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Guide to Safe Scouting "Coed Overnight Activities Policy" is this new?

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After the change regarding Patrol Campouts, I started checking the Guide to Safe Scouting more than once a year, I just saw this on the BSA website




Coed Overnight Activities Policy

All Venturing activities shall conform to the ideals and purposes of the Boy Scouts of America. In order to ensure that all coed overnight activities for Venturers and invited guests at crew, district, council, regional, or national levels meet proper moral standards, the national Venturing Committee has established the following policy:


1.The crew Advisor (or Skipper) or council Scout executive must give careful consideration to the number of adults necessary to provide appropriate leadership for both male and female participants. The number of adult leaders required by the hosting facility or organization (such as a BSA national high-adventure base) must be provided.

2.Adult leaders must be 21 years of age or older and be approved by the committee chairman and chartered organization.

3.Separate housing must be provided for male and female participants.

4.An adult male leader must be housed with the male participants. An adult female leader must be housed with the female participants.

5.Written parent or guardian approval is required for each Venturer or guest under 18 years of age.



Is this new? I don't seem to remember it at all. Written parental permission? Seems a bit of a backward step for a group that is to be youth run, and not just youth lead. COmments?

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Yeah, regardless of if Venturing is run by the youth or not, legally they are minors until 18..


I asked about something with the new tour Plan that had in the FAQ sheet some formal perent permission form to use for parent permission. I asked someone in National if this was new, and where it was listed as required on the tour plan.. They said it was not and pointed to a small blub that basically said "Get the permission of parents.." But not through some specific form..


Well, permission of parents mean different things to different people, if the parent pays for the event, drives the boy to the drop off point of the event or whatever, our unit figured this was parents permission that we could take the kid.. Never thought of it as permission in legal written consent..


So I guess the "get permission" is not new.. And can still be mis-interpreted or overlooked when doing a Tour Plan..

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Hmmm it might be more spelled out than previously written. The Guide to Safe Scouting was revised this year. I actually briefed a RT earlier this year with a summary of the changes and I don't see it specifically listed as a difference in the list I have.


For our Crew with male/female members, this means 4 advisers on an overnight. 2 female and 2 male.


Permission slips have always been required for our unit for any overnight or away activity.


Here was the list of changes: (there may have been later revisions).


1)Previous versions had bold face for policy statements vs normal font for guidance. That distinction is gone.


2) The Child Protection chapter has been beefed up considerably. The emphasis on contacting local authorities when you suspect child abuse is first and foremost in the guide. There is no ambiguity about this.


3) The question of if you need adult leadership for Boy Scout patrol campouts is answered. ".With the proper training, guidance, and approval


by the troop leaders, the patrol can conduct day hikes and service projects. Appropriate adult leadership must be present for all overnight Scouting activities. 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." (pages 1-2, 4)


4) There are digital privacy (elicit photos/sexting/cellular use) and Internet safety sections now


5) There are changes in the Aquatics chapter: The Classifications of Swimming ability are no longer spelled out in the guide, instead you are referred to other sources. There are New Distance and Competitive Swimming in Open Water and Snorkeling in Open Water sections.


6) The Scuba section has been greatly improved. The BSA Scuba Policy now fully supports the Scuba Merit Badge in the Boy Scout Program. Additional guidelines have been added including spelling out age appropriate Scuba activities and medical contraindicators.


7) The Safety Afloat section now supports the new afloat courses: "It is strongly recommended that all units have at least

one adult or older youth member currently trained in BSA Aquatics Supervision: Paddle Craft Safety to assist in the planning and conduct of all activities afloat."


8) Tow sports now has a section (waterskiing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, tubing, etc.)


9) A camping age appropriate guideline chart is now in the GTSS (still same info)


10) Lighting guidance is now in line with what is taught in the Boy Scout Handbook if you our outdoors and you can't find shelter: "Spread your group out 100 feet from each other if possible." (it was at least 15 feet. which had to have been a typo)


11) Treated Drinking Water now puts boiling water at the top of the list of how to treat water: "The surest means of making your drinking water safe is to heat it to a rolling boil-when bubbles a half inch in diameter rise from the bottom of the pot. While this is a simple method, it does require time and fuel."


11) The tobacco policy has not changed: The policy is: "Adult leaders should support the attitude that they, as well as youths, are better off without tobacco in any form and may not allow the use of tobacco products at any BSA activity involving youth participants. All Scouting functions, meetings, and activities should be conducted on a smoke-free basis, with smoking areas located away from all participants."


12) There is a new Drugs section and a new policy on Medical Marijuana: "It is unacceptable for anyone to use or be under the influence of medical marijuana at or during any Scouting activity.


14) Emergency Preparedness has been moved to a preface of the GTSS


14) There First Aid chapter is now titled: Medical Information and First Aid and the Medical chapter was merged with the First Aid Chapter.


15) There is a new Personal Health section with a lot of information on Medical Risk Factors for Your Participation in Scouting


16) A lot more information on First Aid, CPR and AED training


17) The new Chemical Fuels policy is spelled out in this version of the GTSS


18) It spells out that Cub Scouts are limited to archery and BB guns (Webelos to air Rifles at Resident camp) , Boy Scouts are limited to .22-caliber rifles, muzzleloaders and shotguns and Venturers may use any rifle except fully automatic. Venturers also can shoot pistols. Multiple round firing is limited to older Boy Scouts and Venturers


19 Archery and Knife and Tomahawk Throwing are approved activities for Boy Scouts and Venturers following the Sweet 16 of BSA Safety. (Uncle Danny Beard would be pleased)


20: Cannons and Large-Bore Artillery are not authorized for units, under any circumstances.


21. Caving, COPE and Climbing Safety has been reduced and you are referred to another resource


22. Unauthorized Activities: Laser tag and paint ball rules are explained: Pointing any type of firearm or simulated firearm at any individual is unauthorized. Scout units may plan or participate in paintball, laser tag or similar events where participants shoot at targets that are neither living nor human representations.


23. A new unauthorized activity: Water chugging and related activities are not authorized for any program level.


24. The Monkey Bridge guideline section has been removed. Which defaults to safety being left up to the adult supervisors of the event.


25. The bike (helmet) and skating (gear including helmets) sections have been rewritten.


26. Some resources have been added for horsemanship activities (resident camp standards)


27. A chapter on how BSA insurance works has been added A review of the DVD, Scouting Safety Begins With Leadership, No. 19-201 - All incidents beyond Scout-rendered first aid must be reported using the Incident Information Report.


28. Winter camping safety has been rewritten helmets are required for the following activities: downhill skiing, snowboarding and operating snowmobiles (requires full face helmets).


29. A new Animal and Insect Hazards chapter has been added that includes a discussion on hantavirus, lyme disease, rabies, and West Nile virus.


30. The Local Tour Permit and National Tour Permit have been removed from the appendix and replaced by the new Trip Plan.



31. The Money Earning Application has been added to the appendix.

(This message has been edited by dg98adams)

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Permission slips are common practice in our crew, included in that slip is also a code of conduct and both the parent and venturer sign the slip so there are no excuses. Now in almost 9 years there has never been a major problem come up yet, knock on wood.


As far as adult leaders are concerned on a coed trip of less than 14 youth the minimal requirement is one male and one female, however in our crew the adults are quite active and we have between four to eight depending on the size of the crew going.

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dg98 - For our Crew with male/female members, this means 4 advisers on an overnight. 2 female and 2 male.


If you interpret housing as literal "house", maybe! At most events we get by with 2 adults. The lady pitches by the girls' tent(s); the gentleman, by the boys' tent(s). Married chaperons can pitch somewhere between.


Most cabins have a separate room for the adult, and that is usually enough to take care of the YP issue.


We only worry about 2 male and 2 female adults if we are in a wilderness setting where rescue might require splitting the group. Or if the group size is really large.


That said, anything you can do to encourage more adults on any activity increases the odds of finding your replacement!



OGE, my venturers are still responsible for whatever paperwork needs to be managed.

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so, number 4 takes me back a tad


4.An adult male leader must be housed with the male participants. An adult female leader must be housed with the female participants.



One adult in with the males or females? So if one youth complains, what happended to two deep? Does this destroy that notion?

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Assuming that the quarters are fairly close (i.e. shouting distance/thin walled), I think you've met Y.P. requirements with two adults.


E.g., a lodge with four rooms:

- one room is for the male youths

- one room is for the female youths

- one room is for the male adult

- one room is for the female adult.


If you've got two cabins some distance apart, then you need more adults.


If you're on a 45' yacht anchored in the tropics, everyone is sleeping topside. (Unless a storm comes, then nobody's sleeping.) Extra adults just take up space. You just make sure the sex's are separated.

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OGE wrote: "4.An adult male leader must be housed with the male participants. An adult female leader must be housed with the female participants.

One adult in with the males or females? So if one youth complains, what happended to two deep? Does this destroy that notion?"


This should be viewed in light of the G2SS rule on dormitory-style accomodations, which allows male adults and male youth (and same for females) to bunk in a single room *with a minimum of two adults and four youth.*


The Venturing policy does not conflict with this, but merely clarifies that men should be bunked in the same area as boys and women should be bunked in the same area as girls. My assumption is that that is to provide some on-site leadership and oversight in, say, a tenting situation. With boys in one site and girls in the next site over, adults are needed on the spot to prevent any sittin' in a tree-type activities. Housing adults in a third, separate site would defeat that purpose. I assume this new item is aimed at reinforcing that.


(Also, keep in mind that two-deep leadership has nothing to do with sleeping arrangements. Two-deep is the policy that refers to leadership of an outing or activity, so that if one adult leader is injured or has to leave, there's another adult present as a backup. The rule on two-deep leadership and the ban on one-on-one contact are separate things.)


Also, the phrasing of "proper moral standards" seems really clunky and preachy. I thought the Guide to Safe Scouting was supposed to provide safe practices, not moral guidance. Anyone else struck by that?(This message has been edited by shortridge)

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Turns out that a regard for moral standards helps address the youth protection issue.


There've been a number of times -- with my crew more than my troop -- when I've pointed out that "I'm not going to rattle off a bunch of rules. I know your religion. I expect you to live up to it on activities."


So, yeah, I guess I play the morality card a little more explicitly with Venturers.

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Strange how they use the word "house" with a program that is primarily an outdoors program. How does the adult leader "housed" with each gender requirement work if you are backpacking and using 2 person tents? Obviously you can't have an unrelated adult in a tent with a youth, but according to the policy, you also can't have 2 youth members in a tent without an adult ?????


(This message has been edited by the blancmange)

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Blanc, may I gently remind you that Venturing Crews may have an interest in




Arts and Hobbies

Youth Ministries

Sea Scouts


and their program could be soley one of those areas or they could ecletic and do a mixture


A Youth Ministries or Sports, or Arts and Hobbies Crew may never have occasion to Camp. Sleeping on a ship may be considered camping to some, I guess it depends on the size of the boat(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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Well, all of the crews in my local council are outdoors focused, so that is the basis for my assumption. Regardless, it still seems counterintuitive for anything but a dormitory-style setup. Do you put adults in youth's hotel rooms? All the other guidance I have seen would say no.

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I beleive most of the coed overnight activities policy is counterintuitive, as is the National Venturing Comittee for thinking it can dream up a national policy that is up to BSA standards, I had thought that was what the local "boots on the ground" unit volunteers did, seeking to instill the values of the oath and law

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