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DeanRx

addressing PDA by scouters in uniform ?

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We sure have a lot of lawyers on this site.

 

It may seem that way sometimes, although "a lot" is a subjective term.  I think lawyers may have more of a tendency to identify their (er, our) profession because sometimes the threads involve legal issues.  I don't know what most of the posters on here do for a living, and even in cases where people have provided that information, I don't necessarily remember.  There seem to be a number of people involved in various aspects of the computer field.  Are there more of those than there are lawyers?  Are there more teachers than lawyers?  Are there more insurance salespersons than lawyers?  I don't know, because most people don't say.

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Ok, so putting this in Program, because I frankly don't know what other topic to post it in... We have two adult leaders in our unit male and female (both single - well we think the one has a divorce pending / finalized, not sure but he his no longer with his wife)... that have begun a dating relationship. The beginning of said relationship resulted in both leaders (one was the SM at the time and the other ASM) being asked to take a leadership hiatus by the CO and COR, because the soon to be ex-SM's wife stormed into committee meeting with accusations of adultery (CO is a church). Upon return, they were both reinstated as ASM's. They now attend unit functions as a couple, both in uniform. Scouts, fellow scouters, and many parents have grown VERY uncomfortable with their PDA (public displays of affection). This includes hugging, kissing, shoulder rubs, little games of "tickle" on the ribs... one leaning into the other, etc... It is not a full make-out session, but much more than a quick peck on the cheek type kiss. Several toungue-in-cheek type comments and sexual inuendos between them have been overheard by scouts and scouters. While I could care less about their blossoming rommance, it puts the unit in an awkward position to have these two carrying on at unit functions and campouts, in plain view of the youth and fellow scouters. It went as far as last weekend, they shared a tent on a Troop overnighter and as far as anyone knows, they are NOT married. That is in direct violation of G2SS camping guidelines. My two quesitons for the forum: 1) I know its in bad taste and should not be done, but do you know of ANY published guideline / rule that states a scouter should not engage in PDA while in uniform? Can you quote me the reference? 2) Myself and a few other adult leaders and concerned parents are trying to formulate the best way to approach the "couple" and the COR to lay out how uncomfortable / inappropriate all this is and WHY it needs to stop. How would you go about doing it? Would you seek their resignation from Troop leadership at this point? (we have enough ASM's to cover the leadership roles). There is part of me that feels they have already betrayed the trust of the unit and lost the respect of scouts and scouters alike with the 1st intervention of the COR and CO, that they should just be thanked for their service and shown the door. On the other hand, if they could just knock it off with the PDA and be professional when in uniform, I don't have a problem with them staying on. Neither have youth in the Troop as both their sons have Eagled and aged out of BSA, so its not like asking them to depart is going to drive a kid away from scouting. As a newly minted ASM, I'm really struggling with how to approach this issue. Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Sharing a tent is inappropriate.  The COR, IH and DE need to know about it. 

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The troop doesn't exist to sooth the feelings of adults. It is for the youth. Ask the youth if it bothers them. Call a PLC and bring it up. Ask the youth if they care. If they shrug it off, then shut up about it and get over it. It's their troop, not yours. If you do this, you need to conduct yourself carefully. Standing up and ranting that the youth should do something about it is way out of line. Just ask them if they have noticed, and if they care. That's it. It's their decision, not your passion that needs to be sold to them.(This message has been edited by bsa24)

 

I disagree. The adults are to set an example for the youth. The youth don't necessarily know what appropriate behavior for adults is in this situation.  This is an issue for the adults to deal with, not the youth.  The CC, COR, IH and DE need to know what's going on, and need to do something about it.  Whether that is expel one or both from the troop, counseling them on the inappropriateness of their situation, etc.  This is a  church chartered group.  The church who chartered them needs to decide what appropriate behavior is, along with YPT guidelines. 

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Lead by example.  With the number of divorces, live-in relationships, and other "norms" that were unacceptable in past years, it is kinda refreshing to see a married couple example that works.

 

As SM no one has ever questioned the PDA/sleeping arrangement that the Mrs. and I are involved with and yet has stirred many discussions on the subject of marriage and family around the campfire in the evening.  I always insist that the Mrs. and I sit next to each other at the fire. 

 

The majority of the boys I have been involved with over the years all seem to come from "broken homes" to use a phrase from years gone by.  The Mrs. and I are both on our second marriages.  We have weathered the storm and have found a working solution to the problems we faced.

 

Again, we can both speak to the boys in a way that they can understand and we take seriously our responsibility to lead by example.  My oldest daughter and my wife's youngest son have come in an helped the boys with the children's point of view in a divorce situation.

 

Now, one can deny these dynamics, change the subject, sweep it under the rug, or they can take on these things head on and use one's life experiences and an opportunity to teach those things that may come to be in the scout's lives of the future.  Ignoring the issues doesn't do the boys any good.  In spite of any difficulties they may face in the future, they will have had the opportunity to learn from Mr. & Mrs. Stosh that there's always hope for a better life after disaster strikes.

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We sure have a lot of lawyers on this site.

 

Strange, I was actually thinking that there wasn't nearly enough lawyers.

 

t is kinda refreshing to see a married couple example that works.

 

There is a difference between the issued in the original post and what @@Stosh is talking about.  I agree with the responses to the original post that the actions of the unmarried couple seem inappropriate.  Similarly, I agree with @@Stosh that the typical displays of affection among married couples are helpful in setting a good example for the Scouts.  Was on a shakedown hike on Thursday holding the hand of my wife of almost 25 years.  Will kiss, hug and give back rubs in the presence of Scouts and will share a tent when camping.  Do we have make-out sessions or grope each other in front of scouts -- of course not.  

 

Scouts can learn a lot through seeing examples of healthy adult relationships. 

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Sorry, but PDA of any kind -- married or unmarried -- should be kept out of Scouting. If we are asked to abstain from drink and smoking and other such vices, one can keep their PDA switch in the off position until they get home. I don't care who you are or how long you've been married. It does not belong in Scouting. Scouts are asked to refrain from such things, Scouter should be able to set that example.

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@Col. Flagg, I guess we'll need to disagree here.  :)  With all the boys I have had over the years that come from single-parent household, dealing with domestic abuse, multiple-marriage family structures, etc. and all the "stuff" many of the kids today have to deal with.  I'm not talking about "heavy petting" or "making out" with one's spouse here, obviously.  But the example of a solid marriage and how to make it work has come up as campfire conversation many times over the years.  While it might not be explicitly spelled out in BSA protocol for running the program, it does fit in with the Buddy System that involves more than hanging out at the waterfront with another boy, tenting in pairs, or finding someone to go to the latrine with.  The lesson I teach with the Buddy System is taking care of just one other person besides yourself.  That's a big step for many of my boys.  When I'm on an outing with the Mrs. coming along as chaperone or safety-afloat backup expert, she's always my "buddy".  The Buddy System of the BSA today is the same principle of a good marriage tomorrow.

 

Oh, by the way, the Mrs. does appreciate it when she needs to use the latrine.  With me as her buddy, I check out the latrine to make sure all the boys are out and then guard the door for her.  It's what a good Buddy does. :)

Edited by Stosh
  • Upvote 1

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@@Stosh, I see no where in the BSA docs that say any PDA is acceptable. They go to great lengths to say you cannot allow it in crews, so I would expect what's good for the goose...

 

It is not a matter of how positive it is. I have give you tons of examples of stuff that is positive for Scouts which BSA frowns upon or outright says don't do. The point is, if you allow it for some you have to allow it for all. You cannot say, "Mr & Mrs Stosh *can* show PDA but Mr. Brown and Miss. White cannot." That's just not right.

  • Upvote 1

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@@Stosh, I see no where in the BSA docs that say any PDA is acceptable. They go to great lengths to say you cannot allow it in crews, so I would expect what's good for the goose...

 

 

I've never seen anything in regards to Crews except for prohibiting relationships which span the various ages (I don't recall if it is over/under 18 or over/under 21).  If those types of relationships are banned, you could infer that other relationships are permitted.  My understanding is that crews set their own guidelines on that issue.

 

Can you provide a reference for your statement on Crews?

 

Also, I don't see ANYWHERE where it says that holding hands with, putting an arm around, hugging or kissing your spouse is PROHIBITED. 

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Here's one link. I will find the others.

 

Edit: There was a video that discussed no relationships or PDA between crew members or especially over 18 members and under 18 members. Same for adults and ANY crew member. I will see if I can find that video.

Edited by Col. Flagg

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@@Stosh, I see no where in the BSA docs that say any PDA is acceptable. They go to great lengths to say you cannot allow it in crews, so I would expect what's good for the goose...

 

It is not a matter of how positive it is. I have give you tons of examples of stuff that is positive for Scouts which BSA frowns upon or outright says don't do. The point is, if you allow it for some you have to allow it for all. You cannot say, "Mr & Mrs Stosh *can* show PDA but Mr. Brown and Miss. White cannot." That's just not right.

Great lengths? Each crew is to set their own PDA policy -- defining what is acceptable in their by-laws. It is certainly not mandated by national.

 

So, following your logic, since venturers are permitted to allow certain forms of PDA -- and even the crews with bans "on the books" tend to grant latitude to engaged/married couples among the ranks, we scouters are permitted to grant that same latitude to married couples.

 

I'm pretty sure that Stosh is not suggesting that in his troop, Mrs Q and I would be asked to behave more discretely than he and his wife. We would hold each other to some reasonable standard and move on. Maybe he'd warn me if this group of scouts were the kind to not let overhear one's spouse's pet name, and that would be it.

 

At the same time, I bet we'd pick up real quick that Flagg's outfit is more discrete, and we'd act accordingly.

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As others have said, I think that at least two different topics are being discussed here, and the responses are getting jumbled together.

 

There is no rule against, and nothing wrong with, a married couple (that is, married to each other) holding hands at a BSA event.

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There is no rule against, and nothing wrong with, a married couple (that is, married to each other) holding hands at a BSA event.

I have to laugh, pro gay adult leaders on this form were saying the same thing when some us argued homosexuality was a bad example of role modeling. That's when they said "no sex in front of Scouts, which included hand holding by married leaders.".

 

Of course that was a silly response, but no sillier than what is posted in this thread.

 

Barry

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There is no rule against, and nothing wrong with, a married couple (that is, married to each other) holding hands at a BSA event.

 

Except this (#6). And yes, I will argue that PDA falls in to the category of "sexual conduct" because, for some 11-17 year olds, holding hands leads to other stuff. Seeing a Scouter, in uniform, at an event doing that can be construed a such IMO.

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I have to laugh, pro gay adult leaders on this form were saying the same thing when some us argued homosexuality was a bad example of role modeling. That's when they said "no sex in front of Scouts, which included hand holding by married leaders.".

Barry, I don't know who you are quoting there, but it isn't me. I never would have said the part about no hand holding by married leaders. I don't remember anyone saying it, but if they did, it wasn't me.

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