Jump to content

When should scouts stay home?

Recommended Posts

Scouting is based on the premise of taking lads away from momma's side and into the outdoors. Webelos just crossing over will be challenged by an overnight camping trip 50 feet from the parking lot. 3rd year scouts may think a 10 day backpacking trip at Philmont as barely challenging enough.


Parents trust adult leadership to provide adequate training and resources to their sons to not be seriously injured or killed during a scout outing. Scouts in a troop have a wide variance of skill depth and expierence. When and who decides when a scout is not adequately prepared for an outing?


Do parents who have never been camping or on a troop outing familar enough to judge if an event is beyond the capabilities of their son?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Leaders should definately have a say in it as they are workign directly with the youth.


Parents should also have a say in that it is their child, their ultimate respinsibility. But has been noted, parents don't always know exactly what their son's level of experience is because they may not see it. Let's face it, lot of parents DO baby their kids. And kids to rise, or fall, to the level of performance expected. If a PL or SPL has high expectation of a Scout on a trip, usually they meet them. If a parent has low expectations of their son, they will meet them.


I would also add that a scout needs to have input. part of growing up is knowing your own limitations. the scout needs to aheva role in this.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Do parents who have never been camping or on a troop outing familar enough to judge if an event is beyond the capabilities of their son?"


In a word : YES!


You may know the trip better than anyone, but they know their boy better than anyone.


Link to post
Share on other sites

It should be a collaboration, eh? Between parents (who know things about their kid that the scouters don't know), scouters (who know things about the boy and camping that the parents don't know) and youth leaders (who know all the things about the boy that none of the adults know).


Parents over- and under- estimate their kids' abilities all the time. I've seen parents try to push a reluctant kid on outings he had no business being on, and fearful parents hold their kids back from outings the boy would have found a piece of cake.


Scouters are usually better, because they've actually seen the lad in the field. Most likely error is that scouters tend to give the lad the "benefit of the doubt" because they want a boy to succeed (or don't want parent grief). So sometimes they don't say "no" when they should. Happens particularly on high adventure trips when an immature or out of shape lad really wants to come with his peers.


Experienced scouts are often da best judges, eh? Kids tend to be fair and honest, and they've seen the lad in the field most closely.


Of course, all three sometimes make mistakes because they remember what the boy was like last year, eh? And they forget that the boy this year is very different than the boy last year.


Yeh get da best results when everyone works together and listens well, yeh use advancement method well as a guide, and yeh do a few prep trips.




Link to post
Share on other sites

Parents always get dealt a hand of all trump cards. True success or failure of their children is their responsibility. Scouting is just a tool they can use to accomplish their goals for their children.


Scouting can get a boy all excited about adventure and fun, but the parents have the final say-so.


I haven't always been in agreement about the above situation, but it's a reality that I have had to live with. If a parent uses Scouting as a punishment because they didn't do their homework, so be it, that's the way that family runs its business.



Link to post
Share on other sites

So, when the kid comes home from Football practice limping should the parent be surprised?


If he breaks his arm during am awkward fall, can they claim they didnt know football could cause injuries?


Are not parents responsible? Why do we have them sign permission slips to go on Class Field Trips, play football or anything?


Parents and the Trip leaders, in any activity, have to be equally responsible

Link to post
Share on other sites

Knowing when to say no, and sticking to it is important as a leader. I am fortunate to not have had any serious issues in that regard, but have had a couple times when I allowed a parent and boy to convince me to let him go, and it was a problem. The weekend outing was pretty minor, but Philmont could have been a real disaster. We managed to get him through, but it required more patience than at least one leader, and a number of scouts had. We had to move him from one crew to another, and a number of times he held us up with his immaturity and difficulty in working through his soreness and tiredness. The good thing is that he made it through, and today talks about that as one of his highlights of scouting.


But, I had seen the indications the boy at Philmont really was not ready; and I let others override my better judgment.


Is this one of those cases? Hopefully, we will learn more soon. It is really a no win situation.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Webelos just crossing over will be challenged by an overnight camping trip 50 feet from the parking lot."


WOW! I cannot believe I just heard( read) that!


If you honestly think that, you are so unfairly judgeing and doing a great disservice to soooo many new scouts.


Now, I am sure there are some Webelos who get goosebumps just from stepping 15 feet into the wods. Some might even freal out if a butterfly lands on them. No doubt some kids are just too soft.


But to make it a blanket statement for an entire group of kids is just unfailrly detrimental to them and the programm in general.


Patronizing. That's the word I might be looking for.


We have some first year Webelos who are more comfortable in te woods than in an enginnered structure. We have second year Webelos who could teach adults a thing or two about camping. Hell, some of them could probably teach the US Marines about camping.


The biggest downside is that these boys are so attuned to nature and living there, that they rather wear off the dirt than to shower.

Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL! Well said Scoutfish


When I started scouts I already had 7 years experience camping and hanging out in the woods. I could already do a 10 mile hike, make a fire, and cook in a messkit. That was my very first experience as a Boy Scout and I did it while wearing my Cub Scout uniform. A year later I was American Red Cross Lifeguard certified. And yet I never got beyond second class after 4 years of scouting. Eventually joined Civil Air Patrol where they allowed me to use my skills and talents. I was Radio Man First Class and manned the base radios during real search and rescue missions. Flew hundreds of hours on search and rescue missions as well. The #1 thing I learned from scouting was to never do to a boy what was done to me. I make sure every boy gets more than enough opportunities to do what he does best!


Never underestimate the leadership resources and Scoutcraft skills some of your boys come to the program with, if you do, YOU miss the greatest opportunity of all.


Then again, my parents were under the opinion that boys should not spend more than a half hour in front of the TV, without going outside for an hour or two.


Your mileage may vary,



Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll echo that it is a collaborative effort by both the Adult Leaders and the Parents on when to go or not go on a specific activity.


"I would also add that a scout needs to have input. part of growing up is knowing your own limitations. the scout needs to aheva role in this."


No...they don't...remember the human mind does not properly calculate long-term consequences until about age 22-24. The boys can decide if the WANT to do something, not if it is REASONABLE for them to do it.



The gray area is when the emotions/characteristics of the Leaders/Parents come into play. A Gung Ho ASM and a wishy-washy Parent is a recipe for disaster....and vice versa.


Conditions have to be considered...


...taking a boy with asthma on a free-climb in the middle of hayfever season is probably not a good idea.


...taking a boy on a fast water or deep water canoe trip who is not a strong swimmer falls into this too.


So both sides have to make realistic judgments and make decisions.


Now...I'll be the first to say that a broken appendage bone is not the end of the world...been there...done that.


However, death IS the end of the world...(This message has been edited by Engineer61)

Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was a scout, I knew exactly what my limitations were and how to and not to exceed them. I still do. I also have a great deal of confidence and faith in my troop's scouters, parents and scouts.


If we are going to hamstring these people then why not put them in bubble wrap and let them play like they are in scouting? Better yet let's just keep them at home because we're too paranoid that something terrible may, not will, but may happen to them.



Link to post
Share on other sites

No...they don't...remember the human mind does not properly calculate long-term consequences until about age 22-24. The boys can decide if the WANT to do something, not if it is REASONABLE for them to do it.




The reason why today's youth don't act like youth did 25-50 years ago and properkly calculate long term consequences is that most parents coddle their children, do not give them responsibility, and do not let them grow up on their own. THEY HAVE NO EXPERIENCE MAKING DECISIONS AND HAVING TO LIVE WITH THE RESULTS BECAUSE MOMMY AND DADDY WILL FIX THE PROBLEM FOR THEM! (caps for emphasis not shouting) It's kinda sad when you have parents doing all the work for their kids so that they can pass school


Kinda sad when parents do all the work for their kids to set up an internship or some type of job exposure program they need for school.


Kinda sad to have a college student's parent call you to complain about their kid's grade in your class (didn't happen to me, but a coworker)


Kinda sad when an HR department is getting phone calls from a prospective employee's parents, or even an employee's parents ( there are documented cases of that in the literature.


If folks are not fully mature until the brain is 'fully developed at age 25" as the literature states, and there are disagreements on that study in the neuroscience community I might add ( i said HORSEHOCKEY when I first read that study 2 years ago, continue to say it still, and some experts also say it) then why does the military use 18 - 25 year olds as combat leaders in such roles as fire team leaders, squad leaders, and platoon commanders?


Why does the legal system treat someone as an adult at age 18 if they are not really an adult until age 25?


Why do we allow 18 year olds, if they are really children with an still developing brain?


Youth will live up to your expectations. You have high expectations, they will follow thorugh. You have low expectations, they will do the least amount of work possible b/c that is expected of them.




My question, how cna

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm no lawyer, but as I understand the law, youth under age 18 are presumed to be in need of adult supervision. If parents fail to supervise their children, they can be liable for damage they do.


Parents can delegate that responsibility to other adults, such as Scout Leaders. Scout Leader are then In Loco Parentis and are expected to supervise the children placed in their care in a responsible way.


If Scout Leaders fail to supervise youth and the youth are injured or cause damage to others, they can be held liable for that NEGLIGENCE.


That doesn't mean that every injury sustained by a youth is compensable, but if adult leaders aren't paying attention to hazards and the abilities of youth to manage the activities they are doing, there may indeed be liability when bad things happen.


I notice another thread promotes "Patrol Camping" where youth are hiking and camping pretty much independent of adult supervision. I imagine the smart thing to do for an activity of that kind is to include a prominent statement on a parent permission slip that youth will be supervising their own activities without adult supervision, and getting the approval of parents in writing for that kind of activity.

Link to post
Share on other sites

When does my Scout stay home? When I say he is. Usually it's been because of previous family plans or illness (swollen spleen and liver) that he's willing to ignore but I'm not.


Now, if my son really wants to do something and I feel wishy-washy about it, I ask the SM or ASM who works with him what they think. Usually I get a, "Of course he's ready for this. He'll make it." I suck it up and sign the permission slip. If the SM/ASMs are iffy on my son's ability, I respect thier assessment.


The only time I've ever put my foot down absolutely to the point of threatening to drag my oldest away, creating untold amounts of acute embarassment, was when the SM/ASMs planned to do something I knew was absolutely forbidden by G2SS. In that case I brought it to the CC who intervened and cancelled the activity.

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
  • Create New...