Health and Safety Announcement

Health and Safety Announcement:


Did you know that a Scout leader should never sign any document for their Pack, Troop, Crew, Post or Ship (unit) without having it reviewed by your local council? Most Scout leaders find this out when they are going through the process of getting a Certificate of Insurance (COI). Units apply for COI when planning an event in a facility that is not their normal meeting place. Examples are: the Pinewood Derby or your Blue & Gold being held at the local elementary school because you don’t have enough room where you normally meet to invite everyone that wouldn’t normally attend your weekly or monthly meetings……or you are going on an outing or a hike at the county park. You can find more information on COIs on Patriots’ Path Council’s Scouting Safely page.


Since the beginning of the pandemic, many organizations have started adding language to their agreements as part of Hold Harmless Agreements. In many cases Hold Harmless Agreements cannot be signed, as they contain language that shifts all legal claims to the Boy Scouts of America, including incidents that are due to the negligence of whom we are signing an agreement. An example of this would be your local swim club has a Hold Harmless Agreement that assigns all negligence to the Boy Scouts of America; a Scout is using the ladder to exit the pool and the ladder falls out of the wall injuring the Scout using it. We would have no control over checking the safety or maintenance of that ladder, because the property does not belong to us. But the Hold Harmless Agreement makes us responsible for that injury. The Boy Scouts of America’s General Liability Insurance Program will not cover that as a claim.


Patriots’ Path Council’s goal is to protect all our Scouts and our families. That means when we have Hold Harmless Agreements, we are unable to sign any agreements for facility usage or programs. Individuals who do could be held solely responsible for that event.


When we can have discussions with some of these organizations, we are sometimes able to come to an agreement on language that does not make the Boy Scouts of America responsible for the other parties’ negligence. This is a process that is not swift, and in at least one case took 3 years of working and discussing with a local school district to get to that point.


Our best advice is to plan your events as far in advance as you can. Once you have the location decided, start the process with them making that reservation and get it to us as soon as possible. Most agreements can be reviewed, and COI request can be handled within two weeks, that is why we require a two-week turnaround time.  In some cases, they do take longer. Generally this is due to needing to share with the Boy Scouts of America Risk Management Office or request a COI that has a change in language. There are 248 other Boy Scout Councils, so this process is done by the date of the event, this can add two weeks and even longer at times.


Please share this information with all leaders and parents who are involved in helping make your unit successful.