Local View: Boy Scouts works hard to protect its membersAs parents, our most important duty is keeping our children safe. The cases of abuse in the news recently — including at Penn State and, closer to home, the sentencing of Edwin Culbert — are sobering accounts and remind us that people who seek to harm children can be found anywhere, even among groups that serve youths.
By: David A. Nolle, for the News Tribune
As parents, our most important duty is keeping our children safe. The cases of abuse in the news recently — including at Penn State and, closer to home, the sentencing of Edwin Culbert — are sobering accounts and remind us that people who seek to harm children can be found anywhere, even among groups that serve youths. As Scout Executive/CEO of the local council of the Boy Scouts of America, I believe these incidents serve as an important reminder of the need to talk with our children about this subject and to review policies in place at the many youth-serving organizations in our community.
At the Boy Scouts of America, we take very seriously the role we play in protecting our young members. That is why we have such a stringent youth-protection plan. The Boy Scouts of America has established a multi-tiered, youth-protection approach focused on volunteer screening, education, training for everyone in the program and clear policies to protect youths.
Youth protection requires sustained vigilance. That is why the Boy Scouts of America has continued to develop and enhance its youth-protection efforts. Over the past 30 years the Boy Scouts of America has strengthened youth-protection measures by prohibiting one-on-one adult-youth activities, mandating criminal background checks for all staff who work with youths and increasing youth-protection training requirements. In 2010 the Boy Scouts hired a full-time youth-protection director, a recognized expert on child abuse who’s dedicated to the continued strengthening of scouting’s youth-protection programs and policies.
I encourage you to talk with your children about youth-protection issues. Keeping an open dialogue with your children, no matter what their age, is a very powerful part of keeping your children safe. Ensuring that your child’s organization is meeting or exceeding these best practices is essential, but the best protection is provided by youths who are educated, prepared and aware. The subject can be uncomfortable, but parents must speak to their children about these issues and teach personal safety, including how to recognize, resist and report inappropriate behavior.
I know when confronted with a shocking headline about abuse, our first reaction is to shield our kids. But we must continue to live our lives and participate in sports teams, scouting programs, community groups, and cultural or religious organizations. The skills our children learn from these organizations are priceless and contribute to their personal growth and well-being.
David A. Nolle is the Scout Executive/CEO of the Boy Scouts of America, Voyageurs Area Council, which has its offices in Hermantown.