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Is BSA Too Risk Adverse? Scouts Canada sure isn’t.

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Thanks for the feedback. We are fortuante to live pretty close to Canada so our troop travels over at least once per year for DIBC. We also go over to enjoy some great camp areas such as the Pinery and Point Pelee. If you educate yourself on the border requirements, crossing is a snap. I've had all the documents in my hand and Canada Customs, seeing I was prepared, just waived me through. Being in uniform, including the adults in a must.


I am surprised that BSA is allowing the use of PWC in their programs. I applaud the educational aspect of teaching the use of personal watercraft (Jet Skis) safely.

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Opinion: BSA is not too risk adverse. BSA is risk mitigation oriented. You can do whatever you want. The Guide to Safe Scouting tells you what is approved, i.e. what the "insurance" will and won't cover, and how to comply with the "insurance" requirements.

What they do in another country isn't relevant. If you go to another country, it becomes relevant.

Jay-BSA National Camping School veteran. (This message has been edited by a staff member.)

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The Guide to Safe Scouting tells you what is approved, i.e. what the "insurance" will and won't cover, and how to comply with the "insurance" requirements.


Once again, for da record, there is NO direct relationship between G2SS and insurance coverage. Insurance coverage is determined by an insurance contract and governed by state laws, G2SS is an internal organizational document providing guidance on best practices. They are not the same. BSA insurance routinely covers legal expenses and judgments for "violations" of G2SS, because we stand by our volunteers, even when they make poor judgments. Anything less would be Untrustworthy (and, in most states, anything less would also be Bad Faith practice by an insurer that can result in up to triple damages against the insurer. ;) ).


Da reason why we have G2SS is to help leaders and Chartered Partners run safe, effective programs. Much of da internal debate within the BSA about G2SS is not about exploring abandoned mines or going skydiving. It's about what constitutes proper guidance.


Should the document be a top-down document written to the (perception of) the Least Common Denominator of scout leaders, and restricting all activities that Joe-off-the-street with no camping/youth experience can't do? Those honestly account for da bulk of our accidents that cost $$, eh? Stuff that 99% of da units do without incident but some unit screws up. Or should it be written as a best practices document for average scout troops, allowing units with more resources to go beyond it and supporting less experienced folks through other means?


Should the document be about public relations perception, as seen by a few vocal people on internal committees, and therefore restrict activities like paintball or laser tag that even Joe-off-the-street with no camping or youth experience regularly do safely? Or should it be limited to a document about best safety practices based on real data, and leave judgments on perception and values to the chartered partners?


Should the document be about regulation, even pulling language from unrelated things like OSHA and the Child Labor statutes which don't really apply, and encourage talk about "violations" and whether it says "must" or "may" and penalties like loss of membership? Or should the document be about being Friendly and Helpful, focusing on education to assist units in running safe and active and adventurous programs that kids are attracted to and learn from?


It's the nature and character of da internal guidance document we offer our friends and fellow scouters that is so often debated among good scouters. Do we really think that our best practices must include never jumping off a diving board or rock more than a few feet above the water, or is that honestly somethin' that almost all of us have done safely and with great enjoyment at some point in our lives, that we would be happy to share with kids?




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Yah, Engineer61, some things change. But I reckon the modern equivalent of BB gun fights is paintball, eh? Not nerf. Da modern version of nerf is laser tag.


In da modern world we added bike helmets and better brakes and suspensions on bikes. What we got as a result is kids mountain biking, free riding down steep downhills (like ski hills!) dodging trees or hopping curbs and logs around town. Or takin' their old kids BMX bike and doin' aerial somersaults. ;)


Where I grew up I learned how to ski on floppy leather boots and old wooden skis. These days they have helmets and plastic boots and integrated releasable binding systems and modern composite shaped skis and snowboards. So they build half-pipes and install hard metal rails and jumps and open up da side-country glades so boys can ski ungroomed paths through trees.


Where I grew up I learned to motorboat with a small outboard. Now kids get to go zippin' about on JetSkis. Snowmobiles used to be fun but were really quite low-powered compared to da modern equipment.


Just about every mid-sized city has a climbing gym; just about every good sized camp has an aerial high ropes course, just about every amusement park has rides 8 times the size of what I remember, loads more kids play high-impact semi-pro hockey or football at younger ages, despite the severe brain injury risk. Add in skateboard and rollerblade parks, lads doin' parkour, spiffy plastic kayaks instead of big open canoes, on and on...


Do yeh really want to make a case that lads these days have moved to nerf guns? That might be a family choice, but it ain't the general reality.


What is different is that the BSA used to be on the forefront of youth adventure, appealing to that aspect of boyhood but also teachin' 'em how to do it safely for themselves and responsibly lookin' out for others. We're no longer anywhere near the forefront; in fact, we're runnin' about 2-3 decades behind where kids are at.




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