In March 2022, the Grand Lodge Activities Committee was tasked with updating the Youth Supervision Guideline booklet. The original six-page booklet was produced in 2006 by the Grand Lodge Youth Activities Committee to provide Elk Lodges guidance on how they can better protect youth participating in their Lodge activities. Sixteen years had passed since that booklet was updated, and a lot has happened in our society since that time. On August 19, 2022, the Grand Lodge approved a new Youth Protection Guideline Booklet which is now available in the Manual’s Section of Elks.org.
The new 24-page Youth Protection Guideline book’s aim is to help educate Elk Officers and Committee Members about the dangers that youth face today, and to protect not only the youth, but the Elk Lodge and their members as well. As the laws differ from state to state, the guidelines encourage Elk Lodges to develop their own Youth Protection Policies and Procedures for working with youth in the Lodge’s Youth Activity programs. Examples of policies are included in the manual covering the following topics:
- Adult Youth Leader Requirements
- Adult Youth Leader Training
- Youth Requirements
- Basic Supervision and Care of Youth during Elk Youth Activities (Two-Adult Rule, Four-Year Older Rule, Hands Off Rule, Adult/Youth Ratios, One-on-one contact, etc.)
- Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Assault
- Sexual Exploitation
- Use of Alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other substances
- Prescription Medications
- Travel & Transportation
- Communications and Media
- Investigation and Reporting of Incidents
- Sample Forms
- Acknowledgement of Youth Protection Guidelines
- Parental Consent and Medical Authorization
- Parental Consent for Publication
- Incident Report Form
- General Transportation Authorization
- Transportation Authorization Policy Override/Waiver
The guidelines are primarily directed toward ongoing youth programs where Elks may work with youth without parental supervision such as the Antlers Program. Programs that are conducted on a one-time basis and which the youth are primarily supervised by their parents (e.g., Hoop Shoot, Soccer Shoot, Children’s Christmas Party, etc.) do not require any youth protection guidelines, but Lodges should still have Elk Members working with youth review and understand the issues explained in the book.
All Lodge Officers, Committee Members, and Members who work with youth on behalf of the Lodge should review these guidelines, and every Lodge that has conducts ongoing Youth Programs should establish their own Youth Protection Policies by following the guidelines in this book. Our overall goal is to protect our youth participating in our youth programs.