side menu icon

Safety Activity Checkpoints

NEW GSUSA Safety Activity Checkpoints (SACs)

GSUSA recently announced revised SACs Safety Activity Checkpoints (SACs) are guidelines provided by GSUSA for staying safe while participating in activities. The guidelines are detailed in the Safety Activity Checkpoints, available on the website. Clink on the link below to access the SAC’s.  Safety Activity Checkpoints   Read the checkpoints, follow them, and share them with other volunteers, parents, and girls before engaging in activities. 

REQUESTING AN EXEMPTION (FOR ACTIVITES AT COUNCIL-OWNED SITES)

A committee of GSNCA staff and volunteer outdoor trainers has carefully evaluated the SAC’s. The committee has spent hours deliberating and determining modifications that would be necessary to ensure that certain activities are age-appropriate. In order to qualify for an exemption, the activity must take place at a council-owned property, with a council-designated instructor.

Troop Leaders, Service Unit Managers, and Day Camp Directors can now apply for an exemption for a number of on-site, outdoor adventure activities including archery, canoeing, kayaking, climbing wall, tubing, BB guns, slingshots, air rifles, zip line, hatchet throwing, etc.

WHAT IS AN EXEMPTION?

An exemption specifies what modifications are necessary for an identified activity to receive approval. This process is especially relevant for multi age-level troops who would like to participate in outdoor adventure activities together.  

Here’s a good example. GSUSA Safety Activity Checkpoints state that archery is not recommended for Daisy Girl Scouts. In principal, the committee strongly agrees with this recommendation - Daisies definitely should NOT be allowed to shoot bows and arrows unsupervised. But the committee finds that participation in limited, specific, instructional archery activities may be appropriate for Daisy-age Girl Scouts when (and only when) the activity takes place at a council-owned property with short shooting line distance and with an adult or experienced older girl supervising/assisting each Daisy.

So, for Daisies to be able to participate safely in archery at council-owned properties, these items would need to be verified:

  • Instructor Qualifications meet or exceed SACs - One instructor or qualified adult is required to be a certified USA Archery instructor or have equivalent certification or documented experience according to council guidelines.
  • Instructor supervision ratios meet or exceed SACs - 1 qualified/certified adult instructor and a helper for every 10 participants.
  • Properly sized equipment is provided specifically for Daisies.
  • The Instructor inspects and verifies the proper fit of equipment prior to participation
  • The shooting line is adjusted/shortened for Daisies.
  • No more than three Daisies at the shooting line at one time.
  • An adult (or experienced older girl) assists each Daisy at the shooting line.
  • Emergency services and rescue personnel are available within 30 minutes

When the practices defined above are in effect, and the group is doing archery at council-owned properties, under the supervision of a council-designated instructor, and has a person assisting each shooter, and a Request for Exemption has been filed within the designated time frame, the committee will grant approval for an exemption so that Daisies may participate. Please be sure that you receive approval by email PRIOR to participating in any activity that requires modification of Safety Activity Checkpoints.

HOW TO REQUEST AN EXEMPTION:

  1. Make a reservation for the activity at least 6 weeks in advance at any GSNCA council-owned property tsails@girlscoutsnca.org
  2. Complete the Exemption Request form
  3. Submit the application for review at least 3 weeks prior to the planned activity to activityapp@girlscoutsnca.org
  4. Allow at least one week to hear from a reviewer. If you have not heard back in one week, follow up by email lelliott@girlscoutsnca.org

WHAT REQUIREMENTS ARE NOT EXEMPTABLE?

The exemption process is primarily designed to help leaders adapt activities and make them age-appropriate for younger Girl Scouts. Required supervision, equipment, and insurance defined in SAC’s will not be exempted in any case. 

Here are some examples of SAC requirements that are NOT eligible for exemption.

1.     Lifeguard. If a currently certified Lifeguard is required in the SACs, it will not be exempted. 

2.     Supervision ratios, including Lifeguard to swimmer ratio.

3.     Properly certified or qualified activity instructor.

4.     Use of lifejackets/PFDs. If PFD’s are specified in SACs they will not be exempted. 

5.     Use of helmets and other safety gear. If helmets are specified in SACs they will not be exempted. 

6.     Activity provider has general liability insurance coverage of at least $1 million per occurrence.

Please do not apply for an exemption requesting that any of these requirements be waved.