Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Timm

Adult Supervision on Outings

Recommended Posts

I would not trust my son's safety to a group of 14- and 15-year-olds.

 

If you wouldn't trust the safety of another person to a 15-year-old Scout, then an adult has not done their job.

 

I would trust the safety of another person to A 15-year-old Scout. I would not neccisarily have the same trust in a GROUP of 15-year-old Scouts. It was not so long ago that I myself was a 15-year-old boy (6 years now) and I remember quite well the mischief we used to get into. I suspect even some of the older former Scouts out there can remember doing things in Scouting that did not reflect well on the Scouting movement. To go out on a short hike, work on requirements, or participate in a social activity (like Putt-Putt) without adult supervision would be fine, but we must remember that when the adults aren't looking, 15-year-old Scouts revert to 15-year-old boys. There is a lot of tempation there, which is often only made worse by peer-presure. Any Patrol activity should be approved by the SM beforehand, and it should be his call whether they need supervision. That is the adult's job.

 

Bob, while I think you have a lot of valuable advise, I've noticed that often your solution is "THat's the SM's fault. You need a better SM." All the SM's I know are human. They can't quote Scouting literature by chapter and verse, and quite often they make mistakes. So rather than blaming them, what can we do as ASMs, as Committee people, as parents, and as District and Council Officials to help them when they do make mistakes?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By coincidence Captnkirk all the Scoutmasters I know are human as well, even the ones who have read the handbooks:).

 

Bottom line is that the Scoutmaster is the program leader of the troop. If a troop is not employing the methods of scouting correctly or not at all, then the responsibility falls squarely on the Scoutmaster and no one else.

 

I see no failure in a leader who is trying and learning along the way, much as in the way scouts learn. But it is is something else to be the SM and not make the effort to deliver an actual scouting program. Which by no surprise is found in the training and handbooks of the scouting movement.

 

(By the way I really don't have the books memorized page and verse. I know the program and the resources they are contained in and I just look thngs up as I go along.)

 

Bob White

 

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

captainkirk tossed in a soft ball, and I'll grab it and run . . .

 

He said

 

"So rather than blaming them, what can we do as ASMs, as Committee people, as parents, and as District and Council Officials to help them when they do make mistakes?"

 

Officially, everything a district/council does falls into The Four Functions.

 

The Four Functions are, in no particular order because they all overlap somewhat and all must occur:

 

Program Membership

Unit Service Finance

 

Program refers to district and council activities, training of all kinds, camping, advancement, etc.

 

Membership refers to bringing in new members, starting new units, etc. It's the recruitment end.

 

Unit Service relates mostly to Commissioner service, Roundtable, etc.

 

Finance -- this stuff doesn't happen without money. Finance is FOS, popcorn, United Way relations, budget issues, etc.

 

Council volunteer and professional structures vary greatly from council to council, but the four functions remain the same.

 

Now back to captainkirk's question . . .

 

The first way we can help unit leaders to prevent mistakes is through training. If we can't get them to come to the training, I think we owe it to them to take the training to them.

 

The second way is to have commissioners and other district people working face to face with the unit leadership. A commissioner who visits a troop meeting or a campout can offer valuable advice to a unit leader who may not know or be able to put into practice boy leadership.

 

I'll take it a step further than that, because the program folks have their work cut out for them, too. The advancement committee in the district should receive monthly advancement reports on each unit and follow up with personal training, pressure and visits to troops and packs with little advancement.

 

I think the training committee should know who is and is not trained in the district -- at least the unit leaders -- and target the untrained and do whatever it takes to get them trained.

 

The camping committee should worry about whether every troop has at least one outing per month.

 

Having said that, I'll let you in on a secret that Bob White and others have alluded to -- we're all human, even this little Assistant Scout Executive. It's pretty rare to have a district hitting on all cylanders. I haven't seen it yet in my 15 years.

 

I know it's nearly impossible to reach the ideal -- and if you do it's time to change the ideal -- but if we don't try, we'll never even come close.

 

DS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was a boy during summer camp we used to go away for one or two nights alone in patrols, and a requierment to the two last ranks (Eagle and Condor) was camping alone (during a summer camp usually) for two and three nights respectively, we had great.

 

But now as a SM (technically ASM but in our group there is no distinction between them) we don't allow them to go camping alone, personally I think it would be a good idea that they did, but the rest of the staff disagrees , and they do have some good points, we are responsible for them in front of their parents, if an accident should happen and we are not present, what do we tell the parents ? it could severely damage the image of the scout group not only our troop, but the 7 units of the group.

 

Another point worthy of note is that while our group does a lot of camping it's not really very focused on skills like knots, first aid, etc. While we some of it we really only do the basics, because we focus on other things like art for example, so the younger don't know much of camping right now (because they have just arrived)

 

Greetings

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome nivipi, out of curiosity what country are you a leader in.

 

I understand your concern about safety, I believe we have that covered in requiring the scouts to ahve the skills to do the activity. As far as parents expectation, part of the BSA program for patrol activities is the parents confirming that they understand that no adults will be present. Certainly no one is recommending that you drop the scouts off and not telling the parents that they have no adult supervision.

 

Bob White

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In response to the original post, we have not had patrol outings that I am aware of during the last 10 or so years. Too many boys going too many directions I think.

 

On onites the leader patrol sets up seperate from the other patrols, but within eye and earshot, and tries to set an example as how a patrol should set up and all that.

 

Our main goal on onites is to make sure that the woods are not set on fire and we return with the same amount of boys and gear we set out with.

( of course this is done through the SPL or senior scout on the onite with the appropriate level of instruction and support);)

 

 

yis

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mr White (may I call you Bob?)

 

I'm from Chile, and actually I've noticed that here boy scout programme has a lot of things from your girls scouts ! (hope they boys on my troop don't ever read that or I'm dead meat :) )

 

As I said I agree with you and on this and many (but not all) of the things I've read on your post, in particular I think that solitary experiences (patrol or personal , (but I'd prefer as a leader at least two persons) are really worth it, including the potential risk, my troop did it for years and we never got any accident (at least not alone, we did have some but always there was a SM present ... very by the book :) )

 

But , and I'm going to open a new thread about that, I have another escenario to consider.. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome nivipi,

I can understand how you would not be able to agree with some of my posts. Even some on this board who share the same program I do will not agree on everything. So I can image the difficulty you would have when your program is so different from ours.

 

Welcome again,

Bob White

 

And yes, of course you can call me Bob.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to admit to feeling that a patrol was really getting their act together when they were ready to plan snd run a patrol camp.

I also have to admit that I cheated.

When a patrol was planning their first few patrol camps, I tried to ensure that they went to a site that had an adult on hand, or nearby.Most of the time the patrols made up their mind that they would camp at a site that had a ranger or campmaster.

So while there were adults in the area. Supervision was minimal.

More like insurance.

The real work like many things in Scouting was not the camp. But the planning before the camp.

In the early days I used to tell them that I was going to "Pop in" and they should be ready.However when we discussed this with the Patrol Leaders they felt that this was unfair. So I didn't say it anymore.

As they got better at it I did pop in. Only if I was really just passing. I really wasn't there to check up on them.

The main problems that we ran into were that they always ran late breaking camp and maybe the equipment in their patrol box was not as clean as it might have been and the QM was a little unhappy.

Eamonn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd first like to thank everyone for their contributions.

 

I especially like the perspective captnkirk shared, this is really the root of my issue:

 

"I would trust the safety of another person to A 15-year-old Scout. I would not neccisarily have the same trust in a GROUP of 15-year-old Scouts. It was not so long ago that I myself was a 15-year-old boy (6 years now) and I remember quite well the mischief we used to get into. I suspect even some of the older former Scouts out there can remember doing things in Scouting that did not reflect well on the Scouting movement."

 

This is a 15-year-old boy problem. We can argue endlessly on wether this is a training problem or a scoutmaster problem or a BSA program problem. Not everyone matures at the same rate, some never do so maybe I'm answering my own question but the adults need for being present should depend on the maturity demonstrated by all the scouts participating in the outing. In some instances an adult needs to be present on a constant basis, in others they can be left to work and play as a patrol. And the dangers faced out in the wilderness may be different but not necessarily worse than those in an urban environment.

 

Given my above conclusion, here is another thread I should start. What do you do when a patrol has one or two scouts who seem to be more interested in causing mischief and setting (leading) a bad example? It hurts the whole patrol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When my wife and I got married and joined a church, the troop at the church had only 5 members and no Scoutmaster. I was the District Executive. The parents of the 5 Scouts called me and wanted to fold the troop. I asked the boys if they felt the troop should fold and they said no. So, I became Scoutmaster Steele.

 

The ages of the boys were 12, 12, 14, 13, and 15.

 

At any rate, the 15 year old was giving me all manner of trouble and I -- even though trained, etc. -- kept trying to make the kid fall in line. The 15 year old Eagle Scout was the Senior Patrol Leader.

 

One Saturday morning while we were on a camp out, I heard the umistakeable blips of an electronic game of some sort in the trouble-maker's tent.

 

I then had a revelation. Rather than do my usual of taking the device from the Scout and lecturing him (didn't work anyway,) I pulled the SPL to the side and we had a chat about the Scout's disruptive behavior.

 

The SPL looked at me and smiled. He said, "I'll take care of it." The SPL and the Scout had a little chat. I couldn't hear them, and don't know or want to know what was said, but the kid didn't cause me any more problems.

 

As to the question of how far away the adults should be from the patrols, I think 1/2 mile is too far and intermixed can be too close for the sanity of the adult who wants to get any sleep on Friday night.

 

DS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A discussion about scout-only patrol camping came up in our last SM Staff tagup. (I never seen it done, but I'd love to get our guys to that point!) One of the SMAs insists that the rules have changed and we're not allowed to let patrols camp without adults under any circumstances. He backed this up with these quotes from the Guide to Safe Scouting (GSS).

 

(http://www.scouting.org/pubs/gss/gss01.html#c)

 

"Two-deep leadership:

Two registered adult leaders, or one registered adult and a parent of a participating Scout, one of whom must be at least 21 years of age or older, are required for all trips or outings. There are a few instances, such as patrol activities, when no adult leadership is required."

 

--> Note this says "activities", but not completely clear it applies to any chosen and approved patrol activity. Could mean activities like patrol meetings or Putt-Putt.

 

"Safety rule of four:

No fewer than four individuals (always with the minimum of two adults) go on any backcountry expedition or campout."

 

--> He says this applies to any campout, but I believe it only applies to backcountry campouts (wilderness type stuff, as opposed to something more benign with help presumably within fairly easy reach).

 

When I pointed out the very clear references in the other handbooks, he said the GSS is more current because it's online and can be revised quickly while it takes longer for the next version of the handbooks to get on the street.

 

I've never heard of anything like this before, but he says he picked it up in discussions at Wood Badge last weekend.

 

Any merit to his line of thought?

Does GSS Safety Rule of Four (with 2 mandatory adults) really apply to all campouts, therefore overriding all of the other handbooks?

If scout-only patrol camping is still allowed/encouraged, is there anything recent from National that could squelch our guy's misinterpretation of GSS?

 

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bob - most excellent! That ought to put this bad rumor to rest - thanks!

I bought all the copies on our local Scout Shop shelves, but only had enough to cover the new PLs. More copies (including one for me) on order.

 

On a side note, if National was to decide to make a change that was contrary to current handbooks, but they wanted it implemented immediately - how would that word get out to us?

-mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mike F brings out an interesting question and one I consider to be an "education moment." The question is " if National was to decide to make a change that was contrary to current handbooks, but they wanted it implemented immediately - how would that word get out to us?

-mike "

 

When the national council needs to communicate something quickly, it sends out a mass fax to Scout Executives, who are then responsible to disseminate the information. The question refers to contradictions to the handbooks, and I'll address this later in the post. The quick communications are usually in response to a media event that may become national in scope and the faxes are sent to prepare the Scout Executive in case a reporter calls. This happens, but it's pretty rare.

 

Policies that are contrary to what is published in current handbooks never happen quickly -- they have to go through several volunteer committees before the decision is made, and they're usually publicized well in advance of the change taking effect.

 

Message boards and email newsgroups often catch wind of rumors of changes even before the decisions to make changes are made. Sometimes the rumors are correct, sometimes they're not. That's why I don't believe them until they cross my desk in paper from the national office.

 

On a weekly basis, national sends each Scout Executive a packet, called "pouch mail" of stuff. The "pouch" includes newsletters from various departments, (which are also mailed to council volunteers -- such as the Commissioner newsletter) membership reports of each council in the region, national personnel change memos, compensation and benefits stuff, professional training information, new programs -- anything they want told with one voice to all councils.

 

Other information, stuff that needs to be localized, is passed through the professional structure of the national organization -- one which most line volunteers are unaware of, but it's nothing secret.

 

The Chief Scout Executive communicates through his four Regional Directors. The Regional Directors communicate through their Area Directors (who are all former Scout Executives.) Each Area Director is responsible for several local councils. The Area Director communicates with the Scout Executive and serves as kind of an advisor/consultant.

 

Quite often, the Scout Executive, once informed, then gives the information to guys in positions similar to mine, and we then get it to the professional staff and volunteers in our councils.

 

Scoutnet, the BSA INFO part of it, is slowly catching on among professionals, but it will be a while before it becomes a primary method of communication. A lot of BSA employees, even the young computer-savy ones, just don't use it.

 

DS

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×