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Standards — Consultation

Adventure Standard (DRAFT FOR CONSULTATION)

This document is a draft version of the new Adventure Standard. It has been reviewed extensively by select Group Commissioners and Scouts Canada staff, but it has not yet been formally approved, and does not yet represent requirements for Scouting adventures.

With the new Adventure Standard, we are endeavouring to reduce the paperwork and approvals required for low-risk adventures, making more outdoor experiences possible for our youth members.

This is your opportunity to read the Standard and supporting documents. To provide your feedback, please use the form at the bottom of page. Share your thoughts by September 23. We value your feedback, and we will use your constructive criticisms, questions and ideas to make this resources as clear, sensible and robust as possible.

Thank you in advance for your feedback.

Adventure Standard (DRAFT FOR CONSULTATION)

Introduction

Scouting offers adventure activities for a broad age range, in varying types of geography, in diverse types of weather conditions, with different degrees of experience of both youth and Scouters. Furthermore, if we’re fully implementing The Canadian Path and utilizing 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 the element of risk.

Our Standards

  1. The Standard applies to all Councils, Groups and Sections conducting adventure activities.
  2. 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.
    1. “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.
    2. “Camping” consists of staying overnight for one or more nights in a tent, cabin or other form of shelter.
    3. “Outdoor adventures” are described in the Outdoor Adventure Skills, and include such activities as hiking, paddling, climbing and sailing. 
  3. 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.
    1. Category 1 “Green” = Go carefully
      Regular meeting activities in your meeting place, whether indoors or outdoors, while conducting low-risk activities. Regular meeting offsite visiting or touring an indoor location such as a museum, fire hall or fundraising (e.g. popcorn, bottle drive).
      • 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 regular activities safely – use the outdoors as much as possible as a key learning resource, and think about when extra risk controls are required.
      • Inform your Group Commissioner in advance of going outside with youth. He or she may wish to see additional risk controls for your activity.
    2. (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 of two-nights or fewer.
      • Higher risk activities in this category would include high ropes courses, ziplines, tobogganing, flat-water canoeing, archery, range shooting, mountain biking, natural rock-face climbing or 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. 
    3. (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, 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.
  4. 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” or “Contact 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.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. The Scouter in Charge must orient herself or himself to the activity or activities, and the location or facility.
    5. The Scouter in Charge is not a Scouter role registered in MyScouts and does not require additional screening.
  5. 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 Risk Management Plans submitted for approval by the Scouter in Charge.
  6. The Group Commissioner ensures that the Scouter in Charge has completed all of the necessary tasks satisfactorily for the planned adventure, namely:
    1. All Scouters, parents/guardians and other adult resource people are screened according to Scouts Canada procedure.
    2. Parents have been notified of the activity in advance.
    3. All contracts and agreements are signed according to Scouts Canada procedure.
    4. A completed hazard assessment, risk management plan and emergency response plan have been completed and are appropriate for the activity planned.
    5. Parent/guardian consent forms are signed for Category 3 activities.
    6. All participants have the required skills, certifications and permits for the activity.
    7. Parents have provided updated, accurate and timely contact, emergency and medical information appropriate for the adventure.
    8. A plan is in place for Youth:Scouter ratio to be met at all times – including emergencies.
    9. Scout and Venturer Scout adventures without Scouters are approved.
    10. Equipment is inspected, appropriate and maintained for safe use.
    11. The Transportation Standards are met, and a plan is in place to ensure they will continue to be met throughout the activity.
    12. An appropriate review has been conducted of the adventure site and appropriate risk management has been completed. 
  7. For all out of country travel, the Tour Permit section of the Adventure Application Form (AAF) must be completed.
  8. Completed and signed Adventure Application Forms (AAF) and required attachments shall be submitted to the Group Commissioner before the adventure takes place.

Related Policy(s)

Related Standards and Procedures

Resources / Guidelines / Tools

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is the Adventure Application Form (AAF) and what happened to the Camping & Outdoor Activity Application (COAA)?

A: The Adventure Application Form (AAF) replaces the Camping & Outdoor Activity Application (COAA) to include revisions and a fillable PDF format to make it easier for Scouters to use. The title has changed to reflect that all Category 2 or 3 adventures—irrespective of location, timing or environment—require approval from the Group Commissioner.

Q: Is it okay if a Scouter submits a Camping & Outdoor Activity Application instead of an Adventure Application Form (AAF)?

A: Yes, Camping & Outdoor Activity Applications should be accepted until the end of the 2019 calendar year. Beginning January 1, 2020, it will be expected that all Scouters will exclusively use the new Adventure Application Form (AAF).

Q: Is additional or specific training required for a Scouter in Charge?

A: No additional training is required for the role of Scouter in Charge. However, additional specialized training (such as first aid) may be required for certain adventures, depending on the plan proposed.  

Q: Why is trampolining now a prohibited activity?

A: Trampolining can result in accidents ranging, from sprained ankles and wrists to skull fractures and spinal injuries. As this activity is not core to our program, it is prohibited.

Q: Why is tobogganing considered a Category 2 activity?

A: Tobogganing is inherently dangerous if not planned and managed well. Tobogganing is a fun way to get active and enjoy a winter afternoon. Unfortunately, many children who go out tobogganing will suffer some sort of injury because they are not properly protected. Every year in Ontario, more than 1,700 people visit an emergency department because of tobogganing injuries. Most of these hospital visits are due to a collision with an object (e.g. a tree, rock or fence) or being thrown from a toboggan. At Scouts Canada, we require tobogganing to be treated with the respect it deserves given the potential for harm it presents. As a Category 2 activity, tobogganing requires the completion of an Adventure Application Form (AAF). All participants must wear helmets.

Q: When youth in senior Sections (e.g. Venturers) are camping alone, who is the Scouter in Charge?

A: A designated Scouter (adult) will always be the Scouter in Charge for the purposes of ensuring that all standards and expectations are met or exceeded. The Scouter in Charge will be the point-of-contact Scouter for the activity or event. The Scouter in Charge completes and signs the Adventure Activity Approval Form on behalf of the youth to ensure risk management has been conducted appropriately and that all reasonable precautions have been taken to ensure the youth are safe from harm. This includes ensuring the Emergency Response Plan (ERP) is complete and the youth are appropriately experienced and competent to manage potential emergencies.

Resources Related to the Adventure Standard

Feedback on the Adventure Standard

Please provide your thoughts on the content above. Scouts Canada welcomes your suggestions, questions and concerns. All feedback provided will be read and considered, and we will do our best to incorporate the valuable advice and direction we receive to enhance this resource. Please indicate the specific section(s) you are commenting on. Be as specific as possible when providing your feedback. Thank you!

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