Youth protection is of paramount importance to the Boy Scouts of America and relies upon the shared involvement of everyone in Scouting. Recognizing that this commitment requires sustained vigilance, the BSA has continued to develop and enhance its efforts to protect youth, regularly consulting with experts from law enforcement, child safety, psychology, and other disciplines to ensure its efforts consistently evolve along with the ever-changing awareness of the dangers and challenges facing youth. We have invoked mandatory Youth Protection training, hired noted professionals to help focus activities, and elevated clear focus and awareness across the organization.
In support of this focus and awareness, the National Youth Protection Committee has initiated a program known as Youth Protection Champions. Each of these volunteers is the focal point and key driver of youth protection at his or her assigned level of the organization. They will assist in recruiting youth protection leadership within their spheres of influence, support Youth Protection training and strategy development actions as appropriate, and in so doing act as the principal champions and advisors at their level on all matters relating to youth protection and any pertinent youth protection initiatives, plans, programs, policies, communications, or actions that affect the BSA.
As commissioners visit their units, or as you speak to them at roundtables and other events, please encourage all units to recruit a Champion. Champions exist at the national, region, and area levels, and within many councils. Now it’s time to raise the awareness of the Champions program at the unit levels. Youth Protection Champions are recruited or selected according to the various qualifications identified for their specific level of involvement, and they will be appointed by their specific key leadership at that level. Unit Champions should be selected by their unit committee chair and have excellent people skills; have a solid Scouting background or be a fast-track learner; know and practice Scouting’s ideals and all aspects of Youth Protection policies and procedures; and be a youth protection–oriented volunteer. Further information about qualifications, supporting materials, and training information for Champions can be found at www.scouting.org/Training/YouthProtection/YPChampions.aspx.