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Youth Protection Issue or Over-reaction?

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It sounds like you need to get your ASM trained. Now.


He needs to understand his role as an ASM and he needs to understand why we have YP guidelines. I think you will see a marked improvement when this happens. If not, then you have a bigger problem that needs to be discussed with your COR and CC.


I don't see this as an overreaction on your part. This is a teachable moment, and it sounds like one that needs to be acted upon.

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It is interesting how some people say it is an over reaction because it was in public. My son was involved in an YP issue that happened on a Scout Campout in front of other scouts and adult leaders and nothing was done about it until my son came home and told us and we pushed the issue, and even then the SM and ASM at the time wanted to protect the ADULT and not my son and the other boy involved.


Of Course I can not give details because I am sure members of that troop and our present troop visit the forum.



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YP does not and cannot protect all scouts all the time from nefarious adults, nor can it protect all adults all the time from false accusations or misunderstandings.


It is quite clear if you have taken the training that an adult and youth together is acceptable in a public area in sight of others (door open in a room with others outside, in sight of others at a campout etc.)


Think: Scoutmaster conference (do you make an ASM sit in and listen to every word?)

Do you insist on two adults in every car transporting scouts to a campout?


What if a scout wants to have a private word with you about something? Do you insist another adult listen in or do you move out of hearing of others but still in sight?


You are on a canoe trip with scouts. You are an adult with 1-2 younger scouts in a canoe but other adults in canoes are in the group and nearby (but not close enough to hear every word said in your canoe) Is that OK?


In this case, from what we are told, the ASM was with a scout and there was no other scouter from the troop with them, but they were in a public area with hundreds of other people around, including other adults, and in sight of others. It was never alleged they went off alone in private.


If you insist on having two YP-trained adults from the troop in close contact when with scouts (in hearing and sight) even in a public area like a mall, restaurant or theme park you had better have a LOT of adult volunteers!


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Based on how dewASM has described the situation, my read is that the ASM acted inappropriately and should not have taken an individual Scout and wandered about without another Scout or adult. Even though this was a public place, this leader should not have gone off alone with one of the youngest Scouts in your unit. As Scoutmaster, you can let folks in the Troop know that two deep leadership is a hard and fast rule with no exceptions. In a public place this can mean he is with two or three Scouts instead of another adult, but never ever alone with a Scout.


You are not overreacting - he should not have done that. He needs to know his behavior was not ok and should not happen again.


When I became Scoutmaster, the Troop was very loose on this aspect, and after I discovered an ASM had taken one Scout in his van on a 3 hour trip to summer camp I put my foot down, and fully enforced the two deep rule. This really angered some of the old timers, and I was tested several times and once even had to cancel an outing because there were not enough adults.


It's likely this guy will have a fit when you call him out on this and other inappropriate behavior, but if you stick to your guns he will eventually get the message and either get with the program or hit the road.

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Easily one of the most misunderstood rules in Scouting: the "2-deep" rule. 2-deep is very simple, 2 adults on every outing, that's it. Don't analyze it to death.


Specifically, the official rule is:


"Two registered adult leaders or one registered leader and a parent of a participant, one of whom must be 21 years of age or older, are required on all trips and outings."



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There's two-deep leadership, and then there's no one-on-one contact. Two separate things that often get confused. You don't need Scouts accompanied everywhere on a trip by two leaders, or have two leaders in every vehicle.


I think that in this case, while it may not have been a YP violation per se, it was still a dumb move on the part of the ASM. If they'd simply strolled into a room of the museum where no one else was present, that's 1-on-1 contact, however inadvertent. He needs to understand that the rules are in place for his protection as well as the Scouts'.

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It doesn't even have to be in a separaret room. The leader I discussed earlier was in the outdoors, on a camp trail, I believe between the showerhouse and her tent,when she ran into the "scout" after hours sneaking about and was accused of making a pass. BSA takes the side of the youth over the adults as a CYA.


YP is VERY important, and I've dealt with serious YP issues at camp. But sometimes a little investigating should be done by the proper authorities, i.e. my friend being accused by a known liar, and the case of the adult striking a scout in self defense. Luckily in the latter case, it was witnessed by the entire troop.

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SMT224 wrote:


this leader should not have gone off alone with one of the youngest Scouts in your unit


But read the OP:

a very new (3 months), very young (11-13 yo) and pretty small (11 scouts) troop.


There ARE no older scouts in this troop.


The SMs main beef, normally justified, is that the ASM is having trouble making the mental jump from cubs to scouts.


But I still have seen no real discussion of the difficulty doing this in a troop without ANY older, senior, experienced scouts to serve as SPL, ASPL PL etc etc.


Maybe I just like being devils advocate but perhaps in a troop without the normal leadership structure, the ASM sees some justification in acting more like a cubmaster than a venture advisor (to take the extremes to make my point). Just thinking.


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SMT 224 wrote:


Bottom Line: Dont ever be alone with a scout


SMT: I agree totally. But I also maintain the ASM in this case was not alone with a scout as he was in a public area with, we are told, hundreds of other people around.


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Yes, there may have been hundreds of other people around, but if the scout in question made an accusation, say the next day, would you be able to round up all those potential witnesses to find out what really happened. If you did would they remember one scout and one ASM among so many? Would you be able to reconstruct a timeline to show that they were in the public the whole time and never out of sight of the group?


This may not be a technical violation of the YPT, but I for one wouldn't want to put myself in that position.



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What amazes me about this discussion is that we seem to be looking at the YP issue and arguing about that when as I see it, the ASM is showing signs of requiring additional training, and not exclusively YP training.


This ASM really needs to "unlearn what he has learned." Wherever he picked up the idea that he needs to be in the middle of whatever happens to be going on nearby, he needs to lose it and pick up on the idea that he should take time to observe all that is going on and to step in only when needed. I had to learn this as an 18 year old ASM, but I did, and I'm sure this ASM can learn it too.

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