Critical Changes to Youth Protection Training

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This weekend, people across America will be moving their clocks ahead an hour (or not and thus showing up late for church on Sunday!). At the same time, and perhaps more importantly, the BSA is moving the calendar ahead on Youth Protection Training.

As the BSA announced this week, every registered adult leader must take the new version of Youth Protection Training by October 1 of this year–even if they just did their training a month or two ago. The reason is that the training, which is now available on the BSA website, has been overhauled to broaden the coverage and incorporate videos from abuse-prevention experts and abuse victims.

But there’s another important change that may catch troop leaders off-guard. Beginning June 1, any adult who spends 72 hours or more on a unit outing must be registered, which means he or she must have completed Youth Protection Training and must have passed a criminal background check. And the 72 hours need not be continuous. For example, a dad who spends most of summer camp with your troop but goes home for a couple of days of meetings would still need to be registered, trained and background-checked. (When originally announced this policy only applied to Boy Scout troops, but it now applies across the board.)

Here are the key points from an email the BSA sent out this week:

  • As of January 1, 2018, no new leader can be registered without first completing youth protection training.
  • As of January 1, 2018, no council, regional, or national leader will be allowed to renew their registration if they are not current on their Youth Protection Training.
  • As of September 1, 2017, no unit may re-charter without all leaders being current on their Youth Protection Training. Registrars no longer have the ability to approve charters without full compliance.
  • Effective June 1, 2018, adults accompanying a Scouting unit who are present at the activity for 72 total hours or more must be registered as a leader, including completion of a criminal background check and Youth Protection Training. The 72 hours need not be consecutive.

There’s nothing we as Scouters do that’s more important than keeping our members safe. While these changes may complicate your job in the short term, in the long term they will undoubtedly pay off by creating a safer environment for every Scout.


Need more great troop program ideas? Check out the new edition of The Scoutmaster’s Other Handbook, which is now available in both print and e-book formats at https://www.eaglebook.com/products.htm#scoutmasters.

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