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Posts posted by dScouter15

  1. Beavah -


    I think you're right, that the BSA generally does support its volunteers very well in a number of legal situations. However, I have to believe that the BSA's and individual leaders' liability is managed by the extensive training offered through the BSA and other organizations. I'd also like to think that discussions such as the ones on this forum and elsewhere, in which volunteers are directed away from plans or ideas that may be harmful, also play a role in reducing personal liability.


    However, there are a couple of points I want to make.


    Firstly, and to be quite blunt, I can't believe that you were able to use those terms to describe the situation in Florida with a straight face. I'm not sure how you consider it to be a "mild annoyance" to be dragged through the legal system for months to years over the death of a youth under your supervision. Regardless of the end result of that mess - whether or not the leaders are found to be liable at all, being dragged through a legal mess like that is no small matter. True, eventually the dust will settle, and they will "move on," but the process between now and then is much more than a minor inconvenience.


    Second, sometimes "liability" and "legal liability" are not the same thing. In other words, a bad idea can have consequences other than legal action, fines and jail time. This is where I get frustrated while reading threads about a potentially bad idea. Eventually, someone will mention something about legal liability, and someone else will post something saying "nah, you probably won't go to jail for that," and then the discussion stops being about whether the actual idea is good or bad, and turns into a discussion on the chances of being sued, or being held liable. Well, here's the thing: even if you decide that its unlikely that you'll do any jail time, all of those possible consequences that got you thinking about liability in the first place: injury, death, property damage, hurt feelings, etc - all of those are still legitimate concerns that need to be addressed independently of perceived legal liability! Maybe a good rule of thumb is that if you're spending a lot of time researching and discussing the possible legal ramifications of a given event, maybe it would just be a good idea to plan on doing something else instead.


    I don't know enough about the Florida situation to speculate as to whether it was handled appropriately, but pretend for a minute that the tragic death of a Scout could have been prevented with additional training, or better planning or preparation. Even if the individual leaders aren't found to be liable in a court of law, or penalized through the legal system, there's still the issue of having a Scout die in a situation that could have been prevented. In my humble opinion, it may be better use of all of our time if we "armchair lawyers" stepped away from the legal issues and instead focused on topics that we have more direct knowledge of - like planning events that are safe just for the sake of them being safe. Then, hopefully, we'd have less need to involve actual lawyers in our Scouting lives.

  2. Surprised to see dues are so much. Our troop charges $50/year, which covers annual dues to the council, insurance, and advancement materials for the year. We do charge $75 the first year, as the troop will provide a neckerchief, handbook, unit numerals, a troop t-shirt, and some other "introductory" material. Each year we make a new troop t-shirt, which we sell pretty much at cost, generally $7-$10. We do not charge adults any annual dues.


    Our camp outs, with the exception of summer camp and some high adventure activities, are subsidized by the troop, and the cost to each Scout is typically $12-$30, depending on the venue. The troop will try to subsidize most of the cost of renting the camping facility, so the majority of what the Scout pays covers food, transportation and any special program activities for that given camping trip. We generally charge adults only for the cost of food for the weekend, which typically runs $8-$10. We also do reimburse adults who drive Scouts to events for mileage.


    We do relatively "heavy" fundraising. We usually do two bigger fundraisers a year, usually popcorn sales and Christmas wreath sales, which we run simultaneously. We do a few other smaller fundraisers through out the year - a dunk tank, manning a beverage booth, etc. The proceeds from each event are split between the troop's coffers and the Scout Accounts of the Scouts who participated. The exact percentage split is determined per fundraiser by the committee, with strong input from the PLC. Most Scouts are able to cover the cost of annual dues out of their Scout Accounts, and the more industrious Scouts can also apply some of the money towards summer camp and weekend camping trips. We don't require, but do *strongly* encourage participation in a majority of fundraisers by all Scouts.


    This model has worked fairly well for us. The troop has had enough funds to cover the costs of program materials, camping equipment, and to subsidize many camping trips and activities. We are also in a position to provide camperships and assistance with annual dues on a confidential, case-by-case basis, though we do require fundraising participation from the families we assist.

  3. BrotherhoodWWW - Laws are supposed to keep us safe, and give everyone a reasonable chance at being treated fairly and equally. More and more traffic laws have nothing to do with any of this, and instead are blatantly being used as a source of revenue for local governments.


    Consider traffic cameras setup at intersections to catch those who run red lights. Numerous studies have conclusively shown that the best way to reduce accidents as a result of running red lights is to lengthen the amount of time the light is yellow prior to turning red. Instead, cities put up a traffic camera at an intersection, and the SHORTEN the yellow light time, to increase the number of citations they can issue at that intersection. And, as a side effect, increase the number of accidents occurring at that intersection.


    Or small town cops who specifically target out of state drivers, who will be less likely appear in court. Even appearing in court to plea "not guilty" costs more than just paying the ticket by mail. How is that fair, letting one car go, but pulling over another one travelling the same speed, based on the license plate?


    Or deliberately setting speed limits well below a safe and reasonable speed for that road? A stretch of road in a small town near me that passed by a shopping mall and several shopping centers used to be 50mph. Well, the economy got bad, and the shopping mall and all but a few of the other stores have become abandoned, and there is MUCH less traffic on that road now. If anything, it would be safe to RAISE the speed limit a bit. But, instead, the town dropped it to 30mph, trying to recuperate the lost tax dollars from the closing of all the retail in the area. Meanwhile, theft, burglary and violent crime in this area is at an all time high, and continues to grow.


    Or the people (like me) who can easily get out of a minor traffic stop by flashing an FOP card, or a police, fire or EMS badge? Is that fair?


    What's an obedient Scout to do when certain laws are clearly setup with no other purpose than to extort money from citizens?

  4. Beav - Clearly there is a risk for an individual Scout should he forget to take certain medication, deliberately choose not to take certain medication, lose his medication, or accidentally or intentionally take too much. This risk can easily be extended to other Scouts in the troop. For a few examples, what about a Scout who develops a medical or psychological problem in the backcountry, or on a high adventure activity? What about a Scout who steals another Scout's medication?


    Also, I'm not saying that the adult leadership should be required to control all medications for all Scouts. The needed level of oversight by an adult will vary depending on the Scout's needs and maturity, and the type of medication he is taking.


    Some Scouts (hopefully most Scouts) should be able to be trusted to manage their own medical needs on an outing.


    Some Scouts may need a casual reminder to take their meds from an adult leader.


    Some Scouts may need to have their medication stored in a secure area by an adult leader.


    Some Scouts may need to have their parent camp along with them until they develop the maturity to not need their parent.


    And, unfortunately, some Scouts may not be able to participate in certain activities based on their medication needs.


    Personally, I make every effort to eliminate those last two categories, though I admit that its sometimes not possible. I strongly believe that with responsible adult leadership and honest communication between a Scout, his parents, and adult leadership, that the majority of medication concerns can easily be overcome, without needing the parents to attend an event, or excluding the Scout from an event. It bothers me that the BSA seems to recommend a hands-off approach, rather than encouraging increased communication, education and planning to simply and easily accomodate more Scouts, and improve overall safety.

  5. TwoCubDad - I understand what you're saying, but I think you're making it unnecessarily complicated. Policy is policy, and recommendations are recommendations. If the BSA intended for every word in the G2SS to be taken as official policy, they wouldn't have intentionally separated the official policy from the advice and guidelines.


    As I've stated, in my opinion, the advice on medication management is rather poor, and I instead chose to work off of the recommendations of people whom I feel have more medical and legal credibility, and whose advice more closely relates to the specific challenges and complications I've been involved with over the years. My chosen course of action is not in violation of the BSA policy on medication management, because there isn't one!


    jcb - Well, the good news is they won't find anything in the BSA literature that requires the SM or any other adult leader to take on that responsibility. So, from the BSA's stand point, that can't be required of him. My next question would be why this group of parents is concerned? Is there some special circumstances occurring where it might be in the Scouts' best interest if the adult leadership shared some responsibility for ensuring health and safety with regard to medication management?


    And, to clarify my own position - I'm NOT saying that the adult leadership should be required to take on the responsibility of storing and distributing Scouts' medications. I am saying that due to the varying levels of maturity of Scouts in a given troop, the adults may need to share some responsibility for medication management, to ensure the health and safety of each Scout. This may involve simply reminding a Scout to take his medication at the correct time, or maybe keeping a Scouts' medication locked in a private vehicle, or maybe even requiring the Scout's parent to attend overnight outings. This would all depend on the individual needs of each individual Scout, as determined by a brief meeting between the Scout, his parent, and an a responsible adult leader. Hopefully most Scouts should be responsible enough to handle their own medication needs, but I don't think that this should be the official BSA policy (either the actual policy or implied policy) because of the substantial risks to the health and safety of the Scout that supposed to be taking the medication, and the troop as a whole. Just my $0.02.

  6. Twocubdad - that's not exactly what the policy states. The recommendation in the G2SS does acknowledge that any given adult leader is not obligated to take on the responsibility of supervision the taking of prescription medications. However, it does not absolve the *unit* as a whole from its responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment for its Scouts. Which, in my opinion, unfortunately would mean that the adult leadership would have to take on some degree of responsibility for ensuring that Scouts under their supervision maintain their health and safety by taking their prescribed medications. Furthermore, that quote from the G2SS and the health forms that Scoutfish posted is technically not BSA policy, but rather a guideline or recommendation. I'm not sure that the distinction is important here, but it is the case.


    To be honest, I think that the reason that this BSA policy (or recommendation, or whatever it is) appears remarkably clear is because it does an inadequate job of addressing the realistic needs and concerns in today's "hyper-medicated" society. Really, that section in the G2SS does nothing to shed light on how unit leaders should respond to any medication related concerns or complicated situations. Let's imagine that the passage Scoutfish quoted was reformed from the health forms and the G2SS - would it's absence make things more complicated than they are now? Hence the vast number of questions posted to forums such as this one, and the inability of offer any real definitive answer.

  7. I'm sure this topic has had to come up here before, but I can't remember seeing it recently. What are some of your favorite Scout camp fire skits? Hopefully some readers might get some new ideas for upcoming campfire programs.


    My all time favorite skit, from the time I was a youth in the program, is the "Princess Princess" skit, where two scouts act out a scene in which they each portray five or six different characters.


    Others of mine include the "Emergency Broadcast System" skit, where the camp staff starts making a long "beep" noise and lines up orderly and calmly in front of the campfire. A senior staffer steps forward and says "This is a test of the camp emergency broadcast system. This is only a test. In the event of an actual emergency, this is how the camp staff would respond." And then pandemonium breaks loose in the staff - running, screaming, sitting down with hands over ears, etc.


    And of course, "If I Were Not A Boy Scout" is ALWAYS a classic, especially when they come up with some new characters!

  8. Hi jcb7265 - this topic actually comes up on here quite a bit, maybe even around once every month or so. If you search the archives for "medication," you'll probably come across pages and pages of discussion on this topic.


    You'll probably also note that discussion of legalities surrounding Scouting medication is a common factor in these discussions, and you'll hear all kinds of claims from people with varying degrees of medical/legal experience and knowledge. My first recommendation would be to get in touch with your DE or council program director and find out if there are any laws specific to your area, or guidance available from your council on this topic - its best to hear these things "from the horses mouth," so to speak.


    In terms of a troop's "official responsibility," the Guide to Safe Scouting and other BSA policy documents are pretty vague on guidelines for medication control and distribution at the BSA unit level. However, it is clear that the unit does have an official responsibility to ensure the health and safety of all of the youth and adult members of that unit. To me, this means that the unit has a responsibility to ensure that all youth are taking their required medications while under the supervision of the troop's adult leadership; to be reasonably certain that youth cannot easily access the medications that aren't theres; and to maintain an accurate file of BSA medical forms for each scout in the unlikely event of an emergency. How you go about doing this will depend on the specific needs and characteristics of your troop. If you have a smaller troop, I would recommend handling medication on a case-by-case basis with each scout. Have a brief private meeting with each scout who needs medication while camping, and hopefully with his parent as well. Discuss options for medication storage (with the scout, with a designated adult leader, with the scout's parent if in attendance). Discuss with the parent the scout's level of maturity - does he need to be reminded to take his medication each time? There's no need to discuss specific medical history or conditions at this meeting - just establish what level of support that scout needs to maintain health and safety regarding his medications.


    This model may not work with a larger troop, or in a complicated situation. Can I ask if you're just trying to find some general information on the topic, or if there's a specific situation that prompting your question?

  9. Thanks all for the perspective. I think part of my concern may come from the fact that I spend a lot of my time in an environment heavy on off-color jokes and innuendo. Sometimes I realize that I have to make an effort to not let that carry over into Scouting environments that I'm involved with, and I think that this skit just triggered my internal censor, so to speak. But enough psycho-babble. I guess I can see where this skit could be funny if delivered well, but I don't think it was really well done in this case. In any event, I think I'd try to guide my own scouts away from doing this skit, especially in a "public" setting, as there seems to be no shortage of other quality skits that are less "borderline."


    ScoutNut - I did notice that they did do a good job cleaning up. They put a big plastic tarp down on the floor and stood on that during the skit. At the end, they wiped off most of the whipped cream. They were also wearing socks during the skit, which they took off before walking across the gym floor, so they wouldn't leave a whipped cream trail behind them.(This message has been edited by dScouter15)

  10. "Knowledge is good."


    Or, more seriously: "Eh, let's see what happens." Now, I know that may sound even less profound than a quote from Animal House, but its an attitude that I wish more adult leaders would adopt. The goal of Scouting is not perfection, and it is not to avoid failure. So the next time your Scouts come to you with a ridiculous idea that you know has no chance of working, maybe let them go for it and see what happens. Sometimes, there's more to be learned from failing than from succeeding.

  11. I'm going to start this thread in a way that a lot of threads here seem to start: "I may be overreacting, but...."


    Over the weekend my district ran as Webelos to Scouts recruitment event - basically an expo for all of the troops and Webelos dens in the district to share some activities with the ultimate goal of increasing the numbers of Webelos transitioning into Scouts. The event lasted for a couple hours on a Saturday, and included a pseudo-campfire program ("pseudo" because there wasn't actually a campfire, as the event was in a local school gym). Each troop and den was invited to perform a couple skits. One troop did a skit which I believe is called "Cool N' Creamy", which I had never seen before.


    The skit involved four scouts armed with cans of the RediWhip whipped cream stuff, and an adult MC. The scouts would sing the refrain of a song and did a little marching dance that was something like "Cool and creamy, cool and creamy, we like it cool and creamy." The adult MC would then ask the audience to shout out a body part, he would pick one and then chant (for example), "Do you like it on your arms." The scouts would chant "Yes we like it on our arms." They would spray some of the whipped cream on their arms, and then sing the refrain. They repeated it several times for several body parts ("On your legs", "On your head", "In your ears", "Down your shirt", "On your feet", and finally "in your face").


    Now, is it just me, or is this skit a little inappropriate?


    To be fair, it looked like everyone was having a good time, and it was all done in good fun, but it still left me feeling a little uneasy in the back of my mind. Now, my troop has used the "pie in the face" gag from time to time, in skits and in fundraisers, and some of our Scouts have let themselves get pretty "clobbered" for the sake of entertainment, and always thought it was great fun. I also don't really have a problem with some other similar skits (like the flower/bee skit where the one guy keeps getting sprayed with water), as long as everyone in the skit knows its coming and agrees to be part of it.


    So, I guess I'm wondering: does this skit cross the line of what's appropriate in a Scouting environment? Is it something I should gear our scouts away from performing in the future (they seem to like to try out their own versions of new skits they see)?

  12. Our troop has never really recruited in schools, but have taken a more informal approach. At any public event we participate in we have a couple large posters will some candid action shots of our troop's activities, and some simple "marketing slogans." We also have developed some simple pamphlets we hand out to anyone showing any interest. We actually have two pamphlets, one geared towards youth and one geared towards their parents. The youth pamphlet is heavy on pictures of our adventures, and descriptions of our most interesting activities. The parent pamphlet focuses on more of the "logistics" of the program, and the opportunities leadership development, good citizenship and community involvement, skills development, etc. A couple of our Scouts update these posters and pamphlets roughly every year, so that the photos and descriptions reflect our current and most recent events - people seem to be skeptical of photos from events that clearly occurred several years ago.


    At some public events, try to have a fun activity that's reserved for currently registered Scouts in your troop. For example, our troop runs a dunk tank every summer at either a town carnival or a church picnic, which is manned by our troop's Scouts. We always get several of the Scouts' non-Scout friends who come up and ask if they can go in the dunk tank. We always say no, that only Scouts are allowed to get dunked, but tell them "maybe next year you can" and give them some of our recruiting material.


    More importantly, be prepared to follow through with something more than just handing out pamphlets, or talking about your program. Invite anyone showing interest to an upcoming troop meeting, or an upcoming camping trip or other event. Make sure this event isn't too far in the future - I know many troops run once-a-year events focused specifically on recruitment. These are great, but it is important to remember that youth will lose interest quickly if they have to wait too long for follow up from the troop.

  13. In my area Scouting for Food efforts are headed by individual units, and don't really have much support at the district or council level, unfortunately. Here's a few things that I remember from when I was more directly involved:


    - We had gotten a large number of plastic grocery bags donated, and then stapled a 1/2 sheet of paper to each bag that described what Scouting for Food was, and gave instructions to donate. We would then canvas our neighborhoods and hang the plastic bags from door handles. This way, when it was time to pickup the food, it was easy to see if a house had made a donation, and also helped protect the items from rain/snow. The bags were then stored at the food pantry to be used or recycled.


    - Don't wait too long between when you distribute flyers/bags and when you pickup the food. In the past we've distributed on Saturday morning and collected on Sunday morning. Waiting a week might be too long, and people will be more likely to forget to put out a donation.


    - Do a little bit of publicity. If there's any stores or businesses in your area that have a community bulletin board, put up some notices about the day you'll be collecting. If you can, also see if you can get something in your community's newspaper a few days prior to the collection. After the collection, try to run a short follow-up thanking everyone for participation, with a mention of how much food was collected.


    - See if you can tie the event in with another larger community event to raise support (eg, town fair, school or sports events, etc) to help raise awareness and help people remember to donate. A year or two ago, a pack and troop in my area coordinated their Scouting for Food efforts with Tom's Shoes One Day Without Shoes (http://www.onedaywithoutshoes.com/splash.php) and also collected clothing items in addition to food. Also, in the spirit of the event, the Scouts went shoe-less when they were out collecting donations, which probably helped raise awareness for a couple causes, and also got them a nice featured article in the town newspaper.


    Just some thoughts in general. I know it doesn't really directly apply to district/council logistics, but hopefully gives you something useful.(This message has been edited by dScouter15)

  14. Mr. Boyce - The specific chemical that triggers an anaphylactic reaction will differ from individual to individual (and allergy to allergy). In peanuts, its often a protein called "Ara h 2". In fact, there has been some research over the past couple years to develop peanut products that don't have these types of proteins, thus reducing their likelihood for triggering a severe allergic reaction.


    Scoutfish, I believe that exact wording was: "First off, your first indication of a severe allergic reaction may be the victim passing out. You won't be able ask the victim anything. I'd even venture to say that in a majority of the time, the victim going to the ground as the first indicator is more the norm, not less." I'm certainly not trying to under-emphasize the potential severity of anaphylactic reactions, but I do think its important to be discussing it in actual realistic terms, rather than unsupported exaggerations. While I suppose that its possible that some people are so hyper-sensitive that unconsciousness may occur before other signs and symptoms and be noticed and treated, the majority of cases will develop over a slightly longer period, giving educated and prepared Scouts and Scouters and opportunity to act, and hopefully reverse a life-threatening situation. And, as I've pointed out before, an EpiPen will generally not be as effective after an individual loses consciousness.


    As a parallel - you brought up bystander CPR. I'm not certain what the numbers you mention really represent, but there have been studies done to investigate the benefits of providing wide spread "lay person" CPR education. One of the more commonly cited studies compares cardiac arrest statistics between the cities of Seattle and New York City. Seattle has made extensive efforts to provide CPR training to "lay people." Thus, lay people have been more likely to provide quality CPR when confronted with a case of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). This education, tied with a quality EMS system, has yielded a 30% survival rate for victims of SCA. In New York, on the other hand, there is not wide spread CPR training efforts, and bystanders are less likely to provide CPR, or perform correct CPR. Also, there are poorer EMS response times. Survival rates in New York are roughly 1-2%, so its easy to see the benefits of lay person training. Even more striking are statistics involving the training by lay people who staff high-volume facilities (airport and mall security, school teachers, department store staff, etc). Rapidly reacting to a SCA with quality CPR and the availability of an AED raises survival rates to around 70%!


    Clearly SCA and anaphylaxis are two different things, but I think its easy to see the parallels between the proven benefits of lay person CPR education, and the need for lay person EpiPen education.

  15. E61, You are correct that an anaphylactic reaction may come on within seconds, rather than minutes, in some severely allergic individuals (though an onset of several minutes to hours is more common). However, the context of that quote of mine involved a situation in which Scouts are out hiking without adult supervision, so in that particular example seconds vs. minutes really isn't a huge distinction.


    Your claim that in the majority of cases the first symptom of an anaphylactic reaction will be the victim "passing out" is surprising to me. It definitely is contradictory to my own experiences, the fairly extensive collection of emergency medicine literature I have access to, and a cursory Google search of the topic. Could you please refer me to the evidence supporting this claim, as I'd really like to review the data first-hand.


    Finally, while I can respect your decisions on how to parent your own children, I'd have to point out that other parents may have other, equally reasonable ideas on how to handle a situation. For example, if a responsible, well-prepared and educated Scout with a peanut allergy wanted to go on a patrol hike or campout with a group of responsible, well-prepared and educated patrol members, I certainly would not have a problem with this, provided that the group was trained and prepared to deal with a potential medical emergency.


    (This message has been edited by dScouter15)

  16. It sounds like most so far think that the only alternative to the current CO system is a setup where the council owns each unit. But, what about a situation where each unit is essentially chartered to a "Friends of Troop XXX" type group. Or, in other words, the unit "owns" itself. In such a setup, I wouldn't think that the unit's relationship to the council would change drastically. However, the unit would no longer be in a position of having to march to two drummers. It's mission and priority would only be to carry out a quality BSA program, without needing to worry about its place in the mission of a third-party non-Scouting CO.


    Furthermore, in this model, the unit would retain the option of maintaining a close link with other community organizations, if they so chose. For example, if the unit decides to closely affiliate with a particular church, Lions club, etc, they could do that; and both groups could support each other similar to the way the current CO system works. The difference would be that each group would be an equal, independent entity, rather than one being "owned" by the other.


    I'm sure there are some drawbacks to this type of system, but could it potentially be an improvement over the current system?

  17. It seems like a topic of conversation that comes up a lot here involves the concept of the "Chartered Organization." This has gotten me to thinking: is the current CO system really the best possible system for all parties involved (namely the unit, the council, the CO, the greater community, and the unit membership)? It seems like a large portion of today's units have a very "hands off" CO, that provides minimal support, beyond signing the necessary papers and maybe providing meeting space. In fact, some units seem to prefer having a CO that doesn't really participate in the regular unit operations. More and more units seem to be exploiting a "loop hole" in the CO program by chartering units to a "Friends of Troop XXX" type group.


    I understand the idea of a CO and a unit being of mutual benefit to each other. However, I have to wonder whether either party really benefits from the other in a large number of cases. I could see a potential CO having trouble committing to supporting a Scouting program with such specific, rigid and expansive goals and methods. I can also see where a unit, with its busy schedule and over-extended volunteers, may not appreciate the added level of overhead introduced by being forced to interface with a non-Scouting organization to keep their program "legal."


    In short, I feel that the Scouting program itself is so expansive that trying to tie it into a non-Scouting entity in an effective way is extremely difficult, and that the headaches associated with trying to make such a partnership work well are not worth the potential pay-offs. As more and more units are being chartered to uninvolved COs, and "Friends Of Troop XXX" type organizations, maybe its time for the BSA to re-evaluate its current CO program, changing it into something that is more directly beneficial for individual units. Any thoughts?

  18. Irsap - Its great that your son is benefiting so much from Scouting, and that he is developing more independence and confidence. But, don't let that be a reason for you to resign as an adult leader from the troop. As a volunteer Scouter, your job is to help support the unit as a whole, not just one Scout. And, just from what you've posted here, it sounds like you have a good grasp on when to provide direct support and coaching for the youth, and when to step back and let them do their own thing - that's a key skill as an adult Scouter. If you're concerned about the dynamic between you and your son at Scouting events, maybe see if the troop needs some "behind the scenes" support that you could fill in the troop committee, rather than as an ASM.


    Maybe you have other reasons for wanting to take a step back from the troop, but don't let your Scout's increasing maturity be the deciding factor!

  19. E61 - Ideally, it wouldn't be necessary for a 12-18 year old to make a call and administer an EpiPen. It should be that the scout having the reaction that decides to use the EpiPen, with additional trained scouts familiar with its operation to assist him in using it. Assistance might be as simple as saying "Where's your EpiPen? Can you reach it?" to a Scout beginning to have a reaction, or may involve helping the scout get the safety caps off, or positioning it steady and in the right place. You're right, a 12 year old shouldn't be deciding when its time to use Epinephrine on another scout - but he should be prepared to assist a scout in using his own EpiPen when that scout knows he needs it.


    There are absolutely situations where a Scout may need to assist another Scout, most of them not involving dead or incapacitated adults. Unsupervised patrol hikes and camp outs, for instance, which are approved activities in the Boy Scout program. In some people, an anaphylactic reaction can come on within minutes. So, even if a patrol is hiking even just a mile or two away from the troop base camp, that may not be enough time to run for adult help. If the Scout loses consciousness before the EpiPen is used, it probably won't do any work. Can't hurt at that point, but its less likely to be as effective as it would be early on in the anaphylactic process. Because the BSA encourages Scouting activities where adults are hovering over the youths' shoulders, I feel its that much more important for Scout troops to "be prepared" in this sense.


    Sure, a scout or his family may not want his medical conditions to be publicized, though I've noticed less hesitation when it comes to severe peanut or food allergies, just because Scouting events offer such a broad spectrum of possibilities for exposure. But, if they don't want that information shared, that's at their own risk. And, that hypothetical possibility is not a good enough reason to withhold training from Scouts, regardless of whether or not they know whether a scout has an allergy or not.

  20. I generally agree with everyone's suggestions, especially about synchronising the BSA's requirements with current Red Cross standards. I'm not sure I'd go so far as to bring the First Aid MB to the same standard as a Wilderness First Aid course, but I would definitely support requiring some advanced first aid training as a prerequisite for approving certain types of tour permits for back country or high adventure trips.


    I'm a little skeptical about including Nitro tabs. If the patient is having a certain type of MI, or has already has a low blood pressure, the nitro could be fatal, and I don't think its within a Scout's capability to assess for that. I would be a little more comfortable with instructing Scouts about Aspirin, and telling them to remind chest pain patients to take some ASA if they're not allergic, as there are not as many side effects or precautions.


    Beav, not really sure where you're going with "civilian responders." 99% of Boy Scouts are going to be "civilian responders," but I feel we still have the obligation to live the Scout Motto when instructing them in first aid. I'm not sure the "risk profile" is as different as you might believe. I suppose EMS and health care workers might deal more contagious diseases in mucous/urine/stool/airbourne, etc, but some diseases, such as HIV and HepC, kind of transcend population demographics. Clearly we can't force Scouts to always wear gloves, but we certainly can require knowledge of why BSI is essential before awarding a rank or merit badge.

  21. I can see both sides of the argument. In one sense, I strongly believe that all units to strive to implement the entire program as defined by the BSA. I'm not saying this just "because its the rules," but rather because I've seen the BSA program work, and believe it works better than most alternatives. Furthermore, as an Eagle Scout myself, I'd like to think that my Eagle badge is roughly equal in value to anyone else's Eagle badge. I think that the Eagle award in its entirety is diminished when the requirements differ from troop to troop. I am just as skeptical of "Eagle Mills" as I am of the troops that make their scouts jump through a bunch of unnecessary hoops to earn Eagle, on top of the already challenging requirements.


    At the same time, I think its unavoidable that local traditions, values, resources, backgrounds and experiences will influence an individual unit's program. I don't necessarily think that this is a bad thing, as I believe that most of the BSA's rules do allow for some degree of wiggle room in their implementation. I don't know how well the McDonalds analogy holds. In my mind, a visitor to several different Scout troops should see some consistent themes - uniforming, advancement requirements, values, etc - but should definitely see a lot of variety in activities, reflective of the individual troop's experience, resources, and interests. That said, I think that when troops diverge to the point where we're seriously considering not allowing a Scout to transfer from one troop to another, there is a serious problem with at least one of those troops.


    In Beavah's original example, I think that the "traditional" troop is misunderstanding and misusing the advancement method. Earning a rank advancement means that you met some set of defined requirements - no more, no less. Tying position within the troop directly with rank is certainly not an appropriate implementation of the advancement method. Position within the troop should be determined by maturity, physical and emotional capability, experience, and age (roughly in that order). Granted there should be some correlation between all of these things and the Scout's current rank, but the I don't think there is a 100% certain mapping between rank and everything else that makes up Scouting ability and experience.


    So, instead of denying a boy's application because he is over- or under-qualified based on his rank and how he compares to other scouts of that rank in the troop, just stick him in the patrol that is the best fit for his maturity, capabilities, etc. I'm guessing that if he's committed to that troop's program, he'll have no problem learning and growing within that troop, regardless of how his rank relates to that of the rest of the troop.


    Maybe I'm looking too specifically at Beavah's example, and missing the big picture, but I'd certainly have a hard time refusing a boy's application based only on the type of troop he's transferring from. If he's interested in joining my troop, I'd guess his reason is because he likes my troop's program, and is willing to commit himself to be successful in it. I certainly wouldn't deny him just because his previous troop had a different approach.

  22. Shortridge: in my opinion, the BSA would need to dramatically increase the emphasis on "BSI" throughout its first aid material in order to come into line with the "conventional wisdom" of today's health care and emergency services industries. Mentioning blood bourne pathogens only in the context of severe bleeding control is not adequate. The importance of BSI should be discussed whenever providing first aid involves making physical contact with another person, regardless of whether or not that person has any apparent bleeding. Pathogens can be transmitted in blood, saliva, mucous, emesis (vomit), urine, stool and any other bodily fluid. I would think that a requirement that specifically addresses appropriate precautions that a first aid-er should take in every first aid encounter would be appropriate in the first aid merit badge, at the very least. Also, I'd be in favor of requiring personal, patrol and troop first aid kits to contain a reasonable amount of protective equipment - at a very minimum, several pairs of latex-free gloves, and possibly barrier devices with one-way valves for performing mouth-to-mask rescue breathing.

  23. As I've mentioned before on this forum, my day job is working on an ambulance as a paramedic. As such, I have a bit of an interest in the first aid requirements for each of the Scouting ranks, as well as the first aid MB. I think that in general the current requirements are very good, and have certainly improved in recent revisions. However, there are a couple items I'd like to see added, or emphasized:


    #1, and most important to me, would be to add/emphasize the priority of personal safety when rendering first aid. In other words, don't become a victim yourself. For example, if someone is having an allergic reaction to bee stings after upsetting a wasps nest, make sure that the danger of the angry wasps has past before beginning treatment, so that you too don't get stung.


    #2, and directly related to #1, is the importance of "body-substance isolation (BSI)", also know as "personal protection equipment (PPE)", but most commonly known as "rubber gloves". When dealing with ANY body fluid (blood, saliva, vomit, urine, etc), it is essential to wear gloves to protect yourself from the possibility of infection. It is also a good idea to prevent germs and dirt being transferred from the first aid-er to the patient. Anyone whose ever taken any kind of medical training in recent years has probably had this rule beaten into them, and I'm surprised that its not emphasized more strongly in the BSA's program.


    #3: at least a bit of exposure to certain rescue devices which a first aid-er can assist a patient in using. The two examples that immediately come to mind are EpiPens and rescue inhalers. Both of these devices have the potential to "save a life," or at least buy yourself enough time for an ambulance to respond to the scene to begin providing definitive care. Much like AED's, these devices are incredibly simple to use, but do require a little bit of training, demonstration and practice to use correctly. I was pleased to see AED's have recently been added to the first aid MB, but I'd like to see the material expanded a bit to cover a few other similar devices.


    Now, as a paramedic, I know I'm at risk for being a little too demanding when it comes to BSA program areas that overlap into my profession, but I think the cases I've described above are pretty reasonable to introduce in a Scouting context. Any other thoughts or concerns?

  24. Absolutely agree with Beavah here (which is something that doesn't happen very often). In my opinion, if you have a Scout in your unit whose allergies require him to carry an EpiPen, then EVERY Scout in your unit should receive some instruction on how to use it. It is not necessary to have any formal medical training or certifications to learn how to appropriately use an EpiPen - the procedure can generally be taught in less than 30 minutes of explanation, demonstration and practice with a training device. It is easy enough for all adults, and probably all Boy Scout aged kids, to understand. While some have correctly pointed out that incorrect usage of an EpiPen can be ineffective or even lethal, this should NOT be a reason to avoid receiving training or to decline to use the device in the event it is truly necessary. Consider the wonderful tool that is a pocket knife - for all the useful things it can do, it too can be ineffective or even lethal if used inappropriately. But, its still a skill we teach to all of our Scouts. Now, consider a tool that is essentially the ONLY thing that can save the life of a Scout having an anaphylactic reaction - wouldn't it be worth learning how to use it correctly? Also, it is essential to use an EpiPen QUICKLY, at the first signs of respiratory symptoms. I'm thinking that if a Scout gets to the point where he is unconscious (a possibility that others have raised), that will be too late for the EpiPen to be effective. Now, ideally the Scout would use the EpiPen himself when he notices he needs it, but another Scout or adult may need to assist if the Scout is too scared, too panicked, or too focused on breathing to use it on himself effectively. So, you can see why it is important have a at least a majority of your unit members familiar with how to use an EpiPen - you definitely don't want to waste time waiting for someone who has been trained to show up, or looking for someone whose not uncomfortable about "taking responsibility" for keeping the kid alive.


    Now, as far as adult responsibility, I do believe that in the great scheme of things, there are a few responsibilities that lie totally with the unit's adult leadership: namely, ensuring that a majority of the unit's Scouts and adults have received training on the topic, and that the Scout requiring the EpiPen carries it with him at all times while camping with the troop, and carries it in a location where others will know to look for it.(This message has been edited by dScouter15)

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