Scouting is thriving in North Florida. We just concluded an exciting Summer Camp season for 3,250 youth; and as we begin the school year our Volunteers and District Professionals are busy visiting 265 elementary schools to recruit new families to our wonderful Scouting program. 

The goal of my email is to keep you informed about recent media coverage on the Boy Scouts of America. Last week, several media outlets ran stories regarding the National BSA after press events were held by a legal team that is focused on creating visibility and seeking clients in advance of litigation against National BSA..... 

Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children.

The North Florida Council wishes to remind parents, volunteers and donors of our comprehensive Safe Scouting policies that support the goals we all share for our children’s safety. 

These strict policies were put into place many years ago and serve as a barrier to anyone who might try to inappropriately access the BSA with the intention to harm children. We are outraged that in the past individuals took advantage of our programs and violated trust to abuse children. National BSA has been transparent and communicated the facts now and over the decades to acknowledge, apologize and address historic cases of abuse.  

One case of abuse is too many and the BSA has been and remains steadfastly committed to protecting youth. 

YOUTH PROTECTION AND TRAINING
All registered leaders must complete Youth Protection Training, submit to a mandatory criminal background check, follow policies on two-deep leadership and no one-on-one contact, and are required to report any signs of abuse as a mandatory reporter.  Also, Scouts and parents receive educational materials on youth protection in the first section of the Scout Handbook. Our latest Youth Protection guidelines are available at https://www.scouting.org/training/youth-protection/
 
HELPING SURVIVORS
The BSA believes victims, they support them, and they will pay for counseling by a provider of their choice and they encourage them to come forward. National BSA is currently exploring options to support survivors of abuse including the creation of a Victim’s Compensation Fund, possibly through a financial reorganization of National BSA. The BSA sincerely apologizes to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. 

STRENGTH OF SCOUTING IN NORTH FLORIDA
We will continue to see media coverage over the course of pending litigation - but our strong local Scouting programs will also continue unaffected for North Florida families that count on us. 

It is important to know that a possible financial reorganization will have no effect on local Scouting programs in North Florida. Our council is a separate 501(c)(3) chartered in Florida. Our camps, Volunteer Service Center and funds are separate from National BSA and all donations to the North Florida Council stay local to impact our community. 

The North Florida Council is strong. The safety and protection of our Scouts is our number one priority. Our objective is to preserve and grow programs enabling youth to develop leadership, build character, learn life skills and make memories that last a lifetime. The document in the link below “2019 NFC Commitment to Safe Scouting” has been developed to help provide accurate and timely information given the news in the media. Please feel free to share as appropriate.

2019 NFC Commitment to Safe Scouting

If you have ANY questions or concerns about last week’s news or the protection of children in Scouting, please call or email me at jack.sears@scouting.org or 904-265-3800.

Thank you for helping make Scouting safe and providing impactful programs for today’s families. 

Yours in Scouting, 
Jack L. Sears, Jr.| Scout Executive/CEO

BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA                   
North Florida Council
521 S. Edgewood Ave. 
Jacksonville, FL 32205
P 800.232.0845  |  F 904.387.4148
D 904.265.3800  |  C 904.945.0050
Jack.sears@scouting.org
www.nfcscouting.org

521 S. Edgewood Avenue, Jacksonville, Florida 32205
(904) 388-0591 (904) 387-4148
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