Just about every parent has heard the horror stories: young scouts who get injured, lost or even die while on scouting trips. For that reason (along with others), hiking trips and overnight camping can be a concern for parents of young scouts.
Here’s my two cents on the matter.
Don’t rely on leaders alone to keep your child safe, particularly if your son is in an LDS troop where the leader may or may not have the experience, knowledge and skill you may like him to have.
Take it upon yourself to sit down with your son and go over the basics.
A great place to start is by helping him earn the Wilderness Survival Merit Badge. This merit badge covers first aid, recognizing signs of heat exhaustion, what to do if lost, surviving different climates and more. It’s a great all-encompassing overview of wilderness survival.
Get the merit badge booklet for this one. There’s valuable information in there for both of you. Don’t just go over it once and consider it done either. See if your son still remembers the material a few weeks later.
If you don’t know what your son should be taking with him on these trips (many parents don’t), ask the leader so you can teach your son how to be properly prepared.
Secondly, go over the pamphlet How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide [link opens the official PDF file].This is something you’ve seen before if your son was in Cub Scouts. It’s a requirement for every Cub Scout rank and is part of the requirements for the first Boy Scout rank, Scout.
Teach your son how to protect himself from abuse no matter the source (leaders, other boys or what have you). Give him the confidence to say “NO!” and reassure him that it’s safe to come to you with any problems or concerns he may have.
Do this even if you have complete faith and trust in the leaders and boys your son will be spending time with.
The point of this post is not to be an alarmist. Things do happen, but I have found that when I feel that my child and I are both as prepared and informed as we can be, I’m more comfortable with the situation.
A little praying doesn’t hurt either.