The BSA’s Commitment to Safety is on-going and we want you to know that the safety of our youth, volunteers, staff, and employees cannot be compromised. The Boy Scouts of America puts the utmost importance on the safe and healthy environments for its youth membership. The Crater Lake Council takes great strides to ensure the well-being and safety of its youth as well as the adult volunteer leadership that interacts with them.
Health and safety must be integrated into everything we do, to the point that no injuries are acceptable beyond those that are readily treatable by Scout-rendered first aid.
Few youth organizations encompass the breadth, volume, and diversity of physical activity common to Scouting, and none enjoy a better safety record. The key to maintaining and improving this exemplary record is the conscientious and trained adult leader who is attentive to safety concerns.
As an aid in the continuing effort to protect participants in a Scout activity, the BSA National Health and Safety Committee and the Council Services Division of the BSA National Council have developed the SAFE Checklist of BSA safety procedures for physical activity. These 16 points, which embody good judgement and common sense, are applicable to all activities.
Youth Protection Training
Youth Protection Training (also referred to as “YPT”) is designed to help you keep youth safe from abuse. During YPT, participants learn the Boy Scouts of America’s Youth Protection Guidelines, signs of abuse, and how to report suspected abuse. After each section of material, participants will answer questions about that section’s topic. This course must be completed by all leaders and is highly recommended for every parent and adult working with youth to take.
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 need to protect members from known hazards that have been identified through 100-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 an enjoyable adventure. All volunteers participating in official Scouting activities should become familiar with the Guide to Safe Scouting. Unit leaders should be aware of state and local government regulations that supersede Boy Scouts of America policies and guidelines.
Annual Health & Medical Record
In order to provide better care for its members and to assist them in better understanding their own physical capabilities, the Boy Scouts of America recommends that everyone who participates in a Scouting event have an annual medical evaluation by a certified and licensed health-care provider – a physician (MD or DO), nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. Providing your medical information on this four-part form will help ensure that you meet the minimum standards for participation in various activities. Note that unit leaders must always protect the privacy of unit participants by protecting their medical information. The BSA Annual Health and Medical Record is to be completed at least annual by participants in all Scouting events.
Tools to Plan Events & Campouts
We want to make sure that our activities are acceptable for the Scouting experience. 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 with identifying risks that need to be mitigated or eliminated.
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.
As an aid in the continuing effort to protects participants in a Scouting activity, the BSA National Health and Safety Committee and the Council Services Division of the BSA National Council have developed the SAFE Checklist of BSA safety procedures for physical activity. These 16 points, which embody good judgement and common sense, are applicable to all activities.
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.
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 Scout Executive or designee.
- James Westfall, Scout Executive
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, emails, 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 that any of the BSA’s Youth Protection Policies have been violated, including those described within Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse, you must notify James Westfall, Crater Lake Council’s Scout Executive at 262-496-5046 or email@example.com.
All allegations should be kept strictly confidential, with as few people involved and as little discussion about the matter as possible.
It’s the Law: If you believe that a child has been physically or mentally abused or neglected, or that a child has died of abuse or neglect, you MUST report your suspicion to the proper authority in Oregon or California.
If you think someone is being hurt or is in danger, call 911 immediately.
Report child abuse to the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline by calling 1-855-503-SAFE (7233). The Oregon Child Abuse Hotline receives calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This toll free number allows you to report abuse of any child or adult to the Oregon Department of Human Services. You can also report child abuse by calling a local police department, county sheriff, county juvenile department, or Oregon State Police.
Also see: Guide for Mandatory Reporters
Oregon County Sheriffs by County
You must report to the county where the abuse occurred. Resources per county can be found at Report Child Abuse.
California County Sheriffs by County
Other Items Regarding Reporting
Immunity: If you, without malice, make a report of suspected child abuse or neglect, you are immune from civil or criminal liability.
Confidentiality: Reports of child abuse and neglect are confidential. Information in the reports, including the name of the person who makes the report, may be used only for investigation of abuse or neglect.
Failure to Report: It is the law in Oregon and California that suspected physical or mental abuse or neglect of a child must be reported. Failure to do so is a crime punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.
The Scout Executive or Council Designee and the person making a report of suspected abuse are required by law to report all suspected cases of abuse to the proper authorities.
Scouts 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.
Nation-wide, 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:
- Contact Jim Westfall, Crater Lake Council’s Scout Executive at 262-496-5046 and/or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Should you be unable to reach our Scout Executive, contact the Scouts First Helpline at 844-726-8871.
- Notify law enforcement and/or child protective services.
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. The BSA National Council has developed a Youth Protection Reporting Tool in order to streamline the process of reporting information.
ScoutsFirst for Counseling & Support
The Boy Scouts of America 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 contact their Scout Executive in order to begin the coordination of resources available to the person affected.
BSA Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Use and Abuse Guidelines
“An important way adult leaders can model healthy living is by following the policies on alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. Leaders should support the attitude that they, as well as youths, are better off without tobacco in any form and may not allow the use of tobacco products at any BSA activity involving youth participants. This includes the use of electronic cigarettes, personal vaporizers, or electronic nicotine delivery systems that simulate tobacco smoking.
All Scouting functions, meetings, and activities should be conducted on a smoke-free basis, with smoking areas located away from all participants.
Reference: Troop Leader Guidebook, Volume 1, No. 33009
As outlined in the Scouter Code of Conduct, Scouting activities are not a place to possess, distribute, transport, consume, or use any of the following items prohibited by law or in violation of any Scouting rules, regulations, and policies: alcoholic beverages or controlled substances, including marijuana.
In addition, the Code of Conduct specifies that if you are taking prescription medications with the potential of impiring any functioning or judgement, you will not engage in activities that would put Scouts at risk, including driving or operating equipment.”