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theWeedyRoad
02-24-2012, 02:05 PM
So a few years ago, our ds was in boy scouts. Our local group is terrible- no one wants to lead it, very disorganized. dh stopped taking ds because it was such a mess. I'd thought about getting him back in, though, because I think the idea is awesome.

My soc probs teacher has stated (multiple times) that child predators run boy scouts because it's an easy way to get at boys. I'm sure that CAN happen, but honestly she acts like EVERY boy scouts troop is really just a place to collect victims.

I need some.. balance here. Predators of every sort are in EVERY segment of society- I'm not an idiot, I know they are out there. But do you think her take is fair?

I know we need to always consider the source- and she seems to be a one-person walking bilboard for the Perils Of Men- the class is slanted entirely about domestic abuse and sexual violence. (that isn't what it's supposed to be about.. but that is what she concentrates on). I'm sure her.. mission is coloring her perceptions, but at the same time, I don't want to put my children in harms way.

Thoughts greatly appreciated.

Cafdog
02-24-2012, 02:40 PM
Troops vary. The leader can really make or break the experience, IMHO. My DD enjoyed Girl Scouts, but our leader (though well-intentioned) was completely disorganized. I was the cookie mom and tried to help as best I could, but it drove me crazy. I have seen other troops in town that were run like well-oiled machines (equally scary, to be honest).

It is a shame that the Boy Scouts have been so tainted by icky predators. DD has several buddies in scouts that are run by awesome dads who have fond memories of their own scouting days, and want to create a fun afterschool activity to share with their sons. Like any club, sport, or social situation - the key is to pay attention. If something seems weird, trust your instincts. Ask questions - both of the troop leader, but also of your child, and of other parents. Show up at troop meetings and events. Be present, and be involved. That is all we can do to protect our kids, and still give them freedom to explore and grow outside of our homes, I think. :)

baker
02-24-2012, 02:40 PM
I think if you look at stats, crimes such as these are no worse now than years ago, it is just reported more and on the news 24/7 when it does occur. I honestly don't think boy scouts is any more dangerous than any other activity for your son. There is risk everywhere. Personally, I think the benefits outweigh risks.

I know so many moms who won't let their kids out of their sight for anything....a crazy way to live!

Thumbs up to free range kids!

raesrose
02-24-2012, 03:03 PM
We had the same problem with my son's cub scout troop - so disorganized and no one wanted to lead. We stopped going and are looking for another troop. They have special rules in place that no leader is allowed alone with any child at any time. There always have to be multiples. I know for the cub scouts, the parents have to come to the meetings (can't just drop them off and run), and that way you can try to get a vibe for the leaders. I think vigilance is key in this situation. I would bet anything that there are many more good dads out there running troops, organized or no, than there are predators.

kailuamom67
02-24-2012, 04:51 PM
I'm more worried about the way the boy scouts have treated athiests than about child predators. To the best of my knowledge, real predators groom their victims and make up reasons to be alone with kids. That's not gonna happen with my children. No alone time with anyone I don't know really well.

FLDebbie
02-24-2012, 05:38 PM
My son is in cub scouts and my husband is the assistant cub master. The pack is great and is quite active. I think it's a wonderful way for boys to learn about working together, the environment, leadership, etc. I'm sure there are problems in some places with sickos, but probably no more than anywhere else. In cub scouts, the parents are always there and the organization has definite rules about adults cannot being around boys alone and parents must be present at all functions.

Avalon
02-24-2012, 06:49 PM
My son is in cub scouts, too, and I don't even see how it would be possible for anything inappropriate to happen. There are 20+ kids in a gymnasium, with 4 or 5 adult leaders. The adult leaders are never supposed to be alone with the kids. Even on the camps, there are so many people around and so little opportunity for even a couple of minutes of privacy, it's hardly likely.

I think the more dangerous situations are when a child is more isolated, or is singled out for "special time" or "special responsibilities" with someone in authority. Most kids are in greater danger from a relative or close personal friend who decides to take a special interest in the child, or is asked to babysit. (That was my personal experience, anyway.)

ponygirl
02-26-2012, 04:04 AM
I totally agree with Avalon

Airen
02-26-2012, 03:44 PM
I'm with Colleen- child predation (is that a word?) is unlikely in an active group. Parents are *right there.* It's the religious slant (troop by troop-- but very slanted here) that keeps me from signing ds up.

The media has really ruined a lot things... Poor scout leaders.

raesrose
02-26-2012, 04:43 PM
I worried a little about the religious slant, but our school based group was pretty diverse and as far as "god" references, well being pagan, they certainly don't mention WHICH "god" they are referring to....lol.

kailuamom67
02-26-2012, 07:12 PM
In our larger community (a county over) there were two pretty big issues for me: One, was a boy who had moved his way up through scouts and was working on his eagle.He said he was an athiest and couldn't pledge to "God" because that would undermine the value of a true pledge and it was a lie. They said pledge or youre out.

Another time it had to do with gay something or other. While I know that sounds stupid and vague - a kid was basically, publicly kicked out for something to do with gay rights. I don't remember the details but I remember that I thought the kid was 100% correct and was heartbroken at how he was treated.

I did have my older guy in scouts for a couple of years, I went with him always and bonded with the parents. It was actually kind of funny - because it was all dads and me - they were are great group. My son liked it for the kids but not the activities and finally dropped it in 5th grade.

Batgirl
02-26-2012, 09:19 PM
Yeah, I was looking over the Eagle Scout ceremony. An athiest would have real trouble with several sections of it. God is mentioned repeatedly.

My dh is an Eagle Scout, so having the boys participate is important to him. Like other have said, due to the high level of parental involvement and the rules (and required awareness training) prohibiting only one adult from being with one scout, sexual predators would have a hard time making any inroads there, now, imo.

MarkInMD
02-27-2012, 05:24 AM
We don't do scouting here (tried it with Hurricane for a hot minute and realized it wasn't going to work out), but as a guy, I'd like to chime in on the whole child predator thing. I can tell you that the perception of men/dads volunteering in a kid-centric place, especially one where women/moms dominate the numbers, as being people to be wary of has definitely altered how I choose to volunteer. When Tornado was in the Headstart program, both years they took trips to the pool at the local Y one day a week for five weeks to get them accustomed to the water. We were concerned about his ability not to fall in and have something seriously go wrong, so we agreed I'd go so that I could help him out (as well as the other kids). When I showed up for most of these, I was the only adult male in the group. Now, obviously, if you're helping kids learn some swimming basics, you have to hold onto them in the water. You'd better believe I was absolutely sure I couldn't be accused of having touched any child, male or female, in any place that would be inappropriate, even if by accident. The thought of one of them saying, even offhand, "Mr. Mark touched me here" filled me with total horror. And despite my best efforts, there were a couple of times where one of them maybe squirmed or shifted or something where it might have been the case for a fraction of a second before I adjusted like they were a hot potato.

Totally ruined my ability to enjoy the moment. And totally made me never want to volunteer again in a situation like that. A phys ed teacher at my dad's old school was (it turned out, falsely) accused of touching some 5th grade girls (who after a lot of questioning by authorities it was learned that they actually just didn't like that he was making them break a sweat, go figure). But guess what? Guy's career was ruined. Personally? It's totally not worth it to me. Which is sad, because often I'd really like to be more involved in group activities. But when all the moms give you the "what's he doing here?" eye, you get gun-shy.

theWeedyRoad
02-27-2012, 01:17 PM
We don't do scouting here (tried it with Hurricane for a hot minute and realized it wasn't going to work out), but as a guy, I'd like to chime in on the whole child predator thing. I can tell you that the perception of men/dads volunteering in a kid-centric place, especially one where women/moms dominate the numbers, as being people to be wary of has definitely altered how I choose to volunteer. When Tornado was in the Headstart program, both years they took trips to the pool at the local Y one day a week for five weeks to get them accustomed to the water. We were concerned about his ability not to fall in and have something seriously go wrong, so we agreed I'd go so that I could help him out (as well as the other kids). When I showed up for most of these, I was the only adult male in the group. Now, obviously, if you're helping kids learn some swimming basics, you have to hold onto them in the water. You'd better believe I was absolutely sure I couldn't be accused of having touched any child, male or female, in any place that would be inappropriate, even if by accident. The thought of one of them saying, even offhand, "Mr. Mark touched me here" filled me with total horror. And despite my best efforts, there were a couple of times where one of them maybe squirmed or shifted or something where it might have been the case for a fraction of a second before I adjusted like they were a hot potato.

Totally ruined my ability to enjoy the moment. And totally made me never want to volunteer again in a situation like that. A phys ed teacher at my dad's old school was (it turned out, falsely) accused of touching some 5th grade girls (who after a lot of questioning by authorities it was learned that they actually just didn't like that he was making them break a sweat, go figure). But guess what? Guy's career was ruined. Personally? It's totally not worth it to me. Which is sad, because often I'd really like to be more involved in group activities. But when all the moms give you the "what's he doing here?" eye, you get gun-shy.

That makes me incredibly sad. Men need to be involved- it's a sad world when we make you guys too scared to.

thedillonfive
02-27-2012, 03:09 PM
This almost feels like two different issues. The first is whether or not Boy Scouts is a good fit for your son and your family. The other is your concerns over his safety.

We are mulling over boyscouts ourselves and aren't sure what we will do. We are Unitarian Universalists so our boys learn about all religions and we have many male friends from church who speak of our much they loved boy scouts growing up and how much of a positive influence it had on their lives. When we do make the final decision we will speak to other parents in the troop and get first hand information of that specific troop. I have concerns about any anti-gay messages so that will be something I ask about for sure. We'll be moving to a super liberal area so I'm hoping it might be a good fit. Maybe. Kind of. Still not really sure. :)

The other issue is about your concern- or that you got concerned by comments your friend made.

Marks comment was sad yet at the same time showed how thoughtful he was. Yes, it is a sad thing that men have come to feel they have to act that way. It's no different than a man seeing a woman in a parking garage struggling to get something into her car. He would likely not offer to help for fear of making her feel uncomfortable or fearful. Or he might call his offer to help over from a distance so she wouldn't feel threatened. Women and girls have been the victims of violence to the extent that the good men out there feel that they have to be ultra cautious. It is sad yet at the same time I have so much respect for men like Mark who pay so much attention to something like being at the pool with little girls.

Someone told me recently that they 'heard' that you should take a second look at any man that doesn't have his own children who is coaching kids. I think this would also apply to a boy scout troop leader. And I'm sure that many of you can come up with the exception to this rule. But what I said was 'take a second look' not assume they are pedophiles.

At some point coaches might take the team out for pizza or to an away game.
At some point the kids go on overnight trips without parents. It's just good to pay close attention to who the leaders are.

I read a book called The Gift of Fear that talked all about instincts and how to listen to them. They will usually tell you when something is off about someone. There was another book he wrote called Protecting the Gift and it talked about the things your kids need to know before they are allowed out in public and away from you. Things like... How to get help. How to describe their peril. That they can tell you ANYTHING and it will always be ok. And more.

Anyway, just some food for thought. You are smart to do so much looking into it first.