The following letter was sent in to our local newspapers as a letter to the editor from our Scout Executive Stuart Williams. Please note that we will continue to put our best foot forward and remain a strong relevant and safe program to the youth of our community. Thank you to all of our hard working volunteers and parents that make Scouting happen every day and especially those of you that continue to show what Scouting stands for through character and community service... Read MoreLetter to local media outlets for Winchester, VA
The Boy Scouts are a positive force in the lives of our youth, and our community. Our programs create a safe environment for more than 4,500 children in our local Scouting program to develop high moral character and a sense of adventure.
As a father, I know and understand the impact of even just one instance where a child is abused and it is without doubt unacceptable.
Ineligible-volunteer files were recently released by an Oregon attorney. These files, owned and managed by the National Office, are an essential piece of the Boy Scouts’ multi-tiered approach to youth protection, and have kept dangerous people out of Scouting since their start. Keeping our children safe is the number one priority of the Shenandoah Area Council, BSA. I am a parent, and I know what it means to entrust your child into the care of others. That trust is something that I share with our 2,000 plus local Scout Leaders. It is why we work so hard to keep our youth protection policies in line with society’s understanding of abuse and the best practices for prevention.
Today, our youth protection approach is cited as the best in the nation by child protection experts, including Victor Vieth, head of the National Child Protection Training Center. Our preventive measures are robust and designed with multiple safeguards, including volunteer screening and training for adults, parents, and Scouts. From criminal background checks to policies that ensure that no youth is ever alone with an adult leader, the BSA has consistently led the way in safeguarding children. Our protocol also includes mandatory reporting to law enforcement of any suspected abuse.
A recent independent study from University of Virginia psychologist Janet Warren concluded that “children in Scouting were safer and less likely to experience inappropriate sexual behavior in Scouting than in their own families, schools, and during other community activities supervised by adults.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used the Boy Scout youth protection guidelines to write a guide for all youth-serving organizations as a model to help prevent child abuse.
There are no secrets when it comes to safe Scouting. Parents are encouraged to join and attend each and every program, and every Scout Handbook trains parents to talk to their children about how to recognize, resist, and report abuse.
I am personally and professionally committed, along with every other adult member of our Scouting community, to make certain we implement and enforce the absolute best practices for protecting our Scouts today – and continue to be a model for all youth-serving organizations in the community.
Shenandoah Area Council, BSA