Adventurous activities policy
What exactly is an adventurous activity, and how can you make sure to stay safe?
Approved: 18 March 2023
Content owner: Volunteer experience
This policy explains how Girlguiding defines an adventurous activity.
It covers the sensible measures that volunteers at all levels need to follow. These make sure girls can enjoy challenging adventurous activities safely.
This policy covers activities done in a day and activities that are part of residential events at home or abroad.
It applies to all Girlguiding activities in the UK or overseas. This includes Crown Dependencies and British Girlguiding Overseas (BGO).
- Adventurous activity: an activity that’s exciting and stimulating. It may take place indoors or outdoors. By its nature or location, it may expose those taking part to higher levels of risk than usual unit activities.
- Crown Dependencies: Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man.
- External activity provider: the organisation or company that makes the adventurous activity available.
- Activity instructor: the person with the qualification, skill and experience to lead the adventurous activity. They could be a volunteer, member or someone not involved in guiding.
- Prohibited activities: activities which Girlguiding doesn’t permit you to take part in. They aren’t covered by Girlguiding’s insurance. See our list of prohibited activities.
We recognise that all activities carry a level of risk. Our health, safety and welfare policy and procedure outline the risk management measures you should follow.
Some activities carry a higher level of risk than others, due to their nature or location. We call these adventurous activities. You can find a full list of adventurous activities in our adventure for girls activity pages.
If an activity isn’t on our adventure for girls activity pages then you must contact the outdoor activity adviser for your country or region, or email [email protected]. Don’t go ahead with the activity until you have confirmation that it’s okay to do so.
There are activities that Girlguiding doesn’t permit you to take part in. We call these prohibited activities and you can find them on our prohibited activities list.
We manage breaches of this policy through our Managing concerns about adult volunteers policy and procedure.
Joint activities with Scouts and adventurous activities
Girlguiding has a long-standing relationship with the Scouts. Scout adventurous activity permits are an accepted qualification, but only when adventurous activities are happening with the Scouts as a joint activity. Read the activities with other organisations guidance for more detail.
Insurance and adventurous activities
Our insurance only covers members or anyone acting on behalf of Girlguiding when they’re taking part in a guiding activity. This includes all BGO units doing activities in their home countries. Girlguiding’s insurance doesn’t cover prohibited activities, or the actions of external activity providers.
Girlguiding insurance doesn’t cover any international trips. This includes BGO units doing activities outside of their home countries.
Find out more about travel insurance for Girlguiding trips.
When planning or running an adventurous activity you must:
- Be safe. Make sure extra safety measures are in place before the activity goes ahead. The activity provider or instructor must have the necessary training and safety qualifications. These are on the specific adventure for girls activity pages. You must see a copy of the activity provider or instructor’s risk assessment for the activity. If the activity is taking place abroad, or in a Crown dependency, and the instructor qualifications are different to the ones listed on our activity pages, you must send details of the qualifications to [email protected]. Never take part in a prohibited activity.
- Be vigilant. If you have any doubts about the information the activity provider or instructor gives you, you must discuss it with your county, region or country outdoor activity adviser, international adviser if relevant, or [email protected]
- Never be afraid to change or stop an activity if the risk increases. If at any time you feel uncomfortable or unhappy about safety or the level of instruction before, or during, the adventurous activity you must stop it immediately. This is particularly important if circumstances and conditions change.
- Be covered. Check that every provider or instructor has their own public liability insurance cover. For international trips, the leader in charge must make sure they have suitable travel insurance in place. Always check the details of the insurance to make sure it covers all parts of your activities.
- Be accountable. Have the evidence outlined in this policy in place before doing an activity, whether it’s covered by Girlguiding’s insurance, or insurance you arrange yourself.
BGO countries must abide by local legislation when applying this policy, where relevant.