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Permission slips rules?

Where are the rules requiring permission slips for outings? I would assume that it would be in the Guide to Safe Scouting, but the only mention of permission slips is in the Service Project Planning Guidelines.

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It’s also in the Campout Safety Checklist appendix.

Campout Safety Checklist

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my unit is trying to figure this out - if we can go to a yearly form, then simpler individual sign ups

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I’ve been told by a long-time Scoutmaster that technically, the medical forms count as all the release you need.

Using a separate permission slip form is recommended for each activity. It’s required in some situations.
In addition, there are situation where parents might consent to activity A, but not activity B. Also, contact numbers sometimes change throughout the year, so it’s a best practice to get current contact info for each outing / campout / activity.

Bryan on Scouting: Ask the Expert: The who, when and why of Scout permission slips

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Growing up, we were handed generic slips at the meeting. The SPL read out the info (Activity, Location, Departure/Return date’s & times), and we scouts filled it in. We then were to give them to our parents to sign. (Beneath the signature was line for the parent to complete regarding how many scouts he/she could transport either to or from the activity.) We returned them the following week along with any dues and other fees.

I might be nostalgic, but every other system that I’ve seen has broken down regularly.

The BSA slip, although covering all bases, is too verbose in too many languages. I think that’s why folks shy away from it.

Individual trip permission v.s. annual health records

Per BSA Home > Scouting Safely > “Tour and Activity Plan Terminated FAQ” (2017) the annual health form and event trip permission slip are two separate documents.

Q. Is the change simply – 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. …

My opinion

“needed” = “required”, not “recommended”

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permission from parents is still needed != permission slips

We can play word games all day long. If you follow the guide to Safe Scouting you have a permission slip in the form of Medical Part A. Personally I ensure that all my parents know what planned activities are for any campout.

As yet, I don’t have any scouts who have a car, so they are dropped off and picked up by parents. A great side effect of having a small troop is that I know my parents and scouts. I know which scouts do and don’t have phones.

Sure, but I can think of half a dozen issues with not getting a permission slip for every event, but I can’t think of any good reason to not get a permission slip for each event…

so has any unit tried using digital forms like a google form?

We use Scoutbook this way. Families can print their own permission slip for each activity. If a parent connects their Scout via a Scout account, the parent can put the responsibility in the hands of the Scout. This is one of the biggest benefits of Scouts having their own accounts. They manage it.

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I’ve used them for crew activity sign-ups … not permission slips.
When the scout would submit the form, it produces a thank-you window and instructions with links on our site to the forms that must be printed and signed. The advances set-up was a hassle, but once we got it right, most folks showed up with exactly what we asked for.

@Matt.Johnson, can you give a step-by-step, or a link to one?

Yes, it is very easy.

  1. Set permission slips required for an event.
  2. Parents or Scouts can then go to that event (RSVP) and get a link to a PDF filled out with their name, the event, event location, and event dates as well as the Scout’s age, birthdate, and home address. Adults with certain permissions (admins?) have a link to a single PDF that has all Scouts. The Scout or parent has the same link, but the document would only be for their child (children?).
  3. The parent or scout clicks, prints, parents sign, and bring to meeting just prior to the activity.

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Which are what, exactly? What, in practice, have troops run into?

Without publishing the details, I’m aware of a unit (not mine) which had a scout get injured on an event, didn’t have a release on file for that particular event, and was sued by the scout’s health insurance on a subrogated claim (to which people must agree under the terms of many health plans). I don’t know how it played out, or even if it’s been resolved yet. I do know that the unit leadership and their charter were named, based on what I was told be someone who would have cause to know.

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One thing here, if you collect those slips, be sure you hold them long enough. As a guess in Texas that would likely mean a minimum of three years. But could well mean three years plus the year after the child turns 18 if the three years has passed.

@CharleyHamilton I suspect naming the leaders and charter organization is very standard. I was named in such an action while driving a church van when I was younger and the only interaction I had with it was to let the church office know. I wouldn’t count on a slip releasing me from a subrogation claim. Usually that involves the insurance companies discussing policy actions. Since BSA publishes that their health and accident coverage is secondary they will stay with that.

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Yeah, I’m far from an expert in the field, and I try not to personally rely on any waiver as being a panacea.

It seems like there’s at least an argument (depending on all sorts of things like state laws, etc) for the charter/named individuals’ insurers to make that the release signed by the parent(s) mitigates the degree of exposure. From the “default” Scoutbook permission slips:


Again, not being a lawyer, I’m not clear why a release by the insured (parent/scout) wouldn’t at least have bearing on a subrogation claim, assuming that the release itself was upheld. After all, isn’t the entire concept of a subrogation that the “beneficiary” of a subrogation clause (e.g. the medical insurer) steps into the shoes, so to speak, of the signatory (the injured party)? If the injured party waives their right to sue, and the waiver is upheld, it seems like the insurer would be stepping into a situation where the original rights to sue had been waived. I guess it’s all academic speculation until a court rules on the facts of a particular case and the text of a particular waiver…

In any case, the last thing I want to hear from an insurance carrier’s rep, even nominally “secondary” coverage like the BSA, is “You didn’t have the parent sign a permission slip, so we’re not covering you with our liability insurance because you failed to comply with regulation number…”

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The day. Hear of someone hearing that I am done with the organization. And I suspect it would be the proverbial nail in the coffin.

Personally I choose to NOT live in perpetual fear of lawsuits. And my guess is that some actions intended to ward off the boogey man actually invite more trouble.

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We use permission slips for each outing, mainly because of a few that mentioned in this forum. If the Scout has changed medicines or contacts from his BSA physical this gives us the latest and greatest. And it gives the leader permission to have the scout taken care in case of an emergency. If you would like to see one of our permission slips feel free to go to our website www.t282.org and click on Permission Slips. We always care the BSA physicals on any outing along with Guidelines for Safe Scouting.

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