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SR540Beaver

Registration and Insurance Please

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I just recieved a letter from our council about a new law here in New York State that requires all Staff members of any youth camps have to go through a background check. Any person staying in camp over the age of 18 is considered to be "on staff".

 

This year any adult attending summer camp will need to be registered with the BSA.

 

The letter went on to say that any adult that refuses will be asked to leave camp.

 

I was told that in the next few tears our council will be requiring any adult (over 18) to have SM and Outdoor Skills training to attend a Troop campout. I was told this is due to our councils liability insurance policy requiring it.

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Beavah, this is what I was referring to. I will need to do some digging in my paperwork to find the source, but this same thing has been relayed to me by council staff: "Intentional and criminal acts are not covered by the General Liability Insurance. Although criminal acts are fairly obvious,and we hope not a problem, intentional acts might need some explanation. Among other things, an intentional act would include conducting activities that are not authorized by the BSA or conducting activities in a manner contrary to the safety guidelines of the BSA. In these cases, the Boy Scouts of America covers volunteers only at will. A leader, who intentionally acts contrary to BSA policy or guidelines, may find they are not backed by the Boy Scouts of America."

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CNY, same thing is happening here with regard to summer camp and word is that basic training will become mandatory in the not-too-distant future, as a condition of getting unit insurance. Which irritates the heck out of me only because my district charges a pretty large "registration fee" for all of the basic training sessions (usually between $15-$30/person) in comparison to others in the region, and then frequently delivers a lousy product. Or at any rate, that was my experience as a new cub leader a few years back and again last week for troop committee training, so I see a pattern here. Grrrrr.

 

I'm not opposed to the idea of requiring registration and training. Actually I like it. If people are going to be spending a significant amount of time with my kid, I want to be sure they're not sickos and that they know what the rules are. But it had better be done well if that's the route we're taking or we're going to end up causing ourselves more problems than we'll solve as an organization.

 

Lisa'bob

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I find it funny that several times in reading these Posts that the issue of background checks come up. Back ground checks are never performed unless the Council thinks there is a need for one. Much like "don't ask, don't tell" As a former Police chief and still active with me council I run across registered adults who should not be registered. But due to confedentialty (sic) laws I can not say anything. Well unless it is it is whispered to the Council Exec he should really look close at so an so. The big picture is you must be comfortable with the person leading the unit or it is time to find a new unit.

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Eaglebeader, that might be true in your area. It is not in mine. I know that our council does run background checks on each and every registered volunteer. I also know that it has turned up some surprising results on occasion. I know this as a direct result of having been involved with a unit that had some problems with potential volunteers.

 

As to whether a potential volunteer should be disqualified based on their past record, well that is somewhat of a judgment call, depending on what they did, when, and what happened since then. As my DE has explained it, someone with a traffic ticket 20 years ago isn't in the same category as someone convicted of a felony more recently. With some of the "grey area" cases, there is some discretion that can be applied by both the DE and the unit leaders.

 

I'm not saying that these checks are 100% perfect at identifying people who shouldn't be leaders. They only check for criminal records so if someone has been repeatedly accused, but for whatever reason the case didn't go to court or they've gotten off on technicalities or whatever, then that wouldn't show up. It also doesn't catch people who haven't ever been formally accused, even if they're terrible people. You're right, there's no substitute for being comfortable with your unit's leaders. But I do believe the background checks are logical and at least somewhat effective. at least when they are used as intended.

 

Lisa'bob

 

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