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Scout Killed at Camp Bert Adams - Falling Tree - GA

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56 minutes ago, mashmaster said:

I understand that part.  I was just shocked at the picture.   I was commented about the fact that the family filing a law suit isn't necessarily unreasonable and that I am not an expert on the situation.

I lived in the Seattle area and have seen what happens when a freak wind storm sweeps through.  100' fir trees slice through 2 story houses like a hot knife through butter.

 

The camp is East of Atlanta (proper) about 40 miles.  Bert Adams has been Atlanta Area Council property since around 1960 (+/-).   There was a storm front moving through, not all that surprising for mid-summer in Georgia.  My recollection is there was not a long term warning about severe weather threats, just thunderstorms.  There were some microbursts that hit the area.  Those are very random and literally will knock a couple of trees down and 20' away not damage.

Woodruff (the AAC mountain camp) was hit by a severe line on a Saturday afternoon in late June, so no campers on property, and maybe 30 tents and platforms were damaged.

Honestly not sure what can be done other than the obvious.  Remove any dead trees, that is normal.  The tree(s) in question were alive.  Remove any visibly damaged / aged / insect infested trees.  Short of having all campsites and program areas in a big field (which opens up other potential issues) or removing all the trees, there is a limited action.  I guess don't go outside and hang out in an office park would be a solution.

They certainly have a right to sue.  It has been 6 months so my assumption is there was behind the scenes work to have a settlement.  The family may be interested in a consent decree to implement different actions than BSA currently has in place.  Interestingly they appear to be suing the Atlanta Area Council directly.  The suit was filed in Cobb County, where the council office is physically located.  They may also be suing National BSA, but that was not mentioned in the WSB or Atlanta Journal articles

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A parent's grief about losing the "Light" in their life.

https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Cypress-Boy-Scout-s-legacy-lives-on-through-13524961.php

“Scouting should be adventurous without being life threatening,” said father Stephen Knight, who is also an Eagle Scout. “If (the Boy Scouts) follow their own existing policies or improve the policies that they have in place, it could have led to a different result.”

As a SM or ASM do you depend for the camp director or ranger to hit the siren or do you monitor weather and make the go call yourself?  Have you found yourself and unit alone in seeking shelter?

“Start everything with kindness, and the end will be OK.” - Elijah Knight, scout.

 

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44 minutes ago, RememberSchiff said:

A parent's grief about losing the "Light" in their life.

https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Cypress-Boy-Scout-s-legacy-lives-on-through-13524961.php

“Scouting should be adventurous without being life threatening,” said father Stephen Knight, who is also an Eagle Scout. “If (the Boy Scouts) follow their own existing policies or improve the policies that they have in place, it could have led to a different result.”

As a SM or ASM do you depend for the camp director or ranger to hit the siren or do you monitor weather and make the go call yourself?  Have you found yourself and unit alone in seeking shelter?

“Start everything with kindness, and the end will be OK.” - Elijah Knight, scout.

 

After reading this I see their point.  Before I was under the impression that the storm was unexpected and their lawsuit was suggesting that the camp should have removed all trees in jeopardy of falling.  

Learning now that there was a severe thunderstorm warning, this does seem like a valid argument.  As unit leaders we should have responsibility to see that our Scouts are in a shelter if possible.  However, when at a council facility, the camp staff should make sure that everyone is alerted in the case of a severe thunderstorm warning and that sheltering plans are known and understood.  For council camps that are not primitive camps and where shelters do exist, the staff really ought to have a working system to get the boys there.  I don't see that as degrading the Scouting experience and it seems like a practical step.

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54 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

After reading this I see their point.  Before I was under the impression that the storm was unexpected and their lawsuit was suggesting that the camp should have removed all trees in jeopardy of falling.  

Learning now that there was a severe thunderstorm warning, this does seem like a valid argument.  As unit leaders we should have responsibility to see that our Scouts are in a shelter if possible.  However, when at a council facility, the camp staff should make sure that everyone is alerted in the case of a severe thunderstorm warning and that sheltering plans are known and understood.  For council camps that are not primitive camps and where shelters do exist, the staff really ought to have a working system to get the boys there.  I don't see that as degrading the Scouting experience and it seems like a practical step.

If its a council ran camping (resident or weekend event), aren't they supposed to have a shelter available? Primitive or not?

Our local summer camp watches that radar like a hawk.  Every summer it never fails that at least half the weeks get a storm.

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On 1/9/2019 at 1:37 PM, Jameson76 said:

Woodruff (the AAC mountain camp) was hit by a severe line on a Saturday afternoon in late June, so no campers on property, and maybe 30 tents and platforms were damaged.

We were at Woodruff the week following the incident at Bert Adams, and were one of several units there on a Saturday.  For a small additional fee, they allowed us to arrive on Saturday evening, as we drove just about 12 hours to get there.

 

47 minutes ago, scotteg83 said:

If its a council ran camping (resident or weekend event), aren't they supposed to have a shelter available? Primitive or not?

Our local summer camp watches that radar like a hawk.  Every summer it never fails that at least half the weeks get a storm.

Our council camp has an early warning system in place for both storms and lightning.  During our week there in June, the entire camp assembled in the dining hall twice, once for about 2 hours due to severe lightning in the area.  Not at all unusual for summer in Central Florida.

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Our troop was in an adjacent campsite. It was no more than 150 yards from that site to hard shelter. The alarm did sound beforehand, by a couple minutes. Staff are youth also and can't be expected to go through each campsite. Moreover, the trees that fell were not nearly dead - it was wind shear that sliced them in half. Just my two cents.

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Here is the complaint...

https://www.covnews.com/documents/391/Knight_Complaint_-_1.8.19_-_STAMPED_FILED.PDF

Seems it claims that despite a severe storm warning the camp never activated their alarm system.  Supposedly the scout, if he had been alerted, would have had enough time to make it to a nearby designated safe structure.

Edited by NealOnWheels

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Related, a story of preventative measures at a scout camp done by the Job Corps forestry program. Job Corps is the nation’s largest free education and job training program for young adults from ages 16 to 24. 

 

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