Scouting Safety

Adult Volunteer Training

The BSA and council offers a variety of training courses to educate the adult leadership through training courses online as well as in a classroom setting. Additional information is also available in the Guide to Safe Scouting and on the BSA Scouting Safely website.

Age Appropriate Safety

Knowing what activities are age-appropriate for your next Scouting activity is critically important.  The Boy Scouts of America has developed these guidelines on many factors related to both the physical and cognitive abilities of youth at different ages.  When planning an activity that is outside of Scouting program materials or handbooks, you should refer to the Guide to Safe Scouting and the BSA Age-Appropriate Guidelines for Scouting Activities.

Scouting Activity Safety

The event safety checklist provides guidance on safety issues that you may encounter at a Scouting event. This is a tool, not a list of mandatory guidelines. The intent of the checklist is to create conversations among event organizers around risks and ways to mitigate or eliminate them.

The campout safety checklist provides guidance on safety issues that you may encounter at a Scouting campout. Along with the Guide to Safe Scouting and the tour and activity plan, this tool will help you in having conversations on identifying risks that need to be mitigated or eliminated.

The Transportation Checklist and Pre-Trip Transportation Inspection is a helpful tool to ensure that all safety measures have been reviewed and executed.  This two-part inspection is designed to help you manage the risks associated with transporting Scouts.

The Scouting adventure, camping trips, high-adventure excursions, and having fun are important to everyone in Scouting—and so is your safety and well-being. Completing the Annual Health and Medical Record (AHMR)is the first step in making sure you have a great Scouting experience. The Annual Health and Medical Record (AHMR) serves many purposes.

Completing a health history promotes health and awareness, communicates health status, and provides medical professionals critical information needed to treat a patient in the event of an illness or injury. It also provides emergency contact information. Poor health and/or lack of awareness of risk factors has led to disabling injuries, illnesses, and even fatalities. Because we care about our participants’ health and safety, the Boy Scouts of America has produced and required use of standardized annual health and medical information since at least the 1930s. The medical record is used to prepare for high-adventure activities and increased physical activity. In some cases, it is used to review participants’ readiness for gatherings like the national Scout jamboree and other specialized activities. Because many states regulate the camping industry, the AHMR also serves as a tool that enables councils to operate day and resident camps and adhere to Boy Scouts of America and state requirements. The Boy Scouts of America’s AHMR provides a standardized mechanism that can be used by members in all 50 states.

All participants in all Scouting activities complete Part A and Part B of the AHMR. Give the completed forms to your unit leader. This applies to all activities, day camps, local tours, and weekend camping trips less than 72 hours. Update at least annually. Part A is an informed consent, release agreement, and authorization that needs to be signed by every participant (or a parent and/or legal guardian for all youth under 18). Part B is general information and a health history.

Youth Protection Training (YPT) – Keep Training Up to Date

Scouters may complete this training module through the “My.Scouting.org” portal. First-time users to MyScouting must set up an account and password.  From the My.Scouting.org portal, click on E-Learning and take the Youth Protection training.

Online YPT Training

There are many training courses that can be taken online at My.Scouting.org.

  • Create an account – this can be done with or without your BSA membership ID.
  • If you enter your membership ID, your training records will be updated at the Council Office.
  • If you are not yet registered, you can still take training, just print the certificate at the end of each course.
  • After your account is created you will receive an email with a link. Click the link to activate your My.Scouting.org account. This must be done before you can log in. If you do not receive an email, check your spam/junk folder.
  • Once you log in to My.Scouting.org, click E-Learning on the left hand side. Program Related Trainings is listed under tabs (Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Venturing, and General).
  • Click on training validation* to review what courses you have taken, this includes courses recorded at the council office.

Training Validation: After logging onto My.Scouting.org, click on “Training Validation” to check if your trainings have been recorded in the council’s computer system. If you notice any discrepancies in your training records, visit the training page.

We are encouraging all units to use this system to check the training status of all of their leaders. All you need is a list of membership ID Numbers and you can review the training status of the registered adult leaders. A list of these numbers can be found on your charter paperwork.

Mandatory Reporting Requirements

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

  1. Ensure the child is in a safe environment.
  2. 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.
  3. Notify the Scout executive or designee.

Reporting Violations of BSA Youth Protection Policies

Reports of child abuse may come in many forms. They may be in the form of conversation, phone calls or letters (either anonymous or with the person making the report identified).

The most important thing to remember is that all reports of child abuse involving Scouts or Scouters must be reported immediately. 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 your district executive or the Scout Executive, Dennis Dugan (dennis.dugan@scouting.org) or (570) 326-5121 ext 103.

All allegations should be kept strictly confidential, with as few people involved and as little discussion about the matter as possible.

Mandatory Reporting Requirements – Pennsylvania

All allegations should be kept strictly confidential, with as few people involved and as little discussion about the matter as possible.

How and When to Report Child Abuse/Neglect

In Pennsylvania, any person having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or acts of abuse should immediately report this information to ChildLine. If the child is in immediate danger, call 911 as well as ChildLine (1-800-932-0313). A concerned caller does not need proof to report an allegation of child abuse and can make the report anonymously.

What information will I be asked to provide to the hotline screener?
ChildLine screeners are trained caseworkers who know how to respond to reports of child abuse/neglect. Whenever possible, a caller should provide all of the following information:

  • Who: The child and parent/caregiver’s name, age and address and the name of the alleged perpetrator and that person’s relationship to the child.
  • What: Type and frequency of alleged abuse/neglect, current or previous injuries to the child and what caused you to become concerned.
  • When: When the alleged abuse/neglect occurred and when you learned of it.
  • Where: Where the incident occurred, where the child is now and whether the alleged perpetrator has access to the child.
  • How: How urgent the need is for intervention and whether there is a likelihood of imminent danger for the child.

Do callers have immunity from civil or criminal liability?
Any person who, in good faith, makes a report of child abuse or neglect or testifies in a child abuse hearing resulting from such a report is immune from any criminal or civil liability as a result of such action. Calls can be placed to the hotline anonymously.

For more information, visit this website: Mandated Reporting in Pennsylvania (pafamiliesinc.org)

Scout First Helpline

The protection of youth is the primary obligation of every individual involved in the Boy Scouts of America – including leaders, parents, members and professionals. The BSA has been and will continue to be vigilant in its efforts to create barriers that help prevent abuse and to recognize and report child abuse regardless of where it occurs.

As part of the BSA’s Scouts First approach to the protection and safety of youth, the BSA has established “844- Scout1st ”, (844-726-8871), a dedicated 24-hour helpline to receive reports of known or suspected abuse or behavior that might put a youth at risk. (The call may be answered by a person who gathers initial information and escalates the report for further handling based upon the nature of the situation.)

The helpline’s goal is to provide immediate assistance to ensure that the victim, unit, and council are fully supported, and the actions taken are properly documented. Minor, non-recurring infractions with no indication youth are at risk can still be addressed at the unit or council level.

Nationwide, the BSA requires everyone involved with Scouting to report any known or suspected abuse to local authorities.

Responding to Abuse: When information regarding known or suspected abuse or behavior that might put a youth at risk is first discovered, the following steps should immediately be taken:

Get the victim medical treatment, if required, and to a place of safety if needed

  • Ensure the victim(s) parents are notified as soon as possible
  • Notify law enforcement and/or child protective services
  • Call the 844-Scouts1st Helpline (844-726-8871)

Reporting Abuse or behavior that might put a youth at risk: Accurate information is critical to an appropriate response; however, a lack of specific information is not a reason to delay a report. At a minimum. every effort should be made to have the following infom1ation available when reporting to the 844-Scoutslst Helpline:

  • The name, age, council, and unit of the alleged victim(s)
  • The name and phone number of the victim’s parent(s)
  • The name, age, council, and unit of any other known or suspected victim(s) and their parents contact information
  • The name, position, council, and unit of alleged perpetrator(s)
  • The name and phone number of the law enforcement or protective service agency to which the incident was reported
  • The name, unit, and council of any known witnesses
  • The name and phone number of the reporter
  • Details of the incident: who, what, where, and when

The BSA also offers assistance with counseling to any Scout, former Scout, or family member of any Scout who suffered abuse during their time in Scouting. Individuals can email scouthelp@scouting.org or call toll free at 855- 295-1531 to discuss these sensitive matters. Questions regarding the 844-Scouts1st Helpline should be directed to BSA Membership Standards at 972-580-2365 or 972-580-2007.

ScoutsFirst for Counseling and Support

The Boy Scouts of America is committed to providing ongoing support to victims and their families, including counseling. We want to help victims heal, on their own terms, with a professional counselor of their choice. Through the ScoutsFirst Helpline, the Boy Scouts of America offers assistance with counseling to any youth member, former youth member, or the family of any youth member who suffered abuse during their time in Scouting. To reach the ScoutsFirst Helpline, call (844)-Scouts1 or (844)726-8871, or email scouts1st@scouting.org. Support is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Incident Reporting

A key responsibility that all volunteers and professional staff share is providing an effective program that meets the needs of young people and provides the proper health and safety of everyone concerned.  It is important that we sustain the safe operation of our programs and promote continuous improvement through organizational learning. Timely and complete incident reports support analysis that is critical to identifying needed improvement of the programs offered by the Boy Scouts of America.