In American Boy Scouts we have a set of youth protection policies mostly to prevent a repeat of institution wide sexual abuse of minors. I think Schiff is referring to the UK equivalent of that.
These days we have the "yellow card". And all adults that have unsupervised access to young people have to have a background check.https://members.scou...cat=419,299,304
Basically everything that was supposed to apply to boys (and yes, we've had our share of unsavouries in the past, and no doubt some will still creep out the woodwork in the future) now applies to boys and girls.
There's things like "no inappropriate contact" on that card. In the past I've had to comfort teary boys and girls, yes, aged 15-16, who've being having real life difficulties that all come out when they're super tired after 4-5 days on camp. A comforting arm round the shoulder is still fine, whatever the gender.
Sometimes you get a group who are very physical, touchy-feely if you will. At the end of summer camp this year, a fair proportion of them, boys and girls, unprompted, came and gave me hug, said thankyou, and went on their way. The parents looking on, well, I don't know what they thought, but they seemed ok with it, as I say, the actions were not prompted by me.
Other times it's just a cheery wave goodbye, and that's fine too.
My question is actually fairly similar. With Co-ed Scouting comes the management of teenage hormones...I feel like foreign Scouts would be just as similar as American ones. Are there rules in the TSA UK that address this?
Ahh, yes, now, as I deal with the 14-18 age range, yes, it's something I have to consider.
For me, everything comes back to the scout law. A scout is to be trusted.
We have had "couples" on camp, and some leaders were running scared. I had to buy, at a leader's request, condoms for the first aid kit "just in case". I thought it was an overreaction. We had standing rules that "couples" couldn't be in a tent on their own and weren't to go off into the bushes etc. I was having a beer with the lad in that couple years later, he laughed and said "not a chance I'd have got that far with her".
Still, yes, I've probably terrified you now. That's once in 15 years now. These days they all seem to be friends, or they're hiding it well, so they're happy just to hang out and poke the fire. But it'll happen again I'm sure, and we'll deal with it best we can, not usually much of an issue.
When we bought some teepee type tents, and had mixed groups of explorers in them, one parent was shrilly alarmed that they'd all be "at it like rabbits" as soon as our backs were turned. It just doesn't seem to work like that.
I have had camps (most of the time in fact) where I haven't mixed genders in the same tents, it just depends on the situation and the kids.
Again, once in 15 years I've had to have a quiet word with a lad who was creeping out the girls. He was genuine special needs though, so autistic on top of raging hormones.
And yes, we take sanitary products on camp now, mostly they deal with that sort of thing themselves between each other. But there's always a first time, and it's a bit of a shock for them when it happens on camp.
To me, it's all part of life's rich pageant. I'm helping young people grow up, and sometimes there's some strife, but most of the time it's a privilege.