A Message from The Chief Scout Executive

ALL MEMBERS OF THE SCOUTING FAMILY MUST BE ADVOCATES FOR PREVENTION OF CHILD ABUSE AND SUPPORT FOR VICTIMS

Fellow Scouters,

The tragedy of child abuse, be it physical, sexual, or emotional is one that is truly heartbreaking.

Painfully, there have been incidents of abuse that occurred in our program, and we sincerely apologize that some despicable individuals used their positions in Scouting to harm children.

First and foremost, the Boy Scouts of America believes victims. To those who were harmed – we grieve with you, we respect you, and we want to help you heal. Over the years, Scouting has provided counseling for victims, no questions asked, for as long as they needed it. Our commitment and responsibility to victims is in keeping with the tenants of the Scout Oath and Law – it’s at the core of everything we stand for. That means we want victims to receive fair compensation, and we are committed to finding the best way to do that.

We are also committed to fulfilling our duty to serve the millions of youth and families currently in our programs. Those Scouts and families count on us to deliver life-changing character and leadership opportunities provided by the outdoor adventure methods of Scouting. And, the safety of the youth in our programs is paramount.

I want to be clear – the Boy Scouts of America has never knowingly allowed those who have committed inappropriate acts with children to remain in our program.

Long before there were smart phones, email, fax machines, the internet, criminal databases or other modern methods available to identify or track predators, the BSA kept records to ensure that anyone seen as unfit to be a leader – even those not charged or convicted of any crime, would be banned forever from our program.

The BSA never covered up the fact that it kept that database. In fact, that database has been the subject of various public news reports over the years.

The creation of that database was just the first step in the BSA’s development of a comprehensive set of strategies designed to provide the best possible youth protection system. Today, record-keeping or databases such as ours are now recommended by experts as an important step in protecting children.

In addition to other protective measures, all participants in Scouting are considered Mandatory Reporters, and as such, are required to report any suspected abuse to the appropriate state child protection authorities. We fully cooperate with law enforcement and wholeheartedly support the prosecution and punishment of convicted individuals.

And while the BSA’s database of those banned from Scouting has been used against the organization and made us more vulnerable to lawsuits, if we could go back in time to the 1920s when these records were first created, we would decide to keep them again and again because we firmly believe that doing so has protected millions of kids who have been in our program over the last century.

Scouting is always premised on helping others.

I ask every member of our Scouting family to continue upholding his or her duty to others and to our country by standing up for victims. Believe victims. Support victims on their journey to becoming survivors.

Be outspoken and be advocates for youth protection and prevention of child abuse – in and outside of Scouting.

Do your Good Turn Daily and find ways to support victims of past abuse, speak and act boldly to protect children presently in our program, and spread the good works of Scouting so that we may continue to positively change lives for future generations of children.

Sincerely,

Mike Surbaugh
BSA Chief Scout Executive


Tips for working with school digital communications platform Peachjar

Many school districts are beginning to use digital communications platforms like Peachjar for delivering items like activity fliers to parents. For Scouting, that means learning how to follow some basic guidelines to optimize communications items for that platform. Here, we explain more about what Peachjar is, how to follow their guidelines, and their expert design tips!

How Does Peachjar Work?

Peachjar streamlines school-to-home communication by distributing fliers, community resources, and vital school updates directly to parents through their digital service.

Over 600 school districts and more than 20,000 community organizations use this tool to deliver communications to school parents. And if a school district is using Peachjar, then they are contractually obligated to send all school communications through the Peachjar digital platform rather than through printed materials.

Every Flier Must Be Approved by the School District and Must Follow Their Individual District Guidelines.

Yes, that’s right. Each district has a set of guidelines that determine what kids of fliers they will approve to be sent out to parents. Peachjar links these guidelines in their program provider accounts under a “District Guidelines” tab. An example may be requiring your flier to have both an English and Spanish version.

Peachjar Fliers are ADA Compliant!

Peachjar fliers adhere to ADA compliance. That means, for example, that parents that have visual impairment can receive information from Peachjar fliers via screen reading devices that detect text, then read it back to them.

For this process to work properly, there is a step in the flier upload process that populates the text from your flier into a box as it will be “read” by Peachjar systems. If the text in that box does not match what is on the flier, you run the risk of the flier being denied by the district, so be sure to check that it is correct.

Over 14,000 schools use the Peachjar system.

That’s close to 20 percent of all schools in the United States who use the Peachjar system. The platform has heavy coverage on the West Coast, East Coast, and throughout the South. To see if your school is a Peachjar school, check this list.

Peachjar Design Tips are Easy to Follow!

Peachjar recommends strong, clear calls to action, simple copy, and large images. This fits our Scout Me In! fliers perfectly! If you’re looking for some great fliers to get you started, check out the options in the BSA Brand Center. You can find fliers for Cub Scoutsfliers for Scouts BSA, and more!

Although the Peachjar system is free to school districts who utilize the platform, there is a fee for organizations, such as the Boy Scouts of America, to distribute their fliers through the platform. Costs can vary by timing and number of schools.

This article is part of an ongoing series that covers digital platforms used to deliver items like our Scout fliers. Please be sure to look for more of our other articles on different platforms.


Youth Protection Training is Now Available in Spanish

To ensure that BSA Youth Protection training is accessible to as many families as possible, the required BSA Youth Protection Training program is now available in Spanish!

Spanish language training has the same information, material and expert resources as the English version, and gives Spanish-speaking families the tools they need to help keep all young people safe while enjoying their Scouting experience

Visit My.Scouting.org to access Youth Protection Training in Spanish now. As always, you can access the training in English here.

If you know a family that speaks Spanish that needs this information, please share this article.

Translation

El Entrenamiento de Protección Juvenil está Disponible Ahora en Español

Para garantizar que la capacitación de Protección Juvenil de BSA sea accesible para tantas familias como sea posible, ¡el programa requerido de Capacitación de Protección Juvenil de BSA ahora está disponible en español!

La capacitación en idioma español tiene la misma información, el material y los recursos de expertos que la versión en inglés, y les brinda a las familias que hablan español las herramientas que necesitan para ayudar a mantener a todos los jóvenes a salvo mientras disfrutan de su experiencia Scouting.

Visite My.Scouting.org para acceder a la Capacitación de Protección Juvenil en Español ahora. Como siempre, puede acceder a la capacitación en Inglés aquí.

Si conoce a una familia que habla español que necesita esta información, por favor comparte este artículo.


New Scoutbook Help Knowledge Base

Looking for help guides and videos for Scoutbook just got easier! BSA IT and the SUAC have just launched the new Scoutbook help knowledge base. Located at http://help.scoutbook.com the knowledge base has all the previous SUAC guides and videos and even more information!

It has an extensive search feature and also has topics arranged by category.

Take it for a spin today at: http://help.scoutbook.com

Over time we will be adding more and more information to the knowledge base. If you know of common questions and answers that we should put in the knowledge base please send them to: suacinformation@gmail.com


Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation (BALOO) Update

BALOO’s online modules have been updated! As part of a two-part blended learning format, these online modules are the first step to become BALOO trained. The online training modules contain introductory and basic information that will be built upon during the practical training that is completed during an in-person, council instructed course. The in-person syllabus is facilitated by the council training committee. Reminder: In order to host any Cub Scout pack camping overnighters and Webelos den overnighters, a Cub Scout pack must have at least one BALOO trained adult in attendance at the event.

The online component must be completed prior to the practical component. The newly updated BALOO on-line training modules are now available at my.scouting.org in the BSA Learning Center and the syllabus for the in person part of the training can be found here: https://filestore.scouting.org/…/t…/pdf/510-033(17)baloo.pdf


The ABC’s about the Annual Health & Medical Record

From the Annual Health and Medial Record website, a pre-participation physical is needed for resident campers (at summer or winter camps) and for Scouts and adult leaders attending events that last 72 hours or more.

Why is an Annual Health and Medical Record required?

Since at least the 1930s, the BSA has required the use of standardized health and medical information. The Annual Health and Medical Record …

  • Promotes health awareness
  • Collects necessary data
  • Provides medical professionals with critical information needed to treat a patient in the event of an illness or injury
  • Supplies emergency contact information
  • Prepares participants for high-adventure activities and increased physical activity
  • Reviews participants’ readiness for gatherings like the national Scout jamboree and other specialized activities
  • Enables councils to operate day and resident camps in a way that adheres to state and BSA requirements
  • Standardizes medical records in a way that can be used by members in all 50 states

Which are the different parts of the Annual Health and Medical Record?

The Annual Health and Medical Record (AHMR) comes in three parts:

  • Part A is an informed consent, release agreement and authorization that needs to be signed by every participant (or a parent and/or legal guardian for all youth under 18).
  • Part B is general information and a health history.
  • Part C is your pre-participation physical certification completed by a certified and licensed physician.


Scoutify your Commute with Scouting Podcasts

With CubCast and ScoutCast, the BSA’s pair of monthly podcasts, you’ll become a more-informed Scouting volunteer as you drive to work, empty the dishwasher or walk your dog.

Each month’s topic is so expertly timed to give you helpful information, you’ll think the team behind CubCast and ScoutCast can read your mind.


National Scouts BSA Committee – LIVE OFFICE HOURS

Join the National Scouts BSA committee and Scouters from around the country to learn more about the Scouts BSA program on April 18, 2019 during our live office hours.

Time:  Apr 18, 2019 8:30 PM (Eastern Time)

This Q&A session is great for new Scouts BSA leaders to get answers to any question they have about the program. For example:

  • How to help new Scouts advance in rank
  • How to reinforce the Patrol Method
  • How to prepare for weekend overnight outdoor experiences
  • How to grow your new Scouts BSA troop

Please submit any questions you’d like to have addressed via email to family.scouting@scouting.org by April 15th. All questions will be answered, either during our live presentation or at a later time.

REGISTER


2019 Guide to Awards and Insignia

Just released. Here is your resource for everything awards and insignia.  Download this resource guide for the latest information.

Download Guide


Youth Protection Training Update – March 1

Youth Protection Training Update:
The updated online and facilitator-led (face to face) Y01 Youth Protection Training has been released. Updates include a new learning plan, as well as a Spanish-translated version of the training.

If you HAVE already completed Y01 Youth Protection Training you DO NOT have to retake the training with the March 1, 2019 release.

Coming soon:

Watch for additional recommended training modules covering Youth Protection topics such as: 
• Physical abuse,
• Emotional abuse,
• Neglect, and
• Impact of violence in the home