Nights Away - Myths and Tips

This was posted by Andy Sissons, UK Nights Away Adviser on 1st Facebook Scout Group:

  • You do not need to be wearing Scout uniform to be insured on a Scouting activity.
  • You don't need written permission to take photographs and in a lot of cases, you could get yourself into a world of agro if you asked for it and were refused! Check your wordings carefully if you are making policy on photography.
  •  If you are holding a Nights Away experience for your section you must have a Nights Away Permit (NAP) holder on site overnight. (Unless it is Scouts or Explorers and you are having zero adults on site and the NAP holder has issued an 'Event Passport'). This includes PGL. 
  • Event Passports are for Young People ONLY (Under 18's) They really cannot be issued to adults.
  • The NAP holder is responsible for the camp. It is their camp, they make the decisions and as long as they are safe, within the rules laid down in POR and the NAP scheme, nobody else should be interfering. If you want to run a camp, run your own! They have been assessed as competent, they should be allowed to get on with it. If you see something that you are unsure about - talk to them. 
  • A minimum of 7 days for a Nights Away Notification (NAN) means that 7 days is ok. If District Commissioners (DCs) would like it sooner, ASK for it. Leaders will usually try to be accommodating if asked nicely. 
  • If a DC or County Commissioner (CC) wants to have local rules for Nights Away - Just don't! Appeal against them!
  • The Scout Association actually does know best. It likes the scheme the way it is because it does work!
  • Leaders do NOT need to have woodbeads before being allowed a Nights Away Permit. Holding a NAP validates modules required to gain their woodbeads. So just pack it in!
  • There is no requirement to have run a set number of camps before being allowed a permit. There is an assessment to work to: AC120990 (209kB .doc file). If the Leader can show they are capable - authorise the permit!
  • Please learn the difference between MUST, SHOULD and CAN.
  • Ratios are important, but please understand safeguarding allows 1 adult to be in charge of multiple kids as long as they have other adults on the events. We do not have two deep adult supervision requirements (yet!) - all this means is you are allowed to split into smaller groups and have a single leader with each.  Normal outdoors and Nights Away stuff is:
    • Beavers - 6:1 +1 (leader in charge)
    • Cubs - 8:1 +1 (leader in charge)
    • Scouts - 12:1 (but minimum of 2 adults)
    • Explorers - anything other than 1:1 (but minimum of 2 or zero overnight)
  • Boys and girls can share accommodation on Nights Away events, some parents would like it if you separated them somehow, some won't care. Tell them what you intend to do anyway! Listen to them!
  • Sections can be mixed on a Nights Away event, but it must be risk assessed. Is it reasonable to do so? Is it a good idea? Beavers and Cubs? No issue! Beavers and Explorers? Why would you? If there is a valid reason then you can. 
  • Don't mix Young Leaders with their section - that's not allowed. They may be Explorers, but they have a different status and set of rules. 
  • Risk Assessments are everything, the risks are different on a Beaver camp than they are on an Explorer camp. Leaders should know it is their responsibility to think about this!
  • NAP holders have been assessed as competent to plan and run a camp, they do not need to be micromanaged.
  • Beavers Nights Away can be for as long as they want! Their choice!
  • Bulldog is a game Scouts are allowed to play.
  • Leaders are in short supply. We should be doing what we can to look after them, not upsetting them so they leave. 
  • Scouts are allowed to throw axes. 
  • If Leaders have used the phrase "What will they have to look forward to in the next section" then they need to look at whether they are suitable! All activities are suitable for all sections. They just need to be tailored to fit. 
  • Have we all worked out that Risk Assessments are everything. You don't need to write risk assessments down, but you do need to be able to justify your actions.
  • Local rules are unnecessary. They are also inadvisable. If a rule doesn't apply to the whole membership, there is no reason for it to apply to any.