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Posts posted by dScouter15

  1. Well, I'm not a lawyer, not even an armchair lawyer, so I won't attempt to get into a discussion of the relative severity of this alleged transgression from a legal perspective.


    I'll re-phrase my point: how do you want to be perceived by your fellow volunteers in this organization? And what are you really hoping to accomplish here?


    Folks, I'm telling ya... I know its popular on this forum to hypothesize about all the ways our fellow volunteers are criminals and everyone but you is liable to go to jail for something or another... And S915, maybe you would appreciate, after investing dozens of hours of time and stress and frustration into a volunteer activity, having someone come up to you and "diplomatically" let you know that you are in fact felon and draining billions of dollars from our national economy. But most volunteers, most people, really don't appreciate so much having others "adjust the magnet in their moral compass" or whatever. Those conversations are rarely helpful. Its likely that your peers' perception of you might shift into "oh, that's the gentleman or lady who thinks we're all going to jail for popping in the Finding Nemo DVD at our kids' sleepover." And the risk is that, gradually, over time, these volunteers start to get fed up with this, and move on from our troops, packs, and the BSA entirely. This might be one little thing to you, but to the guy you're going to lecture, it might be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Think about it...


    I mean, from reading the forums here and discussions like this one, you'd be convinced that our prisons would be bursting at the seams with Scout leaders. But most of us realize that in fact is NOT the case, and continue on doing the best we can, applying our own common sense and potentially slightly inaccurate moral compass... unless of course someone comes along offering to do a better job and share some of the responsibility... You might want to be prepared to make that offer, since clearly SOMEONE will need to take over this leaders' responsibilities, unless you think he can run the pack/troop remotely during his 6 year stint in Attica?

  2. Just to play devil's advocate... Lets imagine for a second you're on the other side of this situation. (This is purely hypothetical, I have no knowledge of this particular situation, I'm merely offering this as a "walk in the other guy's shoes" moment).


    Maybe I'm a Scout leader who volunteered to help at this lock-in thing (presumably an overnight event?) So that means I give up a weekend night to supervise an undisclosed number of amped up boys on whose sugar high is competing with their fatigue. I need to come up with 12 hours of program to keep them entertained, figure out the logistics of reserving the facility, feeding the group, collecting permission slips, fielding phone calls and emails, etc etc etc. I have a bright idea that maybe if I can pop in a movie, that will cover a couple hours and maybe I can catch a few hours of sleep before driving home the following morning.


    Now maybe I'm not a particularly technologically literate person. I don't know the difference between Hulu and Youtube and BitTorrent. But I know that I can get movies over the Internet, so I ask my 14 year old son if he can help me out. He says "yup" and an hour later I have a DVD in my hand. Now maybe I was remiss in my responsibilities as a parent and should have grilled the boy on how he came up with this DVD, but frankly I'm just happy the kid agreed to do something for me without coping an attitude, and oh boy Mrs. Jones is calling here AGAIN to make sure that we'll have gluten-free free-range vegan organic couscous as a late night snack because anything eating anything else makes little Johnny Jones' armpits itch. So I slip the DVD into my overflowing box of supplies for this event, and move on to more pressing matters (like how the council office still can't find the tour permit that I already mailed in twice, or my assistant leader suddenly has to fly to Tajikistan that weekend and I need to find more adult coverage on short notice, and now my wife just got home from the grocery store frantic because they were out of gluten-free couscous and do I think hummus would be close enough to keep Johnny Jones' armpits comfortable?).


    So finally I get to the event, and we manage to pull it off successfully without any serious injury, just the usual "organized chaos" that is this "game with a purpose" that we all DO OUR BEST to deliver as best we can using only the gifts God gave us.


    Now, say after all this, a armchair-lawyer comes up to me to lecture me on copyright law and to notify me that that I committed a felony punishable by a $30,000 fine and 6 years in federal prison and whatever else your fellow armchair lawyers think you can do to me... I'd start to wonder how 6 years in the pen would stack up to another 6 years volunteering with an organization where this is the kind of "thanks" I get... I mean, where were you when I was corrupting, I mean babysitting, I mean supervising YOUR kid at this event?


    Yes, this is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. But my point is quite serious. This is obviously an important issue to you. And I hear you that you won't go into this conversation "guns blazing," and I'm sure you think you'll be very calm and reasonable. But for the guy on the other side of the conversation, this could easily be a "death by a thousand papercuts" situation. You're worried about copyright law, Mrs. Jones is upset because no, hummus is NOT an acceptable substitute for couscous and what was I thinking and how did I screw up such simple instructions, and Mr. Smith showed up an hour late to pick up his kid and I'M TIRED AND I JUST WANT TO GO HOME. Not to mention the actual problems like the kid who I suspect might be a victim of neglect, the kid with anger issues whose at the edge of being kicked out of the pack because we just can't find a way to keep everyone safe with him around, etc etc etc.


    Just take an extra second to decide if this is really an issue, in the great scheme of things.

  3. I'm strongly opposed to the BSA's position on these matters, but I'd also argue that the majority of the rank-and-file volunteers (even those who may support the policy for whatever reason) are not "bigoted" per se.


    That said, I did a spit-take while reading Beavah's take on this. Easily the most starry-eyed and revisionist "interpretations" of this issue I've seen yet...


    The BSA has a lot of strengths and positive program elements, but diversity is not among them.

  4. Not sure what you're looking at price-wise, but connecting through Chicago might be a doable option if it's going to save you a lot of money (keeping in mind you'd need to factor in additional cost for ground transportation from Buffalo to your final destination.) I fly out of Chicago fairly often, and it's not too terrible finding where you need to go. You would need to change terminals after you clear customs, though. But I find Chicago OHare easier to navigate than Heathrow, anyway.


    But I echo the comment about leaving plenty of time for the layover in Chicago - I'd say allow at least 3 hours. So bottom line I'd still recommend the direct flight unless it's drastically more expensive.


    By the way, even if the airline doesn't offer a charity discount for Scouts, you could still ask about a group rate, which I think most airlines would be more likely to consider.

  5. I apologize if this advice is unsolicited or unhelpful - but I'd strongly recommend trying to make a direct flight work, even if it works out to be a bit more expensive. Not sure where you're starting from in the UK, but I believe that there's some variety in carriers offering direct service to Toronto from various cities in England and Scotland. It may end up being more expensive, but at least you won't have to deal with going through customs/immigration multiple times, transferring luggage, worrying about whether a delayed flight will cause you to miss your connection, etc - and dealing with all that while exhausted, jet lagged, and shepherding a bunch of teenagers around. It will also allow you to spend more time Scouting, rather than hanging around airports :-).


    If a direct flight is simply too expensive, at least stick with a single airline (or partnered airlines or codeshares or whatever they're called) rather than buying a separate ticket on a budget carrier. That way you'll at least have a little smoother time checking bags, and in the event a flight is delayed or cancelled, you'll have at least a little easier time rescheduling and dealing with it.


    I often travel on the budget airlines domestically, and their service is usually at least not any worse than the "legacy" carriers - but I really wouldn't chance it for an international trip with Scouts. One of the problems is that the discount airlines often only service secondary, smaller airports for a city. So say you're international flight lands at OHare in Chicago, but the budget carrier services Midway Airport in Chicago, which is about an hour drive from OHare. Also, the budget carrier will probably want to charge you for checked baggage, which the bigger airlines will probably waive if you have an international flight on the same ticket.


    That said, some of the bigger budget airlines in the US are Southwest Airlines and JetBlue, though I'm not sure if they serve the Toronto area. It looks like WestJest and Porter Airlines serve Toronto airports, but I'm not sure if they serve wherever your international flight would go into.


    Not sure if you've seen, but the Wikipedia article for an airport usually lists the airlines and destinations that serve that airport, that might be a help in your research?


    All that said, I wish you the best of luck in your trip, it sounds like a great adventure!

  6. I'm not sure that "control" is a priority in and of itself; the priority has been being able to deliver a quality program to the youth at a reasonable price. Up until now, we needed to have some control over the equipment to achieve that goal, which is how we got to this point. Maybe we made a bad decision initially, or maybe we should have done things differently somewhere along the line.


    BD - Well, the scope here consists of some fairly large items - patrol boxes and cooksets for around 20 patrols, several dining flys, a large refrigeration unit, industrial stove and oven units, assorted electronic equipment (projectors, computers, sound systems), etc. Again, stuff that's been accumulated by several people over several years.


    Making the new guys buy their own stuff? Well, it might come down to that, but I worry that the cost will be passed along to the participants of the training program. Might not be any way around that, though.

  7. Thanks all for the feedback. Just to be clear, I'm not trying to do an end-run around anyone with regard to this equipment - In fact, I personally have some equipment "on loan" to this program, so it's not like I'm trying to find some kind of loop hole that will allow us to continue to use gear that doesn't belong to us. In fact, as much as I hope to not have to deal with finding a bunch of replacement equipment over the next few months, I'm personally somewhat sympathetic to the folks who are uncomfortable with continuing to lend us this equipment, so I definitely wouldn't hold anything against them if they do decide to take their gear and move on - but my hope is that we can find a better solution for everybody!


    Making a clear inventory of who-owns-what is a great idea, and something we've already been working on. This information has been shared with the "new regime" (for lack of a better term.) Again, not wanting to get too much into the politics and backstory, but I think the message that got across was that "maybe you could run, and even improve this program without the help of some of these people... but can you do it without any equipment?"


    Another part of the problem is that we're not just talking about a few individual pieces of equipment - not just one dining fly, or a cook set, or a projector. We're literally talking about roughly 75% of the equipment that is ESSENTIAL to running this program potentially all vanishing overnight. So, worse case scenario, we'd be looking at buying, building or borrowing several THOUSAND dollars worth of equipment. And while our current inventory has been accumulating over several years, we'd only have a few months to solve this crisis. I agree that the owners would be well within their rights to stop making their personal property available to, and I personally can understand why they feel driven to that point, it would certainly leave the program in a rough spot - but that might just be the cost of doing business.


    I guess I'm concerned about going forward - is the situation we're in now the lesser of all the possible evils? Is relying on "extended donations" preferable to soliciting the council for funds? Or donating the equipment directly to the council?

  8. The thread about ownership of OA equipment got thinking about a situation we're currently facing in my council.


    Background: For a particular training program, over the past several years we have accumulated quite a bit of equipment, probably worth a couple thousand dollars total. Reason being, the council wasn't interested in footing the bill for the equipment, and fortunately we have several committed volunteers who agreed to donate the equipment.


    The curveball is that the equipment wasn't technically "donated," but rather is on an "extended loan" to this particular program. So the equipment remains privately owned by various individuals, who agree to allow it to be used for this training course. The concern with donating it "for real" to the council is that the equipment would get "repurposed" for other programs, would get lost, get broken, etc. Since the council won't pay for the repair or replacement of the equipment, we'd be left hanging for our own program. So this seemed like the best solution to the problem.


    While this has worked fine for many many years, we're currently sliding into a situation where new people, new program, new ideas, etc and being introduced into the mix. Some of the "old timers" feel that this transition is being handled poorly. Long story short, I'm worried that we'll end up in an "I'm taking my toys and going home" situation, we're the program will be left without essential equipment - unless the current situation is handled with a great deal of diplomacy.


    I don't want to get into some of the background and personalities and debates about whether or not everyone is acting maturely - suffice to say, both "sides" have some legitimate arguments, but both sides have also slipped into some non-Scoutlike behavior from time to time. What I'd like some input on is the equipment and financial situation in general. I'm trying the current situation is a fair price to pay, or if we made some bad choices that allowed this situation to happen.


    Any thoughts or advice?

  9. I don't think I'm so worried about one kid or another feeling humiliated - I would hope that if someone had feel that way, that I or another leader would have found out about it directly so that it could be handled. I don't think that this committee member's comment was triggered based on one specific kid.


    I think her concern might have to do with how the wider community would perceive our fundraiser - as in, passers-by may conclude that we're making money by setting our scouts up to be humiliated, and that's not the kind of "image" we would want the troop to have.


    I can kind of understand this thought process, but I don't think it's a big enough concern to cause us to cancel and event. I think Scoutfish is right - the kid on the seat ends up having more fun than the kids throwing the balls. Just wondering if anyone else felt differently :-)

  10. A incident recently occurred in my troop that's somewhat related to the ongoing "hazing" discussion, but different enough that I thought I'd make a new thread.


    First, a little background. My troop has operated a dunk tank fundraiser for the past several years. Our PLC sets it up as a patrol competition - each patrol is given a time slot to operate the dunk tank, and there are some prizes given to the patrol that pulls in the most money, the patrol with the most "dunks," patrol with the goofiest costumes - stuff like that.


    Like I said, we've done this for several years, and it always seems to be an enjoyable event. Doesn't really make a tremendous amount of money, but the kids always look forward to it as a fun day. I've always helped out on the adult side for the past couple years, and we've never had any major problems. We also recently did our dunk tank fundraiser this year at a carnival last week.


    So at our committee meeting the other day, it was reported that we completed the dunk tank fundraiser, made a certain amount of money, and discussed whether to do it again next year. One newer committee member raised a point that maybe we shouldn't continue to do it as a fundraiser, since "there's better ways to make money than humiliating our kids." She left it at that, and I was surprised to hear it phrased like that. Her son had participated in the fundraiser last week, and from what I could see, had a great time. I tried to talk to the committee member after the meeting to see if something had happened to upset someone, but she said no, but just felt like there were better ways to make money for the troop.


    To my knowledge, we've never had a problem with a scout feeling "humiliated" by this fundraiser - participation is completely voluntary, so if you don't want to go in the dunk tank, you don't have to. Also the kids all seem pretty eager to take a turn in the dunk tank. So no issues that I know of.


    But, philosophically anyway, what the committee member said makes sense on some level. I could see how it might look like "humiliation," and I guess to some extent the idea of humiliation is why people would pay money to throw at a dunk tank. There's also an issue that some patrols (including the one her son is in) chose to wear their full uniforms in the dunk tank.


    So would anyone like to share any input here - is there any merit to this lady's concerns?

  11. moose - maybe the next time your troop does a swimming activity, you could get a group of scouts to wear different outfits made up of various clothing items (shorts/tshirt, jeans, other long pants, button down shirt, long sleeve tshirt, sweatshirt, etc). Don't ask anyone to buy or come up with anything specific, just have them wear a typical outfit that they would normally wear. Then have them do the jump in the water activity, and see how easy or difficult it is to stay afloat in different kinds of clothes. Maybe make it a game to see who can stay afloat the longest, or with the least amount of effort, or something along those lines? It seems having the scouts get familiar with survival swimming in typical attire would be a lot more useful than a requirement that has you go out any buy special clothes just to make the requirement work. If nothing else, it would probably be a fun and memorable activity for your troop.

  12. My troop has done a "sink a scout" dunk tank fundraiser for the past several years, and it tends to be very successful. It doesn't bring in a huge amount of money (our best year was around $1000), but its pretty easy to do and the scouts have a lot of fun with it. Its amazing how much money teenagers will spend to see their friends get soaked in the dunk tank. If you do choose to explore this possibility, here's a few tidbits my troop has picked up on:


    * Venue is everything. Dunk tank rental can be expensive, and when we first did the fundraiser it was at a church fair for our CO that only ran a few hours long, and we just didn't have enough time to make a lot of money. Lately we've been able to run it at a town fair that goes from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening, so we get almost 36 hours of fund raising time. Fortunately we have a big enough troop that we have plenty of volunteers to fill all this time.


    * Location Location Location. You obviously want a spot right in the middle of the action, but also remember to be near a water source (and give yourself enough time beforehand to fill the tank. It can take a few hours with a garden hose). Also keep in mind that you will need some kind of changing facilities close by so the scouts can change our of their wet clothes and into dry clothes. Our scouts also report they prefer being set up on a grassy area instead of asphalt or black top - a little easier on the feet. We've been able to setup in a school playground area, and use the school's locker rooms for changing.


    * The weather can be a factor. If its cold and rainy, the scouts might not be too enthusiatic about plunging into a tank of cold water. Or, if its too cold, it might not be safe to do it at all. Bad weather will also keep attendance at your venue down. Not much that can be done about that, but its something to keep in mind.

    Hope this gives you some ideas.

  13. A few clarifications: the youth camp staff in question are staffing a program that isn't covered under NCS guidelines. But, I will use the NCS guidelines as a reference.


    Also, as we all know, "training" is not the same as "presenting." I will of course follow any guidelines and training materials available from the BSA, and by no means do I want to "devise" my own curriculum. But, I think a huge part of effective training is knowing one's audience, and knowing how to convey the raw information in a meaningful and useful way. That's the topic I'm trying to drive at in this thread.


    Finally, ill advised or not, there does seem to be a push in some councils anyway to provide YPT training for den chiefs and other youth leaders. I'm not opposed to this idea at all, provided that it is approached intelligently, and covers information that is relevant to the youth members, and steers clear of irrelevant or unnecessary topics. That's another area that I'm trying to draw out via this thread.

  14. I'm in a position where I may need to direct some youth protection training for youth camp staff members. After reading in another thread how some areas are moving towards requiring YPT training for den chiefs, I wonder if anyone has any advice or ideas on how to conduct a YPT session for a youth audience - what topics to discuss, what topics to avoid, etc.

  15. rdclements - nothing that I posted conflicts with what you posted. At no time have I disparaged anyone for seeking first aid training. And, should you look at the history of my posts, you will see several occasions when I encourage more advanced first aid training for Scouts and Scouters.


    While I still stand by my position on some of training programs, and of some people who intentionally misrepresent their role, I do apologize that my tone in that original post seems to have clouded the point I was trying to make.


    Despite this, I have not made any personal attacks on any participant in this forum, or towards and specific person at all. Would it be possible, rdclements, for you to answer the question I asked of you in the previous post?

  16. Brent - I'm not saying that its at all a bad thing that you, or anyone else, receives advanced first aid training. It's the responsible thing to do when leader a back country trek where you may be far away from professional medical assistance. At no point did I ever portray this as anything but a good thing.


    I don't think it makes a lot of sense to try to simplify my position into a black and white "Is the BSA/ARC partnership good or bad?" If you're asking me if I think that its a good thing that the BSA is requiring more advanced first aid training for various activities, and working to make that advanced training available to its volunteers, then the answer is an absolute YES! If you're asking me whether I think that a BSA/ARC partnership is the best way to accomplish those goals, then the answer is no. Its better than nothing, its a step in the right direction, but many of those who have posted here have shown that its not an ideal solution.


    As far as criticism goes, at a national level, they are routinely criticised for the way donations are solicited and used, the methods through which aid is given out, their blood drive and distribution plans, etc. At a more local level... well, the last three pages of this discussion have pointed out some flaws in their first aid training programs. I think its also telling that many states and professional organizations require CPR training through the AHA rather than ARC's competing program.


    KC9DDI - You may be right that some of my comments are drawn from my feelings on internal industry issues, but I think that its still important to highlight how to issues apply to the people EMS serves.(This message has been edited by dScouter15)

  17. I certainly did not intend to take on an arrogant tone in my last post. Blunt? Sure. Frustrated? Yes. Cynical? Maybe.


    To defend and clarify a couple points: I understand that no nationwide training initiative can be truly standardized, and delivered in a uniform, consistent way. This applies to BSA training, ARC training, EMS and nursing training, and even medical school. However, there is clearly a difference between courses geared towards lay persons and training programs geared towards professional providers. Professional courses typically operate under the oversight of an independent, 3rd party entity, often a government organization. Testing is generally also administered by a 3rd party agency not affiliated with the training organization. The ARC, for example, may use standardized presentation materials, and standardized tests. But, there is no oversight to verify that they are administered and graded accurately and fairly. So, its not ignorant to call the quality of the training and testing "dubious" or "questionable". I certainly don't want to offend quality instructors of these programs, or students who participated in a quality course. And there are absolutely superbly qualified instructors that put on fantastic courses. Though, as others have pointed out in this thread, there is a great deal of variance in the quality of instruction in these courses.


    And, to be perfectly clear: THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS. Training programs like those provided by the ARC are intended to strengthen one's the knowledge of basic first aid skills. They are not intended to be used as a means to grant any legal authority to provide medical care in a professional sense.


    Problems start to develop, though, when this distinction is blurred. I personally think that it was a poor choice to name these some of these programs using titles that are typically given only to those with state or federal license or certification, as that is guaranteed to generate confusion among lay people. What if there was a course called "Wilderness Nursing," that awarded an "Emergency Wilderness Nurse" certification, but didn't require its participants to actually be registered nurses? Don't you think that actual nurses might be upset about that?


    This problem is amplified by lay persons who attempt to present themselves as anything other than lay persons. You may have valuable first aid training that allows you to provide quality first aid care until providers arrive to start definitive treatment, and that is terrific. But, there is clearly a difference between lay persons with first aid training, and medical providers with a professional and legal duty to provide a certain standard of care. By saying this, please understand that I am not pointing fingers at anyone on this forum. I'm just trying to generally highlight a problem facing the pre-hospital health care industry.


    And, to respond to some of the annecdotes offered:


    rdclements, I have never once asserted that lay persons with advanced first aid training are not valuable in an emergency situation. I do, however, have some criticism of some of these training programs, and of some of the decisions made the the organizations which offer these programs. I have nothing but praise, admiration and respect for lay persons who take the initiative to improve their first aid training, and put it into practice when neccesary. However, I have seen first hand some of the negative consequences that occur when people have an innaccurate understanding of the role of these providers, and when these providers actively add to this misperception of their role.


    And there's always cases where physicians "yield" care to lower level providers in certain situations. Some of that is due to professional courtesy and cooperation. Some of it is due to "Physician Bystander" laws that most states have, that make it moderately unpleasant for a physician to assume care of a patient at a scene at which they are a bystander.


    BrentAllen - I'm very sorry to hear that you had that kind of experience. Without knowing the details, it sounds like those providers clearly did not meet the standard of care they were obligated to provide in that situation, and I certainly don't blame you for being skeptical of the profession. But, to further highlight the differences between professional EMS and ARC certified lay persons: if you wanted to, you could follow up regarding the poor care those EMTs provided, and reasonably expect to situation to be addressed and resolved. If, however, an ARC certified first aider drops the ball, there's really no professional standard that he can be held to. And, no, I really don't have to be grateful that the ARC has partnered with the BSA to provide training. The ARC has earned itself a great deal of well-deserved criticism. I am grateful for the individual instructors and training programs which provide quality training to BSA volunteers, but the quality of these programs is definitely not a direct result of ARC affiliation.


    And rdclements, which patients am I not getting a good "response" from?(This message has been edited by dScouter15)

  18. As a paramedic myself, I'd like to try to offer some perspective on the matter. There are a couple areas I'd like to clarify.


    First, I think there is room for some confusion where there is overlap in terminology between certifications offered by private organizations, and certifications granted by governmental entities. Yes, the ARC offers "certifications" in a variety of topics. But, these certifications really only indicate that you attended some course of dubious quality, and potentially completed some examination of knowledge and skills administered in a questionable setting. The reason these certifications expire within a couple years is mainly just to generate income for the issuing organization in the form of refresher courses. Contrast those with the certifications or licenses granted by state or federal government entities, which legally allow the holder to practice medicine in accordance with the laws and regulations that apply to the given certification. Clearly, there is a huge difference in both the oversight of the training programs, and the testing procedures. A school wishing to train paramedics, for example, undergoes a lengthy preparation period, needs to supply documentation that their curriculum is in accordance with state and federal guidelines, and is subject to close oversight and audit by the state. The instructors typically need to have a minimum amount of field experience, and complete an approved instructors course and exam before being permitted to teach in a paramedic education program. Once students complete the education program (both classroom time and approximately 400 hours of clinical rotations) they must sit for both a written and practical exam that is administered in a controlled setting.


    There is further confusion where professional titles overlap. For example, in most states, an emergency medical technician (EMT, EMT-B, or other professional initials depending on the state) is a state-certified and/or licensed health care provider, who primarily provides advanced first aid as part of an ambulance crew. Many states also have a "first responder" (FR) or "medical first responder" (MFR or CFR) level of certification. In these states, an FR is also a state-certified and/or licensed health care provider, who is able to provide basic first aid, often non as part of an ambulance crew. Contrast these titles with "Wilderness EMT", "EMT-W", or "Wilderness First Responder." Persons holding these titles may also have official legal certification or license as an EMT or FR, and have completed additional training on performing their duties in the back country. But, these courses and "certifications" typically do not provide any additional legal authority to practice emergency medicine with an expanded scope of practice.


    That's not to say that these types of courses are not valuable, or should be avoided. I'm very much in favor of providing training to Scouts and Scouters that will be enable them to provide quality first aid care to an ill or injured victim until professional health care providers can start providing definitive care. And, as a professional provider myself, its always nice to arrive on a scene where a bystander is able to rely on some training they've taken to provide initial care to the patient, remain calm, and explain to me the background of the situation.


    The flip side of the coin is when I arrive on scene, and have to deal with a bystander who is actively making the situation worse, but feels qualified to tell me how to do the job I've been doing every day for the past 5 years, on account of the fact that he has an 8 hour first aid class under his belt, complete with an official "certification card" signed by an unknown volunteer affiliated with the local Red Cross chapter. The point is, while I'd definitely recommend seeking out additional first aid training whenever you can, its important to be aware that, since these courses are conducted without any real oversight, their quality can vary widely. Also, that certification card you got really doesn't mean anything other than that you showed up at a class taught with no real oversight, of unknown quality. Not to say that there's nothing valuable that can be taken away from these courses. But, as a volunteer Scouter, its important to me that I know that the training I'm receiving is of adequate quality, is accurate, and is beneficial. And, as a professional paramedic, its important to me that we don't blur the distinction between professional health care providers, and volunteers with some basic first aid training under their belt.

  19. Moxieman - The BSA supply division produces an official red patch vest, which on its website is described as "the perfect compliment to any official scouting uniform." For me, this is strong evidence that it is an official uniform part, and can be worn as a component of the rest of the Scouting uniform in appropriate occasions.

  20. I am not aware of any regulation that would prohibit wearing the brag vest at any particular activity (but I could be wrong, I haven't worked with the Cub program in quite a while). A bit of advice: when some one tells you that something is "policy" or "BSA regulations," etc, calmly acknowledge them, but say something to the effect of, "I've never heard that before. Could you show me the official BSA reference that says that, so I can make sure I'm following the rules the right way?" If it is in fact an actual policy, you'll see it in writing, and would thus be obligated to obey it. But, more commonly, if its just a myth, you may have had the opportunity to help dispel it within getting into an argument. Not that there's anything wrong with posting questions on this forum, but sometimes its more satisfying to help correct a problem at its source.


    Back to the issue of brag vests. There may not be an official rule on the subject, but I guess I could see where a pack's leadership might try to dissuade their use at certain events. While I certainly support recognition of youths' achievements, I guess I could see where some might think that a piece of clothing whose only purpose is to brag about one's achievements (hence the name) might not be the most appropriate thing to wear at, say, a religious function. Or, maybe if 100% of the pack's membership doesn't use the brag vest, leaders may ask that it not be worn at certain formal occasions, to keep the uniforms UNIform.


    Just throwing out some ideas - not saying I support or endorse them, but they may be the "root cause" of where your question is coming from. Does any of this sound like it might be applicable to the "bigger picture" of the situation that's prompting your question here?

  21. I agree that the family's immediate needs might be best covered by cash donations, or gift cards to department or grocery stores. Ideally, the pack might be able to do a fund raiser, involving all of the youth and adults, to supplement any offered donations. Unfortunately, the winter season kind of makes it difficult to do some of the fund raisers that can be put together quickly, on short notice (car washes, dunk tanks, door-to-door sales). And, of the fund raisers that are successful this time of year, many require too much planning or preparation to bring in an adequate amount of money quickly. Maybe browse through the "Fundraising" section on these forums to see if there's anything that can be put together quickly.


    Beyond that, some ideas that come to mind are:


    - Having the unit quietly and discretely offer to waive dues and program fees for the boy for the next couple months (if the unit's finances allow).

    - While I guess its not very common for cub scout packs to maintain "scout accounts" for each boy, offer to apply any funding in the boy's individual account to the family's other financial needs.

    - Have leaders offer to assist with transportation or child care while mom is out attending to other responsibilities.

    - If leaders have pickup trucks/suv's/etc, encourage them to offer assistance in transporting new furniture or other large items.

    - Encourage families to offer home-cooked meals to the scout's family - healthier, tastier and cheaper than trying to live off of fast food for the time being.

  22. Beav - Maybe we are making the same conclusion, but used a different thought process to get there. But, in this case, I think the process may be just as important.


    I still have to take some exception to your "Eh, don't worry about it" stance. Your right that at its most basic level, legal action boils down to dispute resolution. But, its not so easy to brush off a dispute where you are being accused of having some responsibility for the death of someone else's kid. Regardless of what the BSA covers you for, and regardless of the outcome of the case, I think a situation like that would put a lot of stress on the accused's family life, friendships, work life, etc. It doesn't really seem fair to characterize this type of dispute just as an annoyance.


    I understand you have some background and experience in the legal world that exceeds most of ours. But, as an analogy, I have a lot of experience working as a paramedic. And, to me, working on a patient who dies during or shortly after I care for them is really not a big deal for me. Having to do CPR for a few minutes, for me, is just a mild annoyance, because its something I do regularly, and I've adjusted my thought processes so that I don't feel any emotional attachment to these patients. However, if I was speaking with or advising a lay person who had recently had someone die despite trying CPR, I wouldn't tell them its no big deal, or brush it off as a mild inconvenience. Sure, eventually they will move on and get past any problems they're having with the situation, but that doesn't mean its appropriate to write off their fears and concerns in the middle of the situation.


    And maybe another side of the issue is that, as flawed as our legal system is, there are valid reasons to be concerned about litigation. Especially these days, when we seem to hear almost weekly of some new ridiculous law suit that resulted in someone winning an amount of money disproportional to the alleged offence. While its important to be realistic about how much you personally could be held liable, and how much support the BSA and other groups will provide, it is still important not to completely write off the possibilities of legal action. Because, if you do something that is illegal, negligent or just plain stupid, it would only be fair that you be held accountable legally.

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