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Re: [Scouter_T] Re: Misinformation

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  • Sean Scott
    I have found that quite often, the cause of misinformation is trainers themselves. As trainers, we need to remember that we are responsible for the accuracy
    Message 1 of 21 , Nov 14, 2006
      I have found that quite often, the cause of misinformation is
      trainers themselves. As trainers, we need to remember that we are
      responsible for the accuracy and clarity of our words, and qualify
      what we say.

      On this list, it is critical that we remember the difference between
      local and national policy, and clearly state what we write as opinion
      or fact. For example, your local council may require BALOO as a
      prerequisite for resident camp. There are several ways you might
      share that information in a discussion about resident camp
      requirements. As a member of your council, you might say:

      A. Our council has added BALOO as a requirement for resident camp,
      but that's not the national policy.
      B. My understanding is that BALOO is a requirement for resident camp,
      but I can't find an official reference to confirm that.
      C. BALOO is required training to take boys to resident camp.

      A and B qualify the statement. C is accurate from your perspective,
      but misleading to everyone else. Although C will cause a flurry of
      "No it isn't" responses, there are undoubtedly people out there who
      will see only the "BALOO is required" post and not the corrections,
      and start quoting the misinformation as fact.

      As a trainer, the hardest job I've ever had was re-training leaders
      who had received bad information. For some reason, the first thing
      that people hear, no matter how unreliable the source, seems to stick
      with them. What's worse is that, as trainers, we're all volunteers,
      so none of us is more reliable or credible (at least on the surface)
      than any other. This makes it especially easy for a leader to pick
      and choose what the rules are based on what they want them to be.

      For example, say one trainer tells a leader that the upside-down
      Bobcat is OK, and another later tells them it isn't. That leader may
      think that the upside-down Bobcat was cool when he was a kid, and
      that the BSA rule is stupid and reactionary. They may rationalize
      that, since one trainer said it was OK, that they're going to hear
      the version they want, and perform the ceremony anyway, since they
      can later tell people that so-and-so told him it was alright.

      I have seen too many situations where a trainer gave opinion as fact,
      or clouded a discussion with their own personal ideas of what should
      or shouldn't be policy, instead of clearly stating the rules as the
      BSA has written them. That includes a presenter at powwow telling
      people how to "get around" the BSA policy on upside-down Bobcat
      ceremonies after discussing at length why the BSA policy was (in his
      opinion) absurd. I've also seen trainers apparently make things up,
      rather than admit that they don't know the answer to a question. It's
      OK to say, "I don't know, but let me find the answer for you."

      Opinion and fact shouldn't be confused when talking about what isn't
      required, either. Leaders can decide for themselves whether it's best
      for them. Yes, as trainers, we see the benefits of training, and it's
      perfectly acceptable to share those benefits in order to give people
      a clear picture of why something may help them, but to imply or
      present opinions as facts when they aren't is deceptive. Encourage
      them, yes, but don't mislead people into something by rationalizing
      that the ends justify the means.

      While the quality of training may vary for each training team, the
      content (and message) shouldn't. BSA publishes training materials so
      that leaders receive a consistent message no matter where they take
      training, be it in Alaska or Florida. Our responsibility as trainers
      must be, first and foremost, to present the facts, so that leaders
      can make sound judgments based on accurate information--regardless of
      whether we personally disagree. We are role models for the leaders we
      train, and as such we must demonstrate integrity, and abide by both
      the letter and the spirit of BSA policy.

      YiS,
      Sean
    • Mike Marks
      Gerry, You ve either come in late on the discussion or missed the point. No one stood tall and shouted loudly about things not being required . This has
      Message 2 of 21 , Nov 14, 2006
        Gerry,

        You've either come in late on the discussion or missed the point. No one
        "stood tall and shouted loudly about things not being required". This has
        been a discussion about "just the facts".

        No need to wonder about the people on this list. it's ALL ABOUT THE
        TRAINING with us! We'll stand tall and shout loudly to everyone who will
        listen (and louder to those who won't) about the need for everyone to be
        trained.

        You sound like the frustrated trainer who is getting resistance from
        Scouters about attending training. All other logic doesn't work and you
        need to resort to "sitting in underpants" argument. Most of us have been
        there and feel your pain.

        If the question to the list was "SHOULD all leaders take ____ training" you
        would see either silence because it was a stupid question or a resounding
        "yes!"

        But when it comes to what "MUST" be done - there's a variety of opinions and
        misinformation. For instance - if you ask must the World Crest be worn on
        the uniform, the answer is "NO!". But if you ask SHOULD the World Crest be
        worn, the answer is absolutely. why wouldn't we show our pride in the
        worldwide brotherhood of Scouting?!

        It can become a little more "gray" when you ask other questions that have
        common misconceptions. For instance - "MUST" we take youth protection
        training every 3 years? The answer unequivocally is NO. With an asterisk
        or footnote that says - unless your specific Council requires it -and- if
        you are serving on a National event staff there's additional YPT
        requirements.

        It can become even more gray when you ask questions that relate to Scout
        skills. For instance - MUST a Scout say "thank-you" or "I got it" when
        receiving a pocket knife. The answer is NO! There are no written rules in
        Scouting that require this verbal response - yet there are old time Scouters
        who will cut the corner off your card if you don't say it. This a common
        misconception that dates back to the days when you would pass a knife with
        the blade open. The BS Handbook "rule" says you must close the knife before
        handing it to another - so if it slips, no one is cut. But ask the question
        differently, "SHOULD" you say thank you? Of course, it's the polite and
        correct response! We should be teaching courtesy.

        Hang in there Gerry. We understand.


        mm





        _____

        From: Gerry Moon
        The thing that puzzles me is how we stand up tall and shout loudly
        about something NOT being required - like Youth Protection. I have to wonder
        at that point whether the individuals making the claim feel
        that since it's not REQUIRED that they would not make a point to not
        have it in place ANYWAY. Things are not dictated solely by
        legislation - as leaders we should have the where-withall to be able
        to look at the big picture and and "commonsense" a lot of right and
        wrong.

        If YP isn't specifically mandated by some chapter and verse, is it
        totally unnecessary in that situation? Would it not be to everyone's
        benefit to have it in place anyway? The course takes, what, 30 to 45
        minutes online, and you can do it sitting at home in your underpants
        if you like. I can't understand the resistance to doing what is
        procedurally and ethically "proper" regardless of how it's mandated.
        It's not like you get a disease from training and paperwork (an
        addiction to it, perhaps, but it's usually not fatal or disabling).

        Same thing for leader training. NOT MANDATORY but recommended. And
        hundreds of leaders ignore the recommendation and just "wing it". At
        least there is a better justification for this - it's like, what, an
        ENTIRE DAY (eight hours or so) of training? Eight hours out of your
        life that can impact your son's ENTIRE LIFETIME and those of his Den-
        mates? That doesn't seem prohibitively expensive to me, but then I
        really do want my son to think of me when he's grown up and remember
        the good times we spent in Scouting together.

        Gerry Moon
        Orlando, FL



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Margo Mead
        Amen, Sean. How many of us have had trainers who have insisted that two-deep leadership is REQUIRED at all times? (Before anyone argues with me, it is required
        Message 3 of 21 , Nov 14, 2006
          Amen, Sean. How many of us have had trainers who have insisted that two-deep
          leadership is REQUIRED at all times? (Before anyone argues with me, it is
          required for trips and outings, per the guide the Safe Scouting. The
          applicable rule for regular meetings is "no one-on-one contact" which can be
          met by having one leader and at least 2 boys. And as Sean would say, "SHOULD
          we have 2-deep all the time?" Sure, it's always a good idea to have a 2nd
          leader. But it's not required, and you can have a meeting without a 2nd
          leader if circumstances lead to that.)



          And our Roundtable commissioner over Cub Scouting keeps stating that Tour
          Permits are required for all trips and outings, but our council's policy is
          that they are only required for trips over 50 miles. I struggle to keep my
          mouth shut every time she says that, because I don't want to argue with her
          in front of everyone.and then I forget to pull her aside at the end and ask
          her why she keeps saying that. She also thinks that 2-deep leadership is
          required at all times. I know she was a Girl Scout leader too, so I know
          where some of that comes from, but she was probably told that by whoever
          trained her too.



          That's why I like to have citations for rules that I state. Not only because
          then I can prove it to others, but because I like to have proof myself.
          (Ideally, I like to know WHY, but that's not always possible.)



          Regards--

          Margo Mead

          Portland, Oregon

          meadclan@...

          www.beadiecritters.com

          www.geocities.com/meadfamily

          www.geocities.com/worldkrahenbuhl



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Gerry Moon
          I may have come in late on the discussion, but my comments were merely general observations about a behavior and not an accusation. I look at a lot of groups
          Message 4 of 21 , Nov 15, 2006
            I may have come in late on the discussion, but my comments were
            merely general observations about a behavior and not an accusation.
            I look at a lot of groups and see this in a lot of places. My
            comments were not pointed to this thread specifically nor to anyone
            on this list, and I apologize if it came off looking that way. It
            was just a vent about seeing people comfortable with providing the
            absolute minimum. While we seek 100% trained leaders I am confident
            that there are units out there providing a good program that fall
            far short of that benchmark.

            Gerry Moon
            Orlando, FL
            --- In scouter_t@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Marks" <MikeMarks@...> wrote:
            >
            > Gerry,
            >
            > You've either come in late on the discussion or missed the point.
            No one
            > "stood tall and shouted loudly about things not being required".
            This has
            > been a discussion about "just the facts".
            >
            > No need to wonder about the people on this list. it's ALL ABOUT
            THE
            > TRAINING with us! We'll stand tall and shout loudly to everyone
            who will
            > listen (and louder to those who won't) about the need for everyone
            to be
            > trained.
            >
            > You sound like the frustrated trainer who is getting resistance
            from
            > Scouters about attending training. All other logic doesn't work
            and you
            > need to resort to "sitting in underpants" argument. Most of us
            have been
            > there and feel your pain.
            >
            > If the question to the list was "SHOULD all leaders take ____
            training" you
            > would see either silence because it was a stupid question or a
            resounding
            > "yes!"
            >
            > But when it comes to what "MUST" be done - there's a variety of
            opinions and
            > misinformation. For instance - if you ask must the World Crest be
            worn on
            > the uniform, the answer is "NO!". But if you ask SHOULD the World
            Crest be
            > worn, the answer is absolutely. why wouldn't we show our pride in
            the
            > worldwide brotherhood of Scouting?!
            >
            > It can become a little more "gray" when you ask other questions
            that have
            > common misconceptions. For instance - "MUST" we take youth
            protection
            > training every 3 years? The answer unequivocally is NO. With an
            asterisk
            > or footnote that says - unless your specific Council requires it -
            and- if
            > you are serving on a National event staff there's additional YPT
            > requirements.
            >
            > It can become even more gray when you ask questions that relate to
            Scout
            > skills. For instance - MUST a Scout say "thank-you" or "I got it"
            when
            > receiving a pocket knife. The answer is NO! There are no
            written rules in
            > Scouting that require this verbal response - yet there are old
            time Scouters
            > who will cut the corner off your card if you don't say it. This a
            common
            > misconception that dates back to the days when you would pass a
            knife with
            > the blade open. The BS Handbook "rule" says you must close the
            knife before
            > handing it to another - so if it slips, no one is cut. But ask
            the question
            > differently, "SHOULD" you say thank you? Of course, it's the
            polite and
            > correct response! We should be teaching courtesy.
            >
            > Hang in there Gerry. We understand.
            >
            >
            > mm
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > _____
            >
            > From: Gerry Moon
            > The thing that puzzles me is how we stand up tall and shout loudly
            > about something NOT being required - like Youth Protection. I have
            to wonder
            > at that point whether the individuals making the claim feel
            > that since it's not REQUIRED that they would not make a point to
            not
            > have it in place ANYWAY. Things are not dictated solely by
            > legislation - as leaders we should have the where-withall to be
            able
            > to look at the big picture and and "commonsense" a lot of right
            and
            > wrong.
            >
            > If YP isn't specifically mandated by some chapter and verse, is it
            > totally unnecessary in that situation? Would it not be to
            everyone's
            > benefit to have it in place anyway? The course takes, what, 30 to
            45
            > minutes online, and you can do it sitting at home in your
            underpants
            > if you like. I can't understand the resistance to doing what is
            > procedurally and ethically "proper" regardless of how it's
            mandated.
            > It's not like you get a disease from training and paperwork (an
            > addiction to it, perhaps, but it's usually not fatal or
            disabling).
            >
            > Same thing for leader training. NOT MANDATORY but recommended. And
            > hundreds of leaders ignore the recommendation and just "wing it".
            At
            > least there is a better justification for this - it's like, what,
            an
            > ENTIRE DAY (eight hours or so) of training? Eight hours out of
            your
            > life that can impact your son's ENTIRE LIFETIME and those of his
            Den-
            > mates? That doesn't seem prohibitively expensive to me, but then I
            > really do want my son to think of me when he's grown up and
            remember
            > the good times we spent in Scouting together.
            >
            > Gerry Moon
            > Orlando, FL
            >
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
          • Kathy Bourassa
            In my unit- basic training is required- not recommended- this can be done by the committee with the approval of the Charter Org. We studied the units health
            Message 5 of 21 , Nov 15, 2006
              In my unit- basic training is required- not recommended- this can be
              done by the committee with the approval of the Charter Org. We studied
              the units health and found that our biggest retention loss (youth and
              adults) was through untrained leaders. Just because something is
              recommended does not make it less than something that is required. I
              have always wondered about this- as a GSUSA Leader, Den Leader, and BSA
              Leader- why GSUSA can require training and BSA just recommends it- I do
              understand that this is the charge of the charter org- but most of our
              charter orgs are less than involved with our units and do not understand
              the importance of training unless they are educated about it. Our best
              bet is to educate our charter orgs on the importance of training- this
              filters down to our units and in the end- we are healthier for it
              Kathy
              NVC Training Chair- MA
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