The purpose of the Guide to Safe Scouting is to prepare adult leaders to conduct Scouting activities in a safe and prudent manner. The policies and guidelines have been established because of the real need to protect members from known hazards that have been identified through 90-plus years of experience.For many Scouts, camp is an exciting opportunity for growth and independence. However, separation can also be nerve-wracking for parents and children alike. Follow these tips to keep your kids safe at camp this summer.
Table of Contents
- The BSA’s Commitment to SafetyB
- SA Scouter Code of Conduct
- Youth Protection and Adult Leadership
- Aquatics Safety
- Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Use and Abuse
- Medical Information and First Aid
- Chemical Fuels and Equipment
- Shooting Sports
- Sports and Activities
- Winter Activities
- Animal and Insect Hazards
- Incident Reporting
- Appendix: Safety Checklists and Forms
Learn About the Camp
Even if you fully reviewed the summer camp’s literature before registering, it’s important to revisit these materials before your kids leave for the summer. Look over the camp’s website to see what you can learn about the facility, the anticipated activities, and established emergency response procedures. If the available literature doesn’t answer your questions, don’t hesitate to call the camp to get the answers you need.
If the camp’s itinerary includes potentially dangerous activities, like swimming, hiking, or horseback riding, ask about the safety equipment, and whether camp staff is trained in First Aid and CPR. If the camp is particularly outdoorsy, you may want to ask about Wilderness First Aid as well.
Prepare for Time Away From Home
First-time campers sometimes have difficulties spending 24 hours a day away from home. To help your child be as prepared as possible, schedule sleepovers with friends before they depart. Practice spending the night away from parents will build your child’s confidence for camp.
If their camp is in the great outdoors, take a family camping trip, so your new camper can get used to the sights and sounds of the wilderness. Give your kid a chance to experiment with outdoor skills like pitching a tent, building a fire, and going to the bathroom outside. This experience will give your child confidence while among their peers.
Keep Camp Staff Informed
If your child has any special needs, be sure to inform the camp director before the season starts. Whether it’s a medication, an allergy, or a learning disability, full disclosure enables camp staff to provide the best care to your child.
It’s also wise to discuss these issues with your child himself. If kids are accustomed to parents remembering medication, reviewing ingredient labels, and taking other measures to keep them safe, they may not be prepared to take on the responsibility themselves. Reinforce the importance of these matters, and increase children’s responsibility before their camp session.
Discuss Camp Safety
Talk to your child about staying safe at camp. This includes everything from outdoor safety to staying safe around new people.
Discuss the importance of wearing sunscreen and protective clothing, packing plenty of water, and not wandering off trail or away from groups. Address animals and plants, like poison ivy, that they should avoid. Talk about what to do if they get lost, like how to find shelter and clean water, and demonstrate basic navigation skills. If the camp has a pool, pond, or lake, you should also discuss water safety.
Talk to your child about mistreatment from others, whether it’s a peer bully or a strange adult. Children should know how to find a safe adult to talk to and understand the importance of speaking up about things that make them uncomfortable. If the camp restricts phone calls home, make sure your kid has a reliable way to contact you if anything major goes wrong at camp. While you don’t want to encourage calling home for every minor issue, it’s important that your child knows how to reach to you in moments of need.
It may be scary to send your Scout off to camp. When you take these steps to keep your kids safe at summer camp, you can rest assured that they’re having the time of their lives and staying out of trouble.