The safety of youth and adult members of Scouting Ireland is vital. There are a number of methods and codes in place to ensure that all members Scout safely.
Child Protection Policies
The Scouting Ireland Code of Good Practice covers the responsibilities of Adult Scouters around child protection, dealing with disruptive behaviour, medications, use of technology, bullying, transport, overnight activities, substance abuse, accident & incident reporting, etc.
Training & Vetting Adult Scouters
Adult Scouters are vetted by the Gardaí before beginning their volunteer work with Scouting Ireland. They are trained in the child protection policies and in Scouting skills and methods.
Your local Adult Scouters will be happy to discuss your child’s medical issues. There is some paperwork - Scouters need to know what your child’s needs are so they can enjoy Scouting safely.
Walking down the street brings risk. The same is true of outdoor adventures. Minimising risk is one of the most important jobs of any Adult Scouter. They look at the weather, the terrain, the level of training of those taking part, the equipment to be used, and variables on the day like tiredness, accidents etc. Events are reviewed afterwards too.
Overnight events are always limited to vetted Scouters and youth members only. Camping and hostelling is often done at Scouting Centres nationwide and if, for example, a Youth Hostel is used it will be booked out so Scouts are not mixed in with the general public.
All aspects of outdoor risk can be managed to some degree. Events may be cancelled, shortened or relocated due to weather. Routes and venues are checked in advance. The adults and children will train, practice, and gain experience in outdoor skills (including first aid and safety skills relevant to the activities). Equipment is checked and upgraded. The number of adults to children is important and a watchful eye is kept during events.
What can Parents do to Help?
Keep the Scouters informed of medical issues, allergies, children’s worries, bullying etc. For example, it is OK to keep your young Scout home from a camp if they’re not well enough to attend.
Ask the Scouters about any concerns you may have in advance of an activity.
Having the right equipment in the outdoors is important. There is a cost to kitting out a Scout with sturdy hiking boots, a three-season sleeping bag, good roll-mat, appropriately sized rucksack, rain gear etc but your Group may run a second-hand box, some items can be borrowed, shops offer Scout discounts, and gear can be gradually built up. Most of it will be used by your child for years to come and anything that keeps them safe, dry, and warm is worth it. Encourage them not to over-pack. Every Scouter has seen a child struggle to carry their overloaded bag. Not sure what they need? Ask their Scouter or see Activities & Gear.
Pack, or help your Scout to pack, a healthy lunchbox. Treats are fun but won’t give them the long-lasting energy they need to tackle a mountain hike or day on the waves. They will learn about the right foods to bring in Scouts, but they may need encouragement to remember those guidelines.
Get outdoors with your child. Let them show you what they’ve learned.
The best way to see Scouting safety in action is to come along to any open events or sign up to become a Scouter – then you can learn along with your child.