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nivipi

The limit on boy responsability...

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and the duty of adults.

 

This comes from a another thread were the issue of wether there should or should not be activities (like campings or night outs) were the boys (and girls of course) should be unsupervised and in wich conditions.

 

My point is what is the limit on the responsability we should allow the kids to take, "allowing the kids to take responsability" may sound weird so I'll elaborate; when I was a scout we had a very serious accident, a boy fell from the side of a very steep mountain and sustained heavy injuries, he was with another boy that seeing that entered into shock because he felt responsible and was traumatized, next arrived to other boys, one went to fetch the SM and the other remained there, the one who remain there was APL and had the first aid badge (on my troop badges were not merit badges but rather speciality awards (I checked www.meritbadges.com to compare), the first aid badge was the most demanding one of all, actually I tried but fail repeatedly to get it :( ) but this boy froze, was simply overwhelmed and scared, and I think that was the normal response to that, he was not a coward or anything, he was only fifteen and incredibly scared because he was supposed to know what to do and solve the situation, he did know, but as he said later he had his mind blank. Fortunatly the SM arrived with acouple of us ( I was the same age as the APL at the time), and we transported the boy to a truck, to finish the story he was taken to a medical outpost in the construction of a nearby hidroelectric plant, was diagnosed with a punctured lung (the blood on the head and other parts were not life threatening, just lacerations) and was transported first by helicopter and then by plane to a hospital were he could be operated, he fully recovered in about a month.

 

My point is, had we the boys not had a SM as backup we would have had a tragedy.

 

That's why even tho I admit the benefits of unsupervised activities I accept that it should be the SM the one to have the last word on this, there are times were leadership and skills are simply not enough. And even tho the scout parents know and accept unsupervised activities I still feel that we are morally responsible for the boys safety at all times, specially while we are not present.

 

Nivipi

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You are correct that the scout was fortunate an adult was neaer. But your scenario does not fit with the ground rules of the BSA program.

 

First of all only Patrol activities can have activities without adult leaders present and patrols cannot have girls in them. Mountain climbing would not be an approved patrol event because it requires adult supervision according to the safety poicies of the BSA. Patrols must file a trip plan with the scoutmaster and dangerous areas would not be approved by a competent leader (and if he or she were an incompetent leader the scout would be at risk anyway).

 

So where does the line get drawn? In the program policies and regulations of the BSA.

 

The question really isn't should we do patrol activities or shouldn't we? The BSA movement has already ansered that in this country. The opportunities for patrol activities are promised in the Boy Scout handbook and taught at all leadership levels. The question is are you leading a strong enough program to support it?

 

Bob White

 

 

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I probably didn't express myself correctly.

 

First there were no girls present, when I mentioned the girls I was thinking in a GS patrol and how they could face the same situation.

 

Second it was not Mountain Climbing, is kind of dificult for me to explain but is like this, during a game that involved running and started in a relatively plain area on scout "scaped" from another towards a mountain and while that zone was off limits he was to involved into the game and didn't realize it and then he fell down the side of the mountain, it was not an abrupt fall but more like rolling down the side hitting himself with the boulders that fell with him ... kinda dificult to explain as I said before.

 

But that's not really the point, accidents can happen everywere, even if we plan ahead and consider safety with boys accidents are always a posibility. For example recently a boy under my care broke a leg while playing soccer, he was running tried to dribble and fell with his leg under his body... there was no foul play, nor there was a hole or irregularity on the field, how can you prevent that?

 

I don't think the question is should we do patrol activities, you are right, they should be done according to the BSA , the WOSM and practically every scout asociation, the question is wich activities should be unsupervised and to wich extend.

 

Of course I won't argue about the BSA ground rules, because I'm sure they are good, and even if they weren't is no my position to question them.

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Life has risks, You being with the boy didn't prevent the broken leg. But again the SM would need to be aware of the potential dangers and make sure the scouts are prepared(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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I agree with Bob. Life has its risks. Even an adult's pressence does not guarantee safety. We can only try to keep Scouting as safe as we can. The difference of opinon is how to do that. Some say that the best way is to have an adult monitoring the situation at all times. Others would say that following the program and BSA guidelines is enough to ensure safety as best we can.

 

It was pointed out in another thread along this same topic that the world has become a much more dangerous place since many of us were Scouts. But we also live in an age where we have things like cellular phones which allow us to get help much more quickly if we run into trouble.

 

So should we send a patrol of 11-year-olds into the woods, armed with a cell phone and expect them to fend for themselves for a week? No. But can we trust Scouts to get help when things get out of their control? I think so. For every boy that freezes up there's at least one who knows to run for help. Our job as leaders is to foresee these situations as best we can, and prepare for them. Whether that means requiring adult supervision, or simply trusting our Scouts.(This message has been edited by captnkirk)

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nivipi,

 

Your point certainly is valid. Can there be no doubt that in most cases, boys stand a better chance of being treated properly for medical issues if an adult is available? Of course not. I think we all know that having an adult is more likely to provide a good outcome in a situation like this.

 

But you went on to begin to describe what I think is the flaw in your position. In your soccer example, certainly the boy's leg injury may have been minimized by adult presence. Because that is true, we probably aught to limit the times kids can play soccer to when adults can be present. that way, if there are any injuries, we can be there. This would then lead to no more pick up baseball or basketball games, and tag could become a politically incorrect activity, because you never know when a kid might step in the sewer and sprain his ankle. Taken to the ridiculous extreme, we might limit kids to indoor video games unless they are supervised. Wait, the video games could cause carpal tunnel syndrome, so we better have adults monitor that activity, too.

 

I'm sorry if I am sounding flippant. I don't mean to come off as rude. But I find, as I become more aware, that it disturbs me when the BSA, or anyone who has the authority (real or perceived) keep Scouts from participating in activities that the same boys, as a group, can partake without the BSA.

 

If you hadn't been a Scout when the boy tumbled down the hillside, would your parents have allowed you to play the game you were playing in the area in which you played? If not, then I believe a good SM would not have allowed a Scout activity under the same conditions. If so, then why can't we believe Scouts can do the same?

 

Bob's mountain climbing example is a good one. Climbing and rapelling are an intergal part of our Troop's program. However, you'd NEVER see our SM allowing any Patrol in our Troop to do a climbing event without not only adults, but qualified, trained, adults. Kayaking is another valuable part of our program. We own a number of kayaks. Not only would our SM not allow a Patrol to do a kayak trip without adults, the Troop would not even allow our Kayaks to be used by a couple of the Scouts who were doing a trip on their own. There isn't enough tea in China to get him to approve a trip that doesn't include proper supervision for the activity.

 

But boys can hike on their own. They can cook their own meals. They can pitch their own tents, and sleep in them without an adult watching their every move. At least we feel that 1st Class Scouts in our Troop can. If their plan were complete, included plans for how to deal with a problem should it arrive, and is going to be held in a known, safe environment, I just don't see the big dif, to use a phrase I heard on T.V. last night.

 

Here's the disclaimer. Though I believe in the concept to my core, no Patrol in our Troop has yet to do an actual outdoor activity without adults. It has to do with a few things, namely it is a new concept to us(I just learned that it was allowed and encouraged in these forums about 6 months ago), there is some parent concern about it, and I am not the SM, so I can't really facilitate the idea becoming a reality in my position as Advancment Chair. But now that my son is a Patrol Leader in a Patrol that can handle some of the things they would like to do on their own, I plan on helping him make it a reality.

 

Mark

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Having an adult on hand is no guarantee that the "responsible" person won't freeze up. I was at my daughter's school when a child with a bad cut came into the "nurse's office." The "nurse" isn't a nurse but paid adult with some degree of training in first aid. However, this person just started jabbering about the blood and took no action. I heard what was going on because there is a window between the school office and the nurse's office. I was restrained from helping because I'm "not a school employee". Neither the secretary nor the principal would help so the gym teacher was sent for.

 

So much for having a trained professional on hand.

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