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Camping in Europe

If you're planning a trip to Europe, there is an online database which gives information on European Scout Centres.

(FS260020) (Published November 2020)

Find out more on the European Scout website.

There are specific regulations which apply to taking Scouts to France to camp. You should make sure you are aware of these before planning such a trip.

Camping in France

During the 1990s the French government brought in a number of acts regulating the leadership, organisation and educational content of holidays for young people under 18 years old in their leisure time.

This had major implications for Scout Groups in France because there was no recognition of any Scouting qualifications or training. The Federation du Scoutisme Francais lobbied the government for the recognition of their training and qualifications resulting in the 1998 act regulating camps and activities organised by recognised French Scouting Associations.

The 1998 Act was replaced in 2003 by new regulations and does not, at present, extend to other member Associations of WOSM (The World Organisation of the Scout Movement). However it would be impossible for UK Scout Association Leaders to comply fully with the other acts regulating holidays for young people. You should therefore comply with the requirements set out below.

In France all camps with more than 12 young people lasting more than 5 nights must be registered with the Ministry of Youth and Sport. The registration form must have been stamped by the persons in charge at Departmental (County), Regional and National level of the Association concerned. You must take a copy of your complete and approved Visits Abroad form with you.

Camp Leaders should be over 21 years old, unless the camp has less than 60 young people attending when a Leader may be 19. The Leader should be assisted by a team of people who are all over 17 years old to a ratio of at least one Leader per 12 participants. A qualified First Aider should be present.

The Leader in Charge of the Camp must have with them a copy of their Scout appointment and their Wood Badge Certificate. They should also have copies of all the appointments and Wood Badge certificates held by other member of the Leadership team. The First Aider should have proof of their First Aid qualifications.

All adults should have completed the relevant disclosure process and have their disclosure forms with them.

Camps are monitored by Inspectors from the Ministry of Youth and Sport and can also be visited by Health and Safety Inspectors. They have the right to enter your camp at any time. If, on inspection, anything is found to be inadequate, any remarks and necessary recommendations will be made on the spot and if need be in writing.

The Camp Director has to keep with them and present to any inspector the following:

  • A list of the participants and the leadership team.
  • Medical forms, detailing vaccinations and possible allergies, for each of the participants under the age of 18 with parental authorisation for medical treatments and required medication and any surgery considered necessary by a doctor.
  • A medical book recording all treatment administered to participants.
  • Copies of all warrants, Wood Badge certificates and relevant First Aid and activity
    qualifications held by the leadership team.
  • A list of menus.
  • A certificate confirming that water is drinkable, if the water on site is not supplied by mains water.

Please make sure that you have all the necessary information to present to Inspectors should they arrive to inspect your camp. You should also present your International Letter of Introduction and a copy of your travel insurance policy.

The standards required for Health and Safety on camps are summarised below and should be followed at all times:

The siting of the camp should ensure the security of all persons present and allow for sufficient supervision of participants by the leadership team.

They should be more than 200 metres away from water and 500 metres from historic monuments or listed buildings (unless permission is given).

Camping is forbidden on the seashore.

Separate sleeping accommodation should be provided for girls and boys over the age of 6. Tent floors must be insulated. When camping with under 11 year olds you must have a shelter available in case of bad weather.

A specific tent is reserved as the First Aid Tent. Medicines, in date and protected by their original packaging are stored out of the reach of children and limited only to pharmaceutical products necessary to provide first aid. There are to be kept in a locked container, except in emergencies.

A medical book is held in which the date, time, nature of treatment and the names of the persons who are sick and responsible for administering First Aid are recorded.

The standards of the sanitary installations and the quantity of water provided assure a satisfactory level of hygiene to the participants (showers if possible). Any temporary constructions are adapted to the age of the young person and made safe. Hygiene and disinfectant measures are taken regularly.

Waste water is tipped wherever possible in the public or private drainage network. However, when this option is not available, it is disposed of in a filtering hole, dug in the ground and is not poured into any stream / river nor in an area that collects water.

Rubbish and kitchen waste is disposed of as often as possible. Whilst waiting to be disposed of it's kept in airtight bags away from animals and, wherever possible, in the shade.

To avoid all risks of food-related illness, you must be careful in the supply of, storage and preparation of all foodstuffs.

Paying particular attention to:

  • the accessibility and safety of any kitchen installations
  • the disposal of waste
  • that equipment is clean and use appropriately
  • the choice of food is appropriate to the facilities available, paying special attention to perishable goods
  • the safe storage of goods and use of refrigeration wherever possible
  • the length of time between preparation, cooking and serving of food
  • not reusing cooked food

If drinking water cannot be supplied by the mains, a certificate to say that the water is safe to drink from an official laboratory must be presented. If necessary, modern treatment and disinfection methods are used.

  • Instructions concerning fire safety and fire procedures are given to the participants at the beginning of the camp.
  • Fires are never left unsupervised and are extinguished after use.
  • The means to combat any spread of fire are located close by (water / fire ‘beater’/sand). It's advisable to have a fire extinguisher.
  • If fire starts, sound the alarm, warn the emergency services immediately and take emergency measures to contain the source of the fire.
  • The Leaders pay particular attention to the construction of fire places; they must be solid and stable to guarantee the safety of users.
  • When using gas fires, watch that they are stable. All users should be aware of the need for caution and the rules for use.
  • All prefectoral (local) and municipal regulations regarding use of fires should be

It's advisable to inform the local Mairie (Town Hall) and Gendarmerie (Police Station) that you are staying in their area. This may be done on arrival.

You should have with you a copy of your programme and ensure that an effective programme is being operated.

If you're planning any of the following activities you should contact the International
Office for more information on requirements for: rafting, bathing, expeditions, mountain activities. Please however remember that Scout Association activity rules should be adhered to at all times. You should take with you a copy of any activity authorisations you require and any national governing body qualifications relating to activities in the programme.

Please remember that many of these requirements are standard practise at any Scout Camp. France has a lot to offer visitors and by following these simple guidelines you can ensure a smooth running and enjoyable stay.