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Cambridgeskip

Pinning down volunteers

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Sorry, but I had to laugh at the thread title. Just gave me images of Ralphie pinning down Scott Farkas. Must admit, there have been a few volunteers that I've wanted to, well, you know... :blink:  ;) 

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It is as pervasive as it seems to be getting here?

 

I clearly do fear having the finger pointed at me.  I think many people have that opinion too.  Strongly so.  I think any adult that volunteers in a youth program should have concern.  And if they don't have concern, then I'd be concerned about them. 

 

I don't think it blocks volunteer.  But it clearly changes the experience.  And by changing that experience, I think it does affect how many volunteers you get.  

 

Perhaps what changed volunteering even more is this ... adult volunteers in the 1970s (especially in cub scouts) would wait until the kids were asleep and then partake in a beer or two.  As long as I've been in scouting, events have been dry.  I think that has had as much of an impact as anything else.  ... A good impact, but still an impact.

Edited by fred johnson

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We had a neighbor 25 years ago who wouldn't let my 6 year old daughter come to his house to play with his kids until his wife was home. We thought it strange at the time, but not today.

 

I've done that exact thing.  When friends visit, kids are required to stay outside until wife is home.  I've even kept the garage door open and moved cars out so kids could play outside in the garage during a heavy rain.  

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In my experience, the biggest impediment to recruiting adult volunteers is time commitment fro training. We require position appropriate training before registering them.  Some won't do anything because they just don't want to be bothered. Some will volunteer only for those positions with minimal online training. A very few will take on the positions tat require training beyond online training.

 

But the fear of the legal allegation is very real. We work really hard to develop techniques to prevent that, including YPT techniques espoused by BSA. 

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Maybe I'm just naive, but I just don't see getting sued over sexual abuse as the only reason to get sued. You're taking someone's child on a campout. All sorts of things can go wrong. Cooking bacon, climbing on rocks, throwing rocks, campfires, weather, bears, alligators, the list goes on. Not only that but we're encouraging them to do things on their own.

 

Now, how many scouts have died in the past 10 years? How many have been sexually molested? How many scouters have sued, been sent to jail, or for some other reason been caught up in the legal system over these tragedies? Is the probability higher or lower than being hit by lightning above timberline?

 

This is a big boogie man. People don't volunteer because they don't want to spend their time with children. There are lots of reasons but the folks that say they don't want to be sued are the same people that shouldn't be working with scouts anyway because they'll never let the scouts do anything fun.

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In my experience, the biggest impediment to recruiting adult volunteers is time commitment fro training. We require position appropriate training before registering them.  Some won't do anything because they just don't want to be bothered. Some will volunteer only for those positions with minimal online training. A very few will take on the positions tat require training beyond online training.

 

But the fear of the legal allegation is very real. We work really hard to develop techniques to prevent that, including YPT techniques espoused by BSA. 

 

Our unit requires all ASMs to take S11 and S24, as well as all online training and CPR/AED. The goal is to make sure that if the SM drops, we can keep going. This approach does send some folks packing, and good riddance. If they don't want to be trained they don't have the commitment to keeping the boys safe. Those who do step up are worth their weight in gold. That said, we have nearly 18 active ASMs. 

 

What keeps them up at night? Accusations, accidents on their watch, getting sued, parent drama.

Edited by Col. Flagg
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Our unit requires all ASMs to take S11 and S24, as well as all online training and CPR/AED. The goal is to make sure that if the SM drops, we can keep going. This approach does send some folks packing, and good riddance. If they don't want to be trained they don't have the commitment to keeping the boys safe. Those who do step up are worth their weight in gold. That said, we have nearly 18 active ASMs. 

 

What keeps them up at night? Accusations, accidents on their watch, getting sued, parent drama.

 

We have 1 SM and 42 ASMs, but probably half those ASMs are not particularly active. We don't require CPR/AED for all of them, but some are certified climbing instructors, some are NRA SORs, some are certified for archery....we see most of the less active ones 2 or 3 times a year depending on how often we need their skills. It's the recruiting for the ASMs that we ask to show up every week that gets difficult sometimes.

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We have 1 SM and 42 ASMs, but probably half those ASMs are not particularly active. We don't require CPR/AED for all of them, but some are certified climbing instructors, some are NRA SORs, some are certified for archery....we see most of the less active ones 2 or 3 times a year depending on how often we need their skills. It's the recruiting for the ASMs that we ask to show up every week that gets difficult sometimes.

I've seen troops require the ASMs to take a role or stop being ASMs. In other words you're active or youre not an ASM.

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I've seen troops require the ASMs to take a role or stop being ASMs. In other words you're active or youre not an ASM.

 

I certainly can live with that, provided you have a sufficiently flexible definition of "active." For example, we conduct that annual district camporee, and we need a lot of those guys who show up only once or twice a year to be able to hold the shooting and climbing events, for example.

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Maybe I'm just naive, but I just don't see getting sued over sexual abuse as the only reason to get sued. You're taking someone's child on a campout. All sorts of things can go wrong. Cooking bacon, climbing on rocks, throwing rocks, campfires, weather, bears, alligators, the list goes on. Not only that but we're encouraging them to do things on their own.

 

Now, how many scouts have died in the past 10 years? How many have been sexually molested? How many scouters have sued, been sent to jail, or for some other reason been caught up in the legal system over these tragedies? Is the probability higher or lower than being hit by lightning above timberline?

 

This is a big boogie man. People don't volunteer because they don't want to spend their time with children. There are lots of reasons but the folks that say they don't want to be sued are the same people that shouldn't be working with scouts anyway because they'll never let the scouts do anything fun.

 

I can see the difference. Kid breaks there leg hiking, you get a complaint and whether it goes legal or not, whether it's upheld or not it will never carry the same stigma of child abuse.

 

That's not to say I worry about it because I know that such allegations are vanishingly rare, but I do get the difference.

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I can see the difference. Kid breaks there leg hiking, you get a complaint and whether it goes legal or not, whether it's upheld or not it will never carry the same stigma of child abuse.

 

That's not to say I worry about it because I know that such allegations are vanishingly rare, but I do get the difference.

Broken leg: accident/liability insurance kicks in.

 

There's no insurance for accusations of criminal conduct.

 

Stigma is the least of worries.

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Broken leg: accident/liability insurance kicks in.

 

There's no insurance for accusations of criminal conduct.

 

Stigma is the least of worries.

 

But I think the stigma is more what people, at least this side of the pond, are concerned about. Most people can see that if you conduct yourself properly and follow the rules (eg avoid being 1 to 1 with a child) then you are not realistically going to be falsely prosecuted. The issue more is that someone makes an unsubstantiated complaint and no mater how much you are exonerated the mud sticks

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I certainly can live with that, provided you have a sufficiently flexible definition of "active." For example, we conduct that annual district camporee, and we need a lot of those guys who show up only once or twice a year to be able to hold the shooting and climbing events, for example.

You need to head up something, staff several things. You can't just exist and think you're taking up a high adventure spot or summer camp role.

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But I think the stigma is more what people, at least this side of the pond, are concerned about. Most people can see that if you conduct yourself properly and follow the rules (eg avoid being 1 to 1 with a child) then you are not realistically going to be falsely prosecuted. The issue more is that someone makes an unsubstantiated complaint and no mater how much you are exonerated the mud sticks

This always a risk whether coaching sports or in scouting. Or as others have pointed out, kids having friends over. To be honest I stay away from kids I think are "trouble". Yes that's bad but it just takes one erroneous complaint to "stick" as you say.

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But I think the stigma is more what people, at least this side of the pond, are concerned about. Most people can see that if you conduct yourself properly and follow the rules (eg avoid being 1 to 1 with a child) then you are not realistically going to be falsely prosecuted. The issue more is that someone makes an unsubstantiated complaint and no mater how much you are exonerated the mud sticks

 

In my experience, avoiding 1 on 1 contact gives a person zero protection against false accusations.  A person who makes false accusations (for malice or profit) can tell any story they want.  

 

The scariest kind of accusations take place weeks, months, or years after the events are supposed to have occurred. Avoiding 1 on 1 with kids can help to avoid honest misunderstandings.  It does nothing to stop the most dangerous accusers.

 

Ironically, the more liability insurance you have (personal or institutional) to protect yourself, the more likely you are to be targeted by a malicious accuser.

Edited by David CO

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