“Really, American Cancer Society? For My 14-Year-Old to Walk for Cancer she Needs an Adult Chaperone?”

The infantilization of our kids goes hand in hand with the time-wastification of us parents. Here’s an example from, of all people, the American Cancer Society. Those folks should understand better than anyone that life is short! Don’t waste it on red tape!


http://relay.acsevents.org/site/DocServer/Chaperone_Agreement.pdf?docID=450597

Dear Free-Range Kids:

My daughter is a capable, independent, and responsible 14 year-old.  She babysits.  She’s also empathetic and loves to volunteer. So when she volunteered for the Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society, I was pleased she was supporting a good cause.

But I never imagined that for her to volunteer, it would be so involved…for me.  To even register a team, each time slot (2+hours) is required to have one volunteer chaperone over age 25 per 5 students.  These kids are 14, 15, and 16!

Reluctantly I agreed to take a time slot.  Then I was told,  “You have to attend a mandatory meeting.”  So my teenager can volunteer and I can chaperone her and watch her walk around a track?

I didn’t go to the meeting.  I’m told it took over an hour and could have been summed up in an email (and it was over 30 minutes away!). If we need meetings for how to watch our children, age 14+, walk around a track, count me out.

We are doing something wrong when we require adult supervision and treat capable older teens like babies when they just want to raise money in memory of loved ones.  I think it’s time we raise our expectations for behavior.

~ A Reluctant Chaperone

So here’s some of what the “Chaperone Agreement” says:

The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life requires one chaperone over the age of 21 for every five youth team members. (For this event, a youth is considered anyone under age 18.)

REALLY? A group of ten 17-year-olds need two adults to watch them?

Below that dictum there are another 14 requirements for these over-25-years-old chaperones, many of the rules reminding the adults to act like…adults. Do not discriminate. Do not use illegal drugs. Do not use obscene language.

The baseline assumption seems to be that without a signed agreement like this, the chaperones volunteering to watch a two-hour charity event were going to be drug-snorting, child-abusing, race-baiting a**holes.

So it’s not just the volunteers being insulted, it’s the volunteer-watching volunteers.

The Society also admonishes the chaperones to conduct themselves “courteously in manner and language, exhibit good sportsmanship, serve as a positive role model and demonstrate reasonable conflict resolution skills.”

Mine are dwindling by the sentence. When we (or our lawyers) try to micromanage everyone’s behavior for “safety’s sake,” we can end up treating all the humans we encounter as drooling deviants. To which the drooling deviants may well reply: No thanks. (Drool, drool.) – L.

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Wow, that sure looks like an unruly mob!

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112 Responses to “Really, American Cancer Society? For My 14-Year-Old to Walk for Cancer she Needs an Adult Chaperone?”

  1. Dienne May 9, 2017 at 10:24 am #

    Withdraw and let the American Cancer Society know why. I understand wanting to walk in memory of a loved one, but not when it means insulting, well, pretty much everyone. There are lots of ways to remember a lost loved one and/or support a charity.

  2. SKL May 9, 2017 at 10:37 am #

    Crazy.

    My 10yo has been doing 5ks in the community with all ages for the past year. Exactly what do they think is going to happen to a kid with hundreds or thousands of other fit people surrounding them? I am not a runner so I don’t accompany her, though I hang out at the finish line.

    I went online and asked how people find races for their kids to participate in. Some people suggested “Girls on the Run.” I signed my kid up for the GOTR 5K which is next weekend. They strongly recommend that a parent (or similar) run with the kid. Really? I don’t do 5Ks. And I am NOT going to slow my kid down by forcing her to run with my old creaky self. I will meet my kid at the finish line and I don’t care who doesn’t like it. 😛

  3. pentamom May 9, 2017 at 10:45 am #

    SKL, there’s often a local runner’s club or similar organization that aggregates information like that. Try Googling Mytown 5K 2017 and see what hits you get, or you might find a link to a site that lists them for your area.

    We’ve been entering our kids in 5Ks since age 8 or so, and never once was there a question of just signing them up, with of course the proper parental permission signature on the form, and letting them go. When they were that young generally my husband would run with them, but as long as we felt confident they weren’t likely to get lost off the course or there were other people we knew somewhere around, we didn’t really worry about it. And no race ever required parent or guardian to run, much less run *with* them.

    This is really irritating coming from the Cancer Society — it’s completely unnecessary and it discourages participation.

  4. Marie May 9, 2017 at 10:49 am #

    I wonder if the ACA is trying to maintain a clean event instead of something like the Susan Komen events where “save the ta-tas” is the rallying cry.

    Before anyone jumps to defend anybody, please note that i have not participated in any of these events and my musing above is sort of tongue-in-cheek.

  5. James May 9, 2017 at 11:02 am #

    When I was a kid, a 21-year-old hanging out with a bunch of high schoolers (and let’s be real here, they wouldn’t be chaperoning them–what 17 year old is going to listen to someone 4 years their senior?) was considered creepy, and probably selling alcohol/drugs to the kids. Granted, at a public event like this it’s unlikely to be the case–it’s just a weird observation on the shift in how we view things.

    “I wonder if the ACA is trying to maintain a clean event instead of something like the Susan Komen events where “save the ta-tas” is the rallying cry.”

    It sounds more like corporate boiler-plate to me. I doubt anyone seriously considered it–they just sent the draft of rules to the lawyers, a draft copied directly from 50 other documents, and accepted all the tweaks the lawyers demanded. The mandatory meeting is pretty standard in field work, too, so I’d guess that was just boiler-plate requirements that no one thought too deeply about. Never attribute to malice what can be explained by corporate sloth. 😉

  6. theresa May 9, 2017 at 11:32 am #

    Considering that most have been walking since we were little i really don’t think we adult help to do it. Maybe have a few adults to keep an eye on things and help if it is needed.

  7. John B. May 9, 2017 at 11:52 am #

    When my grand nephew was 16, my niece (his mother) and I wanted to drop him off at the dentist while we did a little shopping (she utilizes student dentists from Marquette University which usually involves a long wait). But as it turns out, we could not leave him there alone because the waiting room policy stipulated that nobody under the age of 18 was allowed unattended within the waiting room. When I asked the receptionist what the logic was behind that rule, she could only reply that it was just their policy.

    This was a typical case of treating older teens like toddlers!

  8. Ravana May 9, 2017 at 12:00 pm #

    I’ve done Relay multiple times and was team leader twice. Let me explain a few things;
    1. Each team has to have a leader and the leader has to be over 21. This is due to the personal information that has to be collected on the team leader as they will be handling lots of other people’s personal information, as well as donations.
    2. Each team leader is expected to attend one organizational meeting that lasts about an hour. At that meeting teams are assigned spots in the campground, t-shirts for team members are handed out, silent auction and day-of activities and sales are announced etc. so you don’t end up with everyone bringing the same things. You don’t just have 300 people show up day-of and expect everything to work without an organizational meeting.
    3. Most towns have a curfew, Relay runs for anywhere from 12 to 24 hours with the most important and moving events happening starting at the midnight candlelight memorial Unless you want your 14 year old to be rousted out by the cops at 11 p.m. (Which our police department did one year) there needs to be an adult who knows them and takes personal responsibility for them.

    BTW. I highly recommend doing Relay. I walked for twelve hours straight, barefoot, with only two bathroom breaks for my donations and it was well worth it.

  9. James Pollock May 9, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

    The Relay for Life is not a race.

    It is a 24-hour event. At any given time, a team may have only one participant walking on the track, or there may be more… teams also hold on-site fundraisers, or gather socially. Some teams have members that come, stay briefly, and go; some people stay for the entire event.

  10. Melissa May 9, 2017 at 12:13 pm #

    “The infantilization of our kids goes hand in hand with the time-wastification of us parents.”

    Best summary ever. It should be your new tagline.

  11. Dienne May 9, 2017 at 12:35 pm #

    So based on what you’re saying, Ravana, Lenore is wrong. One team of 10 kids wouldn’t need 2 chaperones – they’d need 24. That’s just crazy. I understand a requirement to have one adult for the reasons you said, but 24??

  12. lollipoplover May 9, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

    “I walked for twelve hours straight, barefoot, with only two bathroom breaks for my donations and it was well worth it.”

    I’d rather have bees in my hair, honestly.

    Give me a good ol’ Beef and Beer with proceeds going directly to a needy family any day of the week.

    So my daughter is doing this relay for 12 hours on a Saturday at one of our schools. These kids can spend 7-9 hours daily at school, but at 12 hours they turn into heathens?? For my part, I’ve had to drive her to multiple fundraising events (that she worked without any adult supervision quite well) and she’s handled the money (not that hard) they’ve raised as a team. But I have to give up almost 4 hours on a Saturday (because they told us to give ourselves 1 hour for the shuttle each way) so she can volunteer to walk around a middle school track and I can make sure she’s not discriminating against others? This IS bees in my hair….sheesh.

  13. LGB May 9, 2017 at 12:48 pm #

    Addressing this issue more broadly, it has been profoundly difficult to find a volunteer opportunity for my big-hearted 10-year-old without enduring this kind of red tape. I’ve offered to sign liability waivers to quell anyone’s litigiphobia, but to no avail. 🙁 Not even our church will work with her.

  14. Franco B. May 9, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

    I totally agree this is nonsense but its companies, corporations, charities, etc. protect themselves from the very parents whom you write about. If, and I mean “if” something were to happen to these children while on the walk, parents end up causing nothing but grief and headaches by flexing their social media muscle. We are in the “wonderful” world of signing a “waiver” generation. You can’t do anything that is remotely unsafe without signing one.

  15. Dienne May 9, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

    Franco B. – maybe, but on the other hand, by requiring more people to be onsite, they are generating more liability. If Mom sprains her ankle or grandma has heat-stroke or grandpa has a heart attack while they’re supervising Sally, the charity is potentially liable – social-media-wise, if not legally – for that too.

  16. James Pollock May 9, 2017 at 1:18 pm #

    “So based on what you’re saying, Ravana, Lenore is wrong. One team of 10 kids wouldn’t need 2 chaperones – they’d need 24.”

    No, they need 2. You could have 24 chaperones, if you wanted.

    Here you have people who have direct experience with the event, telling you that it doesn’t work the way you think it does, and your response is to tell them that no, no, that can’t be right. Try accepting that the person who has extensive experience with the event knows more about how it works than the person who doesn’t.

    This is an event that draws all ages of participants, down to infants. Those infants are being infantalized! — wait a minute, what? (Note: One of the meanings of “infant”, rarely used today but still preserved in legal writing, is synonymous with “minor”.)

    So, you have a 24-hour-long event (not “a two-hour charity event”) and it’s open to minors of all ages, from 17 years, 364 days down to actual infants, and they have a policy for letting minors participate. Those monsters!

  17. Jennifer C May 9, 2017 at 1:24 pm #

    It seems silly to me to bother teens in the Relay for Life for breaking curfew, when it’s obvious they have a purpose and they’re not just loitering or looking to cause trouble. What about teens that are leaving their jobs at that time of night? My city makes exceptions for those things–or at least they did when I was a teen.

  18. Dienne May 9, 2017 at 1:28 pm #

    “No, they need 2”

    Did you read the original letter – the one from a person who also has direct experience with the event? It clearly says that they need one chaperone per five kids *for every two hour slot*. So if you had ten kids, that would be 2 chaperones *for every two hour slot*. By my math, 2 chaperones times twelve two-hour slots = 24 chaperones. Of course, granted, one chaperone could fill multiple slots, so that’s not necessarily 24 separate people needed. But it is 24 separate slots. It also sounds to me like people aren’t terribly eager to take even one two-hour slot, so getting someone to take multiple two-hour slots is even less likely.

  19. Donna May 9, 2017 at 1:29 pm #

    “These kids can spend 7-9 hours daily at school, but at 12 hours they turn into heathens??”

    Your kids attend a school that doesn’t employ adults who are responsible for supervising the kids damn near every minute of the day? I didn’t know such a thing existed. I little tongue-in-cheek, but attending school where things are highly structured is not even really comparable to kids being completely unsupervised, even if school was 12 hours long.

    I understand why they would require that the team captain be an adult and some adult be present at all times during a 12 hour period. Some parents will insist that the American Cancer Society be accountable for their teens’ coming and goings, issues and personal problems if they don’t. Even if they tell all the parents that they are not going to be responsible for their teens’ comings and goings, issues and personal problems, some parents will expect them to be responsible for these things and become irate when something goes amiss. If I were running the show, I would require an adult to be there with each teen team for no other reason than for me to be able to say your teens’ comings and goings, issues and personal problems are that person’s responsibility, so call him/her when things go amiss in hopes of cutting down on the number of stupidly irate parents I have to deal with. And outside of the rare mini-millionaire, most teens are judgment proof. While there may be some right to recover something from the parent if Jr. does something stupid, it is easier to have a responsible adult to go after.

    However, an adult chaperone per 5 teens sounds like overkill.

  20. Dienne May 9, 2017 at 1:30 pm #

    “…and it’s open to minors of all ages, from 17 years, 364 days down to actual infants, and they have a policy for letting minors participate.”

    And that’s exactly part of the problem. They have *a* policy for minors, which by definition counts someone who is 17 and 364 days exactly the same as someone who is an infant. Tell me how that is *not* infantilizing to the former?

  21. James Pollock May 9, 2017 at 1:39 pm #

    “Addressing this issue more broadly, it has been profoundly difficult to find a volunteer opportunity for my big-hearted 10-year-old without enduring this kind of red tape.”

    You’re shocked that various organizations that rely on volunteer labor don’t want to take your 10-year-old off your hands for a few hours at a time?
    I volunteer in several organizations. I was also a single parent, so wherever I was, so was my daughter. Because of her long volunteer history, they let her volunteer for roles that had an age requirement she didn’t meet. Right now she’s planning on taking a VISTA year between her undergraduate degree and applying to medical school.

    “by requiring more people to be onsite, they are generating more liability. If Mom sprains her ankle or grandma has heat-stroke or grandpa has a heart attack while they’re supervising Sally, the charity is potentially liable”
    Except mostly no. Mom spraining her ankle, grandma having heat-stroke, or grandpa having a heart attack aren’t things the event has liability for. Having something bad happen to you doesn’t mean someone else has to pay you for it.

  22. Donna May 9, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

    It isn’t just a matter of something happening to the children. But also many parents will expect the people running the event to babysit their children. For them to be responsible for their comings and goings and what they do while they are there.

    12 hours is a lot of time for distraction and teens don’t always make wise decisions. Susie may have had the best intentions to walk for 12 hours but then the hot guy her parents won’t let her date swung by and she went off with him for a couple hours thinking she could get away with it, but somehow her parents found out and now they are blowing up the phones of the people who ran the event screaming at them for letting their baby go off with this hoodlum and blasting them on social media.

    Now personally I would blame my child and only my child if she made this choice, but their are lots of parents like Susie’s out there who will insist that Susie is just a child and it is actually the adult in charge who is at fault. If I were running the show, I would give them a different adult to be in charge. If the event makes it clear that they are not responsible for babysitting kids by specifically requiring someone else be present to babysit, Susie’s parents are less likely to attack them.

  23. James Pollock May 9, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

    “Did you read the original letter – the one from a person who also has direct experience with the event?”

    Yes, and, unlike you, I also understood it.

    5 kids, 1 chaperone. 10 kids, 2 chaperones.
    Unless you multiply the 10 kids by 12, you don’t have to multiply the 2 chaperones by 12, either.

    And the “person who also has direct experience with the event” has no experience with the event. It clearly says they didn’t even go to the training meeting.

    “which by definition counts someone who is 17 and 364 days exactly the same as someone who is an infant. Tell me how that is *not* infantilizing to the former?”

    Treating a minor like they’re a minor? Ye Gods, the horror!

    ” It also sounds to me like people aren’t terribly eager to take even one two-hour slot, so getting someone to take multiple two-hour slots is even less likely.”

    Go to an event, and count the kids, and then get back to me about how hard it is to get someone to chaperone kids, K?

    This event has a majority of its participants over 40, because most people who’ve been touched by cancer are older. But there’s no shortage of people who bring their kids (and grandkids).

  24. Jennifer C May 9, 2017 at 2:03 pm #

    “Treating a minor like they’re a minor? Ye Gods, the horror!”

    There’s quite a lot of difference between a 17 year old and an infant. At that age my friends and I were driving ourselves around to places, and we didn’t require chaperoning.

  25. test May 9, 2017 at 2:10 pm #

    @Dienne ” Of course, granted, one chaperone could fill multiple slots, so that’s not necessarily 24 separate people needed. But it is 24 separate slots.”

    If they would split the event into 30 minutes long slots, you would conclude that 96 chaperones are needed? That is an odd way to count things.

    The two hours long slots are likely there to allow adults to switch – so that adult who can not stay or does not want to stay full 12 hours in row can go to work or sleep or even watch tv.

  26. Donna May 9, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

    “Go to an event, and count the kids, and then get back to me about how hard it is to get someone to chaperone kids, K?”

    How many of those kids are being chaperoned by people not participating in the event, as opposed kids who are simply accompanying their parent or grandparent participants? Chaperoning your child’s event is not the same thing as bringing your child along to your own event. It is very possible that despite the number of adults who participate in this event in general, this team comprised exclusively of teens (with the exception of one adult captain) was in fact having difficulty finding chaperones among their family and friends. I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to participate in the Relay for Life and probably even less desire if possible to chaperone my kid while she participates. (Luckily this is not on her list of things she wants to do.)

  27. JulieH May 9, 2017 at 2:28 pm #

    @LGB – Girl Scouts!!!

    A girl does not have to participate in a troop to be a Girl Scout. Girls can want to be volunteers and use Girl Scouts as the means to gain access to that in an age appropriate manner. Councils will offer access to volunteer events. Local organizations will provide access through Girl Scouts. Girls can access “Journey” activities to help them develop awareness and skills to plan their OWN volunteer activities. Girls can implement those activities through working toward a Bronze, Silver, or Gold award (depending on age). Girls can receive training to develop leadership skills at workshops and then volunteer at Girl Scout camp as a Program Aide (appropriate for 10 yo) or Counselor in Training.

    Girl Scouts does have guidelines for adult supervision, girl/adult ratios for safety. Generally speaking, it is meant to provide appropriate help in the event of an emergency or injury. If you have a group of kids, one is injured, you have one adult to go with the injured party and one adult to stay with the remaining group at a minimum. However, many council events will have the proper adult ratio – and if she is an “independent” scout and you speak with the organizer, they will let her join in with another group as long as she provides a permission slip that basically gives key health info (meds and allergies) and how to contact a parent and backup adult.

    This opens doors to even more independent activities within the community. For example, my 12 yo completed a Bronze award project with her friend a few years back. Her mother and I supervised where required. As part of this project, they were in contact with a local business owner. The next summer when that business owner was planning block parties for the town, my dd offered to help by planning an activity station to go along with the themes of the parties. Since the business owner had personally seen her work on the Bronze award project, she said yes. Dd made a point of going early to help set up and staying after to help clean up as well as making sure that she planned her activity and reviewed her plans with the business owner ahead of time for approval. Dd did ask me to come to the event to help her run her station just because it needed more than one person, but I didn’t go early or stay late.

    Now this year, the business owner has invited her to join their planning committee. I am not expected to go to these meetings, and they kindly plan them so that they are finished before it gets too dark for her to safely walk/ride her bike home afterward.

    If not Girl Scouts, then if you take the time to help her establish a relationship with an organization she cares about, the adults there would have the chance to see that she is reliable and helpful and doesn’t require “babysitting” – then your presence will no longer be expected or required.

  28. test May 9, 2017 at 2:38 pm #

    @Jennifer C “There’s quite a lot of difference between a 17 year old and an infant. At that age my friends and I were driving ourselves around to places, and we didn’t require chaperoning.”

    I agree and I would not had any issue with 16 years old attending even like that without adult chaperons. The systems I am used to usually require an adult to sign that these are allowed to participate and that parent has responsibility for their behavior. However, the adult does not have to be present (but is responsible if 16 years old destroys something or drunk and cause damage).

    But, this is event primary for adults and organizers likely don’t want deal with responsibility for children. They don’t care about when exactly they become able/disciplined enough to follow instruction, when they cease to need special handling, they don’t care about when exactly they are able not to get lost or otherwise cause additional work. Hence requirement for adults who are supposed to sort out the above and cut at 18 years old.

    On one hand, I agree that rules are ridiculous. On the other, it should be ok to organize event primary for adults with rules about children that makes it easy and safe and comfortable *for organizers*. This even is not about youngsters learning independence or having good time, it is supposed to be about cancer.
    It would be better if the society as a whole allowed them to have lower age cut off without too much additional work, responsibility or risk, but as is now not just parents would blame them if young person would get into trouble during event. General opinion would be against them in such event.

    In that situation, I understand that wishes and interests of younger demographics or their parents are not primary consideration.

  29. James Pollock May 9, 2017 at 2:47 pm #

    ” At that age my friends and I were driving ourselves around to places, and we didn’t require chaperoning.”

    And, presumably, when the event is over, some of the 17-year-olds will drive themselves away from the event, without chaperones.
    Conversely, my daughter was in the college marching band. They travel to one away football game every year. Guess what they take with them when they do so? And nearly all of them, if not every single one, is over 18. A good number are over 21, even. The chaperones are there to make sure that none of the “kids” does something that will reflect poorly on the university or its band programs.

    Now, let’s apply some common sense. It’s a challenge, but let’s try.
    One approach that eliminates this problem is to simply not allow minors to participate or be present at the event. Does anyone think that’s better? No?

    Can we just let anyone show up, of whatever age, and we’ll just take care of any problems they cause, because we have lots and lots of free time and resources to devote to it? No?

    OK… the simple solutions are out. Just having no kids, and just having no rules, both are unworkable. So how many different sets of rules should they have? One for teens, and one for pre-teens? But what if my 12-year-old is as responsible as any 13-year-old? Waaaa! Stop infantalizing! OK, then, one set of rules for kids in high-school, one for kids in middle school, and one for younger kids? Nope. You’re treating 12-yearolds like infants! OK, fine. We’ll have one set of rules for each age. Wait, now you’re taking my daughter, who started school early, out of her peer group and dropping her in with kids that are a year behind her in school.

    No matter how you divide it up, there’s always SOMEONE who’s being unfairly discriminated against. Rather than having a whole bunch of subcategories, and entertaining all the complaints about how some special snowflake should get special treatment, they just have one rule… the kids gotta have an adult present who can deal with it if there’s a problem. Yikes. What an imposition.

  30. Papilio May 9, 2017 at 2:58 pm #

    When I was 11, my friend and I participated in a beach walk to see the sunrise, probably around this time of year. It involved us getting up at like 4 and cycling ourselves to the train station. I still remember sitting outside the train station waiting for the bus for what seemed like forever because it was so cold!
    And now American 17-year-olds cannot walk indoors on a track for a while, in the middle of the day?

    “one volunteer chaperone over age 25 per 5 students. These kids are 14, 15, and 16!”

    And then one 15-year-old brings her 25-year-old boyfriend and you’ll see they’re STILL not happy! 😛

  31. lollipoplover May 9, 2017 at 3:01 pm #

    “this is event primary for adults and organizers likely don’t want deal with responsibility for children.”

    Since when are 14, 15, and 16 year-olds “children”? They are teenagers! Seriously, if we can’t have basic expectations for behavior and need to require supervision for older teenagers on school property because the event is for *adults*, when can we expect them to behave like adults?
    We want to make the adults accountable for a 16 year-old’s behavior, when do kids ever have personal accountability for their own behavior?

  32. James Pollock May 9, 2017 at 3:08 pm #

    “How many of those kids are being chaperoned by people not participating in the event, as opposed kids who are simply accompanying their parent or grandparent participants?”

    Who cares, and why should they?

    You’re also conflating “kids who are there because their parents are there” and “Kids who are participants as well as their parents/grandparents”, although admittedly there’s not much reason to worry about this distinction, either.

    ” I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to participate in the Relay for Life”
    OK. So don’t.

  33. James Pollock May 9, 2017 at 3:22 pm #

    “And now American 17-year-olds cannot walk indoors on a track for a while, in the middle of the day?”

    Except these events are outdoors, most participants are not on the track at any given time, and they event runs 24 hours, you’ve got it perfectly.

    “Since when are 14, 15, and 16 year-olds “children”? They are teenagers!”

    Yes, 14, 15, and 16-year-olds are teenagers. They are not adults. They are not self-sufficient, independent beings; they remain dependent on parents (and society) for many if not most of their basic needs.

    Here’s a quick test:
    Would it be OK with you if I showed up with a bunch of 14, 15, and 16 year olds, turned them loose at your house, and I’m taking off and leaving you to deal with them… I’ll be back to pick them up tomorrow, and in the meantime, you’re responsible for any trouble… whether done to or by this pack of “kids”? I mean, I’ll be sure to sternly tell them that I expect responsible adult behavior out of all of them before I disappear over the horizon.
    Oh, and you’re going to want to figure out a way to tell the teenagers I left with you from any others that just turn up on their own, because those are yours to deal with, too.

  34. Dingbat May 9, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

    @Dienne

    If you want a good example of what I am talking about look at Trevor MacDonald, a Canadian Trans activist who had a baby a few years ago. He created a huge stir over the midwives association only having language about womens reproductive health, as well as expectant and birthing mothers in their guidelines. He suggested the language be removed and made more inclusive and several midwives took issues with this. They saw it as an ethical/professional dilemma.

    One of the things I found most striking when reading Trevor’s call to action/arm in HuffPo was a comment from one of his friends, another trans male who had recently given birth. He was devastated that his incredibly kind, professional, inclusive, and welcoming midwife who had used appropriate language and done nothing but made him feel welcome and at ease was “transphobic”. Yes, transphobic. Why was she transphobic? Because she signed the petition of midwives who saw the request as an ethical dilemma. Especially considering the rarity of trans patients. (Believe it or not… we’ve all be aware of appropriate language usage for years).

    He and many others who read Trevor’s article than descended upon the midwives association and put intense pressure on them, as Trevor requested, and started demonizing all as Transphobic.

    You’ll see a few rouge fact checking sites that no one has heard of saying there was no pressure to change the language, but you can find several direct articles from Trevor saying otherwise. In the end, due to compromise, one section of their guidelines was changed/completely reworded.

    You’ll also find discussions on Snopes about the British Health Orgs recent guide that suggested doctors use pregnant persons to be more inclusive, as if many are not already doing this in the rare situations where it is applicable. The guides are framed as… you can continue using the archaic language about expectant mothers or you be inclusive and start using pregnant people! (Shame, shame, shame… it’s just a suggestion from those who love to control and change the language be it expectant mothers or prostitution, and shame you until it takes hold in society lest you deemed a horrible human).

    You can also find a string of articles about feminine products needing to be totally reworked, have all mention of women removed, and supply vague neutral color packaging. It was not that long ago that people requested it be removed from plain paper packing and have references to women added instead of it being treated as a shameful secret.

  35. Donna May 9, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

    “Who cares, and why should they?”

    People responding to your comment that it couldn’t be hard for a team of teens to find the necessary chaperones because more adults than children take part in this event as if the two things have any relationship to each other. Because your comment about the general age makeup of the participants was completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand per usual and it is fun to call you on it.

  36. SKL May 9, 2017 at 3:46 pm #

    I just checked at my favorite place to volunteer (our nearby National Park). Ages up to 15 are to be accompanied by adults; age 16-17 need a signature. This is for a variety of physical tasks using tools etc.

    When I was a kid, we had community gardens about a mile from home. I don’t know if there was an “unaccompanied” age limit or not, but if there was, it was definitely somewhere in elementary school. We worked with adult “strangers” and used handheld farming tools. And ate our produce (without USDA testing). Of course that was about 40 years ago ….

  37. SKL May 9, 2017 at 3:49 pm #

    James P, you describe a kiddy sleepover and ask if we are OK with it. The answer is, yes, to the extent anyone is OK with sleepovers. ???

    If I didn’t want random teens showing up at my house, I simply would not let them in. But then I’m not running a volunteer event. ???

  38. James Pollock May 9, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

    “People responding to your comment that it couldn’t be hard for a team of teens to find the necessary chaperones because more adults than children take part in this event as if the two things have any relationship to each other. ”

    Huhwut?

    Are you responding to the comment you wish I’d made instead of to the one I actually made?

    “If I didn’t want random teens showing up at my house, I simply would not let them in. But then I’m not running a volunteer event.”

    But you want to tell the people who are, how to do it?

  39. Vicki Bradley May 9, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

    People, don’t engage JP – he’s the ultimate know-it-all naysayer who thinks he has to win every argument, and it’s pointless trying to beat him at his petty game.

  40. WendyW May 9, 2017 at 4:25 pm #

    Good grief! Twenty yrs ago my 10yo wanted to volunteer at a veterinarian’s office because she thought that would be a cool line of work to consider. A few phone calls from me to several different vets. One visit to meet the staff at the office that said yes. She was there one afternoon a week for the whole summer. No legal BS. No chaperone. And this was a business involving meds, needles, and animals with teeth. Our world has not changed for the better in this regard.

  41. James May 9, 2017 at 4:37 pm #

    “I’ve done Relay multiple times and was team leader twice. Let me explain a few things;”

    Thanks for the explanation, Ravana. It definitely sounds like the mandatory meeting was MUCH more practical than I’m used to! It sounds like a good way to allow people to become more involved if they want, too–start by just walking, then become a team leader, then move up the ranks.

    Given what you’ve said, I wonder if some of the concern isn’t terminology. If the event said that every group of X people had to designate a leader, who had to be >21 (sorry folks, insurance and liability and whatnot), that would probably smooth some ruffled feathers. It would fulfill the intent without singling out any individual group–ALL groups would have to comply with this. And I’m not saying “You must change this to make us happy!!!” Rather, I’m wondering if the advertising for this particular, local event didn’t adequately convey the message you did.

    It also seems that the mother was overwhelmed by the expectations placed on her. Which is fair enough–she didn’t choose to participate in this event, her daughter did. I think some additional effort on the part of the organizers could mitigate that. Not every team is going to be at capacity, and matching people with teams seems like one of the things that the organizers should assume they need to do. I’m not talking about a huge effort here; one of the folks involved is almost certainly a teacher, and putting a sign-up sheet for the kids in the office would be more than adequate. They simply needed some mechanism to let parents know they weren’t obliged to be the team leader.

    “It isn’t just a matter of something happening to the children. But also many parents will expect the people running the event to babysit their children. For them to be responsible for their comings and goings and what they do while they are there.”

    Well…..yeah, that’s kind of what running an event is. You’re responsible for controlling the crowd–to make sure the crowd doesn’t do things that they aren’t supposed to, for making sure all key people are where they need to be when they need to be there, etc. This isn’t treating anyone as children; this is precisely what management of field projects in environmental science is. If one of my team–all adults–does something stupid, they don’t get the phone call. *I* do. It’s my job to keep that from happening. This isn’t baby-sitting; it’s management.

    Some parents take it too far, sure. They expect the event organizers to be the morality police and the like. But abuse does not negate use, and when dealing with anyone you have to adjust your expectations. Managing a group of 50-year-olds is vastly different from managing 21-year-olds, which is different from managing 17-year-olds, which is different from managing 8-year-olds.

  42. Donna May 9, 2017 at 4:42 pm #

    “Since when are 14, 15, and 16 year-olds ‘children’?

    There may have been a time when adulthood began at 13, but it isn’t within the last couple hundred years.

    “They are teenagers!”

    “Teenager” is just a modern term used to distinguish a subset of children. It does not remove them from being children anymore than “infant,” “toddler” or “tween” indicates anything other that a smaller age subset within the overall category of children.

    “We want to make the adults accountable for a 16 year-old’s behavior, when do kids ever have personal accountability for their own behavior?”

    You don’t get to demand that other people must relinquish their right to hold you accountable for your minor’s behavior. You can allow your child as much freedom as you want with your own dime and in your own time. But when it is their dime and their time, they can continue to hold you accountable until they can no longer legally do so.

  43. lollipoplover May 9, 2017 at 4:59 pm #

    @Donna- Except “their dime” implies a cost and these kids are raising money for the charity simply by participating. Placing these extra demands on good kids involved in charity really doesn’t make sense to me. I get the CYA here, but it makes you wonder how much of the money raised actually goes to the families who need it and how much is spent on pushing papers arounaround and administrative bureaucracy with these rigid rules.

  44. James Pollock May 9, 2017 at 5:31 pm #

    “Except “their dime” implies a cost and these kids are raising money for the charity simply by participating.”

    No, they aren’t.

    Teams have fundraising targets… Fundraising happens before the event, and there’s a little bit of it at the event. But A) teams don’t raise funds by showing up, and B) teams aren’t excluded if they miss their fundraising targets.

    My former employer got involved after a co-worker died suddenly and unexpectedly of lung cancer. The employer put up the fundraising target for our team, and we then put out collection jars asking our customers for donations. Relay teams at the event I went to fell into two broad categories… workplace teams, where all the team members worked at the same place, and family teams, where all of the team members were honoring a family member.

  45. lollipoplover May 9, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

    @James Pollock-

    My daughter had to raise $600 for her team to participate ($50 per person). The kids are the ones bringing in the revenue at this school event. I understand they aren’t raising money at the event…they are walking. And apparently, being highly supervised per every 5 kids.

    She’s done other fundraisers at school that were all day (the basketball charity team fundraiser for local families was a big one). Never have we been required to volunteer to chaperone for a charity event.

  46. Betsy Murgatroyd May 9, 2017 at 6:24 pm #

    I was doing walk and bike athons back when I was a little kid (7-10) and nothing ever happened to me. There were checkpoints, you had water and Gatoraid, fruit and cookies and at the halfway mark they had lunch. Everyone did this every year and I didn’t need my mother to walk with me. Adults and teens walked alone and in groups and people talked and made new friends. This was long before the Walkman was a thing.

    I expect now kids would not have been as fortunate as I was.

  47. James May 9, 2017 at 6:47 pm #

    “There may have been a time when adulthood began at 13, but it isn’t within the last couple hundred years.”

    No culture I know of believed a human to be fully adult at 13. 16 was common. A few cultures have had a ceremony that nominally transitioned kids from “boy” to “man”, but they were still de facto considered children (women have a more obvious biological transition–once they could bear kids, they were mothers and expected to act like it in most cultures).

    Well, I take that back. The navy in the 1700s/1800s (I’m most familiar with European navies of that time period) did enter midshipmen into their books at that age, or even younger. They were expected to be officers, to lead men–often into battle. But even there they were treated as children, with many captains shipping a schoolmaster to teach them while they were deployed.

    The issue is, the dichotomy between “child” and “adult” is false. Every culture has realized–for obvious reasons–that humans need a transitional period between carefree childhood and full maturity. The official concept of “teenager” is a modern one, but societies have generally accepted a pretty long period of time where young adults/old children were given increasing freedom but weren’t held fully responsible for their actions. We see it in our culture still–things that would be a crime if done by a 45 year old are treated much more mildly if committed by a 21 year old. Or look at insurance. I’m almost out of the “maximum risk, why would anyone ever let him on the road?” category for age. Also legally, minors CAN be tried as adults in certain situations.

    The whole point is to give people in puberty and a bit beyond a chance to learn how to be adults, without blasting them to smithereens when they screw up. Because we all know they WILL screw up. So yeah, it’s justifiable to give a 16 year old a fair amount of responsibility, and not hold the parent accountable for it. It’s also reasonable to hold the parent accountable to a certain extent. It’s a complex issue (it’s biology; it can’t NOT be complicated), one that our current culture doesn’t allow us to adequately address.

  48. James Pollock May 9, 2017 at 6:51 pm #

    “The kids are the ones bringing in the revenue at this school event. I understand they aren’t raising money at the event…they are walking. And apparently, being highly supervised per every 5 kids.”

    If it bothers you that much, don’t go. Put on your own event, with whatever rules you find palatable. Or work with the local RfL organizers, to craft different rules more to your liking. Or choose a different cause to support with your time, effort, and money. Or just complain to people who may or may not listen with sympathy, but who are absolutely powerless to change any of the things you don’t like.

    Your call.

  49. donald May 9, 2017 at 7:17 pm #

    I was a mechanical draftsman. We always use worst first thinking – sort of. We do things such as design oxygen masks that fall from the ceiling if an airplane loses cabin pressure. Lawyers do the same. “Ok Cancer Society, you want insurance for your fundraiser? It will cost $$$$. However, if you treat your volunteers that are 17 as if the were 9 years old, it will only cost $$.

    Let’s complain. Er no wait. People complain so often about EVERYTHING (no matter how pedantic) that it drowns out the legitimate complaints in the white noise! Nobody hears it. We need to also praise the insurance companies that do the right thing. Businesses LOVE positive feedback and will go out of their way to get it.

    “Well done ABC Insurance company! Thanks to you, teenagers are not treated as though they are 9. This is a breath of fresh air! They usually are and this is why they reach adult age without achieving adult mentality. Thank you, ABC Insurance for helping children to reach adulthood”!

  50. SKL May 9, 2017 at 7:55 pm #

    I personally think walkathons and most other athons are dumb, but now that I think about it, my kid sister used to participate. When she was 5yo she did our local bike-a-thon, 10 miles on her 16″ sidewalk bike “Speedy.” By herself! Also at 5 she did a read-athon where SHE went door to door and got sponsorships, and then went back and collected. She raised a lot of $$ because most people didn’t think she would do many miles / books, so they pledged a high amount per book / mile. 😛

  51. Gina May 9, 2017 at 8:00 pm #

    In 1972, I walked 20 miles around Long Island for the March of Dimes Marathon. I was 14. I was with a bunch of other 14-17 year old friends. We had a blast. We had no supervision. We all survived!

  52. test May 10, 2017 at 2:06 am #

    @lollipoplover “Seriously, if we can’t have basic expectations for behavior and need to require supervision for older teenagers on school property because the event is for *adults*, when can we expect them to behave like adults? We want to make the adults accountable for a 16 year-old’s behavior, when do kids ever have personal accountability for their own behavior?”

    My point is that organizers don’t really want to care about this sort of questions. They want safe number to put as age limit and forget about the both child development and legal responsibility for minors thing. We tend to think about rules like this in terms of child development and in terms of what we want our children do, but non parents just don’t care about either (nor should they be expected to).

    They also don’t care all that much about who is to be blamed (or accountable) when things don’t go smoothy, as long as it is not them. They want things to go smoothly as planned with minimum effort – which is still a lot of work. Holding someone accountable is just more work for them, they want participants to follow rules and not to screw anything up in the first place. 16 years old are are more likely to cause trouble then 40 years old no matter how accountable you plan to hold them.

    That is my reading of these rules – 1 chaperon over 25 years old per 5 youngsters seems like a rule designed to minimize young teams while not cutting them off entirely.

    I think that it makes perfect sense to ask them about reasons for rules and negotiate changes (perhaps for the next year) if possible. I am pretty sure less strict rules can be made with zero impact on organization. But it does not make sense to expect them to provide fine tuned accountability lessons for youth. This is likely about young people being seen as higher maintenance then adults.

  53. Willow May 10, 2017 at 2:15 am #

    When I was in junior high in the early 1970s, a few friends and I would do the March of Dimes Walkathons. These were 20-mile walks that took us all over the city. With street crossings. And traffic. And the only “chaperones” were the adults working the check-in stations, about 5 along the route, so your sponsors would know you walked the whole way. And we were fine. Now the kids need chaperones to walk around a track? That’s absurd.

  54. James Pollock May 10, 2017 at 8:38 am #

    “When I was in junior high in the early 1970s, a few friends and I would do the March of Dimes Walkathons. These were 20-mile walks that took us all over the city. {…} Now the kids need chaperones to walk around a track?”

    It’s like the difference between night and day…

  55. SKL May 10, 2017 at 8:49 am #

    I wonder if this constant supervision up to age 18 has any connection with the horrible things people do to each other in frat houses etc. once they are supposedly “adults.”

    The other day on a discussion board, somebody compared infant vaccine injuries to allergic reactions to alcohol. The whole “you can decide not to drink it if you are an adult” needed to be pointed out.

  56. Jennifer C May 10, 2017 at 9:12 am #

    Quite frankly I see no reason why older teens can’t function as chaperones themselves. I was a junior camp counselor when I was fifteen one summer and had a friend at sixteen who worked as a lifeguard at an apartment complex.

  57. James May 10, 2017 at 9:43 am #

    “I was a mechanical draftsman. We always use worst first thinking – sort of.”

    There are a few differences, though. First and foremost, you’re dealing with inanimate objects, not people–so failures are easier to predict, and you don’t have the issue of training (you can’t train an oxygen mask).

    Plus, in some cases failure can be catastrophic. If a bridge fails, or a joint holding a piece of a machine fails, or whatnot, people could die. In situations where failure is catastrophic, sure, we use worst-first thinking among humans–on my job the critical deliverables are checked by no less than three people before they go out the door, and often more, on the premise that I’m going to make mistakes. I usually don’t, but that caveat proves the importance of this. Difference is, a mistake on my part costs my client millions of dollars, could cost us the client, and has the very real possibility of poisoning the water supply for two cities and a national park. These kids are participating–not even organization, but merely taking part in–a charity. If they fail the consequences aren’t exactly astronomical.

    Before someone says “What if they’re kidnapped?” I will point out that our infrastructure is actively falling apart (you only read about a few instances in the newspapers/blogs; there’s a lot more going on), and typos are a common occurrence. The situations I’m dealing with aren’t focused on threats less likely than being struck by lightning as you win the lottery; these situations are either inevitable at some point in time (such as mechanical failure) or fairly likely (human error in documentation).

  58. James May 10, 2017 at 9:47 am #

    “I wonder if this constant supervision up to age 18 has any connection with the horrible things people do to each other in frat houses etc. once they are supposedly “adults.””

    I doubt it. For a few reasons. First, historically frat houses are pretty mild these days. They’re still fairly wild in comparison to other social groups, but in the past they were just as bad if not worse. Second, it’s not just frat houses. I’ve read stories of soldiers in various wars throughout the 20th century, and it’s pretty similar: you put a bunch of young men in one place, hopped up on testosterone, and give them a fair amount of freedom, and you get the same results. Doesn’t matter if you’re in a frat house or a conscript; this appears to be a male thing rather than a generational one.

  59. test May 10, 2017 at 10:02 am #

    @James Guys who went through mandatory military service (no real war) years ago reported a lot of serious bullying going on too. The freedom part is not necessary for it to happen. I think it has more to do with victim having no where to go and nowhere to complain.

    Through, I would not be too optimistic about women being total angels in similar set up. Bullying and maltreatment among girls exist too, through it tend to be less straightforward violence and more of indirect aggression (ostracization, destruction of your property when you are not there and similar stuff). The one real bullying I have seen when I was young in camp was group of girls literally forcing another one to wash their socks etc or else they will beat her. Somehow they also managed to convince other kids in camp that the victim is the weird one.

  60. lollipoplover May 10, 2017 at 10:50 am #

    “Holding someone accountable is just more work for them, they want participants to follow rules and not to screw anything up in the first place.”

    Which was my question in the first place, why can’t all attendees be held to the same standard of conduct/behavior? Most places I go these days (lots of sports and games), it’s the ADULTS that screw things up for the kids (still thinking about the douchebag dad that yelled at a teenage umpire last night at girl’s softball game).

    And speaking of more work…more chaperones means more people, more cars, more shuttles, more liability, and seems to ME like that is more work than telling participants to be responsible citizens, period- and being that they are volunteering an entire Saturday and donating money for the privilege of walking, I think the chaperone requirement is worst-first thinking and rather silly. I’d still rather contribute to a beef and beer any day over this nonsense.

  61. James May 10, 2017 at 11:21 am #

    “Guys who went through mandatory military service (no real war) years ago reported a lot of serious bullying going on too. The freedom part is not necessary for it to happen.”

    Well, “freedom” is vague. The article I read was about Nazi conscripts (meaning folks who were drafted–often from countries captured by Germany–and who weren’t involved in any of the nastiness associated with the Nazi rule). Most of them were peasant farmers or members of poor city families; this was their first experience with both leisure time AND 50 other males with whom they could make plans for said leisure time. Supervised, sure, but the CO had his own concerns and couldn’t babysit the kids (some were VERY young).

    “Through, I would not be too optimistic about women being total angels in similar set up.”

    No arguments here–nothing I said should be taken as saying anything about women. I just don’t know enough about female groups to comment on them. I’ve got experience being a male, and literature doesn’t do a fantastic job of portraying female-dominated groups. History nearly completely ignores them, or (such as the females in Trafalgar) paints the picture of women living by the codes of conduct established for/by men.

  62. test May 10, 2017 at 11:33 am #

    @lollipoplove I think that standard for behaviour is similar, but generally speaking, if you tell adults to be somewhere at certain time, leave within 20 minutes or go in certain direction, they are more likely to comply. Not all of them, but statistically. 15 years old are more likely to forget about time and then not be there, not leave at time or go straight when they were supposed to turn right. So you spend more time sending them away from where they should not be.

    None of that is necessary rowdy or bad behavior, just that you get less chaos when you organize adults (in general not for every single adult). Good team leader in work does not have the same behavior as good high school teacher and organizing camp for adults and teenagers is much different.

    I really think that this standard is either meant to be discouraging and basically elimitate impact of teenagers presence, or whoever made it simply did not thought about them.

  63. Donna May 10, 2017 at 12:06 pm #

    “Except “their dime” implies a cost and these kids are raising money for the charity simply by participating.”

    By “their dime,” I meant that they are ultimately financially responsible for any issues. For example, if some participants throw bricks through the school windows, the American Cancer Society is ultimately responsible for the damages. If they can ID the people involved, they can defer the cost onto them, but if they can’t or the perpetrators refuse to pay, they still have to fix the windows. And probably find a different location for their fundraiser next year.

    And before you say, “my kids would never” (a) some kids would and (b) sometimes even your kids will do stupid things that surprise you.

  64. Donna May 10, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

    “She’s done other fundraisers at school that were all day (the basketball charity team fundraiser for local families was a big one). Never have we been required to volunteer to chaperone for a charity event.”

    That was certainly their choice. Chaperones are the American Cancer Society’s choice. Just like my house has different rules than your house, each entity will have different rules than others. You don’t get to come into my house and insist that my rules are stupid and not nurturing your children’s independence sufficiently for you. You just get to decide whether to come to my house and follow my rules or not.

    I am not sure where you got the idea that every entity in society has a duty to help you teach your children the proper personal accountability lessons at the time that you desire. Encouraging your child’s personal growth is not actually the function of the American Cancer Society or the Relay for Life. Their function is to raise money for cancer research as smoothly and easily as possible. If they believe that they can best meet their goals by requiring chaperones for all minors, then that is what they are going to do. Other organizations may take a different view on encouraging youth growth. Other events may be designed in such a way that they feel there is enough oversight without requiring additional chaperones. Ultimately, your only real power in any of this is to pick and choose which organizations your children volunteer their time with so that those organizations align with your personal goals for your family.

  65. Jennifer C May 10, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

    Call me crazy, but I really find it hard to believe that a child/teen would go through all the trouble of signing up and finding sponsors for the walk, only to act like a juvenile delinquent on the day of the walk. Are there any actual reports of this ever happening?

  66. lollipoplover May 10, 2017 at 12:45 pm #

    “I am not sure where you got the idea that every entity in society has a duty to help you teach your children the proper personal accountability lessons at the time that you desire.”

    Yeah, that’s not what I am saying at all.
    I just think as a society we’ve become accustomed to these type of rules and calling them into question doesn’t mean I expect anyone to teach my kids life lessons.

    So a 16 year-old who DRIVES to the relay that day…they need a chaperone to walk. They can be licensed to drive a 3,000 lb. liability, but need to be watched on a school track. Still don’t get it, like the requirement to supervise kids at sports practices.

    I KNOW the goal is to raise money…I also know this will be her last year doing it. She’s helped other charities in this past with far less bureaucracy and stringent requirements so no worries, we are a once and done family and I won’t say another word about teenagers and how “things are different now”.

  67. Donna May 10, 2017 at 12:48 pm #

    “You’re responsible for controlling the crowd–to make sure the crowd doesn’t do things that they aren’t supposed to, for making sure all key people are where they need to be when they need to be there, etc.”

    This involves managing the event, not managing the life of the participants during the event. This is an event that last 12 hours long. The nature of it is that people float in and out. A team is supposed have at least one member on the track at all times, but it can be different people and people can choose to participate for an hour, all 12 or anywhere in between. Each participant can take breaks as they see fit. Nobody is keeping track of an individual’s comings and goings from the track or the event itself. A team may have a set schedule for walkers, but the event runners are not privy to this schedule, nor do they care.

    Contrast that to the expectations for some parents that their kids will be attended to during the event. That the event runners will be responsible for keeping their children at the event location for all 12 hours. That they will make sure they take breaks. Make sure they put on sunscreen. Make sure they stay hydrated. And fed. In essence, babysitting them.

    While lollipoplover may not have these expectations of the event, I know many parents who would, especially that first one of making sure their kids are staying at the event location for the entire 12 hours. And many kids I knew as a teen would have taken advantage of having 12 hours of complete freedom to engage in some antics that may not pass parental approval.

  68. Jennifer C May 10, 2017 at 12:53 pm #

    While there should be medical people at events like this making sure that participants stay hydrated, and taking care of anyone who shows signs of heat exhaustion or other issues, your average teenager does not require a babysitter. Most teens 13 and up are capable of babysitting other children.

  69. Roger the Shrubber May 10, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

    Who knew that a charity walk was such a magnet for teenage hooliganism?

  70. Donna May 10, 2017 at 1:08 pm #

    “They can be licensed to drive a 3,000 lb. liability, but need to be watched on a school track.”

    This is as crazy logic as Old Mike Tang’s insistence that because his child did not break the curfew law, he couldn’t possibly be guilty of child endangerment. The two things have nothing to do with each other. The age at which the state has determined that you can drive a car, has absolutely nothing to do with determining the age at which a completely separate organization has to assume liability for another person.

    The rule has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with believing that 16 year olds are incapable of walking around a track without a babysitter. It has to do with not wanting to take liability for minors for 12 hours. Nothing more. It is not a statement as to the capabilities of the minor. It is a statement as to the risk they are willing to accept.

    Are you equally outraged by all the fact that car rental companies won’t rent cars to 16 year olds? How about employers that will not hire 16 year olds to make deliveries for them (18 is the minimum that can get hired around here for deliveries)? Both of these are simply assumption of risk decisions, not commentaries on the abilities of youth.

  71. Jennifer C May 10, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

    “And many kids I knew as a teen would have taken advantage of having 12 hours of complete freedom to engage in some antics that may not pass parental approval.”

    If you don’t trust your teen to be able to moderate their own behavior without a caregiver breathing down their neck 24/7, when exactly do you plan on trusting them? But seriously I still doubt that your average teen is going ‘Oh goody, a twelve-hour walk without my parents–you bring the bricks and I’ll bring the toilet paper’.

  72. Emily May 10, 2017 at 1:47 pm #

    Okay. I held off for a while, but my thought on this policy is, it’s a great way to squelch the philanthropic spirit out of young people. High school students might want to help a charity out of the kindness of their hearts–in the case of the Relay for Life, the letter writer’s daughter wants to do it to honour the memory of a loved one. Volunteering and charity work can be, for a lot of young people, their first foray into participating in society in a somewhat “adult” manner–for me, it began with volunteering at the YMCA when I was twelve. By 25 years old (which seems like an absurdly high cut-off, because a lot of people finish their first round of university around 22 or 23), people are either working full-time, or actively pursuing full-time employment. They may have started families, and be too busy caring for infants/toddlers/preschoolers, to be able to volunteer at Relay for Life, either of their own accord, or as “chaperones” for younger people. I have a good friend with a three-year-old son, and I can tell you without even asking her, that participating in an event like Relay for Life would be out of the question. Even by 18, most people are enrolled in college or university, or working somewhere, and might not have the time or the inclination to do something like this either. If nothing else, a lot of high schools require a certain number of community service hours for students to graduate, (here in Ontario, it’s 40), so an event like Relay for Life would make a huge dent in that.

    So, in that regard, I think that the American Cancer Society has just shot itself in the foot by cutting off a lot of potential volunteers (because I’m sure there are many, many more young people who want to volunteer, than aged-25+ adults who are willing to chaperone them), and it’s also really turning young people off from volunteering altogether, because the message here is, “You can make a difference–but not without a chaperone.” So, if you wait until people are adults, to encourage them to volunteer, I think that’s too late.

  73. Donna May 10, 2017 at 1:56 pm #

    “While there should be medical people at events like this making sure that participants stay hydrated”

    No. They may occasionally remind people to stay hydrated at these long events, but nobody is going to somehow “make sure” you stay hydrated. What does that even entail? Stopping the race every so often and insisting that everyone must drink?

    ” your average teenager does not require a babysitter. Most teens 13 and up are capable of babysitting other children.”

    That is YOUR view. All people in the world do not agree with you. I know people who still hire babysitters for their 13 year olds. Honestly, I am not keen on the idea of 13 and 14 year olds being unsupervised for 12 hours. I know many 15 and 16 year olds who shouldn’t be left unsupervised for 12 hours. When it comes to participation in events such as this, it is really going to depend on the teen.

    But the thing about organizations such as this is that they have to write rules for EVERYONE, not just you. They are not going to make this decision on a case-by-case basis. They are not going to give teens responsibility tests. They are also not necessarily going to put the decision in the hands of the parents and trust that no parents will sign up a teen not prepared for the responsibility. Hell, when I was a teen, every one of my friend’s parents were clueless about the things their kids were doing about 80% of the time. I can list about a hundred things that my mother would still to this day swear that I would never do that I did as a teen. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing; but it indicates that parents may not be the best barometers of the behavior of their children when not with them.

  74. Jennifer C May 10, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

    “No. They may occasionally remind people to stay hydrated at these long events, but nobody is going to somehow “make sure” you stay hydrated. What does that even entail? Stopping the race every so often and insisting that everyone must drink?”

    No, that means providing free bottles of water, which is generally what they do at these events. I once helped out in a medical tent for a charity marathon in 80 degree weather. Most teens are capable of navigating a bottle of water, trust me. And who are these teens you know who still require babysitters? I was watching a pair of four-year old twins practically every Friday night by the time I was twelve and a half, then I’d take the money the next day to meet my friends at the mall for shopping and maybe a movie.

  75. Bryan May 10, 2017 at 2:13 pm #

    Think about it, of all the money that has been raised over the years, billions, why is there not a cure for cancer? Because there is too much money to be made from it! There will never be a cure as long as this much money can be made from it. All these people making all these rules is profiting from it also.

    Find another legitimate charity that will use the money wisely and not pay someone to come up with stupid rules.

  76. Jennifer C May 10, 2017 at 2:21 pm #

    @Bryan, because cancer is not just one disease, there is never going to be ‘a single cure’ for all cancers. And there has been a lot of progress made, and a lot of people going into remission and staying there– and going on to lead productive lives. And I personally know a lot of these people–many family and friends.

  77. Donna May 10, 2017 at 2:35 pm #

    “If you don’t trust your teen to be able to moderate their own behavior without a caregiver breathing down their neck 24/7, when exactly do you plan on trusting them? But seriously I still doubt that your average teen is going ‘Oh goody, a twelve-hour walk without my parents–you bring the bricks and I’ll bring the toilet paper’.”

    Oh good god, have all of you had your memories removed since your teenage years? I was an incredibly responsible, straight-A, somewhat nerdy teen who hung out with a group of other incredibly responsible, straight-A, somewhat nerdy teens and I STILL can list many of unauthorized and pretty stupid things that I did as a teen. Let’s see, there was: riding on the hood of cars, riding on the roof of cars, riding on the windows of cars, allowing people to try to jump into the car Dukes of Hazard style but with the car moving, drinking to the point of passing out, smoking weed, doing acid, doing ecstasy, driving under the influence, stealing someone’s lawn ornaments and taking pictures of them around town, shop lifting from a store on a dare, dine and dash (that was more accidental than intentional), conning someone to fill in for me during a debate so I could disappear for a couple hours to hook up with one of the other debaters, that was after we stayed up all night drinking and playing poker, sneaking into a quarry to go swimming in the middle of the night, cheating on an exam, and much more. Yes, I have TP’d houses. I did once break someone’s window, but that was with my foot, not a brick, and was accidental. I did give someone stitches by throwing a rock that accidentally hit them in the head though. And I did not have to sneak out or lie about where I was spending the night like all my friends did just about every weekend, but I did often help concoct their plans.

    Frankly, I live in a college town of a major state university. This is not a particularly easy university to get into so these kids are good students with no substantial history of discipline issues. They do some bat-shit crazy stuff. The things I hear about in court are nothing compared to the stories of my friend who is a local ER nurse. The story of the group of friends who put a cellphone in the rectum of another friend and then called her on it making her think she was hearing voices is still my favorite, but my friend regales me with new entertaining stories every time I see her. And we are only hearing a small fraction of what is going on since most stays out of both court and the ER.

    The fact is that the young do stupid things. If the American Cancer Society wants to try to limit the possibilities, so be it. I would not encourage my child to participate in their walks because I don’t want to chaperone her, but I am not going to get upset about their rules either.

  78. Donna May 10, 2017 at 2:36 pm #

    “And who are these teens you know who still require babysitters?”

    I didn’t say they still REQUIRED a babysitter. I said their parents still hired them a babysitter. I have no idea if they truly require one or not.

  79. Jennifer C May 10, 2017 at 2:46 pm #

    @Donna–my activities as a teen were fairly tame, though admittedly a lot of my friends were pretty wild–certainly more wild than my parents knew at the time. But I was very bookish and I wasn’t easily swayed by peer pressure, so they didn’t really worry. It’s true that I did do some pretty crazy physical stunts, though–and have some scars to prove it. But the point I was making is that the kind of teen who goes through the procedure of filling out a participation form and then goes out to find sponsors is hardly likely to sabotage all of that with random vandalism.

  80. Jennifer C May 10, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

    Apart from some sort of serious illness or disability I don’t see why an average 13 year old should need a babysitter. Heck, I was occasionally babysitting my own little brother at that age–and I could cook and do basic housework too.

  81. test May 10, 2017 at 3:05 pm #

    I would add one more thing to the original article. If someone is offended over legal paper that establish rules like “don’t bring alcohol” or “don’t use foul language”, then that someone is way too easy to get offended. These papers exist so that it is easier to deal with adults who will use foul language or otherwise cause problems. It makes it easier to kick them out in case of problems and it establish relatively clear rules so that they can say “broke the point 5”.

    There is nothing non-adult about swearing, discriminating, drinking and so on and so forth. Adults engage in all of those activities and drinking in particular is perfectly legal and normal. Such agreement does not suggest that chaperones will be drug-snorting, child-abusing, race-baiting a**holes. However if such chaperone appears, this agreement makes it clear what he can be kicked out for and makes it harder to argue that “it was unfair I did not broke any rule”.

    Really, this is not personal and putting these rules in writing is not meant to imply that average or most participants are jerks. When you deal with hundreds and thousands people, a loud drunk jerk or two may appear. Not getting ready for it would make even way less pleasant for all well behaved participants around. Just because we don’t like the American age rule (UK requires chaperons up to 16 years old which seems more reasonable to me) does not mean we have to go out of the way to get offended over pretty ordinary chaperone agreement.

  82. test May 10, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

    @Jennifer “But the point I was making is that the kind of teen who goes through the procedure of filling out a participation form and then goes out to find sponsors is hardly likely to sabotage all of that with random vandalism.”

    Unless of course the participation was forced by parents as a lesson for the kid and kid does not care. Or the kid joined group of other kids on whim and now is bored. Or the kid and group planned to behave well, but the group sneaked in bottle and they started to be dumb after mutual teasing – I can see this one happen at that age with quite a few of my friends (all grew up to be well adjusted college educated adults with no encounters with law etc).

    I am not saying that majority of kids will do it, they wont. Most kids are fine. Nor that adults wont ever cause problems. Mostly I want to point out that these issues are not imaginary and if you organize even you have to deal with such possibilities (may be just by taking insurance that covers risks of course).

  83. test May 10, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    @Donna I have to say you was much bigger troublemaker then I was or any of my friends was. I have trouble to reconcile your list with being nerdy, honestly. Nerds I know (and I studied computer science) are extremely tame. Their idea of wild party was like sharing a bottle of wine between four people (which is why I preferred parties with sport clubs, through I trusted nerds more).

  84. Donna May 10, 2017 at 3:50 pm #

    “I have trouble to reconcile your list with being nerdy, honestly.”

    Straight-A student. Gifted program. Marching band. Debate team. Academic Bowl team. Absolutely no athletic ability whatsoever. Hell, I even took Latin for 2 years. I am not sure it gets much nerdier.

  85. lollipoplover May 10, 2017 at 3:55 pm #

    @Jennifer C- From some of the comments here and their low opinion of teenagers, you and I seem to be in the minority.

    Most of the current teens I know are really good kids and don’t get in trouble. They are always playing sports, doing schoolwork, working, and volunteering. My son just got his permit and is frustrated he has to wait 6 months until he can take his drivers test. He already bought his car, pays his insurance, and drives like he’s protecting his baby (he is). I guess that’s why I cannot relate to these comments about needing babysitters for 13 year-olds and how groups of teens shouldn’t be trusted to volunteer. It is absurd, actually and not my reality

  86. James May 10, 2017 at 4:04 pm #

    “Just because we don’t like the American age rule (UK requires chaperons up to 16 years old which seems more reasonable to me) does not mean we have to go out of the way to get offended over pretty ordinary chaperone agreement.”

    Well said, test. I would add that the USA rules are apparently based on the legal requirements for handling sensitive personal data. We’re sort of obsessed about it. Well, we want folks in charge of things to be obsessive about it. In general Americans are about as careful with sensitive data as they are with their diet. Still, you can’t blame the folks in charge for refusing to buck the legal system!

    “Unless of course the participation was forced by parents as a lesson for the kid and kid does not care. Or the kid joined group of other kids on whim and now is bored. Or the kid and group planned to behave well, but the group sneaked in bottle and they started to be dumb after mutual teasing…”

    Or they joined because the cute guy/girl joined, and they found a place to be alone for a bit. Or someone who thought THEY were cute found a place for them to be alone for a bit. My wife has taught pregnant 15 year olds, in two different states. This is something of a concern, and a nation-wide organization isn’t going to fine-tune the general rules of conduct to be specific to individual cities.

    “Oh good god, have all of you had your memories removed since your teenage years?”

    Nope. The biggest trouble I got into involved my father/uncles. Mostly “This needs done, let’s do it” and suddenly someone ends up in the ER. One run-in with the FBI, butt they were really polite about it all, since I had contacted them for a school project involving ballistics (that one also involved a bishop). Honestly, what you consider “tame” would be considered completely out of control where I grew up. Even in college neither I nor my group of friends did 80% of that crap. We got drunk, sure, but no drugs, no vandalism, no theft (except from each other, and that was just good fun), etc. We were too busy studying, and were too broke to risk the types of things you’re describing (and were smart enough to realize that fact).

    None of this is relevant, though, because the organization OBVIOUSLY ISN’T TARGETING TEENS. The rules are part of a standard management scheme for these events, and the rule requiring team leaders to be >21 is mandated by laws governing the handling of certain information. Whether teens are wild or not is irrelevant to this discussion, because it’s irrelevant to the rules under discussion.

  87. Jill R May 10, 2017 at 4:05 pm #

    A ratio of 1 adult per 5 teenagers? 1:5 is the legal daycare ratio for toddlers (in my area)…preschool kids have a ratio of 1:8, I believe, and school-aged kids is 1:15!
    In the 24-hour overnight event, I can see each team needing an adult present, fine…but 1:5 is overkill, for sure. If not “infantilizing”, then, at least in the province of Ontario, it could be considered “toddlerizing”, lol.

    The only thing I can say about the American Cancer Society (and the affiliated Canadian Cancer Society) is that they spend more money on fundraising and bloated executive salaries than on funding for actual research. They have close ties to cancer-causing industries like tobacco and chemical/pesticide companies, and have a long history of denying environmental causes of cancer such as carcinogenic ingredients in cosmetics, pesticides in food, chemicals like fire retardants in furniture/on clothes, etc…
    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-american-cancer-society-acs-more-interested-in-accumulating-wealth-than-saving-lives-warns-samuel-s-epstein-md-117942029.html

    I like to give to smaller charities usually, and only after I research a little bit or check them out Charity Watch, so my dollar goes a bit further, and/or more of it goes directly to fund research, etc.

  88. Donna May 10, 2017 at 4:09 pm #

    hate when I hit send before I finish.

    But that was exactly my point. I was pretty nerdy by anyone’s standards. No adult who knew me at the time would have said anything other than I was a great kid who was incredibly responsible. And I was. I started working in my parent’s business at 8. At 12, I got a horse and worked at the horse farm every weekend to earn winter boarding for said horse which required me getting up at 6am. I babysat regularly. I babysat my baby brother (age 3) for an entire week while my parents were working out of town when I was a senior in high school. Bought my own car with my own money at 16. Paid for my gas and insurance myself. I have never been arrested. Never unintentionally pregnant. Never so much as had detention at school.

    Yet …

  89. test May 10, 2017 at 4:13 pm #

    @Donna I always associated nerd with “geek + socially awkward and bit weird” and geek as “overly focused on something (computer related) to the point of having trouble talk about anything else”. With these definitions, most gifted students are not nerds and geeks even if they are willing to learn things like Latin (you would have to be single mindly focused on it and have it as a big hobby). Isolating and generally clumsy social behavior played the role in who ended up labeled as one of them.

    But I am not from English speaking country, so the words probably changed meaning as we adopted them from English.

  90. Donna May 10, 2017 at 4:18 pm #

    “My wife has taught pregnant 15 year olds, in two different states.”

    Our schools have pregnant 13 year olds. I have wondered what my daughter’s reaction will be when she starts middle school next year and has pregnant classmates, maybe not in her grade, but definitely by 8th there will be some. She is still such a kid at heart so it will be interesting.

  91. Donna May 10, 2017 at 4:22 pm #

    “I would add that the USA rules are apparently based on the legal requirements for handling sensitive personal data.”

    Only the requirement that the team leader be over 21 (or 25 since we’ve had both in this thread) could possibly have anything to do with data. The requirement that there be a chaperone per every 5 minors has absolutely nothing to do with data whatsoever and everything to do with wanting minors to be supervised at all times. And apparently closely supervised.

  92. James Pollock May 10, 2017 at 4:31 pm #

    “I really think that this standard is either meant to be discouraging and basically elimitate impact of teenagers presence, or whoever made it simply did not thought about them.”

    The third possibility is that it just isn’t a problem for most participants, because the kids that are there are will adults anyway.

    ” your average teenager does not require a babysitter.”

    “Apart from some sort of serious illness or disability I don’t see why an average 13 year old should need a babysitter”

    Nor does the ACS chaperone agreement require them to be babysat. Read the actual requirements. The relevant ones are 5, 11, and 13.

    “because I’m sure there are many, many more young people who want to volunteer, than aged-25+ adults who are willing to chaperone them”

    Speaking of reading the requirements, it’s 21, not 25, to chaperone, and 18, not 25, to be on a team without requiring a chaperone.

    “If you don’t trust your teen to be able to moderate their own behavior without a caregiver breathing down their neck 24/7, when exactly do you plan on trusting them?”

    I know how far I can trust my kid because I know her. I don’t know yours.

    Look at it this way: Who should be making decisions about what your kids do, or don’t do… you, or someone you’ve selected, or me (as event organizer)?

    “the kind of teen who goes through the procedure of filling out a participation form and then goes out to find sponsors is hardly likely to sabotage all of that with random vandalism.”

    Right. So (for the sake of argument) we’ll take “random vandalism” off the table. But what if you have a kid, the bookish sort who isn’t prone to trouble and resists peer pressure… but who occasionally does some pretty crazy physical stunts. Who should be responsible for making sure THAT little girl doesn’t break anything? (Whether it’s a window on the school building, the hip of some 75-year-old cancer survivor walking around nearby, or her own neck? If your answer is “The ACS”, then you favor dropping the chaperone requirement. If your answer is “not the ACS”, then you don’t.

    ” The requirement that there be a chaperone per every 5 minors has absolutely nothing to do with data whatsoever and everything to do with wanting minors to be supervised at all times.”

    Except (oops) the chaperone doesn’t commit to supervising the “youth” at all times.

  93. Donna May 10, 2017 at 4:47 pm #

    “If you don’t trust your teen to be able to moderate their own behavior without a caregiver breathing down their neck 24/7, when exactly do you plan on trusting them?”

    My kid is a great kid. My kid is also a kid. I do not expect her to be perfect. I expect her to be responsible most of the time, but not 100% of the time. I know that there will be times when she does stupid things because she gives into peer pressure or it sounds too fun to resist or she’s curious or she thinks she won’t get caught or she is too inexperienced in life to fully understand how dangerous it is. That is part of being a teen and young adult.

    While I will give her freedom to make her mistakes (unless and until she proves unworthy of this) and hope like hell that she will be like me and always stay on the good side of getting into real trouble, I can’t expect an organization to do the same. If it doesn’t want to run the risk that one of these stupid acts will happen while they are responsible, then they don’t have to assume that risk. No big deal.

  94. NY Mom May 10, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

    Years ago my ten year old and a friend rode bikes in a diabetes fund raiser. I was a little worried but thought the independent experience would be good for them.
    It was!

  95. Donna May 10, 2017 at 5:25 pm #

    “But the point I was making is that the kind of teen who goes through the procedure of filling out a participation form and then goes out to find sponsors is hardly likely to sabotage all of that with random vandalism.”

    I agree completely. For the most part, I think the worst thing likely to happen is that some people will join a teen team to get 12 hours of total freedom, will hang out at the event for a little while, leave to do their own thing and come back in time to go home. Odds are that no matter what they get up to in the time they are away, they won’t get in any serious trouble, either because they won’t do anything serious or they won’t get caught.

    That said, there’s always somebody that ruins it for everyone else. The group of kids who leaves and gets into a major car wreck. The girl who sneaks off with the guy her parents don’t want her to date and gets pregnant. The no-good boyfriend of one of the participants who shows up with his buddies and is obnoxious. The kid prone to occasional crazy physical stunts who falls and breaks her leg.

    If the American Cancer Society has decided that groups of unaccompanied teens are not their target audience for this event and, as such, they are not willing to take the risk, no matter how small it is, of unaccompanied teens, that is their right. This rule is not some statement as society’s belief as to the capabilities of teenagers or even ACS’ belief of the capabilities of teenagers. It is a statement that they are not particularly courting teenagers for this event and would prefer not to deal with unsupervised groups of them.

  96. SKL May 10, 2017 at 5:54 pm #

    OK, you guys’ definition of “incredibly responsible” is scaring me.

    That said….

    Does anyone think maybe their adult-kid ratio is more about forcing more people of means (adults, generally) to participate than otherwise would? I mean it’s a way to guilt more people into donating just by virtue of having to be present at a fundraiser.

  97. SKL May 10, 2017 at 5:56 pm #

    If gifted = responsible, then my youngest daughter’s room would not look like a tornado hit it 99% of the time. 😛

    Just sayin’.

    But yes, I agree that even smart kids do dumb things.

  98. Mya Greene May 10, 2017 at 7:49 pm #

    I see so many saying that it is the organization’s right to set whatever rules they please. Obviously, this is taken advantage of to the full extent that it is legal, and isolated protest seems to have been fairly ineffective.
    Perhaps the answer to preventing organizations from making rules like this is to pass some anti-discrimination laws regulating the kind of age restrictions that can be set for these activities. Or perhaps laws restricting what parents can hold organizations liable for.

  99. donald May 11, 2017 at 2:37 am #

    Children today have less opportunity to develop self-reliance. Therefore, this impacts their maturity. Therefore, places such as public libraries and cancer fundraisers want them to be supervised. This, in turn, gives them less opportunity to developed self-reliance.

    It’s a circular argument.

    The term, “Free range kids” is a poke at helicopter parenting. It compares bubble wrapped children to the likes of battery chickens. Children are ‘caged’. Battery chickens are treated as though their only purpose is to lay eggs. They’re looked upon as egg laying factories. Bubble wrapped children are treated as though their only purpose is to be cute and never make us worry. They’re looked upon as pets and FedEx packages.

    While I’m on the topic of battery chickens, their beaks are cut off because they are very active at pecking other chickens. Their boredom makes them more aggressive towards each other. This is the same for children that are ‘penned up’ and not allowed to roam. When this is considered, there’s little wonder why places such as public libraries and cancer fundraising events are reluctant to have them around unsupervised.

    I understand the argument for more supervision. However, I still believe that we need to move in the direction of Free range and have less supervision.

  100. James May 11, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

    To quote Ravana:

    “1. Each team has to have a leader and the leader has to be over 21. This is due to the personal information that has to be collected on the team leader as they will be handling lots of other people’s personal information, as well as donations.”

    This has nothing to do with treating 16 year olds like children. This is standard stuff. On my job I compile personal information to obtain access to certain facilities. Handling this information carries with it legal obligations that NO organization can opt out of; therefore, if someone must handle this information in an organization (company, charity, whatever), that person must be 21 or over.

    “2. Each team leader is expected to attend one organizational meeting that lasts about an hour. At that meeting teams are assigned spots in the campground, t-shirts for team members are handed out, silent auction and day-of activities and sales are announced etc. so you don’t end up with everyone bringing the same things. You don’t just have 300 people show up day-of and expect everything to work without an organizational meeting.”

    This has nothing to do with treating 16 year olds like children. This is coordination and planning. We do something very similar in a Medieval re-enactment group I’m a part of–we designate someone to coordinate setting up campgrounds and information during large events. This is because the intelligence of any group is inversely proportional to the number of members. Get 10,000 people together without copious amounts of coordination and you’re inviting chaos. Have each team assign a leader, and have a meeting where everything is coordinated, and you have controlled chaos. Then you add the need to distribute goodies and the like, which a meeting of this nature is extremely convenient for.

    “3. Most towns have a curfew, Relay runs for anywhere from 12 to 24 hours with the most important and moving events happening starting at the midnight candlelight memorial Unless you want your 14 year old to be rousted out by the cops at 11 p.m. (Which our police department did one year) there needs to be an adult who knows them and takes personal responsibility for them.”

    This actively PREVENTS teenagers from being treated like children. This provides a mechanism for circumventing laws that limit freedom teens have. While not ideal, it’s far better than allowing busy-bodies to treat teens at a charity event as criminals. If you’re worried about what we’re teaching children, please explain to me how arresting them teaches them to be more philanthropic than having them operating under an established organizational structure.

    Where, precisely, are teens being treated as children? I have not seen a single rule from this charity that does so, and have seen one that does the opposite.

  101. Jennifer C May 11, 2017 at 1:03 pm #

    I’m sorry, but I still find it really hard to believe that police would arrest teens for curfew violations when they’re obviously part of a legally organized event. It’s not like they’re loitering. Even our city’s curfew makes exceptions with regards to teens who are leaving work, heading home, etc. Can anyone find any proof that this has actually ever happened?

  102. James Pollock May 11, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

    “police would arrest teens for curfew violations when they’re obviously part of a legally organized event”

    And how do police know that these teens are “obviously” part of a legally organized event and not just at the location of a legally organized event? Oh, right, they filled out the paperwork and have chaperones who are responsible for them present at the event (Thus triggering one of the exceptions to most curfew laws… most curfew laws target unsupervised teens rather than all teens.)

    ” Can anyone find any proof that this has actually ever happened?”
    Does this thing happen at ACS events that the ACS puts in procedures to prevent happening? No.

  103. Jennifer C May 11, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

    You mean t-shirts coupled with the knowledge that such an event was taking place on that day wouldn’t be a dead giveaway? Gee, I thought it might.

  104. James May 11, 2017 at 2:27 pm #

    “Can anyone find any proof that this has actually ever happened?”

    Well, we have two options here. We can either accept that Ravana is telling the truth and therefore your question is answered, or we can accept that you just accused Ravana of lying. Given the fact that most people are ignoring his/her post, I don’t imagine Ravana is too keen on rejoining, so our best source is unlikely to contribute.

    Depending on how big the track was, I can see police arresting teens involved in an event like this. When I was a kid the track team practiced by running around specific routes in town. It was a small town and lightly trafficked routes, so no big deal (aside from friends in the track team making detours to raid my family’s snack cabinet!). But any “Relay for Life” or other walking charity would have to do the same thing–there’s simply nowhere big enough in our town to hold such an event. And if a 14-year-old gets away from the packs, police aren’t going to be overly trusting when they say “No, really, I’m with this charity!” The reason is simple enough: hoodlums aren’t stupid, and will find a shirt for that charity and use the route as a safe-haven. Or at least, it’s a plausible enough situation that the police are going to treat it as the truth until specific evidence is provided to the contrary. A few of my wilder classmates attempted to do so with track practice, being thwarted by the fact that the cop knew they weren’t in track.

    Get a bigger town, or some folks from out of town, and yeah, I can see police being inclined to assume the 14 year old out after curfew is in the wrong, rather than assuming they’re participating in a charity event. This does not, of course, prove that it DOES happen, but it shows it’s something worth considering as an organization.

    Then there’s the fact that if a 14 year old volunteered for this at the wrong point, they would be violating the law. Even if no one enforces it, it COULD BE enforced at any time. As such it is incumbent upon the charity to work with the police to make sure no misunderstandings occur. The law still means something, even if you think it’s stupid.

  105. James Pollock May 11, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

    “You mean t-shirts coupled with the knowledge that such an event was taking place on that day wouldn’t be a dead giveaway?”

    Other people over there are wearing T-shirts? Why, of course that’s a dead giveaway. What was I thinking?

    Besides the facts that A) most of the team isn’t on the track at any given point in time, and B) what t-shirts? (They give purple t-shirts to the cancer survivors. Look at the picture. Notice how everybody has matching t-shirts? You don’t? They aren’t? I would have thought that would be a dead giveaway.

  106. test May 11, 2017 at 3:43 pm #

    If you are organizing something for large amount of people and summarize what you want them to do in a mail, then only few will read it. Many will assume that the only relevant information is date and ignore the rest. Many will skim it when it arrives and then forget. Many will intend to read it, but life will go in a way. Some will get confused, but there will be no one for them to consult with. Meeting means that people at least somewhat listen, you get to put emphasis on details that are important, that they can ask questions, they will see you in person and thus take more seriously what is said to them (I don’t care why it works that way, but it seems to work that way).

    Also, if you are handing t-shirts and stuff like that, doing that in advance during such meeting is easier then during action day. Action day means tons of work and sleep deprivation and a bit of chaos, the more you do before the better. Of course it is also possible to do that in place, but that requires more volunteers at that day.

    Mass activities like this don’t work if majority of people don’t cooperate and listen to instructions and the primary point of the whole thing is cancer – not child raising and not comfort of attendees (through comfort of attendees plays a role). Frankly, maybe everyone is better off if people outraged over single coordination meeting contributes to the effort in a more individual way.

  107. test May 11, 2017 at 3:49 pm #

    On curfew: I think that arresting teens over curfew is incredibly bad idea. 14 years old should be able to go through town in night without being harassed by police. No I will not allow my 14 years old outside whenever, but I don’t welcome threat of them being arrested at all if I decided such trip is appropriate tonight.

    Discipline issues like this should not be matter of police nor arrest.

  108. Papilio May 12, 2017 at 8:20 am #

    :-O I’m the most boring person ever! (Okay, not really a surprise. My older siblings are convinced I never make any jokes.)
    All I can add is detention (=1 hour picking up litter in bike parking) in 7th grade (for going upstairs during the break and then spitting down on said stairs with a friend), detention (1 hour doing homework) in 11th? grade (I skipped a class to finish a paper for another subject.) and, the pièce de résistance, also in 11th: I forged a signature. (My friend’s father’s signature. Because friend needed parental permission to re-take an exam she had an insufficient mark for and had forgotten to ask.)

    @Lenore: Now why do I get the sneaking suspicion that looking for four-leaf clovers, reading in your room and weaving carpets were really just… covers? *squints eyes suspiciously*

  109. LGB May 13, 2017 at 1:05 am #

    @JulieH I think I will pursue your idea! I’ve been hesitating because I was heartbroken when Girl Scouts formed a corporate partnership with Mattel to market, of all of the anti-feminist icons, BARBIE! But my daughter has aged out of that nonsense, and I know that it’s up to individual local troops whether or not they want to participate.

    But . . . really, Girl Scouts?? Barbie? I get that non-profits get strapped for funding. If it must be Mattel, couldn’t it be a more empowering toy? American Girl, maybe? Ugh!

  110. James Pollock May 13, 2017 at 3:34 am #

    “of all of the anti-feminist icons, BARBIE!”

    Anti-feminist?
    The veterinarian astronaut doctor who owns her own home, drives a couple different dream cars, and isn’t dependent on Ken for anything? (And always has JUST the right wardrobe and accessories, no matter what she’s doing?)

  111. Jan smith May 14, 2017 at 2:05 am #

    Insanity again

  112. Jennifer C May 14, 2017 at 8:43 am #

    @Papilio–I once got detention for forgetting my gym outfit four days in a row–it was the only time I ever got detention. I never got suspended.