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From Jack Pelton: Continuing the Conversation on Youth Protection Policy

February 11, 2016 - I want to add a few thoughts to those I sent along last week in e-Hotline and to those involved in EAA’s youth programs. First, thank you for the feedback about our new Youth Protection Policy. I personally have read every e-mail sent to us over the past three weeks. Along with your initial thoughts, my message last week inspired some additional ideas from members. 

There was a major concern voiced about releasing your social security number, and we worked with our vendor to make that optional. We also worked with that same vendor to clarify the language describing the criminal background check to better communicate that we are not looking for financial information. There are other concerns that you raised and we have taken a look at what might be done to clarify things.

For instance, originally we felt it would be easiest if there was a single, comprehensive policy that covered all of the things EAA and EAA volunteers do with youth. We discovered this approach led to confusion, as people have tried to understand the impact in areas where they are involved. That often resulted in assumptions that were not intended. An example is the confusion about flying Young Eagles in a four-place aircraft. People came away with an understanding that you would need a second adult in that aircraft to comply with two-deep leadership. This is not the case and was never our intention, but within the comprehensive policy it could be misinterpreted. 

EAA will be revising and splitting the policy to create documentation that is cleaner, easier to understand, and less burdensome. There will be a policy that covers ongoing youth activities in chapters, a policy specific to Young Eagles flights and rallies, and a third policy that is specific to EAA youth activities at AirVenture. These updated documents will be available soon. We hope they will help clarify particulars in the activities where you’re involved. These changes directly incorporate your feedback.

We understand that there are some volunteers out there who would like to see the entire policy scrapped. The reality is that we have had two close calls over the past 18 months that could have impacted hundreds of youth. We all lament the fact that the world has moved in these directions, but EAA is committed to doing all we can to keep kids safe. The policies we have created are consistent with those in youth programs everywhere. We appreciate the nearly 3,000 people who have already completed their background check and training so far. We welcome everyone else who wants to help bring the next generation into aviation and EAA to join us.

Thanks again for your feedback.

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