Guide to Safe Scouting

Understanding Scouting Policies and Procedures

All participants in official Scouting activities should become familiar with the Guide to Safe Scouting and applicable program literature or manuals, and be aware of state or local government regulations that supersede Boy Scouts of America practices, policies, and guidelines. The Guide to Safe Scouting is an overview of Scouting policies and procedures gleaned from a variety of sources. For some items, the policy statements are complete. Unit leaders are expected to review the additional reference material cited prior to conducting such activities.

In situations not specifically covered in this guide, activity planners should evaluate the risk or potential risk of harm, and respond with action plans based on common sense, community standards, the Scout motto, and safety policies and practices commonly prescribed for the activity by experienced providers and practitioners.

Perhaps this quote by Sir Robert Baden-Powell from his 1914 book Quick Training for War is appropriate to include here: “… The books lay down definite principles and examples which serve to guide the leaders when applying their common sense to the situation before them. No two situations are ever precisely the same, and it is therefore impossible to lay down exact rules that should guide in every case, but a man who carries precedents and principles in his head has no difficulty in applying their teaching in supreme moments of sudden emergency…”

Download the print-friendly version here. This is the full PDF version that contains updates as of February 2022. Please refer to the online version for the most updated information.

Age Appropriate Guidelines for Scouting Activities

Download a chart that provides an at-a-glance reference to activity guidelines that are based on the mental, physical, emotional, and social maturity of youth members. Click here to download PDF.

SAFE Project Tool Use

An at-a-glance reference for service projects. The use of tools, by any youth or adult, requires training in the proper use of those tools before a project starts. It also requires continuous, qualified adult supervision and discipline during the project. Manufacturers’ literature and age and skill restrictions shall supersede the recommendations in the publication. If there is a conflict, leaders shall follow the most restrictive guidelines. Click here to download PDF.

Medication Use in Scouting

The guidance on medication use in Scouting within this document has been developed for Scouts, parents or guardians, and adult leaders. Planning ahead is a key component. Click here to download PDF.

File Name Description
BSA Age Appropriate Activities Guidelines Download
Guide to Safe Scouting Download
Medication Use in Scouting Download
SAFE Project Tool Use Guidelines Download