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No one-on-one contact - how do I do that over the phone?

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  • No one-on-one contact - how do I do that over the phone?

    A young man who attended my cooking merit badge class last month telephoned me last night to discuss a requirement that he has completed since the clinic. I talked w/ him for about 15 minutes and at the end, he called into the next room (or nearby-ish) to ask his parents for his SM's phone #, so I know someone was near, for what that's worth - if anything.
    Should I have had this conversation? I don't know how to arrange for "no one-on-one contact" over the phone. How else can a Scout contact a badge counselor who isn't local to him?
    Is there another / better way to handle this?

  • #2
    Yes! You should have had this conversation. It is in no way a violation of youth protection.
    There is no other way to per-arrange a conversation. The boy wanted to talk about something constructive that could be resolved quickly. You talked. It was resolved. There was one less unnecessary meeting in the universe.
    This a great way to handle it!

    Thank you for your service to our boys. I'm sure if more time with a scout is needed, you will make appropriate arrangements for a meeting in a public place or in your home with another adult(s) or scout(s) present.


    • #3
      One option is on speakerphone or via Skype, with a parent within earshot, and have the parent say hello to acknowledge they are there at start of conversation and end of conversation. Simple, quick, respects two deep.


      • #4
        Can someone tell me where a phone call is the same as a one on one meeting?


        • #5
          I never respond to a youth email without cc: a parent or the SM. I would not want to be (falsely) accused of inappropriate talk or comments.


          • #6
            I think I have probably interacted with 200+ cubs and scouts by now and maybe only 1 or 2 I would really worry about a false accusation but some parents...are just crazy. And (as I recounted elsewhere) once when I was teaching I had a female student start making inappropriate advances so I know weirdness can happen.

            I work in government so doing things 'in the sunshine' is a good practice that comes naturally though it can be tricky when a scout wants to share a confidence with you. Don't want to broadcast everything (i.e. bedwetting, girl problems) in front of other boys.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Tampa Turtle View Post
              I never respond to a youth email without cc: a parent or the SM. I would not want to be (falsely) accused of inappropriate talk or comments.
              1911 posts. Congratulations.

              Why would keeping a copy of all e-mails not serve the same end? Usually I am e-mailing a Scout in response to an e-mail he sends me.


              • #8

                The argument I would make for a second on an email chain is it provides an independent verification as both ends of the conversation could edit the message. Best two out of three kind of thing in the event that something came up.


                • #9
                  Please enlighten me -

                  Where in any Youth Protection Information does it say a Scouter cannot talk on the phone to a scout. Aren't we getting a little too paranoid?


                  • #10
                    "Reach out and touch someone" was just a marketing message, it can't be done. Yet.


                    • #11
                      Eagle90 and KDD,

                      The issue isn't about the final act but rather grooming and establishing a barrier to that.

                      The social media component, including the bit about copying another adult/leader on emails is at I suppose the key paragraph is

                      ~~As it relates to social media, two-deep leadership means there should be no private messages and no one-on-one direct contact through email, Facebook messages, Twitter direct messaging, chats, instant messaging (Google Messenger, AIM, etc.), or other similar messaging features provided through social media sites. All communication between adults and youth should take place in a public forum (e.g. the Facebook wall), or at a bare minimum, electronic communication between adults and youth should always include one or more authorized adults openly “copied” (included) on the message or message thread.

                      The distinction between a one-on-one phone call (the original social media) and a one-on-one email/IM/PM is pretty thin I suppose.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dcsimmons View Post
                        both ends of the conversation could edit the message.
                        Uhhh, no they can't. There's no edit option on email you've received or sent. You can clear Facebook PMs, but not edit them (and they're still on FB's server after you clear them), ditto on any other service. The simple fact that nothing is ever actually deleted is independent verification.
                        We already have adults that complain about too much troop email, so I don't copy a parent unless it's something I want to make sure the kid sees ASAP or that the parent holds them accountable to.

                        As for distinction between phone calls and digital contact, it would make more sense for BSA to mandate a third party in phone calls than it does to mandate a 3rd party in emails/IMs/PMs. There's no record with the phone except that it was made, when, and how long it lasted. With digital, the entire text is there forever.


                        • #13
                          B.S.A. policy specifically approves one-on-one verbal contact between an adult and a youth in Scouting so long as it is in view of both adults and youth. "In situations that require personal conferences, such as a Scoutmaster’s conference, the meeting is to be conducted in view of other adults and youths."

                          So I find I have been violating the rules by talking to Scouts with only dozens of Scouts in the same room - unless there is an exception on the grounds that the conversation is not "required."

                          I also seem to be violating the rules by talking to Scouts in my car when driving them to outings as no second adult is usually, just Scouts.

                          The language quoted by dc clearly prohibits one-on-one contact if it is via the Internet.

                          One-on-one telephone contact is clearly prohibited except when it is allowed.

                          As I posted, I get e-mails from Scouts all the time due to my status as a Merit badge Counselor.
                          Further, I get numerous one-on-one telephone call from Scouts about Merit Badges.
                          Candidates contacting me is specifically approved by BSA: " The Scout then contacts the merit badge counselor and makes an appointment." No mention is made in the more specific rules about the telephone or e-mail contacts not being one-on-one.

                          Thereafter, I meet with Merit Badge candidates but not alone. I now see that the rules expressly require that a "buddy" be present. There is no provision with meeting with a second adult, including a parent. "The merit badge counselor sets a date and time to meet with the Scout and his buddy. . . ." I have been violating the rules by meeting in the Scout's home with his mother and/or father present. I have also been violating the rule by meeting the candidate at the public library as no "buddy" is typically present - just adult library staff and adult and child patrons.

                          I also get one-on-one emails from leaders (Scouts) about troop program matters - one-on-one verbal contacts. Example: "Mr. X can you talk to the PLC about wilderness survival tonight?" These contacts are clearly in violation of the rules.

                          Some capable committee should rationalize these policies, and not a committee composed only of those from the risk management or YPT bubbles.


                          • #14
                            Overthink much?


                            • #15

                              But when I deliver YPT training, I am to read the following to the participants:

                              "Even if no abuse occurs, leaders and other volunteers in Scouting must obey the rules.

                              When they demonstrate an unwillingness to follow the rules, they must be expelled from the activity and reported to the person in charge of the activity and local Scout executive as soon as possible. The Scout executive will determine any follow-up action—up to and including revocation of membership in the BSA.

                              Is the strict enforcement of the Youth Protection Policies really necessary?

                              Yes, in order for youth protection to be meaningful, we must eliminate opportunities for abuse to be perpetrated. The BSA’s Youth Protection Policies help limit the opportunities for abuse to occur."

                              and again

                              "Any violations of the BSA’s Youth Protection policies must immediately be reported to the Scout executive."

                              So I would like to know if BSA means what it publishes or, in some respects, means something else, as I hope. I just want BSA to share.