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ASM59

Youth Protection and Astronomy

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I was reading another thread, "Youth Protection in Latrines" and was reminded of something that happened two summer's ago.

 

I'd be interested in all your opinions about this situation:

 

At Summer Camp, one of our 2nd Class Scouts was taking the Astronomy MB. This required 3 or 4 night time hikes during the week. The hikes started at about 9:30pm and lasted until about 11:00pm. None of the other boys were interested in walking him down to the hike start point because they'd have to miss out on the evening events in our camp site and later in the week, they were interested in getting to bed before 11:00. Any way, since I am interested in astronomy I volunteered to go on the hikes with him.

 

As it turned out, the MB counselor was there each night as the only adult with about 12 boys including our scout. This is another case where there would have been many boys with one adult if I had not shown up.

 

My question is regarding my having walked up the trail and back each evening with our scout. Is walking alone with a Scout on an open trail in a full campground a violation of the G2SS? In a Youth Protection refresher course that I took last year, I was told that this was a definite violation. The assistant at the training disagreed and said that it was more important that we did not have the Scout walk alone to the hike. In a case like this I do not see the benefit in forcing another Scout to go with the one taking the MB, nor would I have wanted to tell this Scout that he couldn't take this MB. What do you think?

 

ASM59

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Remember that the 2-deep rule is there to protect both the Scout (from abuse) as well as the leader (from unfair accusations). Because it was night, the scout definitely needed a buddy. Yes this was a violation. You should have asked another scout to consider taking the MB or another adult to accompany you both. Or, the two of you could have accompanied him to another campsite where he could hook up with some other scout who was taking the course. The camp staff should have been willing to set this up. IMHO, failing either of those options, the Scout could not have taken the MB. Period.

 

Of course, the bigger issue is WHAT was the camp staff thinking when they allowed just ONE counselor to offer this at night?????

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"Of course, the bigger issue is WHAT was the camp staff thinking when they allowed just ONE counselor to offer this at night?????"

 

Why would more than one counselor be needed?

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Well, there's more than one planet up there. Were you expecting just one counselor to handle them ALL??? (Not to mention all those comets and other stuff...)

 

;)

 

 

The staff should have ensured 2-deep.

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ASM59, while you have not specifically said so, the impression I get from reading your post is that the "trail" is a fairly lengthy one through some woods, in other words it's not a matter of walking to the other end of a parade field or something like that; and also that at the time of night you were walking, the trail is not "heavily travled," in other words there would be times when you were walking and not pass another person going in the opposite direction the whole time.

 

If those things are true, and if you think you can already guess what my opinion is, you are probably right. The whole point of the policy is to prevent one adult and one Scout from being "alone together" and as Trevorum said, it is for the protection of both. (Or as I choose to look at it, since I know I am not going to do anything wrong, but nobody else can know that with absolute certainty, the rule is for MY protection, from an unfounded accusation.)

 

And, while the rule does not differentiate between day and night, in effect the time of day can make a difference because a trail at a summer camp is much more likely to be "heavily traveled" during the day. Additionally, what during the day may be a couple of people walking near the mess hall may, at night, be two people walking down a secluded trail, simply because you can't see them. Or to put it another way, you might want to place yourself in the shoes of another adult who happens to be walking down the same trail in the opposite direction one night, and sees middle-aged you and 12-year-old Johnny walking alone together. How HE (or she) interprets the rule might become more important than how you interpret it.

 

I am definitely in the "play it safe" crowd when it comes to Youth Protection.

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"The staff should have ensured 2-deep."

 

I've been to several summer camps where there is only one adult for the merit badge session being counseled. 2-deep leadership is required for trips and outings. Are there different requirements for a BSA camp?

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Two deep leadership is required for outings, not everything. MB classes do not require two-deep leadership. However, the no one-on-one contact exists for all cases (unless it is from the same family).

 

Do I see a problem with the above stated case? Ideally, yes. But, the devil is always in the details and dependent on the length, seclusion factor, etc. it may be the lesser of two evils. Especially if the adult and Scout were familiar with each other, a judgment call may exist.

 

On one our our outings last year, we were in my estimation somewhat short on leaders - only two with about 15 boys. One of the boys woke up sick around midnight. I got up with him after being awakened by my son, the other boys tent mate. He threw-up and I sat with him for about 45 minutes. The other boys went back in their tents after about ten minutes. The sick Scout went back to bed but arose a half hour later and got sick again. I stayed up with him for about three hours and called his mother at about 5:30 AM. At six o'clock she arrived and took him home (he had a bad stomach virus that 50% of the troop got in the next week including me). I was alone with him, in camp but everyone else was sleeping, for about 4 hours. In my judgment I did not want to wake another Scout or adult. Needless to say, with no sleep, I was not very productive the next day. Some would find fault with what I did but judgment calls need to made all the time. Because I knew this Scout and his family very well, I was his Tiger through Boy Scout leader, I was comfortable with my decision.

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FScouter, sorry. Your're right, two deep was not required for the MB class. I was focusing on the isolated night class aspect of it.

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"Especially if the adult and Scout were familiar with each other, a judgment call may exist. "

"Because I knew this Scout and his family very well, I was his Tiger through Boy Scout leader, I was comfortable with my decision."

 

"IF" an adult were out to do harm to a youth, this would be exactly the method he would use!

 

I assume he trust you with verry good reason. However, does he know the diferance? If you tell him it's ok because you know him, will he think it's ok when another adult says so? The best thing you can do for him it to teach him that even with you the rules still apply... That way when some one tells him otherwise he will know to come to you and report it.

 

Any exceptions put the youth at risk!

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It probably is a violation but there are so many rules all of them can't be followed.

 

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You asked "Is walking alone with a Scout on an open trail in a full campground a violation of the G2SS? "

 

My opinion is the answer is "no". The only concern about this situation is the added issue of darkness. This could afford you the opportunity to have a greater level of privacy than appropriate. If the darkness provided this opportunity, then I'd change my answer to "yes".

 

I've had to walk a scout to the first aid lodge, and have gotten up with scouts who were homesick during the night. I try my best to minimize the time and prevent any situation where I'm not confortable.

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