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How would you handle the situation?

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My son is getting ready to go on a weekend outing this coming weekend with his troop. He will be the cook for the weekend meals. In this particular troop the menu is planned at the Monday meeting. On Thursday night the Scoutmaster comes to the home of the boy that has the cooking duties and takes him grocery shopping for the food and to get everything organized for the outing.


The real problem is that he does this as a 1 on 1 basis. Just the scotmaster and the boy. When asked about this the scoutmaster replies that scouting policy says that 2 adults must be present but "he has never paid any attention to this policy since he has been involved in scouting". The troop committe chair is always stressing safe scouting policy but seems to ignore this situation when it happens.


I feel that when an adult becomes a leader in scouting that they agree tho follow scout policies. Is it not true that the 2 adult policy is one of the most important ones in souting.


As far as taking this to the troop committe, district exec or council exec would be a waste of time from what I have seen. The scoutmaster in question has been in scouting for around 18 to 20 years in this council. He has held various council level positions and is highly regarded by the status quo in the council. He also is very prominent in the business community and has helped troops raise thousands of dollars thru certain functions.


I have been around this person on some outings and functions and feel that his character is "probably ok". But I feel that the issue goes beyond that. If eveyones character was ok scouting would not need the safe scouting guidelines and we would be a better organization. My son really likes the troop and has gained many friends in his time there.


Would like to hear from the "wise and experienced" users of this forum. I think the issue is to important to ignore but how should it be handled without it getting out of hand.




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I'm not one of the wise and experienced members to which you referred, but as a mom I think it's an easy answer: Call "Shotgun."


Tell the SM "How lucky that I'm free tonight since there's not another scout buddy to go with my kid." Then explain your actions to the TCC, and why - "I thought it was important to set an example of YP compliance even though I didn't have any special concerns about Mr. SM...." And explain it to all the less-educated parents as well, in the same way.


But don't help your son at the store.

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Hi Dutch

Welcome to the forums.

I somehow, kind of think that you know more then you are telling us?

Of course I could be wrong.

Still here goes.

Eamonn The Parent - Talking.

I know that there is a very strict rule.

I talk to the guy and he tells me that he ignores the rule.

I say to myself" If he ignores the rules do I really want my son in that unit?"

I would remove my son from that troop and send a letter to the Troop Committee, the DE the Scout Exec.

Eamonn The District Chair - Talking

Dutch has phoned and explained this to me.

I phone the Scoutmaster and ball him out.

I phone the unit commissioner and tell him how unhappy I am. I phone the District Commissioner and update him. I phone the Troop Committee Chair and tell him that this is not to be.

I phone the District Training Chair and tell him to get his tail down there and present the Youth Protection Training as soon as possible.

Eamonn talking.

Do not allow your son to go alone. If you don't remove him from the troop go with him. But push this.

No one is above the rules.


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As experienced and as respected as this man is, he is not above the rules. Based on his years as a scouter, I am willing to assume that as an individual, he would not harm the youth, but he is still not above the rules. The rules exist to protect him from false accusations as well as to protect the youth. I would simply go with him and the boy to store, but just watch, and not help unless asked. I also would promote YP training in the troop at the earliest possible date. If the council is doing its job, they will have a record of YP trained adults and will not approve tour permits without that box being checked. If enough adults in the unit get trained, they probably will create a ground swell in favor of YP compliance.

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Okay -- I'm not a shy guy and never have been. I also count myself as a "wise head" although vanity says I shouldn't -- because I have been doing Scouting stuff for over 60 hours a week for the last 15 years as a professional Scouter.


I have never met a volunteer or professional that I trust who does not take youth protection seriously. Warning bells would go off loudly in my head if a volunteer, no matter how trusted or long-tenured, said in my presence: "That rule doesn't matter."


I wouldn't worry about the time in the grocery store. There are lots of adults around there. I would worry about the to and from the store.


I think SagerScout hit on a good point -- the parent can go with on the shopping trip. Eamonn hit on several points.


Dutch -- don't think that just because your Scoutmaster has long tenure in Scouting that this is not worth reporting to the DE or Scout Executive. I think it is and may be just the additional information the two need to complete a picture -- or a beginning of a picture. It's rare that this type of complaint reaches those ears from a single source. Trust me on that one and look at my profile if you're not sure.


There's a little too much mystery here for my comfort.


The other thing that bothers me is the idea that one Scout does the cooking for the entire weekend. That's not the point of a duty roster which should rotate all duties among the patrol members. The menu should also be planned as a patrol. There's no such position as "Patrol Cook." Not that you suggested it, but cooking for the weekend implies it.



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dsteele, there may not be the position of "Patrol Cook" but one of the requirements for 1st class is to cook for your patrol for an entire campout.


I'd like to know why the Scoutmaster needs to go shopping with the Scout.


"I have never met a volunteer or professional that I trust who does not take youth protection seriously."


I think that serious has different levels or maybe you wouldn't trust anyone in my troop. For example, I don't know of any adult in my troop, including the women :-), who won't let the boys into the restroom when they're in there.


I've driven my neighbor's son to troop meetings without another Scout in the car.


Now, our last Scoutmaster was just plain stupid. He drove around with Scouts in the bed of his pick-up truck.

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This seems to be a potentially very serious breach of Youth Protection, which is perhaps the most important set of rules in Scouting. The fact that you are at all uncertain about this activity indicates to me that you MUST take some type of action. At the very least, you should not allow your son to be alone with the SM.


It is possible that the SM may consider these shopping trips to be something other than a true scouting activity. This is an area that is not 100% clear. What constitutes a Scouting activity that requires the rules of Scouting to be followed? The fact that this shopping trip is the standard procedure used before every trip indicates that it is pretty close to being an official troop activity. At the very least, the SM should take the opportunity to go the extra mile to set an example of following YP.


If this cannot be quickly and permanently resolved within the unit, then it seems that it would be necessary to bring someone at the district or council level into the mix. At the very least they should be consulted to see what they think about this issue.


The only possible ways around YP is to take the position that this is not a Scouting activity, but rather just an activity that involves a Scout and a Scouter, or to take the position that the other drivers on the road and other shoppers in the store prevents them from being alone.


I also have to touch on the cook question. If they are selecting someone to act as the patrols head cook for the weekend that would seem to be acceptable. However, expecting one person to do all of the cooking (and perhaps all of the cleaning) for the weekend is not a good idea. At the very least there should be a duty roster providing assistant cooks and a clean up crew for each meal.(This message has been edited by Proud Eagle)

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" However, expecting one person to do all of the cooking (and perhaps all of the cleaning) for the weekend is not a good idea."


In my son's patrol, the Scouts fight over who gets to be the cook for the outing. Why? Because the cook doesn't have trash duty or have to do the dishes.

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On other threads the wisdom of some of the safety rules in the GSS have been debated and there is some disagreement among the members of the forum of wisdom or clarity of some of the rules.


On this one I'd be suprised if there is any disagreement at all. Our troop takes youth protection very seriously. This situation would not be tolerated. I think SagerScout has a good suggestion.


One thing that seems to be missing is the issue of potential false accusation. The youth protection guidelines protect the scouter as much as they do the scout. I sat on a jury once of a man accused of molesting a young boy. The incident was not associated with scouting. After all the evidence was heard it was apparent this was a particularly troubled youth that for what ever reason was mad at this poor guy in his neighborhood and accused him of something the jury believed he didn't do. He was aquitted, but had substantial negative publicity associated with his name.


You might want to mention to the scoutmaster the risks he is taking with his own reputation by ignoring the rule.



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As the CR, I would phone the CC expressing my concerns, requesting that this practise cease until the SM is in compliance with the standards. Additionally, we three would have a face to face to find a solution to this problem. I would also schedule a refresher training session on Youth Protection for all hands.

If the SM continues to disreguard the rules then there would be little choice but to release him from this position since I'm directly responsible to the chartering organization, and must act in their best interest.

Additionally, just as we expect our scouts to follow the rules, we can do no less as adults. As said in Wood Badge, you've gotta walk the talk.

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Hi, Dutch and welcome...

Just want to say stick to your guns. Do not be intimidated just because this SM has years experience. YP is something Scouts takes very seriously and Scouters should comply with. For the SM to say he doesn't pay attention to this rule doesn't fit with.... "A Scout is.. trustworthy, loyal, obedient" to name a few. What would be his defense is a scout doesn't "pay attention to a rule"? YP is something that has become a lifestyle with me and the better 1/3. (her who must be obeyed). Scouts, high-school band kids, church kids... it's all the same. YP is for our benefit, too.




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Here's a similiar situation to consider:


The Patrol develops a duty roster that includes a cook and an assistant cook for the weekend. Tradition dictates that the parents of the cook is responsible for shuttling these two boys to and from the grocery store. When the parent is not registered, there is no real problem here. It's just a mom or dad being a taxi service.


But what happens when the mom or dad is registered? What if he / she is the SM or an ASM?


Youth protection rules are good. they do a service to both boys and Scouters. But here is a situation that at the least causes some concern, doesn't it?



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You transporting two boys, especially one who is your son, is not a violation of the YP policies although I would still try to avoid it whenever possible. You are not on a tripi or outing so two deep leadership is not required and you have two scouts so you have avoided one on one contact.


As far as Dutch's situation....my suggestion is I would tell the SM that I was told that his taking a single scout in his car and going shopping is a violation of Youth Protection policies. I would then ask him if my information was correct. if he responds yes, inform him that you will accompany him to the store, and then call your council scout execuitve and report the Scoutmaster's actions.


If he says no then tell him untill you get clarification you will accompany him and your son to he store. Then call your DE and get youth protection training for your lades and committee. Then the next time you hear of one-on-one contact call your scout executive.


Bob White

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