Archive for the ‘youth protection’ Category

A Time To TellThe theme for the Boy Scout Troop 68 meetings in April was personal safety. The troop had a local police officer come to the first meeting to talk to the Scouts about how to stay safe and what sort of things officers look out for when dealing with youth. It was my turn to talk about safety during the second troop meeting. I grabbed my flat screen television with the built-in DVD player and my copy of A Time To Tell. We would be watching some of the videos during the meeting.

A Time To Tell is a series of videos produced by the Boy Scouts of America. The DVD contains five videos. According to the website: With introductions and “reality checks” by teens for teens, A Time to Tell presents a variety of situations that young people may encounter. These scenes stress the importance of the three R’s of Youth Protection: Recognize strategies and situations used by child molesters to isolate an adolescent that can lead to attempted molestation; Resist attempts of child molesters; and Report individuals who attempt to molest or who have molested in the past.

Due to the subject matter of the videos I invited all the parents to attend and watch the films with the Scouts. Several of them took the offer. Due to the time limit I was only able to show three of the videos. After each video I would ask the Scouts a couple questions and hold a short discussion. Later, as the boys played during their game time, I had the chance to talk to the parents. They all agreed that the videos did a good job of getting the message across to the boys and that we did a good job of highlighting the important parts of the videos.

Have you ever used the A Time To Tell videos within your own troop? How did the Scouts react?

myscoutingDo your Youth Protection Training online, they tell us. Take your position specific training through the website, the council promotes. You should be doing your troop advancement through the internet, not through paperwork, I am told.

How the hell am I suppose to do anything online through when the website does not even recognize me?

I have been a registered adult leader with the B.S.A. through Boy Scout Troop 68 for over 33 years. I am also on roundtable staff and a member of the Cub Pack committee. I once was able to use the website without a problem. Then something happened a year ago, right about this time. I was up for Youth Protection Training and tried to get on the website to take it once again. I could not get on it. I tried Safari and Firefox on my home computer ( I use a MacPro). I tried at work. No luck there either.

I call my district executive and explained the situation. I have to admit, he went out of his way to try to fix it. He even called the national office. It took over a month, and a phone call from someone at the website, but it got fixed and I was able to do the YPT online. I have to say though, I was very frustrated with the B.S.A. during that time period.

I have not been back to the site for several months. I had no need to visit it. I had a nice visit with my district executive this afternoon and we talked about internet advancement. Our troop does not currently use it. I told Bob that he should email the information to me and I would take a look at it.

Meanwhile, I tried to get into on my Windows based computer at work. I tried Internet Explorer and Firefox. I could not enter the site through either one. (The server could not sign you in. Make sure your user name and password are correct, and then try again.) Maybe I forgot my password, I thought. I tried to reset the password but the site threw a page at me with a lot of code which meant absolutely nothing to me. Okay, I will try again at home and see if I was using the right password.

After supper, I received the information from my D.E., including my username and password. Surprise! They was the same ones I had tried using at work. I tried it again on my home computer. I used Firefox and Safari. Neither one worked! We are back to playing that locked-out game once again.

Can you tell that I am frustrated once again? The national and council offices want us to do virtually everything online these days, yet they lock me out of my account so I can do nothing. It is like I do not exist. If this is how the national office wants to treat me after 33 years of volunteer service I feel like it is time to tell them to forget it. If they don’t want me as a volunteer anymore then just tell me. If I am so low on their radar that they cannot even keep my account active then maybe it is time to quit this organization and find one that does appreciate the work I do for it.

I have dropped an email to my D.E. to let him know what is going on again. I feel sorry for him, because I know what he went through last time this happened, but what can I do? I know no one at the national website, and from the looks of it, they do not know me.

Have any of you out there have any similar problems with this website?

The merit badge program of the Boy Scouts of America is a wonderful way to introduce boys to new hobbies, sports, crafts, and even possible careers. The awards require a Boy Scout to meet new people in the community who are the merit badge counselors. The counselor, who is knowledgeable in the badge subject matter and approved by the local Scout Council, works with the Scout to complete the badge requirements. When the counselor is satisfied that the Scout has completed the requirements he or she sings the merit badge application, commonly referred to as the blue card. The Boy Scout gives the card to his scoutmaster or troop advancement person who records it with the Scout Office.

As I stated earlier, the local council approves all merit badge counselors. Each counselor must fill out a B.S.A. application and a merit badge counselor form. He or she must also complete the online Youth Protection Training course. It is the council’s responsibility to keep an updated list of counselors.

The council may set restrictions on counselors. For example, twenty years ago , my council had a rule that a person could be a counselor for only six merit badges, and that a Boy Scout could only earn two badges with any counselor. Ten years ago, a person could be a counselor for as many badges as he thought he qualifies for, if the council agreed, and a Scout could go to a counselor for any of those merit badges.

At a recent roundtable the subject of merit badge counselors came up and I was surprised by the latest change. Our district will only allow a person to be a counselor for five merit badges. The reason for this guideline was to get the Boy Scout to meet and work with a larger variety of people within his community. While I understand the reasoning behind this, I am not sure I totally agree with it since I am involved with a Boy Scout troop located in a city of only 33oo people. How far should we expect a Scout to travel to earn a merit badge?

I was a counselor for six merit badges. Then I was able to increase that number to eight. Now, it looks like I will have to drop three of them to get down to five. I plan to drop Backpacking and Wilderness Survival, two merit badges that I have never had a Scout come to me to earn. I think I will also drop Cinematography. The ones I plan to keep are Camping, Citizenship in the Community, Collections, Hiking, and Scouting Heritage. I was once thinking about being a Chess merit badge counselor, but I guess that is no longer an option unless I drop something else.

Does your council or district have guidelines for merit badge counselors? What are they? Post a reply to this article and share them with us. I am curious to see what others are doing.

Buttons is a little upset that the troop’s camping trip may be cancelled because there is not a second adult to chaperone, so Steve has to explain one point of the Boy Scouts of America’s Youth Protection policy. The show includes the Jedi Patrol singing their rendition of the Yoda song. Buttons tells more jokes to his buddy Randall. The hosts also read some feedback from previous shows.

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Show notes:
The Jedi Patrol sings Yoda (video) – Melrose Scout Productions Podcast #89
The Buttons and Randall Show #3 (video) – Melrose Scout Productions Podcast #59

Merit Badge AppSo, you are a Boy Scout, or a Boy Scout leader, who has an iPhone or an iPod Touch. Did you know that there are a few apps available just for you in the Apple iTunes App store? Yep, that’s right. There are now apps available for the Scouting geek in us. These apps range in price from $.99 to $9.99. Too bad they are not free.

The Boy Scout Handbook – $9.99 – Here is the complete version of the latest handbook for your favorite gadget.

eBook, Boy Scout Handbook – $2.99 – Here is a copy of the first edition Boy Scout Handbook.

Merit Badges – $.99 – Would you like a copy of the requirements for each of the merit bdages available to you on your iPod? Here is your wish fulfilled.

Guide To Safe Scouting – $2.99 – This one is for all the adult leaders out there that have an iPhone or Ipod Touch.

ScoutTracker – $1.99 – Keep track of one Boy Scout’s requirements as he earns the various Boy Scout Ranks.

Unfortunately, I do not own am iPhone or iPod Touch, yet. I own an iPod Classic. I am waiting for the iPod Touch to come out with a camera. However, that has not stopped me from downloading some apps I wish to put on my iPod Touch. I already downloaded the Merit Badge app and will soon be downloading the Guide To Safe Scouting app. If you have already downloaded and used any of these apps leave a comment here about what you think about them.

Last year I wrote a few blog entries about Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting making appearances in various comics like Peanuts and Garfield. Did you know the BSA has also produced its own comic books? Oh, they are not usually the funny style comics that you would see in Boy’s Life magazine (although a comic book collection of Peewee Harris could be interesting). These comics usually tell Scouts about important lessons.

Currently, through, there are three short comic books for Cub Scout age boys featuring the three Cub Scout characters T.C., Akela, and Baloo. The comics deal with some serious issues, and are priced low enough (only 20 cents each) that you may consider getting a copy of each book for each boy in your Pack. Here is a quick explanation of each book taken from the site:

Power Pack Pals #1: Bullying Comic Book
These eight page comic books feature T.C., Akela, and Baloo talking to kids about bullying. Publication is collaboration between the BSA® and several leading youth protection advocacy groups to help address the problem of bullying among youth.

Power Pack Pals #2: Internet Safety Comic Book
This comic book is the second in a series of youth protection comics for Cub Scout aged kids featuring Akela, Baloo, and T.C. addressing dangers kids could encounter on the Internet and how to avoid them.

Power Pack Pals #3: 4 Rules for Safety Comic Book
This 8-page comic is the third in a series of youth protection comics for Cub Scout aged kids featuring Akela, Baloo, and T.C. It illustrates scenarios that advise kids about the dangers of strangers and inappropriate behavior by adults toward children, and what to do in scary situations.

Today’s adult Boy Scout leaders are well aware of the BSA’s “two deep leadership” rule. It states that a troop function must have at least two responsible adults in attendance. At least one of these adults must have attended “Youth Protection Training”. One part of Youth Protection states that an adult must not share a tent with a Scout unless that Scout is his own son.

Overall, the Youth Protection guidelines are excellent rules to follow, and unfortunately are needed in today’s (can you say “twisted”?) society. It was not always this way. In fact, two deep leadership did not become the rule until the late 1980’s.

I remember the first several years I was the scoutmaster back in the early and mid eighties. There were several occasions when I was the only adult leader on a troop activity. In fact, in 1986, I was the only adult adviser of our troop’s Philmont crew. I shared a tent with one of the Scouts, as did many adult leaders. Adults and Scouts used the same shower facilities. At the same time. And you know what? No one thought it was wrong! It was normal.

Then the winds of change began to blow. As my troop began to make plans to attend Philmont in 1989, we discovered some of the rules had changed. Two adults would needed with each and every crew. My first reaction to the new policy was “They have got to be out of their mind! Where are we going to find a second adult to attend when we have enough trouble finding adults for our troop’s weekend outings?” Then I thought, “Am I not good enough to take the Scouts on outings on my own? Have I not proved myself capable? Am I not trustworthy?”

Yeah, I know, it was stupid to think that and take it personal. Once I sat down and actually thought about this new two deep leadership policy I began to realize this was a smart move by the BSA. I began to think, “What would happen if I was the only adult and something happened to me. What would happen to the boys?” And then I thought about the lawsuits involving a couple scoutmasters who were not trustworthy and had taken advantage of boys in their troop. Yes, I began to agree more and more with the wisdom of two deep leadership.

It is nearly twenty years since that first trip to Philmont. Troop 68 follows the two deep leadership rule for its outings. And yes, there have been times were we have had to cancel an outing or activity because we did not have two adults who could attend. The rules can sometimes be a pain in the neck, but I have come to appreciate them. These policies were created not only to protect the boys, but also the adult leaders. I think they have worked out well.

There are times when I look back to those early days and think that it is a shame that society has changed so much that we have had to add these policies. I hate to say it (because it makes me sound old) but I almost long for the “good old days”. Those days seemed to be so much more innocent and carefree then they are now, or is that only the way an “old” scoutmaster remembers them?