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How much detail do you publish to Parents about Outings?

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So G,


Is the question one of how much detail you put in your itinerary so as to avoid a phone call from the SE and the transfer of a parent?


I'd put a little more than that SM did! Specifically, I would say "Mr. __ will be bringing his gear and if the opportunity avails itself, will set up a climb/rappel."


Even then, after the event I'm sure I'd hear from one parent in fifty that they had no idea that we'd be dangling junior from a harness off a cliff.

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Yo parent there wasn't any cell coverage.....we didn't think you would mind....


Now what???????



When we go Backpacking generally there isn't cell coverage.....Da rappelling spot same....the river we like to canoe....none either.......


So a phone call might be great......



This sounds like the SM had a plan and knew it wouldn't past muster.....so it kinda happened.....


Sounds like a fellow flyin by the seat of his pants.....


Beavah.....Philmont is a poor comparison......All of the Parents should be made aware of the possibilities...So they know JR could go in a mine, ride horses, shoot rifles and such......


Sounds like this fellow planned a hike and took along climbing gear and took the boys climbing....That is a huge leap.

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I'm trying to stay off of the type of event because I really don't want to deal with anyone from the troop involved feeling like I'm airing their laundry on what they actually did.

As to the man up comment, man up yourself and don't use inflammatory language where it's not necessary, this isn't in Issues and Politics, thanks. It would be far easier to just lay the whole thing out but extremely discourteous to the Troop and it's leaders and isnt necessary for the input I'm looking for.


My question in this area is along the line of would your parents be upset if there was a major risk profile upgrade after the kids left for the trip without that info being available to the parents.

This is Not a change to make something safer or to accommodate a weather change or loss of venue. The change would have been known to the leaders in advance.(This message has been edited by Gunny2862)

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YEs I would be upset. Not just as a parent, either. Even as another leader (even in another troop) I'd be upset. Why? Because we all rely on parents to trust our good judgment. Without that, we're never going to be able to take their children on anything more challenging that car camping in the town park with an adult:child ration of 2:1 and kids wrapped in bubble wrap first. Worried parents who don't trust us will either hover nearby or keep their kids at home instead.


Once that trust is broken, it is really hard to rebuild. Also, it only takes one or two bad stories for other folks to decide that we scouters are all idiots. So you bet I'd be upset.



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I think if the SM has an honest and open relationship with the parents then both have to give a little. If an opportunity came up to do another type of activity that what was listed for the trip and the SM thinks it can be done safely than I think it's OK. The parents should understand and be happy the boys got to do another activity too.


If information on the activity is being withheld because the SM thinks it might not be approved by the parents then that's something that the committee needs to review.


To answer the question "how much detail do you publish to parents on outings"?:

We publish the camping schedule on our website for all to see. That lists the general activity.

Permission slips describe where, when and what we are doing in brief terms.

I always review the camping trip activities at the committee meeting just prior to the trip.

If parents need more information they can ask me.


I did have some new parents quite concerned about letting patrols hike in a large state park without an adult. The fact that that was the program for the weekend was put out to the parents a head of time. Some refused to let their boys attend but that was their decision.

Too bad we can't let them camp overnight by themselves any more.




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" The SM understood that he and the CO would be talking to CPS and my attorney if they ever pulled a stunt like that again."


With that if I was the SM I would hand you an application and ask you to take your son and for him to enjoy scouting elsewhere.....


I don't take kindly threats.(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

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The SM understood that he and the CO would be talking to CPS and my attorney if they ever pulled a stunt like that again.


Yah, well, I reckon I'd mostly laugh (OK, I actually did laugh). Child services wouldn't be talkin' to me, they'd roll their eyes and circular file it as another whacky parent who doesn't understand what child abuse really is.


As for da attorney, have him give me a call and we'll do lunch. On you! :)


This stuff isn't threatening, it's comic relief.


I do reckon there's a real courtesy issue about how yeh treat people who are contributin' hundreds or thousands of their own money and hundreds or thousands of hours of their own time to your kid for free, and how much someone who is givin' so generously of their own time and treasure should be willin' to put up with.




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If the different activity was known in advance to the leaders, but was not shared with the parents, I'd expect to have at least a few unhappy parents.


I can't imagine doing this, actually, just because it would create a huge trust barrier.


That said, there have certainly been events where things were probably riskier than the parents understood them to be, but that's just because it's often difficult to assess risk when you aren't familiar with the activity. Heck, there have been events that I've gone on, just to find myself partway through, saying, "Dang, this is a little bit riskier than I'd expected." But that's a different thing.


It's kind of hard to imagine exactly how the parents would react in my unit, because a lot of the relationship we have with the parents is based on not doing things like this. However, with other leaders in other units, I've seen some of the following reactions:

1. Complaints to council.

2. A lot of grumbling among the parents. Lots of discussion about what to do.

3. A decision by a parent that his son would never go on another trip with that particular leader without the parent attending.

4. Discussion with the committee about what might be done.

5. Discussion with the CO about the leader's actions.


A lot of what would happen would depend on exactly how bad the situation was.

Council might do nothing. They might wait to see if they got more complaints. They might ask the district commissioner to look into it. They might ask the CO to look into it.

The committee might have a private discussion with the Scoutmaster.

The CO would likely ask some of the trusted members of the unit leadership for their opinion on what had happened.


Honestly, the more open, up front communication you have, the less any of these things are likely to happen.

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to me it's unacceptable as a parent and as a SM.


now given that - son's previous troop had hike and campout planned:


boys were told to treat it like a backpacking trip - to carry the items that they needed.


parents were told that it was a test to see how well the boys would do with this - to see if they would pack and carry what they needed. that their safety would be met so if they threw their sleeping bag into trailer they would be given that, or if they some how got wet and threw dry clothes in trailer they would be given them, but otherwise nothing was coming out of the trailer. Boys were given plastic sheeting and taught how to make their own shelter.


parents were also told not to spill the beans... that not to worry boys would be taken care of.


of all the scouts the ones that listened the best and did as told were the youngest scouts. They were exhausted after the 10 mile hike because of carrying their gear, but they were rewarded by having all that they needed when they arrived.


BTW this troop hadn't backpacked before was a plop camping troop. we are no longer with this troop but this campout wasn't the reason. Parents knew - and actually boys knew they just didn't care to listen to the "carry all your items"


as SM we have had to do some "plan B" changes - key in my mind is to not increase the risks, make sure safety comes first, making sure it meets the abilities of those there, and that all scout rules are followed.

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My question in this area is along the line of would your parents be upset if there was a major risk profile upgrade after the kids left for the trip without that info being available to the parents.


I think da answer to this question depends on da culture of the troop. In some troops, yep, I think some parents would be upset. In other troops I know, nope, nobody would really bat an eye.


I have specific troops in mind when I'm thinkin' about this, and I'm havin' a hard time articulatin' exactly what da difference is. So bear with me and I'll see if I can sort of fumble through it.


When I think of da troops where folks wouldn't be upset, they have a more dedicated mix of parent and non-parent unit leaders with a more active, outdoorsy/adventurous program. They're very up front with families who are joinin' about da nature of their program, their promotional stuff shows a lot of "major risk profile upgrade" activities, and the lads are exposed to more adventurous campin' early on. If in da course of a backpack trip they brought along some gear and opted to do some climbin' / rappelling, I know nobody would be anything but thrilled. Even if nuthin' in da backpack trip information mentioned climbing.


When I think of da troops where folks might get upset, it's a bit more parent-run with parents newer to the program, and a bit more car-camping. So da norm for a campout would be sittin' near da trailer and buildin' fires and lashin' a few things and hangin' out. In that case, goin' rock climbing would be a big deal, which would require some assuaging fears of parents and committee discussion and such. Doin' it by surprise without informin' da parents would not be well received.


I think there's also a sense to which da local community mores come into play, eh? In communities in my state, youth goin' huntin' or usin' firearms is pretty common. In other places, canoein' and water activities are very common and well-understood. So if yeh added a canoe component to a hiking trip, nobody would be upset, even though it substantially raises da risk profile. Other places, where water activities and canoein' are less commonplace, yeh might well find folks who are miffed.


I think yeh see da common thread here though. In all da cases where things are OK, da communication is sound, and folks are on the same page. Whether it's a general "this is common in da community" or "this is the nature of our troop" or it's a "this is a special outing", folks should know what they're signin' up for. Half of bein' Scoutmaster is educatin' and informin' the parents.


I reckon if yeh had anything more than 1-2 folks upset because they just weren't payin' attention, yeh blew da communication.



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Then old dad would have been in arrested for assault and been out what ever the medical expenses cost to make my teeth right again, don't forget the civil penalties, and you, as scout, would have been thrown out.....


You need to remember, he didn't do anything wrong technically......You said they crossed a 2 mile wide lake in winter in a canoe. We don't know anything than that......For all we know the boys were pulling on rope a crossed a frozen lake in minnesota or they could have been in southern florida where it was 80 degrees......


So the dwellers of the forum cannot judge what makes you feel you have the right to break all the teeth in your Scoutmasters mouth......



I had a den leader assaulted by a parent.....I will never ever put up with threats to anyone in our BSA organization.....We have a procedure in place, One your done. If a parent strikes a Troop, Pack or Crew leader law enforcement is called as is the SE......The youth is immediately band from the Troop, Pack or Crew. Irregardless of the whys.....



If you don't trust the SM's judgement I am calling you a fool for sending your scout with him for anything.......


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To get back to the question in the header...


We have a contact number and a GPS coordinate in the tear off portion of the permission slip. If we had a radical changes of plan we would send out an email. Before the trip we would discuss to the parents any "alternate" activities. We try to have a couple in pocket just in case. I do not think we would do something that was a major shift in activity (aquatic vs rock climibing vs caving) as parents have different levels of comfort. We would not do any of this if we had to shift an activity that was less dangerous or just go hiking if we had to cancel something.

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