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Chapter 11 announced

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Those that are not BSA should be very aware of this.  It is only one of the internet searches that indicate the ambulance chaser list of possible sources.  And most of these do not have the safeguards of BSA still.  Just not seen as the deepest pocket, but they will continue unless the court system and legal system makes some checks and balances, while still keeping real victims able to sue.  https://www.levylaw.com/sex-abuse-lawsuits/

 

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It is all about not living up to the "IDEAL".   Our Scout Promise, the Scout Law, the US Constitution, the Sermon on the Mount,,  you see what I'm getting at.  

So often, the IDEAL is put forth and then adjusted to fit whatever reality one has at the moment. At The Moment.  Someone is raised by the wrong parents. Someone gets the wrong DNA, or has a head trauma (yes, that can be a cause).  We might see or hear something and choose to "not get involved".  Or somebody's friend has a "symptom" (I 'm not sure what else to call it), but we don't recognize it for what it really is, or can't believe it means what it has to mean....

 Alfred Hitchcock's movie Frenzy was on a couple of days ago. Very likeable bloke ("Ya know, Bob's yer uncle? Well  I'm Bob "!") turns out to be a serial killer. Oh well, we missed that one, but caught up to him eventually.  The difference here is that the coppers DID catch him. Everybody wanted to catch him.  So how did the BSA miss out on so many  bad seeds?   Who didn't want to embarrass whom?  Not get involved? Maybe the guy will see the error of his (her?  naw) ways and ...  well, by keeping a list we can prevent that guy being a Scout Leader again. Mmmm ,  we see how well THAT worked. 

This whole super kafluffle stems in large part from some of the most basic of our possible human faults.  Several of them, actually, I'll not try to define them all here. Suffice to say,  certain people made mistakes, as a result, certain other people made more mistakes, which now have to be addressed, corrected, "made whole" in legalese, BSA folks made MORE mistakes, and now fault must be assigned and declared. Along the line of these things, MORE mistakes may be made, more fault assigned and bad feelings brought to light . 

Our job now, no matter how this ultimately turns out (yea TEAM ! RahRah) , is to take kids camping and hiking, teach how to tie a proper knot so the plywood from Home Depot won't fall off the car roof, and make sure they know why living one's life and treating other people (The Other ) by the Scout Promise and Law is Doing Your Best (Golden Rule anyone? ) .  

 

“He prayed  --  It wasn’t my religion.

He ate --  It wasn’t what I ate.

He spoke --  It wasn’t my language.

He dressed --  It wasn’t what I wore.

He took my hand --  It wasn’t the color of mine.

But when he laughed  --  it was how I laughed,

                        And when he cried  --  it was how I cried.”

 

                        =  Amy Maddox, age 16, Franklin Community High School, Bargerville IN =

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2 hours ago, yknot said:

I know. I'd like a better sense myself of what exactly happened but I think the numbers -- and the stories that each new report recounts --  are telling the tale to a large degree.  It's tragic. BSA is story of both dark and bright angels it seems. 

I think this is where I've been for a long time - that the sheer volume of these must be telling us something.  

To me, this is more a question is more of - should I be reacting more strongly than I am?  Should I be disassociating myself with the BSA?  If the BSA did all this awful stuff, why am I continuing to be a volunteer?  I presume that all of this has been rectified with the current YPT rules - but really, I just don't know that much about what happened to even make an informed decision.  I trust, and I really do desperately want to trust - but I'm feeling like I'm missing something in what I know. 

The Catholic church I understood - the church covered up and transferred priests in an attempt to avoid embarrassment for the church and punishment for those priests.  But in the case of the BSA, I don't think they were hiding abuse.  I don't think they were protecting leaders from punishment.  But, given the ferocity of all of this, I'm starting to presume that they must have been.  So, maybe there's something I just don't know here.

Clearly smart people want to destroy the BSA for a reason.  What do I not know?

Edited by ParkMan
clarified a thought

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5 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I think this is where I've been for a long time - that the sheer volume of these must be telling us something.  

To me, this is more a question is more of - should I be reacting more strongly than I am?  Should I be disassociating myself with the BSA?  If the BSA did all this awful stuff, why am I continuing to be a volunteer?  I presume that all of this has been rectified with the current YPT rules - but really, I just don't know that much about what happened to even make an informed decision.  I trust, and I really do desperately want to trust - but I'm feeling like I'm missing something in what I know. 

The Catholic church I understood - the church covered up and transferred priests in an attempt to avoid embarrassment for the church and punishment for those priests.  But in the case of the BSA, I don't think they were hiding abuse.  I don't think they were protecting leaders from punishment.  But, given the ferocity of all of this, I'm starting to presume that they must have been.  So, maybe there's something I just don't know here.

Clearly smart people want to destroy the BSA for a reason.  What do I not know?

I don't know what to say to anyone else. I came here to this forum a few years ago because I was worried, but this isn't the venue to fix anything, only to share in the best of times and to vent in the worst. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any venue for folks at the unit level to try and fix anything. Many will tell you to just focus on delivering a great program at the unit level, and that's what I tried to help do. But then I kept having this feeling that at least a part of the apple we were trying to deliver was rotten. I can't square myself with trying to deliver a partly rotten apple to anyone, so I pulled my youngest scout out this summer. I'm on the charter until December and I've continued to try to help, but after that, I am done. I wish everyone well. 

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I, too have decided to not re-register this year, although my Scouting has diminished to serving on a Council Committee.  I have been registered in the same Council since 1963.  Eagle, 1970.  When I was the District Training Chair, I taught many YPT classes and when I got to the slide that instructed us to "call the SE directly and disclose the details to NO ONE else, not even the Council Office Staff, Commissioners, or DE...the SE will know who to call and what to do."  Well, little did we know that the SE would probably call no one...he would quietly remove the alleged offender from BSA membership and enter his/her name into the "perversion files" without due process.  My spidey sense was tingling...and I knew that was wrong on a basic level.  Fortunately, I never had to make that call, and i pray none of those I taught had to.  Scouting was an integral part of my youth, and it defined who and what I am today.  I grieve along with you and wish you all well.

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I plan to carry on.  I still believe in the BSA program and enjoy working with my Troop.  I know there were sins in the past and we must atone for them, but if I think the work we do today is important and impactful.  I grew up in scouting in the 80s and early 90s and it provided some of the best experiences in my youth.  I want to provide that to today's youth. I hope BSA survives, especially with council camps, but will find another way if it doesn't. 

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Like Eagle1993, I plan to continue Scouting working with a Scout Reach Pack and Troop.   

Here is my perspective from what I have read beginning in the 1990's through today.  It represents my understanding after integrating all sources that I have found.

The youth still need the values and lessons that Scouting teaches.  Scouting has benefitted tens of millions of youth to be better people.  Scouting has had 130 million individuals in its programs since founding in 1910 so even if one were to round up 100,000 injured that is only 0.08%!  Not even a tenth of a percent.  This is not to say that that is acceptable but rather to put it into perspective.

Also, the cases that were made public in the past showed that many times that actual acts of abuse occurred outside of Scouting.  Perpetrators used Scouting as a way to meet children and establish trust.  This does not change the reprehensible actions of the criminals but it was grooming most often occurring in Scouting that is much better understood now.

Growing up in the 1960's, sexual abuse of children was entering into the public discourse.  Of course it had been occurring since there have been people, but 'nice' people would not publicly discuss it.  In the 1960's, if a child accused a respected adult of abusing them, it would be the child who was scrutinized for making up the allegations.  Let that sink in - it was the child who was not truthful at that time in American history.  People cannot put themselves into that mindset but it was the way people thought. 

It was not until the late 1980's that many states passed legislation to protect those who reported concerns of abuse.  Before that, if one reported someone of possible abuse, the reporter could be sued for defamation of character.  Had the BSA reported every case, there would have been numerous defamation suits unless the person was convicted of child abuse.  If you were a SE and had a concern reported to you, would you really report something that was second hand possibility of abuse (that is now covered by state laws but not before ~1990) and risk being sued for defamation of character risking large sums of money for your council?

If you had that possible concern about a volunteer, would you as the SE put the volunteer on a list to keep him from ever being in Scouting again?  That is what happened.  SE's had to report it but there was no enforced reporting standard so some reports were very short - this should have probably have been corrected in those years long ago.  The Ineligible Volunteer File also has people who needed to be excluded for other reasons such as safety issues or not handling money appropriately.  The file was never called the perversion file by professional Scouters - that is made up by plaintiffs attorneys to imply malfeasance.  The file has limited access but it is important to never allow names to be released for someone who was removed on a suspicion.  This system erred on the side of protecting children while acting in the realities of the laws of the day.  Such a system is exactly what the CDC is recommending now.  

One cannot look at things that happened in the past and draw accurate conclusions unless their view is taking into account the norms and values of the day.  The actions that others did in the past were doing the best that they could under the laws of the day.  One must evaluate their actions with that view - not today's.

We believe that we are doing the right thing now in regards to youth protection and we are by today's rules.  What if in 30 years, what is required changes and what we are doing now is no longer adequate?  Do you want to be judged by your compliance with today's laws and views or some new set that we cannot even predict?

We can all say 'why didn't the BSA do some specific thing back in some particular time?', but very good, dedicated, successful, and smart people have been directing the organization.  They did their best as would we if in that situation.  Also, it is likely that if we were in that seat to steer the BSA at that time and with only the data available at that time, we would have done something similar.

Scouting can help to rescue at risk children, allow children with disabilities to find a place to succeed or even excel, provide an ethical and moral code to define their lives, learn teamwork, learn grit and resilience, and learn outdoor skills.  Those things change lives.

I encourage everyone to continue to work with children and, hopefully, do it through Scouting even if things structurally change.

 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

In the context of this lawsuit, the BSA isn't rotten, nor does it have a dark side. The organization has given society a program that only intends to build better citizens. It is that simple. 

People can be rotten and induce a dark side of themselves on unsuspecting innocent families, but that has nothing to do with the BSA or it's programs.

If one can't see this reality, they likely need to get as far away as possible so as not to pollute the minds of the innocent.

There is no doubt in my mind that if the good of scouting from it's beginning could be measured against the bad that occurred over the same time period, the minuscule bad would be impossible to measure against the vast enormity of the good.

Barry

Barry's last paragraph is a great summary.  Please consider it as Scouting goes through a difficult time.

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11 hours ago, ParkMan said:

I think this is where I've been for a long time - that the sheer volume of these must be telling us something.  

To me, this is more a question is more of - should I be reacting more strongly than I am?  Should I be disassociating myself with the BSA?  If the BSA did all this awful stuff, why am I continuing to be a volunteer?  I presume that all of this has been rectified with the current YPT rules - but really, I just don't know that much about what happened to even make an informed decision.  I trust, and I really do desperately want to trust - but I'm feeling like I'm missing something in what I know. 

The Catholic church I understood - the church covered up and transferred priests in an attempt to avoid embarrassment for the church and punishment for those priests.  But in the case of the BSA, I don't think they were hiding abuse.  I don't think they were protecting leaders from punishment.  But, given the ferocity of all of this, I'm starting to presume that they must have been.  So, maybe there's something I just don't know here.

Clearly smart people want to destroy the BSA for a reason.  What do I not know?

It's about money.  Pure and simple.

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10 hours ago, yknot said:

I don't know what to say to anyone else. I came here to this forum a few years ago because I was worried, but this isn't the venue to fix anything, only to share in the best of times and to vent in the worst. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any venue for folks at the unit level to try and fix anything. Many will tell you to just focus on delivering a great program at the unit level, and that's what I tried to help do. But then I kept having this feeling that at least a part of the apple we were trying to deliver was rotten. I can't square myself with trying to deliver a partly rotten apple to anyone, so I pulled my youngest scout out this summer. I'm on the charter until December and I've continued to try to help, but after that, I am done. I wish everyone well. 

I wish you the best.   Your kids are only young once and you have to decide what is best for them.  

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2 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

It's about money.  Pure and simple.

Probably you're right.  What @vol_scouter makes a lot of sense to me too.  

I won't belabour the point any more.  I find myself in this whole thing being sort of asked to take sides on this with little knowledge of the past.  That's why I'd love one of those 20 minute news pieces about this whole thing - perhaps even an hour.  Forget the posturing and taking sides - just let's discuss what happened and why.  If the BSA was trying to cover itself - just be honest.  If the BSA was simply trying to follow the law but made mistakes - let's be honest about that too.  I'm really not trying to get some opinion piece in support of the BSA or against it.  But alas, that's well beyond the power of anyone here to see a news team, journalist, or documentary film maker put something like that together.  

@yknot & @scoutldr - I'm sorry to hear that you are stepping down soon.  I still believe the unit & district programs themselves are sound, so when great volunteers leave, it's always a sad day.

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47 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

It's about money.  Pure and simple.

Yes, it is about money.  I cannot say that I am surprised about the number of claims.  I have escalated some serious issues to District AND Council and they were overlooked.  One in particular came back to bite them in the ass.  Had they taken action when I brought it up they could have avoided a serious situation and avoided hurting a Scout, his family, and some truly wonderful volunteers. 

I had a Scout reveal in his EBOR that two Scouts in his Troop with developmental issues were being bullied.  Was there any follow up?  Of course not.  I had a Scoutmaster with a drunk driving conviction who would drink on camping trips, use profanity with the Scouts, and would offer to 'give' Scouts merit badges if they did something for the Troop.  He was someone who was highly unethical, vindictive, and would only help Scouts that he liked.  Everyone knew it.  Is he still a registered leader?  Of course he is!  We had a parent call the COR to complain that her Scout had been systematically bullied by an ASM for years.  Other parents stepped forward and said they had witnessed it.  Was ANYTHING done?  No.  Is the ASM still a registered leader?  Of course he is!

Units run on their own with no oversight from a Commissioner or their Charter Org. and yet when problems/situations happen they are overlooked because the DE needs to show 'numbers' to his boss.  There's always a lot of talk but no action, much to the detriment of the Scouts.  They would rather keep a non performing Unit that is barely serving our youth rather than cut the cord and funnel the Scouts to better Units.  Stuff goes on that people know about but don't do anything about because 'we don't have enough volunteers' or "I'm afraid what the SM will do if I complain.  Little Johnny is so close to being Eagle', etc.  I could go on and on...

I am a merit badge counselor and a Committee member.  I am NOT reregistering this year.

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For the moment I am in. Middle Son is Life and Youngest is Second Class, and wants to be an Eagle after seeing Oldest Son's court of honor. Plus my Scouts need me., especially since we are a small troop and every active adult is needed.

BUT, "always in motion, the future is." .

IF BSA becomes "Family Scouting," we are gone. The last troop I was in turned into that, and it caused major problems that you can read about if your wish. Both sons involved in that troop were seriously affected by "Family Scouting," and I will not put the older two through that experience, nor have the youngest go through it. My family comes first.

And I do not want my Scouts to have to deal with it. We had 1 Scout transfer over. The SM talked to me after my  sons and their friend's SM Conferences, asking about the situation in the old troop, was it really as bad as they described it. And I said yes. "Family Scouting" is NOT Scouting.

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