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Age requirements for High Adventure

The Age Appropriate Guidelines for Camping in the Guide to Safe Scouting (Jan 2019) defines National and Council High Adventure as being appropriate for ages 14, or 13 AND completed 8th grade.

But Sea Base and several other camps set eligibility at 13 with no 8th grade requirement. The timing varies. Sea Base is 13 by the adventure start, some are 13 by other dates throughout the year.

BSA website for Scouts BSA Outdoor Program ( says 13 by Jan 1st of the year they participate for council and that age requirements for National High Adventure Bases vary.

Which is right? G2SS, or the camps and BSA site? (Philmont and Northern Tier have age requirements like G2SS) In the event of an issue, would the lower age limits be covered by insurance?

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Do you have a scout who will be 13 years old but not have completed 8th grade when he/she ships of to Seabase?

Most youth turn 13 during the 7th grade. So, it seems like a fairly common scenario.

We have 3 that will be 13 but only have completed 7th grade. I can call Sea Base and get an answer, but would prefer writing. So that is doable. But the inconsistency is confusing. What if something went wrong. Could the fact they are too young according to GSS be used to deny liabilty insurance? I would hope BSA insurance would cover given Sea Base is a National program. But what about council high adventure that use 13 as per National website but not 13 AND 8th grade per GSS? And what about personal liability insurance? I suppose that would depend on how reasonable the insurance company is. It seems like a strange thing to be inconsistent on. Not just for liability but also to ensure program compliance.

The simple answer is not all High Adventure is the Same. Sailing for a week at Sea Base is great - but it is nowhere near the physical strain of paddling and portaging a canoe across Canada at Northern Tier.

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The answer to that is “no.” G2SS violations do not impact liability directly. Indirectly, if thousands of youth are injured and sue units to be made whole, it increases the cost of liability insurance. If those injuries can be pegged to a certain age/grade, the rules in turn become more stringent.

In advance of reserving vessels, I’ve called and talked to the Sea Base Captain about boat assignments in my co-ed crew. It wouldn’t hurt for you to do the same. A crew with a lot of 7th graders may be something you need to think about. On the other hand, the experience of folks on base may be that younger scouts will do just fine on the adventures you’re considering.

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That is incorrect. Insurers can and will deny claims that occurred while engaging in activities that are expressly prohitibed. In this case, with conflicting sources, I’d be pretty sure it’d be covered though.

Thank you jacobfetzer and Quazse. I appreciate the perspective on the liability. Thanks also Donovan, the contrast between effort of the various camps is appreciated too. It is helpful.

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