2015 Guide to Safe Scouting now available — here’s what’s new

Guide-to-Safe-ScoutingSnowboarding and snowmobiling, BMX biking and BB guns, caving and climbing, scuba and surfing, shotguns and sailboards.

Those adrenaline-filled activities have one thing in common: All are approved in Scouting, provided a young man or young woman meets age minimums.

“There is a place in Scouting for age-appropriate events that push youth beyond their normal comfort level and stretch their abilities,” our National Key 3 wrote about the BSA’s commitment to safety. “This is appropriate when risks are identified and mitigated.”

That’s why it’s critical for every Scout leader to familiarize himself or herself with the Guide to Safe Scouting.

The 2015 Guide to Safe Scouting is now available online. The new version includes changes to the Safety Afloat section, an updated COPE/Climbing section and an updated Transportation section. 

What is the Guide to Safe Scouting?

If you’re new to Scouting, you really should read the whole 2015 Guide to Safe Scouting. There are chapters on:

  • Youth Protection
  • Aquatics Safety
  • Camping
  • Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Use and Abuse
  • Medical Information and First Aid
  • Chemical Fuels and Equipment
  • Shooting Sports
  • Sports and Activities (including the must-read Sweet 16 of BSA Safety)
  • Inspections
  • Insurance
  • Transportation
  • Winter Activities
  • Animal and Insect Hazards
  • Incident Reporting

Also, in the appendix you’ll find these helpful documents and more:

  • A Meeting Place Inspection Checklist
  • Tour and Activity Plan
  • Service Project Planning Guidelines
  • Age Guidelines for Tool Use

What’s new in the 2015 Guide to Safe Scouting?

Safety Afloat: This section was updated to facilitate the new Cub Scout program. “Remember,” says Richard Bourlon, BSA health and safety director, “Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat still apply to any aquatics activity and are critical to keeping our youth safe.”

The Aquatics Task Force, Cub Scout Experience team, and Health and Safety team all worked together to make sure that this was age- and risk-appropriate.

See the new section here.

Climbing Safety: The Climbing and Rappelling and COPE Activities sections were revised and expanded.

“In conjunction with the COPE and Climbing Task Force, a review of incidents identified a need to clarify what are appropriate COPE and Climbing activities,” Bourlon says. “This includes age appropriateness and what standards apply to such activities.”

See the new section here.

Transportation: Additions to this chapter include transportation guidelines and tips for safe driving.

See the new section here.


Photo from the BSA’s Flickr page. Find more great photos here.