As we begin our new “Scouting Year”, it would be a great time to “dust off” the Guide to Safe Scouting and review with your unit leadership, Scouts, and Venturers.
Few youth organizations encompass the breadth, volume, and diversity of physical activity common to Scouting. The Guide to Safe Scouting (GTSS) is an overview of Scouting policies and procedures, gleaned from a variety of sources and designed to make the program safer.
When it comes to the safety guide, here are some important points for you to remember:
- Know the Guide—All participants in official Scouting activities should become familiar with the document and applicable BSA program literature or manuals. The guide is a resource as well as a summary of the materials provided by the BSA.
- Know the Law—Be aware that state or local government regulations supersede BSA practices, policies, and guidelines.
- Know the Risks—The Guide to Safe Scouting does not cover every possible activity, but it provides guidance on how to evaluate risks and proceed safely if explicit requirements do not exist. Check out the Activity Planning and Risk Assessment section.
- Know the Restrictions—The document includes a list of restricted or prohibited activities.
- Know the Limits—The document contains age-appropriate guidelines for activities. Find out which and when certain activities are appropriate for particular age groups.
- Know the Program—The guide points to other BSA program documents such as Safe Swim Defense, the National Shooting Sports Manual, and additional program materials.
Not Just a Guide!
While the Guide to Safe Scouting provides guidance on how to assess risks and proceed safety if your activity is not specifically addressed in program materials, it also contains policies such as the Scouter Code of Conduct and the Barriers to Abuse. It also may lead you to requirements found in other BSA program materials.
- Guide to Safe Scouting website
- Guide to Safe Scouting online version with latest updates
- BSA Scouter Code of Conduct