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Local Tour Permits

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The thread on troop and patrol activities raises a question to which I have never gotten a satisfactory answer. When exactly is a tour permit required and when is it not required?

 

In my mind a tour permit is always required for any scout activity, not just camping or hiking, with certain exceptions. The exception as I understand it is for routine troop and patrol meetings. This means that participation in day hikes, service projects, conservation projects, excursions to museums, and similar activities should all be covered by tour permits. Also included are simple training hikes.

 

It blew my mind when I first became involved in scouts as an adult that tour permits were required. I quickly came to see the value of the concept, and I see tour permits as an important risk management tool. Tour permits can easily be seen as a bureaucratic imposition by lawyers on scouting, but that is a simplistic view. I have seen some adults refuse to deal with this for minor events as too much hassle, all of which raises concerns in my mind.

 

Thoughts anyone?

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I thought tour permits were only needed for activities where auto-transportation is involved. Its part of the insurance release, isnt it? And, I also thought patrol activities were scout supervised and didnt involve adults. If there is no need for group transportation, there is no need for adults, ipso facto there is no need for a tour permit. Can anyone cite the regs. On this?

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The following is copied from the on line "Guide to Safe Scouting"

____________

 

Tour Permits

 

If a unit plans a trip within 500 miles of the home base, it is important that the unit obtain a local tour permit. A national tour permit is required for trips in excess of 500 miles from home or outside the continental United States. (See samples of both in the appendix.)

 

Tour permits have become recognized by national parks, military institutions, and other organizations as proof that a unit activity has been well planned and organized and is under capable and qualified leadership. These organizations may require the tour permit for entry.

 

Most short, in-town den trips of a few hours do not require a tour permit; however, it is recommended that dens obtain permission slips from parents.

__________

 

There is more, but I can only have one on line window open at once on this system.

 

In response to Dedicated Dad's point, our unit has some day hikes and bicycle activities originate locally, with parents delivering their sons in their own vehicles to the start point, picking them up afterwards. No organized transportation to and from the event is arranged by the troop. Yet I would definitely consider these events to require a tour permit.

 

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The following also comes from the Guide to Safe Scouting concerning the two deep adult leadership requirement.

_____________

 

Two-deep leadership:

 

Two registered adult leaders, or one registered adult and a parent of a participating Scout, one of whom must be at least 21 years of age or older, are required for all trips or outings. There are a few instances, such as patrol activities, when no adult leadership is required. Coed overnight activities require male and female adult leaders, both of whom must be 21 years of age or older, and one of whom must be a registered member of the BSA.

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Note that there is an exception for "patrol activities" and that "patrol activities" are undefined. I interpret this exclusion to mean patrol meetings in someone's house. If a patrol is going on an outing such as a hike or excursion requiring transportation, I would think a tour permit would be required. The language in the previous post only refers to "units" with regards to tour permits, and units are understood to mean cub scout packs, scout troops, separately chartered venture crews, sea scout ships, and explorer posts, not patrols or dens. (Did I leave anything out?)

 

I readily concede that there is an ambiguity in the written policies. That is why I put up the original thread on this subject. Personally, I would always default to getting a tour permit if there is any doubt in my mind as to the requirement.

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The rule of thumb I use with tour permits is if you are going anywhere out of your normal meeting area (e.g. meeting room, neighborhood, for small town folks, your town), fill out the form. The exception in my Council is attending a council or district event. Then your registration is your tour permit.

 

A common misconception is if the unit is traveling in private vehicles, then they don't need one. Most troops I know aren't blessed with a bus, so getting a caravan of mini-vans, station wagons and so on is a fact of life. So is getting the tour permit.

 

If you have doubt about when you need a tour permit, check with your Unit Commissioner or your Council's Scout Service Center.

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shemgren,

 

I started this thread because I was curious about how units dealt with patrol level activities with regard to tour permits. Does your troop have separate patrol activities, and if so, when do you get a tour permit for such?

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This worries me. I have only been getting tour permits for camping trips and nothing else.

 

Not only that, I fax in my tour permits in advance to the council and only once have I ever recieved a reply.

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Mike,

 

You should be worried. The council should be able to return the approved permit to you. There are several possible explanations: (1) the faxed application was never received, (2) the faxed application was never processed, (3) nobody understood that a portion of the processed permit was to be returned to you, or (4) the council is so inept that it is not capable of getting a permit to you.

 

I have dealt with this in a variety of ways.

 

When mailing in the permit I mark the envelope on the outside in bold letters "tour permit application" in the hope that it gets to the right person. I also enclose a pre adressed postage paid return envelope so that the person processing the permit can immediately put my portion in the envelope and get it back to me. This has always worked, but one needs to allow a few days.

 

I process the permit in person most of the time these days. Fortunately our council service center is only a 20 minute drive for me. I don't know how people in the other end of the council do their permits.

 

I have not relied on faxed permits. If I were to do this, I would use a cover sheet requesting that the approved permit be faxed back and I would give them the number in big bold letters.

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