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John-in-KC

2019 GUIDE TO SAFE SCOUTING

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2 hours ago, MarkMilliron said:

They should have become Venturers. They can still be active youth in the OA. ;)

Some councils don't support venturing. I'll grant you the OA, but again, the council has to support the OA for it to be an option. 

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On 2/26/2019 at 5:49 PM, Oldscout448 said:

Do we need to start  telling National to stop making it more and more difficult to deliver a program that even resembles  Scoutimg?    

That would be nice. While I am concerned about Scout safety, some of the rules are getting out of hand. I have given up trying to get scouts excited about lashing since we can't make much that is exciting. When I was 10 I went to camp and helped make a 40 foot signal tower. It captured my imagination and drove me to learn knots which I had previously struggled with. I learned to deal with water because I had so much fun canoeing. 

They need to look at the hard reality that scouting is NOT seen as relevant to more and more youth and parents. The fact is that the world doesn't care what us cheerleaders say. They evaluate based on their criteria.

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I often reflect on what Mike Row had to say when asked about the decision to admit girls- he highlighted the more pressing issue that the BSA, and all of those in it, should be focused on - is the BSA even relevant? If you never read this, or haven't re-read it since last May, give it a look: http://mikerowe.com/2018/05/otw-death-of-the-boy-scouts/

"If I were calling the shots, I’d take a stand against the safe space movement and everything it embodies. And I’d do it in the most public way possible. But of course, that might also require a level of risk completely inconsistent with current orthodoxy."

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On 2/24/2019 at 8:34 PM, walk in the woods said:

Yes.  From the G2SS FAQ

Q.  If only one leader shows up, does that mean we have to cancel the meeting or activity? 

A. Yes.  This policy is in place to prevent abuse in and out of Scouting.   Adults should never be alone with youth who are not their children. 

So even the BSA documentation is mixing up the rules and reasons. 

2 Deep Leadership isn't to prevent abuse, it's to insure there is backup for the adult leader.  "No 1 on 1 contact" is to prevent abuse.  If this was an "abuse prevention" rule, then it would tell us that no adult can ever be out of the view of another adult.

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Got a call from an ASM that I have known for many years.  It seems that her troop was camping last weekend with a group of Weebs from their feeder pack.  Everything was going fine untill just before dinner, a Gourmet affair cooked by the scouts in Dutch ovens, was just about about ready. Then one of the cub parents heard a distant rumble of thunder.

All of the Webelos and their parents scurried for their cars, and they all piled in.  They announced that according to the Guide they were required to stay in the cars or a building until half an hour after the last rumble of thunder was heard.  When told that that would probably not be for two or three hours even though the storm seemed to be passing about 15-20 miles to the north, they remained  adamant about following the rules.

Dinner, dessert, cleanup, and the campfire program, would just have to be postponed until 8:00 or 9:00pm or whenever. 

The SM managed to find a large pavilion that wasn't being used, and the troop transported all the food up there. So dinner although quite cold was only 45 minutes late instead of two hours.  Then the scouts took the dishes back down to the campsite for cleanup.

Now I understand taking shelter in adverse conditions. A couple of million volts with several million amps is nothing to take lightly. More than once I've seen close up what that kind of power can do.

But this is Maryland. We have thunderstorms near or far every third night all through June, July, and August. As well as quite a few in May and September. Some of them have multiple cells so you can hear the thunder rumble and grumble all night long.

As my ASM friend said  " I just wonder what on earth they will do at summer camp"

 

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According to the Guide to Safe Scouting the pavilion was not a suitable safe building.

"Safe Building—one that is fully enclosed with a roof, walls, and floor, and has plumbing or wiring."

As far as I can tell the Guide to Safe Scouting only mentions the recommendations of the National Weather Service.  It does not say it is a requirement of scout units.  But I would not want to take chances with scouts.

The Hazardous Weather Training would be something good to review as well.

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8 hours ago, Oldscout448 said:

" I just wonder what on earth they will do at summer camp"

In general, most camp standards allow the use a open shelter if it includes wiring (ie grounding).

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If all you have are open shelters that aren't obviously grounded, a good Plan B is to go sit in your cars until the storm passes.  

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1 hour ago, malraux said:

In general, most camp standards allow the use a open shelter if it includes wiring (ie grounding).

Most of the summer camps I've visited in this region do have buildings that would be appropriate shelters in the event of lightning.  The dining hall is typically the best choice because of its size.  Rest rooms that have plumbing and/or wiring are good options. Some camps have stables, boat houses or other facilities that would provide safe shelter.

Few summer camps these days are truly rustic.

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Posted (edited)

LOL, my two greatest fears while SM was over-reactive parents and lightning.

I guess I was lucky in both because most of the over-reactive parents went to the other troop, and while the troop has a lot of tense-filled stories of lightning, the only harm was a car alarm competing with the earth shaking thunder. 

I guess one can never be too safe, but when the hard rain (five inches in two hours) in the middle of the night is mixed with thunder that sounded like machine gun fire, what is the safest action for 80 scouts. 

Was our troop just lucky over the years? As I think back to the Bobcat patrol abandoning their camp to run from a tornado, I can't really say. Weather in Oklahoma is challenging for scout units. The rules are clear, but what about the gray area between sleeping in cars to hide from lightning 20 miles away and a beautiful Spring rain shower giving scouts time to play chess in their tent?

I don' t know, I don't have an answer, but the answers to my many prayers made me an even more devoted follower of God.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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2 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I guess one can never be too safe, but when the rain is coming down at five inches in two hours in the middle of the night is mixed with thunder that sounded like machine gun fire, what is the safest action for 80 scouts. 

Hopefully, you're camping deep in the woods, and not in an exposed field with only scattered trees.

In a forest, you're generally at fairly low risk of a lightning strike. Even still, you do best if you camp under a cluster of lower trees (not the tallest trees in the forest). 

 

10 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I don' t know, I don't have an answer, but the answers to my many prayers made me an even more devoted follower of God.

The power of prayer should not be underestimated...

The more secular technique I teach is this:

1. Crouch down as low as you can.

2. Put your head between your legs.

3. Kiss your butt good-bye.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

Most of the summer camps I've visited in this region do have buildings that would be appropriate shelters in the event of lightning.  The dining hall is typically the best choice because of its size.  Rest rooms that have plumbing and/or wiring are good options. Some camps have stables, boat houses or other facilities that would provide safe shelter.

Few summer camps these days are truly rustic.

You have a valid point there, almost all of the summer camps around here do indeed have permanent structures.  

But as I read the rules, in the case of a 10pm thunderstorm, we are required to get the scouts up,dressed,  then march them 400 yards to the mess hall (that was the distance at last years camp) in the pouring rain.  Then back to camp in an hour or two.  Then quite probably repeat the process in another hour.

 

I lost a good friend to a wayward lighting bolt at Philmont years ago.  I've been 50 yards from a massive ground strike,  the resulting shockwave knocked me right off my feet. My ears rang for an hour.  Believe me I have a huge respect for these sparks of Thor.  

But I wonder if we all  would not be safer from the slings and arrows of outrageous lawsuits if we just sent the scouters camping and had the scouts follow on Skype from the safety of their basements at home.

[Sarcasm off]

Here is the bottom line, when rules or laws appear to be arbitrary and capricious to those who are told to follow them, they begin to hold those rules in contempt and disregard them. And by association eventually those who make or enforce such rules are soon held in the same contempt.  Which invariably leads to a clash of egos between the rulers and subjects. especially among young adults who believe they know everything.   The result is either rebellion be it  covert or open, or the subjects simply leave if they can to seek better prospects elsewhere. 

I've been a lifeguard, a RSO,  I've been the guy who has pulled the plug on scouting events when conditions got too dangerous. My worst nightmare has always been having to call a parent who trusted me to keep their son or daughter safe and tell them I somehow failed.  This fear has kept me up into the wee  hours keeping an eye on things on more campouts than I can now remember.

But if we in scouting  are letting the lawyers make every safety judgement on everything,  we may as well fold our tents and flags and go home.

Edited by Oldscout448
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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

Hopefully, you're camping deep in the woods, and not in an exposed field with only scattered trees.

In a forest, you're generally at fairly low risk of a lightning strike. Even still, you do best if you camp under a cluster of lower trees (not the tallest trees in the forest). 

Yes, hopefully. But pragmatically, sometimes a troop of 80 scouts takes what it can get. Even worse are the very limited choices while canoeing on the lakes of Canada. Still, your advice was our guidebook while backpacking in the Rockies.  

Quote

 

The power of prayer should not be underestimated...

The more secular technique I teach is this:

1. Crouch down as low as you can.

2. Put your head between your legs.

3. Kiss your butt good-bye.

I have to laugh, the expert guidance for walking into sudden thunder mountain shower while backpacking is almost just that:

Lay down your pack. Crouch down on the pack with your feet touching together and your head as low as you can get it in such a position. Of course that position is natural for a praying SM.😎

So many young lives with the whole future ahead of them. So much responsibility. 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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38 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

Most of the summer camps I've visited in this region do have buildings that would be appropriate shelters in the event of lightning.  The dining hall is typically the best choice because of its size.  Rest rooms that have plumbing and/or wiring are good options. Some camps have stables, boat houses or other facilities that would provide safe shelter.

Few summer camps these days are truly rustic.

lots of day camps happening in general parks though. In general though yeah, the dining hall is the severe weather shelter.

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