Scouting Activities

This page provides useful information and guidance for Group Leaders, Section Leaders, Rover Units and planners of Scouting events.

On this page:

All Activities - NSW Public Health Orders
Scout Hall Activities
Day Activities
Overnight Activities
Peak Awards
Region Activity Teams
Scouting Events
Travel
Training
Activities at Commercial Premises

 

All Activities - NSW Public Health Orders

To date, Scouts NSW has not been granted any exemption from the general public health orders set by NSW Health so we must continue to conduct Scouting activities within the boundaries of these restrictions. The following information helps Leaders understand how these public health orders apply to Scouting.

This information is current at the time of publication however is subject to change from NSW Health without notice. Leaders are asked to listen for any unexpected updates through news channels, as well as monitoring Latest COVID-19 case locations in NSW, via the button on the Scouts NSW Guide to Coronavirus page.

Physical distancing – adults are to maintain a 1.5 m distance from other people (except in case of emergency).  Whenever a 1.5 m distance is not possible, a mask is recommended.  Youth should also maintain a 1.5 m distance.

Scout Halls - currently under the restrictions on Group activities at Community Halls, indoor Scouting activities may be run with no more than 20 participants (plus the adults necessary to run the session), up to the maximum allowed in the hall as per the 1 person per 4sqm rule.

  • For example: Your hall allows 16 people under the 4psm rule, you may only have 16 people in total (adults and youth inclusive).
  • For example: Your Hall allows for 25 people under the 4psm rule, you may have up to a total of 20 participants and then up to a maximum of 5 other adults/Leaders who are assisting with the delivery of the program/activity.

Gatherings in outdoor public places - outdoor Scouting activities may be run with up to 30 participants in total (adults and youth inclusive). From Monday 1 December this number will increase from 30 to 50.  If your activity is one listed under the community sporting activity section of this web page up to 500 people are allowed (see section below). Scout Groups shall apply this rule when outdoors in public places eg parks, streets, national parks or council campgrounds, as well as the yard surrounding the Scout Hall. If there are more than the allowable number of participants, the Leaders will need to split the group into smaller groups i.e. patrols to run their activities.  The activities must be entirely physically separate for the duration of the session, or run at different times.  This helps limit the number of people at risk of exposure. Individuals from one smaller group or Patrol should be instructed to not mingle with individuals from the other small group or Patrol for the entire session.  Leaders should select members of patrols with this in mind to help prevent mingling. There must be enough Leaders and other adults to provide adequate supervision. Similarly, where the activity involves equipment, the equipment must not be shared from one group or Patrol to another.

Community sporting activities (indoors or outdoors) – Up to 500 people (including spectators) are allowed at community sporting activities. In Scouting, the following activities are seen as community sporting activities:

  • archery
  • bushwalking, hiking
  • boating (includes canoeing, kayaking, sailing, rafting, sailboarding)
  • challenge rope (includes crate stack, high ropes, low ropes, rope bridges NB temporary Flying Fox currently prohibited)
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • orienteering
  • rock (includes natural and artificial: abseil, bouldering, canyoning, caving, climbing)
  • scavenger hunt
  • swimming

Take note that if your community sporting activity is part of an overnight stay, the overnight component is NOT classified as community sporting so lower participant numbers apply whilst camping, eating etc.

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Scout Hall Activities

Apply the NSW public health orders such as physical distancing and maximum group numbers, in addition to the following Scouts NSW guidelines:

Inside the Scout Hall – Leaders can run activities inside Scout Halls, Rover Dens and Training Rooms in line with the approved COVID Safety Plan for the Scout Hall. Group Leaders (or their delegate) are responsible for submitting this plan on behalf of the Scout Group, in consultation with the Section Leaders. For guidance on how to prepare the plan and for a link to the on-line form, visit the COVID-19 Safety Plans page.

In the yard of the Scout Hall – If there is an approved COVID-19 Safety Plan for the Scout Hall, activities can also be run in the yard, under the equivalent COVID-19 conditions of the plan.   If there is no approved COVID-19 Safety Plan for the Scout Hall, leaders should complete a once-off Self-Assessment Checklist for Formations Returning to Outdoor Activities. The self-assessment is not subject to approval however it provides information to enable the leader to safely hold outdoor activities.

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Day Activities

Apply the NSW public health orders such as physical distancing and maximum group numbers, in addition to the following Scouts NSW guidelines:

Before resuming any outdoors activities, Leaders should complete a once-off Self-Assessment Checklist for Formations Returning to Outdoor Activities, which provides general information about running activities during the pandemic. In addition, overnight or activities more than 20km from the Scout Hall, require approval prior to each occasion – see below for details. In general, day activities should be Section, Group or Unit based where possible.  As local situations can change rapidly, submissions for day activities will be approved on a provisional basis only. Leaders need to monitor NSW Health COVID-19 case locations and other announcements in the lead up to the day and be ready to reverse or amend plans if needed. Whilst it is permissible to travel to, though, or from, these locations (unless subject to ‘lockdown’ under public health orders), additional vigilance is recommended.

Community sporting activities – If you are planning an activity from 1 December that is listed as a community sporting activity and you expect to have more than 50 participants, you will need to submit a Day Activities Request for Provisional Approval form regardless of the location. This approved form will be your one-off COVID-19 Safety Plan for the activity. You will also need to keep the PDF copy of the approved COVID-19 Safety Plan that is emailed to you and make it available for inspection by an authorised officer as requested.

Day activities within a 20 km radius of the Scout Hall or regular meeting place with less than 30 people (up to 30 November inclusive) and 50 people from 1 December can proceed within the normal guidelines for Scouting in NSW, as well as any COVID-19 guidelines in place. District-based day activities are also allowable within a 20 km radius of the District boundary.

Day activities, including District activities, scheduled to take place greater than a 20 km radius must be submitted and approved by the Region Commissioner using the Day Activities Request for Provisional Approval form created and used for this purpose.

Health and Safety Risk assessments should be developed for day activities as usual, however, remember to include all COVID-19 related risks in your risk assessment, including the items you prepared as part of your Request for Provisional Approval.

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Overnight Activities

Apply the NSW public health orders such as physical distancing and maximum group numbers, in addition to the following Scouts NSW guidelines:

Limited overnight activities can resume with an approved Overnight Activities Form for each activity occasion, and within the maximum numbers and physical distancing described below.  Please remember: The situation relating to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and can change quickly.  You must be ready to alter or cancel your plans should there be a recommended change.

The number of people that can stay at a Scout Camp or Activity Centres is set by the 1 person per 4sqm rule in line with the site’s approved COVID-19 safety plan. Remember maximum numbers apply to outdoor gatherings in a public place (currently 30) so if the group is larger than 30, the leaders will need to run the daytime activities such as hikes in smaller groups.

Overnight stays represents a higher risk of spread due to the extended length of time people spend in close proximity to one another. The following physical distancing requirements apply throughout the activity, including sleeping arrangements.

When sleeping in tents, bunks rooms and Scout Halls: There shall be a maximum of 1 person per 4 square metres and a minimum 1.5 metres separation for sleeping.  An exception allowed for persons from the same household/family group.

The following points have been prepared to assist leaders in considering and planning an overnight activity.

  • When calculating the maximum number of people allowed based on the 1 person per 4 square metre rule, always ‘round down’ your answer down, not up.
  • For small tents, the 4sqm rule could mean only one person per tent, so this could mean an additional weight burden. Consider having a parent or leader transport any heavy gear to the spot where the Scouts will be camping for the night, and then picking it up the next morning.
  • Ensure beds or floor spaces are at least 1.5 m apart and allocate only one person per double bunk.
  • Where realistic, allocate fewer than the maximum allowed and spread out more than the minimum required. Make sure your sleeping arrangements comply with the overnight section of the Youth Protection Procedure.
  • The Scoutcamp, Activity centre, public campsite or Scout Hall must be approved for use with a COVID-19 Safety Plan. See a current list of Scouts NSW COVID-19-approved Scout Camps and Activity Centres on the Scouts NSW Guide to Coronavirus Scouts Properties page
  • For bunk rooms, each room must be identified with the maximum number of people allowed as per the COVID-19 Safety Plan.
  • When sleeping in a Scout Hall, apply the maximum of 20 (plus the leaders required to run the session) OR the maximum allowed under the 1 per 4 sqm rule; whichever is less). In addition, Scout Halls, must be approved for sleeping purposes ie with smoke detectors etc via P9 - Overnight Activities/ Sleeping in Scout Halls form.

Remember, in addition to the above, all scheduled overnight activities must be submitted and approved by the Region Commissioner using the Overnight Activities Form.

Further guidance for overnight activities during COVID-19 can be found here.

Community sporting activities during overnight activities – If your community sporting activity is part of an overnight stay, the overnight component is NOT classified as community sporting so lower participant numbers apply whilst camping, eating etc.  Therefore you will need to every carefully consider how to run this event and remain in compliance with the public health orders.

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Peak Awards

Overnight activities associated with Peak Awards can resume within the guidelines for overnight activities as shown above.  Please remember: The situation relating to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and can change quickly. Refer to the information provided under the Overnight Activities section. You must be ready to alter or cancel your plans should there be a recommended change.

For those Youth Members currently undertaking their final steps towards achieving their Peak Award, COVID-19 poses some significant challenges. We know how much time, energy and dedication our youth members have committed to the completion of their Peak Awards.

Below are outlines of the modifications to be made to ensure no Youth Member is disadvantaged in completing their Peak Award, whilst we adhere to Federal, State or Territory Government social distancing policies.

Overnight hikes

  • Apply the physical distancing rules of tent camping shown under the Overnight Activities section.
  • No sharing of food.
  • Adequate washing and sanitisation items carried and replenished each night.
  • Physical distancing to occur where safe during the journey.

When youth members are sick, or have been unwell in the past 14 days, they should not participate in the journey. 

  • No youth should be disadvantaged because of this and common sense approaches in-light of COVID Modifications should take place.

Modifications to the Peak Award Requirements for each Section: 

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Region Activity Teams

Activities managed by Region Teams should focus on delivery to a local Group or District. e. a Cub Leadership course that draws on participants from across Districts or the Region and/or include participants from other Regions should reconsider how it can be run with more localised participants or even run virtually.

Region Activity Teams may hold day activities after considering the COVID-19 related risks and including them into the risk assessment for the specific activity. With reference to material published by the Outdoor Council of Australia and The Australian Institute of Sport, the Region Activity Team have prepared Guidance for Planning Outdoor Adventurous Activities during COVID-19 for this purpose.

In addition, the Leader who is co-ordinating the activity (i.e. arranging the E1 forms) is responsible for submitting the COVID-19 approval forms relating to the specific day activity (more than 20km from the Scout Hall) or overnight activity.

 

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Scouting Events

Major events must be managed on a one-by-one basis. If you require assistance in this area, please submit an enquiry here.

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Travel

The principle is to restrict activities to local ones to avoid inter-mingling and potential community transmission. Monitor the COVID-19 case locations in NSW; Whilst it is permissible to travel to, though, or from, these locations (unless subject to ‘lockdown’ under public health orders), additional vigilance is recommended.

Travelling in vehicles: Leaders, Rovers and other adults should travel in their own vehicles in preference to sharing.  Ideally, youth members should be driven by their parents to and from all activities unless there is no other reasonable option.

Where sharing transportation with people from different households is unavoidable, only proceed with willing and healthy people who are not in a vulnerable category. Have as few people in the vehicle as possible, whilst still implementing Two Deep Leadership and other aspects of the Child Protection Procedure. Limit the number stops you make along the way, be vigilant with hand-hygiene and physical distancing during the journey. Mask-wearing is recommended, and use the car’s air-conditioning.

Public Transport: The use of public transport by Scouting groups especially in peak periods is discouraged due to the risk of exposure for Members and the general public. When using public transport you should wear a face mask and follow instructions provided by the operator.

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Training

Firstly consider if a virtual training session can be run in preference to face to face to avoid exposure. When face to face training is necessary, follow the steps provided by the site’s COVID-Safety plan. Notably:

  • Abide by the room’s capacity based on the 1 person per 4 sqm rule.
  • When holding training in a community hall such as a Scout Hall, also apply the current public health order limit.
  • Provide hand sanitiser.
  • Hold (part of) the meeting outside in preference to inside if appropriate
  • You must also comply with the relevant current public health orders.
  • Set-out the furniture to accommodate 1.5 m physical distancing.
  • To reduce the risk of exposure for participants sitting in the front row, consider arranging the furniture in a way which prevents the presenter inadvertently ‘standing over’ seated participants while they are talking/projecting their voice.
  • Food is provided, it must NOT be a self-serve buffet
  • No singing or shaking hands

Arrange the programme to avoid the need for participants to touch shared surfaces eg no ‘communal’ pens or other equipment.

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Activities at Commercial Premises

Activities at Commercial premises such as indoor rock climbing or ice skating may be planned, however for locations of more than 20km from the Scout Hall, must be submitted for prior approval using the DAY ACTIVITIES - Request for Provisional Approval form. See the COVID-19 Safety Plans page for details.

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