YPP and Electronic Communication
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Thu, 4 May 1995 21:52:22 CDT
man o man, the things you miss out on when you take a vacation and a
I've made a careful search of everything that I have access to (and
some things I'm NOT supposed to have access to) concerning Matt's
problem with the Scout-O-Rama and the Internet booth.
I have some questions for you that will lead to the "definative
1) How would you know if you are sending electronic mail to a youth
member or to an adult member? If you were sending mail between two
terminals, both located on the same site, that would be easily
answered. However, because of the nature of the electronic village,
one cannot know for sure if you are talking with a youth member, an
adult member, a male or a female, a balding black man or a young
Chinese-American, or a volunteer or a professional.
You cannot be sure that you are not talking to a person or a machine
(I've been reading that there are several sites that have "simulated
people" that will respond to you messages depending on what you have
2) Who within your local Council or within the BSA itself will be
"reading and recording" who talks with whom? Your professional staff
will not have time to do this, because if they are like our staff,
they will be too busy running around making sure that everything is
going well. Not that many volunteers will want to read and "find out
whom is this person" which leads me to question three....
3) How will they know that the person is a BSA member or not? I guess
you can after the fact, look up each person against the BSA's
membership roles (which begs the additional question of "will they
allow people outside of Scouting to call in and talk")?
4) Who told you this? What basis (i.e. paper, black-and-white) is
Now, in talking with folks at National about this question a couple of
weeks back (now that I know what local Council you belong
to....someone else sent me a private posting about the same subject),
NOBODY at Risk Management, the Program Group, the Adminstration and
Council Support Group nor the External Communications Division could
find ANYTHING restricting BSA Scouts from talking with anyone; nor
could they find ANYTHING restricting BSA Scouters from talking with
Scouts or non-Scouts. As a matter of fact, the BSA has been working
with five local Councils in developing tools (like in a BBS) to allow
Scouts and Scouters to talk with "Pedro", the long-eared burro (in
reality, it is the Director of the Boy Scout Program Division) and
ask questions; and a way that Scouts and Scouters can receive program
support materials. Additionally, thanks to the success of this list
and Arrow-L, the Order of the Arrow mailing list, the BSA's
Information Management Division is examining successful attempts at
bring the BSA's program to communities far-flung from their local
NONE of this sounds like anyone at the BSA wants to restrict anything
to either youth or adults, nor to prevent youth members and potential
members from talking with adults (like Commissioners and
professionals, not to mention Scoutmasters) or adults to converse with
Scouts (as in merit badge counsellors). In fact, two local Councils
I'm aware of is trying this very thing.
I would CHALLENGE whomever told you this baldface lie to back it up
with paperwork. I would also challenge them to assist you in
completing the project within whatever guidelines (but I'm willing to
betcha a CSP that they won't be able to find anything in writing,
won't be able to produce a memoradum from your Scout Executive written
before today's date (today's the 5th of May for reference) stating the
Council's "stand", and they won't find anything written in the 1994 or
any other versions of the BSA Youth Protection Plan Guidelines, the
Guide to Safe Scouting or any other Risk Management publication (I
know...I've checked everything and others have checked what little I
don't have here personally)!
If YOU are personally concerned about the possibility of "tampering",
I would suggest you get two copies of the America Online, CompuServe,
GEnie or Prodigy software, install it, establish two accounts for the
weekend, and establish a forum area for youth members only on one
machine and one for the adults on the other machine. In that way, the
folks at the online service can help you "police" if the members are
youth or adult. However, as many here can tell you better than me,
there are MANY ways that youth members can use Momma or Daddie's
account and there are likewise adults that will say that they are 17
or 14 or 16 just to get into a "youth area" and succeed.
The Internet, Matt, has no "police". It has no "way" of knowing if I
am a 17 and a half youth member of a program, a 35 and a half adult
member of a program or a 48 year old child molestor. There's just not
any way it can be done presently. If you are concerned, I would
recommend that path I listed above. If "someone else" is trying to
nose their way into your great project, I would have them to "shut up
or show me" on paper; otherwise, I would march on forward.
If you are still leery, call the Risk Management Division at the BSA's
National Office and ask. Yes, they will ask for your name and your
Council office, and yes, they will "burn" a copy of the inquiry to
your Council Executive.
What you're doing, what we're doing here, and what the entire online
community is doing for Scouting in Scouting is more than admirable;
it's essential to the success of our programs and essential to the
personal growth and development of our youth and adult members.
I don't think that the BSA or your local Council will want to stand in
the way of that. If they do, they're fighting a losing battle because
electronic communication between Scouters, between Scouts and between
Scouters and Scouts is here...and it's here to stay and continuely
evolve over the passing years!
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Services ___)_
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