Scouting Myths

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A list of debunked myths, urban legends, and common misconceptions. Links to references are included where applicable.

When in doubt regarding a national policy, contact the relevant member of the National Leadership Team, or the help desk (helpdesk@scouts.ca).

Contents


Friendship Knot

Myth: The friendship knot is not approved for wear on Scouts Canada properties. It may not be used on any day of the week ending in "y", except with written approval from the Chief Commissioner.

Fact: There is no restriction on the use of the friendship knot in place of the woggle. In fact, it is a great casual alternative!

Source: Friendship Knot


The 3 Year Rule

Myth: Volunteers/youth members have 3 years to switch to the new Scouts Canada uniform design introduced in 2011.

Fact: This is not true. There is no mandatory timeline for the transition. You may wear your old uniform until it wears out, should you choose to do so.

Source: Facebook comment by Jessica Page on Facebook Q&A document.


Scouting is for Boys

Myth: Scouting in Canada is only for boys.

Fact: Scouts Canada is fully coed, and has been for over a decade.

Source: Section 3000 of BP&P.


Staff cannot Volunteer

Myth: Professional staff cannot volunteer in any capacity.

Fact: Not true. Staff are allowed and even encouraged to volunteer.

Sources:


Sleep in Cars

Myth: Scouters are not allowed to sleep in vechicles at camp.

Fact: There is no such restriction in the BP&P. Scouters are encouraged to use their common sense, and to follow the Duty of Care and other policies regarding the supervision of youth.

Source: Duty of Care


Spouses Sleeping in the same Shelter

Myth: Spouses cannot sleep in the same tent/lodge/shelter.

Fact: There is no such restriction in the BP&P.

Source: Duty of Care Also, non-existence of this policy confirmed by Doug Reid, DNC Program Services: see Facebook post.


Uniform Required for Insurance

Myth: You need to be wearing a piece of uniform in order to covered by Scouts Canada's insurance.

Fact: There is no such restriction in the BP&P.

Source: Non-existence of this policy confirmed by Doug Reid, DNC Program Services: see Facebook post.


Beavers in Tents

Myth: Beavers can't sleep in tents.

Fact: As of September 1st, 2014 Beavers are allowed to camp in tents without parents.

Source: See [1] BP&P Update & [2] Beaver Scouts Camping Booklet

[3]: 10001.1 – Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts & SCOUTSabout: (i) Minimum facilities for camping must include tents for sleeping and some form of additional weather resistant shelter suitable for games, crafts, dining and cooking. (ii) Additional winter camping requirements: 1. At least one of the adults is experienced in winter camping. 2. A parent or guardian of each youth receives a list of the clothing and bedding required. This gear is checked by the experienced adult before leaving for camp. 3. A telephone or similar communication equipment is available for emergency use. 4. A vehicle, to be used in the event of an emergency, is present on site. 5. The weather resistant shelter contains a source of heat. 6. Indoor washroom facilities are available. 7. A supply of drinking water is available. 8. Arrangements made in case of the need for emergency evacuation.

Venturer's can't drive to events

Myth: Venturer's can't drive to Scouting events, or drive other youth/adults.

Fact: No such restriction exists. It is the parents responsibility in approving how their child gets to Scouting activities.

Source: Non-existence of this policy confirmed by Doug Reid, DNC Program Services: see Facebook post.


SITs count as youth

Myth: 16 and 17 year old SITs, even if they have completed Wood Badge Part I, are still children and count against a group's 1 leader to 6 (or 5) youth ratio (that is, they are counted as youth).

Fact: An SIT who has completed Wood Badge Part I and been reference checked counts as a LEADER, though a group still required 2 adult (over 18 years old) registered leaders.

Source: BP&P 4008.5 SIT’s working with colony and pack Sections can be included in the Scouter : youth member ratio provided they have: (1) successfully completed Wood Badge Part I for the Section in which they will be working; (2) have completed three Personal Reference Check (usually the individuals section leader); and (3) has read and understands the Duty of Care document. Note: minimum standard of two registered adults must be maintained.

Another Fact: An Activity Leader also counts on the scouter side of the ratio.

Source: BP&P 4008.4 AL’s are eligible to take Wood Badge Part I and receive the appropriate recognition. They are part of the Scouter:youth ratio if they have completed WB1


Girls/boys can't go camping without a female/male leader

Myth: Girls cannot go camping if an adult female leader is not available to attend camp. Similarly, boys cannot go camping if there is not an adult male leader available to attend camp.

Fact: It is strongly recommended to have a female leader if female youth are camping (and vice versa), but not required by Scouts Canada policy. This would depend on the wishes of the youth and their parents.

Source:

  • BP&P 4008.6: "Co-Ed Leadership: Co-ed leadership is strongly recommended for Beaver, Cub, Scout Sections and Venturer companies when they contain both male and female members."
  • 10003 (Sleeping Quarters): "Co-educational camps should ensure that every consideration is given to propriety."


Scouting Youth cannot do wall climbing activities

Myth: Scouting youth can't participate in wall climbing activities.

Fact: Of course they can! Several conditions, generally related to safety, must be met.

Source:


4-year-olds cannot be Beaver Scouts

Myth: Beaver Scouts cannot register until after their 5th birthday (for insurance reasons).

Fact: While Beaver Scouts is an age appropriate activity for 5-7 year olds, there may be cases where youth are enrolled in schools, turn 5 prior to December 31 of the school/scouting year, and therefore may be ready to participate in and enjoy the Scouting program.

Sources:

  • BP&P 5001.1 – Program Age Exceptions: Commissioners may, where appropriate, authorize a variation of one year in the program ages between age 5 and age 18 to enable child and youth membership in various program sections to correspond with membership in divisions in the local school system. The final consideration shall be what is in the best interest of the child or youth concerned.
  • TalkScouts.ca forum - New System Age Restrictions! "I have confirmed with staff that there are no insurance restrictions that would prevent Scouts Canada from having 4 year old Beavers registered in our programs." - Doug Reid
  • April 2012 memo: Beaver Scout Membership Age "Starting with the new registration year of 2012-2013, Youth must be 5 years old before December 31st in order to register as a Beaver Scout member." - Doug Reid


Cub Scouts Using Knives

Myth: Cub Scouts are not permitted to use knives.

Fact: All members of Scouts Canada, excluding Beaver Scouts, are permitted to use knives during age appropriate program activities.

Source: BP&P 13021 – TOOLS/KNIVES: Knives (safety folding blade type), including multi-purpose tools, may be used during age appropriate program activities by all members, excluding Beavers, providing it is a bona-fide requirement for the particular activity. Sheath knives may be worn when it is a bona-fide requirement of the particular Scouting activity and only by Scouts, Venturers, Rovers and Scouters and must not at any time be concealed.


Knife Size Limits

Myth: Scouts cannot have, carry, or use knives with a larger than 3" blade.

Fact: There is no mention of a blade length in the BP&P or in the Criminal Code of Canada.

Source: BP&P 13021 – TOOLS/KNIVES makes no mention. PART III FIREARMS AND OTHER WEAPONS of the Criminal Code of Canada also makes no mention of blade length. It does define a prohibited weapon as "a knife that has a blade that opens automatically by gravity or centrifugal force or by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in or attached to the handle of the knife".

Scouts Canada Knowledge Base/BP&P/Safety - Can Scouting youth carry knives?

Sensible: It would be wise to advise Scouts to carry knives of practical quality and size, preferably with a safety lock mechanism.


Snowball Fights

Myth: Scouts cannot conduct snowball fights, as it violates BP&P as an activity "where a projectile is aimed at a person".

Fact: There is no mention of snowballs in the BP&P. The word "projectile" is not clearly defined. Banning anything with thrown objects would ban dodge ball (clearly mentioned as allowed in BP&P), indoor snowball fights, and several other common and popular activities.

Source: BP&P 13000.2 – Risk Management Process (iii) - Control: Once risks are identified and evaluated, steps must be taken to eliminate, control or contain them. If a particular activity results in a number of serious injuries, then that activity should be eliminated - an example would be paint ball which is on the list of activities that are not approved for use. Paint ball games can and have resulted in serious eye injuries. If a particular activity results in minor injuries, then explore ways to modify that activity to eliminate some of those injuries - for example a “nerf” ball could be used to play dodge ball with Beavers.

Sensible: It all comes down to the assessed risk of the activity. If the snow is fluffy, and there is the ability to dry off and be warm afterwards, such an activity may be feasible. If the snow is icy, crusty, has gravel or ice mixed in, etc. then such an activity should not be permitted. BP&P 13000.2 – Risk Management Process recognizes that some activities may result in minor injuries, and leaders should then attempt to modify the activity to reduce further risk.


Parents Code of Conduct

Myth: All parents must sign the Code of Conduct to allow their children to participate.

Fact: The Code of Conduct is only required by those parents helping out during meetings or attending overnight activities.

Source: Scouts Canada Volunteer Screening Policy - updated May 2013

Sensible: If parents are going to be present and help out at meetings, it is best that they understand expectations and conduct themselves accordingly.