Safety Moment: Scouting Activities—Are You Physically Prepared?

Congratulations! You’ve been called to serve as a Scout leader. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are no strangers to service. Because the Church has no professional clergy, it is volunteer members who teach the classes, sing in the choirs, and vacuum the meetinghouse floors. It is also volunteer members who serve as Scout leaders in LDS-sponsored units. Our callings provide many opportunities for us to share our time and talents with others.hiking cartoon

A calling within the Scouting organization provides a unique opportunity to serve. We work to promote strong Scouting traditions of character and citizenship, while building relationships of trust with the boys in our units. Additionally, as the activity arm of the youth programs of the Church, Scouting works hand in hand with the missions of the Primary and the Young Men organizations.

One important aspect of serving as a Scout leader is safety. In planning and organizing activities, keeping boys safe and returning home with the same number of Scouts that you started with is always a high priority.

Too often, however, leaders may be so focused on the well-being of the boys in their unit that they forget to make the necessary preparations for themselves. Tragically, there have been a number of LDS leaders who have lost their lives while participating in Scout-sponsored activities. It is important for leaders, as well as Scouts, to be prepared for the physical demands of the activities in which they are engaged. Whether planning a hike, a campout, a bike ride, or any other type of activity, it is a good idea to consider the capabilities of the boys in your unit . . . as well as yourself as their leader. In order to encourage safe practices, it is important to pause for a “Safety Moment” and think ahead toward any potential problems that might occur by asking yourself “What could go wrong? And what can we do to prevent something like this?”

WeightsAlong these lines, LDS Risk Management has developed a new safety website and a training video calledGet In Shape.” This video follows a leader as he prepares for a hike. While getting his pickup truck ready for the trip, some of his young men remind him that he should also be giving his body a tune-up.

While at the website, you can also read more about ways you can develop a healthy lifestyle. Just as “Be Prepared” is the motto for any Boy Scouting activity, it can also have critical importance in the lives of both Scouts and leaders.

Contributed by: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Risk Management Division
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  1. Lars Evans says:

    This is a great safety reminder, I wish that you would do a “Safety Moment” pointed at leader who do not submit Tour plans or participate in Unauthorized Scouting Activities as noted in the Guide to Safe Scouting” and still think that they will be covered by the Church Health and BSA Liability insurance. I have set in meetings as a Commissioner and have had LDS adult leaders and tell me that they do not need to fallow BSA safety policies, because the Church would cover them.

    1. Alan Rogers says:

      One of the most effective ways to help leaders understand the differences in the level of liability coverage offered by BSA and the Church is to refer them to the May 2015 revision of the LDS Scouting Handbook. Especially helpful are Sections 8.9-Safety, 8.14-Travel, 8.20-Official Scouting Activities and Unauthorized Activities and 8.21-Liability Insurance. This puts the Church’s guidance into fairly plain and simple language. A copy of the revised LDS Scouting Handbook is available on this website.

    2. Teach 'Em to Fish... says:

      Might I suggest that you direct those leaders to the November 2014 LDSBSA Relationships Newsletter (found on this website), which contains a Safety Moment article entitled: Thoughts on Scouting Safely – “Am I Insured for That?” It provides the very guidance and instruction you are seeking.

      I keep a copy of this article handy (both hard copy and electronic) and share it with my fellow LDS Scouters as appropriate. They don’t always like what they read/see, nor do they always follow this counsel…we all struggle with obedience in one form or another….let’s just keep spreading the word and hopefully it will sink in and everyone stays safe!

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