Jump to content
Incorrigible

Resistant To Common Sense?

Recommended Posts

The scouting I get, but the people confuse the snot out of me. I would love some wisdom on this one.

 

Our crew holds a monthly airplane wash fundraiser. It's like a car wash but with planes. Working hard together out in the sun. Last month, it was very sunny. I offered sunscreen to the kids but didn't push it when each and every one turned me down. They all went home burnt, one with some nasty looking blisters. None of the parents held me responsible, but all commented that the kids should have used sunscreen. I told the crew members, at the next couple meetings, that they needed sun protection at the next wash.

 

At the next wash, we offer the kids sunscreen. They all refuse. This time I push it. The ones who's parents were there get permission not to wear it. I remind the others what happened last month. I'm down to three. Knowing full well their parents told them to wear sunscreen, I tell the others they can call home for permission if they want. I'm down to one. She's been looking for an excuse to challenge me for weeks, but I'm so level headed in the moment that it is difficult. (I'll rant to my husband for days after an issue, but I'm all logic in the thick of things). She's crazy fair skinned and already showing a little color. I tell her to either sit in the shade and handle the money, or put on sunscreen. She puts on the sunscreen and the day goes off without a hitch.

 

At another activity for another group, that day, I am pulled aside by another parent. This is one of the ones that was there during the whole sunscreen thing and told his (now very burnt) child she didn't have to wear sunscreen. He's upset that I insisted the others wear sunscreen. He doesn't feel the kids should be required to do anything they don't want. (He's also one of the ones that doesn't agree we should follow BSA rules for swimming and boating at campouts) He thinks it's unreasonable to have expected anyone to know to wear sunscreen at the wash without prior written warning. If he'd had such warning, his child would have known what to do to avoid a burn.

 

I'm honestly having trouble wrapping my mind around this whole situation. It seems like some kind of training is in order, but is there a training basic enough to cover "if a crew member gets burnt so badly he blisters, crew members should be protecting themselves from the sun."

 

And the part that really stumps me...the parents of the kids made to wear sunscreen are all thankful, but this other parent is gossiping to other parents and getting them all concerned that I'm going to start kicking kids out of the crew over sunscreen. :/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Venturers are challenging your authority and getting help from their parents.

 

I'd say some training is in order. The Crew leaders (the kids as you call them) should be planning (soap, water, sunscreen) and leading their activities. You should be standing back and advising. Maybe you could bring in someone who has melanoma for a fun talk.

 

Whoever leads, the point has to be made that there are consequences for not following safety rules - sunburn now, maybe melanoma later, ...maybe removal from your crew.

 

My $0.02,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As adults, we have seen the consequences of actions.  Sometimes our actions and sometimes others actions.  The scouts don't always have the experience.  Well in this case, they have the experience of last month.  But some people have to experience the same problem multiple times before they learn to prevent the problem.

 

How many adults do you know who constantly loose their keys?  Ridiculous.  Put your keys in the same place every time you enter your home.  Never lost.  Even after years of loosing their keys, they never learn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Next wash, get the parents and crew members to sign a waiver excluding you from all liability, medical expense and legal costs associated with the outing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Find another fundraiser that doesn't involve being in the sun.  Tell the parents that if they want a plane wash, they need to do it on their own time, but with the situation as is, it's too risky for crew members.  You'll have to be the parent for the kids...and for their parents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the kids refuse sunscreen, not alot you can do.  Not something you can force on them.  You told them  the consequences  (getting a bad burn), possible skin cancer later.

It is correct the youth leaders should be forcing the issue.

As to the ignorant parents, you can't fix stupid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They all know the score by now. Ask them at the beginning next time if any want sunscreen. And if they do, good. For the others, let them fry. You might want to video the event, here and there as a recruiting tool that you can put on Youtube. But make sure you record that beginning conversation about the sunscreen, "Who wants sunscreen, let me see a show of hands..OK now who doesn't want it, show of hands"...all on the record. That way you'll have the ability to play the conversation back to concerned parents.

OR

I take students to the tropics. I have red-haired, extremely vulnerable students sometimes and we are out in the sun for most of the day on many days. I merely ask them, "Do you want to end up looking like me?"

That does the trick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Explain why you feel compelled to go to these lengths to get these kids to take care of themselves?  "Does anyone need to use the sunscreen?" is as far as I take it with 11-year-old Boy Scouts. 

 

Reminding them is nice of you.  Providing sunscreen is above and beyond the call of duty.  All this rigamarole about consent forms and waivers is silly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stupid happens fast.

 

Your youth leaders need to get on top of the situation, and here's why ...

... I'm so level headed in the moment that it is difficult. (I'll rant to my husband for days after an issue, but I'm all logic in the thick of things). ...

On the last day of a week-long super-activity you won't have that edge, your spouse may not be there, and you youth may be within earshot of your rant.

 

Discipline in a crew is the responsibility of the officers. That doesn't mean that the officers dole out a complicated list of punishments, but they are to take pride in their crew coming back without injury. That means you pull together the officers for after action review. Go over what went well, what didn't go so well, what would they do differently. This first couple of times, you may have to give them categories that they can "thumbs up or "thumbs down" ... one of those categories will be health and safety.

 

Bottom line: the crew moves forward when they show discipline. So, regarding your rebel, you need to thank her for knuckling under and doing her part. That the crew's "next big thing" is contingent on her doing her part.

 

Regarding that parent, tell him to do everything in his power to ensure that his child gains physical strength and discipline. 2nd degree burns are a failure not to be repeated.

 

You have a very unique crew. I personally, am envious. Don't let the negative nannies bring you down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hold the plane wash at night.  Makes it a par-tay, and then no worries about sunburn.

 

Tripping and falling in the dark, maybe, but not sunburn....

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Go back a few years when I used to be a cub leader....

 

We were camping the last weekend of May and it was hot! Saturday morning after breakfast I tell the cubs, it's going to be hot and sunny. I want to see hats, t-shirts and sun screen going on. Does everyone understand? Yes they say, and start slapping on the sun screen.

 

All except one, 8 year old boy.

 

So I chase him, sun screen, I told him, now! He shakes his head and says no, I'm allergic the sun screen. I'd been through all the permission forms before camp and none of them had anything on about a sun screen allergy. Put it on! I tell him. No, he says. I'm allergic to it. So I double check his permission form and show it to him, in the box for allergies or medical conditions there is nothing, mum has left it blank. I ask him if he has any with him, yes he says, mum put it in my kit bag. So I tell him, you tell me you're allergic but mum hasn't told me and she's given you some to bring. I don't believe you, put it on! No he says, and starts getting quite upset.

 

So I decide to tripple check my phoning his mum to check.

 

Oh yes she says, he is allergic to it. Brings him out in a terrible rash!

 

Why did you send him with sun screen? I ask.

 

It was on the kit list you sent out. Says mum.

 

As Oddball says, you can't fix stupid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Find another fundraiser that doesn't involve being in the sun.  Tell the parents that if they want a plane wash, they need to do it on their own time, but with the situation as is, it's too risky for crew members.  You'll have to be the parent for the kids...and for their parents.

Washing planes is not the only fundraiser in scouting.

 

I am a cancer melanoma survivor, so scouting activities are challenging for folks like me. I should own a sun screen company for the money I've handed them. I admit that I'm pretty persistent (nagging) at the scouts until they apply sunscreen. You know me, I'm the preacher of learn by your actions, but burning during the youth can have dire consequences. So I nag. You can often here in camp, "put on some sun screen or he will show us his scares again". 

 

To the OP, let the scouts do what they want, but keep nagging and nagging and nagging. 

 

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Washing planes is not the only fundraiser in scouting.

 

I am a cancer melanoma survivor, so scouting activities are challenging for folks like me. I should own a sun screen company for the money I've handed them. I admit that I'm pretty persistent (nagging) at the scouts until they apply sunscreen. You know me, I'm the preacher of learn by your actions, but burning during the youth can have dire consequences. So I nag. You can often here in camp, "put on some sun screen or he will show us his scares again". 

 

To the OP, let the scouts do what they want, but keep nagging and nagging and nagging. 

 

Barry

 

As everyone knows my only three  rules for the boys are 1) Safety first, 2) Look and act like a scout, and 3) Have fun.

 

I don't nag, I just tell them Rule #1, put your sun screen on or we'll be having a discussion on Rule #3 later on this afternoon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry it took so long to respond. My notifications got caught by the spam filter.

 

Thanks so much for all the input! It's really reassuring to hear other opinions and experiences and not feel so alone in this. I ended up asking someone at the council office when I was in the other day, concerned maybe I had overstepped. Just about every person in the office took turns lecturing me about being too lenient. There are an absurd number of people in there with health issues caused by sun damage. They want all our leaders and youth to take hazardous weather training (or repeat it) before we can have any more outdoor activities. Plus, if I want to stay a leader, I am to require sun protection at all outdoor activities, regardless of parental permission. They were really upset that a kid had blistered on my watch.

 

And when I informed the crew, that same parent tells me he already took the training so he is already in compliance. Turns out he trained almost 5 years ago. He hurts my brain on so many levels.

 

The problem with the youth leadership is that I've just barely started teaching them how to lead. We've been chartered roughly a month. With parental examples like that, I'm sure you can imagine what their idea of responsibility is. They are just starting to take responsibility for themselves. Taking responsibility for each other is too foreign a concept to wrap their minds around. I'm hoping to recruit some older youth when school starts back up. We only have one member over 17. I think more like her would do wonders!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×