you're good to go. For example, if I counsel an MB at home, I ask 'em to bring a buddy. I usually prefer to do them in public places like the library, or a coffee shop whenever possible. You get the idea..

          Comment


          • Basementdweller
            Basementdweller commented
            Editing a comment
            Just tell the librarian what is going on.....

          • FrankScout
            FrankScout commented
            Editing a comment
            Oh yes, always.

        • #6
          Thanks Tim in NJ. However, the Safe Scouting policy is still contradictory.

          "One-on-one contact between adults and youth members prohibited. In any situation requiring a personal meeting, such as a Scoutmaster's conference, the meeting is to be conducted in view of other adults and youths"

          My read of this says the meeting is to be conducted in view of other adults AND youth. This implies an adult is necessary and mandatory. It does not say "other adults OR youth".

          Am I missing something?

          Comment


          • kscout
            kscout commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks Scouter99. Yes, agreed, I may be giving more weight to the word "and". However, my troop does not allow MB session without two adults (i.e. "two deep leadership") and I am trying to find something in writing that says MB counselor and just youth (and a minimum of two is possible at times) is acceptable for a merit badge class in a private setting at our unit's meeting place. I have not found it yet. I have found policy statements that are close but nothing definitive.

          • perdidochas
            perdidochas commented
            Editing a comment
            http://www.scouting.org/Training/Adu...torsGuide.aspx


            The Merit Badge Process

            The requirements for each merit badge appear in the current BSA merit badge pamphlet for that award and in the current edition of the Boy Scout Requirements book, available at Scout shops and council service centers.

            When a Scout has decided on a merit badge he would like to earn, he obtains from his Scoutmaster the name and phone number of the district/council-approved merit badge counselor. At this time, the Scoutmaster also can issue the Scout a signed Application for Merit Badge (blue card).

            The Scout telephones the merit badge counselor to make an appointment, and together they schedule a date and time for the Scout and his buddy to meet. The counselor suggests that the Scout bring the merit badge pamphlet, the Application for Merit Badge, and any work that he has started or accomplished, and that he prepare by reading over the requirements.

          • King Ding Dong
            King Ding Dong commented
            Editing a comment
            I am not sure what you have in mind for a private setting but I would caution against closed doors in any circumstance.

        • #7
          I have done MB's in my home with a single scout. However, either my wife or the parents of the boy are required to be in attendance, if only one boy is doing the MB. I.e. Bugling is difficult to get one boy to attend, let alone 2. Two-deep does not require two registered adults, just two adults one of which must be registered (MB counselor). Preferably my second has always been the boy's parent(s).

          Stosh

          Comment


          • #8
            Thanks Scouter99. Yes, agreed, I may be giving more weight to the word "and". However, my troop does not allow MB session without two adults (i.e. "two deep leadership") and I am trying to find something in writing that says MB counselor and just youth (and a minimum of two is possible at times) is acceptable for a merit badge class in a private setting at our unit's meeting place. I have not found it yet. I have found policy statements that are close but nothing definitive.
            You have found it, you are simply ignoring it or don't understand it. The Guide to Safe Scouting is the definitive policy on your situation, and we have explained it amply. If that doesn't satisfy you, you and/or your troop are welcome to have your own requirements which are more strict than those in the GtSS, but understand that you are doing just that: Setting your own rule which is more strict.
            The language in the GtSS is plain, and I have found that the only people who are confused by the two rules are people who have never read them.
            The answer to your question is simple: You may coach a youth in the MB as long as you are in the presence of another adult, or another youth.

            Comment


            • jblake47
              jblake47 commented
              Editing a comment
              Basically adults can do anything they want when it comes to G2SS. If some scout is ticked off at you, all they need do is accuse you and you are out of Scouts and into court. Now, if that's the risk one wishes to make, that's fine. We all live by the choices we make.

              However, it is a GUIDE TO SAFE SCOUTING, that includes both the safety of the boys AND the adults. If push comes to shove, it is best to have as many witnesses as possible, both youth and adult.

              If it comes down to your word against a kid's, you automatically lose. Plain and simple.

              Stosh

            • Scouter99
              Scouter99 commented
              Editing a comment
              "If it comes down to your word against a kid's"
              Sigh, which is exactly why a second youth is there. You didn't say anything different than what I just said.

          • #9
            If members in your troop are jittery about an arrangement, there's nothing in the G2SS that will change that.
            You're not gonna find a "No 1-on-2 contact" rule, but on the other hand there is no "1-on-2 contact's just fine" rule either.

            It's very rare that two kids manage to maintain a false accusation (as in the worst-case scenario that Stosh describes), but if you have adults who fear that very scenario there's no amount of writing the world that's gonna make that fear go away. You're stuck. Work with your people. Hopefully they won't cramp your style to the detriment of the boys.

            Comment


            • #10
              In the Merit Badge Counselor's Guide: A Guide for Merit Badge Counseling , No. 34532, 2010, it states:
              SCOUT BUDDY SYSTEM
              A Scout must have a buddy with him at each meeting with a
              merit badge counselor. A Scout’s buddy could be another
              Scout, or be a parent or guardian, brother or sister, relative or
              friend.

              This is plain wording, and does not require any interpretation. I also have witnessed fanatical leadership and parents creating "additional" requirements for "Two-Deep Leadership" and find it pointless to try and educate them on this matter. It is more productive to appreciate their position, and either work with them, or decline involvement. That being said, I strive to be "above reproach" in all my interaction with the scouts.

              Comment


              • #11
                Why chance it. Use YPT and have two adults present/in-view with the Scouts.

                Comment


                • qwazse
                  qwazse commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Why? Because the likelihood of any further risk minimization with that second adult is very very small, possibly to the point of being unproven. One can imagine scenarios where risk increases with that 2nd adult.

                  This is offset against program being denied to otherwise competent junior high and high school boys. One vital aspect of that program is teaching a boy how to safely interact with adult resources. Teaching a boy that he and a buddy cannot contact an adult in the absence of another adult undermines that aspect of the program.

                  I'm in favor of keeping monsters at bay. I'm not in favor of chasing ghosts.

                • Scouter99
                  Scouter99 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  You still don't get it: Two youth and 1 adult IS YPT. If a second adult can be conveniently found, there's no reason not to have one, but there is no reason or requirement to tear your hair out finding one.

              • #12
                True...but when Lawyers come in they will split hairs on rules. It's also called grooming. Both Scouts could be getting groomed for all the wrong reasons. Things happen when people are not watching. Having an adult there is a barrier.

                Comment


                • koolaidman
                  koolaidman commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The link in the second paragraph goes to another story about the perp's admission. It states the abuse happened in 2010, so he was either 15 or 16 at the time:

                  http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamasc...mits_abus.html
                  Last edited by koolaidman; 09-01-2013, 10:57 PM. Reason: late night math...

                • qwazse
                  qwazse commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Not necessarily a violation, but certainly a YPT failure

                • Scouter99
                  Scouter99 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I don't see where it says the perp was 16 at the time of the rapes....
                  "orally sodomized boys ages 11, 12 and 13 in three separate incidents during 2010." He's 19 now, you do the math. Sounds like he probably waited til they were asleep then got nasty. Here's his personal website http://jacobwittren.tripod.com/id9.html

                  I would swear that in the past I saw a caveat about not letting boys of very large age differences tent together in either the GtSS or YP Training, but I can't find it anymore.

                  Anyway, the case isn't a failure of either barrier-to-abuse rule and has nothing to do with this question.
                  Last edited by Scouter99; 09-02-2013, 11:07 AM.

              • #13
                http://www.scouter.com/forum/open-di...eep-leadership

                http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/quiz-q.pdf

                http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/quiz-a.pdf

                http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/18-125.pdf

                Comment


                • Hueymungus
                  Hueymungus commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks for the link to the older comments...Good points from years ago.

              • #14
                I have taken chairs outside to make sure I was not "behind closed doors". Within visual range of others but not in earshot.

                Comment


                • qwazse
                  qwazse commented
                  Editing a comment
                  If it can be done without being a distraction to the boys, you should do it.

                  TT, I know some places "in visual range of others" in your neck of the woods that at certain times (e.g. Spring Break) would pose a serious distraction.

                • King Ding Dong
                  King Ding Dong commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Good time to work on the Textile MB.

              • #15
                We have had some...distracting..practice hikes along the Pinellas beaches. The older boys usually give some sort alert and we struggle to manage decorum.. One hike the hike reports had differing comments on "notable things observed during the hike". The younger boys wrote "the cool dead turtle" and the older boys "the topless sunbather".

                Comment

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