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skeptic

Are Some of Our Rules and Reactions Causing Confusion or Worse?

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No matter how much free time my scouts gave themselves I don't think they'd ever just break out in a game of cricket.

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"Im one of those males that believe that boys should go through some rights of passage to grow into healthy adult males. Im not talking about secret rituals with drums and war paint, although that would be cool. Im talking about the experience of going to the bathroom in the woods. Men and boys sharing the showers without the idea that it is risky or wrong and 200 men and boys sleeping together overnight in a gymnasium on their way to Philmont. Even boys skinny dipping in the stream to cool off from the 105 degree hot summer day. However, guys, those days are just about gone. If you dont thinks so, just ask your wife."

 

Here here!

I'm the wife, and I don't care if either the spouse or the boy are out getting grungy and stinky. Heck, just this past weekend, the spouse was out playing in the woods with his guy friends, shooting BBs at each other...

Just shower when you come home and I'm happy. Oh, and empty your pockets. I don't like finding used tissues or dead frogs.

 

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You can look up Gregory Ritter on Google, he killed himself on the morning he was to plead guilty to sexually assaulting a boy he met while serving as a Medical Officer at SUmmer Camp.

 

Yah, hmmmm....

 

So I looked this up, OGE. A fellow with longstanding ties to da community and youth work, and only one allegation of misconduct? Where there were some questions of police playin' a bit fast and loose, social workers prompting responses, and where the fellow maintained his innocence. No reports of any other lads comin' forth? No clear physical evidence? A prosecutor willin' to accept a plea on one scaled down charge? I gotta say, hmmm....

 

To be sure, some of da reports fit the pattern, eh? Da alleged abuse happened at private sleepover at his house (what parent allows that?), with da obligatory porn videos. But there are also such things as false accusations, and false accusations use da pattern too, eh?

 

It does point out that da "rules" are there primarily to help protect adults from false accusations of this sort of thing, of course. If we always keep kids at more than arms length in front of witnesses, that affords some defense.

 

But it's also a reminder that these sort of bad actors succeed because they behave the way the very best teachers and scouters and ministers behave for da most part. They develop relationships with kids, they listen to kids, etc. They are good friends and mentors, who don't often quote "rules" because they spend their time caring instead. The best and the worst aren't always easy to tell apart.

 

So it's very difficult to come up with any "rules" that won't simultaneously separate kids from all of the truly wonderful teachers and relatives and mentors out there that they need to grow up as sound men. As a lad I had a pastor who I would meet with privately in his home office, teachers who drove me home alone when I'd stayed late to help with some project, scouters who invited me into their workshop to work on MBs, an employer with whom I was usually da last one closin' up the shop. They were all important to me growin' up, and there wasn't a thing to 'em other than adults who felt it worth their time to help a young man along da path.

 

Personally, I'm convinced that this is a risk that can't be avoided, just like da risk of dying in a car crash can't be avoided, eh? If we choose to drive a car, then that risk comes with it. If we choose to raise kids, then this risk comes with it. Thank goodness it's vastly smaller than da risk from automobiles, because we can't lock da kids up without causin' just as much harm. So we just have to be alert, drive responsibly, and make sure that one man isn't the only adult in a boy's life who listens to and values him, because that's what truly makes this behavior possible.

 

Beavah

 

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There are unintended consequences in every decision we make.

 

We stopped having junior high kids take showers after physical education and sports at my school about 10 years ago. A couple of years after that, we dropped the Presidential Physical Fitness Award Program because of complaints that the classrooms were smelling too bad on days we ran the mile.

 

Today, physical education classes are just a shadow of the programs we used to have...and obesity has become our number one health problem.

 

 

 

 

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Well I tell you Beavah, I moved into the area and was told of the great Ritter, how much respect he had from everyone and how he awarded Silver, GOld, Ranger awards like candy in his Crew. Oddly enough, as a member of the Distrct Advancement Committee for over 10 years I never saw any paperwork on any of the awards his boys wore. WHat it comes down to was he was so much better than the rest of us and I never trusted him. So, he kills himself because the mother of his victim had the texts from his phone talking about what he did. My son was a pupil in his class, a class that involved three three night campouts.

 

So, I reflect over it, as a youth I was sexually abused and as an adult, a youth is sexaully abused by a leader I was the unit commissioner for, a leader I never trusted and when you wonder why I dont always think the best of other adults, well, some have not really shown me a whole lot to trust. He didnt follow youth protection and no one made him. We reaped what we sowed

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Skeptic,

 

I am a baby boomer. My dad and my uncles served in the military during WW2. My Scout leader, who was a little bit younger, was in Korea.

 

Pretty much every responsible, adult man I knew and looked up to had at some time done military service, and since there was a draft, my fellow classmates, Scouts, and I had the very reasonable expectation that we would someday be doing our military service too.

 

I wasn't embarrassed to take group showers. In fact, I remember feeling a bit proud in that it was acting like one of the big boys in high school or adults in the military.

 

Also, I had heard stories and seen movies about the sacrifices our fathers had made for us while they were in the war. Knowing what they went through, we couldn't whine to them about petty stuff. We took our scrapes and bug bites without complaint.

 

Please don't get me wrong. I am not advocating a return to the draft. I'm not advocation war. I'm not advocating a militaristic style of Scouting.

 

I'm just saying that I am a product of my times. I may even be a product of my father's times.

 

I am glad that todays kids have more and better options than my father and I had. I just wish they had some of that toughness too.

 

 

 

 

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He didnt follow youth protection and no one made him.

 

How not?

 

All da accusations appear to involve behavior outside of scouting, where youth protection rules don't apply. That, too, is da normal pattern, and the reason why "youth protection" by regulation doesn't actually protect youth. Its function is to protect da corporation from liability.

 

I've dealt with a number of cases of this sort of thing. I'll admit, in many it's hard to resist da urge just to save the courts the time and trouble with the help of my shotgun. In others, the accused were innocent, but the devastation wreaked on their reputation and family necessitated they leave the community.

 

Both happen. Honestly, da most common is not to have sufficient evidence in one way or another to be able to do much beyond separation. It's a very hard area.

 

Beavah

 

 

 

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Unfortunately Youth Protection is needed, for both protecting youth and adults. I've had to keep a pack occupied while the camp official dealt with a leader locked in a cabin with youth (that was in the UK), and I had a friend be accused of making a pass by a scout, a scout who was to lie and accuse adults in order to get out of trouble (he accused me and 2 other adults of giving him permission to stay out late at a NOAC). The thing that saved me from trouble was A)there were 2 other adults present, and B) the scouts in his group recanted and told the truth.

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