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Problems at other youth groups?

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Recently, there have been several stories about a small number of Councils across the states that have been caught cheating on their membership numbers. Where these numbers are used to calculate funding, this amounts to fraud. There have been stories about Scouters being accused of, to say the least, "unScoutlike" behavior. BSA's entry into the political arena with stances that are arguably going "against the tide" has sometimes given it the image of a group becoming increasingly marginalized. All in all, these have tarnished the Boy Scout persona and damaged the status of Scouting as an all-American institution.


I wonder if these things are unique to Scouting, tho. Are other youth groups having problems with membership, and reacting with the same sort of illegal actions some Scouters have used? Are other youth groups aligning themselves along particular political/religious lines?


There are other high profile youth groups in the U.S. like Scouting, such as Girl Scouts, YMCA, Indian Guides, Indian Princesses, etc. You'd think if similar things were going on there, we'd be hearing about it in the press. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

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As a former 4H mentor, we were told by our extension agents to recount youths who leave the classroom and re-enter again, even if for a few minutes. This would bring up the total number of students in the classroom attending the presentation. Even students that happened to walk-in and out again were counted to the attendance. This number was later tallied and reported on the presentation report. The program tally was moved to an annual report that was presented to the university and 4H national.


Just as in scouting, 4H also had ghost clubs kept on the rolls. The difference is federal monies were misappropriated because the numbers were not correct.


I'm pretty sure there are other youth organizations that have turned an eye to make their organization look good. In the long run, it just comes back to hurt the "Active" youths who are learning from the program.



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"There are other high profile youth groups in the U.S. like Scouting, such as Girl Scouts, YMCA, Indian Guides, Indian Princesses, etc."


I don't think they are high-profile, except possibly for GSA. In fact, haven't the Indian Guides and Indian Princesses largely been phased out (or at least renamed) by the YMCA? I think perhaps the BSA has maintained its high profile over the years with largely good press (service projects, Eagle awards, daring rescues, etc.)--and this may have made it more vulnerable to bad press. It would take a tremendous scandal--much more than some faked numbers--for a story involving 4-H to become national news, for example. I suppose institutional fraud involving Girl Scout cookies would be a big story.

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Don't know for sure. My brother and his daughter are involved in Indian Princesses, so I think it still exists in some form, anyway. You could just as easily include things like Pop Warner football and other sports-related groups, but I think that they are more regional, and don't have the national reach, so they may not be a good comparison.

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Many people don't want to believe that there are problems with their youth organizations or the organizations that they serve. Not many organizations have national or even regional offices, only at the local or state level. Also, because of the high turn over of volunteers, it is unlikely that we may hear any problems from other organizations. BUT why do we really want to hear of their problems. Is it just curiosity Or are we to take their mistakes and learn from it as well?


Having served in other youth organizations, I don't believe that the programs are bad or organizations have problems. I believe it is bad leaders serving their greed or egos at the expense of the youths.


Then again nobody is attacking their policies, values, or freedom to associate.

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4-H has "school clubs", where they partner with teachers to augment their education - usually in the area of values/ethics. Every kid in the class is registered as a 4-H member, whether they want to be or not. And, yes, they get UW funding to support the program. How do I know this? My wife used to run the program and I helped her write the UW funding proposal.

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Youth groups, heck. There have been scandals at the local, regional, and national levels of many non-profit groups. Remember the head of United Way being terminated several years ago for misappropriation of funds?


Churches/religions routinely overstate membership numbers and growth rates. Many denominations and religions today proudly claim to be the 'fastest growing', while independent audits show most are shrinking, even while claiming tremendous growth.





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A test


Google "Boy's and Girl's Clubs" and "fraud" then with "abuse" then "scandal"

not much- more stories about funding cuts than anything else


Google "Little League" and "fraud" then "abuse" then "scandal"

Overage kid - we all know that story....checking for steroids (there too?)


Google "4H" and "fraud" then "abuse" then "scandal"

One "scandal" - a kid didn't actually the animal they showed and articles on "showring cheating" - making animals look better (big issue in livestock fairs)


The first few pages for all of these showed little to show real malfeasnace or problems (except for the Little League stories). There are regular mentions of policies to prevent wsuch actions but no examples.


NO reports of illegal acts, child abuse, child porn - nothing that would scare a parent off or indicate that there were problems with the program leadership (again excepting Little League)



Google "Boy Scouts" and "fraud" or "abuse" or "scandal"

An appallingly long list of serious incidents, illegal acts, child abuse.


(You really don't want to do this with "death" - it's too depressing, even ignoring the "acts of God")



Any neutral outside rational person doing the same search is going to come to what conclusions?


Frankly, I expected SOMETHING to jump out at me on the other searches, but nothing did. Could I have missed something, maybe - it was a quick look. But do the same yourself and see. It was worse than I expected and you can't blame "hostile media" - frankly the evil liberal NY Times has mentioned ONLY the Smith story - staying conspicuously AWAY from any others. It seems that great effort is made to treat BSA as favorably as possible in alot of these stories.




And even though there may be problems elsewhere, there is a difference:


Little League doesn't make "moral and ethical decisions" their raison d'etre.


A reminder Cut and pasted right off BSA National's site.


The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.


Scout Oath Scout Law

On my honor I will do my best

To do my duty to God and my country

and to obey the Scout Law;

To help other people at all times;

To keep myself physically strong,

mentally awake, and morally straight.



A Scout is:






Kind Obedient








Vision Statement

The Boy Scouts of America is the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.



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One big difference between the boy scouts and the other organizations you mentioned is that there is a much greater set of opportunities for pedaphiles and others to commit their acts. For example, in 4-H, my wife's clubs were always within the constructs of a classroom. There just wasn't any opportunity for abuse. The only opportunity would have come at summer camp, which about 1% attended.


As for Little League, I've coached several sports teams. We come together for a year, we practice and play games, and then move on to the next year. There's not near the emotional connection that you build over a long-term relationship as in scouting. Plus, all of our activities were normally witnessed by a number of well-meaning, if not over-bearing, parents.

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I am not sure you can discount the 'shock value' of the Boy Scout label either. The news mentions it every chance they get because it makes any given story more shocking, more evocative, and easier to sell. Whenever the media can find a way to add a 'hook' to a story, it will. Scouting is just a convenient hook.

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What jkhny post completely ignores is that the BSA is not responsible for people becoming sexual predators. The BSA does not teach people to behave in such a way.


It has probably never occured to him, or perhaps he has not attended or remembered the lessons of Youth Protection, but sexual predators seek out opportunities to join organizations that can give them the opportunity to groom and abuse children. The fact that they use the BSA as a vehicleis not the fault of the BSA, but a reality that the BSA has worked to inform and educate adult and youth mebers about in order to make it as unhospitable an environment as possible for predators to operate in.


But the BSA did not select these poeple as leaders. All the BSA can do is check to see if there are existing criminal records. Deciding who these people are and what there character is falls to the repsonsibility of THE UNIT and THE CO. As I keep reminding you the quality of the leadership in scouting is dependent on the quality of the people selected and recruited by the local CO and unit.


Remember that Smith's crime was not sexual abuse, and there is no evidence or charge that he had any illicit contact with any child at any time. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of criminals that have used their role as scout leaders, teachers, ministers, priests, police officers, relatives, trusted friends, to sexually assault children.


Child sexual abuse is not a scouting crime, or a Catholic crime, and to present it as such is a clumsy misrepresentation of the truth.



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Point is, tho, Bob, that while these certainly aren't BSA crimes or Catholic crimes, they are attached to both BSA and Catholicism by the nature of the connection of the accused to the organization. That just happens, and it isn't going to go away, and it's natural for the press to question whether something could have been done to prevent it. You can look at these things a number of ways. You can say that BSA gives responsibility to the CO and unit for recruiting leaders because there are too many for BSA National to manage effectively. That sounds reasonable. Or, you can say that BSA is distancing itself from the recruiting of local leaders to try and minimize its liability if something goes wrong. I suspect it's probably a combination of both. They have a lot of assets, it'd be nuts for them not to consider that.


It is kind of interesting, tho, that when you do similar searches for other organizations, you don't really find much. So, either it's not there, or the media is concentrating it's efforts on BSA.

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"You can say that BSA gives responsibility to the CO and unit for recruiting leaders because there are too many for BSA National to manage effectively."


Where did I say that Prairie Scouter?


I said the The BSA National office DOESN'T SELECT UNIT LEADERS. That is not their responsibility or purpose. Your charter organization is responsible for you being a unit leader NOT the BSA. Why is that so difficult to understand?


If a person with poor character is in your unit it is because your unit picked them and signed them-up. The BSA had nothing to do with that choice. The BSA told your CO to choose carefully, the BSA told any trained personell you have to require 3 personal references and to check them out. The BSA told your unit what characteristics to look for and what not to. The BSA performed a criminal background check for you to see if any known criminal convictions existed. BUT your UNIT made the choice not the BSA.


It has nothing to do with too many leaders, it's about "shared responsibilities" and who is responsible for what. Any unit who has leaders wiith poor character has them because that unit, and that unit ONLY, opened their doors and invited them in.


(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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