As always, there is a little controversy surrounding field trips. In the Intermediate Den Leader class, we attempted to dispel some of the myths surrounding taking the boys out of our normal meeting places.
Myth #1--I don't need a tour permit unless I'm going way far away.
The National BSA now requires that you fill out a Tour Plan (replaces Tour Permits effective 3/1/11) for every activity that takes place outside of your regular meeting place.
You then need to keep a copy of your tour plan with your chartered organization.
You do not need to submit the Tour Plan to your council for approval in most Cub Scouting outing scenarios.
Times when a tour plan must be submitted for council review include:
• Trips of 500 miles or more
• Trips outside of council borders not to a council-owned property
• Trips to any national high-adventure base, national Scout jamboree, National Order of the Arrow Conference, or regionally sponsored event
• When conducting the following activities outside of council or district events:
Aquatics activities (swimming, boating, floating, scuba, etc.)
Climbing and rappelling
Orientation flights (process flying plan)
Any activities involving motorized vehicles as part of the program (snowmobiles, boating, etc.)
• At a council’s request
Please complete and submit this plan at least 21 days in advance to ensure your council has enough time to review the plan and assist you inupdating the plan if it is found defective. When review is complete, the second half of the plan is returned to you to carry on your travels.
Myth #2-- I don't need that pesky Guide to Safe Scouting with me.
Well, that's another biggie. This must be in a car traveling with scouts. The official guide must be in at least one of the cars attending the field trip. Many with large vehicles who routinely drive cub scouts around have chosen to purchase their own guide and let it live in their car. A good idea would be to read it through, as a leader, and be aware of what it contains and the procedures for various events. An online version can be read here: http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/HealthandSafety/GSS/toc.aspx
Myth #3-- As long as the leaders stay in eye sight of one another, they can drive the boys in 2 separate cars.
Two leaders per car is always better, but having only one leader per car is fine according to BSA policy. The Guide to Safe Scouting states (Section I-Leadership Requirements for Trips and Outings): If you cannot provide two adults for each vehicle, the minimum required is one adult and two or more youth members (never one on one). The BSA also states in the Cub Scout Leader Book that when driving in more than one car, you should NOT try to caravan or convoy (2010 printing, page 126, under Tips For Outings).
However, the units sponsored by the LDS Church MAY have a different guideline. General Church policy does not specify the need for two leaders in a vehicle, but your stake and/or ward leadership may require that you have two leaders in each vehicle (or one leader and one parent). Church guidelines can be found online at lds.org in the Church Handbook 2: Administering the Church, sections 11.5.3, 11.8.1, 13.6.2, and 13.6.24.
Always remember to get Permission Slips (or this one)!! It is also good to make sure all boys have a current Annual Health & Medical Record on file (Parts A & B).
I know, I know. I can hear you now. You're wondering why on earth this has to be so difficult. Why don't people just understand we want outings and not all this red tape. Well, due to the day and age we live in, it's easier to prepare a little more in advance and be safe rather than sorry.
I think the BSA puts it perfectly:
"The purpose of the Guide to Safe Scouting is to prepare adult leaders to conduct Scouting activities in a safe and prudent manner. The policies and guidelines have been established because of the real need to protect members from known hazards that have been identified through 90-plus years of experience. Limitations on certain activities should not be viewed as stumbling blocks; rather, policies and guidelines are best described as stepping-stones toward safe and enjoyable adventures."
Always think ahead of time what is needed to achieve the guidelines of both the BSA and your charter organization (in the Pony Express District that would be the LDS Church). These guidelines are not meant to make your life hard. They are only there to help you succeed in providing the best program you can for these great boys.