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June 16, 2004


Joy Paul

Hugo, Hooray for your posts and your determination to keep doing right. This is a sensitive area when gays are involved, so I was glad to see how you dealt with that subject. Most conservative churches could not be that open-minded, since they are so very fearful of gay people "recruiting" the young people. Most gay people I know don't recruit anyone else to the gay lifestyle, much less under the pretense of "hugging." Yet, all of your blogs about this had the undertone of the "gay disease" being spread through such action. I'll leave the subject to others from here on out, but thanks again for broaching that subject openly in this blog.


Good call. I take option 3 too-All those lean and hungry looks my lads give me mean I really don't have another choice.


Amen, my brothers, amen.

Lawrence Krubner

"Obviously, that's risky stuff."

You wrote these 4 words, I'd like to make sure that I'm understanding them the way you meant for them to be understood. I read these words as you saying this:

"I understand that this is risky, and that by doing this I may one day lose my job or have my reputation damaged by false allegations or by misunderstanding."

That, to me, is risk. Is that what you meant? I guess I'm wondering, when you say it is risky, do you understand that it is risky?

I spent several summers working at a summer camp and I recall the staff talking about this issue many times. One thing I denied back then but see clearly now is that good intentions on the part of the staff person are not always enough to save that staff person in every situation. When I was younger, I believed that good intentions were enough security.

On another note, the other danger is the psychological harm that comes when you trip over an emotional trigger that you did not know the other person had - especially if they've been molested, you can trip some awful emotional landmines. And when those triggers get tripped, the results are not always immediately awful.


Obviously, Lawrence, it is risky for all the reasons you cite and more. Good intentions are not enough. Those of us who work with kids have to be as attentive to perception as we are to our own intent -- and that is a heavy burden to carry indeed.

I do understand that it is risky! Tenure protects many things, but my status as a volunteer youth worker is not one of them! Still, because I am a volunteer (and not dependent on work with teens for my livelihood) I can afford to take risks that could, conceivably, cost me my position as a trusted volunteer. I'm quite certain I've never done anything to warrant that. I'd stake everything I have on it.

Lawrence Krubner

Oh, believe me, I wasn't questioning your integrity. I'm sure you've never done anything to warrant having your position taken away. I was just clarifying that you were using "risk" the way I understood it.

At the summer camp where I worked for so many years, about two years after I left there, there was an incident where two very well respected, much adored camp counselors got kicked out in the middle of the summer for no good cause, save that the folks back at headquarters, 300 miles away, heard they'd gone swimming with 3 kids in the nearby pond. Such informal practices had long been the rule at the camp, and the two counselors could generally get away with a lot because they were among the most trusted people there. There was never a question that anything bad had happened up at the pond, only that some people at headquarters thought it looked bad. Everyone at the camp, all the staff, thought the reaction from headquarters was extreme. The folks back at headquarters had only recently learned one of the counselors was "gay" (actually, bi-sexual, though actually that reduced to an encounter a few years before that he'd spoken about honestly). The whole incident seemed very sad, and said a lot about the growing disconnect between headquarters and the camp - headquarters was growing more and more concerned with possible lawsuits, while the folks at the camp were, as ever, focused on creating good experiences for the kids. For me, the incident reinforced some of the reasons why I'd walked away from the place.

Such dynamics are, on the one hand, specific to one institution at one particular time (the mid 90s) and, on the other hand, rather universal and we can see them play out in different ways all around us.

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