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Thread: Explorers/Young Leader and Scout interactions

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    Explorers/Young Leader and Scout interactions

    Wondered if I could pick some brains for advice. I have a couple of Young Leaders who help in the younger sections but sometimes pop on to scouts too. They have obviously been friends with their peers for a few years and socialise outside (games/sleepovers etc). This evening one of them and his mum asked me about whether he can still be friends with the scouts. Apparently our GSL has spoken to him about boundaries and appears to be insinuating that he can no longer be friends or hang out with scouts in their free time. I asked if he had the YL orange card which should offer some advice but he seems to have been given an adult yellow one instead?! He has done the module A Training session too.

    I have advised him to make sure he is sensible in friendships, does not enter into relationships with them and is sensible in his behaviour (including social media) which he is well aware of but i can't really see anything which says he should stop being friends. Both his mum and the parent of one of the other scouts are saying they are reaching a point where they will pull their lads out of the group and I would rather this not happen. It seems to me to be an old School scouter taking a rather over zealous line on safety.

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts you might have.

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    The orange card can be downloaded from the scout site (search for scout orange card) if you need it (there may be a new version coming out). I suspect the GSL is looking at it from the YL of being “in authority” over the scouts if they are acting as YLs in the scout section similarly to an adult leader. Personally as an explorer leader I would not dream of telling an explorer who they can be friends with unless there are issues raised or noticed. You seem to have covered all the points I would rise with your chat with him about how it can be seen by others.
    Awkward situation, the GSL could put their foot down and say he can’t help out at scouts which could annoy the parents more. Have you tried talking to the GSL, exploni g you’ve chated to the explorer about behaviour at scouts when being a YL?

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    It really doesn't work at all well when YLs are in the peer group of those in the Section they work with. I don't think I'd be telling them who they can be friends with, but I would certainly suggest they need a decent break of at least 6 months from Scouts, ideally long enough for their peer group to have moved on to Explorers. Without that, the YLs tend to be "hanger onner Scouts" and are not useful to the Troop, don't gain anything useful themselves and just disrupt meetings.

    If the parents don't like that more than reasonable line, let them throw their toys out of the pram, because no sensible GSL/DC would not back you with that policy. What happened would be entirely their fault.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big George View Post
    Awkward situation, the GSL could put their foot down and say he canít help out at scouts which could annoy the parents more.
    That would be my line. They clearly need a break from Scouts until their peers have moved on; TSA recommend this with a minimum of 6 months - it isn't mandatory, but on very odd occasions I've not done it and have always regretted it.

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    Senior Member CambridgeSkip's Avatar
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    Broadly I agree with Neil although I take a slightly different approach. Yes those wanting to be a YL with scouts do need a break although rather than saying 6 months I've tended to say wait until their whole school year group has moved on.

    I have two regular YLs (plus a couple of occassionals) and the two regulars 17 and 15 and a half respectively and having that extra age gap does work very well.

    That said I thinnk the GSL is being rather over the top here. There is nothing to say that they can't be friends with the scouts outside of a normal evening. We're really in trouble if they can't because of both of mine have younger syblings in the troop!

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    We are fortunate in that when we bring new YLs through we usually try to start them in the younger sections (beavers & Squirrels) and as they grow in maturity and experience they move to cubs and scouts. We’ve found this works and has a side benefit of those moving sections are familiar faces to the young people as they move sections.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_82 View Post
    Apparently our GSL has spoken to him about boundaries and appears to be insinuating that he can no longer be friends or hang out with scouts in their free time.
    What a complete idiot. Suggesting to kids who they can and cannot be friends with outside Scouts? Seriously? Or have the kids misunderstood him?
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    I've heard of similar things happening, when an 18 year old takes on a leadership role with the scout section, and being told they can no longer be friends/socialise with those in Explorers (ie 17 year olds) as Scouts and explorers often do joint activities ads this world be a xhild protection issue

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    Currently, because there are no Explorers to go to, we're keeping Scouts on (if they want) as YL's.

    We're up front about our expectations of them and they know they can be honest with us, (we've known them for long enough...)

    While we've only really had a couple stay on (Explorers only finished last August), we've never had any issues with them mixing with peers or the Scouts they're now expected to lead. We have four moving up over the next few months, we've already had a frank chat. They can't all stand at the top of the hall - our leader recruitment campaign worked a treat for Scouts (still struggling for Beavers though...) So we're all thinking about how it might work.

    Who they much about with outside of Scouts is precisely none of my or any other scouty person's business - would be my view.
    Last edited by pa_broon74; 27-01-2019 at 12:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard T View Post
    I've heard of similar things happening, when an 18 year old takes on a leadership role with the scout section, and being told they can no longer be friends/socialise with those in Explorers (ie 17 year olds) as Scouts and explorers often do joint activities ads this world be a xhild protection issue
    The new Yellow Card pretty much actually says that.

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    My 18 year old son has a girlfriend he met at Explorers. Their relationship is eight months and going strong. But she is still 17 and he has since turned 18. They are in the same year group. Normally society would not bat an eyelid at this. (Not that friendships should be limited to the same year group.)

    Yet scouting safeguarding suggests there is something wrong.

    A little common sense is needed here. Letís celebrate the friendships that are made in scouting and stop demonising it.


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    GSL/ESL(YL)/TA Mark W's Avatar
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    Scouting safeguarding doesn't suggest there's something wrong. It's one of the scenarios that's covered.
    If it was easy, it wouldn't be so much fun...
    GSL 1st Aylburton & Lydney, TA, ESL(YL), District Campsite Warden & webmanager .....only 1 hour a week, they said (not pointing out that was what was left)

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    Quote Originally Posted by claire.shadbolt View Post
    My 18 year old son has a girlfriend he met at Explorers. Their relationship is eight months and going strong. But she is still 17 and he has since turned 18. They are in the same year group. Normally society would not bat an eyelid at this. (Not that friendships should be limited to the same year group.)

    Yet scouting safeguarding suggests there is something wrong.

    A little common sense is needed here. Letís celebrate the friendships that are made in scouting and stop demonising it.
    IIRC so long as the relationship predates the 18 year old taking on a role with supervisory responsibilty over youth members then that is fine.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    IIRC so long as the relationship predates the 18 year old taking on a role with supervisory responsibilty over youth members then that is fine.
    I believe that's right but while they are split under/over 18 they will need splitting up so they cannot be in a position of responsibility. For instance once one of them went over 18 they could not come back as an adult Leader for that Explorer Scout Unit (or attend any event where they would both be present) until the other one was also over 18 (and so also not an Explorer).

    This is not entirely dissimilar, though for different reasons, to the way that some companies would ask you to declare a relationship between two employees of the company where one is in charge of the other in order that they can rejig roles so they no longer have management responsibility over one another.

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark W View Post
    Scouting safeguarding doesn't suggest there's something wrong. It's one of the scenarios that's covered.
    Depending on who gives your training. YMMV.
    Ian Wilkins
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    Relationships between young people in scouts has always been problematic.

    Not much you can do about it obvs, but rarely does it end well - at least, that's been our experience.

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