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MrsSmith

Local Tour Permits

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What are the pros and cons of applying for a tour permit? Some have said I should not apply for one for an upcoming Boy Scout canoeing trip. Are they often rejected? What happens if you go anyway? Where is Bob White when you need him?

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The pros to local tour permits is they are required for all trips (can't remember the mileage). The cons are if you don't file one, you are in violation of policy & not covered by the Troop insurance.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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File it! Otherwise you are in violation of policy and are not covered by scouting's insurance.

 

You are supposed to file it any time your troop is traveling to an activity other than your normal meeting place. There's a little vagueness around whether certain activities are required. For example, let's say you have everyone meet at a local park for a picnic, I don't think it's necessary. But some people do.

 

You run a slight risk that the person who reviews it at the scout office will look at your plans, and feel that you are in violation of scout policies or G2SS. To make sure that is not the case, make sure you have followed the correct procedures - in this cas - for a safe trip afloat. If you have covered off on all of the points on the rules for a safe trip afloat, then they have no reason to reject your permit.

 

A good practice is to go in at least a week before the trip. Then, if they try to reject it, you can work through your DE to get the trip approved.

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One reason for filing a tour permit is so that your council can review your plan and look for unsafe practices. Things they will look for regarding a canoe trip would include:

- Are there at least two adult leaders?

- Is one of the leaders trained in Safety Afloat?

- Has one of the leaders completed Youth Protection training?

- Will the boys be transported in cars with seatbelts?

- Are the drivers licensed to drive?

- Are the vehicles insured?

- Did you get permission from parents for each boy?

 

These are very simple requirements to meet. Meeting them satisfies the requirements of the BSA insurance carrier. If a unit does not file a tour permit, there is no way for BSA to know that proper safety procedures are being practiced. If an accident occurred and you were sued for damages by a parent or anyone else, you run the very big risk of finding yourself in court standing alone in front of the judge. BSA and BSA's insurance carrier could easily say to the judge "we know nothing about this canoe trip, the canoe trip took place without our knowledge, and the unit leader violated required BSA safety practices. We have no responsibility at all and the unit leader that planned the trip is solely responsible for the outcome."

 

Tour permits are not rejected unless your plan is unsafe or you plan to skip common sense practices. The bottom line is that it is plain silly to not file a tour permit. Why would anyone want to intentionally plan an unsafe trip? Why would anyone want to intentionally jeopardize their BSA insurance coverage?

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Tour permits required for all trips? Not that it would not hurt but ...

 

Tour permits are not required for Council events (Camporees, Jamborees, etc.).

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Many Councils (like ours) do not require Tour Permits when travelling less than 25 miles from the usual Troop meeting site.  It is still not a bad idea to file one.

In the case of the canoe trip, you must have a float plan as well.

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The cons are if you don't file one, you are in violation of policy & not covered by the Troop insurance.

 

Actually Ed, that's another "pro," not a "con." :)

 

MrsSmith, as you have probably figured out from the previous posts, it really isn't a question of pros and cons. You have to file one, for all the reasons others have stated. (People often focus on the insurance aspect, which obviously is important, but FScouter does a great job of summarizing the other reasons why it is important. In fact, my council places so much emphasis on making sure adequate and trained leadership is in place that they have their own form for the Local Tour Permit, with extra questions, and they will not accept the national "Local" form.)

 

It would be interesting to know what "cons" people have come up with, and what on Earth would make someone suggest to you that you should not apply for one for a canoe trip. Of all things, a canoe trip! Think of the training that is required (as FScouter mentions), and beyond that, the knowledge required for a safe trip. Think of the things that can go wrong on a canoe trip without the proper training and knowledge. Think of the things that can go wrong with the proper training and knowledge. What about rock climbing, do the same people say you shouldn't file a tour permit for that one, too?

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As for when one does not have to be submitted, I believe the national rule says something like, you don't need one for trips "in town." My council takes that very literally: Unless you are staying in the municipality where you meet (regardless of whether the municipality is called a city, town, township, borough or village -- unlike some other states, in NJ they all have equal "rank.") That actually makes it pretty simple. And, I believe my council does require them even for council and district events.

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I just went through this discussion with one of our district's newer unit commissioners. I'm not the district commissioner, but the young man came to me for answers.

 

If one reads the wording on any (or just about any) BSA form, the questions are answered. When do you need a tour permit and when should it be filed? It's on the form. Answer the questions on the form and secure the signatures of the people holding the identified positions, and you're okay.

 

If you have to squint, ignore boxes, and leave blanks, you're probably missing something. Call someone (commissioner, council office, etc.) for clarification.

 

For example, if the form requires the signature of the Troop Committee Chairman, then he/she needs to sign it. Not the assistant tour leader -- unless that happens to be the same person.

 

The next part is tongue in cheek:

 

What are the cons of filing a tour permit?

 

Someone at the council office will know where you were, how many of you there were, and who your automobile insurance carriers were. What's the harm of that? What's the help? I dunno, but I would guess the safety of youth is at stake somewhere in there. As well as the safety of adults -- no uninsured or underinsured drivers risking anything.

 

You have to plan your trip.

 

You have to have met the safety and training requirements for the activity.

 

You have to know how many are going and who is driving.

 

You have to have adequate leadership. And know them well enough to supply basic information.

 

Just a few thoughts. IMHO -- the Tour Permit does not exist in order to be a thorn in the unit's side. It exists as a safety measure to make sure all parties have thought things through and have the basics covered.

 

Just a guy thinking out loud.

 

Unc.

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I know you all think I am a nitwit (are we permitted to call ourselves names under the new rules?) for asking these questions. In How to get Rid of the Scoutmaster I jumped into this forum, desperately seeking help to correct the problems our troop has, chiefly, Old Guard who are used to running things their way (a camping club). Filing a Tour Permit would cramp ones style if one were not following BSA guidelines for Safe Scouting, Youth Protection, etc. That pretty much sums it up. Thanks for all the information.(This message has been edited by MrsSmith)

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Question about changes in tour permits-

(and a guide to safe scouting rant later on)

 

You have to submit a tour permit 2 weeks before an event.

 

Lets say you list the SM and the ASM as the leader and assistant leader. Lets say they both come down with a viral infection the night before and cant go. Now lets say you have extra adults, that would have fit nicely into those same slots, and would have allowed you to file a correct permit with their names on it, had you known 2 weeks in advance that someone would get a viral infection. What is the procedure (or is there one?) for last minute or emergency changes to a tour permit? I assume there is some way to account for last minute changes, such as the assistant leader becoming the leader and some other qualified adult becoming the assistant leader.

 

While we are on the subject, has anyone else noticed the slightly confusing language used in the Guide to Safe Scouting under aquatic activities. If you read under "BSA Lifeguard" it almost makes it sound like a certified BSA Lifeguard is required for the qualified supervision for aquatic activities. Yet under the qualified supervision portions of the safe swim defense and safety afloat rules it seems to clearly indicate that a certified Lifeguard is not required. In fact, it appears there is a distinct difference between a "lifeguard" and a "BSA Lifeguard".

 

Also, now that I look at it more closely, it would seem that we violated the rules for surf swimming last time my troop was at the beach. There were no anchored marker buoys for the swimming area, since it was a public beach. However, I really have to wonder how you can set up a decent buoy system in a surf zone. The seas are simply too turbulent for affective anchoring. Personally I felt safer, in retrospect, having two people supervise the group who had grown up on that beach or lived there for decades, than I would have felt if we had anchored buoys. Also, the way the surf swimming rules are written, it makes it sound like these flags and buoys and such are part of all surf swimming areas. Additionally, there is no guidance about how to position your standing lifeguards. Further, how do you make someone be still and quite while swimming in a surf zone while you do a buddy check? And now that I read that section for like the 3rd time, it appears there is a distinction between a beach and a surf zone. So what exactly is the difference? I suppose we were probably swimming at a beach, not in a surf zone, so the surf zone rules didn't apply, though that is somewhat difficult to determine. There were no strong currents or undertowes, or things of that nature, nor was anyone (such as people who had lived at that spot for literaly decades) aware of there being such dangers at that particular location during that season. Though there was a danger from stingrays and other marine life. This danger was mitigated somewhat by requiring everyone to wear water shoes.

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Hi Mrs. Smith. I don't think you sound like a nitwit at all. It's a good question. The thing is, as you've now learned in this thread, there is no option unless you are staying in town (and that all depends upon how your council defines town). Do you receive a copy of the program launch materials, or some sort of information from council? We get a booklet each year with the district and council calendar and the local tour permit guidelines and the guide to safe scouting. A call to your council office would give you the specifics on exactly how your council defines the requirements for filing this form. Good luck--sounds like an uncomfortable position you may be in.

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I filed one. It was actually painless; the ladies at the office were very helpful and sympathetic. Thanks for the ammunition.

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glad you filed it. should be automatic.

Another point of interest,tour permits are used in some councils as a way to track the health of a unit.If they are regualrly going on outings,it's a sign of a healthy program.

If it appears that there is no activity,then unit commisioners

can use that as a sign that they may want to check up on them and see if they need any help.

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