March - April 2003
April Is Youth Protection Month
The Boy Scouts of America has designated April 2003 as its third annual National Youth Protection Month.
The BSA has been a front-runner in the field of youth protection, with materials developed for all levels of our membership. Our print and video training pieces have been acknowledged as some of the best.
The BSA urges units to conduct youth protection programs in April and to share Scouting's outstanding resources, which are available for all age groups, with the community at large.
And this year's campaign will continue to focus on two major goals that were the basis for highly successful efforts in 2001 and 2002:
Award-winning BSA videos
An estimated 500,000 children are victimized by molesters and sexual abusers each year in the United States. Tens of thousands more suffer physical and/or emotional abuse at the hands of adults. But the award-winning BSA-produced videos, cornerstones of the BSA youth protection initiative, are contributing to lowering this toll.
"It Happened to Me" (BSA No. AV-09V011) is for boys in the 6-to-9-year-old Cub Scout age range and is designed to be viewed with a parent or guardian.
"A Time to Tell" (No. AV-09V004) has helped countless Boy Scouts and other youth in the 11-to-14-year-old age group learn to recognize abusive behavior and take steps to prevent it.
"Personal Safety Awareness" (No. AV-09V027), produced for 14- to 20-year-old Venturing-age youth, covers such topics as Internet safety, stalking, sexual harassment, and acquaintance rape.
The videos are available at many council service centers and may also be ordered from the National Distribution Center, P.O. Box 65989, Charlotte, NC 28265-0989, (800) 323-0732.
Online training now available
On Jan. 1, 2002, a new tour permit policy went into effect, requiring at least one Youth Protection-trained leader for an outing or activity requiring a tour permit. To accommodate leaders and others in maintaining this standard, the national office has created "Youth Protection Guidelines for Adult Leaders and Parents," a Web-based training vehicle developed for volunteers who need training quickly and cannot wait until the next council training date and for those volunteers who live too far away from their council training site.
The training is only accessible at Youth Protection Online, a Web site that volunteers can access by first logging on to their participating local council Web site. Check with your council for availability.
The user-friendly online session does not require a high level of computer literacy and takes about 30 minutes. It covers the different kinds of abuse, signs and symptoms of abuse, strategies of a molester, Boy Scout Youth Protection policies, and reporting requirements for leaders.
A volunteer who does not have a home computer can take the training online at a public library or other location where Internet access is available to the public. Certification can be received via the Internet or in a certification packet sent via the U.S. Postal Service.
Councils can make the training available to others in the community as well, by sharing their access information with local organizations such as churches, schools, and other youth-serving organizations.
A new comic book for Cub Scouts
An important innovation introduced during the 2002 campaign was the Power Pack Pals (No. 33980) comic book series, designed to convey valuable information in an entertaining, non-threatening way to America's 2.1 million Cub Scouts and other youngsters in the 7-to-10-year-old age group.
The first issue dealt with the important subject of bullies and bullying and contained admonitions to parents as well as messages directed at children.
The second Power Pack Pals (No. 33981) comic book, which is available this spring, features Internet safety.
Cub Scouting characters Baloo, Akela, and T. C. guide their young friends as they prepare for a trip to the zoo. Excited about their trip, the kids want to use the Internet to learn about the animals they will see.
The Power Pack Pals show them how to find what they are looking forand how to avoid the parts of the Web that aren't meant for children.
Baloo and the other pals stress how important it is for kids to get their parents' permission to go into chat rooms. They also make sure the kids know they should talk to their parents if they see anything that scares them or that they don't understand.
Both Power Pack Pals books deal with youth protection among all boys and girls of Cub Scout age. They are available through local council service centers.
March-April 2003 Table of Contents
Copyright © 2003 by the Boy Scouts of America. All rights thereunder reserved; anything appearing in Scouting magazine or on its Web site may not be reprinted either wholly or in part without written permission. Because of freedom given authors, opinions may not reflect official concurrence.