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EAA Youth Protection in Canada
By Jack Dueck, EAA Lifetime 337912, Chairman, EAA Canadian Council
February 2018 - EAA’s Young Eagles program is one of the most popular and successful of all of EAA’s many member programs. Unfortunately, in our evolving world new youth protection measures have become necessary.
Children are relatively unskilled, innocent, and vulnerable. When participating in EAA programs such as Young Eagles, or activities involving tools and equipment, they require protection against injuries from their own or others’ lack of skill and experience, or in rare cases from intentional mistreatment.
A few years ago, EAA instituted a Youth Protection Policy and Program for all EAA staff and volunteers as a basic requirement for anyone who works with children under the age of 18. Until now, this program was limited to activities in the United States. Today, I received notice that this program is now available in Canada as well.
EAA has established the program to institute and maintain high youth protection standards for EAA staff and all volunteers who work with children. We hope it will assure parents and guardians that their children are with a trustworthy organization when they are participating in EAA-related activities. In order to protect kids, all EAA members working with children now need to take an online best practices training session. This includes:
- all Young Eagles pilots
- all EAA chapter Young Eagles coordinators and field representatives
- two-deep leadership supervisors*
- volunteers who will work with youth in ongoing programs other than Young Eagles
- EAA staff
*Requirement that two supervisors must be on duty whenever EAA programs are undertaken.
There is another good reason for this training process. Many of us are older members, and we need to know what to say and what to do with our young charges. This is vitally important for our own knowledge and protection. What may once have been common practice may not be regarded as such today.
This online training session takes about 15 to 20 minutes and includes detailed instructions with multiple-choice questions that are answered with the click of a mouse. If you get an answer incorrect, it does not allow you to proceed until you choose the correct one. When this training session is over you can choose to allow a basic background check. If you choose to do so, it will ask for your legal name and address. A third-party organization will conduct this background check and you will be notified of the result in about seven to 10 days.
Who does the background check?
EAA employs a nationally accredited background check company that provides secure screening services to a variety of industries. EAA went through an exhaustive process to find the right vendor that would provide outstanding service while maintaining utmost security and sensitivity.
The process is simple. It took me about 18 minutes, and I only got one answer wrong. Simply go to www.EAA.org and log in with your secure account. Once you are logged in, go to your account profile page by clicking “My Account” at the top of the page. At the bottom of your account profile click “Go to Training” and then select the “Youth Protection Training” course link on the right.
This program is now available in Canada, and all members working with youth will need to complete training by March 15, 2018.
EAA takes security very seriously. The Youth Protection system works as follows: If you take the online training session and then select the basic background check, the third-party organization will run your name through its database and will come up with your result. You will receive your report in the mail within a few days and EAA headquarters will be notified of your status. If you are okay (probably 99-plus percent will be), you can fly Young Eagles or work in any other capacity with kids under the age of 18. If you do not check out okay, this will be noted in a file at EAA headquarters. EAA will not be told why you may be rejected, only the yea or nay. Then, if you were to fly a Young Eagle, or work with a kid in some other capacity, you will receive a note from EAA headquarters giving you the opportunity to clarify your report before giving you the credit for the flight or activity. Again, no one at EAA will know the result of the background check beyond the yea or nay.
At no time does the local EAA chapter or anyone else associated with local activities become aware of the result of the background check. Any associated correspondence will be kept between the Young Eagles department at EAA and you.
Suppose there is a false-positive result that gives an erroneous report. This can happen if someone else has the same name as you. By keeping the correspondence private, you can request and receive the necessary clarification to the report and go ahead with the EAA programs.
The purpose of this program is to help keep kids safe, and to help us understand what is and is not acceptable in today’s world. I believe this program serves as vital a purpose for those of us who work with kids as with the kids themselves.
Q and A: You may have plenty of questions; please go to the Youth Protection Program webpage for frequently asked questions. For more information or answers to specific questions, call EAA at 1-800-564-6322 and ask to be directed to Youth Protection Services.