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Got a camping situation regarding parent/guardian


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We have a campout coming up for our pack.  Two of the Scouts - one Tiger, one Wolf - lost their dad  a couple of years ago.  They are a Gold Star family, meaning that if mom remarries before she reaches a certain age, she loses all benefits, including the survivor retirement pay, health care, etc.  She has a boy friend who is essentially her husband and the stepfather of the Scouts in all but legal status.  She can't make it on the camping trip, so he's planning to bring them.  We really didn't think anything of it until I started digging into the G2SS and it dawned on me that he is neither their parent nor legal guardian.  He is listed as the secondary emergency contact for them in the Pack and at school.  He is also listed as her emergency contact, and she is his for the Army.  Given that it is essentially a common law marriage, minus the legalities, does he still need to sleep in a separate tent from them?

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I feel like the Guide to Safe Scouting bounces between using guardian and legal guardian. So, it seems at times it specifically talks of guardian vs. legal guardian. 

It may be good to register the boyfriend. For sure he could be the another registered adult. 2 cubs, one being a tiger, makes it harder. 

 

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A “No” reply would have been easy to deal with. 
 

A “Yes”, I would ask if your state’s laws recognize him as a guardian. 
 

Since this is about tenting, I don’t envy you having to determine this one, as the Cub in question may well look at him as a father figure and might not understand why he (the Cub himself) is being treated differently. 

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1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Have them check their library to see if anyone on staff is a notary. They usually will notorize for free.

Often a secretary in the schools will be notaries too.

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The distinction between guardian and legal guardian drawn by the G2SS seems to be about whether the child is being given over to another adult (legal guardian) or whether they're attending with an adult (guardian).  Especially if mom is attending I don't think you have any issue.  

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This is a common challenge for many youth serving organizations.  I volunteer at another (non-scouting) family based service program.  When I started 15 years ago, family was defined by the mom and her kids; and a married husband if they had one.  About ten year ago, it switched to more of a common law rule.  If it was long-term, then it was family and this was for sheltering and parental oversight.   

So, my heart goes out to scouters answering this questions.  Even married step-parents are not automatically legal guardians.  Long-term married boy friends?  

It's almost like when new scouts join a unit, the scout registration needs to include a statement of who is allowed to function as a guardian (tent, etc)?

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16 hours ago, T2Eagle said:

The distinction between guardian and legal guardian drawn by the G2SS seems to be about whether the child is being given over to another adult (legal guardian) or whether they're attending with an adult (guardian).  Especially if mom is attending I don't think you have any issue.  

That's the problem - she's not attending.  He's completed YPT and she considers him a guardian.  She's trying to get with the legal office on post, but of course, they aren't picking up the phone.

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1 hour ago, Armymutt said:

He's completed YPT

Have him register as an adult leader. It seems clear that he could at least be the "supervising adult" for the Wolf. It leaves the tiger out, but that may be the best and clearest approach. 

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8 hours ago, mrjohns2 said:

Have him register as an adult leader. It seems clear that he could at least be the "supervising adult" for the Wolf. It leaves the tiger out, but that may be the best and clearest approach. 

I'm not sure that is useful in this specific situation.  I'd only ask him if you are asking the other parents.

I really seems you need some simple guardianship form signed by the mother  indicating she is granting the adult temporary guardianship of the child.  There are web sites that can be used.  Keep it simple.  

Most importantly, be open with the mom.  You're not a business and you don't have your own lawyers.  You are only trying to do right by the child and by the organization.  

The more I think about this ... I'm betting ... the mom has had to deal with this for other reasons.  I'm betting she has had to setup some type of guardianship documents for her partner to use with the child.  Ask the mom.  Talk to her. 

An interesting point ... when kids have joined my packs / troops, we never wanted evidence of who was the parent or who was a partner.  We never knew if they were the legal guardian or the real parent.  ... It was not our business.  ... it was more the parents responsibility to name who took care of the kid.  ... What we were watching for was that none of the leaders or other parents took up that role.  ... We never injected ourselves into the internal family dynamics. 

I'd be tempted to treat this similar.  When the scout joins, have the parents tell you who the guardians are.  I fear this is one where the parent asked and now you have more work.  

My heart goes out to you.  A gold star family.  They have already lost their dad in service to our country.  I'd want to bend over backwards to help them any way I could and to help the kids.  ... but do it within the rules of G2SS and your good conscious. 

Edited by fred8033
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8 hours ago, fred8033 said:

I'm not sure that is useful in this specific situation.  I'd only ask him if you are asking the other parents.

I really seems you need some simple guardianship form signed by the mother  indicating she is granting the adult temporary guardianship of the child.  There are web sites that can be used.  Keep it simple.  

Most importantly, be open with the mom.  You're not a business and you don't have your own lawyers.  You are only trying to do right by the child and by the organization.  

The more I think about this ... I'm betting ... the mom has had to deal with this for other reasons.  I'm betting she has had to setup some type of guardianship documents for her partner to use with the child.  Ask the mom.  Talk to her. 

An interesting point ... when kids have joined my packs / troops, we never wanted evidence of who was the parent or who was a partner.  We never knew if they were the legal guardian or the real parent.  ... It was not our business.  ... it was more the parents responsibility to name who took care of the kid.  ... What we were watching for was that none of the leaders or other parents took up that role.  ... We never injected ourselves into the internal family dynamics. 

I'd be tempted to treat this similar.  When the scout joins, have the parents tell you who the guardians are.  I fear this is one where the parent asked and now you have more work.  

My heart goes out to you.  A gold star family.  They have already lost their dad in service to our country.  I'd want to bend over backwards to help them any way I could and to help the kids.  ... but do it within the rules of G2SS and your good conscious. 

You bring up a good point.  We don't ask anyone.  Frankly, we wouldn't know the details in this case if they weren't friends of our family.  This is a case of ignorance is bliss and knowledge totally throws a wrench into things.

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