Tour and Activity Plan Terminated - FAQ

A cross-functional team has completed an evaluation of the BSA's Tour and Activity Plan, resulting in a recommendation to terminate the plan effective April 1, 2017. We recognize that those who were using the tool may wish to know why so the following FAQs have been developed. 

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Q. What does this mean for me, my unit, my council, and the Scouting family?  

  • Reduces complexity, cutting back on processes and paperwork for unit leaders. 
  • Increases consistency with the Commitment to Safety, the Guide to Safe Scouting, Risk Assessment Strategy, as well as Camp Standards planning tools. 
  • Changes the conversation, engaging everyone in risk-based planning vs. process. 
  • Eliminates processing, freeing staff to focus on membership and removing administrative burden. 

Q. What is the new process? 

A. There is no required process, although Scouters are reminded to conduct the Scouting program consistent with BSA rules, regulations, and policies. Flexible risk assessment tools are summarized in the Guide to Safe Scouting, and detailed in the Enterprise Risk Management Guidebook

Q. Will there be a replacement for the Tour and Activity Plan? 

A. No. 

Q. Will units have to file any trip forms of any kind? Is there any REQUIRED notification to council for trips? 

A. No, however the BSA program includes several planning tools (Checklists, The Sweet 16 of BSA Safety, Flying Plan) that are designed not for “filing,” but to prompt discussions/conversations about risks. 

Q. Why are you terminating the plan? 

A. In addition to the above reasons, the BSA has adopted a flexible risk assessment strategy for your use. This is summarized in the Guide to Safe Scouting, and detailed in the Enterprise Risk Management Guidebook. Knowing and running the program as designed includes numerous safety features. 

Q. Does this include Exploring?  

A. Yes, the manual process Exploring has used for Outing permits in the past is also discontinued. 

Q. This is the first I’m hearing of this, why? 

A. The termination of the plan is effective on April 1, 2017. 

Q. Will the entire activity plan idea go away? 

A. No, having a plan is part of “Be Prepared.” Planning is integral into the program literature. 

Q. What will this mean for considering safety on these outings? 

A. The Scouting program, as contained in our handbooks and literature, integrates many safety features. However, no policy or procedure will replace the review and vigilance of trusted adults and leaders at the point of program execution. Source: Commitment to Safety 

Q. Is the change simply, “We don't have to fill out a Tour and Activity Plan anymore?” All the other steps are the same? 

A. The program hasn’t changed. For example, permission from parents is still needed to take youth on a trip, as would be program requirements for annual health and medical records for all participants. The Cub Scouts camping program is still limited to council approved locations, and so on. 

Q. Has all literature been updated to reflect this change? 

A. Key documents are either updated or in the process of being updated. Other literature will be updated in the normal revision cycle, so it may take several years to complete. If you find something to be updated, feel free to let us know with the “Got Questions” link to the left. Insurance Questions: Based on initial feedback, many questions have arisen on insurance. The elimination of the tour and activity plan was not driven by insurance, or the many myths/misconceptions including “ … you have to file a Tour and Activity Plan, and/or be in a field uniform to have insurance … ” surrounding insurance. The following insurance related FAQs and sources are offered. 

Q. Will the liability insurance policy still provide coverage if a tour and activity plan is no longer required? 

A. Yes. Registered volunteers are provided primary general liability insurance coverage for official Scouting activities except when using an automobile or watercraft. A volunteer’s (whether registered or not) automobile liability insurance is primary with the local council automobile policy providing excess automobile coverage. Non-registered volunteers are provided excess general liability and automobile liability insurance coverage for official Scouting activities. There is not a requirement to fill out a form for coverage. 

Q. What is an official Scouting activity? 

A. An official Scouting activity is defined in the insurance policy as consistent with the values, Charter and Bylaws, Rules and Regulations, the operations manuals, and applicable literature of the Boy Scouts of America. Link.