Scouting offers adventure activities for a broad age range, in varying types of geography and in diverse weather conditions. Participants (both youth and Scouters) come to adventures with different degrees of experience. If we are fully implementing The Canadian Path and using the outdoors, adventure and challenge, then the activities that the youth and Scouters pursue involve risk—and the elements of risk change as the adventures unfold. This sets up an interesting dynamic: an activity in the middle of summer in one part of Canada can have very different consequences elsewhere or in another time of year. In addition, activities of longer duration, in more isolated areas and demanding higher levels of skill and physical ability tend to have a greater element of risk.
- The Standard applies to all Councils, Groups and Sections conducting adventure activities.
- The objective of this Standard is to ensure that all adventure plans are developed and implemented with full alignment to Scouts Canada’s expectations of safety, planning and preparation, adventure and high-quality program delivery to meet and exceed the expectations of our parents and youth.
- “Adventure” is described the Scouter Manual as a broad umbrella of program opportunities: “Scouts explore new things, share new ideas, learn new skills and create new paths”; it is not limited to outdoor activities.
- “Camping” consists of staying overnight for one or more nights in a tent, cabin, other form of shelter, or even under the stars.
- “Outdoor adventures” include such activities as hiking, paddling, climbing and sailing which are described in the Outdoor Adventure Skills.
- All Scouting activities are divided into one of three categories based on the type, location and duration of the activity. These categories determine how to manage risk appropriately and set out the minimum standards for adventure activities. Prevailing weather conditions, skills, group size and other variables must be evaluated by the Scouter in Charge and Group Commissioner and may necessitate an increase in the risk category for an equivalent adventure in better conditions.
- Category 1 “Green” = Go carefully
With the intent to encourage all Scout Groups and Sections to maximize the use of the outdoors as a key learning resource as well as reduce paperwork to within reasonable levels, three “sub-categories” are included under the main category “Green – Go carefully”. Sections should aim to “Put the Out in Scout” as often as possible, using common sense and good judgement to go prepared and go safely.
- Regular meeting activities at or near your meeting place, whether indoors or outdoors, while conducting low-risk activities;
- Regular meeting offsite visiting an indoor location such as a museum, fire hall or when fundraising near your meeting place (e.g. popcorn, bottle drive);
- Lower risk outdoor meetings (e.g. cycling, hiking in a nearby conservation area or skating at an outdoor rink).
- The majority of ‘normal’ Scouting activities would, in most instances, fall into this category; for example: weekly meetings in a school or church hall, supervised fire-lighting, knife-permit training, indoor bouldering and climbing (using auto-belay systems), swimming in a lifeguarded pool, bicycling, etc.
- No special skills are required beyond the expected scope of Scouting activities.
- The intent is to conduct low-risk regular activities safely, without unnecessary controls and ‘paperwork’ – use the outdoors as much as possible as a key learning resource, and think about when extra risk controls and documentation are required.
- Inform your Group Commissioner in advance of embarking on the outing with youth; she or he may wish to see additional risk controls for your activity.
- (ii) – Category 2 “Yellow” = Proceed with caution
Outdoor activities as part of a regular meeting with higher risk activities, or of an extended nature, up to and including short-term camping outings of two nights or fewer.
- Higher risk activities in this category include high-ropes courses, ziplines, tobogganing, flat-water canoeing, archery, range shooting, mountain biking, indoor lead-climbing (or top roping without auto-belay systems), sailing and ice fishing.
- These activities require the completion and Group Commissioner approval of an Adventure Application Form (AAF) prior to the activity.
- (iii) – Category 3 “Red” = Stop and double check
Outdoor activities requiring specialized skills, or outings of three or more nights.
- Higher risk activities in this category include: whitewater canoeing, kayaking, or rafting; horseback riding; outdoor scuba diving; and downhill skiing.
- These activities require completion and Group Commissioner approval of an Adventure Application Form (AAF) and completed Parental Consent Forms prior to the activity.
- Any adventure activity in which senior youth participate without Scouters present.
- Category 1 “Green” = Go carefully
- Every Scouts Canada activity must have a designated Scouter (“Scouter in Charge”) who has agreed to coordinate planning and supervision. The Scouter in Charge, also often referred to as the “Designated Responsible Scouter”, is the principal Scouter designated to be accountable for risk management, leadership and overall safe execution of a specific activity or event. The Scouter in Charge has the overall responsibility for the safety of the youth taking part in the activity.
- On behalf of the Group Commissioner, this Scouter is responsible for ensuring that all Standards and expectations are met or exceeded. The Scouter in Charge serves as the point-of-contact Scouter for the activity or event. While this Scouter has overall responsibility for the activity, he or she may delegate aspects of the planning to others.
- At all times, the Group Commissioner and the Scouter in Charge need to assure themselves and each other that proper safety considerations are being taken, including: right place, right time, right skills, right tools – and alignment with the program intentions and outcomes in support of The Canadian Path.
- The Scouter in Charge completes and signs the Adventure Application Form on behalf of the Section to ensure risk management has been conducted appropriately and that all reasonable precautions have been taken to ensure the youth are safe from harm.
- The Scouter in Charge is not a role in MyScouts and does not require additional screening.
- The Scouter in Charge may be the Group Commissioner.
- The Group Commissioner approves all Category 2 and Category 3 adventures, including the endorsement of the assigned Risk Category and the associated Risk Management and Emergency Response Plan submitted for approval by the Scouter in Charge.
- The Group Commissioner ensures that the Scouter in Charge has completed all of the necessary tasks satisfactorily for the planned adventure, namely:
- All Scouters, parents/guardians and other adult resource people are screened according to Scouts Canada procedure.
- Parents have been notified in advance of the activity.
- All contracts and agreements are signed according to Scouts Canada procedure.
- An appropriate review has been conducted of the adventure site.
- A completed hazard assessment, risk management plan and emergency response plan have been completed and are appropriate for the activity planned.
- Parents have provided updated, accurate and timely contact, emergency and medical information appropriate for the adventure.
- Parent/guardian consent forms are signed for Category 3 activities.
- All participants have the appropriate skills, certifications and permits for the activity.
- A plan is in place for Youth:Scouter ratio to be met at all times – including emergencies.
- Scout and Venturer Scout adventures without Scouters are approved.
- Equipment is inspected, appropriate and maintained for safe use.
- The Transportation Standards are met, and a plan is in place to ensure they will continue to be met throughout the activity.
- For all out-of-country travel, the International Travel Standard should be followed.
- Completed and signed Adventure Application Forms (AAF) and required attachments shall be submitted to the Group Commissioner before the adventure takes place.
- An electronic copy of the Adventure Application Forms should be provided at minimum annually to the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org as part of the annual report submission.