By Paul Riley
Apr 15, 2015

How to Have Safe High Adventure Activities for a New Scout Leader

I was asked to serve as the Chair of the Utah National Parks Council Risk Management Committee

Tamarisk removalthis last year.  I enjoy this assignment since Loss Control and Risk Management have been in integral part of my professional career for almost 25 years.  I also grew up in Scouting and have served as a Chartered Organization Representative as well as a Varsity Coach.  I love what the Boy Scouts of America can do to help Young Men grow into great men.

Having been a leader myself I understand some of the challenges new leaders might face.  After the call was extended to me to be a Varsity Coach I remember thinking about the new responsibility of taking these boys on High Adventures and going places I had never been.  My idea of a High Adventure was to take my Family to Yellowstone National Park in a 5th Wheel Camping Trailer.

After accepting the call I remember one of the other leaders taking me aside and said… “you really need to attend Varsity Coach Position-Safety web pageSpecific Training called “Varsity Vision.”  I know that it took time out of my Saturday, but it was the best training ever.  It not only gave me direction and ideas on different activities I could do with these boys, but it also helped me understand all of the resources to make our High Adventures safe such as the Guide to Safe Scouting, Sweet 16 of BSA Safety, and Youth Protection.

Some of the safety tools a few years back were not as easy to find, but today there are many resources and they are right at our fingertips.  I was just looking online today at  When I clicked on “I am a Volunteer” on the main page it took me to a page that included “Quicklinks” on the side menu.  Included in that menu is “Scouting Safety”.  When you click on “Scouting Safety” It not only lists all of the safety resources, but has additional links to recently created scouting safety videos from the LDS Church like “Safety through Planning and Relying on the Spirit”.  Keep your eye on this page because there are at least 3 more short entertaining videos coming out that will address drowsy driving, lightning safety, and leader fitness and preparation.

It is up to each one of us leaders to plan high adventure activities that will be both memorable and safe for our boys.  Please take the time to look at the resources at your fingertips.

Paul Professional Photo


Author: Paul Riley, MBA, CSP | Global Safety Manager, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints | Enterprise Risk Management Chairman, Utah National Parks Council, BSA


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