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Cambridgeskip

Pinning down volunteers

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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 institution), the more likely you are to be targeted by a malicious accuser.

 

i think we're saying exactly the same thing here!

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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

We might be different.

 

Maybe I'm on the wrong side of the tracks, but I have enough acquaintances who lost jobs and their freedom to know that this is more than just people worrying about their social standing.

 

Some folks have a firm belief that "If I just do my own thing for my own kids, I won't do hard time."

How valid is that belief? I don't know. I do know that guys who were just someone's uncle, parent, or spouse get jail time. But I don't think you make a recruit by telling someone that staying out of scouting is no safer than signing on.

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Umpteen years ago,  my first wife decided she wanted her "freedom".  I won't go into the details, but I eventually had full custody of our then four year old daughter. A single adult male.  In the ensuing years, I was visited by my daughter's school staff,  her best friend's father ,after allowing his daughter to visit our home, refused to let his daughter come again,  I coached (with a male partner, out in fields) my daughter's soccer team (after three seasons, we were the league champs),  daughter first wanted to join Brownies, but TPTB decided I would NOT be a GSUSA Leader. Daughter decided she did not want to be a "fashion and cookie" Scout (her words). 

I came to understand our unique situation, my unique situation.  With help of other family, we progressed.  There was always , it seemed, something hanging over me, us.  But I think my previous reputation certainly did help,  in judicial, social, and familial considerations. 

 

Now, the daughter is grown, the stepsons (second good marriage) are grown .  All , I believe, have come to see the past situations as "learning" to benefit from. The youngest, Scoutson,  is grown and almost on his own :-) .  As a now "single " male in Scouting, I do what is appropriate in this climate.  As a Jamboree Chaplain, I was called on to counsel some troubled Scouts.  I would invite them to "step into my office", which was the hillside outside their camp, in view of a ASM.  We would talk there.  I was asked to speak to an adult  Scouter, we stepped to the far end of the Dining tent, and he vented. I copy all emails to others. 

I was once asked by a ASM in our Troop to NOT cc him in every email, he was "tired of deleting my uninteresting stuff".  I explained to him my need to apply YP standards to my communications, and he ultimately apologized. He had not considered that idea. 

I counsel Bugling MB.   Folks have asked, couldn't you CLOSE the Band Room door??  I tell them no,  I have to leave it open...  And smile....

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I was once asked by a ASM in our Troop to NOT cc him in every email, he was "tired of deleting my uninteresting stuff".  I explained to him my need to apply YP standards to my communications, and he ultimately apologized. He had not considered that idea

 

Wow...just, wow. Not sure I would want that guy in my troop if the light bulb was just then going off.

 

Someone snoozed during Leader-specific training and YPT.

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A single guy can be accused of inappropriate conduct even in broad daylight with dozens of people around.  I'll give you an example.

 

When I was a young teacher and baseball coach, I was accused (by a mother) of fondling myself in public.  She filed a complaint with the school, and a whole investigation ensued.  It turned out that the mother didn't know what an athletic cup was, or that they can require adjustment.

 

Of course, I was completely exonerated.  

 

The mother than started a campaign to require that all players and coaches be required to leave the field and retire to the washrooms when they needed to adjust their cups.  (Players would have to be removed from the game, as umpires will not delay a game for that reason.)

 

There are some women out there who just hold firmly to the notion that women are good and men are bad, and won't hesitate to make an unjust accusation against their kids' coaches and scout leaders. 

 

I wouldn't blame any man for choosing to not volunteer under these conditions.  I wouldn't blame them one bit.

Edited by David CO

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A troop with 18 ASM's? 42 ASM's?

 

80 Scouts at a 1:10 ratio requires at least 8 ASMs. Need redundancy for some things, so that's another 8. Several retiring so that number will drop to 14 most likely. That's our usual equilibrium.

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I see myself only having a few more years at the Troop level volunteering before the awkward kicks in.

 

When I aged out, nobody questioned my intentions to stay involved and become an ASM. Now as a single 23 year old, with a newer generation of parents coming in and taking up adult leadership roles I doubt I'll be as welcomed.

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I see myself only having a few more years at the Troop level volunteering before the awkward kicks in.

 

When I aged out, nobody questioned my intentions to stay involved and become an ASM. Now as a single 23 year old, with a newer generation of parents coming in and taking up adult leadership roles I doubt I'll be as welcomed.

 

In my area we tend to get adults signing up to be ASMs so they can get on high adventure crews. These types show up a few times a year, don't do much the rest of the year, but want to be considered for the coveted HA spots when the become available. So we had to insist on ASMs taking "roles" within the unit, either helping to over see the first year program, merit badges, rank advancement, youth leader training, OA, camping, high adventure, program planning, service projects, Eagle coaching, etc. No role, no ASM patch.

 

We do have a few that remain on the roster who are solely Eagle coaches. They never do anything other than that. Of course, we always talk with folks to let them know the reasoning for the units position. It's simply not fair for someone who never does anything to take a place of someone who puts in more time.

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In my area we tend to get adults signing up to be ASMs so they can get on high adventure crews. These types show up a few times a year, don't do much the rest of the year, but want to be considered for the coveted HA spots when the become available. So we had to insist on ASMs taking "roles" within the unit, either helping to over see the first year program, merit badges, rank advancement, youth leader training, OA, camping, high adventure, program planning, service projects, Eagle coaching, etc. No role, no ASM patch.

 

We do have a few that remain on the roster who are solely Eagle coaches. They never do anything other than that. Of course, we always talk with folks to let them know the reasoning for the units position. It's simply not fair for someone who never does anything to take a place of someone who puts in more time.

Totally. I wasn't refering to that. More so the single adult male stigma as I get older.

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Totally. I wasn't refering to that. More so the single adult male stigma as I get older.

 

Yeah, that does tend to raise a few eyebrows. To put a humorous spin to that idea....

 

I was driving back home having dropped kid #2 off at school. I am going through a middle school zone before school. Two boys are trying to call a dog about 30 yards away to come to them. The dog is all mangy, malnourished and very aggressive. Why they were calling it was beyond me. Then I see why the "dog" is not going over to them, so I stop, roll down the window and tell them. "Hey boys, you know that's a coyote...and he's probably rabid." They respond, "Thanks, Mister." Then I say, "You probably want to head to class and leave him alone."

 

At that moment I became EXTREMELY aware I was a middle-aged male, driving through a school zone, stopped with my window down talking to two boys. Sad how society can make one feel so horrible doing something as simple as trying to keep someone else's kids safe.

Edited by Col. Flagg

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Totally. I wasn't refering to that. More so the single adult male stigma as I get older.

 

Where abouts in the states are you? Is that the same everywhere? Or does it vary across the country?

 

While we have plenty of parents working with cubs and beavers we see very few with scouts and explorers. Of the 12 adults I mentioned above only 1 is a parent of a current scout with 1 more being a grandparent (albeit his grandson is at another group) with an average age of 31.  Given that low number of parents we have we'd have troops and units fighting over a 23 year old leader! If you don't feel welcome round your way feel free to come over this way, we'll certainly sign you up :)

 

I think we have more of a problem here with men who think they will be thought of as a danger to children than we do with people who actually think that they are.

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Where abouts in the states are you? Is that the same everywhere? Or does it vary across the country?

 

While we have plenty of parents working with cubs and beavers we see very few with scouts and explorers. Of the 12 adults I mentioned above only 1 is a parent of a current scout with 1 more being a grandparent (albeit his grandson is at another group) with an average age of 31.  Given that low number of parents we have we'd have troops and units fighting over a 23 year old leader! If you don't feel welcome round your way feel free to come over this way, we'll certainly sign you up :)

 

I think we have more of a problem here with men who think they will be thought of as a danger to children than we do with people who actually think that they are.

I live in the US. Ohio. The current adults and I are tight knit. I was a Scout when our current Scoutmasters son joined the troop. But that was 7 years ago.

 

Its rare in the US to have young single troop volunteers. Dating, college, working, and the stigma have something to do with it. It mostly comes from new parents or folks outside of scouting.

 

Plenty of young adults volunteering at the district and council level in my council. That's probably where I'll focus most scouting volunteering in the future.

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Where abouts in the states are you? Is that the same everywhere? Or does it vary across the country?

 

While we have plenty of parents working with cubs and beavers we see very few with scouts and explorers. ..

Western PA here, and the attitude is much Ohio. Based on posts on this blog, I think it is nation-wide.

 

If I were you @@Sentinel947, I would take 'Skip up on his offer.

 

In fact, @@Cambridgeskip, any chance you lot will take gaffers? On day my crew is bound to replace me. :sleep:

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