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rraffalo

Tour Permits

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As a parent of a 15 year old,

who has flown places with a boy scout troop

 

I think it safest for all trips to include 2 adult leaders on all legs of the journey by airplane. If one gets held up in security, the others have an adult with them until the other adult is cleared. If one gets horribly sick, the others have an adult with them to help them decide whether the trip can continue or how to get home.

 

Very similar to the idea that no less than 4 people- 2 adults and 2 scouts go into the backcountry, so if someone gets hurt/sick/falls in a hole-- someone can stay with them, and 2 others can go for help.

 

IMHO this had nothing to do with the no one on one contact between adults and scouts,

and has to do with 2 deep leadership for safety (and not for youth protection from adult abuse reasons).

 

As a prior CC and as a current COR, I would not want to approve your tour permit/plan without addressing that issue in some way.

 

What is the plan for if the one adult on the one part of the trip is delayed in security or gets seriously ill, who will take "custody" of the kids while in route? In a car you pull over and call to find the rest of the group (since you aren't caravaning so they aren't right behind you, but arent all that far away either). In an airport, once past security where the parents can go, once in the air, once in a strange airport, what is the plan at that point if the one adult is unable to do their duties for some reason?

 

I'd also want a contingency plan for if the first leg of your journey is covered, but when it's time to meet up, your airplane doesn't arrive, or it arrives late or without you on board because you missed the flight.

 

For insurance reasons, the other group is definitely flying as part of a BSA unit on an airplane. To claim otherwise to avoid filling out a tour permit for that part of the trip is rediculous. They wouldn't be flying except to get to the high adventure base. they aren't flying for the fun of it.

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Ok 5 yearscouter: the first half of your post is moot, because we have plans to get the scouts to the gate with two deep leadership, through security and all.

 

If something happens to the leader on the plan. The scouts go with that leader wherever they go with whatever medical service is treating the leader. Just as in a car with one leader. If something happens to the leader they remain with the leader (and any official aiding the leader in his/ her state of incapacity) until the other leaders arrive... just as in the car situation you pointed out. Except on the plane the scouts would have the comfort of the airline crew.

 

Really?, you would want a contingency plan for my return from CT to Illinois? I would not do well with you either. Maybe everyone should just stay put in their homes 48 hours before the trip to ensure no one breaks a finger nail prior to the big meeting at the departure sight.

 

Your insurance reason is bogus. Do you want everyone to travel in uniform too, because you are afraid the insurance won't cover? We travel in uniform, ok? But, we don't tell the scouts that the insurance won't cover if we don't. You sound like THAT guy.

 

National claims that excluding that first leg due to no NEED to travel together is legit. So, apparently you find their minimum guideline ridiculous. Fine. You can do that Mr. COR, but it's a power trip... admit it!

 

What if last week I relocated my family to Orlando, FL for a job that I was offered a month prior, and what if no other leaders were available to take my position? Would you make me fly from Orlando to Illinois, just to return with the group to Fort Lauderdale. If so, you would find yourself canceling the trip.

 

Rather pompous of you, Eh? ...thinking that you need to one-up National, because you have obviously thought all of this through much better than they, right?

 

You are beyond a micro manager my friend and I'll leave it at that. It is leadership like that, which has scouting numbers on the down-slide.

 

To be fair to you, however, I believe you would have had all of this spelled out far in advance and you would have made sure it was well communicated. I believe you would even have a standard training program for all new scouts and parents entering the Troop each year and this would be a main topic of discussion and training. I also believe that if you failed to do that you might be fair and relax your personal, non-documented, uncommunicated, high standard and defer to the National policy just this one time. Then, I would expect you would sit down, write a clear policy, get the Committee to vote on it, and enter it into your new scout communication package and training program. I would also expect you to frown upon a High Adventure Tour Plan that has the two leaders departing from Northern Tier in different directions; one going to a Wisconsin summer camp with her son and the other driving the rest of the High Adventure crew 10 hours back to Illinois.

 

Doing anything else makes you a leader that shoots from the hip and then is unable to rationalize the right thing to do.

 

Anyway, I have all the good advice I need from the Board at this juncture. I appreciate everyone's help ~ This has been very beneficial (not to mention therapeutic). No offense taken from those that have shared the "sometimes" harsh reality of their opinion, and I hope those I've been harsh on at at times will forgive me as well. It is not personal, and perhaps we'll end up agreeing to disagree. That's ok with me. I'm resigned to the fact that I will be removed from this trip, and my son will not attend either (because he does not want to go without me). I have asked for a face-to-face with the COR so that I can share latest Tour Plan, the packet of emails I've copied, along with the short note that has been suggested and the leadership issue will clearly be in his hands.

 

I will get back to this Board with the final conclusion when all is said and done. Thanks again everyone... Peace Out !

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Yah, hmmmm....

 

I think we all mostly recognize a few things:

 

1) What this CC/COR/CO is doin' is not required by the BSA, is not "normal" in scouting, and is what most scouters would consider "over the top." Da sort of thing rraffalo is proposing is pretty ordinary, and done by troops and crews all the time. It doesn't really pose any objective hazards except in people's minds.

 

And rraffalo is correct, da same sort of things can happen on a car ride, eh? One driver takes a wrong turn, has a breakdown, suffers a heart attack, gets in an accident and now yeh have 4 kids along da side of a rural road somewhere with only one (possibly incapacitated) adult. Not everywhere has cell phone coverage, and up until a few years ago we did this all the time without cell phones.

 

2) Da CC should not mandate this on his own, it is properly the role of the committee to make that call when they approve the outing.

 

3) The CO/COR can mandate this on his own, but generally should not micromanage da committee unless it truly represents an area of concern for the chartered partner. But yeh can see how it might. A church that is a CO and runs other youth groups might well have an expectation for two-deep coverage on all legs of a trip. It's not completely unreasonable in that broader context, where often some of da youth group leaders are paid staff.

 

So really, da folks just need to talk. Rraffalo can set whatever conditions he wants for his own participation. He doesn't "owe" volunteer time or donation dollars to the CO. At da same time, the CO can set whatever conditions it wants to allow a trip or individual to go, because they're responsible for the program in a way rraffalo is not. Rraffalo should respect that they may be operatin' under different expectations and constraints.

 

Personally, at this late date if this truly is a Chartered Partner constraint, I think the chartered partner should put up the money to make it work, and pay for rraffalo's added plane fare. That's somethin' da COR should authorize. If the COR isn't in that position, then he should sit down with da IH and make that budget request or find out what wiggle there is in da CO expectation.

 

That has nuthin' to do with rraffalo, though, eh? And he can't force that to happen. All rraffalo can or should do is explain what he's willin' to do and where his willingness or ability to volunteer ends. Everything is always easier if each person just does their own job, rather than tryin' to do someone else's. Yeh know, be adults. ;)

 

Rraffalo should describe what he is and isn't willing to do as a volunteer.

Da CC should have expressed his lack of comfort with da arrangements, and then taken the question to the committee to help find ideas and solutions.

The COR should have communicated da CO's expectations well in advance to the committee, and should help the committee and scout volunteers with all the support required for them to comply.

 

If each person sticks to their proper role and behaves in a service-minded and friendly way, it's much easier to keep molehills from becoming mountains and then volcanoes. ;)

 

Beavah

 

 

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Now I said

"As a prior CC and as a current COR, I would not *want* to approve your tour permit/plan without addressing that issue in some way. "

 

I didn't say I wouldn't approve your plan.

 

When we travel, we usually want to know what we are getting into and try to be prepared for the possible crud that gets in the way of things going as planned.

 

So when traveling by car, we'll check the oil and look at the tires (quickly), and discuss perhaps what we'd do in the case of car accident, blown tire. Cover with the other drivers where there is cell service, safest routes for travel, #'s for highway conditions.

 

Occassionally we go over with the scouts what we'll do if xyz happens. Doesn't mean we always cover all possible points, but we try to *be prepared*.

 

So on the flight if you were able to answer that you'd covered some of the possible roadblocks and were prepared-- and that the crew members like your own son would have an idea of how to proceed if crud happen, then most likely the plan would be approved.

 

Things like discussing if someone gets sick or incapacitated who you'd want them to contact, exchanging phone numbers with the older crew members(or all), at what point the trip might be cancelled in the middle.. What we'll do if the flight is cancelled, or the connecting flight with you doesn't arrive. How long would the rest wait, what hotel might be a reasonable cost if they arrive before you do, even what we'd need to do to satisfy the High adventure requirements if for some reason the 2nd adult doesn't show up in a timely manner.

 

go thru the what ifs, mitigate the what ifs with as much reasonable information as possible to show the crew members are prepared.

 

That's all.

 

Not roadblocks, not a power trip, not adding to the requirements. Just trying to get the two adults on the tour to agree on how certain things will be handled.

 

I guess that's what I'm left wondering. You are pushing so hard to make this happen. are you sure the other adult is ok with traveling with the remainder of the crew members alone? is that the issue. they don't want the responsibility all by themselves?

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Thank you 5yearscouter:

 

No, my co-leader is fine with all this, and the parents of the other two scouts are fine with this. Interestingly, the CC's son is on this trip with us, and the CC has not stated he is uncomfortable with it. In fact, I know he trusts my co-leader. He simply does not want to sign the Tour Plan.

 

Here is the contingencies we've laid out thus far, and you've given me some additional ideas that I'm going to add to our Preparedness and our Planning. In fact, I will offer the COR that I will conduct a sit down meeting to review all that and I will equip each of us on the trip with a pocket card (that I will create) that will have all the contingencies complete with phone numbers, etc.

 

Read this excerpt from an email to our COR:

 

"I based my decision to sign Nicholas and I up for this trip based on the National rules I've read, and my personal experience with the Troop on outings my son has attended, and I have assisted with. Never did I think this would be an issue. When I learned it might be an issue my co-leader and I discussed some ideas that would reinforce our tour plan and mitigate as many risks as possible:

 

a. A second leader in Illinois assisting my co-leader and the other 5 to the gate at O'Hare

b. My flight landing prior to my co-leaders's in Fort Lauderdale so that I could be there upon their arrival

c. Taking early flights to reduce the risk of long delays

d. Booking non-stop flights to eliminate the potential for missing connections

e. I contacted Mr. X, Mr. Y, and my co-leader and asked if they were fine with not flying as a scouting organization, and actually beginning our official scout trip in Florida, which is fine by National. We all know that we would not be traveling as a boy scout troop in that situation, but everyone who is going is ok with that, except for CC. CC has not stated he has a safety issue with that specific situation for his son, but I'm inferring it because he refuses to sign the Tour Plan. I called CC last Friday evening to run that thought passed him and to get his opinion. Instead of calling me back as I requested, he spoke with my co-leader and then sent me an email that certainly read as if he were slinging mud at me. Now, I know CC better than that, so I politely requested in a reply email that he please call me. He did not; he still has not. And, while it is fine for him to not want his son to fly with only one adult leader, it still stands as an example of how I was trying to find a workable solution. I don't know that I've completely come up with the right answer at this point, but I need his support to figure it out. Instead, he refuses to speak with me, commenting that there simply is nothing else to talk about"

 

So, there you have it...

 

I'm going to go make my laminated pocket cards now! Thanks for that idea 5yearscouter ~

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rraffalo - I'm really just trying to play the devil's advocate. I've seen where a very one-sided account of events gets presented here, and everyone jumps on the same bandwagon, only to later learn one crucial piece of information that completely changes the whole picture. Personally, based only on the info presented here, I would say that I disagree with your CC's course of action. But I'm not prepared to judge the guy without knowing his side of the story. As I've said, I think there are some legitimate concerns that could justify the CC's course of action

 

Look at it as an opportunity to practice for your upcoming conversations with the COR and CC, if nothing else :-)

 

If we follow your logic of ALL the legitimate things that could happen we would be paralyzed and never go anywhere.

 

Nope, if you follow my logic you will take into consideration a set of reasonable risks and contingencies. Which, for all I know, is what the CC is doing, but has just come to a different conclusion than yourself. Be very cautious before trying to rely on reductio ad absurdum.

 

but in fact they are winging it!

 

Maybe, but again, not enough information to say for sure. Can I ask how many trips in the troop's history have involved air travel? How many involved only having a single adult with the majority of the crew for one leg of the trip? Is there any real precedent for this situation within your unit?

 

I have taken an HONEST look at this and much of what you claim is not relevant, surely is.

 

How so?

 

Doing anything else makes you a leader that shoots from the hip and then is unable to rationalize the right thing to do.

 

Yeah, I'm just not buying it. Different activities, which involve different people, different locations and different logistics warrant different standards. Sometimes those standards need to be developed on the fly, without any prior evidence, because the unit has never faced a given situation before. I would imagine the CC has some rationalization for his decision, and wish that I had an opportunity to hear it.

 

Beav - I agree with what you're saying. This is not a normal situation, and generally people should not be doing the things that rraffalo says they are. But, honestly, something about this particular story just doesn't smell right. In a situation like this, I would expect to see either a pattern of poor seat-of-the-pants decisions by the CC/COR, (which rraffalo gives no indication exists), or some mitigating circumstances that would explain CC/COR's decision (which also haven't been presented). In fact, based on what I can infer from rraffalo's posts, the troop sounds to be generally functional and active. Which is why I'm having a hard time believing that the CC/COR have just all of the sudden, for no reason at all, chosen to take this course of action. I'm just getting a vibe that there are some important pieces of the puzzle that we're not seeing here that could change the whole dynamics of the situation. And I'm just not prepared to jump on the bandwagon and criticise the way the CC/COR is handling a very logistically complex, expensive, high adventure outing that theoretically has been 12-18 months in the making.

 

Again, rraffalo, I'm not trying to say that you're in the wrong here. I will say that your underlying attitude and goals don't always seem to be aimed correctly, and that your pattern of trying to twist around some perceived legal mumbo-jumbo isn't a particularly good way to achieve your goal. At the same time, though, I'm not prepared support your position without hearing some of the other sides'.

 

FWIW - my opinion generally isn't even worth the paper that its not being printed on :-)

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KC9DDI:

 

Thanks for the practice... I'll use the insights, for sure.

 

Look back at the post, I've never taken a position of legal mumbo jumbo. I've never spoken of suing or courts or anything, although I do know some of the others on the Board explored that avenue. I'm not a litigious person.

 

Since I know this Board cannot help me. None of you have the authority to fix this I have no reason to spend all this time posting if I'm going to slant the truth. It's best for me to give you all the specifics, so that you can give me good advice, which I have received tons of. Posting false accusations may get some to agree with me, but would have done me no good. Therefore, I have not mislead you in any way.

 

In fact, I have clipped and pasted a couple of the emails I've sent to the CC and COR into this thread so that you could get a sense for how perplexed I am, particularly that the CC's own son is going on this trip.

 

The only conclusion I can come to, which I have eluded to several times, is that we have and ego issue here, a very proud man. I explained that he lambasted me in an email, telling me how we could not change BSA's rules, and that I was irresponsible for not have planned accordingly. He copied the COR and several another 20yr Committee Member who is his buddy. They all jumped on his band wagon. Then I replied to his email privately and politely asked him to call me, not replying ALL - just replying to him. He sent another email copying everyone telling me there was nothing else to talk about and that is why he did not call me. So, I sent an email copying everyone, letting him know that his position was, in fact, not BSA policy but it was a higher standard. I acknowledged his right to do that and told him (and everyone) that I believed there was still room to work this out if he would speak with me and we were to work together.

 

He looked like an idiot because he was wrong about it being a BSA policy. Our Troop handbook even says: "We utilize a two-deep leadership policy, as per BSA" ~ Not above and beyond BSA. So, then it was no longer a BSA policy, rather he went on to say that his decision was based on our Troop's interpretation of BSA's policy...

 

So now, he is simply too proud to "change the call" ~ You know, good referees that blow a call should quickly change the call when possible before too much passes. The more time that passes the more awkward changing the call becomes. So much time has passed now, and I have asked him to reconsider several times that I believe he is ticked off and feels a changed call now would mean he lost.

 

I believe that is the bottom line...

 

As far as something not smelling right? I do get a little gassy from time to time, but I did not think computer technology was quite that advanced yet :-)

 

 

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rr -

 

Like I said earlier, I've been watching because I'm in a similar situation, but with an older age range.

 

For what it's worth, I think Seabase is worth every sacrifice that an adult leader could make. I first took my crew with my oldest when he was 14. I had snorkeled Louee Key before, but doing it from a sailboat and hitting Sombrero reef the next day and swimming to the beach at Bahia Honda at the end of the week was over the top.

 

But I understand the financial back-against-the-wall. I would simply put this in the boys hands. Explain that CC xx would like you to add a leg to your flight (and your son's flight) to make sure everyone travels from Illinois together, and ask them if they could chip in for the extra cost that you had not been prepared for.

 

If the CC and COR reverse their decision, fine, the boys get some extra spending money. If not, everybody gets the respect they deserve.

 

I'm just saying, whether you foot the extra bill or your crew-mates share the load, it will be worth it.

 

(Oh, and your ticket and share of the seabase fee is tax-deductable since you are travelling as an essential leader. Here's hoping you get some income soon to make it worth itemizing.)

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Here's the updated status:

 

The CC and COR were too committed to their original decision to reconsider.

 

So, my co-leader and I changed the Tour Plan to be a Crew instead of a Troop, and sent it to the Committee Chairman for the Venture Crew, which is closely affiliated with our Troop. After explaining all the details to him and providing him with a detailed travel itinerary he signed it, no problem!

 

We scanned it and emailed it to Council; they stamped and approved it in less than 24 hours.

 

So, now we have a green light to proceed and everyone WINS. Our Troop's Committee Chairman wins because he did not sign a Tour Plan he was not happy with, and I win because I still get to co-lead this outing. Most importantly, ALL the boys win!

 

I broke the Good News to our Troop's Committee Chairman last night and he is more upset than a grasshopper in a snow storm, and now he is deciding whether or not he wants to allow his 16 year old son to go on the trip. He told me I have extended myself beyond every boundary and that I was unbelievable having the audacity to change the whole program just to accommodate my personal travel schedule. He wanted to know if he could get his money back if he decided not to send his son as a Venturer. I told him that I would let my co-leader (the main leader of the trip) make that decision, but also told him that because Scouts can attend Venture Crew outings that we were not going to require his son to become a Venturer. I told him he could just continue as planned and, although the we have changed the organization with which we will be traveling to Sea Base, the Sea Base Program is the same. I encouraged him to allow his son to participate, and I hope he will.

 

Is this the end of the thread? Time will tell...

 

Something tells me there may be more to come ~ :-)

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LOL. Yah, that's a creative (and common) work-around, eh? Da risk of course is that yeh do break your relationships within the troop.

 

Da place where we see this most commonly is with GSUSA units that also charter with da BSA as Venturing Crews. Whenever the GSUSA regulations become too much of a pain, they just go on the outing as a crew. Of course we also see the same response to goofy BSA regulations like the laser tag thing, where folks just go as a CO or family activity.

 

All these folks are just service providers, eh? At the point when they stop providin' a service, folks just go elsewhere, as they should.

 

B

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Sounds more like a fraud than a "common work-around". Wonder if any members of the crew will be attending? Adult crew leaders? And of course they'll have to leave their Boy Scout uniforms at home and go with the Crew uniform. Such silliness. Nobody's fooled. Wouldn't it just be easier to forge the CC signature on the TP and "work-around" the problem that way?

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Nuthin' fraudulent at all about it. Perhaps a bit juvenile. ;)

 

Most "closely affiliated" crews with troops share leaders and youth, eh? Multiple registration is cheap, and joint trips are common for recruiting, instruction, and other purposes.

 

Again, our mission as scouters, our only reason for existence, is service. Cheerful, friendly, loyal service.

 

At the point when we aren't doin' that, people should go elsewhere. And if we fail in our commitment to service often enough, we should cease to be.

 

Beavah

 

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"Again, our mission as scouters, our only reason for existence, is service. Cheerful, friendly, loyal service."

 

Our mission is to help boys make ethical choices in their lives, and I don't think demonstrating silly paperwork ploys to skirt the intent of rules and policies is very ethical.

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