A Way Of Life
Kevin Thomson (KevThomson@AOL.COM)
Wed, 21 May 1997 06:45:14 -0400
I have a question on which I would value the opinion of my fellow Scouters.
I should first explain some background so here goes; I live alone in the
UK and recently moved to new premises, I do not know my neighbours
and they, in turn, do not know me but, as I make no effort to hide my
uniform, they are undoubtedly aware of my scouting connection.
On arriving home from work on Monday evening in a heavy rainstorm I
noticed a young man (14 years old) sitting on the doorstep of a
neighbouring house, he was cold, wet and alone. I asked him if he
would like to come in out of the rain but he said he was okay and I left
it at that.
A few minutes later he knocked at my door, he was no longer alone as his
brother (13 years old) was with him. They were both cold, wet and locked
out of their house. They asked if it would be okay if they accepted my
offer of shelter and I let them in.
They were with me for two hours, until their mother arrived home, during that
time I looked after them as I would any guest. I gave them towels to dry
themselves as best they could (I couldn't offer them any dry clothes so
they had to keep their own on) I also gave them hot food and drinks
and of course they were in a warm, dry house. We talked together and
we watched television. They thanked me for helping them as they left
and that was the end of the matter.
Later that evening I was chatting to a friend on the telephone and
mentioned the guests that I'd had, she pointed out that I had put myself
into a potentially very damaging situation by being alone with these
I have given the matter some thought and, although I realise that I have
left myself open to any allegation of misconduct (simply by having no
witness), I cannot say that I would act any differently if the same situation
arose again. It is in my nature to care for and to help people, if it were
in my nature then I probably would not even be a Scouter.
Nothing improper occured between myself and these young men but I
have read of instances where lives have been ruined by false accusations.
I understand the guidelines of the Scout Association in regards to being
alone with young people and I understand the reasons why we need
I would like to ask other list Members what they think of my actions
and what they consider would have been in the best interests of
the young men concerned and what would have been in line with
the Scout Oath and Law.
Thank you, in advance, for your valued opinions.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City