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Blindfold Your Scouts and Drop Them off In the Middle of Nowhere

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1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

I just don't see how it works in our risk-adverse country.

Maybe our risk-adverse country needs just one organization to be brave enough to say "Stop!  Enough of this nonsense!"

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10 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

Maybe our risk-adverse country needs just one organization to be brave enough to say "Stop!  Enough of this nonsense!"

Of course we do.  But that means having deep pockets to fight the inevitable legal battles the ensue.

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Members of the Jury - in this case the leaders of this Scout Troop had the ability of monitor the activities of the youth while on this trip.  However, they purposefully chose not and purposefully placed these youth unsupervised into the woods which is what resulted in the significant injuries to this child.  We urge you to send a message to the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America that this sort of negligent behavior is not acceptable in the United States today.  We urge you to send this message by awarding the plantif an award of $10,000,000 to cover pain and suffering from this traumatic experience.

It saddens me to no end to write the above, but in our country today I have to imagine that this is what would be the result.

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4 hours ago, ParkMan said:

It saddens me to no end to write the above, but in our country today I have to imagine that this is what would be the result.

No doubt.  But your quote could apply just as easily to a patrol of boys going geocaching or taking a day hike in a local park or a pair of buddies walking to a MB session at summer camp.  

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2 hours ago, walk in the woods said:

No doubt.  But your quote could apply just as easily to a patrol of boys going geocaching or taking a day hike in a local park or a pair of buddies walking to a MB session at summer camp.  

Which in my mind is the challenge we face.  Our society today does't believe in taking risk.  If there is any risk associated with an activity that is beyond an "act of god" and the leaders did not take steps to avoid the risk, then the leader and BSA is liable.  The BSA could perhaps have an impact on that, but only in so far as it has any influence on public opinion.  It's not the BSA who is making these choices, but instead it's the framework of our legal system.  You want to fix this, it's in the purview of our elected officials.  

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33 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Which in my mind is the challenge we face.  Our society today does't believe in taking risk.  If there is any risk associated with an activity that is beyond an "act of god" and the leaders did not take steps to avoid the risk, then the leader and BSA is liable.  The BSA could perhaps have an impact on that, but only in so far as it has any influence on public opinion.  It's not the BSA who is making these choices, but instead it's the framework of our legal system.  You want to fix this, it's in the purview of our elected officials.  

Living in fear of litigation and the "what if" is no way TO live life. I choose to run a good program, with exciting opportunities. I'll continue to do my best to mitigate risks, but they won't stop me from doing things. 

Whatever comes, will come.

Edited by Pale Horse
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1 hour ago, Pale Horse said:

Living in fear of litigation and the "what if" is no way TO live life. I choose to run a good program, with exciting opportunities. I'll continue to do my best to mitigate risks, but they won't stop me from doing things. 

Whatever comes, will come.

Good for you - though you're not my point.

As a Scouting program - we have an opportunity to learn from what the folks in the Netherlands are doing.  What they do is very cool and a great idea for developing Scouts.  But, as a nation, we're not in a place where we can suggest that troops can start dropping Scouts off on the side of the road and saying "good luck getting home.  See you tomorrow morning."  

If you've got a troop where your families trust you to do this - fantastic.  But, as a country we can't start doing this in the same way.  I wish we could, but we can't.  It's not fear, it's reality.  Court cases and financial judgments simply reflect what our laws expect for adult behavior today.  In 1950 you could do stuff like this.  In 2019, you can't.  It stinks - but it's just the country we live in.

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13 hours ago, ParkMan said:

In 1950 you could do stuff like this.  In 2019, you can't

Actually, it can be done in 2019, just not under the auspices of the BSA.  The FRK movement is figuring it out.  

 

16 hours ago, ParkMan said:

You want to fix this, it's in the purview of our elected officials.  

Our elected officials, and the nanny state nonsense they've created, are the cause of the problem.  They certainly won't be the solution.  Brave folks like Lenore Skenazy and these parents are the solution.  The BSA could be part of the solution as well if developing kids were more important to the organization than the organization is to itself.

I think Mike Rowe summarized it nicely in his blog:

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In my opinion, this kind of attrition can only explained by an increasing lack of relevance, or, the perception of irrelevance. Unfortunately, in situations like this, there’s no difference between perception and reality. And right now, there’s a perception that The Boy Scouts have gone soft. That’s the real tragedy, Sharon, because I can’t think of anything more needed in our country today, than a youth organization that offers kids the same experience I underwent in the basement of Kenwood Church. Why? Because our country’s current obsession with “safe spaces” is destroying character faster than the Boy Scouts of today can build it.

Obviously, we want our kids protected from the hazards of a dangerous world. And clearly, the world we live it is a dangerous place. But safety is not the purpose of our existence, and this whole idea that kids need to be protected from fear, distress, discomfort, and disappointment is far more dangerous to the future of our country than anything I ever encountered in Scouting. You can’t build character in a “safe space.” You can only build dependence and entitlement, and you don’t have to look very far to see the results. Pardon my rant, but the stakes are high.

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If the Boy Scouts want to attract a new generation of members, they’ll need to stand for something more than inclusion. Because being inclusive doesn’t make you relevant. 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.

As we all know, in 1974, a chipped tooth or a black eye didn’t lead to lawsuit, and today, I’m pretty sure a boxing ring and a trip to the shooting range would make a lot of parents…uncomfortable. But that’s exactly the point. In a world that values safety above everything else, discomfort is never welcome. Neither is risk. And yet, discomfort and risk are precisely why my time in Scouting was so valuable, and why Troop 16 was the polar opposite of a safe space.

If @qwazse will forgive the paraphrase, if we don't provide the service, the kids looking for it will find it else where. 

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1 hour ago, walk in the woods said:

Actually, it can be done in 2019, just not under the auspices of the BSA.  The FRK movement is figuring it out.  

Our elected officials, and the nanny state nonsense they've created, are the cause of the problem.  They certainly won't be the solution.  Brave folks like Lenore Skenazy and these parents are the solution.  The BSA could be part of the solution as well if developing kids were more important to the organization than the organization is to itself.

This is precisely what I mean.  The people you list are the ones out there ahead of our policies and laws.  If they are successful, they will influence how our nation approaches this question.  We need more of that.  

The BSA could be part of this process, but we don't have the leadership in the BSA today in either a volunteer or a professional role that have shown interest in engaging on this topic.  BSA leadership today seems to be more focused on expanding access to and fixing the legal problems facing Scouting than on trying to redefine the boundaries of the program.  That may or may not prove to be a bad decision - not sure yet.

I guess it would be interesting to see what would happen if the BSA adopted a practice like the one in the Netherlands.  I suspect accidents would start to occur and there would be problems.  But, before we go to that, I'd think the insurance companies the provide BSA coverage would tell the BSA that they cannot do this.  But, maybe I'm wrong.

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23 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

The BSA could be part of this process, but we don't have the leadership in the BSA today in either a volunteer or a professional role that have shown interest in engaging on this topic.  BSA leadership today seems to be more focused on expanding access to and fixing the legal problems facing Scouting than on trying to redefine the boundaries of the program.  That may or may not prove to be a bad decision - not sure yet.

Unfortunately, the BSA has been actively engaged in destroying this kind of scouting adventure.  It was only 4 years ago, give or take, that National forbid the adult-free solo patrol activity.  We are in retreat in the name of safety.  We'll regret that decision.  

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1 hour ago, walk in the woods said:

Unfortunately, the BSA has been actively engaged in destroying this kind of scouting adventure.  It was only 4 years ago, give or take, that National forbid the adult-free solo patrol activity.  We are in retreat in the name of safety.  We'll regret that decision.  

2015 was the end of adult-free overnight trips. October 1, 2018  was the end of adult-free day activities (and effectively the death of the Patrol method) to include patrol meetings, patrol hikes, patrol shopping, etc.

October 1, 2018 is also the day that 18-20 year olds no longer count towards 2 deep YP. So if you are a 18-20 y.o. MBC, two additional adults over 21 are needed when you do MB counseling.

 

 

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@Parkman @walk in the woods just a couple of questions / thoughts.   First, is there a market for a youth serving organization to place kids outdoors without supervision?  What would that look like?    Do you anticipate Mom is going to run out and sign up Timmy or Tammy to pay for this as a service?  What are the expected outcomes?   Second, perhaps instead of blaming youth serving organizations for taking a stand on supervision as a core requirement / expectation - might reflect on how that came to be (study history, delivery methods, failure modes).     Third, aren't organizations now held to a higher standard of care when other peoples kids are involved?   

Even the example given above, the parents have had the authorities in their life on more than one occasion on how they treated their own kids.  How many volunteers that you know would want to weather that storm?   

Again, this won't work within the BSA structure.    But let us know how it goes with your kids.    

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6 minutes ago, RichardB said:

@Parkman @walk in the woods just a couple of questions / thoughts.   First, is there a market for a youth serving organization to place kids outdoors without supervision?  What would that look like?    Do you anticipate Mom is going to run out and sign up Timmy or Tammy to pay for this as a service?  What are the expected outcomes?   Second, perhaps instead of blaming youth serving organizations for taking a stand on supervision as a core requirement / expectation - might reflect on how that came to be (study history, delivery methods, failure modes).     Third, aren't organizations now held to a higher standard of care when other peoples kids are involved?   

 

Instead? We have choice? OK, please educate us on the history, delivery methods and failure models.

Barry

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@Eagledad there are several examples in current posts talking about what has happened when supervision wasn't present.  And yes, you always have a choice on how you will react or respond.  

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17 minutes ago, RichardB said:

@Eagledad there are several examples in current posts talking about what has happened when supervision wasn't present.  And yes, you always have a choice on how you will react or respond.  

That's not research, that is just a few volunteer experiences and opinions. I thought you had facts and data that would educate us as to why we shouldn't blame youth service organizations.  

Barry

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3 hours ago, RichardB said:

@Parkman @walk in the woods just a couple of questions / thoughts.   First, is there a market for a youth serving organization to place kids outdoors without supervision?  What would that look like?    Do you anticipate Mom is going to run out and sign up Timmy or Tammy to pay for this as a service?  What are the expected outcomes?   Second, perhaps instead of blaming youth serving organizations for taking a stand on supervision as a core requirement / expectation - might reflect on how that came to be (study history, delivery methods, failure modes).     Third, aren't organizations now held to a higher standard of care when other peoples kids are involved?   

Even the example given above, the parents have had the authorities in their life on more than one occasion on how they treated their own kids.  How many volunteers that you know would want to weather that storm?   

Again, this won't work within the BSA structure.    But let us know how it goes with your kids.    

@RichardB I see the value proposition of the BSA centered around youth fun & development.  My son joined the BSA because it was fun, he got to expand his horizons with unique adventures, and as a young adult he developed and grew.  That those activities are done within a safe framework is important - certainly.

My son will be 17 next month.  As a parent, I gradually give my son more and more responsibility with the realization that in a year or two he will be off to college and will essentially be living on his own.  His 18th birthday will not be a magical event where suddenly he is capable of independence.  We've been building his skills for years as parents - again, providing more and more opportunities for independence.

As Scouts begin to reach 14, 15, and 16 years old, I think the programs of the BSA could certainly provide for a path to more youth independence.  Independent patrol meetings and short activities are appropriate at all Boy Scout ages.  Independent overnight activities are within the realm of the responsibility for a 16-18 year old.  The airlines will let a youth fly across country on their own at 14,  and he government will let a youth drive on their own at 16.  But at these ages, the BSA will no longer permit unsupervised activities.  I do think that this is contrary to the organization developing independence and self reliance in the Boy Scout years.

Our society today has moved in the direction of expecting higher levels of supervision of youth activities - agreed.  Your questions reflect that trend.   I don't blame the BSA for following the trend as I understand why it is happening.

Because of it's mission, I do think that the BSA has an opportunity to correctly model practices for youth independence.  For example, I am sure that the BSA could develop best practices for how Scouts can hold a patrol meetings without adult supervision.  I an sure that the BSA could do the same for unsupervised patrol hikes.  I think that the organization could also figure out how Scouts could have a camping trip without adults.  The role of the BSA here is to model the mechanisms to appropriately do these things.

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