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youth protection, lodge mailing lists, and other fun stuff

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So, who would have ever thought sending a letter to all the Lodge's Vigil Honor members could turn into a youth protection issue?


Turns out it could.


I sent such a letter, and recieved an email response suggesting we should look into one of the intended recipients, and gave a rather serious reason why (involving criminal prosecution).


Having no way to substantiate either the authenticity of the email, or the accuracy of the claims made, I decided I should forward it to others more competent to handle the matter. So, I forwarded it to the lodge adviser, and the council's professional staff. I also sent a reply telling the person they should contact the council, and gave them the phone number.


At the Lodge Executive Committee meeting tonight, the staff adviser pulls me aside, tells me he got the email, and as far as he knows there is no issue, but he will make certain it gets checked out. The membership adviser who maintains the database happened to be lurking near by, and upon over hearing the discussion mentions that the previous lodge adviser had asked him to take the guy off the database, but since no reason had been provided, and since it wasn't clearly a directive, he decided to keep him on the list.


Later, after the meeting, I talked about this with the Lodge Adviser, and he said that we should certainly not be sending letters to the person, because they were in prison and would never again be a member of the BSA.


Now this brings up some intersting issues. Obviously, if this person really went to prison, and was removed from BSA, it would seem they should have been purged from our mailing lists. The problem is, there is really no mechanism in place to make certain that actually happens. This is particularly troublesome when there are many electronic copies of the database floating around, and it would be quite easy for someone to use an old mailing list, even if the official one was updated (which it had not been in this case).


In fact, we don't even have a way to check the lodge roster against the council's registration information to make certain that a person is a BSA member when they pay their dues. The staff adviser and I discussed this problem, and we both agreed we should probably find a way to start doing that.


So, how are things like this handled in other councils and lodges? How do you guys make certain lists are kept updated?

I know in cases like this, information is not made widely available about these situation in order to protect the victims, but it seems that a bit more information could have corrected this problem sooner.

This seems to be a case where more people had a need to know than were informed. (I don't need to know, but the staff adviser should, and the membership adviser should have been told enough so that he could have understood what he was beeing asked to do.)


So how is the council supposed to make certain that people are removed from lists, databases, and rosters in cases like these?


Also, how is the lodge supposed to go about ensuring that none of its members have been given the boot, and making certain that all are also members of the BSA?

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I few years ago, a young adult was removed from BSA adult membership due to an issue. I happen to work with his dad and was asked if I could help out with the council, which I could not do.

The interesting thing was while the OA advisor and the SE knew about it there was no formal notification to the my old troop where he was an Assistant Scoutmaster or to me who was the district advancement chair to remove him off the merit badge counselor list. Only by my hearing form his dad was I able to inform the troop and remove him from the list.

The explanation is that the information about is closely held, in order not to put the BSA on the spot for a possible suit.


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I would agree that it makes sense to keep mailing lists current. Why would it be a problem for a former member to receive a letter? Did the letter contain confidential information such as names, addresses, telephone numbers, social security numbers of youth members? What are they afraid that this particular recipient might do with the information in the letter?

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Keeping mailing list's updated is an endless task. Someone will always have an old copy they are using


On another note, Proud Eagle, When the CE signs the lodge charter paperwork there is a part that he signs certifying that all members of the lodge are also BSA members.



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