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srisom

Sleeping Arrangements

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I am shocked at the cavalier attitudes here. This is quite simple. The rules were broken. Period. The rules are there for a reason. No so much to keep these two individuals apart, but to keep possible implications and interpretations, such as have been here. It doesn't matter if they are sleeping together or not, the idea of the possibility is there. That is why these rules exist. To prevent possible misinterpretation.

 

To those of you that say it's the 21st century...they probably do it outside camp anyway. Who are you to decide what my son should or shouldn't see? He is in Scouting because it stands for the values that I wish to instill in him. Violation of these rules is a violation of my trust that the rules will be followed. If you believe in other values that strongly, then there are organizations open to that. If you believe in BSA Scouting, accept what it is. I...and my son...have a right for BSA rules to be followed, just as you and yours has a right to have me, as a leader, follow them. It inconveniences them for a weekend? a week?(This message has been edited by pack212scouter)

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You have a good point ScoutMomSD, but the fact still remains this DE knowingly violated the rules! If we don't know the marital status maybe we should be asking.

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Hoo boy, so Ed, now at the gateway to our troop's camp site (or in the parking lot?) I need to stop all adults and get answers to the following before I let them enter (in the tone of the gatekeeper from The Holy Grail):

 

STOP!

 

1) What is your religion?

2) What is your marital status?

3) What are your extra curricular intentions this weekend?

 

If they answer wrong, they go flying off into the chasm below.

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Gotta tell ya, I don't relish being the one in that job! That means, among other things, that before letting cub scouts parents attend events, I'd better demand to see a marriage certificate from them! Because you know, some of them only have been living together for their kids' entire lives.

 

I think we ought to apply a common sense sniff test here. All adults ought to understand that certain behaviors are inappropriate in the presence of children. I don't care if they're married or not, tent and cabin walls are thin. When we've camped with cub scouts in the past we've simply reminded adults that this is not them and their buddies out in the woods so certain higher standards apply (including those covering alcohol, smoking, and language). We've never needed to say more than that.

 

This DE was dumb for breaking the rules because they are the rules and he's in a high profile position. Even with higher approval, he should have realized that it would look bad to some parents. By descriptions given, he's also a young guy with no prior scouting experience. So some kindly adult may need to explain this to him over coffee. That's a life lesson. But c'mon, let's not start a witch hunt here!

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"Hoo boy, so Ed, now at the gateway to our troop's camp site (or in the parking lot?) I need to stop all adults and get answers to the following before I let them enter (in the tone of the gatekeeper from The Holy Grail):

 

STOP!

 

1) What is your religion?

2) What is your marital status?

3) What are your extra curricular intentions this weekend? "

 

 

1. where did the religion of the couple come into this?

 

2 and 3. if there aren't coed allowances, there isn't a problem at all. i don't recall anywhere that said cub scouts (or boy scouts) was the place to witness a healthy (or unhealthy) relationship between two adults who love each other.

 

since the holy grail was quoted... i'll quote one too... waterboy:

 

"momma always said, 'wimmen are da debil'"

 

hehe.

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LOL bulldog...

 

Where did religion come into this? Well it appears from reading through the previous responses that religion came into this some time back.

 

As for BSA policy on cohabitation, it merely says that only married couples may share sleeping quarters. I don't believe it goes into detail beyond that. So, I suppose that if we wanted to get all technical about it, BSA guidelines could be construed to allow married couples to engage in all sorts of wild 'n crazy activity in the (ahem) privacy of their own tent/cabin, on the moral basis of being married. Really what BSA policy probably ought to be is that no hanky panky goes on at scout events, regardless of marital status!

 

Then we could all assume that upstanding adults are following that policy (minus evidence to the contrary), and forget about playing the marriage police.

 

 

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No, there should not be a gatekeeper at camp asking questions. That is because the gatekeeping should be happening back at the unit level for scouters or council level for professionals. My son and I were part of a troop for about 6 months when he first crossed over. We left for a number of reasons, most of all the troop being very dysfunctional. But one of the reasons was also two committee members who were living together and always shared a tent on campouts. They also serve each year at summer camp as commissioners and shack up together there. That is the council's issue to resolve. While I understand and appreciate that they love one another, they are forcing their views on children against the wishes of their parents. Look, the world is a bad enough place these days with all the attempts by the media to sexualize children earlier and earlier. I can turn off my TV and tell my son NO to certain movies. I can even limit where he can go on the internet. When he goes to a Boy Scout camp, I expect the adult leadership there to follow any rules of the BSA. They are put in place for a purpose. They are not optional. I'm serving on Wood Badge staff and am inbetween weekends. Our course director's husband is serving on support staff. We have two other couples serving on support staff. Even though it is perfectly fine for them to stay together at camp, none of them do. Even though no boys are present, they take "modeling" behavior serious enough to practice it even when kids are not present. You can't fault them for that.

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No Lisabob. Like SR540Beaver posted, this should be done at the unit level prior to camp. And aren't we supposed to be setting the examples by following the rules?

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Ed, you'll note I agreed that the DE was dumb for having thought it would be fine to break the rules. He should have stuck with the rules because they're the rules, and he's in a high visibility position as DE so breaking them will be noticed.

 

This is entirely aside from whatever I think about the rules. You suggested that perhaps we ought to start inquiring about people's marital status if we're not sure! I can just imagine how that'll work out. A kid's parents want to attend the camp out with the troop or pack but first we leaders ask them a bunch of nosy questions about their marital status. Now a good many of them are going to tell us to mind our own business! And if the goal is to protect kids from adult sexual behavior entirely, then you'd better be ready to spell it out to the married couples too.

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Not adult sexual behavior but improper adult behavior. Yes, I'm old fashioned and I don't approve of shacking up, having children outside of wedlock or having a stream of "friends" spending the night.

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I can just imagine how that'll work out. A kid's parents want to attend the camp out with the troop or pack but first we leaders ask them a bunch of nosy questions about their marital status. Now a good many of them are going to tell us to mind our own business! And if the goal is to protect kids from adult sexual behavior entirely, then you'd better be ready to spell it out to the married couples too.

 

The goal is to follow the rules the BSA has set forth. If they aren't married, they can't stay in the same tent or sleep in the same bed when they are along with the unit. What they do on their own time is no concern. If they understand the reason why, they should have no problem. If they don't then maybe we don't want them along in the 1st place.

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I'd have to say that you'll probably know very quickly the marital status of families in your unit without asking any questions. The language people use tells you their status. If a guy talks about his wife, they're married. If he talks about his fiancee, they're engaged. If he talks about his girlfriend, there's no commitment yet. If he talks about his wife and his girlfriend, there's some sort of problem. Well, usually a problem considering we're a monogamous society but maybe they watch "Swingtown."

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I've followed this thread and my opinion has swung back and forth. Here's where I am now:

 

1) The Guide to Safe Scouting requires separate sleeping facilities for persons who are not married. That's pretty clear.

 

2) Opinions on persons who are engaged/dating sleeping together vary depending upon the particular poster. They range from "big deal" to "BIG DEAL" :)

 

I would suggest that Scouting is a consensus organization. A Scouting leader, particular a pro or a top volunteer leader, needs to act to maintain credibility. If there is an action they are take or fail to take because a minority of persons would be troubled by it, that's appropriate as a leader in a consensus organization. Even if they themself think that there is nothing wrong in the action, it is probably the action of a wise leader not to ask for unnecessary controversy.

 

Another example, is the use of alcoholic beverages. The Guide to Safe Scouting says:

 

"The Boy Scouts of America prohibits the use of alcoholic beverages and controlled substances at encampments or activities on property owned and/or operated by the Boy Scouts of America, or at any activity involving participation of youth members."

 

Per these guidelines, it would not be prohibited to consume alcoholic beverages on non-BSA property, at activities not involving youth, while in uniform. However, many leaders believe that there is a prohibition on drinking while in uniform or that there should be. I would argue that a wise pro or top district/council leader honors this feeling and refrains. Why ask for trouble and controversy unnecessarily?

 

In the case of the DE mentioned, I have a little more sympathy. We're not talking about refraining from sex while camping for an evening or holding off on the booze for a single dinner. We're talking about the entire summer. But even so, there is the matter of the example and the prohibition

 

Failure to respect such significant but minority opinions likely fall under either "I don't know", "I don't care" or "I'm making a statement." If the former, some knowledge and training is in order but that seems not to be the case here. If "I don't care", then some training in sensitivities of the group is in order. Ultimately, if a person doesn't care about the sensitivities of a group, they will fail as a leader. If "I'm making a statement", then the person needs to weigh whether the statement is worth the risk and potential penalty plus whether anyone else cares about the statement.

 

The final possibility is "I'm an adult and it's none of your business." This is a variant of "I'm making a statement." In some organizations, that statement will be well received and welcome. My experience is that it doesn't play well in Scouting.

 

Each person needs to make their own decisions in terms of where they draw their personal line and the extend to which they want to confirm their personal actions to the desires and believes of persons different from them. Personally, I will certainly try to be sensitive to the wishes of a group which would represent 10% or more of the participants in a particular activity. I will honor the wishes of a single other person if it is not too much of an imposition on me.

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Where it gets trickier, GW, is when they simply refer to each other by name. I know that people have a variety of reactions to long-term, unmarried couples. Still, reality is that sometimes people decide not to get married for a wide variety of reasons, some of which have absolutely nothing to do with their morals. And although you suggest otherwise, not all unmarried couples are living a wild lifestyle.

 

In this particular case we're talking about a DE. He's young, he's new, he's inexperienced, and from the sound of it, he may not be very popular for other reasons. I completely agree that, because he's the scouting pro, he should be expected to follow the rules. I further agree that even if he got some kind of waiver, it was probably kind of dumb to think that it wouldn't cause raised eyebrows in an organization where a lot of people have very conservative views and where all eyes are on him as the new guy without a huge fan club. Dumb career move for him, perhaps.

 

But, given some responses here, the logical outgrowth of what some folks have said is that we'd better do a quick marital status check on all the adults who go camping with us and who routinely share tents! And I do not want to stop parents in the parking lot and ask if they're married. If you want to do that, hey, good luck with it.

 

 

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Lisa,

Since I'm a married ASM, am I allowed to sleep in the tent with the unmarried SM, or am I only allowed to sleep in the tent with another married leader? Just joking.

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What the DE did is not right. It set a poor example and violated policy. Unfortunately, in the Council, the SE IS the law. Councils are independent corporations and the SE is the CEO. As a parent or unit leader, the only real power you have is to either, a) vote with your feet and leave Scouting, or b) raise the issue via your "chain of command" which means convincing your unit's COR to take the matter to the Executive Board. Your COR does go to all the meetings, right? He/she is the only one with a real vote/voice in Council matters. The rest of us are just "customers". But usually, how an SE manages his employees is considered "none of our beeswax."

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