In April we went live, literally! For the first time the district made our roundtable meeting available online using Facebook Live. There are a few areas to improve on, but we appreciate all our virtual participants for attending and providing feedback.

April’s Roundtable meeting was broken up into four parts.

  • Internet Safety – Bringing awareness to the Youth Protection Website as a treasure trove for adult leaders and parents.
    • We reviewed the YPT website to ensure leaders understood the valuable resources on the site. Specifically, how to direct parents to YPT material to further understand the measures in place to protect our participants. This can be found on the Youth Protection Website under the header Key Resources or by going directly to the Parent’s Guide website.
  • Cyber Chip – In this digital age, there is an inevitability youth will be subjected to various virtual circumstances. Cyber Chip helps to educate and inform; providing learning on how to deal with uncomfortable or challenging situations. The Boy Scouts of America are partnered with site NetSmartz to provide the Cyber Chip program. Leaders may find additional content on the site’s Trends & Topic‘s page; providing resources to initiate dialogue and educate others.
  • YPT Safety Videos – There are 3 program specific videos to further educate and inform safety awareness. Each of these videos are available for purchase from the Boy Scouts of America or can be found online for free on sites such as YouTube.
    • It Happened to Me (Cub Scouts) – The video creates open communication between a Cub Scout and their parent. The content of the training focuses on “Four Rules of Personal Safety” with each rule having a corresponding video scenario. Additional Cub Scout resources and the facilitator’s guide for this video can be found here.
    • A Time to Tell (Scouts, BSA) – Shows several strategies used to attempt sexual molestation. The scenarios in the video are broken into two segments, (1) recognition (2) resist and report, with a discussion portion between the two segments and at the conclusion of the scenario. The aim of the video is to educate in the three R’s of Youth Protection: Recognize, Resist, Report. Additional Scouts, BSA resources and the facilitator’s guide for this video can be found here.
    • Personal Safety Awareness Training (Venturing) – There are four video segments to the training: Suicide Prevention, Internet Safety, Sexual Harassment, and Date Rape. These are coming to age topics for maturing youth. The videos offer insight into the situation and allows discussion of the topics in a judgement free environment. Additional Venturing resources can be found here while the facilitator’s guide for this video can be found here.

Each of the above videos are a way to open dialogue with program participants. Comprehension of the identified rules, principles, and scenarios help better equip a participant to face or help others face these scenarios. Youth Protection is most successful when registered youth, adults, and parents understand how to keep others safe and recognize the tell tale signs for when something doesn’t seem right.

  • QA Session – Our QA session focused heavily on utilizing Social Media. The Scouting Wire site offers a basic outline of the Boy Scouts of America’s social media guidelines.
    • There was a specific question regarding Facebook Groups. Facebook groups have three levels of classification: Public, Closed, and Secret. The privacy settings for each of these group types can be found here. Under no circumstance should a group created to set to Secret. The Boy Scouts of America do not permit any secret practices or organizations. The designation of Secret would go against this policy. At minimum, groups need to be searchable by the public; Public and Closed groups are searchable by the public.

The final point of the night was an emphasis on a need for youth to feel comfortable coming forward when an incident/ violation of Youth Protection occurs. There was a phrase used when I would train the Suicide Prevention segment of the Personal Safety Awareness Training. “You are better to lose a friendship than lose a life.” The sentiment of this phrase applies regardless of the scenario/ situation. An individual willingly disclosed something personal and deeply inflicting to their well being. We have a duty to act and take the information seriously. If we create an environment where there are repercussions for an individual afflicted, the individuals who need our help the most won’t come forward. Make the point to your scouts, leaders, and parents that helping someone in need to ensure their safety is more important than any action the person took to be in their situation.