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Youth Protection Policy for Young Eagles

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Basic Requirements
EAA Youth Service Standards
Parental and Guardian Involvement in EAA-Related Programs and Events
Contact With Youth
Prohibited Activities
Activities Requiring Special Approval or Consideration


Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc. (“EAA”) is committed to protecting youth who are involved in our many activities, and in EAA-related programs and events that are operated by others.  We are committed to providing a safe and secure environment in which youth can participate and learn about aircraft and aviation.  This part of EAA’s Three-Part Youth Protection Policy applies only to the Young Eagles  ProgramYouth activities at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, and in All Other Programs, are covered in separate individual parts of the policy.  Our primary goals for this Youth Protection Policy are:

  • To inspire and grow a passion for aviation among young people.
  • To assure the safety of young participants in EAA-related programs and events.
  • To earn and sustain the confidence of parents, guardians, and families whose children participate in EAA-sponsored programs and activities.
  • To provide training to inspire wise choices and appropriate care in program design and delivery for the protection of youth, staff and volunteers.


The term “youth” when used this Policy means any person under age 18.


Basic Requirements

EAA Young Eagles Youth Service Standards include two steps, which are described under EAA Youth Service Standards below.  These are Training, and Criminal History Background Checks.

  • Effective Date. This policy is effective as of January 1, 2016, and it will be mandatory as of May 1, 2016 for all Young Eagles Pilots, Chapter Young Eagles Coordinators, Field Representatives, and “Two-Deep Leadership Supervisors” (described under Supervision below).
  • Required.  If you are a Young Eagles Pilot (either in Chapter Rallies or individually flown), Chapter Young Eagles Coordinator, Field Representative, or Two-Deep Leadership Supervisor, you must complete both Training and a Criminal History Background Check (U.S. residents only*), with acceptable results in EAA’s judgment, before you may work with youth in the Young Eagles program, even if you have previously participated in services to youth.
    • Please note that parents and legal guardians of youth participants may be volunteers, and then they are subject to the same EAA Young Eagles Youth Service Standards as other Young Eagles volunteers.
    • If you are a minor and a volunteer, you also are subject to the same EAA Young Eagles Youth Service Standards as other volunteers; however, background checks aren’t available for minors.  You may cover your Background Check requirement with a credible written character reference delivered to us, until you become an adult under the laws of the state where you live.
    • EAA staff who are involved with Young Eagles activities are subject to the same requirements as other Young Eagles volunteers. 
  • Encouraged.  If you work with youth in the Young Eagles program, but are not required to complete Training and Background Check as described above, we still request that you complete at least the Training, in order that all volunteers will have consistent understanding of EAA’s Young Eagles Youth Protection Policy.

* At the publication date of this Policy, we are not yet able to provide background checks in Canada because of unique Canadian laws.  We will offer background checks covering Canadian residents as soon as possible.


EAA Youth Service Standards

  • Training.  This is an online Youth Protection Course that takes approximately fifteen minutes to complete, with a final test at the end of the course.  
  • Criminal History Background Check.  This is a confidential criminal history background check, and it requires acceptable results in EAA’s judgment.  Certain results – listed under Disqualifying Criteria below – will automatically disqualify you from working with youth.  We may only proceed with a background check if you give us permission through a release.  The release we use complies with the high standards of the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and is designed to inform you of your rights, for your protection (however, please note that this is not a credit report – it is a criminal and employment history report).  The background check will be conducted by our third-party background check provider, at our expense.  Our policy is to update criminal history background checks for “Required” volunteers at least every three years.  Your background check results will be evaluated by an EAA Vice President on a strictly confidential basis to determine whether you meet this requirement for service in the Young Eagles program.
  • Disqualifying Criteria.  You will automatically be ineligible to volunteer in the Young Eagles program if you:
    • Fail to complete the screening process, or provide information required to conduct a criminal history background check, or provide that information in a timely fashion if we ask you to do so.
    • Are or ever have been a Registered Sex Offender in any jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or date of the offense.
    • Have been convicted of any felony involving force or threat of force against a person, regardless of the date of conviction.
    • Have been convicted of any crime characterized as a “sex offense” including, but not limited to, child molestation, rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, prostitution, solicitation, indecent exposure, or possession or distribution of illegal pornography, regardless of the date of conviction.
    • Have been convicted of any crime involving cruelty to animals, regardless of the date of conviction.
    • Have been convicted of any crime involving contributing to the delinquency of a minor, regardless of the date of conviction.
    • Have been convicted of any crime involving controlled substances, within the previous five (5) years.
    • Were previously terminated from a paid or volunteer position because of misconduct with a youth.
    • Are under pending charges, incarceration, or allegations by law enforcement officials in any jurisdiction involving a sex offense as described above, force or threat of force against a person, cruelty to animals, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, controlled substances, or misconduct with a youth.  The period of ineligibility will end if and when the relevant charges, incarceration or allegations are dropped or otherwise terminated by said law enforcement officials without a conviction.

All other criminal convictions or other criminal history will be discretionary disqualifiers, to be evaluated confidentially by an EAA Vice President on a case-by-case basis with consideration of the completeness of information and the nature and date of the offense.

  • Appeal Process.  If you are informed that you do not meet our background screening criteria for volunteer service in the Young Eagles program, you may do any of the following: Withdraw your application; Dispute the accuracy of the background screening report, subject to verification; or Request a waiver of disqualification. 
  • Documentation.  We will confidentially document any decision regarding disqualification of a Young Eagles volunteer or employee applicant to work with youth. We will maintain a database, which will be accessible by members, that will include volunteers and staff who have qualified to work with youth in Young Eagles and other EAA-related programs.  The database will not include applicants who have not qualified.



We believe that effective supervision is a key to maintaining the highest youth safety standards in the Young Eagles program.  Our supervision requirements in this program are designed specifically to protect youth, staff and volunteers.

  • Two-Deep Leadership.  This term means that at least two adults who have completed both the Training and Background Check described above will be in attendance on the ground as supervisors at all Chapter Young Eagles rallies.  This may include Young Eagles pilots who are on the ground.    
    • “Attendance as supervisors” requires that the person must be present and actively circulating through the rally areas, in order to monitor all activities for appropriate behavior. 
    • The Two Deep Leadership requirement does not apply in an aircraft during a Young Eagles flight. 
  • Young Eagles Flights.  For obvious practical reasons, there is no requirement that Two-Deep Supervisors be on Young Eagles flights.  It will be helpful for you as a Young Eagles pilot and/or ground volunteer or field representative, to take particular care to be sure that the youth and their parents are aware of the circumstances.


Parental and Guardian Involvement in the Young Eagles program.  All references to a “parent” in this policy include a legal guardian where appropriate.  When acting as Two-Deep Leadership supervisors, parents are subject to the same EAA Youth Service Standards as other volunteers.  We invite and encourage parents to observe their children in the Young Eagles program if possible.


Contact with Youth

We expect that you, as a volunteer or EAA employee, will have positive relationships with the youth you meet in the Young Eagles program.  However, in order to maximize youth safety, we must require the following common-sense restrictions in order to ensure that both the youth and you are protected outside of the Young Eagles program.

  • Outside Activities.  Do not initiate meetings or interactions with any Young Eagle, or extend your relationship to other activities (except for supervision in other sponsored and organized youth activities, including both EAA and non-EAA related activities).
  • Communications. Do not communicate directly with any Young Eagle.  Limit communication to sharing program information through the following:
    • Telephone calls or texts to the parent’s telephone (not the youth’s mobile phone);
    • E-mails addressed to both the youth and his or her parents; and
    • Written information sent to the parents’ home.


Prohibited Activities.  In the Young Eagles program:

  • Physical Force and Abuse.  For obvious reasons, the following are strictly prohibited:
    • Physical force or violence – Slapping, spanking, hitting, shoving, corporal punishment and similar behaviors, by staff or volunteers or by other youth.
    • Sexual communication or contact Dating or other private contacts; discussing  sexual subjects of any kind; and touching in an area typically covered by a bathing suit, by yourself or by other youth; any touching that might cause the youth to feel uncomfortable.
    • Neglect.  Punishing a youth by withholding food, water, medical assistance, or other needs.
    • Bullying.  Intentionally harmful behavior directed toward a specific youth or group of youths with the intent or effect of intimidating, causing emotional or psychological harm, or causing isolation or humiliation, by staff, volunteers, or other youth.


Activities Requiring Special Consideration or Approval

  • Physical Contact.  We very strongly discourage demonstrations of affection and physical contact.  These should only be given on rare occasions when clearly required to meet a youth’s specific needs, never to meet your needs or desires.  Limit any touching to handshakes and brief cross-shoulder hugs, and never touch a youth in areas that are typically covered by a bathing suit.  In some situations, you may need to assist the Young Eagle such as by helping him or her climb into an airplane, or assisting with buckling his or her seatbelt.  If possible, encourage the parent to be present and acknowledge that the touching might occur.  
  • Photography.  Copies of all photographs of youth must be made available to parents upon request, and the right of parents to withhold consent for the use of their children’s photographs must always be respected.  Parents wishing to withhold consent should inform the person who is in charge of the Young Eagles rally.  Don’t give the last names of youth in connection with their photographs. 



In order to maximize the safety and well-being of participants in the Young Eagles program, all youth must exhibit proper behavior and self-control toward the environment, equipment and other Young Eagles participants.  Misbehavior includes such conduct as fighting, yelling, verbal abuse, physical violence, disrespectful behavior, foul language, unsportsmanlike conduct, lying, endangering oneself or another, stealing, and disobeying EAA staff or volunteers. In situations where a youth has acted inappropriately, depending on severity, the following actions may be taken:

  • First Offense—the youth’s parents will be notified of the behavior verbally and in writing.  Depending on the severity of the misbehavior, the youth may be removed from the Young Eagles rally or other activity immediately, in the sole judgment of the volunteer or EAA staff supervisors.
  • Second Offense—the youth will be removed from the Young Eagles program and disqualified from future participation.
  • Suspected Criminal Conduct—any suspected criminal conduct during the Young Eagles program will be reported to the appropriate authorities for investigation and disposition.

Never use physical force on a youth except to temporarily restrain for his or her safety or the safety of surrounding people.  In such a case, give prompt notice to the Chapter President, Young Eagles Coordinator, or other person in charge of a rally, and to the parents of the youth involved.  We reserve the right to remove a youth from the Young Eagles program if the offense is serious or causes disruption to the program or the enjoyment of other Young Eagles participants.

All parents will have access to this Policy through EAA’s website www.eaa.org, and understand and accept that, by signing a waiver and/or permission slip, they confirm their agreement to its terms.



You must promptly report all suspected or known child abuse and accidental injury, as described below.  During any Young Eagles rally:

  • Definitions.  
    • Child abuse” means any intentional action, inaction, or event that endangers or injures the physical, psychological, or emotional well-being of a youth.
    • Accidental injury” means a physical, psychological or emotional injury to a youth that does not arise directly or indirectly from the intentional act or inaction of another person.
  • Accidental Injury, or Suspected or Known Child Abuse.  You must report every suspected or known child abuse and accidental injury as follows:
    • First, call 911 immediately, for any child abuse or accidental injury to a youth that requires any attention beyond simple first aid that is fully within the skill of a responsible person on the scene.
    • Next, contact the youth’s parent immediately, for any known or suspected child abuse, or any injury that required a call to 911.
    • Next, contact appropriate law enforcement officials immediately, in the event of known or suspected child abuse.
    • Within 24 hours, give an oral report to the Chapter President or other program or event operator and EAA’s Director of Risk Management: (o) 920-426-4822; (c) 920-379-4822).
  • Violations of Safety Rules.  If you know of any serious safety rules violations in the Young Eagles program, report the matter to EAA’s Director of Risk Management.
  • Further Steps.  
    • Any alleged perpetrator of child abuse or misconduct will immediately be placed on leave from the Young Eagles program pending completion of an internal investigation.
    • If outside authorities undertake an investigation, we will cooperate fully with any investigation.

We will review all reported suspicions, incidents or suspected rule infractions, even if deemed to be minor, to determine whether further action is needed, and whether we must revise current policies and procedures to prevent similar future occurrences.


Thank you for your support of the Young Eagles Program!  Without your participation it would not be possible.

We sincerely appreciate your taking the time to read and understand this policy.  We have read and listened to hundreds of member comments, and we believe that every provision in the current policy is valuable and necessary, but we always welcome your feedback.


Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc. (“EAA”) reserves the right to revise this policy in any manner and to be effective at any time, in EAA’s sole discretion.

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