On my honour

Dave Killion — December 12, 2011

Recently, The Fifth Estate ran a story alleging Scouts Canada has kept a confidential list of suspected pedophiles within its organization. Former Scouts have come forward claiming to have been sexually abused by leaders, the CEO of Scouts Canada has resigned, and the group has both issued a blanket apology and hired an auditor to examine its records.

Having been a leader of Cubs and Scouts in the recent past, I think that it is likely the problem of sexual abuse has been largely eliminated for the past couple decades. The current process by which volunteers are vetted  is very thorough, and so long as the process is followed, all will be well. Still, there is no guarantee that the process will always be followed.

Since 1961, Scouts Canada has seen its youth membership decline by two-thirds . As a result, many groups are small and have a high ‘churn’ of leadership. Getting leaders trained well enough to insure that they are familiar enough with policy to implement it is a great challenge, and it can be difficult for administrators higher in the organization to track. It is possible, I think, for potentially problematic leaders to work with youth for some time before being ferreted out. Not likely, but still possible.

Even with that in mind, it is my opinion that youth currently involved in Scouting are in little danger from sexually predacious leaders, so if that’s the only thing keeping you from enrolling your son or daughter in Scouts I hope you will be reassured. My sons tell me some of their happiest memories come from our Scouting days. Still, as a libertarian, there are some things in the program that I don’t care for. I will tell you all about them in my next post.

Comments

Missy says

oooh, that’s tricky! At first it made me think that of, course there’s a high turnover rate for scoutting leaders, who would want to be a scout leader if they didn’t have kids in the pro—oh my god!

— December 12, 2011

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