“I have read the attached information for parents and approve the application. I affirm that I have or will review “How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parents Guide.”
So what “attached information” is a parent stating that they have read when they sign their name to their son’s application? It’s been a while since I have filled one out and I guess since I have looked closely also. So, I grabbed a BSA Youth Application to find out more. Below is the information that I found inside the BSA Youth Application. *Notice the Scout Oath and Law right there on the front.
A parent or guardian must certify that he or she has read this information sheet for all applicants under 18 years of age.
Welcome to the Boy Scouts of America!
Please take the time to review this material and reflect upon its importance.
The BSA and the Chartered Organization
The Boy Scouts of America makes Scouting available to our nation’s youth by chartering community organizations to operate Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Varsity Scout teams, Venturing crews, and Sea Scout ships. The chartered organization must provide an adequate and safe meeting place and capable adult leadership, and must adhere to the principles and policies of the BSA. The BSA local council provides adult training, program ideas, camping facilities, literature, professional guidance for adult leaders, and liability insurance protection.
Scouting’s Adult Participants and You
Scouting’s adult participants provide leadership at the unit, district, council, and national levels. Many are parents of Scouts; many entered Scouting as youth members. Each chartered organization establishes a unit committee, which operates its Scouting unit, selects leadership, and provides support for a quality program. Unit committees depend on parents for membership and assistance.
The unit committee selects the Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Varsity Scout Coach, Venturing Advisor, or Sea Scout Skipper, subject to approval of the head of the chartered organization or the chartered organization representative and of the BSA. Adult participants must be good role models because our children’s values and lives will be influenced by that adult. You need to know your child’s adult participants and be involved in the unit committee’s activities so you can evaluate and help direct that influence.
Scouting uses a fun program to promote character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness for every member. You can help by encouraging attendance, assisting with your child’s advancement, attending meetings for parents, and assisting when called upon to help.
Youth Protection Begins With You™. Child abuse is a serious problem in our society, and unfortunately, it can occur anywhere, even in Scouting. Youth safety is of paramount importance to Scouting. For that reason, the BSA continues to create barriers to abuse beyond what have previously existed in Scouting.
The Boy Scouts of America places the greatest importance on providing the most secure environment possible for our youth members. To maintain such an environment, the BSA has developed numerous procedural and adult participation selection policies, and provides parents and adult participants with numerous online and print resources for the Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, and Venturing programs.
All Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Venturing, and Sea Scout parents should review How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide booklet in the Cub Scout and Boy Scout handbooks or at www.scouting.org/training/youthprotection.
Chartered organizations agree to use the Scouting program in accordance with their own policies as well as those of the BSA. The program is flexible, but major departures from BSA methods and policies are not permitted. As a parent, you should be aware that
- BSA adult participation is restricted to qualified people who subscribe to the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle, the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, and the BSA Standards of Leadership.
- Citizenship activities are encouraged, but partisan political activities are prohibited.
- Military training and drills are prohibited. Marksmanship and elementary drill for ceremonies are permitted.
- While the Boy Scouts of America recognizes the importance of religious faith and duty, it leaves sectarian religious instruction to the member’s religious leaders and family.
- Members who do not belong to a unit’s religious chartered organization shall not be required to participate in its religious activities.
Youth Protection Policies
- Two registered adults or one registered adult and a parent of a participant, one of whom must be 21 years of age or older, are required on all trips and outings. If trips and outings are coeducational, adults of both genders must be present. Venturing requires both adults to be age 21 or older.
- One-on-one activities between youth members and adults are never permitted. Even personal Scout conferences must be conducted in plain view of others.
- Corporal punishment, hazing, and bullying are not permitted in Scouting. Only constructive discipline is acceptable. Parents and unit leaders must work together to solve discipline problems.
- Adults are required to take Youth Protection training within 30 days of registering, and Youth Protection training must be taken every two years.
- We encourage all parents to be involved with their Scout. There are no “secret” organizations in Scouting and all Scouting activities are open to parental visitation.
- If you suspect that a child has been abused, immediately contact the local authorities and the Scout executive.
Excerpt from the Declaration of Religious Principle
The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God and, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life. Only persons willing to subscribe to these precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle and to the Bylaws and codes of the Boy Scouts of America shall be entitled to certificates of membership.
Policy of Nondiscrimination
Youth membership in the BSA is open to all who meet the joining requirements. Membership in Scouting, advancement, and achievement of leadership in Scouting units are open to all youth without regard to race, ethnic background, or sexual orientation, and are based on individual merit.
Ethnic background information. Please fill in the appropriate circle on the application to indicate ethnic background. This information helps the BSA plan for membership success in serving all youth.
The Boy Scouts of America appreciates you taking time to become familiar with Scouting. We feel that an informed parent is a strong ally in delivering the Scouting program. Help us keep the unit program in accord with Scouting principles. Alert the unit committee, chartered organization representative, and head of the chartered organization to any major deviations. Please do your fair share to support a quality unit program.
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So there you have it… The way I read this information the parents agree to the following items when they sign the youth application.
- They understand that the Chartering Organization provides a meeting place, the adult leaders. The Chartering Organization also agrees to adhere to the principals and policies of the BSA.
- Scouting units and their committees depend upon parental involvement. Parents should encourage attendance, assist with advancement, attend parent meetings and assist when called upon by the unit.
- Youth Protection is important to the BSA and many of those policies (2-deep, no one-on-one, etc.) are explained to parents right up front. It also encourages parents to monitor and report when these policies are not being followed within the unit.
- The Excerpt from the Declaration of Religious Principle helps parents understand the obligation the BSA feels towards teaching Duty to God as part of the Scouting program.
- It then explains the nondiscrimination policy and why it asks for the ethnic background information.
- And finally, they thank the parents for taking the time to become familiar with Scouting and again asks them to monitor the unit and to support a quality program.
And then the next page has the joining requirements. Who can join which programs at which ages etc.. Under the Cub Scout Section, there is a Parent Agreement. What does it say?
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I have read the Scout Oath or Promise and Scout Law, and I want my son to join the pack. I will assist him in abiding by the policies of the Boy Scouts of America and of his pack’s chartered organization. I will
- While he is a Tiger, serve as his adult partner and participate in all meetings and activities and approve his advancement.*
- While he is a Cub Scout, help him grow as a Cub Scout and approve his Cub Scout advancement.
- While he is a Tiger, Cub Scout, or Webelos Scout, attend monthly pack meetings and take part in other activities; assist pack leaders as needed.
*If the parent is not serving as the adult partner, the parental signature on the application indicates approval of the adult partner and also if the adult partner does not live at the same address as the Tiger, a separate adult application is required.
Health information. Please fill out the Annual Health and Medical Record, No. 680-001, found on www.scouting.org/forms and give it to the unit leader.
So… Cub Scout parents (in addition to all the rest) are specifically saying:
- Yes, I want my boy to be a Cub Scout
- I will help with and approve his advancement
- I will attend monthly pack meetings & other activities and assist as needed.
- I will fill out the annual Health record and give it to a leader.
So, let’s go back to that very first statement again. “I have read the attached information for parents and approve the application. I affirm that I have or will review “How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parents Guide.” Now we know, or have been reminded, what the “Attached Information” says and what exactly parents are agreeing to when they sign their name on their son’s application. Maybe this will help leaders be a little more bold about asking for help. The parents already agreed to help by signing the application. (Assuming the parents actually read the information of course)
Paper vs Online Registration
This information is all assuming that you are going through the registration process the “old fashioned way” with pen and paper. But did you know that it can all be done electronically now? That’s right, online registration is happening in many parts of the country. To go through the process this way simply go to beascout.org to get started. I assume that much of the same information is agreed to by parents when done online as well.
Author: Annaleis Smith has been a Cub Scout leader (Cubmaster, Den Leader, Pack Trainer and Cubmaster again) Since 2003. She loves Cub Scouting and how it can help a boy grow into a fine young man. She currently serves as the Cubmaster in her ward/pack and as the Utah National Park’s Council’s Vice President of Membership.