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SeattlePioneer

21 As Required Age For Unit Leaders

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probably b/c folks are considered minors until 21. I personally don't understand that b/c A) you can get married without parental consent at 18 B) Vote at 18, C) enlist in the military at 18, D) have various medical procedures done without parents' knowledge (ok that is actually a MUCH younger age thanks to HIPAA), etc, etc.

 

 

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So, if you are under 21 you can be a youth in the Venturing program so naturally you couldnt be a leader until your 21 and besides in the OA you are considered youth until you are 21 so 21 is the cut-off, got it?

 

(Now, just don't think about over 18 asst scoutmasters and you will do fine)

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It's tied to the approved Rules and Regulations of the BSA, Article VIII, Section 3:

 

Clause 1: All individuals in unit leadership positions (including Lone Cub Scout and Boy Scout friend and counselors) shall be issued commissions by the Boy Scouts of America

 

Clause 3: Commissioned officials must be at least 21 years of age, with the exception of the individuals at least 18 years of age who may be commissioned as assistant unit leaders. (Associate Venturing Advisors must be 21 years of age.)

 

I'm not sure why it's written that way, but Eagle makes a good point, but it could very well be an insurance issues as well.

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As it was explained to me by an old District Executive we had once who has since retired. Those Rules were based off of old rules that BSA has never gotten around to changing.

 

The Other answer that Ive heard is threat they want them to work with the boys and just continue to pretty much be an older boy as an ASM and teach skills and contribute that way. But if thats not where there skill sets are, or not where they are most comfortable or not what they want to do, then it really isnt worth their time.

 

Whether this information is accurate or not I am not sure but thats the best answer I got.

 

Unfortunately because of those rules nobody knows what to do with people in that area they are left in limbo and it really sucks. And I know for a fact this limbo land is why you lose many many young adults between the ages of 18 to 21. Even more so then colleges. And that I know for a fact is true.

 

yes I know my name is long you can shorten it if you would like.

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probably b/c folks are considered minors until 21

 

You can google for legal definitions of minor and you'll find them everywhere, and they all pretty much say that you are a minor until age 18, except for certain specific instances. At 18 you can enter into a contract.

 

From http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/usc_sec_18_00002256----000-.html - minor means any person under the age of eighteen years;

 

 

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As for the reason for the 18 to 21 being only allowed ASM jobs and are not allowed to be committee members. Although my thoughts agree with Eagle92, I have a more detailed belief..

 

The ASM's report to the SM, like crew members going to the age of 21.. BSA sees the mentoring of our youth going up to the age of 21.. Therefore the mentoring should ideally be done by the Scoutmaster & other adult ASM's.. The committee is not seen as a place to mentor the youth..

 

Probably if you had a functional troop, and similar to venturing allowed them to take on some of the committee jobs while being an ASM, (The Venturing crew will do their own outdoor coordinating, Treasurer etc..) this idea would work well.. But if you have a dysfunctional troop, where the SM doesn't know how to mentor a child if his life depended on it, the whole assumption does not work.. But, then the whole troop really isn't working, is it??

 

As for the need to wait until your 21 to do certain jobs.. I can see the 3 main jobs COR, CC and SM being set at 21 as reasonable.. I do not agree that 21 is needed before you can join the committee.. What we vote on is not more critical then voting for the US President, and 18 yo have the vote there.. Let the Troop decide which is the best place to mentor their 18 to 21 yo's based on the internal layout of the troop..

 

I am not one to say that my son should be SM before 21 (although appointed 2 weeks before I don't see as serious, the registration paperwork would take longer then 2 weeks to get the necessary signature, get to council and be processed.)

Or the his Fiance should be CC at 21.. Personally she has the background & skills to do the job.. Reason she at district she is my Vice-chair of Training.. Between her time in Rainbows and her going to college for a Teaching degree, she has the skills.. But, Vice Chair is still with mentoring, deciding how much to let you tackel and how much you should not, and someone there to help if you become overwhelmed, and take the brunt of the blame should things go wrong..

 

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Basic government classes in high school and college state that you are a legal adult at 18 years of age, any book will tell you that.

 

When it comes to BSA, at 18 years old (with insurance) you are allowed to drive the scouts to any outing, you are considered an assistant scoutmaster which is an adult job in itself.

 

The older adults are suppose to be there to mentor us and help us succeed in our goals within scouts and even sometimes outside of scouts. But what can you do as a 19 year old who feels like the roles (in this situation) should be reversed and that feels like she has more experience in a committee lifestyle and rules than those around her? I have been in a committee lifestyle since I was eleven years old and was, in essence, Committee Chair by the age of 15 and stayed in that position for 2 1/2 years untill my proceder came up the line. Do I have a lot to learn, of course, and I'm willing to listen and learn but have the experience that many my age don't. So when I offer my experience and it is taken as a grain of salt because of my age what is to be done? Sometimes age shouldn't matter, if the experience and knowledge is behind that young age then go for it and see what good, and what bad, can come out of it.

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I think part of this issue is another example of our country's legal system vs. the internal workings of a private entity. Sure you're a legal adult at 18, but the BSA is a private organization, and is free to set its own requirements pertaining to qualifications for certain leadership positions.

 

I wouldn't be surprised to learn the there were insurance reasons behind the guidelines. For example, the ambulance service I used to work for would not allow those under 21 to drive the vehicles, due to their insurance carrier's policies.

 

I can also see some practical reasons. A Scout who "ages out" of his troop at 18 and wishes to serve as an ASM is clearly a huge asset to the unit. But, there is still a bit of a transition period that needs to take place as the new ASM learns his role and duties as an adult leader - even though many of his friends and peers are still technically youth. I think that requiring that the SM be considerably older than the oldest Scouts in the troop is less likely to cause confusion as to the perception of whether he is truly an adult, or just an "older kid." I think that perception is important both to the Scouts, the adult in question, and the parents in the unit.

 

teacher/scout - not entirely sure what a "committee lifestyle" is, but it sure doesn't sound like much fun :-) Sure, there are many incredibly mature, dedicated, competant and responsible 18-20 year olds who could probably do a good job as an SM or on a unit committee. But I think that in terms of developing a set of best practices to guide a nation wide youth program, the BSA often needs to think in terms of generalities. That's just the nature of trying to regulate such a huge program.

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I don't claim to know THE reason. I was trying to think of SOME reasons that might justify such a rule.

 

 

Most youth are living with a parent or guardian at age 18. By age 21 they probably have experience living on their own and being responsible for themselves. They don't have parents regulating their behavior.

 

So ---- by age 21 they probably have a character track record to evaluate. Are they a responsible person or have they turned into a basket case like Britney Spears?

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I'm thinking that maybe some of the issue lies with insurance.

 

I believe that those under a certain age cannot rent a car even if they are over 18. The only issue that an adult cannot participate in is drinking which varies but is generally 21.

 

There is no reasonable explanation for hypocrisy.

 

Your mileage may vary,

 

Stosh

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I think that requiring that the SM be considerably older than the oldest Scouts in the troop is less likely to cause confusion as to the perception of whether he is truly an adult, or just an "older kid." I think that perception is important both to the Scouts, the adult in question, and the parents in the unit.

 

I think there's something to this. Perception is a funny thing. Any of us old fogeys ever have this experience? At your 20 year High School reunion you hear about Mr. Hammer, your old gym teacher, and how he coached the basketball team to the county finals. Your first reaction is "Good grief, he's still coaching? He must be 100 years old by now!" Of course he was only in his early 30's then and is still a decade away from retirement now, but 30 seemed ancient to you in High School. I think a 19 year old can be an effective "adult" to associate with ("associate", not "sit around with" I hope) for 12 year olds, but if you have 17 year olds in the troop, they probably need someone a little older to really fill that role. A younger SM would be more of a peer leader than a mentor.

 

 

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probably b/c folks are considered minors until 21.

 

What in da world are yeh smokin'? ;) Da age of majority is 18 in almost every state I know, though a few have 18 and high school graduation or 19 if no high school graduation. A few limit parental control and responsibility to age 17 or 16, meaning yeh can have an independent minor, and of course all will recognize legal emancipation before age 18. In fact, in some jurisdictions, yeh can get in trouble for age discrimination against young adults, even if you're a private entity. Just as yeh can get in trouble for age discrimination against older adults.

 

So legally, ethically, morally, mentally, practically, physically they are adults for anything other than havin' a beer or gambling (since our cultural heritage of puritanical abstemiousness is so strong :p).

 

And to my knowledge there's no insurance reason for it either, eh? Remember, an 18-year-old can be the only registered leader on a trip (and therefore da only person with YPT and other required training), and can be the only functional supervisor of a program area at summer camp. Only in auto insurance and health insurance does there tend to be an age-related premium (which indirectly affects auto rentals and driving-related jobs), but again not in da states that forbid such discrimination.

 

Like most such arbitrary things, it's just an issue of prejudice, much as prohibiting women scout leaders was.

 

Beavah

 

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Beav - This is purely speculation, but I could see there being some overlap in considerations between auto/health-type insurance, and the accident/sickness insurance in the BSA world. Don't have any first hand knowledge of that, but would love to hear from someone who does. And the G2SS seems to suggest that at least one leader age 21 or older must be present on Scouting outings - is there something I'm missing?

 

I think there's more to it than prejudice, there is likely a great amount of personal growth and maturity that develops between the ages of 18 and 21. I think that there's a place for leaders of all ages and development stages in Scouting - from the PL and SPL "peers," the older scout JASMs, the young adult ASMs, and the "old adult" ASMs, committee members and Scoutmaster. Each group serves an essential purpose, and has its own strengths and weaknesses when working with Scouting-aged kids. But, I'd maintain that the SM requires some skills and maturity not found in the average 18 year old, and a moderately effective way to promulgate that across a national program is with an age requirement.

 

The flip side of the coin is that its the job of the CO and the committee to identify and recruit qualified leaders, so maybe any kind of age restriction should be put into their hands?

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The flip side of the coin is that its the job of the CO and the committee to identify and recruit qualified leaders, so maybe any kind of age restriction should be put into their hands?

 

That would be my position.

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