The Scouting program itself, activities Scouts participate in on a regular basis, and the outdoor classroom used in Scouting have inherent risks. A challenging program and activities help attract youth and retain them in Scouting. Perceived risk during such ventures heightens awareness and builds confidence and discipline vital to building tomorrow’s leaders.
There is a place in Scouting for age-appropriate events that push youth beyond their normal comfort level and stretch their abilities. This is appropriate when risks are identified and mitigated. One should not participate in or promote activities when risks are unknown or ignored. We must protect our youth as part of our program. In a sense, safety is our license to operate.
In particular, Scout leaders are responsible for the physical and mental well-being of everyone under their supervision. Parents who entrust Scout leaders with their children justifiably expect them to return uninjured.
To achieve that goal, everyone must work together to do the following:
- Know, understand, and comply with all rules, policies, and procedures.
- Model safe behaviors when participating in Scouting events.
- Encourage staff, volunteer leaders, and youth members to share in the management of risk.
- Promote, provide, and, when appropriate, require health and safety training.
- Communicate the importance of incident and near-miss reporting and hold staff members accountable for implementing reporting procedures at unit, district, and council levels.
- Study incidents that do occur to learn from them, and modify risks where appropriate.
- Support enterprise risk management concepts.
Thank you for being part of the Scouting movement and creating an exciting and safe experience for every participant.
Author: Commissioner Tico Perez, President Wayne Perry, and Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock | National Key 3, National Boy Scouts of America