Scouting is Safe



Scouting has faced several major challenges over the last few years but has emerged stronger by focusing on its core mission to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes. Our commitment to safety for all youth and adult members is fundamental to everything we do. Staff and volunteers hold each other accountable to provide a safe environment for all participants. 

While no human activity is guaranteed 100% safe in all circumstances, Scouting’s safety processes and programs are designed to minimize safety issues and maximize the ability to respond when needed.

How Does Scouting Keep Kids Safe?

Barriers to Abuse

Scouting is committed to abuse prevention as a fundamental value in the organization. All staff and volunteers undergo criminal background checks and must take Youth Protection Training every year.  Youth members are instructed on how to recognize and deal with abuse situations in an age-appropriate manner. Scouting uses Two-Deep Leadership, which means that no one-on-one interactions are allowed between adults and youth, either in person or electronically. Youth protection training includes methods to prevent youth-on-youth abuse, such as tent-sharing restrictions and the use of the buddy system. Adults are also required to report any suspected abuse, whether it happens during a Scout event or not, to law enforcement. In addition to physical abuse, Scouting does not allow bullying, emotional abuse, or hazing of any kind. Scouting maintains a 24/7 helpline (1-844-SCOUTS1) which can be used by Scouters to get immediate assistance with suspected or witnessed abuse.

Safe Activities

Scouting is an adventure! Kids learn best when they are overcoming challenges and pushing their boundaries. Injury and illness prevention enable challenges to be stimulating and fun rather than risky. Leaders follow the SAFE Scouting method: Supervision of activities, Assessment of risks, Fitness & skill levels confirmed before participation, and appropriate Equipment is used/Environmental conditions are monitored. The Guide to Safe Scouting is the official resource for all Scouting programs to plan and execute safe activities with appropriate risk assessments and equipment. Health and skills level information is collected for each youth member before activities start. Adult leaders set an example for safety through their conduct.

Teaching Safety

Scouting’s motto is “Be Prepared.” Learning first aid, campfire safety, rescue skills, and responsibility for self and others have been a part of Scouting since its founding. Illness and accidents will occur during Scouting activities or at other times. The Scouting program teaches adults and youth what to do in different situations and environments. Belonging to a unit and participating in group activities teaches how to ask for help and give help, which are vital skills in staying safe.

Where Can I Learn More?

Link Description
Five Rivers Council Safety Guidelines Detailed safety resources for Scouting volunteers and families
Guide to Safe Scouting BSA’s official online safety manual for all Scouting programs
Youth Protection Training BSA required training for all staff and volunteers
SAFE guidelines BSA safe program planning guidelines