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Stosh

Interesting topic came up....

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"The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says 15-passenger vans with 10 or more occupants are three times more likely to roll over than ones carrying fewer than five passengers.


 


That’s why all Scouters should take heed of this breaking BSA news: Effective Sept. 1, 2015, the use of 15-passenger vans manufactured before 2005 will no longer be allowed in connection with Scouting programs and activities.


 


15-passenger vans manufactured in 2005 or later may be used, as long as they are equipped with Electronic Stability Control and seat belts for all passengers and the driver.


 


This applies to all vehicles, regardless of ownership (privately owned, owned by chartered organization, rentals, etc.)."


 


Sounds like an "unauthorized activity."  If so, you are on your own insurance-wise.  But if it's not a Scout activity, at least the judge won't tell the jury that violation of the B.S.A. prohibition is evidence of negligence.  You'll just have to hear abut the NHTSA study.


Edited by TAHAWK

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You know I am no supporter of the overzealous bureaucracy that is BSA, but I will play Devil's advocate

 

:) I will probably agree with you, but I'll add a bit of background to ease your concerns..  It will also give a good opportunity to review some of the issues facing the upcoming busy season for us folks "up Nort", dontcha know.

  • 15 Passenger Van Rule: Recent issues with the maintenance and safety records of some of these vehicles has called in to question the efficacy of using certain models.

II mentioned this to the church people and they are fully aware of the situation.  They have only a few people who they will allow to drive it.  I was allowed because I have a Class-B camper of the same size and shape and even more weight than what would be generated by 15 people.  Having logged many years driving such vehicles, and school buses up to 66-passenger size, they allowed me to be added to the list.  I also drove a constant 5-7 miles per hour UNDER the speed limit, cruising along just a bit over 60 mph.  I did report a slight shudder on breaking they need to address before taking it out again.

  • Climbing Instruction & Training: As a climber I have seen far too many accidents from people who think they know their knots and technique.

The church youth leader (mid-40's) is an Eagle scout, many years at outdoor activities with a passion for climbing.  He and his wife and daughter have climbed all over the country.  He had more personal equipment at the site than most summer camps have.  The kids were expected to pay to rent climbing shoes, but the harnesses, ropes, helmets, etc. were all there.  He climbed all three lines before he would let any of the kids climb.  Besides those 3, I had climbing experience and manned one line, he maned another and hiw wife "manned" the third.  There was 2 other youth that had climbing instructions in school along in the group as well.  It was well covered, checked out and extremely well run.

  • First Aid: Advanced first aid is very important to know. Requiring this on what may be deemed "high adventure" or high risk activities helps to ensure that *if* there is an accident, the first responder is someone with a bit more training than basic first aid.

Although no one was wilderness first aid trained, I am a former Nationally Certified Emergency Medical Technician-Ambualnce with 15 years experience along with being a State Certified Emergency Rescue Technician (10 years experience), so I know both first aid and use of climbing equipment.

  • Safe Swim/Afloat Training: How many times do we see even trained adults violate the basic rules of safety in the water? With any group size this is a good idea.

We were at a non-lifeguard beach in a State Park.  It was well marked and the lake is noted for its clarity.  It is a very popular venue for SCUBA enthusiasts.   4-5 adult monitored the swimming.  This early in the year, not many of the kids ventured into the deeper colder waters.  It's a spring fed lake and the ice has been off for only a few weeks.  :)  Of course you can go swimming, we said.  :)

  • Weather Training: Far too many people simply cannot read the weather anymore without an app to tell them what's happening. Knowing how to read the skies can make the difference between being safe and a very dangerous situation.

One of the best classes I took in college was Weather and Climate.  Probably the only one I still use every day.  Of course I didn't rely only on my "reading the signs in the sky" I also checked out the weather forcast from 3 different sources and they all said the same thing 1% chance of rain and lots of sunshine.  We brought along extra sun block and bug spray.

 

Now, if they use super soakers are giant water balloons on their trip, who care, right? But these other things are there to prevent issues. The training is BSA's way of making sure those in charge at least have exposure to this training. Whether they use it is another story.

 

Gotta remember, @@Stosh, not everyone are training geeks like we are. Most boat owners have the basic required training if that. They have no idea how to operate their craft well, let alone the rules.

 

I don't volunteer any ideas to the kids I am unable to handle personally  and I don't go on any trips that my $1M umbrella policy and $1M auto policy doesn't cover.  I know my limits, I evaluate the risks, and I join the adventure if it is all within what I can handle.    I may disregard BSA rules when taking church youth group kids out for activities, but I am by no means stupid enough to put any child in danger.

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"The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says 15-passenger vans with 10 or more occupants are three times more likely to roll over than ones carrying fewer than five passengers.

 

That’s why all Scouters should take heed of this breaking BSA news: Effective Sept. 1, 2015, the use of 15-passenger vans manufactured before 2005 will no longer be allowed in connection with Scouting programs and activities.

 

15-passenger vans manufactured in 2005 or later may be used, as long as they are equipped with Electronic Stability Control and seat belts for all passengers and the driver.

 

This applies to all vehicles, regardless of ownership (privately owned, owned by chartered organization, rentals, etc.)."

 

Sounds like an "unauthorized activity."  If so, you are on your own insurance-wise.  But if it's not a Scout activity, at least the judge won't tell the jury that violation of the B.S.A. prohibition is evidence of negligence.  You'll just have to hear abut the NHTSA study.

 

 

I am aware of the problems with the chassis  of the extended vans.  I have a class-B camper on such a setup and know the problems well.  The camper carries far more non-load weight than a 15-passenger filled with kids.  The water tank alone would weigh more than 2 of the kids.

 

Of all my vehicles my camper will roll mover often than my pickup, which when loaded increases the rollover posibility.  My CRV is next with it's high center of gravity, then comes my Saturn station wagon although has a low center of gravity still is quite light and then there's my '74 Nova.  They made good heavy, low riding cars back then and is still the safest vehicle I own.

 

I did take into consideration that I had 3 adults and 7 minors in the vehicle, 3 of which didn't weigh over 100#'s.  It was an easy call to make.  It's all part of the mental calculations one must determine in terms of risk when taking any group out on an activity.

 

Thanks for the review on the policy. 

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There were no certified climbing instructors, no one had to pass a swim test, everyone paid their own way at the time of the event, all chipped in for gas.  We used a 15 passenger van....Everyone had a good time.

 

Yah, yeh can rack up da same sort of BSA multi-violation tickets if yeh go anywhere in da international Scoutin' community too, eh?  Such things should remind us that real safety comes from knowledge and not from regulation.

 

Besides, too many rules and both kids and adults choose not to play, eh? :(  Or just ignore da rules.

 

Beavah

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The responses are all over the place here, and I am trying to figure out what the thread is really about. I will say that anytime somebody starts talking about the reputation of an institution that means an individual is about to be done wrong. Because if the action taken against the individual could be justified on any other ground, it would be. I will also say that zero tolerance policies are put in place to protect adults and institutions rather than children. You will never convince me that they do more good than harm for the children.

 

But I understand the OP to be, "What justifies expelling a scout from the troop?"

 

I am, unfortunately, a part of our troop that handles these kinds of issues as a part of the broader disciplinary process when things go wrong. We have a lot of scouts, and statistically speaking something is bound to go wrong. It is always unpleasant.

 

The essence of the grounds for expulsion were (1) repeated insubordination involving refusal to follow safety rules (wearing a PFD on the water) and (2) misconduct associated with illegal substances. Also, in each instance, it was not the scout's first time to meet with the troop disciplinary committee, so they were recidivists.

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@@Ankylus, sorry to confuse you.  One has to take into consideration a number of factors here.  This is the Issues and Politics subforum, aka, the garbage dump.  Here it's a bit of a "whatever goes" kind of area that is not as moderated to the degree the other forums are.  People are warned to enter at their own risk.   :eek:

 

So with that in mind, I opened a topic known as  Interesting Topic Came Up...  which was intended to be a topic that can never be off topic,  It can mean anything one wants it to be and it has taken some very interesting turns along the way. 

 

What I brought up was the fact that I took a church youth group on a scout-like outing and merely pointed out that they all came back alive even though the activity broke just about as many policy rules as BSA has to offer.  While not everyone is in the same situation as I am, there are a number of things which common sense can still come into play and not harm children.  For example, I fully know why BSA has a policy on 15 passenger vans.  I am very aware of their shortcomings, but not everyone is, so they have a policy.  I had a number of very experienced rock climber people and myself once certified as an ERT, but none of that counts in BSA, but the church youth don't need to adhere to BSA policies.  I have 15 years experience in emergency trauma medicine, but because I haven't taken Wilderness First Aid, I can't take my boys out in the woods. 

 

I was merely pointing out that I believe the pendulum has swung so far to the safety side of things, trying to avoid law suits, that the activities left for the boys are pretty much Webelos oriented at best. 

 

And when all is said and done, if a youth has a choice between a scout rock climbing/swimming/hiking activity and a church youth group rock climbing/swimming/hiking activity, knowing what they can and can't do, would it make a difference which they picked?  This is the reality that units are facing when it comes to competition with other organizations out there.  My church can put together a really great event for their youth that in a similar situation, I would not be able to do with my Scouts. :confused:

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Thank you Stosh. I agree that BSA has gone overboard on the safety stuff in an effort to avoid lawsuits. There's also some political correctness going on.

 

As an example, Webelos are no longer permitted to participate in archery and are limited to BB guns. Really? I live in Texas, and most of our scouts have been handling and shooting firearms since grade school. So they go to scout camp and what do they get to shoot? Single shot, bolt action .22s and single shot shotguns. The Webelos don't even get that.  While they Ok-enjoy shooting  even on that limited basis, it's pretty much "meh" compared to what it could be. 

 

One problem I have is national's less than exemplary record backing up even leaders who are following the rules. The big carrot they hang out there is that if you jump through all their hoops then their insurance will cover you. We had an incident some years ago where something happened on a campout and a scout did something that cost another youth, outside the troop, some teeth. And national tried everything they could to wriggle out and leave out SM hanging out to dry. Eventually, both the troop and the SM had to write a check to settle the case with no help from national. So the opinion in out troop is that national cannot be relied upon and you might as well act as if they aren't there.

 

I will say, however, that I am glad for the cover on some of that. I don't ever want to have to tell a parent that their child isn't coming back from an outing. So it is very nice to be able to say, "National policy is....and so that's the way we are going to do it." If one is to err, it should be on the side of safety.

 

And, just because all the children came back from the church outing does not mean they always will. It sounds like your background and that of some others made sure that safety would be a priority even if you didn't follow all the BAS guidelines. BSA has to make rules for everybody, and not every unit is fortunate enough to have capable, intelligent, and safety-oriented leadership.

 

Just my $.02.

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Everything is risky.  The day is coming when BSA prohibits adults transporting other people's children to an event.  Either it is commercial transportation or a vehicle driven by one's own parents.  After all the most dangerous part of any activity is the travel to and from.  Mark my words, it's only a matter of time.

 

This is why I carry a $1M umbrella policy on my homeowners and $1M worth of coverage on passengers in my vehicles. 

 

I insist on Safety First, but life has a way of jumping up and biting one in the butt unannounced.  Be Prepared.

 

:)  I can assure you that my church youth group kids are just as safe as any BSA troop on an outing even without the draconian BSA policies.

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I'm not defending our friends in Irving, but stupidity has cost the BSA MILLIONS over the last 20 years in liablity payout.  As @@Beavah has reminded us time and again, BSA is self-insured for the first million each incident.  Those liability dollars out came from something else, generally called program and support.

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"The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says 15-passenger vans with 10 or more occupants are three times more likely to roll over than ones carrying fewer than five passengers.

 

That’s why all Scouters should take heed of this breaking BSA news: Effective Sept. 1, 2015, the use of 15-passenger vans manufactured before 2005 will no longer be allowed in connection with Scouting programs and activities.

 

15-passenger vans manufactured in 2005 or later may be used, as long as they are equipped with Electronic Stability Control and seat belts for all passengers and the driver.

 

This applies to all vehicles, regardless of ownership (privately owned, owned by chartered organization, rentals, etc.)."

 

Sounds like an "unauthorized activity."  If so, you are on your own insurance-wise.  But if it's not a Scout activity, at least the judge won't tell the jury that violation of the B.S.A. prohibition is evidence of negligence.  You'll just have to hear abut the NHTSA study.

 

Most CO churches were told by their insurers to dump them as well. Ours found a good home but I miss it...many memories.

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As an example, Webelos are no longer permitted to participate in archery and are limited to BB guns. Really? I live in Texas, and most of our scouts have been handling and shooting firearms since grade school. 

 

According to BSA you can do some shooting sports at district/council camps. I believe you can also do those same sports at professional facilities too. Oddly enough tomahawks are not on the list. I am pretty sure they are listed as prohibited elsewhere, but you'd think BSA would put it on this list.

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The responses are all over the place here, and I am trying to figure out what the thread is really about. I will say that anytime somebody starts talking about the reputation of an institution that means an individual is about to be done wrong. Because if the action taken against the individual could be justified on any other ground, it would be. I will also say that zero tolerance policies are put in place to protect adults and institutions rather than children. You will never convince me that they do more good than harm for the children.

 

But I understand the OP to be, "What justifies expelling a scout from the troop?"

 

I am, unfortunately, a part of our troop that handles these kinds of issues as a part of the broader disciplinary process when things go wrong. We have a lot of scouts, and statistically speaking something is bound to go wrong. It is always unpleasant.

 

The essence of the grounds for expulsion were (1) repeated insubordination involving refusal to follow safety rules (wearing a PFD on the water) and (2) misconduct associated with illegal substances. Also, in each instance, it was not the scout's first time to meet with the troop disciplinary committee, so they were recidivists.

"What justifies expelling a scout from the troop?" THAT was the topic? Ohhh....when I joined my Troop I was told of a boy a few years earlier who stabbed another boy in the leg with a K-Bar (more than a 1" deep) and later at Summer Camp swiped an ASM's keys and drove off site to an area Bar. When I asked "What happened to him?" They said "Oh he made Eagle".

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I'm not defending our friends in Irving, but stupidity has cost the BSA MILLIONS over the last 20 years in liablity payout.  As @@Beavah has reminded us time and again, BSA is self-insured for the first million each incident.  Those liability dollars out came from something else, generally called program and support.

 

I can tell you from my recent experience, your state's minimum insurance standards also play a role. When you allow folks to drive with a pitiful amount of minimum insurance AND they have fly-by-night insurance company, you know it is OUR insurance (and BSA's) that will pay.

 

Until THAT is fixed, having good personal insurance -- and BSA's secondary insurance -- will be all you have to protect you.

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Yah, @@John-in-KC, yeh raise a good point, eh?

 

As da BSA has been experiencin' financial pressures (da pressures that have resulted in the dues increases), we're also seein' more activity prohibitions, eh?    These activity prohibitions like Bubble-ball aren't based on da BSA's own experience (no injuries) or on broader data (there isn't any), at least as far as we know.

 

One thing is true, though.  Anti-toy-gun PC stuff aside, da prohibitions are comin' on activities where there's limited actuarial data.   New sports, like bubble ball.   @@RichardB would have to let us look behind da curtain to be sure, but I expect that there's a correlation between da BSA's financial position and da willingness to authorize new sports or other activities (punkin' chunkin') with limited safety data.   In other words, intense risk-aversion.

 

Just a guess.

 

Beavah

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I don't have a problem with an organization doing all they can do to protect themselves, but there comes a point where one can "protect oneself" right out of the business.  I'm not saying BSA is doing this, but it seems eerily like it to me.

 

What are non-BSA programs doing to protect themselves?  Are they cost effective or even feasible?  I dunno, that's why I personally over-insure myself.

 

And when one gets right down to the nitty-gritty of the situation, anyone can sue anybody for any reason.  They may not win, but it's gonna cost ya a wad of cash to protect oneself.  Like the Good Samaritan laws.  You can be sued for doing something and you can be sued for not doing anything.  That's why I have a $1M umbrella policy that says, I am insured $1M against stupid people.  Although I have never been in a serious car accident, I still carry $1M personal injury on anyone riding with me so I'm protected from the other stupid people that find it necessary to be on the road at any given time.  Driving is the riskiest thing I do because a lot depends on the "other person". 

 

Is it worth it financially to place all one's eggs in the BSA insurance basket?  Not me.  :)

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