BSA And Troop 451 Youth Protection Policy
Troop 451 and the Boy Scouts of America have adopted the following policies to provide safety and security for our members. In some cases, Troop 451 has adopted additional and more stringent policies than those of the Boy Scouts of America. These policies are primarily for the protection of our youth members; however, many of them also serve to protect our adult leaders from false accusations of abuse. The following information is provided so that parents can detect any deviations from the approved program. Any deviations from the following policies should be reported to the Committee Chairman immediately.
- Two-deep leadership. Two registered adult leaders or one registered leader and a parent of a participant, one of whom must be 21 years of age or older, are required on all trips and outings. However, the troop functions best when we have a large number of adults participating in our activities. Although the minimum is two adults, we prefer to have as many as possible.
- No one-on-one contact. One-on-one contact between adults and youth members is not permitted. In situations that require personal conferences, such as Scoutmaster’s conference, the meeting is to be conducted in view of other adults and youths.
- Respect of privacy. Adult leaders must respect the privacy of youth members in situations such as changing clothes and taking showers at camp, and intrude only to the extent that health and safety require. Adults must protect their own privacy in similar situations.
- Appropriate attire. Proper clothing for activities is required. For example, skinny-dipping is not appropriate as part of Scouting.
- Separate accommodations. No youth is permitted to sleep in the tent of an adult other than his own parent or guardian. Male and female youth participants may not share the same sleeping facility. Male and female adults require separate sleeping facilities, but married couples may share the same quarters if appropriate facilities are available. Adults and youth of the same gender may occupy dormitory or single-room accommodations, provided there is a minimum of two adults and four youth. At a minimum, one of the adults is required to be youth-protection trained. Adults must establish separation barriers or privacy zones such as a temporary blanket or sheet walls in order to keep their sleeping area and dressing area separated from the youth. When separate shower facilities are not available, separate times for adult and youth should be scheduled and posted for showers. The same policy is used when separate shower facilities are not available for adult males and females.
- No secret organizations. The Boy Scouts of America and Troop 451 do not recognize any secret organizations as part of their program. All aspects of the Scouting program and troop activities are open to observation by parents and leaders.
- Constructive discipline. Discipline used in Scouting should be constructive and reflect Scouting’s values. Unit leaders are not permitted to use corporal punishment when disciplining youth members. Adult leaders are responsible for monitoring the behavior of youth members and interceding when necessary. When circumstances warrant, parents of youth members who misbehave may be informed and asked for assistance.
- Transportation. Seat belts are required to be worn by all occupants at all times. Driving time is limited to a maximum of 10 hours which must be interrupted by frequent rest, food, and recreation stops. The beds of trucks or trailers must never be used for carrying passengers. Vehicles must not travel in convoy. All drivers must have a valid driver’s license and be at least 18 years old. Automobiles must have a current North Carolina Inspection Sticker and be covered by automobile liability insurance with limits that meet or exceed requirements of the State. Recommended coverage limits are at least $50,000/$100,000/$50,000. Any vehicle designed to carry 10 or more passengers is required to have limits of $100,000/$500,000/$100,000.
- Firearms. Except for law enforcement officers required to carry firearms within their jurisdiction, firearms are absolutely prohibited on camping, hiking, backpacking, and all other Scouting activities except those specifically planned for target shooting under the supervision of a certified BSA or National Rifle Association firearms instructor. Among the purposes of this policy is to prohibit adult leaders and parents from bringing firearms on outings and to unit meetings. Since Scoutmaster Jim Salamon holds the proper firearms certification, Troop 451 usually has two activities each year for target shooing. Boy Scouts in Troop 451 are permitted to fire shotguns, muzzle-loading long guns, and .22 caliber, bolt-action, single-shot rifles. The use of handguns is prohibited.
- Alcoholic beverages and controlled substances. The consumption of alcoholic beverages and use of controlled substances is prohibited at any activity involving participation of youth members.
- Fireworks. The Boy Scouts of America prohibit the securing, use, and display of fireworks in conjunction with programs and activities except where the fireworks display is conducted under the auspices of a certified or licensed fireworks control expert.
- No flames in tents. No flames are permitted in tents. Only flashlights and electric lanterns are permitted in tents.
- Knives. A sharp pocketknife with a can opener on it is an invaluable back country tool. However, large sheath knives should be avoided. They are unnecessary for most camp chores except for cleaning fish. Before a Scout can carry and use a pocketknife, he must receive safety training and be awarded a “Totin’ Chip” card which indicates that he has received the required training. Parents should also reiterate to Scouts that even though they are allowed to carry and use knives at Scouting activities, they should never carry knives to school.
- Bike safety. All cyclists must wear a properly sized and fitted helmet which meets the standards approved by either the Snell Memorial Foundation or the American National Standards Institute.
- Other prohibited activities. The use of All-terrain vehicles, go-carts, motorbikes, hang gliders, ultra lights, experimental class aircraft, hot-air balloons, and motorized water craft, such as jet- skis, is prohibited. Flying in aircraft as part of a search and rescue mission is also prohibited. Other prohibited activities include: hunting, boxing, karate and other martial arts (except judo, aikido, and Tai Chi); exploration of abandoned mines; participation in amateur or professional rodeo events, varsity football and interscholastic or club football competition; and attendance at motorized speed events, including motorcycles, boats, drag racing, demolition derbies and related events.
- Chainsaws and mechanical log splitters. Only trained individuals over the age of 18, using proper protective gear may use chainsaws and mechanical log splitters.
- Movie ratings. On drives to camping trips, some vehicles used to transport Scouts may be equipped with VHS/DVD players. In addition, on certain troop activities where accommodations with electricity are provided, VHS/DVD players may be made available for use by the troop. Because of the availability of these media devices where Scouts may be allowed to view movies on an outing or a troop meeting, the Troop Committee has adopted certain rules with respect to what movies can be viewed by Scouts in a Troop 451 activity. Basically, these rules provide that no movies with an NC-17, R, or X rating can be shown at any time. Movies with a G or PG rating can be shown at any time. Movies with a PG-13 rating can only be shown when all participants are age 13 or above, or when advance notice has been given to parents. If any parent of a participant under the age of 13 objects to the showing of a particular movie rated PG-13, the movie will not be shown.
In addition to setting the above policies, Scouting takes these following steps to insure the safety of youth members:
- Background checks. Personal references are provided by applicants and checked by unit leaders. A criminal background check is performed on all applicants for adult volunteer positions. Also, BSA maintains a list of former leaders who have been deemed ineligible for Scouting leadership positions.
- Adult training. Youth Protection Training is an essential part of the basic leader training provided to Scouting volunteers. It is conducted annually or more often at the local level (i.e., in Durham County), and is also available as an online course.
- Youth education. Scouting has age-appropriate educational materials for youth members. “How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide” is a tear-out booklet bound in with BSA youth books. It is designed for parents or guardians and young people to use together. The BSA has bilingual, age-appropriate videos for all youth age groups to address the problems of sexual abuse. “It Happened to Me” should be used annually by Cub Scout packs or dens, but only for Cub Scouts accompanied by a parent or other adult family member. The video for Boy Scouts, “A Time to Tell”, introduces the three R’s of Youth Protection (Recognize, Resist, and Report), and should be viewed by troops annually. “Personal Safety Awareness” is the video for Venturing-age young people.