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Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

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1 minute ago, ParkMan said:

Perhaps, but I think it's addressable.

  • These lawsuits are from events of 30 years ago.
  • The BSA has significantly stronger YPT training today
  • The BSA has significantly more stringent YPT rules today
  • The BSA has a much more thorough adult vetting process today.

 

I agree, it's addressable.  But my sense is that many won't care, particularly if their image of the BSA was already tarnished.  Even if a potential CO comprehends the vast YP improvements from yesteryear, they still may not want to be associated with an organization that even countenanced such slipshod tracking and accountability in the past.

Add in the insurance companies jettisoning the BSA...I think it's a PR nightmare as of today.  The appearance factor is not good.

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think BSA should do background checks on all that register, leaders and parents,

we all check the box authorizing bsa to do so. but no guarantee it is done,

also results of background checks should be forwarded/accessible by the unit. whether cub master or committee has access is negotiable,

this would add an additional barrier in case someone with a record slips through national background check

 

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Just now, Terasec said:

think BSA should do background checks on all that register, leaders and parents,

we all check the box authorizing bsa to do so. but no guarantee it is done,

also results of background checks should be forwarded/accessible by the unit. whether cub master or committee has access is negotiable,

this would add an additional barrier in case someone with a record slips through national background check

 

True, the BSA does background checks now.  But I'd be in favor of independent, CO-level checks as well. 

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4 minutes ago, Terasec said:

think BSA should do background checks on all that register, leaders and parents,

we all check the box authorizing bsa to do so. but no guarantee it is done,

also results of background checks should be forwarded/accessible by the unit. whether cub master or committee has access is negotiable,

this would add an additional barrier in case someone with a record slips through national background check

 

This is the weak link the system now.  The BSA really should:

1) Not consider a leader registered until after the check is done

2) Provide details on the results of the background check to the CC & COR.

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47 minutes ago, desertrat77 said:

True, the BSA does background checks now.  But I'd be in favor of independent, CO-level checks as well. 

Lots of COs already do.  If you're sponsored by a Catholic Church or school for instance, you almost certainly are being asked to agree to a background check conducted on behalf of the diocese.

I'm not sure there's any extra value to having a second background check, there's no real reason to think it would turn up anything new or different from what the BSA does.  It's important to understand what a "background check" is; first, it's not really any sort of investigation the way say a security clearance might be, rather, there are a number of companies who take the information provided, like name, ss#, birth date, address, etc. and run it against a series of databases which contain compiled information about public records of criminal convictions and maybe civil lawsuits.  What level of detail and thoroughness you get depends a lot on how much you pay.  The chances are that your CO could easily be using the same company as BSA or even the same company used by your employer when you were hired.  Nothing about a background check is going to turn up any time someone was accused but not arrested and at least tried.  Certainly there's not going to be anything about when someone was dismissed from another organization when there was suspicious or untoward behavior but no involvement of law enforcement. 

Background checks will cull out the most notorious cases, and with the ubiquitiousness of data available today almost any of them will be pretty good about that.  But they're probably the bluntest and most basic of protections, and would not now or then have prevented most of the abuse that happens --- that's up to us to be both vigilant and rational in understanding the dangers the children in our care face.

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20 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

This is the weak link the system now.  The BSA really should:

1) Not consider a leader registered until after the check is done

2) Provide details on the results of the background check to the CC & COR.

Agree that this is a weak link that needs to be eliminated.  I does not take long to get background checks done.  

When I was hired by the school system, I was required to submit to a FBI national background check.  This was well before the almost instant checks that can be done now, and it was done in a matter of days.  No reason at all why a potential leader can not be told that they are not registered until we get word from council that they have been cleared.

Being an educator rather than a lawyer, I am not sure if giving results to the CC or COR is legal.  Maybe one of our legal eagles could shed light on that.  Even if legal, I would be hesitant to do more than tell a unit that the applicant did not clear.  I could see serious issues if specifics were given to unit leaders, who then did the 'guess why so and so can't be a leader' routine.

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Our CO made a new requirement that any adult that does any event with us that requires a permission slip (just about everything but meetings) has to have a background check. They pay for it. It's easy to do. That's how you keep the CO's comfortable.

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11 minutes ago, MikeS72 said:

Agree that this is a weak link that needs to be eliminated.  I does not take long to get background checks done.  

When I was hired by the school system, I was required to submit to a FBI national background check.  This was well before the almost instant checks that can be done now, and it was done in a matter of days.  No reason at all why a potential leader can not be told that they are not registered until we get word from council that they have been cleared.

Being an educator rather than a lawyer, I am not sure if giving results to the CC or COR is legal.  Maybe one of our legal eagles could shed light on that.  Even if legal, I would be hesitant to do more than tell a unit that the applicant did not clear.  I could see serious issues if specifics were given to unit leaders, who then did the 'guess why so and so can't be a leader' routine.

That's reasonable.  I don't really need to know why someone failed - just that they failed.  I'd be happy with a description of what the BSA background check process is with an affirmative or negative result. i.e.,

The BSA background checks look for the following things:

  • - prior criminal record
  • - a check against a national BSA database for removed leaders

Recent applications you submitted resulted as:

  • Joe Smith - FAILED
  • Bob Jones - PASSED

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2 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

Perhaps adopt the British model which I believe @Cambridgeskip  described - no CO's, rather parent groups?  

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is how GSUSA operates its units

 

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15 minutes ago, carebear3895 said:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is how GSUSA operates its units

 

I wonder how that would work in practice.  How do you find meeting space, etc?  I think @Cambridgeskip said they owned their meeting space.  I'm trying to envision how even our biggest troops around here would do that.

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15 minutes ago, carebear3895 said:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is how GSUSA operates its units

 

My understanding and I could be wrong, in GSUSA units their Council has more  control over units in particular the unit bank account, not so with British units. 

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16 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I wonder how that would work in practice.  How do you find meeting space, etc?  I think @Cambridgeskip said they owned their meeting space.  I'm trying to envision how even our biggest troops around here would do that.

So... there's several elements to that question.

In terms of constitution yes, most scout groups in the UK exist as a charity in their own right with their own executive committee, who are trustees of the charity, own all their own assets and have their own money. When a new group is created it is typically done so by either the scout district or scout county where they identify the need/demand for the new group. Typically volunteers from district and county level take on the leadership and exec committe roles on a temporary basis until they can recruit parents or other volunteers to take those roles on.

In terms of where they meet it tends to be older more established groups that own their own buildings and even then it's not all of them. Typically they rent space at a local community centre, a school, a church hall etc. Some meet at scout campsites that are owned by their district or county (remember how densly populated we are, some campsites literally back onto houses on the edge of or even in town. We are regulars at a campsite called Thriftwood which is on google earth here. See what I mean?) They get the space for so many hours per week plus get a limited amount of storage space. I used to be at a group that did that at a local church hall and we ended up renting a local garage to store most of our camping gear.

My current group owns its own building but rents the land, at a pepper corn rent, from the county council. By county council I mean local government, nothing to do with scouts! How the buidling was originally funded I don't know. It dates back to the late 1950s. However where such buildings need large scale renovations (and ours desperately does) then typically funding is gained from things like the national lottery fund or other charities who give grants for capital expenditure. Originally I think these buildings were built using funds from generous benefactors. There is also the fact that the scout movement still commands huge respect and goodwill and many builders and contractors are often prepared to knock a bit off the usual price for a scout group with them often reminissing about good times they had as a kid :)

Our national rules also help with this. When a new group is formed and affiliates to the scout association one of the rules they agree to is that should the group close down then all capital assets are transfered to the district. This means that buildings are not lost once they are owned. Similarly should the group not be able to recruit a chair, treasurers and secretary as required by law as a charity those roles in turn are taken on by the group scout leader (GSL) and if they don't have a GSL the District Commissioner gets the job, so this again helps stop valuable assets being lost.

For new groups though it is rare indeed to own their own building, the only exception being where they effectively inherit it from a previously colapsed group. Most new groups are renting space.

Happy to field further questions!

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14 hours ago, ParkMan said:

I wonder how that would work in practice.  How do you find meeting space, etc?  I think @Cambridgeskip said they owned their meeting space.  I'm trying to envision how even our biggest troops around here would do that.

My daughter's Girl Scout troop and our Boy Scout troop meet at the local elementary school. Our CO is the local homeowner's association. 

The GSUSA has service units that seem to take on the role of the CO. This is one part of GSUSA that I like better than BSA.

I don't like how GSUSA troops basically start financially from scratch each year. It's very limiting.

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Thank you @Cambridgeskip - you're description is intriguing.   I can see how that would work. 


I do think Scouting in the US would look different here in the US if we did that.  Not neccessarily a bad thing, but it would be different.  I'm kinda imagineing that we'd see fewer, stronger units.  in my Scout district here, we've probably got something like 30 Chartering organizations.  Some of those Chartering Organizations have very strong units with well developed leadership teams and lots of Scouts.  Others are just a few Scouts that meet infrequently.  I'm thinking that something like this would discourage the very small groups and encourage them to join on with a bigger group.


 

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