Youth Protection is a critical part of the Scouting program. BSA requires all adult leaders to take Youth Protection Training every two years, and every parent is required to review the Parents Guide to Youth Protection at the front of their Scout’s Handbook every year (linked here: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/ypt/pdf/100-014.pdf). This requirement for parents is mandatory, including talking with your child about the information.
Leader training may be taken on line here: https://www.scouting.org/training/youth-protection/. Anyone may take this training, and a BSA leader number is not required.
General information about Safe Scouting is here: https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/gss/toc/
It is our primary concern that Scouting be safe for everyone in the program. We are all part of the safety net. Never be afraid to speak up if you have a concern or question.
The BSA’s Barriers to Abuse
You should expect your child’s Cub Scout pack to follow the
Youth Protection policies put in place by the BSA to provide
additional safety for your child and all who are involved in
Scouting. These policies also protect adult leaders from the rare
possibility of a false report. Scout leaders who are in positions
of youth leadership and supervision outside of the Scouting
program should follow these practices in those roles as well.
Two-deep leadership on all trips and outings is required.
A minimum of two registered adult leaders, or one registered
leader and a parent of a participating Scout or another adult,
one of whom must be 21 years of age or older, is required for
any Scouting trips and outings. A female over the age of 21 must be present whenever
female Scouts are present.
The policy of two-deep leadership extends into cyberspace.
There should be no one-on-one online or digital activities (games,
social media, etc.) or electronic communications. Leaders should
include or copy a parent or another adult leader in all online
communications, ensuring no one-on-one contact exists in text,
social media, or other forms of online or digital communication.
One-on-one contact between adults and youth is prohibited.
In situations requiring a personal conference, the meeting is to be
conducted with the knowledge and in view of other adults
Separate accommodations for adults and youth are required. When
camping, no youth is permitted to sleep in the tent of an adult other
than his or her own parent or legal guardian. Councils should have
separate shower and latrine facilities for adults and youth as well
as females. When separate facilities are not available, separate times
for male and female showers should be scheduled and posted.
Likewise, youth and adults must shower at different times.
The buddy system should be used at all times. The buddy system
is a safety measure for all Scouting activities. Buddies should be
known to each other, self-selected, and of the same approximate
age and experience level. The buddy system in Scouting has shown
it is always best to have another person with you when
involved in any outdoor or strenuous activity. If needed, a buddy
team may consist of three Scouts. No youth should ever be forced
into or made to feel uncomfortable by a buddy assignment.
Privacy of youth is respected. All youth and adult leaders must
respect the privacy of youth in situations such as changing clothes
and taking showers at camp. Adults may enter youth changing or
showering areas only to the extent that health and safety requires.
Adults must protect their own privacy in similar situations.
Inappropriate use of smartphones, cameras, or imaging or digital
devices is prohibited. Although most Scouts and leaders use
cameras and other imaging devices responsibly, it has become
very easy to invade the privacy of individuals. It is inappropriate
to use any device capable of recording or transmitting visual
images in shower houses, restrooms, or other areas where
privacy is expected.
No secret organizations allowed. The BSA does not recognize
any secret organization as part of its program. All aspects of the
Scouting program are open to observation by parents and leaders.
No hazing. Physical hazing and initiations are prohibited and may
not be included as part of any Scouting activity.
No bullying. Verbal, physical, and cyber bullying are prohibited
in Scouting. Youth leadership is monitored by adult leaders. Adult leaders
must monitor and guide the leadership techniques used by
youth leaders and ensure that BSA policies are followed.
Discipline must be constructive. Discipline used in Scouting
should be constructive and reflect Scouting’s values. Corporal
punishment is never permitted. Disciplinary activities involving
isolation, humiliation, or ridicule are prohibited.
Appropriate attire is required for all activities. Proper clothing for
activities is required. For example, skinny-dipping or revealing
bathing suits are not appropriate in Scouting.
All adult leaders and youth members have responsibility.
Everyone is responsible for acting in accordance with the
Scout Oath and Scout Law. Physical violence, sexual activity,
emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, unauthorized weapons,
hazing, discrimination, initiation rites, bullying, cyberbullying,
theft, verbal insults, drugs, alcohol, or pornography have no
place in the Scouting program and may result in revocation of
For more information, please see the BSA’s Guide
to Safe Scouting and other Youth Protection resources.
Reporting Child Abuse and Violations of Policies
All persons involved in Scouting have two required procedures
for reporting Youth Protection–related incidents.
Mandatory Report of Child Abuse.
All persons involved in Scouting shall report to local law enforcement 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, or exposed to any form of
sexual exploitation, including the possession, manufacture, or
distribution of child pornography, online solicitation, enticement,
or showing of obscene material. No person may abdicate
this reporting responsibility to any other person. For more
information, please see your state’s reporting statutes on the
Child Welfare Information Gateway website at
Parents Reporting Violations of BSA Youth Protection Policies.
If you have reason to believe any of the BSA’s Youth Protection
policies have been violated, including mandatory reporting of
abuse of a child, you must notify your Scout executive so he or
she may take appropriate action for the safety of our Scouts.
If a Scoutmaster or someone else in Scouting is trying to
convince your child that merit badges or other advancement are
solely dependent on his or her approval, or if he or she is asking
your child to do anything that seems inappropriate, please
immediately contact your Scout executive.