Re: Leaders without boys in unit
Steven G. Tyler (sgtyler@EROLS.COM)
Tue, 23 Jun 1998 11:01:27 -0400
I think just about everything that can be said on the subject has been
said. To sum up:
1. Almost all of us have, as Scouts and/or Scouters, had contact with
extremely valuable Scouters with no sons in Scouting at that time. They
often add a stability, long-term commitment to the unit and Scouting,
and impartiality to the unit's adult leadership that might otherwise not
be there. The downside sometimes is a tendency to rigidity -- "we know
what we're doing, so it's our way or the highway" -- and/or inability to
share authority with the "temporary" parent Scouters.
2. Parent Scouters often bring a fresh approach to the unit program, and
an interest and energy that may not have been retained by the non-parent
Scouters. OTOH, the parent Scouters may have parent-child issues that
can interfer either with their son's progress in Scouting, or even with
the program itself (favoritism, for example), and tend to be (at least
initially) less well versed in the principles and practices of Scouting.
3. In these days of heightened sensitivity to pedophilia, *all*
volunteers should be initially evaluated to ascertain if there is
evidence of possible bad motives. While a parent's interest in
volunteering to help his/her son's unit might be on its face more
obviously expainable, a long-term non-parent Scouter or
recently-graduated former Scout should be viewed with no more long-term
prejudice than a parent Scouter, IMHO. After all, there are plenty of
cases where pedophiles have used their children's friends as a "fishing
pool," so none of us can (or should) escape at least initial scrutiny.
4. In addition, if the principles and procedures of Safe Scouting are
followed, there should be little opportunity for a "bad actor" to harm
our Scouts without a severe risk of being detected. Screening volunteers
is only part of the picture -- eternal vigilance is a must. Not a witch
hunt, mind you, but more in the nature of the "universal precautions"
that the medical profession employs to ensure communicable diseases are
not passed between doctor and patient.
5. Bottom line: carefully scrutinizing *all* potential Scouters, and
rigorously following the Guide to Safe Scouting, are much more
important, IMHO, than trying to evaluate (or stereotype) any group of
potential Scouters as more "at risk" of being a danger to our Scouts.
YIS, Steve on Cattail Creek <Steven G. Tyler>, Severna Park, MD, USA
"The Computer Counselor," Technology Consulting for the Law Office
Advancement Chair and de facto Webmaster, Troop 339,
Baltimore Area Council, BSA (http://members.aol.com/troop339/)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City