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addressing PDA by scouters in uniform ?


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#21 Eamonn

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 07:18 AM

Barry, As I posted this has got me thinking. In the real world and in real time, I tend to plow ahead with my own expectations, my own values and never give it a second thought. I tend to think that I'm right enough, normal enough and maybe even good enough to act as a role model for others. At work I sit on our mentoring committee and am a mentor for several new staff members. Most of these people are happy to have been hired and really seem to want to do their best to do a good job. There are a couple who just don't seem to get it. The most common flaw seems to be not being where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there. While there are good reasons why someone is late and things that can't be avoided (One good worker was late due to a flat and called in.) and sometimes people end up in the wrong place due to poor communication. For the most part I just expect people to come to work to do the job that they were hired to do. I for the most part even when I know that they have problems at home expect them to deal with their home problems and not allow them to get in the way with their work. In Scouts, I don't allow the fact that a Lad might come from a family that uses bad language be an excuse for him using it around me or around others. Still there are times when if I'm aware of something I'm willing to cut the person a break. In this Forum, I've posted the story about the photo of a Scout from the Troop I was Scout Leader of being on the cover of the UK Scouting magazine with a patch on the wrong pocket. The Lad's mother was blind. He was 11 years old. Many of us have had to deal with a Lad who is acting up when his parents are going through a nasty divorce. Most of us are willing to cut the Lad a little slack and ensure that we are there for him. So even with my own standards there are times when I'm flexible. Most of the time things are black or white. Clearly in the case of this pair, what they are doing is not right. It's not right just because it's not right. Again, in the real world and in real time, I think that I'm a big enough person that I'd confront this pair and tell them that what they are doing is not right. I don't need to try and find a policy or hide behind some book of rules. -But that's just my way of doing things. It might not be for everyone. When dealing with others I know that I can't help but fall back on my values and my standards. Both at work at home and in Scouting (Dealing with adults and youth members.) I like to think and do try to be fair, firm and consistent. Still, maybe because of the time I grew up in? I do at times look at the reasons why I think and act the way I do. Sometimes I'm willing to accept that even if something isn't maybe the way I'd do things and is something that I'd never do. It might be OK for others. HWMBO tells a great story how I took her to Paris, the city of love and to Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love before we were married and I insisted that we have separate bedrooms! I'm to lazy to look up what the numbers are but I seem to remember hearing that more young people today are opting to live together than get married. If this is the case, it time we are going to see a lot more Scouts join our ranks from families where the parents are not married. I'm unwilling to hold this against them. Even if I know this was something that I was unwilling to do. Ea.
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#22 Tampa Turtle

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 08:13 AM

Eamonn I agree with you. I think it sets a bad example for Leaders. I have had this come up with parents but I think leaders need a little higher standard. We dont let folks smoke in front of the boys and that is a sacrifice also. We had inappropriate behavior in Cub Scout camping with a married couple. We all were wall to wall tents and they were noisily "going at it" much of the day and night. Eamonn I am coming up on 28 years and we were engaged 4 years before that. We didn't shack up either--just didn't seem right. I have known some marvelous couples who were living together for many (10+) years and one partner just up and left one weekend. I think in my case the times my wife and I have hit a rough patch and had a big blow up that little piece of paper and the embarrassment after making the public commitment was enough of a "speed bump" to give pause and struggle through a bit more. That is at least my experience.
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#23 qwazse

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 08:53 AM

Paper half of the equation. And sometimes PDA may be the other half. When a friend was going through a rough patch, I could recall that just a month ago on an outing I saw the two give each other a morning kiss. That little bit of "data" helped to remind them that there was something worth working for. I suppose we all need positive accountability of that sort. Just like we need negative accountability when we're out of line. As for spouses "getting busy" behind thin walls. I try to warn them that if my Mrs. isn't around to stop me, I will applaud after a good audio play! Not sure if that's negative or positive accountability. I haven't had to give an ovation at a troop or crew event yet!
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#24 Stosh

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 10:06 AM

When I was SM of a troop, I was first engaged and eventually married during that tenure. My wife is an avid outdoors person and would accompany the troop on certain outings. She started out as a second guide/expert on kayaking on an outing because I needed an experienced person to help out. We were engaged at the time and so she had her own tent for the weekend. Jokingly, she plied her womanly wiles on me when we set up camp to get me to set her tent up, but I played along and told her she's on her own. We kept up the game for about a half hour when the SPL came over and offered to set it up for her. Of course she thanked him and politely turned down his offer. She told him she was only trying to push my buttons. As the weekend went on we kept the game going and the boys seemed to be quite amused by it. When it came time to pack up on Sunday morning, the boys were readily siding along with her in the game and the most fun was when the SPL was needing some help carrying the dining fly, he asked me for some assistance and I gave him the "stare" because he was always siding with my fiancee, until he announced in a loud voice for all to hear, "Well, if you really loved me, you'd help me!!!" It took about 10 minutes before everyone (including me) stopped laughing! Once the smoke cleared, my fiancee walked over, hefted up the dining fly all by herself, said, "Well, I love you." and walked it over to the car. That SPL has now aged out, I'm no longer the SM, and he contacted me this past week that he would be in town and wanted to stop by to visit, but wanted to find a time that both my wife and I were available. As a "tag-along" she sure was popular with the boys. Of course her stories of her working the lumber industry in Alaska was a popular attention-getter at campfires. There is a lot to be said about relationships and how they play out in front of the boys. PDA is not necessarily the correct way to go about it. However, leading by example in how to interact with females, treat them with respect and yet enjoy each other's company are important for the boys to see. Many of the boys come from broken homes and single parent households. Where are they to learn healthy relationships? Stosh
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#25 qwazse

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 08:18 AM

Rather than derailing the TG topic again with tangents about with couples from the 99%-ers of life-long biological complements, I'm reviving this thread for the sake of EagleonFire and others who brought up those "frisky" married couples who may chaperon our youth from time to time.

 

Besides item #6 on this year's newly-introduced code of conduct, are any new experiences, suggestions, or resolutions?

 

Also some related topics with a youth focus:


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#26 CherokeeScouter

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 11:16 AM

Read further up. Oak Tree nailed it. 


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#27 Eagledad

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 12:40 PM

I miss Oak Tree, he is a fine Scoutmaster with a lot of good advice.

 

One of his comments when this, or any kind of situation of adult drama occurs is: "Someone has to step up.". Strangely I find that most adult behavior situations can be nipped in the bud if someone would just step up. But most folks do not want to be a bad cop or deal with confrontation. Our district was asked to deal with a SM and ASM relationship in a troop because the committee refused to step up. Much the same as the OPs, the ASM (mother) was still married and not hiding her affection for the just divorced SM even with her son around. The DE had to step up, but not after the troop lost a 3rd of it's scouts. The SM was later kicked out of the program for offering a beer to a scout after lights out.

 

Barry


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"Experience is the hardest teacher. It gives the test first, then the lesson."


#28 MrBob

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 06:49 PM

I think Scouters should leave their PDAs in their pockets, and focus more on the Scouts than their social/work life.


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#29 Ankylus

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 08:15 PM

Wow, a necrothread. I'll chime in anyway since it seems to be going around.

 

The behavior is inappropriate and sharing the tent is against policy. The SM and the CC ask for a meeting with the two of them. There's no easy way to say it, so the CC just says, "The two of you have been sharing PDA at scout functions in front of the scouts and you even shared a tent on a campout contrary to BSA policy. The tenting arrangement will not happen again or we go to the COR and the CO again and ask them to revoke their consent for your position. According to reports that we are getting from parents, the PDA is bothering some of the scouts. We ask that you discontinue that  or at least tone it down. Please remember we are here for the scouts and we should not intentionally engage in behavior that is socially questionable and makes the scouts uncomfortable. We don't care what you do in your personal life away from the troop, but when the scouts are around you must behave in a manner appropriate to your position."

 

Non-negotiable on the sleeping arrangements.

 

Now, some of this is that I am a lawyer and I am accustomed to conflict. Some of it is because I am a direct person.  But in this situation, they have to understand that their behavior is inappropriate and that changes will be made. Either they will change their behavior, or their relationship with the troop will change. There really is no "easy" way to say that, so say it directly so that expectations are clearly communicated and, if things get worse, they can't say they weren't warned.


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#30 David CO

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 12:10 AM

We sure have a lot of lawyers on this site.


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#31 NJCubScouter

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 08:08 AM

We sure have a lot of lawyers on this site.

 

It may seem that way sometimes, although "a lot" is a subjective term.  I think lawyers may have more of a tendency to identify their (er, our) profession because sometimes the threads involve legal issues.  I don't know what most of the posters on here do for a living, and even in cases where people have provided that information, I don't necessarily remember.  There seem to be a number of people involved in various aspects of the computer field.  Are there more of those than there are lawyers?  Are there more teachers than lawyers?  Are there more insurance salespersons than lawyers?  I don't know, because most people don't say.


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#32 perdidochas

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 08:22 AM

Ok, so putting this in Program, because I frankly don't know what other topic to post it in... We have two adult leaders in our unit male and female (both single - well we think the one has a divorce pending / finalized, not sure but he his no longer with his wife)... that have begun a dating relationship. The beginning of said relationship resulted in both leaders (one was the SM at the time and the other ASM) being asked to take a leadership hiatus by the CO and COR, because the soon to be ex-SM's wife stormed into committee meeting with accusations of adultery (CO is a church). Upon return, they were both reinstated as ASM's. They now attend unit functions as a couple, both in uniform. Scouts, fellow scouters, and many parents have grown VERY uncomfortable with their PDA (public displays of affection). This includes hugging, kissing, shoulder rubs, little games of "tickle" on the ribs... one leaning into the other, etc... It is not a full make-out session, but much more than a quick peck on the cheek type kiss. Several toungue-in-cheek type comments and sexual inuendos between them have been overheard by scouts and scouters. While I could care less about their blossoming rommance, it puts the unit in an awkward position to have these two carrying on at unit functions and campouts, in plain view of the youth and fellow scouters. It went as far as last weekend, they shared a tent on a Troop overnighter and as far as anyone knows, they are NOT married. That is in direct violation of G2SS camping guidelines. My two quesitons for the forum: 1) I know its in bad taste and should not be done, but do you know of ANY published guideline / rule that states a scouter should not engage in PDA while in uniform? Can you quote me the reference? 2) Myself and a few other adult leaders and concerned parents are trying to formulate the best way to approach the "couple" and the COR to lay out how uncomfortable / inappropriate all this is and WHY it needs to stop. How would you go about doing it? Would you seek their resignation from Troop leadership at this point? (we have enough ASM's to cover the leadership roles). There is part of me that feels they have already betrayed the trust of the unit and lost the respect of scouts and scouters alike with the 1st intervention of the COR and CO, that they should just be thanked for their service and shown the door. On the other hand, if they could just knock it off with the PDA and be professional when in uniform, I don't have a problem with them staying on. Neither have youth in the Troop as both their sons have Eagled and aged out of BSA, so its not like asking them to depart is going to drive a kid away from scouting. As a newly minted ASM, I'm really struggling with how to approach this issue. Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Sharing a tent is inappropriate.  The COR, IH and DE need to know about it. 


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#33 perdidochas

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 08:27 AM

The troop doesn't exist to sooth the feelings of adults. It is for the youth. Ask the youth if it bothers them. Call a PLC and bring it up. Ask the youth if they care. If they shrug it off, then shut up about it and get over it. It's their troop, not yours. If you do this, you need to conduct yourself carefully. Standing up and ranting that the youth should do something about it is way out of line. Just ask them if they have noticed, and if they care. That's it. It's their decision, not your passion that needs to be sold to them.(This message has been edited by bsa24)

 

I disagree. The adults are to set an example for the youth. The youth don't necessarily know what appropriate behavior for adults is in this situation.  This is an issue for the adults to deal with, not the youth.  The CC, COR, IH and DE need to know what's going on, and need to do something about it.  Whether that is expel one or both from the troop, counseling them on the inappropriateness of their situation, etc.  This is a  church chartered group.  The church who chartered them needs to decide what appropriate behavior is, along with YPT guidelines. 


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#34 Stosh

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 09:46 AM

Lead by example.  With the number of divorces, live-in relationships, and other "norms" that were unacceptable in past years, it is kinda refreshing to see a married couple example that works.

 

As SM no one has ever questioned the PDA/sleeping arrangement that the Mrs. and I are involved with and yet has stirred many discussions on the subject of marriage and family around the campfire in the evening.  I always insist that the Mrs. and I sit next to each other at the fire. 

 

The majority of the boys I have been involved with over the years all seem to come from "broken homes" to use a phrase from years gone by.  The Mrs. and I are both on our second marriages.  We have weathered the storm and have found a working solution to the problems we faced.

 

Again, we can both speak to the boys in a way that they can understand and we take seriously our responsibility to lead by example.  My oldest daughter and my wife's youngest son have come in an helped the boys with the children's point of view in a divorce situation.

 

Now, one can deny these dynamics, change the subject, sweep it under the rug, or they can take on these things head on and use one's life experiences and an opportunity to teach those things that may come to be in the scout's lives of the future.  Ignoring the issues doesn't do the boys any good.  In spite of any difficulties they may face in the future, they will have had the opportunity to learn from Mr. & Mrs. Stosh that there's always hope for a better life after disaster strikes.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#35 Hedgehog

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 04:19 PM



We sure have a lot of lawyers on this site.

 

Strange, I was actually thinking that there wasn't nearly enough lawyers.

 



[I]t is kinda refreshing to see a married couple example that works.

 

There is a difference between the issued in the original post and what @Stosh is talking about.  I agree with the responses to the original post that the actions of the unmarried couple seem inappropriate.  Similarly, I agree with @Stosh that the typical displays of affection among married couples are helpful in setting a good example for the Scouts.  Was on a shakedown hike on Thursday holding the hand of my wife of almost 25 years.  Will kiss, hug and give back rubs in the presence of Scouts and will share a tent when camping.  Do we have make-out sessions or grope each other in front of scouts -- of course not.  

 

Scouts can learn a lot through seeing examples of healthy adult relationships. 


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#36 Col. Flagg

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 08:54 AM

Sorry, but PDA of any kind -- married or unmarried -- should be kept out of Scouting. If we are asked to abstain from drink and smoking and other such vices, one can keep their PDA switch in the off position until they get home. I don't care who you are or how long you've been married. It does not belong in Scouting. Scouts are asked to refrain from such things, Scouter should be able to set that example.


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#37 Stosh

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 11:32 AM

Col. Flagg, I guess we'll need to disagree here.  :)  With all the boys I have had over the years that come from single-parent household, dealing with domestic abuse, multiple-marriage family structures, etc. and all the "stuff" many of the kids today have to deal with.  I'm not talking about "heavy petting" or "making out" with one's spouse here, obviously.  But the example of a solid marriage and how to make it work has come up as campfire conversation many times over the years.  While it might not be explicitly spelled out in BSA protocol for running the program, it does fit in with the Buddy System that involves more than hanging out at the waterfront with another boy, tenting in pairs, or finding someone to go to the latrine with.  The lesson I teach with the Buddy System is taking care of just one other person besides yourself.  That's a big step for many of my boys.  When I'm on an outing with the Mrs. coming along as chaperone or safety-afloat backup expert, she's always my "buddy".  The Buddy System of the BSA today is the same principle of a good marriage tomorrow.

 

Oh, by the way, the Mrs. does appreciate it when she needs to use the latrine.  With me as her buddy, I check out the latrine to make sure all the boys are out and then guard the door for her.  It's what a good Buddy does. :)


Edited by Stosh, 17 April 2017 - 11:33 AM.

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There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#38 Col. Flagg

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 12:07 PM

@Stosh, I see no where in the BSA docs that say any PDA is acceptable. They go to great lengths to say you cannot allow it in crews, so I would expect what's good for the goose...

 

It is not a matter of how positive it is. I have give you tons of examples of stuff that is positive for Scouts which BSA frowns upon or outright says don't do. The point is, if you allow it for some you have to allow it for all. You cannot say, "Mr & Mrs Stosh *can* show PDA but Mr. Brown and Miss. White cannot." That's just not right.


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#39 Hedgehog

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 02:14 PM

@Stosh, I see no where in the BSA docs that say any PDA is acceptable. They go to great lengths to say you cannot allow it in crews, so I would expect what's good for the goose...

 

 

I've never seen anything in regards to Crews except for prohibiting relationships which span the various ages (I don't recall if it is over/under 18 or over/under 21).  If those types of relationships are banned, you could infer that other relationships are permitted.  My understanding is that crews set their own guidelines on that issue.

 

Can you provide a reference for your statement on Crews?

 

Also, I don't see ANYWHERE where it says that holding hands with, putting an arm around, hugging or kissing your spouse is PROHIBITED. 


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#40 Col. Flagg

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 02:33 PM

Here's one link. I will find the others.

 

Edit: There was a video that discussed no relationships or PDA between crew members or especially over 18 members and under 18 members. Same for adults and ANY crew member. I will see if I can find that video.


Edited by Col. Flagg, 17 April 2017 - 02:38 PM.

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