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Youth Protection for Team Counselors PDF Print E-mail
 Our Team Counselors must:

·        Be of good character and want to positively inspire themselves and others;

·        Agree to uphold the Spirit and Promise of the Scout Programs of Adventure Scouts USA;

·        Agree to follow the policies, philosophies, and practices of Adventure Scouts USA.


The membership application will entail:

·        Completion of registration and application materials;

·        Payment of fees;

·        A signed consent form authorizing a background check.


The Committee shall consider individuals who will: 

  • gladly undergo a background check, if selected
  • be the best influence on the Scouts and Members of their sponsored Team,
  • have as their top priorities the health, safety, and protection of all Scouts and Members,
  • agree to report allegations of inappropriate behavior
  • agree to follow the principles and guidelines of the Scout Programs of Adventure Scouts USA and the Team Sponsor,
  • regularly communicate with the Team Sponsor and their Committee,
  • regularly communicate with all levels of the Scout Program,
  • regularly communicate with the leadership of the Team, Parent Partners and volunteers,
  • demonstrate leadership and encourage others to develop their leadership skills,
  • earn the respect of others rather than demand it,
  • demonstrate good character and encourage others to act with good character,
  • encourage and be willing to involve family members of Scouts and others who might be interested,
  • appreciate suggestions and value participation by others,
  • properly delegate all tasks,
  • facilitate the activities of the Team,
  • undertake training to improve their skills and abilities, and
  • encourage and support the organizing, creating, and leading of the Team, including its meetings, programs, and activities by the Scouts.


It is a requirement of the Scout Programs of Adventure Scouts USA that all Team Counselors receive diversity, disability, and program training as a part of our normal leadership training.  Our Team Counselors also voluntarily participate in additional leadership training to further enhance their skills and talents.  Our voluntary and required leadership training permits our Team Counselors to better serve as positive role models and to encourage in our Scouts the value that character does count.  We encourage our Team Counselors to acquire new experience by acquiring new skills. Background Checks For the safety of our Scouts, we have one of the most rigorous screening processes of any youth organization anywhere.  We require a comprehensive background check including fingerprinting for every adult working with Scouts, and no adult in our Scout Programs may be alone with one child ever.  


counselor outdoors with youth


All of the registrant’s information is analyzed within the computer registration database to catch potential variations or discrepancies when an individual is re-registering or registering initially. 


Overnight Trips and Youth Protection


All overnight trips, such as camping trips, require all adult participants, whether they are Counselors or parents, to sign up ahead of time and consent to a background check.  We offer the highest youth protection standards, and we ensure youth safety by taking it seriously.  We require comprehensive background checks on Counselors, fingerprinting, and mandatory reporting of abuse.


Adults register with a particular team in order to go on an overnight excursion.  If parents are bringing other siblings along, they can register those siblings at the same time.  Anyone over 18 must register as an adult and when registering, must provide two forms of identification: at least one with a picture I.D. issued by the state, such as a driver’s license, and another with a signature, such as a credit card.  We reserve the right to use information given to us at our discretion.  However, the only reason we would ever be using information is to help us prevent abuse against our Scouts.  Private information is just that, private, we do not share it with anyone other than law enforcement under particular circumstances.


Anyone over 18 who is staying overnight with the Scouts must be registered ahead of time.  Each team will have its own cut-off date and details.


Youth Protection Strategies


The Rule of 3


A Scout is never alone with an adult in our Scout Programs.  Ever.  The minimum requirement is either two adults to one Scout or two Scouts to one adult.  three youth making a snowmanWe prefer more than one adult in any case.



C odes


Our teams pick their own “code”, a word or phrase that only they, Counselors, Team Counselors, or parents know.  The purpose of this is that if a Scout got lost or separated and did not know whether to trust the adult offering to help, when the adult supplies the contact word or phrase, our Scouts know that person is a parent or a Counselor from another team who has been informed of the correct word or phrase.


What We Do in a Case of Inappropriate Behavior


We immediately contact the appropriate authorities and suspend the alleged perpetrator’s interaction with Scouts.


If the accused individual is found guilty, the person is stripped of their membership, we send information about them to the news media and to other youth organizations.


What You Should Do in Case of Inappropriate Behavior


Inappropriate behavior, suspected abuse, or even the mere appearance of impropriety, once alleged, is to be immediately reported to legal authorities, local Scout authorities, and the National Office so as to better ensure the safety of our Scouts and Members. 


All Scouts and Members are given a clear set of guidelines for reporting any inappropriate incidents.  


Observing our Scouts


If a Scout on your team has always had FUN and suddenly seems despondent, ask questions.  It may just be a bad day or an argument with a friend, but it may be something else.  Ask.


No Counselor or Team Counselor will engage in the following behavior:


Examples of situations which are considered inappropriate are:

  • physical examinations which an adult suggests are necessary or appropriate,
  • having Scouts undress to explain parts of their uniform,
  • sleeping in the same tent with Scouts,
  • sharing the same sleeping bag or tent to stay warm,
  • the application of products, such as suntan or calamine lotions, insect repellents, etc.,
  • the grabbing or touching of private parts while swimming,
  • roughhousing with others,
  • being alone with a Scout,
  • being in private with a Scout,
  • being in an area with a Scout out of the view of others,
  • no back rubs,
  • showering with Scouts, unless all are clothed,
  • changing in view of Scouts,
  • no touching, such as hugging, unless appropriate for time, place, and manner, for example, an awards presentation

Exceptions to inappropriate contact are only in case of an emergency and more than one adult must be present.


We have these rules of conduct for the protection of our Scouts, but also to protect our Counselors from false accusation.  In our Scout Programs, there is always a witness to adult participation with a Scout.  We prefer groups to be larger than three, though three is the minimum.


Clues to Whether a Scout on Your Team Will Be Targeted


There is no fool proof method.  However, youth who do not receive enough attention at home are more likely to put up with abuse in order to get the attention.  Youth from single parent or low income families are more likely to be abused.  Girls are more likely abused by family members, and boys are more likely abused by those outside the family.  46% of abused children are boys.


How to Prevent Abuse


The odds of a Scout being abused are extraordinarily low, but we know there are people who desire to hurt children and are particularly attracted by youth programs by any kind.  We do a lot to prevent anyone who would harm children from being admitted into our Scout Programs.  As a Counselor or Team Counselor, the best thing you can do is keep your eyes and ears open.  If Scouts mention something odd or just talking about intimate subjects they never mentioned before, talk with the Scout.  Together, we can prevent abuse.


Why our Policies on Youth Protection Are Stringent


We are serious about youth protection.  Parents, counselors, and youth are better informed than they have ever been, which is a tremendous step forward in youth protection.  We go above and beyond to screen those adults who spend time with our Scouts, to educate our Counselors on how to be on the alert, and to educate our Scouts on how to take care of themselves.

Adventure Scouts USA