Monday, July 2, 2012

GSLC fire ban and 2012 safety incidents

I just got an email stating that the Great Salt Lake Council will prohibit fires on any of its properties - to include charcoal.  In light of a letter read over the pulpit yesterday, I'd say we ought to pray that everyone is prudent in their celebrating and recreating for the balance of the summer. Fires and boys with sticks is just a bad idea right now. 

Here's from the email I received from my WB Scoutmaster:
"I would take it one step further, and advise you as a matter of common sense, not to allow any open fires during any of your camps or scouting activities, whether they be on Council property or not. It seems very difficult for some folks to maturely deal with this concept/challenge. I understand that a camp fire is a big part of camping, and it is a challenge to change our mind-set, however; the consequences are staggering! Our Governor stated that all firefighting and related expenses will be paid by those responsible for starting the fire, whether it be intentional or accidental. While some may disagree, I am not in a position to argue. I would love not to see any more bad press related to our BSA program.

"Please stand with me and accept the challenge of eliminating this awful risk for the balance of the fire season."
I would also like to take a moment to mention safety.  In the last month alone, there have been several fatal accidents involving Scouts/Aaronic Priesthood groups:
  • In Colorado, one boy drowned and two nearly didn't make it back to shore when their canoe capsized. None were wearing PFDs.  The info I got (from the LDS Scouts Yahoo group) said it was a "CJCLDS High Adventure Camp" but the original source was not cited or linked;
  • Last weekend, three Woodland Park CO Scouts, one adult Scout leader and a toddler died in a head-on collision on their way home from Camp in Wyoming;
  • a 16yo Scout from St. George drowned at the Havasupai falls area near the Grand Canyon.
It's been stated, (though it's tough to find published stats) that LDS make up ~20% of registered units (Boy Scout Troops, Varsity Scout Teams and Venturing Crews), but account for ~60%-70% of fatalities.  Brad Harris (author of Trails to Testimony) said that in 2008, 5 of 8 fatalities were LDS. We're very over-represented in these statistics.  We have to ask ourselves, why?

Reading and following the Guide to Safe Scouting will go a long way toward mitigating risks, whether Camping or Trekking.  A cursory analysis of the above incidents shows clear violations of the Guide, especially concerning water activities. Safety is everyone's responsibility, but lawsuits go after individuals and organizations.

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