Safety is the top priority in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), and safety is Priority Number One in Pack 125. (Number Two is fun, and Number Three is Scouting. It turns out that if we do Scouting right, then we're being safe and having fun, so the priorities support each other.)
The BSA was generations
ahead of its time when, in the 1920s, it first started keeping a database of adults not
allowed to serve as volunteers. The BSA blazed the path again in the 1980s with the introduction of its Youth Protection Training
(YPT). With input from both law enforcement and mental health professionals, the BSA's Youth Protection Training is so good
, it is used by many other organizations, either directly or as a model—and it's free
! We urge all
parents in Pack 125 to take YPT. It helps everyone
keep our children safe
Youth Protection in Scouting can be summarized in two guidelines:
1. Two-deep leadership (i.e., no fewer than two registered leaders must always be present)
2. No one-on-one contact (i.e., adults may never be alone with a youth who is not their child)
At the beginning of the 21st century, the BSA started requiring all its adult leaders to undergo criminal background checks. The BSA uses strict guidelines to screen potential volunteers, checking, for example, to see if someone's driver's license has been revoked.
Not only do all
adult leaders take Youth Protection Training
every two years, but all leaders in the BSA are also mandatory reporters, which means that they are required
to report any abuse, witnessed or suspected, they know of.
Youth Protection is not
just for leaders, either: families are required
to go over Youth Protection materials with their Cub Scouts annually. Every
Cub Scout handbook comes with the pamphlet How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse: A Parent's Guide
(PDF attached at the bottom of this page). The BSA also made videos for families to watch with their boys; this one
is designed for boys six to ten years old.
The BSA made an infographic on how its Youth Protection policies work. Please download the attached PDF (link at the bottom of this page).
The BSA has also established the Scouts First Helpline
for reporting suspicions of abuse or inappropriate behavior. It is staffed 24/7. Call 1–844–SCOUTS1 (1–844–726–8871). You can also e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are the main resources for Youth Protection:
Here are some articles on Youth Protection published by the BSA.
You might have heard something in the news about incidents involving adult volunteers. Here are two articles that directly address those issues.
The numbers are in: youth are safer in Scouting than they are in society at large. The BSA's Youth Protection policies work.