scouts-l Mail Archive for November of 1999: Re: 20/20 program - Scoutmaster Minute
Murphy Peter (MurphyP@TCE.COM
Thu Nov 11 1999 - 08:53:26 CST
I think there are several lessons we can and should learn from the
tragic story told on 20/20 November 5th. Sports Illustrated also had
an article this fall that can be referenced in this discussion
Pedophiles do not wear signs and look just like the rest of us. It's not
enough to "know" the person taking care of your child because we
cannot KNOW each others' secrets.
While BSA has lots of rules and policies to make it difficult for a
to do their thing, those rules and policies are of no use if we do not use
them or if nobody knows about them. It is all of our jobs to make sure all
Scouters and all of our average parents know and understand the rules
and policies that apply to Youth Protection. This reduces the chances of a
pedophile getting in the position of power and running the program his own
way while disregarding the rules. All parents need to help enforce the Youth
Parents need to get involved. Show up at troop meetings, campouts, games and
practices for your child's sports team. Watch and be observant.
Have the boys help enforce the Youth Protection rules by showing the BSA
videos "A Time to Tell" or "It Happened to Me". Remind both the Scouts and
the parents about rules such as no initiations, no hazing, no secret
etc. Remind them that if there's something they are uncomfortable about
or if something doesn't seem right - check it out thoroughly.
Stories like the one on 20/20 serve as a reminder that we need to take youth
protection seriously and need to address it openly in our units annually.
Finally, many (including myself) would be tempted to say the 20/20 show was
unfair and unbalanced. Obviously, it hurts our reputation if for no other
than "Boy Scouts" and "molester" were used in the same breath. It links our
good name with something vile and we don't like it. But lets be honest -
is when something is unusual. Our organization and the uniform we wear
have earned a fine reputation and an expectation of higher standard of
behavior. The Scout Oath and Law are not just words we mouth each week.
They are something we take seriously and believe in. When one of us breaks
that trust it is more newsworthy than if a non-Scout had done the same
Let's remind ourselves and our Scouts that we expect good things from them
because they are Scouts and that this expectation extends 24-hours a day,
7 days a week. People are going to take more notice of what we do because
we are Scouts so let's act accordingly.
Scoutmaster, Troop 125, Crossroads of America Council