Safeguarding our Scouts
This page contains the text of an email October 18, 2012, from the Northern New Jersey Council (which is also posted on the NNJC web site) and a letter to parents, from Troop 5 leadership, October 24, 2012.
Troop 5, Boy Scouts of America
October 24, 2012
Dear Troop 5 Parents and Scouts:
The safety and well-being of our Scouts is always our first priority and Troop 5 regularly reviews and updates training and procedures to make sure our Scouts have an enjoyable and safe experience. Recently there have been news reports about files released by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) containing information on men and women suspected, charged, or convicted of sexual abuse. In light of those reports and the legitimate concerns of parents, we thought it was important to remind everyone of the training, procedures and safeguards that Troop 5 has in place.
A quality and safe Scouting program starts with training. The required BSA Youth Protection Training for adults focuses on preventing abuse of Scouts and recognizing and responsibly addressing and reporting any suspected abuse.
- Troop 5 requires adult leaders to complete (and keep current) BSA Youth Protection Training as well as required training courses for their positions.
- In addition, many of our adult leaders have additional safety training and certifications, including first aid, CPR and wilderness first-aid. Three of our adult leaders have completed the BSA Woodbadge course, a leadership development program that takes a significant period of commitment and is Scouting’s highest level of training.
Each Scout is required to review with his parents or guardians the guide entitled “How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse,” which is included in the Boy Scout Handbook. The guide is a tool to help parents and Scouts recognize, resist and report attempted or actual molestation. No Scout can achieve his first rank in our troop without completing this requirement.
Training helps ensure that Troop 5’s adult leaders understand and know how to implement the policies that protect our Scouts and adult leaders. BSA national provides this definition of child abuse and reporting expectations which are the basis of Troop 5’s policies:
- Physical or sexual abuse of a child.
- Physical or emotional neglect of a child.
- Exposure to any form of violence or threat.
- Exposure to any form of sexual exploitation, including the possession, manufacture, or distribution of child pornography, online solicitation, enticement, or showingof obscene material.
- All persons involved in Scouting shall report to local authorities any good-faith suspicion or belief (of these activities). You may not abdicate this reporting responsibility to any other person.
Troop 5 requires these barriers to abuse:
- A minimum of two-deep leadership at all outings and meetings, including meetings with individual Scouts (a Scout is never alone with an adult).
- Respect for Scout privacy and separate accommodations for Scouts and adults (including sleeping, changing, showering, etc.). Appropriate attire for all activities.
- Zero tolerance for hazing, bullying or secret organizations. Constructive discipline only.
- Responsible and appropriate use of digital devices (cameras, phones, tablets, etc.).
- Guiding and monitoring youth leaders to ensure they act appropriately.
- Suspected abuse cases are to be reported to our district Scout executive and appropriate authorities.
- Passing,without conditions, BSA adult leader background checks and references.
Troop 5 has multiple levels of oversight to ensure that BSA and Troop policies are followed. We have unusually deep adult leadership; over 25 actively involved men and women who volunteer their talents in leadership,management, technology, communications, finances, health/medicine, and many other areas of oversight of Troop 5 activities.
- Troop 5 has one of the most experienced Scoutmasters and has nine Assistant Scoutmasters.
- Our Troop Committee includes 16 (additional) adults, ultimately responsible for supporting and overseeing Troop 5’s program.
- The majority of our adult leaders bring a parental perspective of oversight to the Troop 5 program, with sons who are current or former Troop 5 Scouts.
- Our leadership team has significant Scouting background. As adults, many have been involved as leaders in Scouting since their sons were in Cub Scouts. Many were Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts themselves; 10 are Eagle Scouts.
Oversight happens on an ad hoc basis and formally:
- The Scoutmaster confers with Assistant Scoutmasters at each troop meeting. This group also has a formal monthly meeting.
- TheTroop Committee meets each month with the Scoutmaster (and a number ofAssistant Scoutmasters).
- Ouryouth leaders (Troop Leader Council) meet monthly with the Scoutmaster andAssistant Scoutmasters to ensure that weekly programs and outings arewell-planned with appropriate attention to safety. They also meet for a short while after eachTroop Meeting.
Communicating with Parents and Scouts
We hope this is a reassuring message at this time when troubling information about the handling of past instances of sexual abuse by BSA national underscores the need for all of us to be vigilant about protecting our Scouts.
We want to emphasize that Troop 5’s leaders are well trained, that there are policies to ensure the safety and well-being of our Scouts, and that our leaders are conscientious in oversight to keep our Scouts safe. Troop 5’s leaders affirm they will not take short cuts regarding the safety of your sons.
At this week’s troop meeting we will be talking with Scouts about these issues. We will be scheduling a date for the BSA national training program specifically for Scouts “A Time to Tell” (We will let everyone know the date in advance).
As always, Troop 5’s leaders invite parents and Scouts to discuss the safety concerns of our Scouting program with us. You can find information on youth protection issues at the links below.
Yours in Scouting,
Bob Fay, Troop Committee Chair
Roger Brauchli, Scoutmaster
Troop 5, Boy Scouts of America, Maplewood, NJ
An overview of BSA’s Youth Protection Policies and Training:
Online version of the BSA guide for parents “How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse”
Abouthalf way down this page is information on the training program for Scouts, “A Time to Tell”:
E-version of the Youth Protection Training (and other training programs) are found at the“My Scouting” section of BSA’s website. Parents are able to and encouraged totake the Youth Protection Training as well (very simple registration is needed):
NNJC Message Regarding Media Coverage of BSA Ineligible Volunteer Files
Thursday, October 18, 2012 4:10 pm
Message Regarding Media Coverage of BSA Ineligible Volunteer Files
As you may have seen and heard media coverage regarding release of BSA ineligible volunteer files we wanted you to be aware of information that has been made available about this from the National organization. This information can be accessed on the national website www.scouting.org at the following link:
Boy Scouts of America Statement on Ineligible Volunteer Files
You should know that the highest priority of the leadership of our council is the protection and well-being of the 15,000 youth members of Northern New Jersey Council. The nearly 10,000 volunteers as well as our parents help to insure that this is accomplished at every single Scout unit meeting, outing and camping trip.
Finally, if you receive any media inquiries regarding this matter or if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me.
Thank you for making the Scouting program happen for our kids!
Patrick M. Coviello
Deputy Scout Executive/COO
BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA
Northern New Jersey Council
25 Ramapo Valley Road, PO Box 670
Oakland, NJ 07436
phone 201 677-1000 X14