Safety Moments – Hiking

As summer approaches, packs, troops and crews are gearing up for outdoor adventures big and small. One of the most common activities is hiking. Whether the trek is a few hundred feet or many miles, all hikes all can pose potential hazards if not carefully considered. Take a moment to review and share the two safety moments below and make sure your units are ready for their adventures this summer.  Download PDF

Take the Weather Safety Quiz

Taking your Pack or Troop Camping?  How prepared are you for the weather? Take this safety quiz and find out.  Every leader should complete Hazardous Weather training at

A Message from The Chief Scout Executive


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.


Mike Surbaugh
BSA Chief Scout Executive

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 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.


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 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.

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.

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

Guide to Safe Scouting Updated

The Guide to Safe Scouting has been updated and is now live as both a pdf for download (dated January 2019), or the HTML version.


– Updated language throughout to reference “Scouts BSA” rather than “Boy Scouts.”
– Youth Protection and Adult Leadership Clarified language in the Adult Supervision and Accommodations sections.
– Camping Updated information about Webelos overnight camping. Corrected publication number for Pack Overnight – Campout Site Appraisal Form and provided URL to access form.
– Sports and Activities Clarified Sea Scout participation in Climbing and Rappelling section.
– Animal and Insect Hazards Replaced entire chapter.
– Incident Reporting Provided URL for incident reporting.
– Appendix Replaced Event Safety Checklist

IMPORTANT: Online Youth Protection Update

Information about online Youth Protection Training:

At the end of February, the online Youth Protection Course will be replaced with an updated version. Please get the word out to all leaders that any courses in progress (completions of some but not all of the required four modules) will be lost when the course is updated. For example, if a leader had completed one, two, or three of the four modules, but had not completed all four, their completed modules will be erased and they will have to start over again to complete all four required modules. You must have completed all four modules successfully by February 28th, as the new Learning Plan will be launched March 1, 2019 .

If you have started-but not completed-the current Y01 (YPT-2) Youth Protection Training:

You must complete the training before March 1, 2019, or any progress you have made will not transfer, due to the new learning plan. Otherwise, you may simply start over with the new training plan on March 1, 2019.

If you HAVE already completed the current Y01 (YPT-2) Youth Protection Training:

You WILL NOT be affected. You DO NOT have to retake the training when the March 1, 2019 course is released.

This update will include new policies and procedures implemented since the course was first released in February 2018, however our Youth Protection and Health and Safety policies, guidelines and procedures are continually being updated and revised. The on-line version of the Guide to Safe Scouting is the single most up to date source of our commitment to Safe Scouting.

Youth Protection certifications will continue to be valid for a two year period.

When the course update is complete, four new VOLUNTARY modules will be added and will be available under the “VOLUNTARY programs.” These include:

1. Physical Abuse
2. Neglect
3. Emotional Abuse
4. Witnessing Violence

These new, VOLUNTARY modules will provide leaders with knowledge about other forms of abuse.

BSA Safety Moments

It just takes a moment to make your pack, troop or crew a little bit safer.

With its Safety Moments, covering a range of topics from acute mountain sickness to zip lines, the Boy Scouts of America’s Health and Safety team hopes to make Scouting an even safer place, one page at a time.

“These are attempts to simplify and streamline complex topics,” says Health and Safety team lead Richard Bourlon. “It’s so much better to prevent rather than react to an incident.”

How does a Scouter use a Safety Moment?

Safety Moments can be viewed online or downloaded as a print-suitable PDF to share with others.

Speaking of, Bourlon suggests starting each meeting with a Safety Moment on a timely topic.

Winter camping trip coming up? There’s a Safety Moment for that. Horseback riding? There’s one for that, too. Launching model rockets? Yes, indeed.

“Use them at your University of Scouting, your board meetings, your roundtables, as well,” he says.

But remember the operative word: moment. Don’t spend more than a few minutes on this.

What topics are covered in Safety Moments?

There are 76 Safety Moments so far, and they’re all collected on this page.

Some of the Safety Moments, like the ones about frostbite or snake bites, offer practical solutions to use in emergencies.

Take a look, and see which Safety Moments will benefit your Scouts.

What are the most popular Safety Moments?

About 40,000 people have visited the Safety Moments page so far. The three most popular, as of this writing:

  1. Annual Health and Medical Record
  2. Aquatics
  3. Bunk Beds

What’s the plan for adding more Safety Moments?

The team’s original goal was to have 36 Safety Moments, says BSA Health and Safety consultant Hannah Coffey.

“However, based on their popularity, we have been adding them as we see an opportunity for timely topics,” she says. “We know many people are crunched for time, so a Safety Moment is a great way to quickly convey a message about possible risks or hazards.”

If you have an idea for a new Safety Moment, contact the Health and Safety team

Youth Protection Training

Did Your Know?  Youth Protection Training is required for all registered adult Scouting volunteers.  Youth Protection Training (YPT) must be completed every two (2) years.   You can complete YPT Training online or in-person.  To take the online course, please visit