Back in 2010, there was a landmark case that changed the Boy Scouts of America. It was the case of a former Scout charging he was sexually abused by a Scoutmaster in the Troop back in the 1970′s. I wrote a couple of articles about it. Oddly enough, this is one that I published two years ago today. More recently, even Scout Canada has had issues with Youth Protection. I really like their active stance on it. Their National Commissioner stood up and took responsibility for it. There were several other Bloggers who were talking about this. Scoutmaster Jerry had a few good ones. Even a Podcast as well.
I am not going to rehash the whole event of the trial or the events. While it’s in the past, I am focusing in on what’s changed in the past two years.
A lot actually. The BSA has stated and enforced the mandatory Youth Protection Training. It can be taken online or in person. Also, the BSA has created a set of Social Media Guidelines for Twitter, Facebook, Email and many other outlets. Scouts are online and so are those who wish to do them harm.
During the time I was a Troop Guide for the 2011 Woodbadge within my Council, I talked about how people communicated and pointed to those guidelines. I explained that if you email a Scout information that is one on one communication. The simple solution is to copy another Adult, even the Scout’s Parents on the email. that way, your adhearing to YPT.
In my own life and within the Pack & District, I have become more sensitive to how YPT is played out. While no serious violations, even minor ones have happened, there were learning moments. Meaning, a well-meaning parent was with a couple of Scouts by themselves at a Scout camp as they moved from one section of the area to another. I know the person and all the Scouts were just running around, but I pointed it out. Harmless, yes. But, I need to bring it to their attention.
Within the Pack many of the Dens have watched “It’s Happened to Me” and have had disscusion about YPT. I have also talked a lot about how Scouts look out for eachother and be respectful of eachother and those that they might meet. One was just recently on how to work together as a team.
So, what else is the BSA doing to help in the Youth Protection game? The Scout-Wire website has started to publish articles on the subject. It’s a great start.
So, what can you do? If your an Adult Scouter, log into Myscouting.org and take the Youth Protection Online Training. It’s 25 minutes. If your a Scout parent, but not a Scout Volunteer, log into myscouting.org, create an account and take the Youth Protection Training. The more you know, the safer everyone can be.
If your Youth Protection certification ends before 12/31/12, then you need to take the training again. YPT is good for two years. Adult Scouters need YPT every two years so the Scout Unit can re-charter.