Jump to content
Keithami

Looking for some insight

Recommended Posts

I took my son to camp Norse July 2nd of this year, I signed him up for the week.  I informed the camp counselor that I am the custodial parent of my son and that his mother may show up and want to hang around, I informed the camp counselor that I do not want her at the camp. I was assured by the camp counselor that she would inform all the other counselors of my request and that my sons mother would not be aloud to stay while my son was at camp.  I arrived Friday July 6th to find my sons mother watching a movie with all the counselors, when I spoke to the counselor in charge she stated she was not aware of my sons mother being there, she assured me that would never happen again.  I brought my son to camp Norse on the following Monday, I gave a copy of the court order that stated my sons mother visitation was not to start until 6PM  on Friday, again I was assured that my sons mother would not be allowed to be at camp.  I showed up Friday July  13th to pick up my son, I was early so they had to have someone escort my son from the pool area, when they arrived my sons mother was with him and had been there all day.  The counselor did not apologize, nor did she ask what she was doing there.  So again camp Norse and all the counselor went against my requests. Where is the honor in this?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forum, @Keithami.

Sounds like a mess to me. My view is you need to talk to some people higher up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Keithami, welcome to the forums.

You probably want to contact your council's scout executive.

Was this a cub camp? Was the counselor in charge a volunteer (e.g., your son's den leader or Cubmaster)? Or, a professional?

I ask because volunteers aren't in the habit of calling the police on non-custodial parents. All of our training teaches us that parents have a right to observe any scouting activity. Moreover, many Packs require that a parent or guardian stay at camp with their boy.

I can't speak to what professionals are trained to do, but young counselors are definitely not prepared for this sort of thing.

As an assistant scoutmaster I, certainly wasn't prepared when a situation like this happened with recently divorced friends whose son was in our troop. I got to be the guy to tell the couple that they need to learn to coparent in spite of their breakup. I will say this, although scouting did not work out for him, he and my Son #2 were close, and I got to see him grow up strong and good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will be blunt...I don't think this is the Camp staff's problem.  As volunteers, we are not privy to custodial orders, nor are we in a position to enforce them.  This is something you need to work out with the boy's mother and the Court.  Perhaps a restraining order is called for.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As staffing a boy scout camp this year, I have learned we can physically not meet everyone’s need. Counselors go through a lot - more than I expected. I am currently a first year scout instructor and if I had followed every detailed request a scoutmaster or parent asked me, I would be ruining the program for others. If the counselor did handle the situation, the other kids would have had a poor program experience since the counselor would be dealing with a families personal problem. If you do not want her there, then why don’t you stay? I’m sorry to be blunt as well.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forums!

You need to call, not email, the person on this list (http://www.narragansettbsa.org/about-us/contact-us/staff/66599) identified as the director of camping, and explain the situation, asking what policies are in place for such circumstances. Email him a copy of the court order. Explain calmly that you are upset because of the two conversations you had with the camp’s staff that were not followed up on, and ask what procedures will be put in place for the future. It is your son’s mother’s responsibility to abide by the court order, but it is also the camp’s responsibility to keep your son safe. If that does not work, escalate to the Scout Executive.

With respect, @ItsBrian, this is an issue that the camp director should be fully equipped to handle and deal with. It would not have impacted anyone else’s program experience in the least. Many parents aren’t able to take a week off work and stay with their kids at camp, and to suggest that the father is to blame in this instance is simply wrong. It is not a family’s “personal problem,” not a parent’s “request,” but a court-governed custody matter.

Edited to add: Under the national BSA camp standards, camps are required to have written procedures on “Release of campers who are minors to a parent or guardian or to a person other than the legal parent or guardian,” “Methods for discouraging and/or distinguishing possible unauthorized persons,” and “Steps to be taken in the event of a possible intruder; unauthorized person seeking release of a minor; or other circumstance as identified by the camp.”  A parent who only has visitation authorized by the courts during certain time periods certainly seems to me to be an “unauthorized person” during other periods, regardless of whether they are seeking to remove a camper from the camp. See 804 at https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/outdoor program/pdf/430-056.pdf.

Edited by shortridge

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Keithami said:

I gave a copy of the court order that stated my sons mother visitation was not to start until 6PM  on Friday,

As an educator, I have made all of my staff aware that in our state we may not deny any parent access to their child, unless we have a copy of a court order restricting said access.  In such a case, knowingly ignoring that court order could not only jeopardize the safety of the child, it can (and likely will) jeopardize that individual's job.

9 hours ago, Keithami said:

So again camp Norse and all the counselor went against my requests.

Not against your requests, they violated a court order by allowing access.  As @shortridge stated above, you need to contact your Council, to ensure something like this does not happen again.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, scoutldr said:

I will be blunt...I don't think this is the Camp staff's problem.  As volunteers, we are not privy to custodial orders, nor are we in a position to enforce them.  This is something you need to work out with the boy's mother and the Court.  Perhaps a restraining order is called for.

It is very much the camp staff's problem, particularly when they were presented with a copy of the court order.  

As to enforcing that court order, if need be, it is enforced by local law enforcement.  While that may sound like a drastic step to take, it is far less drastic than the father arriving to find his son gone, and never seeing him again.

It is not unusual in this day and age to deal with these situation every new school year, and yes I have had to tell a parent that the court order the school has does not allow us to release a child.  Not the most pleasant conversation to have, but still less unpleasant that telling the custodial parent that we do not have their child.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, but we will have to agree to disagree.  Your court order does not bind ME to do anything as a volunteer, other than possibly to report a YP issue to the Scout Executive.  IN hindsight, perhaps the dad should have had this discussion with the SE prior to camp so the SE could have a contingency plan in place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was in a similar situation when I was a Cub Scout Day Camp program director.  Mom was on the not to pick up section of the health form we received prior to day camp. The parent/guardian told us they wanted her banned from camp, and they told us about the court order. I told the parent/guardian that until we had a copy of the court order, we could not ban her from camp, just from picking up. Next day, we got a copy of the court order, and the key staff was notified. This was something we did not want broadcasted everywhere per request from parent/guardian. Since everyone needs to check in and get an ID badge, the thought was we would catch her if she showed up. Thankfully she didn't show up.

 

I would have a discusion with the camping director and/or SE.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, scoutldr said:

IN hindsight, perhaps the dad should have had this discussion with the SE prior to camp so the SE could have a contingency plan in place.

How is an ordinary parent supposed to know who the Scout Executive is, let alone what they do? OP did the right thing working through proper channels by telling a camp staff member on the first day. The staffer should have immediately escalated to the camp director, who should have followed the written protocols to handle the situation. Youth-serving professionals in all fields have to deal with these situations all the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Keithami said:

the court order that stated my sons mother visitation was not to start until 6PM  on Friday,

Sounds like extreme sour grapes to me.  If mom was going to abscond with kid, she'd do it at 6pm Friday when the OP must give her the child.  That mom has visitation shows that she is not a threat.  What if mom signed up as a volunteer, passed her background check, and signed up to work daycamp? Would Camp Norse then be responsible for keeping the two apart?

 I'm sorry that mom had the time to be with son at daycamp and you didn't.  Please don't ask volunteer scouters to enforce your pettiness. 

  • Upvote 2
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you to all,

 

These are not volunteer's, these are the paid staff members for summer camp.  I spoke with the person in charge on the very first day, she assured me that my request was totally ok and that if she showed up they would call me, again the counselor stated, I have you on speed dial, she also stated that her son was the Health Officer and together they would make sure that my sons mother would not impact my sons time at camp.  I had up to this point never pushed the court order, because I did not think I had to,  I simply wanted my son to go to camp, hang out with his peers and have some fun without any interference from anyone, not me, not his mom, just be a kid....  Is that too much to expect?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven’t seen your court order.  As a divorced parent and a teacher, I think it’s a rare court order that specifies that one parent can’t be present at activities on another parent’s time.  For example, we have parents chaperone field trips, attend sports events, come to p,Amys, field days, etc when it may or may not be their custodial time.  That’s when your ex did here.  Does your order specify that she can’t attned extracurricular events?  If not, you are overstepping your legal rights.

Your requests that your son’s mother can’t attend are just that, requests.  She’s not exercising her visitation by coming to spend a day at summer camp.  It seems like you are putting the camp staff in a strange ethical and legal position.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, bearess said:

I haven’t seen your court order.  As a divorced parent and a teacher, I think it’s a rare court order that specifies that one parent can’t be present at activities on another parent’s time.  For example, we have parents chaperone field trips, attend sports events, come to p,Amys, field days, etc when it may or may not be their custodial time.  That’s when your ex did here.  Does your order specify that she can’t attned extracurricular events?  If not, you are overstepping your legal rights.

Your requests that your son’s mother can’t attend are just that, requests.  She’s not exercising her visitation by coming to spend a day at summer camp.  It seems like you are putting the camp staff in a strange ethical and legal position.

Sometimes there are situations where a specified parent's time is SUPERVISED (emphasis) and they are not to be alone with the child. Judge was shocked when I as a teenager requested supervised visitation for my father. To all outside appearances, he was a nice normal person and not the physically and mentally abusive individual my siblings and I knew. My request was granted, and thankfully he never tried to force me to visit.

We have one Scout whose mom can only have him in a supervised situation. Not going into details, but it was over 10 years before she was finally able to see him, and it was at the grandparents house.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×