In addition to being a lot of fun, Scouting is one of the safest activities your child can participate in!
To ensure the safety of participants, the Boy Scouts of America expects all volunteers and leaders to be certified in Youth Protection training every two years regardless of their position in Scouting. The safety of children in our programs is the most important priority of the Boy Scouts of America. The BSA’s safeguards are key parts of our multilayered approach to help keep kids safe. These measures were formed by respected experts in the fields of child safety, law enforcement, and child psychology, and are among the strongest safeguards found in any youth-serving organization.
Safety in Scouting also includes activities and outings. When planning activities, Scout leaders follow the four points of SAFE when delivering the Scouting program: Supervision, Assessment, Fitness and Skill, and Equipment and Environment.
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Youth are supervised by qualified and trustworthy adult leaders who set the example for safety. Adult leaders are trained to lead the activity, or use qualified instructors, guides, or safety personnel as needed to provide additional guidance. Leaders keep engaged with participants during activities to ensure compliance with established rules and procedures and have the ability to prevent and respond to likely problems and potential emergencies.
All Scouting activities are assessed for risks during planning. This includes planning for safe travel to and from the activity site, validating the activity is age appropriate, determining whether the unit has sufficient training, resources, and experience to meet the identified standards, and if not, modifying the activity accordingly. Contingency plans for changes in weather and environment are developed and communication with participants, parents, and emergency services are arranged.
Every year, all participants in Scouting are to submit an Annual Health and Medical Record form. Leaders will review and confirm that prerequisite fitness and skill levels exist for participants to take part safely. This review looks at age, physical abilities, chronic health conditions and skill requirements ensuring participants stay within the limits of their abilities.
Leaders will check for safe and appropriately sized equipment, courses, campsites, trails, or playing fields, reviewing the activity area for suitability during planning and immediately before use and monitoring the area during the activity through supervision. All personal and group safety equipment should be available, properly fitted, and used consistently and in accordance with training.
The Boy Scouts of America’s goal is to provide a safe and fun program for all Scouts. For more information, check out the Guide to Safe Scouting which is reviewed and updated annually. To learn more about Scouting in southeastern Wisconsin, please visit ThreeHarborsScouting.org.
Mary Kveton is field development director for Three Harbors Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which includes Kenosha County.