The safety of Scouts and leaders is an important part of the Scouting experience, and we take this responsibility very seriously. Youth develop traits of citizenship, character, fitness, and leadership during age-appropriate events when challenged to move beyond their normal comfort level, and discover their abilities. Risks are identified and mitigated to make Scouting a safe, yet challenging, experience.
Keeping Scouts safe from all forms of abuse is another key component of the Scouting program. The BSA has adopted many policies for the safety and well-being of its members. These policies primarily protect youth members; however, they also serve to protect adult leaders. All parents and caregivers should understand that leaders must abide by these safeguards. Parents and youth are strongly encouraged to use these safeguards outside the Scouting program. Registered leaders must follow all guidelines with every Scouting youth both during and outside of Scouting activities.
The requirements for protecting Scouts include:
- mandatory youth protection training for all adult leaders
- mandatory background checks for adult leaders
- a minimum of two registered leaders at any Scout activity
- no one-on-one contact between adult leaders and Scouts, both inside and outside of Scouting
- having separate sleeping areas for adults and youth
- completing the BSA Annual Health and Medical Record
- always using the Buddy System
Scouts First Helpline: 1-844-SCOUTS1 (1-844-726-8871)
The BSA has created a 24-hour helpline to handle known or suspected abuse or behavior that may place Scouts at risk. If you believe a youth has been harmed or their safety and well-being is at risk and you cannot immediately reach your Scout executive; or if a Scout is bullied because of race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or disability, and local help is unable to resolve the problem, don’t hesitate to call.
Safe Scouting and Youth Protection Resources
- BSA Youth Protection information and training help protect both youth and adult members
- BSA Guide to Safe Scouting is an overview of policies and procedures
- BSA bullying awareness information to prevent bullying and hazing situations
- BSA Cyber Chip program for using digital media and going online safely
- The Sweet Sixteen of BSA Safety that embodies good judgement and common sense for physical activities
- BSA Scouting Safely web page that includes all of the above and much more