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Posts posted by SilverPalm

  1. As an Eagle Scout who did not suffer the impacts of CSA in Scouting, and who has not had to live with that trauma since childhood, I have chosen to stop participating in these threads. I'm not sure I really have any right to do so, not when they have become such an excellent resource for survivors to connect with and support one another.

    I would just like to say that I am pleased that these threads have become a rallying point for survivors.  I will once more bow out, but I will continue to read. From one former Scout to all you others, I hope a little good has come from all this evil. I hope you no longer feel so alone. And I hope you know that many of us are standing with you 100%, supporting any decision you feel is best for you when the time comes to vote.

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  2. On 6/24/2021 at 10:03 AM, CynicalScouter said:

    This is a separate argument and one that I think worth having. To what extent do high hourly rates and high contingency fees deny victims what they are due? I don't know where that answer lies (20%? 25%? 35%?) but agree there's a debate there.

    Once again, I'm a day late to reply.  Apologies in advance for the tardiness.

    I think this is where many of us are coming from.  Reading the eloquent posts from several of the victims here illustrates the point even further - why should a legal firm expect to take 40% of the compensation offered by the BSA to victims and survivors?  Many of these men have suffered for decades, and have pointed out that the abuse they suffered has severely impacted their lives.  Careers folding, earning potentials shattered, families wounded by fathers who simply cannot be all they want to be... of course the BSA needs to pay out.  And it needs to be enough to hurt the BSA.  Because these men, these former Scouts have been hurting ever since they were children.  Is any amount of money enough to assuage that?

    I think I speak for many when I say that it is good and right that the BSA lives up to its promises and does everything in its power to, if not make this right, then at least make it less wrong, should such a thing be possible.  

    I, however, fail to understand how a legal firm should be entitled to taking a third or four tenths or half of the award simply by virtue of having the knowledge of navigating the legal world.  Yes, I understand they are making and have made this settlement possible in the first place.  But if the BSA pays out a billion dollars, why should the survivors have to split up only a little better than half of that?  Is having a legal degree really worth $400 million?  Wouldn't that money be better off with the victims, the ones who actually had to live with this pain?

    These lawyers didn't suffer the indignities and the pain of the assaults.  They didn't then go on to live shattered lives, to watch their potential earnings shrink, to watch their families grow distant because of this ever-present gulf they simply couldn't understand... they answered the phone, did some paperwork, and spent a year in court.  Right? Is that worth taking all this money from the victims?  

    This is not intended as a criticism of the victims, nor of their right to legal representation.  Far from it.  If I had my way, these folks would have the finest representation available to them. 

    That said, the sheer magnitude of the potential windfall for these legal firms is an embarrassment, especially considering that every dollar they take is a dollar not going to the victims.

    I'm not a member of the legal profession.  I do not know what's typical in cases like this, or fair, or whether those two ideas even align.  But I do know that it feels wrong for legal firms to be taking 30 or 40% of the money that the BSA is presenting in an effort to set right the wrongs of the past... it sure seems that way to me.

    That's all.  I think lawyers are providing a valuable service in giving voice to the voiceless... but taking such a significant chunk of the settlement money just smacks of indecency to me.  I think that's where the "(deleted) lawyer" comments are coming from.  The victims should be compensated.  The lawyers should be paid for their work.  But how much is really fair?  How much is even appropriate?

    I don't know.  Maybe I shouldn't even be commenting on this.  I'm an outsider.  I'm just not sure that taking 40% of the settlement money is really the best way to help make survivors whole.

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  3. He just means the topic will always be visible at the top of the forum, and new posts won't bump it down.

    Matt, I do think that'd be a good idea.  I think that the survivors should have a resource like this on here, where they can at least come and speak with one another.  It might well help them heal.

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  4. 2 hours ago, vol_scouter said:

    Perhaps, it is because here and other places volunteers complain bitterly about taking YPT that I believe should be done yearly.  People here and elsewhere threaten to quit if youth protection gets more demanding. The organization is already weakened by membership losses. 

    if those are the reasons, the BSA should follow your advice and let those people leave if they are not willing to get with the program and realize that there can be no program until we have all made Scouting as safe as possible.  There is no excuse.  We all must do the right thing to protect children. 

    Look, if we're not willing to spend a couple hours a year to help reduce the incidence of child rape, then the organization doesn't need to survive.  That's a tiny price to pay to save someone a lifetime of hurt.

    This wouldn't even be a big deal.  Set up a Saturday morning session in person or whatever.  If folks aren't willing to set aside two or four hours on a Saturday to help solve this problem, then maybe they don't need to set aside their Monday nights to come to Scout meetings either.

    It astonishes me that people complain about something as important as YPT, considering how little time it requires in its current incarnation.

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  5. Even if YPT was objectively the finest youth protection program offered anywhere in the world, that doesn't mean it can't be better. There are no downsides to working to improve YPT.  None.

    But if one kid gets spared because one more adult leader recognizes a bad situation developing and does something to stop it as a result of the improved training, then it would have been worth it.

    I'm surprised BSA doesn't see this. Even if we surrender the contention that their program is the best in the world bar none end of story... that doesn't mean it can't be better.

    This is a really easy, relatively painless ask from the TCC that doesn't involve selling camps or depriving future scouts of so much as a neckerchief slide. Why on earth don't they address it?

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  6. If we can return to the Century whistleblower for a moment:

    Wouldn't it be reasonable to pare down these supposed false claims now?  While the point was raised earlier that that wouldn't end up changing the lump sum of the settlement, it would impact the amount of award to each survivor.  The numerator doesn't change, but if the denominator gets smaller, you're left with a bigger award per survivor.

    Isn't it in the best interests of both sides to weed out these allegedly false claims as soon as possible?

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  7. I do not think that those of us lucky enough not to have been abused are experiencing the same degree of distress over this case as those who were abused.

    No matter what Scouting means to us, no matter how much we look fondly back on our time in the Scours, no matter how much we hope it will still be there in ten years, the fact remains that our sorrow over the loss of the program is not as life-shatteringly impactful as reliving this abuse must be for survivors.

    They've lived with this for years, decades, or lifetimes. They've turned to drink to dull their pain. Many are in prison. Many, surely, are dead, unable to move beyond the abuse that destroyed them. Even the very best and luckiest of them have likely had trouble holding down jobs and maintaining healthy family relationships.

    Comparing our sadness over the loss of the program to, well, that... is inappropriate.  We will move on. If BSA isn't there when my kids are ready for Scouts, they'll join the GSUSA or whatever else is out there. We will move on.  We will survive. Many of the survivors cannot and could not do the same.

    It's important that we don't lose sight of that.

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  8. Don't forget that Millennials are (still) the largest generation to enter the workforce.  Some of us only did that a handful of years ago.

    I've been married for a few years now, and my wife and I are just expecting our firstborn this fall.  I joined this forum in large part because I now wish to re-involve myself in Scouts to help pave the way for my kid(s) to enjoy the program.  

    I was a young Eagle, and I aged out in 2009.  I've been gone 12 years, and I'm coming back now - and I'm one of the first of my friends to have a kid on the way.

    Don't count Millennials out yet.  I'm toward the back half of the generation, but the older Millennials got dealt a pretty bad hand by getting smacked with the 2008 recession in the first part of their careers and now the pandemic when they were trying to start families.  We're further behind than generations that came up during the postwar prosperity boom, true enough, but that was just the hand we were dealt.  Give us a few years; we're getting there.



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  9. 9 hours ago, fred8033 said:

    It makes sense though.  Philmont, Seabase and Northern Tier offer experiences scouters can get elsewhere.  Many of Philmont's outposts can be found at summer camps or elsewhere.  All the hiking, canoeing and other activities can be found elsewhere too.

    BUT ... the Summit is an identify for BSA.  A gathering spot.  An event venue.  Tens of thousands of scouts can gather.  A unique property.  Plus, it's the only high-adventure base on the east coast within reasonable drive of large population centers.  It's a huge asset.  A hundred years from now it could eclipse Philmont as a BSA brand-name property. 

    In truth, I have no real idea what Summit is now or what it is intended to be. What about Summit is so integral to the Scouting experience that the BSA is willing to risk the very survival of the program over it? What does Summit have that the other HABs do not, that the local camps do not?

    And, frankly, I'm not on the East Coast, which might also bias me toward keeping the sites which are geographically closer to me. There is already one HA base on the East Coast, one near the West, and one in the extreme upper Midwest. Ditching these traditional HAB to save the new one on the East Coast just smacks of coastal elitism to me... not everyone wants to live in New York or Boston, despite where National is located. It seems a poor calculus to me to lose three bases spread across the country to save one on the extreme end of the country, but that's just my opinion.

    I honestly don't know why Summit exists at all - we've done just fine with Jamborees at existing campsites. If National's plan is to dump those local camps and force Scouts to make a pilgrimage to the East Coast for services they currently have locally (even if those services might be flashier or prettier out East), I do have a problem with that.

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  10. It also seems like selling Summit is the obvious solution to everyone not at National... which, perhaps, explains the delay in providing documents.  

    Purely speculation on my part, of course, but I would guess these documents do not support BSA National's argument that Summit is totally underwater.  I would sell Summit in a heartbeat if it meant we could keep Philmont, Northern Tier, Seabase, or any arrangement of the above, and I imagine many other Scouters would do the same.  I also believe National knows this.  But for some reason, some folks at National are digging in to save Summit, full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes. 

    Presenting documents that show that it is indeed possible to sell Summit when many on both sides want that to happen would make everyone happy... except for National.  This might be why we haven't seen any documents at all.  If they had documents that proved Summit was indeed underwater, they'd have presented those documents already.


    5 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

    Stop blaming victims from having the audacity to have lawyers looking out for their interests (TCC).

    I'm sorry that this turned out to be our first interaction on these boards.  I've read a lot of your posts, and I respect your passion for the program as well as your sense of justice. 

    I'm a little surprised you would make this comment, considering that I've spoken at length elsewhere about how important I feel it is that Scouting does the right thing for the survivors.  I certainly do not intend to victim blame, and I think the term might have been misapplied here.  All I said was that the BSA was paying continual legal bills without having anything to show for it - I didn't apply a virtue statement to that, nor did I suggest it was any of the victims' fault.

    I'm a proponent of taking responsibility for things I've done, both good and bad.  I owe that sense of moral responsibility in large part to Scouting.  And I expect Scouting to, for lack of a better phrase, put their money where their mouth (or handbook) is.  If Scouting wants to hold the moral high ground, they need to be worthy of it, and that means doing the right thing and putting right the wrongs of the past.  They hurt kids.  Those kids deserved better.  Scouting has a duty to do everything they can to right those wrongs as much as they can, even if that hurts the program.

    Someone else - maybe even you, Cynical - raised a good point earlier.  If we have to sell camps to make up the difference, so be it.  It just so happens that we're the ones who have to do it.  If these wrongs were made right forty or fifty or sixty years ago, we still wouldn't have those camps - we just wouldn't know about them in the first place.

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  11. Honestly, it's those same BSA professionals that are clinging on to Summit for dear life.

    Summit seems like the obvious sacrificial lamb to me.  Philmont, Northern Tier, even Seabase have something to offer.  But Summit is the least popular of the sites, the most expensive, and only BSA National seems to give a damn about it.

    At least then they could actually say they're contributing to the survivor's fund, and contributing seriously.  If everyone else knows that BSA National isn't getting out of this intact, why doesn't BSA National know that?

    For heaven's sake, save Philmont; it's the only one that's irreplaceable.  The Boundary Waters and the Florida Keys aren't going anywhere.  Sell three of the four HAB, and then National could actually make the argument that they're doing something substantial to contribute.

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  12. 9 minutes ago, ThenNow said:

    If you're speaking to me, I don't feel it's my brotherly "duty." Not at all. I do feel it's just right to defend someone/anyone against accusations that aren't backed up by facts. It's easy to cast aspersions. That's my response to that one. Is it "Scout-like" to accuse without proof, even if it's convenient and helps make your point? You guys probably know more about today's standard of Scout-likeness, given my years of absence.

    I wasn't really speaking to anyone in particular, in truth.  I think that there's just some surprise from us non-legal folks at the amount of money changing hands without going to the survivors.  I think we can all agree that we want to maximize the payouts to survivors in the hopes that it at least starts to make up for the injury you've suffered.  This happened in Scouting, and Scouting shouldn't have been about that, and it's up to Scouting to make you whole - or, at least, more whole. I would also guess that many of us also hope to minimize the damage to the BSA program.  These goals are, unfortunately, at cross-purposes, at least at face value.

    Speaking personally, I am surprised that lawyers in such a case would take 40% of the settlement before it reached survivors (or as was mentioned above, 36%).  Is such a large piece of the pie typical for cases like this?  

    (I know text can disguise meaning, so just know that my questions are sincere and not intended to be leading toward any one conclusion or argument).

    9 minutes ago, ThenNow said:

    Are you saying the TCC is resisting progress?

    Goodness, no.  I was legitimately asking what was taking so long.  I haven't followed along as closely as some of you folks, as this whole process has been emotionally draining to me as someone who did have a good experience in the Scouts. 

    If anything, it looks again as though the BSA presented a second offer which was again viewed as wholly insufficient and insulting to survivors.  But if we all agree on that, that this offer is insufficient, what's holding us up?  Are we waiting for the BSA to bring another offer to the table?  Are we waiting for the judge to rule on what assets can be rightfully classified as restricted?  What's the next step?  (I suppose the answer to that may well be more complicated than I know).

    Please do read my questions as sincere, which is how I intend them.  This is not an area in which I have any expertise at all, and I don't really know whether this sort of timeline is typical.

  13. I think we've got a couple of lawyers in here who feel it is their duty to defend their profession from anyone who might attack it.  I don't think anyone is really intending to attack the legal profession, fellas - nor is anyone saying lawyers have never had any value to anyone whatsoever who ever lived in any society throughout all of history.

    I guess my question is this - to a lot of us on the outside, it looks like the legal teams are just billing, billing, billing, and nothing's getting accomplished.  In the legal profession, is there any reward at all for efficiency?  Why haven't they just moved on and gotten something done yet?  

    The cynic in me thinks it's because they're still getting paid regardless of whether the case progresses.  If that's true, the logical conclusion, then, is that they have no impetus to conclude the case, so long as they can continue to bill. I think that's the concern that we legal laypeople have about all of this - why isn't anything happening?  From my (limited) perspective, it looks like the BSA has to just keep paying all these legal bills with nothing to show for it and no end in sight.

    Would one of you fine gentlemen with a legal background care to enlighten those of us who don't understand all of this?

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  14. 13 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    If you call summer camps turning into merit badge factories and weekend merit badge colleges where the expectation is you show up you get the MB more resources, then yes. But the quality of instruction has gone down. Ever worked a summer camp, and have 30 people in you Lifesaving MB class? Ever been told you cannot kick out Scouts when they misbehave, cut up, and cause issues where you cannot go over the skills with those who are behaving?

    No, but the standard has. Reading my 1979 edition of the BSHB, the standard was "Master the Skills." By the time you earned eagle, the standard  was "The Badge represents what the Scout CAN DO, not what he has done (sic)." Today, "... badges recognize that Scouts have gone through experiences of learning things they did not previously know." 

    That has created a "one and done" mentality in advancement.  I have seen Life Scouts who could not do basic Tenderfoot through First Class first aid because "I don't remember that, I took it my first year at summer camp." 

    This strikes me more as a systemic issue with the program than an issue with the Scouts who are currently earning Eagle Scout.  Is the argument here that my Eagle Scout somehow means less than one earned ten, thirty, or fifty years before? 

    If that's the case - an argument I fervently disagree with, incidentally, just knowing what sorts of hurdles I had to jump over to achieve my rank - then where does the blame lie?  Is this National's fault for revising the standards?  Is it the parents of Scouts for pushing their boys too hard?  Is it helicopter Scout Leaders who promote Merit Badge factories? 

    I think it's hard to argue that the Scouts themselves are to blame for greasing the skids, as it were.  And as such, I'm not sure it's fair to consider more recent Eagle ranks as somehow less prestigious or less impressive than those earned in prior decades.  I went through the program, the same as everyone else.  

    And I earned my Eagle at 16, too.  I was the second youngest Eagle Scout I was even aware of at the time, though I did know a guy who earned his at 15. After I earned my Eagle Scout, I stayed active in the Troop for more than a year, served as an OA Vice Chapter Chief and Chapter Chief, and earned three Eagle Palms, and I was proud of that.  I was active right until my eighteenth birthday.

    13 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    Some Scouters today would say you wasted your time only earning 4 MBs that week. I am old school, I say have fun and take advantage of opportunities. One of my Scouts is taking 2 classes at camp; a 3 hour climbing class, and a 3 hour cycling class ( mountain biking option). I have no problem with that.

    4 was the most that could possibly be earned during a week-long summer camp at the time; four badges required six hours a day for five days of camp, IIRC.  In later years, I ended up getting some of my Eagle Required badges done at camp, because one of the parents in my Troop was a counselor for two of the Citizenship badges, but all that meant was getting some documents signed off that I'd already prepared.  I still had to go to a City Council meeting and prepare a discussion on the most recent State of the Union.  Just because I actually proved I had completed the requirements at camp didn't mean the camp was a merit badge factory; it just meant that I had access to a Troop MBC.

    Speaking more generally (not specifically to you, Eagle94), this bizarre gatekeeping over "well, it was harder in my day, and that means my Eagle is better than yours!" needs to stop.  An Eagle Scout is an Eagle Scout, period.

  15. 2 hours ago, ThenNow said:

    This is off topic, but perhaps someone would give me a brief recap. I received my Eagle in 1975. It was not easy and there weren't many of us, or so it seemed. In the past 15+ (?) years has there been an escalation of "win the prize" orientation, driven by Units and parents? I had no particular push or encouragement from my parents, though our SM was keen to have his "first Eagle." As I said back there somewhere, it seems like it's become part of the, "Thou shalt build the college resume at all cost!" culture to me. I both understand and marginally despise it.

    I earned my Eagle Scout in 2008, and I do get the impression now that the trail has been broadened somewhat from what it once was.  That's not to say it's easier, per se - it's more that I think there were more resources in place when I went through the program than there probably were in the 1970s.  More adults had a better understanding of the advancement process, I think - and that made the trail a little easier to follow.

    It's not as though the requirements are all that different today then they were then.  I still had to do nearly all of the same stuff as would have been required in the 1930s or the 1970s (Eagle Required MBs aside).  But it was possible to go up to summer camp and earn 4 merit badges in a week if you went to camp prepared, and I'm not sure that would have been the case for Scouts in previous generations.   

    I do think that a lot of one's Scouting career is dictated by the quality of one's leadership.  I had this same Scoutmaster try to bar my advancement to Life Scout because I accidentally hit a Scout leader with a snowball as she opened a door to leave a Scouting event.  (I was aiming at a buddy, he moved, the door opened, and I wasn't exactly an MLB pitcher accuracy-wise). Despite repeated apologies, this incident was deemed by some to be worth preventing me from advancing further in the program - until other Scout leaders refused to put up with it any longer and scheduled my BOR.

    So was the program different when I went through it?  Certainly.  Was it easier?  Yes and no - but I encountered some really poor-quality leaders during my time in the Scouts, even if they weren't actually dangerous to the Youth.  I learned different lessons from those intended by the program as a result, lessons which made me a lot surer how to handle difficult personalities in the future.  I consider those lessons valuable - but they're not part of the program, and I probably shouldn't have had to learn them the way I did.

    As far as pushing Eagle... no one really pushed me, but this bully Scoutmaster's kid's patrol all seemed to earn merit badges at the same time, and they all seemed to hit First Class at the same time too... 

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  16. Now, wait just a minute.  I'm a page or two late here, but if I'm understanding this correctly, is the current estimation some $102B?  And, if as the document says, that valuation is low, then is the argument being made that the approximate valuation of these claims falls around $100 - 150B?

    I have no right to comment on whether that's an appropriate figure, none at all.  I can, however, do basic math.  Isn't $102B something like twenty or twenty-five times the entire valuation of the BSA, National and Local Councils included?  

    Let's say that all the campsites are liquidated, that every council building is sold, that every Scout shop sells off their inventory.  If the total valuation of all that comes out to only 4-5% of the total liability represented by this estimate (I'm no lawyer, so I apologize if I use any terminology incorrectly here), then where is the other, well, 95% of the settlement going to come from?

    And, to be fair, I'm not sure kids would want to join up if there's no uniforms, camps, or patches to earn.  That's a death knell for the BSA, no questions there.  So even if you sell everything for $5B, that's it - no more BSA, no more dues, no way to pay anything beyond that $5B.  

    Yes, $5B is unacceptable, now that we're finding that 85 or 90% of these claims are not going to be dismissed as spurious.  But, honestly, if $5B is all that's on offer, even with the complete and total partitioning out of the BSA assets... where is the rest of the money going to come from?

  17. For reference, I was involved in the Scouts as a Youth member in the early and mid 2000s.

    I will admit, when I heard that girls and young women were to be allowed into the program, I was torn about it.  On one hand, letting everyone participate in Scouting activities is exactly what Scouting is about - but on the other, my all-male troop experience was extraordinarily valuable to me as I grew up in the Scouts.  

    I saw it mentioned here on this message board that the BSA was one of very few areas where boys could have an all-boy experience... and as we all know, boys tend to act differently when around girls of a similar age than when surrounded only by male classmates.

    It wasn't about fear of competing with women - I think the leadership missed the mark when they said that.  But having a male-only space allowed a more relaxed atmosphere, I think - it's hard to articulate - because I wasn't worried about being judged by the opposite sex.  At that age, I was very much interested in what the girls in my class thought of me, but that constant worry wasn't present at Scout camp.  Being surrounded only by boys my age or a little older or a little younger resulted in a culture that was much more teamwork oriented than I remember school or sports being, where the guys are constantly trying to outdo their buddies to impress the girls.  

    Now, none of this has anything to do with the girls themselves - and none of it is their fault.  But it should be noted that boys of a certain age do in fact act differently around girls than they do when surrounded only by other boys - and having a space free of that bravado was a relief as a kid.  

    So I guess here's my thoughts - should girls be allowed in the program?  Absolutely.  Doing otherwise is contrary to the spirit of Scouting.  But I do not think that all troops should be forced to be co-ed (and to be fair, I don't think anyone is suggesting that).  Having certain troops be co-ed might well be appropriate and beneficial for those who would excel in that environment - but as a former awkward kid, if I could do it all over again, I would have chosen an all-male troop.   I was able to learn a lot about myself in the Scouts without the pressure of having my female classmates around, and I don't want that experience to be lost.

    In short - should some troops be co-ed?  Sure - it works fine in Venturing, Exploring, etc.  Should all troops be co-ed?  No - at least IMO.  The option to choose between either co-ed or linked single-gender troops should still be available.

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