This acronym is the secret to the strongest Cub Scout packs around the country

Girl Cub Scout Petting a horse

Imagine you’re on a 1-mile hike with your assistant leader and seven Cub Scouts. You feel a windchill picking up, and the temperature is dropping. Your group isn’t dressed for the impending weather. What do you do?

If your approach to Scouting events includes SAFE planning, you’re prepared and have properly assessed the weather forecast before heading out with your Cub Scouts. Your den brought layers and will be bundled up in no time.

But SAFE in Scouting offers much more than weather preparedness. This month on #CubChat Live, we dove into all the approach entails.

Use SAFE to prepare for all your Scouting activities

Let’s breakdown the acronym:

  • S stands for Supervision.
  • A stands for Assessment.
  • F stands for Fitness and Skill.
  • E stands for Equipment/Environment.

As you can see in the video below, director of Cub Scouts Anthony Berger dubbed this simple memory tool the “secret sauce of Scouting.” Read on to learn how the approach can strengthen your unit and volunteer team.


First up, when planning for an activity, you must find adults who are qualified to supervise the tasks at hand. That doesn’t only mean ensuring you have two adults who are Youth-Protection trained (that should be a given and the bare minimum for any adult involved with your unit). It also includes finding adults who know about the subject you’re tackling and supervise actively.

If you’re taking on a lesson in knife safety, the adults supervising should have superb knife-handling etiquette. If you’re taking your den to the park, the adults on-site should be able to stay vigilant and keep track of youth at all times.


Next, assess what you’ll be doing for your activity. It‘s key to ensure any planned activity is not prohibited in the Guide to Safe Scouting. You can also use the guide to find ways to ensure activities are performed safely and effectively.

Just because an activity isn‘t listed in the Guide to Safe Scouting, doesn’t mean it‘s prohibited. But it‘s crucial to use your skills as a trained leader to assess unlisted activities for risk.

The great news? Any activity listed in Scouting handbooks is on the table for activities that can be conducted safely. Just remember to follow the guidelines from the handbooks and the Guide to Safe Scouting.

Fitness and Skill

This is where the Annual Health and Medical Records you collect from participants is key! You’re always collecting those before any and all Scouting activities, right?

Thinking through fitness and skills means reviewing the records both adults and youth submit before each Cub Scout event. You want to ensure you know who needs to take what medicine, any allergies participants may have and any other important distinctions to keep in mind during the activity.

Equipment and Environment

Lastly, recheck your equipment before each outing. Check for damage. Clean anything that needs it. And ensure you have enough equipment for everyone to participate.

Additionally, think through the environment for your activity. How will you lay out the room? Where will you pitch tents? Is the space big enough?

Your goal is to think through every scenario you can come up with before you‘re on-site!

Let us know how you plan for Cub Scout activities

Leaders, how have you employed the SAFE method before Scouting events? How has your planning paid off? Leave your stories in the comments and we may share them on a future #CubChatLive

About Gina Circelli 51 Articles
Gina Circelli is the senior digital editor for Scout Life. She loves sharing news about Scouts who shake up pop culture or contribute to their communities in big ways.