Re: BSA: Driving Scouts Home and YPP
John Pannell (PANNELLJ@DELPHI.COM)
Sun, 23 Apr 1995 21:32:46 -0400
>The issue which is being ignored here is the example this sets for other
>Scouters not to mention the parents. We are establishing tolerance for
>violation of the YPP policy and this is why there are still molestations
>of Scouts in spite of a program that is intended to remove the
>opportunity. I am not suggesting that the Scouter who posted on the net
>poses a direct threat to the Scout he is transporting, but by
>establishing that it is OK for SOME Scouters, we are setting kids up.
>Please do NOT set this kind of example for the other Scouters. It is far
>better to let the OA member find other transportation or simply not go if
>his parents are not committed enough to bring him than to be indirectly
>responsible for the molestation of Scouts by creating a climate of
>tolerance for policy violations without which it cannot happen.
I was that Scouter and I realize no one is accusing me of being a molester.
I would still thank you for saying that.
Luckily, my chapter chief this year is a Scout in my troop, belongs to the
same church as myself and I am well known to his parents. Next year, I may
not be so fortunate.
I am also well aware of the potential risk I face as well as the bad example
I may be conveying. This is the root of my quandry in this situation. The
distance is significant enough where it would not be practical for a parent
to drive half an hour to the meeting, drive home, then back again. In
addition, as many involved in the OA might know, one can never predict how
long these meetings will last. Equally unpalatable for the parent would be
to wait around. Unless the parent is also an adviser, I don't know of any
that would do this, no matter how committed.
It is crucial for the youth officers to be in attendance. Do I then tell a
youth he cannot serve, and his chapter they cannot elect their choice simply
because he does not yet drive or his parents are not willing to drive him
distances to meetings? For better or worse, I have not had success
recruiting teams for unit election, otherwise I would have a similar
Even if the youth _does_ drive, there are situations where our council rules
would prohibit him from doing so. I give an example below.
To make me more nervous, I was essentially forced to violate YP policy again
this weekend. We had our section conclave this past weekend. Our chapter
was to caravan there, a of two hours' journey. For various reasons, which I
will skip, by Friday afternoon there was just myself and two youth in this
caravan. One drives, but they are forbidden to by council rules on such an
event as this. Luckily I am known to the parents of both young men.
Do I tell the boys they can't go unless one of their parents are willing to
drive two hours each way? According to YPP, absolutely YES! Commonsense,
however, may seem to say otherwise, that it would be silly to forbid them to
attend, and (more importantly) that I darn well insist that at least one of
the others travel with me, or that we force chapters with smaller
delegations to travel together. Next year I will have to insist on this
should our other active adults have earlier responsbilities at Conclave or
be unable to leave at the early hour we will need due to their paying jobs.
But then, I fear this will still not solve the problem of YPP violations. We
would have Scouters transporting youth to a centralized gathering place for
several chapters' delegations since it would not be practical for parents to
make a long drive to the meeting place. You can bet some would then be
violating YPP, and we're back to square one again!
Eliminating molestation is definitely a desirable goal. Removing the
opportunity for such abuse is an appropriate method. However, the current
policies are written are virtually impossible to follow in situations such
as I have described.
Even on a pack or troop level, they are difficult to follow. How many units
can travel with two adults in every vehicle? Mine could not on a regular
basis. As written, YPP would seem to require it. If this was absolutely
adhered to, we would have to forgo any camping or outdoors activities.
Rental costs of the needed vans or buses to comply would be prohibitive.
Remember, in no situation is there less than two deep leadership at the
event/meeting itself. I fear in our zeal, we may have lost track of
commonsense. IMO, strictest adherence to the rules as written and required
by the BSA would result in serious damage to the program. The Scouting
program would be seriously compromised. The resulting program would bear so
little resemblence to Scouting, as I knew it, that I would likely hang up my
uniform and donate my "one hour a week" to a more worthy cause.
ASM Troop 39 -- Old North State Council
Chapter Adviser -- Tsoiotsi Tsogalii 70
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City