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GoingTheDistance

Age requirement guidelines

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I am new to the scouts, please excuse any incorrect terminology. A den leader keeps having her 12 year old boy scout watch over a group of cub scouts as they venture off to areas non-visible to adults. Two parents told the leader they were uncomfortable for a child to be responsible for a group of children. The leader's response was that the boy (her son) was a boy scout so it's fine. This is unacceptable to me, so I always tag along with the boys. One time the boys went on a hike and found a large piece of rusty tin roof, a few boys (including the 12 yr old boyscout) began to jump and run on it, I explained to them that what they were doing was dangerous, only the boy scout refused to listen and kept jumping. I tried to read the age appropriate guidelines, I can't find the answer to my question- is it acceptable for a boy scout to monitor a group of cub scouts with no adult supervision? If anyone could answer this, I'd very much appreciate it.

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There should be two adult trained leaders present at all Cub Scout activities.  This den leader is blatantly disregarding the scouts’ safety.  You should discuss this with the Cubmaster if the den leader is not responding.  If interested, I’d recommend you take the BSA youth protection training and you will quickly see that the den leader is violating it. 

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A 12-year-old Boy Scout (Den Chief or not) is not an adult and cannot take the place of an adult for YPT purposes.

The Guide to Safe Scouting says:

"Two-deep leadership on all outings required.  A minimum of two registered adult leaders, or one registered leader and a participating Scout’s parent, or another adult is required for all trips and outings.  One of these adults must be 21 years of age or older."

While this doesn't sound like an "outing", Cub Scouts still require adult supervision.  Den Chiefs are activities assistants, but they are still youth - not adults.

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I think the first few responders may be misreading what was posted.  This isn't a case of not having two adults on an outing, clearly there is a den leader and at least this one parent .  This is a question of whether Cubs must have an adult directly watching them at all times.  There is nothing in the G2SS that mandates this.  

So the answer is going to be very subjective, seven year old Wolves aren't ten year old Webelos, and walking through the local park isn't the same as either a back yard or a big Metro park.  In my opinion, 7, 8, 9, and 10 year olds don't have to have adult eyes on them at all times --- that certainly was not the standard when i was growing up, and I can't see how you can have that as the standard and then expect first year, 10.5 to 11 year old Boy Scouts, understand how to behave on a campout under primarily the supervision of a Patrol Leader or Senior Patrol Leader.

As an example of sanctioned supervision levels similar to what the OP describes, our Cub day camp uses teen counselors, 14-17,  leading den size groups of cubs through their stations at our council camp during Cub Day Camp.  There are adults on staff, but the cubs themselves are usually moving around sans any adult eyes directly on them as they make their way through their day.  

Without a lot more detail about ages, distances, locations, instructions to the den chief, etc. I can't render a specific opinion. But there isn't a clear violation here, and with what's described I would probably be more comfortable with the Den leader's views then the OP's.  

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6 hours ago, T2Eagle said:

So the answer is going to be very subjective, seven year old Wolves aren't ten year old Webelos, and walking through the local park isn't the same as either a back yard or a big Metro park.  In my opinion, 7, 8, 9, and 10 year olds don't have to have adult eyes on them at all times --- that certainly was not the standard when i was growing up, and I can't see how you can have that as the standard and then expect first year, 10.5 to 11 year old Boy Scouts, understand how to behave on a campout under primarily the supervision of a Patrol Leader or Senior Patrol Leader.

As an example of sanctioned supervision levels similar to what the OP describes, our Cub day camp uses teen counselors, 14-17,  leading den size groups of cubs through their stations at our council camp during Cub Day Camp.  There are adults on staff, but the cubs themselves are usually moving around sans any adult eyes directly on them as they make their way through their day.  

Without a lot more detail about ages, distances, locations, instructions to the den chief, etc. I can't render a specific opinion. But there isn't a clear violation here, and with what's described I would probably be more comfortable with the Den leader's views then the OP's.  

T2Eagle answered this perfectly.

As he said, there can be “sanctioned supervision”. I did work at a day camp, and there was 12 bears and two den leaders (myself & someone else that was 15). We did take good 5 minute hikes to some stations without any adult supervision. BUT, we did have to take YPT, and all those other courses. 

In my opinion, if there is atleast two adults I don’t see why you would need a 12 year old to go out by himself? Atleast have two Boy Scouts go together and lead because that’s the best way to go. The den leader in your situation isn’t entirely breaking anything, but I wouldn’t suggest it. 

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Talk to your den leader,  this stuff is a balancing act.  It sounds like her son is acting as Den Chief, which is a role for a Boy Scout to help with Cub Scouts,  or he could be a tagalong.

https://www.scouting.org/programs/cub-scouts/leaders/about/the-pack/csdcf/

I think you are right to help supervise and chip in if the boys are under-supervised.   

Cub Scouts are little wild creatures and not always easy to control.  Also, adults have different tolerances for safety,  but IMO the den leader should have been on the hike, and should have supported you when you asked the boys to stop.

Here is an example of different tolerances for safety.  Little patch of ice on the ground,  a frozen puddle.  12 year old scout wants to "skate" on the ice.   Scouter tells him to stop, but parent is OK with it.   Scouter says that kid could fall and get a concussion and have brain damage so he is right.    Very different perspectives on safety.   

I think that in Cubs, parents voices and concerns should always be heard. 

Perhaps you would volunteer to be Assistant Den Leader?   You will have a voice on the Pack committee.  

Everybody makes mistakes, so do your best to work through it and support your son's Scouting journey.   Best wishes!

Edited by WisconsinMomma

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Was this 12 year old scout recommended by his SPL and approved by his SM to be the scouts den chief. Or, is he just tagging along as someone's older brother?

There's a big difference. Underlying all of those rules for YPT are sixeteen points for safe scouting. The first is qualified supervision, the last is discipline. The one involves training, the other trust. This applies to scouts and Cubs and adults ... Albeit at different levels.

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If the Boy Scout disobeyed the parent instructions he’s not doing what the den leader wanted which is to protect and monitor the boys. Den chiefs are there to assist the den leader not replace them. I learned that in my den leader training. Either this scout and den leader are not trained or they are reading too much in to it. The den leader leads and the den chief assist. 

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56 minutes ago, Back Pack said:

If the Boy Scout disobeyed the parent instructions he’s not doing what the den leader wanted which is to protect and monitor the boys. Den chiefs are there to assist the den leader not replace them. I learned that in my den leader training. Either this scout and den leader are not trained or they are reading too much in to it. The den leader leads and the den chief assist. 

I was one for a few years as well. We were taught too that we are more like a “friend” of the cub scouts. We didn’t do discipline, administrative, etc. We were basically aides that just followed the leader.

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YPT requires a trained adult leader to monitor and guide any youth leaders.  First it isn’t clear the Boy was a youth leader and second it seems clear that he was not monitored by and adult leader.  I’d also state that if parents are raising concens the den leader should be addressing them.

 

 

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In response to the information given to me-

I do not know if the boy has any (trained) scout titles other than boy scout. 

During the tin roof situation, the boys were playing together nearby when suddenly they jolted into the woods. I was setting up a tent when I saw them run off and I asked the adult leaders what the boys were doing, they said going on a hike. I asked who was going with them, they said,  "the den leaders son, it's okay, he's a boy scout." I then ran off to join them.

The cub scout's age ranges are 7-10. The latest occurrence involved the 12 yr old boy scout monitoring 8 cub scouts, 1 cub being prone to seizures and 2 cubs struggling with mental disorders that sometimes involve violent physical outbursts. The boys were sent to a gym approximately 300 ft from the room the parents were. Although not a major distance, I still joined the boys. The boy scout in no way had control, they were to play kickball, instead they were running full speed up, down, and under the bleachers. I asked the boys to stop, they wouldn't. I took my son and we left. 

Thank you for the invite. My son loves the idea of being a boy scout, and I want him to have a great experience... there's just several incidents to have occured that's left me baffled and unsure if this is the right program for him. 

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Sorry but sounds like lazy adult leadership. Cubs require two deep adult leadership at all times. 

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1 hour ago, GoingTheDistance said:

Thank you for the invite. My son loves the idea of being a boy scout, and I want him to have a great experience... there's just several incidents to have occured that's left me baffled and unsure if this is the right program for him. 

I have a few observations:

  1. Do not judge the program by a single pack. Units vary wildly.
  2. I have not seen you state that you have had a discussion with the Cubmaster. If not, you should. If you have, what was the response?
  3. A Boy Scout does not equal Den Chief. Den Chiefs must be selected by SPL with guidance of the SM, and approved by the Cubmaster and Pack Committee to be recommended as Den Chief to the Den Leader. The Den Chief must be a n older Scout (not well defined, but I am not sure 12 would be considered older). Many Troops will not allow a youth to become Den Chief until they reach First Class ( I was told this is not required by BSA from a parent that complained about the SM's rule, but he rule makes sense to me).
  4. Den Chief does not equal baby sitter. The Den Leader is still responsible. Shirking that duty is not acceptable. If I were a Cubmaster, I do not think I would be keen on the idea of a Den Chief serving in the den run by their parent, but that is a personal choice, not BSA policy. 
  5. If this unit does not work for you, look for a different unit. Packs are the most abundant unit in BSA, there is likely one, or several, nearby.
  6. Please do not take offense to this, but reevaluate your perspective. As a Commissioner I have routinely seen/heard accounts of situations that one or both sides of an issue see though colored lens. Often, once we start talking through the situation, one or both sides see how they may have misinterpreted what was going on. Not saying that is the case here, but it is a good place to start in many cases.
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