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1-2-3 Youth Protection Essentials


Trail Life USA has developed the simple 1-2-3 Youth Protection Essentials that can be easily learned, taught, and practiced by adults and boys in Trail Life. There is no excuse for not following these clear essentials and they should be reviewed by all often. 

Essential #1: NO ONE-ON-ONE

The no one-on-one rule is in place for youth protection so no boy is ever alone with an adult. This is for the protection of both the boy and the adult.

This extends to electronic communications such as email, texting, and on-line communications, as well as transportation to and from TLUSA activities.



Generally speaking, the two-deep rule is in place for safety so there is always a minimum of two Registered Adults in proximity to provide backup and oversight.


These two Registered Adults on premises and either within eyesight or earshot or both at all Trail Life gatherings and activities (including transport), with the recommendation being that, whenever possible, a minimum of two adults should be with every group of boys. There should never be an adult alone with a boy who is not his or her own son.


Attendees should stay in areas designated for the activities and keep doors open.


Although parents’ participation is welcome, a parent who is not a Registered Adult member (thereby trained and screened) is not considered part of this two-deep leadership requirement.


Of the two required Registered and trained Trail Life USA Adult Leaders, those 18-20 years of age may count for only one of the two-deep leadership positions required in the Youth/Leader Ratios and for satisfying the two-deep leadership requirement. The second leader must be age 21 or older except for overnight activities, when the second leader must be age 25 or older.



Inasmuch as it is possible, the buddy system of three is suggested to keep youth safe (even from other abusive youth) when out of sight of adult leadership.


These buddy systems should be established within the same program level (e.g., a group of Foxes, Hawks, Mountain Lions, Navigators or Adventurers), and should change frequently to prevent “favorites” for grooming by a youth abuser.


Youth should use this buddy system for restroom and bathhouse visits, meaning that two youth should not be alone in these settings. Either they go in and come out as a group of three or more, or they go in one at a time.

As this is the most-reported location for inappropriate incidents, restroom and bathhouse usage by youth should be closely monitored by a leader outside the restroom, aware of who is inside and tuned to what he can hear going on inside.


The buddy system should apply to tenting, also. Whenever possible, three or four boys of the same program group should share a tent, rather than only two (unless they are siblings with parental knowledge).    

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