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Two Deep Leadership on a video chat because Why?

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19 minutes ago, desertrat77 said:

The more I mull it over, the more I'm convinced you are spot on.  Even with the aforementioned spike in earned badges, and the rejoicing, it will be short term.  Scouts and Scouters will get bored and walk away.  The target audience for virtual scouting is probably quite small and recruiting will be a tough sell.

I don't know. I see more and more "Eagle factories" than "Hiking and Camping" troops. I am also seeing more and more parents who want high speed, low drag. And once they Eagle, they move on to the next activity for the college resume.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

I don't know. I see more and more "Eagle factories" than "Hiking and Camping" troops. I am also seeing more and more parents who want high speed, low drag. And once they Eagle, they move on to the next activity for the college resume.

I agree, I'm seeing the same, but I don't envision this being a long-term strategy that will pay the bills.  As the brand is further cheapened, there will be less and less stock in the Eagle rank.  "Pay to earn badges at home, camp in your backyard, and gain a resume bullet" definitely has a target audience, but nothing with the membership and dollars that the BSA has traditionally counted on.

Edited by desertrat77

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I hate to say it, but I don't think the folks remaining at national care about the traditional program. They are just concerned about the immediate money, worrying about next year at that time. I worked for pros like that. They didn't care about having a quality program that people wanted to join. Scouts were numbers.

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On 4/29/2020 at 5:55 PM, HashTagScouts said:

MBCs don't pay.  This is why there is a difference between "registered adult" and "registered adult leader".  MBCs are not required to take any training beyond YPT and MBC training.  They are not satisfactorily a leader, as they don't actually lead- they consult on Merit Badges.  For the purpose of a virtual meeting- OK, no problem, adults are not expected to be leading troop meetings, the SPL is.  What troop org chart have you ever seen that has MBCs on them, and what reporting lines they have? 

So it all comes back to the money? Our Committee Members don't generally lead anything either. They do show up on a troop org chart, but that chart has no bearing on actually leading anything.  Hashing out the details of the annual budget as treasurer, keeping track of advancement as the advancement chair or the registration chair preparing the recharter/ processing applications doesn't really constitute "leading" either, yet each of those positions would count as your "registered adult leader".  Or are you saying that Committee Members do not count as "registered adult leaders" also? 

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Two deep on all video conferences? Patently absurd.

Unless we're trying to convince our boys that someone is always out to get them.  How better to create paranoia? 

In the post-lawsuit BSA, which is better: a) adult scout leaders who can't be trusted; or b) adults who can't be trusted, ESPECIALLY not scout leaders.

If you're going to require 2 adults on every video call, you may as well require 3 adults.  And record the call. And send a certified copy to Irving for review. And file for a tour permit before you schedule the call.  And...

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On 4/29/2020 at 4:17 PM, Jameson76 said:

Just saying that we need to remember WHY we as Scouters really are involved.  No family or Scout/Youth is going to join an organization who has as their main stated mission that they protect youth.  In no way am I underscoring the importance of YPT.  We just cannot (IMHO) let this DEFINE the BSA, this needs to be PART of what we do.

I was just talking to my kids about this, but in the context of school. If a school's primary goal is safety, why would I send them there? If that's my priority, I can do a much better job of that at home. I send them to school for an education, and to interact with and learn from lots of other kids and teachers, etc., not to be "safe."

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2 minutes ago, Sniktaw said:

I was just talking to my kids about this, but in the context of school. If a school's primary goal is safety, why would I send them there? If that's my priority, I can do a much better job of that at home. I send them to school for an education, and to interact with and learn from lots of other kids and teachers, etc., not to be "safe."

Well, statistically, be it in terms of accidents, abuse, ignorance, or perpetual health disparities, the kids are most "at risk" from you, your spouse, your siblings, and each other on a per-hour-of-contact basis. By sending kids to school and scouts, music and sports, I am expecting some of those intrinsic risks to be mitigated. In slightly different terms, a century ago, that's the conversation the superintendent of schools had with my grandfather ... I think he'd be pleased with the results.

It's like vaccines. Artificially Inducing herd immunity has intrinsic risks for which our nation compensates human victims. (A friend has someone in his household experienced the side effects - and the claim for compensation -- first hand.) I would never ask my fellow citizens to participate in it ... if it weren't for the dead and maimed harvested by naturally induced herd immunity.

The jury is still out about how much two-deep engenders the accountability required to prevent abuse. Either 1) there were a few incidents where BSA felt that a general guideline was necessary or 2) risk managers sat in a room and took guesses at how harmful new tech could be (either to individual members or the organization as a whole). My bet is #2 is close to the real story.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/4/2020 at 12:40 PM, JoeBob said:

Two deep on all video conferences? Patently absurd.

Unless we're trying to convince our boys that someone is always out to get them.  How better to create paranoia? 

 

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks of it in terms that stark. 

 

I really wish some of these risk managers coming up with these new rules (and applications of existing rules) would actually spend some time considering the idea of:

"What unintended consequences or implications could this new rule have on the rest of our program".  But it seems they are about as good at proactive thinking as most legislative bodies are when they pass new laws.

I mean, if a rule or guideline immediately requires a F.A.Q. in order to explain what you mean, it probably means it's a poorly written rule. (excepting the fact that there will always be a few nitpickers trying to split hairs on what the definition of "is" is.)

 

And since the current climate is such that you get crucified for publicly suggesting that 100% safety may not be the actual GOAL, I feel like my only remaining option is to point out stupidity indirectly by suggesting we should apply the rules as literally as possible and making the "Maude Flanders'" of the world reign me back in by telling me how I'm taking it too far.

*For example, our Scoutmaster recently mailed very nice congratulations and encouragement cards (for keeping going during the lockdown) to each of the boys on the PLC.  However, clearly under the new guidelines, Adults and scouts should not communicate via letter because 2 Deep Leadership can't be applied to written correspondence.  So obviously: THERE'S NO PLACE IN THE BSA FOR HANDWRITTEN LETTERS/CARDS

 

Edited by elitts

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On 5/8/2020 at 9:07 AM, elitts said:

"For example, our Scoutmaster recently mailed very nice congratulations and encouragement cards (for keeping going during the lockdown) to each of the boys on the PLC.  However, clearly under the new guidelines, Adults and scouts should not communicate via letter because 2 Deep Leadership can't be applied to written correspondence.  So obviously: THERE'S NO PLACE IN THE BSA FOR HANDWRITTEN LETTERS/CARDS"

I do not know if that is entirely accurate, and this may be jumping to a conclusion that possibly is unwarranted under the Guide to Safe Scouting, which is the text by which BSA has informed all adult leaders of the rules to be followed for the Scout's, the BSA's, and the Adults' protection. 

The purpose of two-deep leadership within Adult-Scout communications is to ensure that another adult is, at a bare minimum, made aware that a communication or interaction between an Adult and Scout has occurred. It is intended to put another responsible adult on notice and to be aware of this occurrence. Accordingly, sending a piece of mail addressed to a Scout at his or her home address puts that Scout's parent or guardian on notice that a communication has been received made from another adult. If the parent/guardian wishes, he or she could open the mail for the Scout and read the correspondence—or, better yet, read it with the Scout.

The possibility and opportunity is there, and the parent would be appropriately "carbon-copied" on the mailpiece, just in the same way as e-mail, or sitting in on a phone call over speakerphone, or sitting in the back of a videoconference in Zoom. Perhaps there is a rule in the GTSS directly on point, but as far as my YPT training and GTSS knowledge shows, I see no issue. Thus, I see no problem with a SM sending a handwritten card to one or more Scouts under the example the gentleman posed.

As for the rest of this thread, I disagree that the requirement of two-deep leadership for video-conference meetings is in any way detrimental to the goals of Scouting, and I must respectfully question those leaders who would be vehemently opposed to such a requirement (i.e., those who would call such things "stupid" or "nitpicking"). 

 

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, DNRobbin said:

I do not know if that is entirely accurate, and this may be jumping to a conclusion that possibly is unwarranted under the Guide to Safe Scouting, which is the text by which BSA has informed all adult leaders of the rules to be followed for the Scout's, the BSA's, and the Adults' protection. 

The purpose of two-deep leadership within Adult-Scout communications is to ensure that another adult is, at a bare minimum, made aware that a communication or interaction between an Adult and Scout has occurred. It is intended to put another responsible adult on notice and to be aware of this occurrence. Accordingly, sending a piece of mail addressed to a Scout at his or her home address puts that Scout's parent or guardian on notice that a communication has been received made from another adult. If the parent/guardian wishes, he or she could open the mail for the Scout and read the correspondence—or, better yet, read it with the Scout.

The possibility and opportunity is there, and the parent would be appropriately "carbon-copied" on the mailpiece, just in the same way as e-mail, or sitting in on a phone call over speakerphone, or sitting in the back of a videoconference in Zoom. Perhaps there is a rule in the GTSS directly on point, but as far as my YPT training and GTSS knowledge shows, I see no issue. Thus, I see no problem with a SM sending a handwritten card to one or more Scouts under the example the gentleman posed.

 

Your premise depends on the unsupportable assumption that adults in a household always see the mail first.  I know at my house now, and when I was a kid, the kids were usually the ones sent to fetch the mail from the box and I can't imagine that my family is a rarity.  So now you are in a situation where keeping a letter in compliance with the (2 adults) idea requires that parents tell their kids, "Don't open your own mail until I can supervise".  And if we are going to depend on that to make the solution work, then why doesn't that work for reading text messages or emails too?  (ie: Don't read messages from adults without my knowing about it)  The only way to effectively using "Two adult involvement" with a letter would be to require that all correspondence be mailed to the parent on the scout's behalf.

Your response details pretty much my whole problem with the idea that "Two Deep Leadership" should ever be considered an "anti-grooming" measure.  While the rule works great for ensuring emergency response depth (as it was originally intended), it's fundamentally broken at preventing grooming because it's just unworkable in so many situations.  The fact that the BSA (at one time) accepted that Two Deep Leadership wasn't a functional solution to prevent grooming is exactly there was the additional rule of "No One on One Contact".  And as it is, it's still "No one on one" that does the majority of the work of preventing grooming since "2 Deep" has absolutely no requirement that multiple adults be aware of in-person conversations as long as multiple scouts are present.

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As for the rest of this thread, I disagree that the requirement of two-deep leadership for video-conference meetings is in any way detrimental to the goals of Scouting

Whether or not you think requiring two adults to monitor the internal communication of scouts is a problem probably depends on your view of what Scouts is supposed to be and how it's supposed to work.  If you think Scouts is supposed to be a safe space for kids to calmly and efficiently learn new skills under the watchful eyes of adult leaders (ie: Webelos III), then I'm not surprised that you don't see a problem with mandating adult monitoring of conversations.  I've noticed that this mindset tends to go hand in hand with the notion that kids don't really behave differently when adults are around (unless they are misbehaving).  If that is your view, (and I fully realize there are plenty of adults who would love a program like this)  I can easily believe that you might not see an issue here.  Unfortunately, there are a few problems with this view:

  1.  Scouts isn't supposed to be a safe space for calm and efficient education;
  2.  Kids DO behave differently when adults are watching;
  3.  Unless kids learn to do it ON THEIR OWN, they haven't learned how to do it;

Only the most basic skills in scouting are intended to be simply studied and mastered.  This is why "Camping/survival skills" isn't one of Scouting's Aims.  Everything we want scouts to learn with regards to the actual Aims of Scouting is intended to be learned "on the job" through trial and error.  Exasperation, frustration, failure and even some conflict are a part of how the program is supposed to run because those are some of the best teachers when it comes to leadership and character development.  And the key to all of that is getting adults out of the picture as much as possible.  If a scout is only capable of "leading" with adults around acting as a constant warning to "Behave", then they haven't really learned to lead have they?  And how do they learn to lead independently if adults are ALWAYS around?  This is the whole reason why camp-outs are supposed to be done with adult leadership a football field away in their own camp (maybe not even in view), doing their own thing and with only the SM interacting with the SPL or PL.

And yet here we are with a program where scouts are supposed to learn to function independently, yet we tell them explicitly, "You can't be trusted to have a video conference with each other without at least 2 adults monitoring you".

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

And as far as the level of my disgust with this rule goes, well that's primarily because I don't think this rule was put in place to actually ameliorate some specific risk, I think the only reason for it because the lawyers at BSA really want to get to the point where they can advertise "Non-stop monitoring by at least 2 adults at all times".

 

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i.e., those who would call such things "stupid" or "nitpicking"

Just to be clear, I wasn't calling people attempting to follow the rules "stupid" or "nitpickers", I was referring to those people who will take any idea and try and find some ridiculously unlikely circumstances where won't work.  Like the person I heard arguing that having just 1 female leader on a joint boy/girl troop trip wasn't enough and we should be required to have a female leader physically accompanying every group of girls (not just one per event) specifically in case some issue should arise around a period.  (they were basically saying that the 12 girls going should have to stay in one group with the female leader accompanying them at all times)

Edited by elitts

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, elitts said:

"You can't be trusted to have a video conference with each other without at least 2 adults monitoring you".

I cannot comprehend what would have a person so hung up on this single issue—right or wrong, well-interpreted rule or not—out of all others in Scouting. To devote one's attention to this in the manner few others have in this thread, it puzzles me. (And, it would seem, it has puzzled the majority of the posters on this forum.)

I submit we will not be able to understand one another, and I will leave it at that.

Best of luck.

Edited by DNRobbin
clarified a parenthetical

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@DNRobbin, What is your history with Scouting? Were you involved as a youth in Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts, Cub Scouts, Exploring, Varsity Scouts or Venturing? Also how long have you been involved in Scouting? I ask because that will give me some background on you to help understand your position.

A lot of us oldtimers have some issues with the current Youth Protection Guidelines is that it has slowly eroded the old Scouting philosophy of "Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" (sic) From 1910 to 2012 patrols could camp on their own without adults present. In fact at one time to earn First Class you and a buddy or patrol had to do a trek on your own without adults present. And until October 1, 2018,  patrols could still do day activities, like patrol food shopping, hikes, and meetings, without adults present. Merit badge counseling could be done with a buddy or a parent, so they were much easier to organize. Now I got to have a 2nd registered Scouter over 21 when I have classes. And I feel sorry for the 18-20 year old Scouters. They no longer count for Youth Protection purposes. At least National relented to all the pressure from troops going to summer camp and HA bases to delay that rule from February 1, 2018 to October 1, 2018. I know  my troop would not be going to summer camp when I was 19 and 20 because I was the 2nd adult able to go due to my summer schedule.

But I really feel sorry for the 18-20 year old MBCs because  they need to find 2 Scouters over 21 since they no longer count towards Youth Protection. There would have been no way I could work with Scouts on Lifesaving MB when I was a 19 and 20 year old YMCA Lifeguard instructor under the current rules.

Then you got some of absurd rules that is pure CYA on National's part. According to current YP rules, my nephews could not stay overnight at my house because I would need a 2nd registered adult over 21, but my boys could stay at my sister's house sine her and her husband are not registered with the BSA. Don't get me started on the Department of Labor laws that BSA has decided to implement. I had a bunch of Bears laughing at me when I told them BSA no longer allows them to use their little red wagons to help with a service project. They thought I was joking.

A lot of us oldtimers see these rules eroding responsibility from our youth and young Scouters. It is as if we no longer trust them.

And Scouts do react differently when adults are around. Instead of thinking for themselves and trying to solve their own problems, they constantly look to adults to give them hints, or worse, tell them what to do. And then you got some adults who intervene so much, the Scouts decide to shut down, and wait for the adult to tell them what to do. I remember one Scout getting upset when and adult got on his case for "playing with fire" when he was cooking his dinner on a spit. From that point until he left the troop, on trips he always used a camp stove to cook instead of trying other methods of cooking.

And don't get me wrong, I understand how important Youth Protection. I have had to deal with several YP issues over the years.  But none of the latest YP rules would have prevented them.

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@Eagle94-A1, my scouting journey started over a quarter century ago, and I have been active since. I first started as a Lion in Cub Scouts, earned Arrow of Light, started Boy Scouts promptly at 12-13 years of age, then earned Eagle at 18. I'm also Order of the Arrow (Ordeal) and a Firecrafter. I was an assistant scoutmaster immediately after earning Eagle, and I am now Advancement Chair for the unit committee.

Unlike a few others voicing their passions in this thread, I don't see YPT as adding extra steps that would not or does not prevent abusive environments (or even mitigate risk of such environments) to our boys and girls.

I see them as essential features of a program that has been the subject of widespread and historic ridicule and criticism for being an "abusive" organization—sexual, hazing, or otherwise.

These rules are simply the product of that history. Perhaps someday, instead of 2 registered adult leaders over 21-years, we could have 2 registered adult leaders over 18 years. But that is unlikely to happen anytime soon, again, given the program's history.

The silver lining with that rule is that this should incentivize more parents (who will always be 21 years or older) to participate in the program as registered leaders. I see that as opportunity for growth, not a setback. Again, personally, I see no problem with these restrictions because the only time they're a "problem" is because they appear to us as mere inconveniences in the moment. The appropriate response to an "inconvenient" or "ill-advised" YPT requirement should not be "This is a terrible rule." It should be "This is the way we will have to do it, now how can we make it work?"

Since I can't walk and chew gum at the same time, I'll go for the latter response.

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14 minutes ago, elitts said:

The idea that YPT is a feature of the program seems to be a very unfortunate, yet common viewpoint today.  YPT is certainly a critical component of BSA activities, but a "feature"?  When you start getting to a point where limitations and risk mitigation requirements are viewed as features, it's a pretty sad state of affairs.  That's like choosing a school for your kids based upon the fact that they have metal detectors, bulletproof glass and regular armed patrols in the hallways.  .......................

.................But the notion that anything put forward as "Being for Youth Protection" should be considered sacrosanct and incontestable is a dangerous idea.  There have been plenty of pretty silly and even destructive notions put forward over the years to "protect kids" that lead me to believe that saying something out loud in an appropriate forum is clearly what's called for when ruling bodies start going overboard.  BSA doesn't really accept much in the way of user feedback beyond their surveys, so I'm left with the option of forum posts and in-person discussions with interested parties hoping that maybe I'll strike a chord in someone who actually has an official ear listening to them.

Agree - The reason for the BSA CANNOT be YPT, that is NOT our purpose.  It is part of the mechanics of program (like Guide to Advancement) and not the reason for the program.  

We run the program to HAVE FUN, and engage the youth to be better leaders and citizens.  Anytime I hear that our NUMBER ONE PRIORITY is to protect youth (basically holding this up as a sacred talisman and selling point), I shudder and realize someone may not fully understand the real reason for the BSA

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