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Gurnee Bruce

what happens at 18?

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Actually there was a history involved. Some adult leaders got on the wrong side of Council Officials and some bad press resulted. In retaliation, though I fully agree with the validity and justification for it, the boy friend of one of the offenders daughter was dismissed for violating the Youth Protection Policy. He was on staff at our camp and turned 21 during the summer. His girl friend a Venturing Crew member 19 years old came up to camp with her parents when they came up with their troop. Soon as the two went off alone the hammer fell. In this instance 21 is 21 and the Youth Protection Policy is clear on adult/YOUTH MEMBER relationships. She was after all considered a youth member. The act was cold but in keeping with policy. A friendly Council professional leaked the news that they wanted to get both him and her for violating the policy but were afraid that it would look bad disciplining the victim. Once the door was opened and leaders were made aware of the limbo period between 18 and 21 it was only about 10 months before someone pointed the finger at the 18 year old and screamed. I dont know if National has made any definitive ruling on this with regards to Venturing. As I said a good many of our crew members are boy friend girl friend. As for the Crew it survived and the girl is still registered she is a true Scout and believes in the Program. Also she wouldnt give the Council the satisfaction of winning. As for the choice between scouts or your girl what are the alternatives? If a leader engages in inappropriate behavior with a youth member while not on a campout would we still think it was alright? Remember what it was like at 18 when you were alone with your girl and ask yourself if that is appropriate behavior between and adult and a youth member. If an adult male leader got caught with a female youth outside of scouts would we all say no foul, just dont do it in uniform. How big an age difference would we need for it to be wrong. Should the pre-existing relationship be special circumstance? Sometimes adults can touch youth members? Remember I have been having this discussion from both sides for a while and each has points but as a National Organization we have to have clear boundaries for Youth Protection. National needs to look at Venturing from the YP view point and rule so these young people can at least know where they stand and where the boundaries are.

LongHaul

 

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The rules and boundaries spelled out in the G2SS seem clear enough. No one-on-one contact, separate accomodations, 2-deep leadership, etc. The Venturing YP video for youth members is good.

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About the problem with the Venturers: I heard this one at Philmont Venture Advisor Training and at our district's Venture advisor Training: "All boyfriend-girlfriend relationships end at the Venturing door. No going off alone together, no sharing a tent, etc. It needs to be made clear to such couples and th line held." On the other hand, . . . given their ages and experiences on such matters, not a bad idea to keep a closer eye on them, especially if the relationship contiues and deepens. Oh, and remember that we were all young once ourselves, and they are HUMAN. Calling for the boy's removal is throwing one very experienced baby and one very enthusiastic baby out with the bathwater.

 

When I was a scout and turned 18 (and still in high school), I asked the TC if I could " . . . stick around as an adult member of the troop . . . ." It was almost unheard of at the time in our part of the swamp. I was "virtually gang-tackled" by the TC! Wow! I got to eat with the adults (Boy, could they cook!). Adults got to sleep on cots on campouts ("Mom! We'er going shopping!"). The "fun-level" want off the chart. I learned alot from them about being an adult.

 

The real advantage was the relationship that I had with the younger boys in the troop. Their former peer (me) held them to knowing the skills for rank advancement and knowing them cold. They would talk to me about "things" about which they wouldn't go to the older adults. When I did go off to school, I would meet the troop for the wekend campouts.

 

The "magic" lasted for about three years when the boys who had been in the troop when I was a scout began aging out. To the younger boys and their parents, I was a curiosity. When I fnished school . . ., well, I had other things to do. The TC understood.

 

What to do with an 18-yr-old who wants to continue as a scouter? Take him in, feed him, love him, give him an ASM patch, brag on him at the next CoH, and give him things to do. He'll stick around.

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FScouter wrote; "The rules and boundaries spelled out in the G2SS seem clear enough. No one-on-one contact, separate accommodations, 2-deep leadership, etc. The Venturing YP video for youth members is good."

 

Ill agree the YP video is good but it doesnt address non harassment type relationships. In the first instance the violation occurred at a Council camp. The second, with the 18 year old, was the result of adults knowing a relationship existed. Just because it was outside scout activities it still existed. Im waiting for spring when a few couples will enter this limbo and the girls will either have to go to their proms with other people or one of the members of each couple will have to drop out of Scouts. This is the area I think National needs to look at.

LongHaul

 

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OK Longhaul,

 

I'm confused. There is nothing in the YP or G2SS that I am aware of that would prevent an 18 year old male, and 17 year old female who happened to be members of the same Venture Crew from having a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. Of course they can't share a tent and couldn't even if they were both youth members on an outing. But there is nothing that says they can't go to the Prom together or have a relationship outside scouting.

 

SA

 

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Going to extremes does not help Scouting.

 

Indeed, from all the Venturing training I've seen: A wise policy for the youth to adopt: Leave relationships at the driveway into the Crew's meeting place.

 

Second, ensure sleeping areas meet the Venturing standard:

-Under 21, men

-Under 21, women

-Over 21, men

-Over 21, women

 

The four do not mix.

 

Third, be leery of cross-registering someone as an ACM/ASM in Cub/Boy Scouting and as a youth member in Venturing. Let the young man or woman decide whether they want to be an adult, supporting the program, or a youth in the program. Mixing and matching to me seems to be a road not worth travelling on.

 

Fourth, if two youth are in a relationship, with one approaching 21, and the partner being younger, then maybe it's time for the older partner to take a few months away from Scouting. I'd especially encourage this is the relationship is leading towards marriage. Better to have two Scouters downstream than risk expulsion from the movement.

 

My thoughts. Others may differ.

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"The second, with the 18 year old, was the result of adults knowing a relationship existed. Just because it was outside scout activities it still existed. Im waiting for spring when a few couples will enter this limbo and the girls will either have to go to their proms with other people or one of the members of each couple will have to drop out of Scouts. This is the area I think National needs to look at."

 

Hold on a minute. This makes no sense. First, if they are both in a Crew, they are both youth if one is 17 and one is 18. There's no reason they can't go to the prom together. If the boy is an 18-year-old adult leader in a troop, there's no rule I know of that he can't have a relationship outside of Scouting with a 17-year-old girl, whether she's in a crew or not.

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Ok, 1. These are not my views so lets not flame the messenger. 2. The Order of the Arrow has always considered those under 21 to be youth but required those 18 or over to conform to adult restrictions with regards to youth members. 3. I never saw the actual letter sent to the youth dismissing him, so I cant speak to exact wording. 4. This is the rational used to justify the actions taken. 5. I have no first hand knowledge of exact wording in the Official Rules and Regulations. Some where it says; that if you lead an alternate lifestyle you cant be a boy scout. If you dont believe in some form of deity you cant be a boy scout. That when a BOY SCOUT reaches the age of 18 he must register as an adult if he wishes to remain active. It is the exact wording and how that wording can be interpreted that led to this situation. Supposedly there is a gray line between Scouting and Venturing which allowed this youth to be declared an adult at 18. The position that YP ends at the meeting door or when the outing ends is also gray. Adults insert your own euphuism( taking advantage of, being in compromising positions with, acting inappropriately toward etc.) youth members is expressly forbidden. The god and gay things are about what happens outside of scouts as much as what happens while in uniform. Adults having physical relationships with youth members is against policy. Just because it happens away from scouting doesnt wash it clean.

A number of scenarios were tossed back and forth. What age difference would be necessary to declare a relationship between adult leader and youth member outside scouting improper? Male 27 Female 17? Male 37 Female 17? How about Male 18 Female 15? How about Male 27 Female 15? Once we put an age difference to it we have established that Adult / youth relationships are improper we just haggle over technicalities. Put 100 dollars on a table and some people would steal it. Put 100 million dollars on a table and the number of those who would steal it goes up. They are all thieves, dollar amount is irrelevant. Adult/ youth relationships are allowed or not allowed, thats all there is to it. Adult/youth relationships are not allowed. Its the definition of adult that come into question. The law says that an 18 year old male can be held on statutory rape charges if the female is under 18 and her parents press charges. Nothing really has to happen. If the law says its wrong then Scouting must agree.

I think I have made my point that the people that wanted to get this kid (my words) had enough gray area to work with. From the responses to my posts its clear that many of us would not have sought any action. The problem is that its up to local interpretation when in my opinion it should be decided Nationally. Venturing is for YOUTH 14 through 20 years of age. Youth Protection is too important a concept to be used in this way. Too many people get hung up on the letter of the law and loose sight of reality.

Long Haul

 

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So what would happen if two Venture Crew members were married (to each other). While it is becoming increasingly uncommon, many people get married in that 18-21 time frame. Since they are married can they share a tent? Why or why not?

 

If two married adult leaders are at camp they can share a tent.

 

Just curious. This is a very interesting topic.

 

I guess when I turned 18 so many moons ago, my peers and I all understood that the 'rules' were different and girls that were OK to date the day before were off limits until they reached an older age (varies by state). I think the same thing applies to Scouts. If you are an adult leader, you should fish for dates somewhere besides in the Youth pond.

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One of the questions I always ask when I sit on an Eagle BOR is. "Now that you have earned the highest rank that is offered in scouting, how do you plan on giving back to your troop?" One of the best ways to get me upset is for a boy to respond " I am finished with scouting".

 

There is no reason that a boy shouldn't help his other troopmates advance in rank once he has earned Eagle.

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We encourage them to stay involved as adult scouters - and get them registered as an "adult." They enjoy being on the "other side" - the decision making process and knowing that the adults suddenly have to treat them with respect. Their relationship with the boys in the troop changes, ususally slowly, but in accordance with scout policies. The 18 year olds have a great opportunity to learn new leadership skills in this transitional stage, and most importantly, we keep these kids active in scouting. Most of our 18 year olds relish the new opportunities that open to them in scouting at this age.

 

My son was our first 18 year old that stayed active in scouting in our troop. We were doing our introductions at the troop meeting (for new parents/scouts), the adults were introducing themselves, and my son's turn came, and he said "you can call me, Mr. ---" After a startled pause and open mouths, my husband continued the introductions with "and I'm Mr. ---, Sr." It set the stage and made it clear to everyone that our son's role had changed. He has stayed active for almost three years, and actually schedules his college classes to leave scout nights free.

 

And make sure these boys also get their Eagle knots at their Court of Honors. That makes a huge difference.

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Two married ADULT Venture crew members may share a tent. A husband and wife, both 20, both Venture Crew members may not share a tent because in the eyes of the BSA they are not adults.

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But only to confuse things...

 

Let's say Eagle Scout Johnny turns 18 and becomes an ASM. He's been dating the SM's daughter, and they get married just after they turned 19. The new bride loves scouting as much as anyone else and registers as a committee member. She loves the outdoors and tries to camp whenever her schedule allows.

 

Mr. & Mrs. Johnny Eagle Scout can share a tent, because in the eyes of the BSA, they are both Boy Scout ADULT leaders.

 

But, if Johnny and the Mrs. are also Venturers (perfectly legitimate), they would NOT be allowed to sleep together in those outings, because in the eyes of the BSA, they are both Venturing YOUTH members.

 

 

And who said the rules are easy to understand???

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