Details On the Update to Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse Concerning the Policy for 18–20-year-old Adult Leaders/Program Participants

Please note the following update to the Guide to Safe Scouting and help communicate this important information to your units.


17-year-old* youth members transitioning to an adult leader (Scouts BSA), Camp Staff or adult program participant (Order of the Arrow, Venturing and Sea Scouts) upon their 18th birthday may continue to participate while their adult application and CBC are processed, but this period shall not exceed 30 days. These individuals are subject to the same youth protection policies and guidelines as all adult Scouters even during this registration transition period.

This includes:
• Adhere to the Youth Protection and Barriers to abuse polices of the BSA.
• Follow housing and tenting policies that apply to adult membership.
• Utilize restroom and shower facilities for adults.
• Buddy system is not required but is recommended for all participants.
• While adult program participants do not require two deep leadership, as they are subject to the same youth protection policies and guidelines as all adult Scouters. All Scouting activities are still required to meet barriers to abuse and must have two leaders over 21.
Adult Program Participants and adult leaders aged 18 – 20 are an important part of the Order of the Arrow, Scouts BSA, Venturing, Sea Scouts and Exploring programs. These young adults continue to participate in the program, have leadership and advancement opportunities and can participate in activities along with youth members under 18.

However, like all adult participants, they must register as an adult in the BSA registration system. They take Youth Protection Training and must complete a criminal background check (CBC) just like all other registered adults. In addition, they must adhere to the same Youth Protection Policies applicable to all adults in the Program. Since they are participating in the program as adults, they must be treated the same as any other adult members of the BSA and Exploring Programs.


17-year-old youth members whose 18th birthday occurs during active participation at Summer Camp, a High Adventure Base or any BSA National Events may complete the activity they started as a youth participant without interruption; however, at its conclusion they must immediately register as an adult. This exception is intended for limited use in scenarios such as completing a trek while staying in the same tent or accommodation in the last few days of an event. It does not change or extend Eagle Scout or other advancement required to be completed by a Scouts 18th Birthday; they will need to follow all applicable advancement policies.