A collection of Scouting resources to help you plan and conduct safe activities
LDS Scouting Handbook (May 2015 version) Safety Sections
The BSA requires all Scouting leaders to take Youth Protection Training, which is available online or through the BSA local district or council.
Two registered adult leaders or one registered adult leader and a parent of a participant (one of whom must be 21 years of age or older) are required for all Scouting trips, outings, classes, and meetings.
In situations that require personal conferences, such as a Scoutmaster’s conference or merit badge counseling, the meeting should be conducted in view of other adults or youth.
When camping, no youth is permitted to sleep in the tent of an adult other than his own parent or guardian.
Adult leaders must respect the privacy of youth in situations such as changing clothes and taking showers at camp, and they should intrude 7 only when health and safety require doing so. Adults should also protect their own privacy in similar situations.
Priesthood and Scouting leaders should refer regularly to Handbook 2, chapter 13 for policies and guidelines regarding activities and safety. Leaders should also comply with guidelines in the Guide to Safe Scouting, published by the BSA. This publication is available online at scouting.org and at BSA local council service centers. Additional safety guidelines can be found on safety.lds.org.
Leaders should use the BSA Activity Consent Form and Approval by Parents or Legal Guardian, as well as tour and activity plans, as required, when planning activities and outings.
Activities should be appropriate for the participants’ ages, ability, and maturity. Leaders and youth should have fitness levels appropriate for the activity, and individual medical risk factors should be carefully considered. Before holding an activity, leaders should instruct all participants in safety practices unique to the activity. Leaders and youth should know and abide by all laws and safety guidelines pertaining to the activity or property.
Leaders should be prepared for emergencies that may occur and know in advance how to contact law enforcement and emergency services.
Leaders should notify the bishop and stake president promptly if an accident, illness, or injury occurs on Church property or during an official Scouting or Church-sponsored activity. If the accident involves a fatality or overnight hospital stay, leaders immediately notify the Risk Management Division at Church headquarters (telephone 1-801-240-4049 or 1-800-453-3860, extension 2-4049). Leaders should also notify the local BSA council.
For detailed guidelines on responding to accidents and reporting them, see Handbook 2, 13.6.20
Leaders should follow the travel policies outlined in Handbook 2 (13.6.24). In addition, members who travel in Church-sponsored Scouting groups should prepare tour and activity plans and receive approval from appropriate priesthood leaders. Church Scouting units may not own or acquire automobiles or buses for travel.
When using private passenger vehicles, each driver should be a licensed, responsible adult. All vehicles and drivers should be covered by reasonable amounts of insurance.
Drivers should be instructed to obey all laws, to make sure their vehicle is in safe operating condition, and to ensure that each person properly uses a seat belt. Drivers should also be instructed not to drive if they are drowsy, not to use mobile phones while driving, and not to engage in other behaviors that would distract them.
Latter-day Saint Scouting units are not authorized to organize “specialty” or similar programs that focus exclusively on a particular skill, hobby, or career.
Stake or ward Scout camps that involve more than two units and that exceed three consecutive nights for Venturers and five consecutive nights for Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts cannot be advertised as “Scout” camps unless they follow the BSA national camp standards and are authorized by the local council. If long-term camps do not qualify as authorized Scout camps, they will not be covered by BSA liability insurance. For long-term camping, use of BSA facilities is strongly recommended.
An “official Scouting activity” is an activity that is consistent with the established programs, values, charter, bylaws, and rules and regulations of the BSA. The BSA’s Guide to Safe Scouting provides important planning guidelines, along with a list of unauthorized and restricted activities. These activities are not considered official Scouting activities.
Volunteers (registered and unregistered), units, and chartered organizations will jeopardize insurance coverage for themselves and their organization if they engage in unauthorized activities. Leaders should not put themselves, others, or the Church at risk. (See the BSA’s Guide to Safe Scouting, section X, “Insurance.”)
There is insurance coverage through the BSA for a Scout meeting or event that qualifies as an official Scouting activity (see 8.20). The BSA provides primary comprehensive general liability insurance protection for registered Scout Leaders, Scouting units, and chartering organizations.
The insurance provided to unregistered Scouting volunteers through the BSA’s general liability insurance program is excess over any other insurance the volunteer might have available to him or her. Vehicle or watercraft liability insurance coverage through the BSA is provided on an excess basis. (See the BSA’s Guide to Safe Scouting, section X, “Insurance.”)
For personal liability insurance guidelines within the Church, see Handbook 2, 13.6.9, which states: “Where possible, [members] should protect themselves by carrying reasonable amounts of liability insurance. Such insurance may be available through homeowners insurance or other policies.”
The Church does not typically purchase primary liability insurance but uses Church funds to defend and pay claims. On a case-by-case basis, the Church may assist those who are sued in connection with Church activities. The Church will attempt to exhaust all available coverage before using Church funds. For official Scouting activities, there should be insurance coverage through the BSA.
Neither the Church nor the BSA provides indemnification or defense coverage to individuals who commit intentional or criminal acts.
Church Activity Medical Assistance (CAMA) applies to Church-sponsored activities, including Scouting. CAMA is administered by Deseret Mutual (DMBA) and provides assistance to participants of activities sponsored by stakes, wards, and branches of the Church in the United States. No fees should be paid to the BSA local council for accident and health insurance coverage. See the current DMBA CAMA handbook for information on how this assistance is provided (visit dmba.com/churchactivity for details or see Handbook 2, 13.6.9).