Adventurous activities abroad
(FS120085) (Published Jan 2018 replacing version 4 August 2013)
Adventurous activities are an integral part of the Scouting programme. There will be many times when parties of members will wish to take part in these activities whilst abroad. The chance to try activities in a new and exotic location should be attractive to the participant and carried out in as safe a manner as possible, remembering that The Association’s rules are applicable everywhere in the world. Advice is available from your Assistant County Commissioners Activities and International.
Doing it yourself
This is the easiest option with regard to The Scout Association Rules, the activity is run in the same way as it would be in the UK. All activities which are subject to the Adventurous Activity Permit Scheme continue to be so controlled when you go abroad. You should talk through your plans with the appropriate County/Area Activity Adviser or Assessor and the Commissioner who has issued your current permit. They can then possibly arrange for your permit to be extended to cover your activities abroad, but can only provide any extension on the recommendation of an Assessor as with the granting of any permit. If no restriction is listed on a permit to limit you to the UK only then you can operate in similar environments abroad to those which you can in the UK.
For instance, a person holding a permit for hillwalking in summer conditions in the United Kingdom should be capable of leading similar activities in other parts of the world. The difference will often be of scale and climate rather than the actual terrain. Equally, a person holding a water activity permit should be capable of carrying out activities to a similar level on foreign water (see POR Rule 9.44 for guidance on Classification of Water).
Where hillwalking uses terrain or techniques that are not covered in the assessment of a hillwalking permit then a Commissioner’s explicit approval is required for the activity based on advice from someone with experience of the terrain and skills being used.
Activities at Kandersteg
Kandersteg International Scout Centre (KISC) is a popular destination for UK Scouts taking part in activities abroad. You can find full details of running activities at KISC, both by providing them yourself and also using KISC staff, in the KISC Information Sheet for UK Groups.
Buying into a package holiday
When professional instructors are used by Scouting in the United Kingdom they are required to hold an AALA licence or be qualified to the level recommended by the National Governing Body (Royal Yachting Association, British Canoe Union, Mountain Leader Training Board, etc). Overseas AALA does not exist, so instructors will need to hold qualifications at an equivalent level to those required in the UK, as outlined in the externally led section of the A-Z directory for the specific activity being undertaken.
Before the Leader in charge commits to the activity, they should ask for and receive a statement from the company concerned that they use Activity Instructors who are competent to the standard recommended by the United Kingdom National Governing Bodies. This can be by holding a UK qualification, a local qualification or by in-house training by the package company to the required standard. Where an in-house qualification is used the Leader concerned should seek assurances that the qualifications are checked on a regular basis by a highly qualified technical adviser. Your ACC (Activities) should be able to advise as to what it is that you need to be asking for.
Leaders must remember that they cannot "hand over" responsibility to such instructors. Leaders are advised that they must monitor the activity closely and be prepared to stop it if the instructors appear to be employing questionable methods. Leaders must be present during all such activities
Using professional instructors directly
Potentially this is the most difficult option. The leader in charge needs to make the same checks that they would when buying into a package (see above), but will need to do this directly with the providers without the help they would have in a package holiday. In the majority of Western European countries mountain guides can prove their accreditation with documentary evidence. In France the ‘Ecole de Voile’ Centres operate to a similar standard to that of the Royal Yachting Association Training Establishments. Your ACC/AAC (Activities) may be able to advise you of what is required in any particular situation. Leaders are advised that they must still monitor the activity closely and be prepared to stop if the instructors appear to employing questionable methods. Leaders must be present during all such activities.
When looking for a commercial provider it is important to think about how the activity will be delivered on the ground during your visit. You can get a feel for the ability of the instructors to relay information to your group from conversations had with the company in advance, has it been easy to communicate, have they understood your questions, have you understood how they run the activity?
Leaders must remember that they cannot "hand over" responsibility to such instructors. Leaders are advised that they must monitor the activity closely and be prepared to stop it if the instructors appear to be employing questionable methods. Leaders must be present during all such activities.
Using instructors supplied by another Scout Association
When overseas, members can take part in activities provided by the host Scout Association (eg exchange visit or a jamboree) using the host Scout Association’s rules and guidance. However there needs to be a UK leader present who is able to stop the activity if they have safety concerns at any point.