Scouts-L Mail Archive for June of 1999: Re: "Shadowing" a troop outing
Re: "Shadowing" a troop outing
Settummanque, the blackeagle
Sat, 19 Jun 1999 23:07:42 -0500
You asked us all:
>Specifically our troop took a 4 day canoe trip but one scouts family also
>"tagged along". They camped at the same sites, drove up with us and
>paddled with the troop. I think the reason they chose not to come along >as
official members was due to lack of medicals (inability to get >clearance)
and there were teen age sisters and friends along. It was a >public river so
I doubt we could forbid them to be on it. I'm sure some >of you have had
this situation....is there anything to be said?
Yep. A lot.
>I personally have concerns about liability. How do you suggest we
>handle this in the future?
First, remember that most families want to "tag along" for one of two
reasons: either they see this as a good family-type event and activity and
want to be there; or that they have some reservations about the quality of
the adult and/or youth leadership in charge of the activity.
I have solved similar type situations in two ways. First, I encourage my
families to come along with us...bring mom, dad, sis, and little brother.
However, they travel on their own (NOT with the Troop), they camp separately
(like AWAY from the Troop's site) and Mom and Dad gives me their assurances
that they will control their non-Scout children and will NOT interfere in my
Senior Patrol Leaders' Troop activities EXCEPT in situations clearly
involving the health and/or safety of the Scouts or Scouters attending.
When Mom or Dad explains that they want to see what their son does "with the
Scouts", I calmly but firmly tell them that this is why Scouting
exists...for him to grow WITHOUT having you "hovering" (one of Jessi's
favorite terms...."watching over") him. There was one set of parents that I
basically had to tell them they couldn't come along if they didn't want to
abide by those guidelines.
Second, ALL PARENTS IN THE CAMP are either REGISTERED adults of my Troop OR
they are "provisional registrations". What's that?? A little trick I pull
on those parents that want to come along but don't want to be "an assistant
whatever its called". I make them fill out a registration form, sign it,
and I RETAIN IT DURING THE LENGHT OF THE ENCAMPMENT, and then afterwards ask
them again "are you SURE you don't want to do this more often?" (most say
"on second thought, have you turned that application in yet??" to me pulling
it out of my binder to show them. I then collect the money, and turn money
and application over to the chartered partner for their stuff....)
This "retention of the application" enables me to HOLD THEIR FEET TO THE BSA
FIRE when they want to do stupid stuff that clearly isn't in the best
interest of the youth nor the program...like rappelling without the proper
safety precautions or to "escape camp for a few hours".
"Sorry, bud...but you're registered. You'll have to stay with us for the trip".
Of course, this has backfired once, with the guy storming out of camp...but
then, I never had to worry about him wanting to go on a future camp with
us....he was sure that we were "doing Scouting"..something HE didn't want to do.
As far as the young ladies accompaning the family, they are responsible for
their guests...NOT THE TROOP. We had once four teenage girls to go camping
with our Troop, all Senior Girl Scouts. They came with their own adult
leadership, camped away from the Troop, and for the most part, had their own
program. We saw them for dinner and breakfast. When one of their adults had
to go back home, they all packed up and went home...even though one of the
girls was the daughter of my Assistant Scoutmaster. "We will not be
responsible for anyone other than our registered Scouts and their invited
male youth guests of Scouting age."
Libby, this needs to be IN WRITING and EXPLAINED TO ALL PARENTS BEFORE YOU
HAVE A NEXT OUTING. Only then, along with your Troop following the BSA's
outdoor leadership and program guidelines, will your Troop be protected (as
best as it can be) legally.
We want parents to see what we do with youth in Scouting. That's important,
and it instills confidence in them and in the adult leadership taking those
youth outward. But we don't want parents and families overshadowing what we
are trying to provide: a degree of self-confidence and self-reliance.
Hope this helps!
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
Joint Information Bureau Deputy Director
US SOUTHCOM FCE (Enhanced New Horizons)
APO Miami, AA 34042 (Soto Cano AB, Honduras)
personal inquiries via firstname.lastname@example.org,
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