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PARENTinSCOUT

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About PARENTinSCOUT

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  1. So much forlorn and losses being shared, but the truth shall set you free! I find BSA a microcosm of our real society, so people including many esteemed leaders will fall into groupthink mode and then fight tooth and nail for a tiny perch on the organization's hierarchy. I fought hard to protect the scout's spirit of my kids and others and too was alienated for pointing out the wrongs. Whistleblowers don't win even when I successfully showed that the charter was really and truly corrupt and in trouble with the state's attorney general office. I believe I saved a bunch of kids from bad things by pointing out the problems. I was going to open a change.org petition to change BSA policy to add nonretaliation policy to YPP and empower the parents and youth to speak out. BSA's resistance is about keeping power and leverage to themselves and nothing else. Then the bankrupcy came along. I decided I didn't care enough about the BSA to go through with the petition. Why take away a candy from an adult who's already starved to death? But to me I am always a scout. I was a cub scout in Vietnam before the country fell to the communists and banned scouting. I try to be good scout everyday. I never wore the uniform again ever since I took it off in Vietnam. But uniforms don't make a scout. I am happy with the thought that lord Baden would be happy with my efforts so I don't need anyone else's approval. I am a scouter not a BSA'er!
  2. CommishJulian, you are a scouter on fire! When I had to explain to little cub scouts Duty to God, I honestly told them my view that it's duty to your conscience because that's where God resides. This works because kids don't know what God is, and neither many adults, but they know what conscience and right vs wrong is. For older scouts I explain further that it's also the duty to discover the special meanings in life and the gift of joy. That is finding the wonders of God. I wish I could model that for the kids rather than just mere words. And here is an adult Scouter, CommishJulian going all out to bring all of your passion, meanings and joy to the kids, which to me is no less than a perfect expression of Duty to God. I am serious about this. And with the many dark issues surrounding scouting and in our world today, I can't think of anything better to give kids hope than them having a blast at your PWD. Nice going!
  3. I applaud your spirit, because that by itself is what to me scouting is all about. Scouting is real and most impactful when the going gets tough and principles are all but lost. I believe your hard work will leave a lasting legacy and rich rewards. May the Scout force be with you, CommishJulian!
  4. Mattr should remove info deemed necessary for privacy. I posted the entirety of the email to show it's authentic from the BSA and to make the point that the lack of a nonretaliation policy in YPP is deliberate and not a simple omission. My point in adding nonretaliation language to YPP is not to change how the National or local Councils run themselves, but to buttress the seriousness of YPP in scouting. First, nonretaliation is community standard. Everywhere I looked among youth service organizations, explicit requirement for reporting always go with confidentiality and non retaliation guarantee. Second, if nonretaliation is community standard and even the BSA has it with employees, why not communicate it to the most vulnerable population which is also the sole reason for BSA's existence, the children? Wouldn't a few words about prohibition of retaliation in YPP training make the whole policy more credible and authentic and probably translate to better outcome and implementation? Instead of thinking nonretaliation will just add more fuel to the fire fomented by petty and vindictive SMs, we should ask how this idea support the scout laws of honesty and trustworthiness to the scouts. It's not redundant to the scout laws but a demonstration of commitment by adults to the laws. After all, retaliation in abuse prevention and reporting is just as destructive and potentially costly as acts of abuse themselves.
  5. Here's an official reply I got from the BSA about instituting a non-retaliation policy. The BSA's position is that non-retaliation is such a no-brainer concept, so why should they have it? After all, it's "inherent in the Scout Oath and Scout Laws" that retaliation should not happen. Well, abuse should not happen also but it does therefore BSA must have Youth Protection training. Actual and threats of retaliation is a sure mechanism of any abusive relationship, so it's a no-brainer that any effective Youth Protection should have a credible deterrent against retaliation as well. Non-retaliation of reporting should be community norm in scouting and it should be said loud and clear in YP policy! Mon, Mar 25, 2019, 8:43 AM Dear Mr xxx My name is and I am writing in reference to your emails to zzzzz and uuuuuu In response to your request that the Boy Scouts of America have a written non-retaliation policy, please know that nothing is more important to the BSA than the safety of our Scouts. As part of the commitment to safety, suggestions and recommendations on changes to policies are reviewed on a collaborative basis with various stakeholder groups. However, inherent in the Scout Oath and Law is the concept that there should be no need for anti-retaliation language in every rule or policy. It is fundamental that when someone speaks up in good faith regarding a potential policy or rule infraction that they would not be subject to retaliation. Obviously that determination is very subjective and fact based. As such, they are inherently local operational matters and those responsible for program are expected to act in accordance with the Scout Oath and law in considering and dealing with such issues on a case-by-case basis. Thank you. BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA Membership Standards Team 1325 West Walnut Hill Lane | P.O. Box 152079 Irving, Texas 75015-2079 P
  6. I did both. Got my kids and a hundred scouts relief from humiliating and punitive practices coming from old scouting methods in Asia. Good riddance and I don't want to elaborate the details. I hope to get rid of the fear of authority in scouting too, thus my push to update YPT. Respect yes, fear no. Will wait to collect my $200!
  7. To Hawkwin, I appreciate the camraderie in your concerns and comment. I don't have an open complaint with my Council right now except I did wish that the mother who was mistreated got a proper apology from the offending CO. In my Council, there are immigrants wanting to do their own troops. The Council encourages them to form Charter Organizations- scouting-only COs. When the troop is its own CO, the leader becomes the Key One rather than Key Three as required by BSA. Name borrowing is what they do make it look like key-three. The Key One structure is essentially a dictatorship in which the leader would HAVE all the incentives to hide wrongdoing and suppress reporting. This is exactly what happened in my former troop. The Council benefits from scouting only COs because they bring in numbers and revenues. The Commissioners don't ask about the “nonprofit” status of these COs at recharter time, like state registrations, and don't tell if they see something is wrong with internal accountability. Am I accusing my Council of being complicit in undermining the key-three structure and put safety of children at risk? Hell yeah! That's why they don't talk to me anymore. The national BSA does have my concern about deficiency of YPT for 1.5 years now. To me, it's the same deficiency that lead the Catholic Church to its trouble now - code of silence and no faith in non-retaliation. To be fair, the code of silence does work for BSA, i.e. benefitting internal cohesion, a good thing. It just shouldn't work for abuse cases. So it's not as easy as adding a few words into the YPT policy. I gave them until tax day then I will decide whether or not to launch my change.org petition unless they tell me something is in the works for YPT. But I can change my mind too and launch it sooner. In terms of retaliation against me, I came to scouting with the belief that it's the best path to peace even world peace. I still do. The corruption and abuses however slight are not a part of this path. If I incur losses, that's a reflection of BSA not scouting. I will find out who my scouting friends actually are.
  8. A question to you: if the past and possible ongoing sex abuse problem within BSA which threatens the viability of the scouting movement is not sufficient to convince the organization to have a prudent non-retaliation statement in its Youth Protection Policy, then what will compel it to do so, except with outside pressure? A petition on change.org is what I am thinking is needed to bring about this very small but essential improvement in YPP.
  9. Yes, I have contacted the relevant people in the district and Council specific to the policy update. Their usual response is nothing, and I assume that it is because they know I am part of the "hot-potato" issue with a troop in their district and they don't want to be near it. It is fair to be concerned that someone like me is seeking attention on a wide policy issue in order to get ahead on a small local conflict. I presented my argument to the Council (council executive) that BSA Youth Protection policy clearly states that reporting process should reflect community standard (i.e. local and state laws). In California where I live, all reporting must be handled confidentially and without duress to the reporter. If reporter conducted him/herself improperly or with malice, that must be handled separately and away from the safety issue of the protected party/child. I believe all 50 states have non-retaliation language in their reporting procedures. If so, then why not BSA? You can't underestimate the value of a policy in a hand of a parent like me when we talk to a leader. They do back down and comply when they are not aware that certain policy exists. This language needs to be in YPT.
  10. I really appreciate this forum, and glad to have found it. Until now, I felt listened to by various people in scouting community but not heard. Thanks for your time and honestly. I m hipeful good changes will come.
  11. I am sharing my personal angle to why this particular incident most bothers me. The policy or lack thereof, is gender neutral but its impact is not. The original concerns came from mothers and the people who handled their concerns poorly are fathers and impacts are on sons. There's a lesson about gender relation to be learned here. Policies for good or bad do impact people differently, and I felt strongly the gender angle should not be missed especially in a gender-based organization. When I told the chief Commissioner this perspective before he agreed to review my incident report form, his response was "how could you!", i.e. saying that Council leadership had a sexist bent or a blindspot. He even demanded that I apologise. But then he did the right thing by inviting the Executive to be at the meeting, personally invited the mother who brought forward the concern of children in distress to the meeting, offered her interpretor and had her letter translated and reviewed to assess the impact. That was the right thing to do, but a lot for a busy and understaffed Council leadership. The bottom line is that BSA has a duty to do what all governance bodies do with a protective policy which is to deter the retribution and retaliation in the reporting process and make this point with all members that this is a part of their obligation in youth protection. The symbiotic culture in scouting communities makes this no-brainer concept more important not less, because leaders need to be a bit more self aware, as my leaders (from the CO to the Council) could have been more so and it would have helped to prevent a fiasco. 70 scouts and 10 leaders left to form a new CO, 6 months after I left. A lot of lives and friendships were disrupted, and the credibility of the Council was damaged and still not repaired. To this day, no one at the Council has said anything about non-retaliation policy, even acknowledging the standard. They probably worry about lawsuit issues and when I and others only care about good scouting. If we're going to have a policy on Youth Protection, have a full policy! Enough said. Thanks for your help!
  12. This accurately summarizes my concern. I wanted the Council or District to send a statement to the offending troop and the indirectly to the community that retaliation by social pressure (true in this case) or by other means that disadvantage the participation of scouts are not to be tolerated. The Council is free to adjudicate what is bona fide retaliation and what is reporting in good faith after the complaint reached them. What I as a parent in 2017 did not have was a BSA statement stating the community standard of non- retaliation so I can take it to the "key three" and put them in notice myself or bring it to the Charter's membership. Instead, the Council's staff swiftly declared that the Charter committed no wrong doing in treating the suicidalily report of a parent in the manner they did. He refused to grant me any additional meeting on behalf of the parent who brought forward the concerns. I called the BSA hotline and they insisted I talk to the CO who said that his staff said the case is closed and refused to meet with me. Finally after another debacle where 90% of the troop leaders left the Charter over other problems and formed a new troop and evidence emerged that the Charter ran into problem with the State did the CO and Commissioner granted me a meeting. There, it appeared they saw for the first time the BSA incident report form that I made one year ago that was buried by the staff. The mother who brought forward the suicidal issue to the key three was present and so was the mother of the child who had the suicidal issue. All were there to attest to the bad practices that lead to kids being in distress. Yet none of them got an answer as to the retaliatory and punitive handling of the original report was wrong. All I asked was a statement that retaliation in general is unacceptable in the context of YPP and a finding that the two mothers should get an apology. If the Charter would not apologize, I asked for a mediated meeting with the key three to address my concern. The CO would not grant a mediated meeting but chose to deal with the matter with the offending troop leader in private. Case closed. This is unacceptable and so far off from scouting aspiration and values. I am disappointed that BSA is a society of men and we do not treat women this way. These are mothers who tried to take care of their children, and any wrong to them should be recognized and fixed (not monetarily or legally but in scouting spirit). What I got instead is well the BSA does not have a no retaliation policy so there is no jurisdiction for the Council to have a say. Whatever happened is nobody business. The offending troop leader appears to continue to operate without impunity. In YPP appearance matters, credibility and confidence matter. A clear statement of community standard is needed!
  13. The specific incident involved parents bringing up concerns only to "key three". The request was denied and the leader of key three swiftly broadcasted to a dozen leaders that the reporter made false accusations and threatened her with consequences. At this point, the parents brought the concerns to the Council which they, in their language, used the word "corporal punishment" in stopping wayward scouting practices. All "accusations" were true, but settled. But the Council left the issue of retaliation untouched. The reporting parent to this day still receives no apologies from the troop, leader or anyone. The troop leader is still functioning. More than half of the troop left that organization and started a new one. Is retaliation prohibited is still an open question. Why is there not language about this in YPP? How can this send a message that YPP is credible? Your thoughts are appreciated.
  14. I discovered this surprising fact after raising a complaint to the Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council in 2017 about my troop leader explicitly calling out a parent who brought forward concerns that children were stressed and one suicidal in part due to punitive scouting practices. The leader claimed the parent was spreading false rumors and threatened consequences (all documented in an email) when in fact, a scout did have suicidal thought and implicated the stress to problematic scouting practices which involved hazing, corporal punishment and inappropriate manipulation of advancement procedures. The Council swiftly stopped the hazing, corporal punishment and inappropriate advancement procedures, but left the retaliation incident untouched. Their reason stated was this is a Charter Organization's matter and not of the Council's. I later learned from an Area Executive that BSA in fact did not have a policy expressly prohibited retaliation. There was a PRESUMPTION that retaliation is wrong and should not be allowed, but there is to language to set it as a community standard. This leader vowed to change this lack of policy language at BSA level, but he retired. Having taken the latest Youth Protection Policy training last year, I still did not see any mentioning of retaliation as wrong or prohibited. This lack of policy against retaliation constitutes a fatal flaw in Youth Protection Policy. The success of YPP depends on a culture of openness about youth endangerment, therefore, the ban of retaliation must be explicit as a community standard. That troop (now a former troop) served an immigrant community, which is one of the growth segment of the BSA. Immigrants, especially, by virtue of their acculturation needs, need to know clearly what is allowed and not allowed so they can participate and build a scouting culture according to prevailing standards. Secondly, no serious effort to prevent child abuse can ever happen without clear and convincing deterrent against inappropriate retaliation. Consequences for breaking the rule should be spelled out. I was on the verge of putting a petition on Change.org to promote this change in policy. But since I find this forum, I hope some good will come of it, with your interest and help, so scouting can be what it should be, a safe and supportive place for all children. Please help!!!
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