One of the overriding responsibilities of the National Council and local councils is to provide a Scouting environment that is safe, healthful, and free from accidents while being exciting, enjoyable, and helpful in developing mind and body for all participants. The policies and information below is consistent with the Boy Scouts of America’s continuing loss prevention program. The responsibility for making it work is shared by each and every Scouter.
The Boy Scouts of America places the greatest importance on creating the most secure environment possible for our youth members. To maintain such an environment, the BSA developed numerous procedural and leadership selection policies and provides parents and leaders with resources for all our programs.
Youth Protection training is required for all BSA registered volunteers and must be taken every two years. If a volunteer’s Youth Protection training record is not current at the time of recharter, the volunteer will not be re-registered.
Youth Protection Reporting Procedures for Volunteers
There are two types of Youth Protection–related reporting procedures all volunteers must follow:
- When you witness or suspect any child has been abused or neglected—See “Mandatory Report of Child Abuse” below.
- When you witness a violation of the BSA’s Youth Protection policies—See “Reporting Violations of BSA Youth Protection Policies” below.
Mandatory Report of Child Abuse
All persons involved in Scouting shall report to local authorities any good-faith suspicion or belief that any child is or has been physically or sexually abused, physically or emotionally neglected, exposed to any form of violence or threat, exposed to any form of sexual exploitation, including the possession, manufacture, or distribution of child pornography, online solicitation, enticement, or showing of obscene material. You may not abdicate this reporting responsibility to any other person.
Steps to Reporting Child Abuse
- Ensure the child is in a safe environment.
- In cases of child abuse or medical emergencies, call 911 immediately. In addition, if the suspected abuse is in the Scout’s home or family, you are required to contact the local child abuse hotline.
- Notify the Boy Scouts of America National Council at (972) 580-2489.
- Notify Jim Rees, Scout Executive for the Greater Tampa Bay Area Council, by email.
Reporting Violations of BSA Youth Protection Policies
If you think any of the BSA’s Youth Protection policies have been violated, including those described within Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse, you must:
Notify the Boy Scouts of America National Council at (972) 580-2489.
Notify Jim Rees, Scout Executive for the Greater Tampa Bay Area Council, by email so appropriate action can be taken for the safety of our Scouts.
The Sweet 16 of BSA Safety
In the continuing effort to protect participants in Scout activity, the BSA National Health and Safety Committee has developed 16 points that embody good judgment and common sense for all activities. Read More
Guide to Safe Scouting
The purpose of the Guide to Safe Scouting is to prepare adult leaders to conduct Scouting activities in a safe and prudent manner. The policies and guidelines have been established because of the real need to protect members from known hazards that have been identified through 90-plus years of experience. Limitations on certain activities should not be viewed as stumbling blocks; rather, policies and guidelines are best described as stepping-stones toward safe and enjoyable adventures.
Age Appropriate Guidelines
The National Council, BSA, publishes information to help leaders consider the appropriate risk for Scouts under their guidance during Scouting activities. Age Appropriate Guidelines for Scouting Activities provides an at-a-glance reference to activity guidelines that are based on the mental, physical, emotional, and social maturity of youth members.
Age Guidelines for Tool Use and Work at Elevations or Excavations provides an at-a-glance reference for the use of tools by any youth or adult.
Annual Health and Medical Record
Updated in March 2014, the Annual Health and Medical Record is completed at least annually by all participants in any Scouting activity. Please discontinue use of all previous versions. Read More
Answers to Your General Health and Safety Questions
If you have questions about anything ranging from Scouts on zip lines and pets at campouts to the Annual Health and Medical Record and insurance coverage, please review this page. Read More
Wilderness First Aid Training
Learn about the new practices that go way beyond what Scouting leaders may already know as “first aid.” Wilderness First Aid training is here, helping you cope with medical emergencies in the wild and, perhaps more importantly, to be a more effective manager in any crisis. Learn More
The best way to stay safe in the outdoors is to avoid getting into trouble in the first place. That requires planning, training, leadership, good judgment, and accepting responsibility – in short, risk management. Read More
Tour and Activity Plan
Effective April 1, 2017, the Tour and Activity Plan process was terminated. A team has reviewed the overall process and made the recommendation in order to reduce complexity, increase consistency with safety standards, change the conversation by involving everyone in risk-based planning, and streamline troop operations by eliminating processing time. Going forward, while units are not required to complete the process, leaders are reminded to conduct the Scouting program consistent with Scouting rules, regulations and policies. Learn more in this Info Sheet.
No matter who you are, or how fantastic your unit may be, a crisis can strike. The most frustrating aspect of crisis management is that it strikes when you are least prepared for it. In the event of an emergency, it is very important that we follow clear and proper lines of communication. On the Crisis Management page is an outline for your use, along with contact names and phone numbers.
The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is pleased to partner with the Boy Scouts of America to increase the level of citizen preparedness across the country. DHS has asked the Boy Scouts of America to build upon the foundation of the Ready campaign and to help citizens across the country prepare for emergencies of all kinds. The Emergency Preparedness BSA Award is designed to emphasize a Scout’s duty to respond as an individual, then as a family member, and then as a member of a Scouting unit serving their neighborhood and community.
Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA)
The SCOUTStrong Presidential Active Lifestyle Award Challenge is designed to add activity to your life and reward you when you do! To earn the award, Scouts must meet a daily activity goal of 60 minutes at least five days a week for six out of eight weeks. For adults, the daily goal is 30 minutes, but the weekly and monthly goals remain the same. The ScoutStrong webpage has Program Materials that include Healthy Eating Goals, Program Launch Tips, an Activity Log, and the Summit SEAL Challenge Award.
The twelve points of the Scout Law that define a Scout are all important, we are called on to be brave. Brave means taking action because it is the right thing to do and being an upstander even when it may prompt criticism from some.
There is no place for racism – not in Scouting and not in our communities. Racism will not be tolerated.
That is why, as an organization, we commit to:
- Introducing a specific diversity and inclusion merit badge that will be required for the rank of Eagle Scout. It will build on components within existing merit badges, including the American Cultures and Citizenship in the Community merit badges, which require Scouts to learn about and engage with other groups and cultures to increase understanding and spur positive action.
- Reviewing every element of our programs to ensure diversity and inclusion are engrained at every level for participants and volunteers by applying a standard that promotes racial equality and denounces racism, discrimination, inequality and injustice.
- Requiring diversity and inclusion training for all BSA employees starting July 1 and taking immediate action toward introducing a version for volunteers in the coming months.
- Conducting a review of property names, events and insignia, in partnership with local councils, to build on and enhance the organization’s nearly 30-year ban on use of the Confederate flag and to ensure that symbols of oppression are not in use today or in the future.
We will also continue to listen more, learn more and do more to promote a culture in which every person feels that they belong, are respected, and are valued in Scouting, in their community, and across America.
As a movement, we are committed to working together with our employees, volunteers, youth members, and communities so we can all become a better version of ourselves and continue to prepare young people to become the leaders of character our communities and our country need to heal and grow.