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Is this the new normal?

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On ‎7‎/‎4‎/‎2018 at 11:14 AM, Eagledad said:

Any reasonable adult had little trouble with the guideline because common sense tells us it’s a safety issue. 

 

I think this just might be the issue in a nutshell.  The BSA isn't creating "rules" in the Guide to Safe Scouting for reasonable adults with common sense.  They're creating them for the adults that almost every other warning out there is for.  We may roll our eyes at the warning labels on the top steps of ladders that warn not to stand there, and on the sides of ladders saying don't use near power lines, but they are there because there are adult who stand on the top of ladders and reach beyond their limits that tumble and break their legs, or arms, or heads.  There are adults that lack the common sense to know not to use a ladder near power lines and will actually lean their ladders on power lines.  Granted, they're in the minority, and possibly wouldn't read the warnings anyway, but that's what we're reduced to - feeling that our intelligence is being insulted by lawyers and risk management folks because of what we consider to be stupid rules.

One would think it would be common sense not to hold a child upside down over a hard wood floor (or concrete, or ?) high enough so one adult could pin a small pin on them "upside down" in case the kid gets dropped on their head and potentially do some serious damage to their heads and spines - but we saw enough people in this forum defending the practice because their sense of it was that it was a ridiculous idea - that it would never happen.  Common sense tells us that risk management folks tend to be far more reactive than they are proactive - so there is a very good chance that some Cub Scout, somewhere down the line in the 1990's, got dropped on their head and is now in a wheelchair for the rest of their life.

The professionals at the BSA can make these policies because they are the ones responsible for minimizing the risks for the corporation that is the BSA.  I've said it a few times before, I'll say it again - the Guide to Safe Scouting's primary purpose (sorry, Richard B., I know the BSA doesn't want to admit this publicly) is to protect the Corporation that is the BSA - that it also serves to protect the Scouts and the Volunteers is a bonus - but also secondary.  The BSA is like every other corporation with what are essentially HR policies (and don't think for a second that these policies in the G2SS aren't a form of HR policy directed at volunteers) - they are there to protect the corporation.

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You’re missing the point CP, a warning of the danger would have been a reasonable explanation, National chose to insult and demean their volunteers into submission by basically saying the adults have intentions. I believe the motivation for holding a scout up-side-down is as much hazing as letting scouts camp without adults. Zero. But National chose the low road.

Barry

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1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

You’re missing the point CP, a warning of the danger would have been a reasonable explanation, National chose to insult and demean their volunteers into submission by basically saying the adults have intentions. I believe the motivation for holding a scout up-side-down is as much hazing as letting scouts camp without adults. Zero. But National chose the low road.

Barry

I do get your point - and I agree, a warning of the danger would be a reasonable explanation, for a reasonable adult with common sense.  Alas, these rules aren't being written for reasonable adults with common sense - they're being written for the adults that hold fireworks in their hands while lighting them, or who pour charcoal lighter fluid on a lit fire in order to make it burn faster. 

I agree that holding a Cub Scout upside down doesn't reach the level of hazing but I'll give the BSA the benefit of the doubt that they're just being over-emphatic about it to reach those folks that just won't get it otherwise.

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2 hours ago, Eagledad said:

You’re missing the point CP, a warning of the danger would have been a reasonable explanation, National chose to insult and demean their volunteers into submission by basically saying the adults have intentions.

I agree this is the problem. The G2SS has become a club to beat well meaning Scouters on issues orthogonal to safety.

On 7/3/2018 at 2:40 PM, RichardB said:

Et al, it's 2018, the 90's were a long time ago.    Lots of other ways to bond found in the actual literature, no need to make it up as you go and put kids and yourself at risk.  

No where is this more apparent than on the gun related issues. The first parts of the guns restrictions are entirely reasonable but unrelated to safety. The ban on shooting at silhouettes isn't primarily a safety ban it is mostly philosophical. Now *I* strongly support this. I think having folks in the liberal church be willing to learn gun safety under the guise of marksmanship is a huge win. Having more Americans familiar with guns and gun safety as a tools, independent of the political debates is worthwhile. But the latter sections of the ban on pointing *"guns"* at humanoid targets is a natural philosophical follow on not safety driven. Claiming otherwise is disingenuous.,

Likewise with the ban on fighting/boxing/martial arts. This is clearly a terrible idea. Scouts shouldn't fight one another. This is a huge vector for hazing. Lots of badness here. But is the issue fundamentally safety or philosophical... You could argue it either way; a ban is clearly in order.

This becomes even more clear when considering allowed activities. ATVs are a prime example of suspected pay2play. Here is a activity that is whitewashed based on industry money and kid interest. American Academy of Pediatrics and others recommends a ban on <16kids sinces ATVs are unsafe. My wife has never done autopsies on kids shooting nerf/water guns or even more problematic paintball guns but has done several autopsies on ATV riders. 

I think National needs to explain which restrictions are philosophically driven and which are data driven safety concerns and that would at least  focus these arguments properly.

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On ‎7‎/‎3‎/‎2018 at 4:17 PM, Eagledad said:

Thanks Richard

Interesting. Nothing in your post changes  what I've been trying to say. The Laser Tag restriction at best is a bit patronizing, over controlling, and over protective. Scouting is a safe place to practice how to differentiate between harm and fun. I believe today's helicopter parenting (and helicopter mentoring in scouting) adults are a result of not giving youth practice in these kinds of activities.

Barry

Funny, I was not aware of the laser tag thing either and my daughter's pack has a scheduled laser tag event next month.

My son has attended numerous birthday parties with fellow scouts at the local laser tag and I think his pack went there as an organized event a few times (memory fails me).

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On 7/3/2018 at 3:40 PM, RichardB said:

https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/gss/gss07/  - suggest you all review, it's got some new material and presented in a different format.    Even includes a safety moment to share on why somethings need to be unauthorized.    

That is all great information (leaving aside any disputes about whether particular activities should be restricted or not), but it brings me back to a point I have made before.  Right there on that page are 19 unauthorized/restricted activities and the Sweet 16 of safety.  That's 35 things right there, and then there are the links to other publications, web pages, checklists, etc.  Quite frankly, how is the average person with a full-time paying occupation supposed to keep up with all that?  At what point does a volunteer start to say, this is just too much, I am not going to bet my house on whether I can remember and do everything that the BSA expects me to do to keep the kids safe?

I don't know what the answer is.  Obviously I want the kids to be safe.  But we are doing this as us service to our community and/or religious organization and/or whatever else - for which we get to pay a membership fee - and at the same time the risk and complexity of doing that volunteer service keeps increasing.  Where does it all end?

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I agree with CalicoPenn that the rules are for those without common sense. Summer camps used to fire off a cannon with a blank to wake everyone up, until some fool decided to stand right in front of the cannon and the wad killed him. One solution to this, that the BSA implemented, is to ban all cannons. Another would be to implement some training. The first is easy and the second takes some effort. If that's all there is to it then the first is the obvious choice.

But I think there's more to this. There's talk about philosophy of hazing or shooting at a human likeness. There's even a philosophy behind safety. But there's another philosophy that's being ignored. Namely, letting scouts take a risk. Letting them get closer to the edge is where they learn. I'm fully in favor of discussing gun safety and then letting a scout shoot a gun safely because it brings the scout closer to the edge. He might do something stupid. He might point an unloaded gun back towards where other people are. If he does there's going to be a teachable moment when the ranger master chews him a new orifice. (Been there. Done that.) I do not like the "smoke shifters are hazing" rules because there is a line that is a teachable moment that we can't use. Stay on one side of the line and it's harmless fun. Cross the line and a scout is miserable. Getting close or even crossing the line is a teachable moment. Not allowing the scouts to get at anywhere near that line is just wasting opportunity and denying fun. Sure, they can have fun doing something else, but most likely it won't come with that teachable moment.

And it's getting worse. Not allowing scouts to do any events without adults around is the same thing. If the scouts are truly responsible then they are closer to the line. The only way to allow that is to keep the adults away. There is a risk, just like shooting a cannon. One option is to not allow it and the other is to create training to support it. There is a risk that things can go wrong. Right now the rules are fairly vague as to what it means to have an adult around. The BSA will not relax those rules. What happens when someone says scouts can no longer cook on their own because some scout got burned starting a grease fire?

The phrase fun with a purpose should be considered with the idea of risk in mind. Fun involves risk. Competition, adventure, or trying anything new all involve risk and it's all fun. Maybe the purpose is to teach scouts how to minimize that risk. The scout motto is about minimizing risk. We want them to learn how to make good decisions. That's mostly about dealing with risk. I understand that some things are too risky. I'm fine with requiring scouts to be top roped while climbing. But can the BSA at least try and quantify some of these risks, rather than just say no risk is allowed? Honestly, how many scouts have been hurt by electric screwdrivers? If there really is an issue then make a 5 minute video the scouts can watch.

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30 minutes ago, MattR said:

Honestly, how many scouts have been hurt by electric screwdrivers? If there really is an issue then make a 5 minute video the scouts can watch.

Maybe they did not read all the labels....Just remember, if there is a label, someone did it

Image result for stupid warning labels

 

Image result for stupid warning labels

 

 

 

Image result for stupid warning labels

Image result for stupid warning labels

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On 7/6/2018 at 11:40 AM, MattR said:

Summer camps used to fire off a cannon with a blank to wake everyone up, until some fool decided to stand right in front of the cannon and the wad killed him.

Not quite right.   https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/stateface/or/03or020.html

I'd also suggest the group puruse the incident reviews, perhaps you have a use for reviewing these, and they make a case at times of why it is important to follow the program materials.     https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/incident-report/incident-reviews/  

As to the call for training, why would any organization develop a training program for something that isn't part of the program?   And exactly what does the group think it takes to make a 5 min training program for electric screwdrivers?   

Last I checked there were not any requirements to use laser tag equipment - thus not the program of the BSA.  

Discuss.  

 

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Interesting reading, RichardB.  As a 40-year OSH professional myself (CIH and former Director of the ABIH), I understand the need for rules and clarity in writing them.  Unfortunately, the BSA is not always good at stating what they mean, and materials are often not cross-walked for consistency.  But even for me, the rule against using wheelbarrows and electric screwdrivers is hard to justify.  And I have always assumed that the prohibition of laser-tag was based not on the "hazards" of the activity, but on the optics of Scouts acting out "war" and "shooting" of other human beings.  As kids, most of us boys played "Army" and "Cowboys and Indians" using toy guns and dramatic theatrics of killing and being killed.  Such activities are no longer politically correct and thus prohibited.  But don't cloak the prohibition as some sort of safety issue.  And I do take exception with the implication that these rules now apply to "non-scouting" activities.  Just because I carry a BSA membership card in my wallet, doesn't mean I or my sons am bound by the G2SS while "off the clock".  If that is not what BSA intended, then let's refer back to the clarity issue mentioned above.

In reading the CDC incident report, it is evident that the cannon used was not designed or manufactured to be fired, but as a decorative piece.  Someone modified it by boring the barrel an drilling a touch-hole, with predictable fatal results.  Hopefully, this was an isolated incident, but I understand the need for the rule.

As far as clarity is concerned, perhaps BSA could follow the style of OSHA in writing rules..."Should" means it's prudent and recommended..."Shall" means mandatory.  And God help the leader who chooses not to follow a "Should" and something bad happens.

All that being said, I recognize the tough job you have and appreciate your efforts.  Along with increasing tendency to litigate over the slightest injury and refusal to recognize that zero-risk is unattainable, and the concomitant decrease in common sense amongst the younger generations, it's a tough job.

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12 hours ago, RichardB said:

Thank you for the correction. I looked around and also found that camps can fire cannons, they just have to do it correctly. I'm good with that.

12 hours ago, RichardB said:

I'd also suggest the group puruse the incident reviews, perhaps you have a use for reviewing these, and they make a case at times of why it is important to follow the program materials.     https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/incident-report/incident-reviews/  

It sounds like there's a process for identifying safety issues. Just my guess, but is it identify cases where scouts and adults have been injured, figure out why, and then make suggestions on how to limit them? A question I have is what is the criteria for saying something is unsafe? Cannons exploding is understandable. Someone can die. But what about electric screwdrivers? The worsts thing I can imagine is someone stabs either themself or someone else with the bit of the screwdriver. I've never seen it but a few stitches isn't such a big deal, compared to what one can do with an axe.

 

13 hours ago, RichardB said:

As to the call for training, why would any organization develop a training program for something that isn't part of the program?   And exactly what does the group think it takes to make a 5 min training program for electric screwdrivers?

Last I checked there were not any requirements to use laser tag equipment - thus not the program of the BSA

Now I think we're getting to the bottom of this. After all the time I've spent in scouting maybe I don't understand the program. What does BSA think the program is? My understanding of the program is that it's fun with a purpose. The purpose is learning how to make good decisions by letting the scouts make decisions. Maybe I'm wrong but the only way I see that 12 year olds using electric screwdrivers as not part of the program is by saying the program is limited to advancement. Scouts can use knives and axes because it's needed for advancement and yet they can't use electric screwdrivers because it's not needed for advancement. Is this true?  If so then there's a huge disconnect between the volunteers trying to implement this program and those that are deciding what it is.

13 hours ago, RichardB said:

Discuss

I think the discussion should be about what the program is, from the viewpoint of the BSA. A lot of the things that seem odd to me make a lot more sense if the focus is on advancement. Unfortunately, by shifting away from fun and decision making the program is moving away from what the volunteers see working. One simple example. I had 50 scouts complete their eagle and all but two of them stuck around until they were 18. When asked what kept them around only one of them said advancement. The rest talked about fun with friends and having a purpose in the troop. That's why I think electric screwdrivers and laser tag should be allowed. The potential harm of scouts shooting toy guns at each other or hurting themself with a screwdriver is much less than the potential gain of the scouts deciding for themselves what is fun, and then doing it.

 

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2 hours ago, MattR said:

I think the discussion should be about what the program is, from the viewpoint of the BSA. A lot of the things that seem odd to me make a lot more sense if the focus is on advancement.

Advancement is a method of Scouting.  

Perhaps the best and most current content on running the program (that is safety related) is found here:   https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/gss/gss07/

I'd specifically call out the following excerpts, but of course, please review all.  

"The Boy Scouts of America’s Charter and Bylaws, Rules and Regulations, policies, and program guidelines help provide a safe and consistent program. Council and unit charters as well as individual registration are conditioned upon adherence to those requirements."

"Activity Planning and Risk Assessment

No organization, including the Boy Scouts of America, can anticipate every possible activity that could be conducted as part of a unit, district, or council event. As such, it is neither the intent nor the desire of the BSA to provide specific guidance on subjects that are not core to the program or part of our literature.

For those activities that support the values of the Boy Scouts of America, there are several tools available for participants that will help them plan for a fun and safe tour, activity, or event. Good planning and preparedness prior to executing the activity is key to success. This guide is one of those tools. "

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On 7/6/2018 at 12:40 PM, MattR said:

I agree with CalicoPenn that the rules are for those without common sense. Summer camps used to fire off a cannon with a blank to wake everyone up, until some fool decided to stand right in front of the cannon and the wad killed him. One solution to this, that the BSA implemented, is to ban all cannons. 

Referring to a dead sixteen year old as “some fool” strikes me as terribly unkind, especially considering the fact that you did not have accurate information about the circumstances of his death.

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On 7/1/2018 at 11:10 PM, Saltface said:

Friday evening's ice cream social was turned into a dance party. As we walked past it, I couldn't see anyone on the dance floor that wasn't a staff member.

This photo from SBR. Apparently, they are now hosting dance parties at The Summit now too - complete with karaoke and glow sticks.

Ughhh.

 

SummitDanceParty.jpg

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8 minutes ago, gblotter said:

This photo from SBR. Apparently, they are now hosting dance parties at The Summit now too - complete with karaoke and glow sticks.

Ughhh.

Venturingfest!

Like many other venturing events, Venturers will hold dances at a council camp near you. Glow sticks are par for the course. SBR, since its inception has been allowing officers to organize such events accordingly.

This is nothing new to scouting at large either. The O/A handbook from my youth had a chapter on social events, including dances where scouts would bring dates. Not my thing, but they were part of the schedule in my lodge. And later, in college, I met young women who were invited to such events.

So, in this instance, in a sense, Venturing is bringing back an "old normal."

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