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Chapter 11 announced - Part 3 - BSA's Toggle Plan


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21 minutes ago, yknot said:

 

That's exactly why COs are so confused about their role with BSA. With most other organizations the relationship is simply one of benign support. We also have church chartered units and the pastors know a couple of people in the organization, generally the person who comes and asks them to sign something, but they know no one else. Most of the CORs are that in name only and don't belong to the congregation. There no longer is any connection between the congregations and the unit. This isn't an issue for any other organization because they are not looking for the CO to hold a supervisory role. The reality is that the scouting model is vastly different for the CO and a supervisory role is indeed required, it's just not recognized as such. That this responsibility isn't highlighted and better emphasized is due to the conflict that BSA has had in maintaining membership numbers at all costs. 

I remember some folks in 1995 stating the BSA was loosing membership because they didn't accept gays. They had nothing to prove their statement, mostly because where would they find it, even if it was true. Of couse those of us working in Membership had a different opinion.

I've been out a while, but I could show where the drop out numbers were going and it had nothing to do with CO responsibilities or gays. Of course culture expectations have changed a bit, but our data was so pronounced that I'm confident CO responsibilities and gays are still way  low, if not completely off the radar as reasoning for membership drop.

So, when someone starts stating the BSA is loosing numbers because of some out-there reasoning that can't be proven, how much can we trust the rest of what they say? 

Having a CO as being responsible for a unit is more layers of responsibility, not less. Both council and District spend a great deal of time supervising over the units to remind them of their expected responsibilities. Many CORs don't get to involved because the responsibility is already being taken care of. I heard more complaints of to-much overseeing by the CO, Council and District than the other way around. But, I know Councils put a great deal of effort in keeping units up to speed on their responsibilities. And when comparing with other youth organizations, my experience is the BSA is active and any of them. I was never approached as a coach of counselor to discuss the expected actions to insure youth safety like I was a Scout Leader.

I think folks are trying to hard to impress their personal reasoning of where points of failure exist on this subject. There may have to be some changes put in the system, but it will be purely for show to satisfy the lawyers, not for lack of performance.

Barry

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34 minutes ago, yknot said:

This is complicated by the fact that while on paper BSA assigns responsibility to COs, in practice it does not ensure those responsibilities are being carried out. Every council is different, so there may be some where COs were more conscientiously  supervised and had their charters pulled for lack of unit supervision, but that would never happen in my area because it would result in lost units and membership. BSA in my experience does not care if the CO has any role in the operations of the unit. It knowingly abdicates this oversight responsibility. 

I don't think anybody does any more supervising than BSA COs do, and I don't think COs ahve any extra special responsibility that is different in kind from all the other youth serving programs.

I've coached rec league baseball and hockey.  My qualifications to do so were that when i signed my kid up they asked if anyone wanted to help coach and i raised my hand.  I filled out an application just like BSA's, I said OK to a background check just like BSA's, and I sat through an hour of training just like BSA's.  

No one conducted an in depth interview about how I handle kids or what experience I have.  No one came to watch my practices to make sure I was doing everything the way they suggested in training.  And if I wanted to I could have been a coach in the "travel" team, and I would have supervised kids overnight out of town, just like scouting.

The local recreation board certainly knows that they're responsible for bad things that happen to kids in their programs; they know they're responsible for vetting, and supervision, etc..  Anybody who hasn't been living on a mountain top without outside communication for the last 20 years knows they're responsible for whatever happens within a youth organization they're sponsoring.

There's no other better model out there that's doing anything all that different from BSA and their COs unless you get to the level of paid professionalism that comes with high school sports and really high end, paid coaching travel sports leagues.

 

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22 minutes ago, T2Eagle said:

I don't think anybody does any more supervising than BSA COs do, and I don't think COs ahve any extra special responsibility that is different in kind from all the other youth serving programs.

I've coached rec league baseball and hockey.  My qualifications to do so were that when i signed my kid up they asked if anyone wanted to help coach and i raised my hand.  I filled out an application just like BSA's, I said OK to a background check just like BSA's, and I sat through an hour of training just like BSA's.  

No one conducted an in depth interview about how I handle kids or what experience I have.  No one came to watch my practices to make sure I was doing everything the way they suggested in training.  And if I wanted to I could have been a coach in the "travel" team, and I would have supervised kids overnight out of town, just like scouting.

The local recreation board certainly knows that they're responsible for bad things that happen to kids in their programs; they know they're responsible for vetting, and supervision, etc..  Anybody who hasn't been living on a mountain top without outside communication for the last 20 years knows they're responsible for whatever happens within a youth organization they're sponsoring.

There's no other better model out there that's doing anything all that different from BSA and their COs unless you get to the level of paid professionalism that comes with high school sports and really high end, paid coaching travel sports leagues.

 

That's my point. BSA COs in many cases actually don't do any supervising, whether or not it is assigned to them on paper, and BSA doesn't follow up. I have witnessed outrageous adult behavior in all kinds of youth settings. In a sports setting, offending adults are no longer allowed to coach or ejected from games and practices. It's clear who is responsible for removing the adult. Often times the people empowered to remove the individual are on site and witness the behavior. In scouting, I've never seen that happen and it is unclear to most COs that it would be their responsibility to do so. It is very rare for a CO or COR to be in attendance at a camp out and witness the behavior. And I'm not even talking about CSA. I think BSA has done a lot, I just don' think it's done enough and I don't think it has been willing to look at some of the reasons why abuse has been so rampant and why it has continued to occur even to the present day despite having so many measures in place. 

 

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2 hours ago, ThenNow said:

The provisions you noted seem rather squishy. Enough to bring the CO into the liability tent, but by no means enough to allow the insurers to wash their hands of policy obligation or, of course, give the BSA wiggle room against their own negligence.

Which is part of why this is in court and the COs waiting in the wings to see what happens and if the insurance companies will cover them and to how much/what extent.

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2 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

Why?  Insurance coverage.  Insurance companies will see the billions of dollars from the BSA lawsuit and increase their rigor when insuring youth organizations.

Yep. When people scream and squeal about Guide to Safe Scouting or YP, I point out that 90% of both and be traced back to a lawsuit or an insurance company demand, or both.

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37 minutes ago, grizzly702 said:

I guess we aren't the Gold standard for YPT any more

https://safe.baberuthleague.org/#/background 

https://www.baberuthleague.org/child-protection-program.aspx

They even keep score and post the number of rejections 

THIS is what I want from BSA and I hope the TCC demands: Cleary Act style reporting (which focuses on colleges and universities)

For example, right now I can pull up data on Murder/Non-negligent manslaughter, Negligent manslaughter, Rape, Fondling, Incest, Statutory rape, Robbery, Aggravated assault, Burglary, Motor vehicle theft, and Arson.

I can find this out for a particular college OR a particular campus of that college.

I can then see how many resulted in arrests, disciplinary actions, unfounded crimes, and fire statistics (?)

https://ope.ed.gov/campussafety/#/

Any council data on number of people removed? Nope. YP violations? Nope.

Start posting reports and aggregated data and we can start to talk honesty and transparency with BSA and the LCs.

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35 minutes ago, yknot said:

It is very rare for a CO or COR to be in attendance at a camp out and witness the behavior.

As noted, there are units whose entire interaction with the CO or COR is a 5 minute conversation for signatures once a year.

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Posted (edited)

Hartford has responded to the TCC/FCR/Coalition request for information regarding the sweetheart deal they cut with BSA. While the details of the responses are not available, we do know that the were mailed/processed today based on the notice of service (a document filed with the court indicating that the following papers were sent).

  1. Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company, First State Insurance Company and Twin City Fire Insurance Company’s Objections and Responses to The Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice,  The  Official  Committee  of  Tort  Claimants  and  The  Future  Claims Representative’s  First  Set  of  Requests  for  Admission
  2. Hartford  Accident  and Indemnity  Company,  First  State  Insurance  Company  and  Twin  City  Fire  Insurance Company’s Objections and Responses to The Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice, The Official  Committee  of  Tort  Claimants  and  The  Future  Claims  Representative’s  First Requests for the Production of Documents
  3. Hartford  Accident  and  Indemnity Company,  First  State  Insurance  Company  and  Twin  City  Fire  Insurance Company’s Objections  and  Responses  to  The  Official  Committee of  Tort  Claimants’  First  Set of Interrogatories

Before anyone asks

No, we don't know what objected to or how they responded to any of this.

No, we likely won't either. These kinds of papers are sent back and forth between attorneys. Unless somewhere down the road a relevant portion is included in some other court filing, we'll never know.

 

Edited by CynicalScouter
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CynicalScouter,

Though we do not always see situations in the same light, I do appreciate your posts.  You keep us informed about important happenings while not bogging us down with the myriads of documents that are a necessary part of the court proceedings but no very germane to our understanding of the those proceedings.  So my thanks.

I would comment that Cynical in your name would seem to be a gross understatement. :)

Please continue to post.

 

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20 hours ago, vol_scouter said:

Perhaps the statues are a key to some of the desire to retain the Summit.  The statues are of major donors and many are national executive board members.  Doubt that if any of us gave a substantial gift would like to see it sold.  There are several buildings on site as well that required sizable donations to construct .

Yes I believe this National's main reason to retain Summit above all else - do not upset our major donors.

As someone else pointed out, when councils are forced to sell camps for which they have cared and improved for decades, there will be a need for a summer camp. The Summit is within a day’s drive of half of the US population.  

Lesson relearned from the Philmont fires and covid, we can and have setup our own summer camp for less money and less driving 2-4 hours. No scouts or scouters from my unit have traveled to Summit, no interest.

When Dr. Bob Gates was Secretary of Defense under Obama, he said that it was not likely that the military would allow future national jamborees.  That was the impetus for the Summit.

Agreed , a US military base as a scout camping venue is likely history whether due our membership issues (then) or security (now). IMHO, the impetus for Summit over other locations was the land and money donation by the Bechtel family, though a good argument can be made for its location adjacent to the New Gorge National River. That said, is there a future for BIG gatherings (Jamborees, Olympics,...) or have they become too expensive and too complex?

I personally doubt that the Summit could be sold for $350 M so it would not be a surprise if more is owed than its value.

Yeah we lost money on it.

A last point, the BSA argues that the high adventure bases are core to its mission.  If one is offered, the TCC will argue that all should be sold.

I do not understand this argument when the vast majority of scouts (90 percent ?) will not attend a BSA HA camp. The outdoors are core to our mission not any particular property.

My $0.02,
 

 

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15 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

THIS is what I want from BSA and I hope the TCC demands: Cleary Act style reporting (which focuses on colleges and universities)

For example, right now I can pull up data on Murder/Non-negligent manslaughter, Negligent manslaughter, Rape, Fondling, Incest, Statutory rape, Robbery, Aggravated assault, Burglary, Motor vehicle theft, and Arson.

I can find this out for a particular college OR a particular campus of that college.

I can then see how many resulted in arrests, disciplinary actions, unfounded crimes, and fire statistics (?)

https://ope.ed.gov/campussafety/#/

Any council data on number of people removed? Nope. YP violations? Nope.

Start posting reports and aggregated data and we can start to talk honesty and transparency with BSA and the LCs.

I think that would be ideal - not only for Scouting, but every organization. Churches, sports leagues, etc. 

I'm also imagining the cost and the difference between what the federal government can throw at this in terms of staff, resources, and authority vs what a much diminished voluntary organization that has spent all its assets on lawyers could do. And the time it would take to get there. 

But also, honestly, it took until this last week to be able to simply assign people who have been registered as leaders to new positions in the online system. I can't even get a decent report on how many scouters are qualified for which awards or an accurate list of all former Eagle scouts living in my district with the database and tools we have. 

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22 minutes ago, MattR said:

While there's lots of discussion by the lawyers about the property values I wonder if anyone is considering what the units need. Unfortunately, I suspect I know the answer to that.

Keep in mind in a bankruptcy, what is/is not a "core" element needed for BSA National to survive is the question.

If you look at the recent (1-2 months) push to have HA bases be "Family Adventure camps" the business case will be that HA bases will be money makers for BSA in the future. So, you are right, units may not need them, but BSA may claim it needs their projected future revenue to survive.

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14 minutes ago, qwazse said:

The TCC is probably using that for their machinations.

They are also no doubt looking at the councils (like Colonial Virginia) that have no camps to make the case many/most camps are not core/essential to scouting.

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6 minutes ago, Protoclete said:

I'm also imagining the cost and the difference between what the federal government can throw at this in terms of staff, resources, and authority vs what a much diminished voluntary organization that has spent all its assets on lawyers could do. And the time it would take to get there. 

Clery reports are mandatory reports submitted to the federal government. The feds simply host the website and store the data.

The burden will be on council staff to report, but you know what? I don't care. BSA needs to do this to be taken seriously.

And if some council were to report on an annual basis "We had 0 YP violations this year" I'd suspect either a) that council had reached a point of utopia or b) YP was not being enforced.

TCC has said that in addition to any financial settlement(s) for abuse victims it will be asking for changes to BSA's YP program. Remember: over 11,000 abuse claims occurred the much vaunted (but NOT enforced) YP training took place. And as recently as 2018, only 66% of direct contact leaders were YP trained.

I would LOVE to see TCC ask for, and the court order, BSA produce Clery style reports and an  INDEPENDENT sexual abuse special counsel/special monitor named by the court to oversee BSA's YP compliance, similar to how federal courts appoint special monitors to confirm compliance with consent decrees or court orders.

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