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Pinning down volunteers


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#21 Col. Flagg

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 03:45 PM

In my experience, the biggest impediment to recruiting adult volunteers is time commitment fro training. We require position appropriate training before registering them.  Some won't do anything because they just don't want to be bothered. Some will volunteer only for those positions with minimal online training. A very few will take on the positions tat require training beyond online training.

 

But the fear of the legal allegation is very real. We work really hard to develop techniques to prevent that, including YPT techniques espoused by BSA. 

 

Our unit requires all ASMs to take S11 and S24, as well as all online training and CPR/AED. The goal is to make sure that if the SM drops, we can keep going. This approach does send some folks packing, and good riddance. If they don't want to be trained they don't have the commitment to keeping the boys safe. Those who do step up are worth their weight in gold. That said, we have nearly 18 active ASMs. 

 

What keeps them up at night? Accusations, accidents on their watch, getting sued, parent drama.


Edited by Col. Flagg, 12 April 2017 - 03:49 PM.

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#22 Ankylus

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 07:39 PM

Our unit requires all ASMs to take S11 and S24, as well as all online training and CPR/AED. The goal is to make sure that if the SM drops, we can keep going. This approach does send some folks packing, and good riddance. If they don't want to be trained they don't have the commitment to keeping the boys safe. Those who do step up are worth their weight in gold. That said, we have nearly 18 active ASMs. 

 

What keeps them up at night? Accusations, accidents on their watch, getting sued, parent drama.

 

We have 1 SM and 42 ASMs, but probably half those ASMs are not particularly active. We don't require CPR/AED for all of them, but some are certified climbing instructors, some are NRA SORs, some are certified for archery....we see most of the less active ones 2 or 3 times a year depending on how often we need their skills. It's the recruiting for the ASMs that we ask to show up every week that gets difficult sometimes.


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#23 Back Pack

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 08:25 PM

We have 1 SM and 42 ASMs, but probably half those ASMs are not particularly active. We don't require CPR/AED for all of them, but some are certified climbing instructors, some are NRA SORs, some are certified for archery....we see most of the less active ones 2 or 3 times a year depending on how often we need their skills. It's the recruiting for the ASMs that we ask to show up every week that gets difficult sometimes.


I've seen troops require the ASMs to take a role or stop being ASMs. In other words you're active or youre not an ASM.
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#24 Ankylus

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 09:30 PM

I've seen troops require the ASMs to take a role or stop being ASMs. In other words you're active or youre not an ASM.

 

I certainly can live with that, provided you have a sufficiently flexible definition of "active." For example, we conduct that annual district camporee, and we need a lot of those guys who show up only once or twice a year to be able to hold the shooting and climbing events, for example.


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#25 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 05:11 AM

Maybe I'm just naive, but I just don't see getting sued over sexual abuse as the only reason to get sued. You're taking someone's child on a campout. All sorts of things can go wrong. Cooking bacon, climbing on rocks, throwing rocks, campfires, weather, bears, alligators, the list goes on. Not only that but we're encouraging them to do things on their own.

 

Now, how many scouts have died in the past 10 years? How many have been sexually molested? How many scouters have sued, been sent to jail, or for some other reason been caught up in the legal system over these tragedies? Is the probability higher or lower than being hit by lightning above timberline?

 

This is a big boogie man. People don't volunteer because they don't want to spend their time with children. There are lots of reasons but the folks that say they don't want to be sued are the same people that shouldn't be working with scouts anyway because they'll never let the scouts do anything fun.

 

I can see the difference. Kid breaks there leg hiking, you get a complaint and whether it goes legal or not, whether it's upheld or not it will never carry the same stigma of child abuse.

 

That's not to say I worry about it because I know that such allegations are vanishingly rare, but I do get the difference.


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#26 qwazse

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 05:59 AM

I can see the difference. Kid breaks there leg hiking, you get a complaint and whether it goes legal or not, whether it's upheld or not it will never carry the same stigma of child abuse.

 

That's not to say I worry about it because I know that such allegations are vanishingly rare, but I do get the difference.

Broken leg: accident/liability insurance kicks in.

 

There's no insurance for accusations of criminal conduct.

 

Stigma is the least of worries.


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#27 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 06:44 AM

Broken leg: accident/liability insurance kicks in.

 

There's no insurance for accusations of criminal conduct.

 

Stigma is the least of worries.

 

But I think the stigma is more what people, at least this side of the pond, are concerned about. Most people can see that if you conduct yourself properly and follow the rules (eg avoid being 1 to 1 with a child) then you are not realistically going to be falsely prosecuted. The issue more is that someone makes an unsubstantiated complaint and no mater how much you are exonerated the mud sticks


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#28 Back Pack

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 07:10 AM

I certainly can live with that, provided you have a sufficiently flexible definition of "active." For example, we conduct that annual district camporee, and we need a lot of those guys who show up only once or twice a year to be able to hold the shooting and climbing events, for example.


You need to head up something, staff several things. You can't just exist and think you're taking up a high adventure spot or summer camp role.
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#29 Back Pack

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 07:13 AM

But I think the stigma is more what people, at least this side of the pond, are concerned about. Most people can see that if you conduct yourself properly and follow the rules (eg avoid being 1 to 1 with a child) then you are not realistically going to be falsely prosecuted. The issue more is that someone makes an unsubstantiated complaint and no mater how much you are exonerated the mud sticks


This always a risk whether coaching sports or in scouting. Or as others have pointed out, kids having friends over. To be honest I stay away from kids I think are "trouble". Yes that's bad but it just takes one erroneous complaint to "stick" as you say.
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#30 David CO

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 08:24 AM

But I think the stigma is more what people, at least this side of the pond, are concerned about. Most people can see that if you conduct yourself properly and follow the rules (eg avoid being 1 to 1 with a child) then you are not realistically going to be falsely prosecuted. The issue more is that someone makes an unsubstantiated complaint and no mater how much you are exonerated the mud sticks

 

In my experience, avoiding 1 on 1 contact gives a person zero protection against false accusations.  A person who makes false accusations (for malice or profit) can tell any story they want.  

 

The scariest kind of accusations take place weeks, months, or years after the events are supposed to have occurred. Avoiding 1 on 1 with kids can help to avoid honest misunderstandings.  It does nothing to stop the most dangerous accusers.

 

Ironically, the more liability insurance you have (personal or institutional) to protect yourself, the more likely you are to be targeted by a malicious accuser.


Edited by David CO, 13 April 2017 - 08:38 AM.

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#31 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 08:37 AM

In my experience, avoiding 1 on 1 contact gives a person zero protection against false accusations.  A person who makes false accusations (for malice or profit) can tell any story they want.  

 

The scariest kind of accusations take place weeks, months, or years after the events are supposed to have occurred. Avoiding 1 on 1 with kids can help to avoid honest misunderstandings.  It does nothing to stop the most dangerous accusers.

 

Ironically, the more liability insurance you have (personal or institution), the more likely you are to be targeted by a malicious accuser.

 

i think we're saying exactly the same thing here!


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#32 qwazse

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 09:44 AM

But I think the stigma is more what people, at least this side of the pond, are concerned about. Most people can see that if you conduct yourself properly and follow the rules (eg avoid being 1 to 1 with a child) then you are not realistically going to be falsely prosecuted. The issue more is that someone makes an unsubstantiated complaint and no mater how much you are exonerated the mud sticks

We might be different.

 

Maybe I'm on the wrong side of the tracks, but I have enough acquaintances who lost jobs and their freedom to know that this is more than just people worrying about their social standing.

 

Some folks have a firm belief that "If I just do my own thing for my own kids, I won't do hard time."

How valid is that belief? I don't know. I do know that guys who were just someone's uncle, parent, or spouse get jail time. But I don't think you make a recruit by telling someone that staying out of scouting is no safer than signing on.


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#33 SSScout

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 10:20 AM

Umpteen years ago,  my first wife decided she wanted her "freedom".  I won't go into the details, but I eventually had full custody of our then four year old daughter. A single adult male.  In the ensuing years, I was visited by my daughter's school staff,  her best friend's father ,after allowing his daughter to visit our home, refused to let his daughter come again,  I coached (with a male partner, out in fields) my daughter's soccer team (after three seasons, we were the league champs),  daughter first wanted to join Brownies, but TPTB decided I would NOT be a GSUSA Leader. Daughter decided she did not want to be a "fashion and cookie" Scout (her words). 

I came to understand our unique situation, my unique situation.  With help of other family, we progressed.  There was always , it seemed, something hanging over me, us.  But I think my previous reputation certainly did help,  in judicial, social, and familial considerations. 

 

Now, the daughter is grown, the stepsons (second good marriage) are grown .  All , I believe, have come to see the past situations as "learning" to benefit from. The youngest, Scoutson,  is grown and almost on his own :-) .  As a now "single " male in Scouting, I do what is appropriate in this climate.  As a Jamboree Chaplain, I was called on to counsel some troubled Scouts.  I would invite them to "step into my office", which was the hillside outside their camp, in view of a ASM.  We would talk there.  I was asked to speak to an adult  Scouter, we stepped to the far end of the Dining tent, and he vented. I copy all emails to others. 

I was once asked by a ASM in our Troop to NOT cc him in every email, he was "tired of deleting my uninteresting stuff".  I explained to him my need to apply YP standards to my communications, and he ultimately apologized. He had not considered that idea. 

I counsel Bugling MB.   Folks have asked, couldn't you CLOSE the Band Room door??  I tell them no,  I have to leave it open...  And smile....


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#34 Col. Flagg

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 10:28 AM

I was once asked by a ASM in our Troop to NOT cc him in every email, he was "tired of deleting my uninteresting stuff".  I explained to him my need to apply YP standards to my communications, and he ultimately apologized. He had not considered that idea

 

Wow...just, wow. Not sure I would want that guy in my troop if the light bulb was just then going off.

 

Someone snoozed during Leader-specific training and YPT.


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#35 David CO

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 10:50 AM

A single guy can be accused of inappropriate conduct even in broad daylight with dozens of people around.  I'll give you an example.

 

When I was a young teacher and baseball coach, I was accused (by a mother) of fondling myself in public.  She filed a complaint with the school, and a whole investigation ensued.  It turned out that the mother didn't know what an athletic cup was, or that they can require adjustment.

 

Of course, I was completely exonerated.  

 

The mother than started a campaign to require that all players and coaches be required to leave the field and retire to the washrooms when they needed to adjust their cups.  (Players would have to be removed from the game, as umpires will not delay a game for that reason.)

 

There are some women out there who just hold firmly to the notion that women are good and men are bad, and won't hesitate to make an unjust accusation against their kids' coaches and scout leaders. 

 

I wouldn't blame any man for choosing to not volunteer under these conditions.  I wouldn't blame them one bit.


Edited by David CO, 13 April 2017 - 11:07 AM.

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#36 RememberSchiff

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 11:34 AM

A troop with 18 ASM's? 42 ASM's?


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#37 Col. Flagg

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 11:39 AM

A troop with 18 ASM's? 42 ASM's?

 

80 Scouts at a 1:10 ratio requires at least 8 ASMs. Need redundancy for some things, so that's another 8. Several retiring so that number will drop to 14 most likely. That's our usual equilibrium.


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#38 Sentinel947

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 01:21 PM

I see myself only having a few more years at the Troop level volunteering before the awkward kicks in.

When I aged out, nobody questioned my intentions to stay involved and become an ASM. Now as a single 23 year old, with a newer generation of parents coming in and taking up adult leadership roles I doubt I'll be as welcomed.
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#39 Col. Flagg

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 01:52 PM

I see myself only having a few more years at the Troop level volunteering before the awkward kicks in.

When I aged out, nobody questioned my intentions to stay involved and become an ASM. Now as a single 23 year old, with a newer generation of parents coming in and taking up adult leadership roles I doubt I'll be as welcomed.

 

In my area we tend to get adults signing up to be ASMs so they can get on high adventure crews. These types show up a few times a year, don't do much the rest of the year, but want to be considered for the coveted HA spots when the become available. So we had to insist on ASMs taking "roles" within the unit, either helping to over see the first year program, merit badges, rank advancement, youth leader training, OA, camping, high adventure, program planning, service projects, Eagle coaching, etc. No role, no ASM patch.

 

We do have a few that remain on the roster who are solely Eagle coaches. They never do anything other than that. Of course, we always talk with folks to let them know the reasoning for the units position. It's simply not fair for someone who never does anything to take a place of someone who puts in more time.


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#40 Sentinel947

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 02:27 PM

In my area we tend to get adults signing up to be ASMs so they can get on high adventure crews. These types show up a few times a year, don't do much the rest of the year, but want to be considered for the coveted HA spots when the become available. So we had to insist on ASMs taking "roles" within the unit, either helping to over see the first year program, merit badges, rank advancement, youth leader training, OA, camping, high adventure, program planning, service projects, Eagle coaching, etc. No role, no ASM patch.
 
We do have a few that remain on the roster who are solely Eagle coaches. They never do anything other than that. Of course, we always talk with folks to let them know the reasoning for the units position. It's simply not fair for someone who never does anything to take a place of someone who puts in more time.


Totally. I wasn't refering to that. More so the single adult male stigma as I get older.
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