Sports and Activities

Unauthorized and Restricted Activities

The following activities have been declared unauthorized and restricted:

  • All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are banned from program use. ATVs are defined as motorized recreational cycles with three or four large, soft tires, designed for off-road use on a variety of terrains.

  • Boxing, karate, and related martial arts—except judo, aikido, and tai chi—are not authorized activities.

  • Chain saws and mechanical log splitters may be authorized for use only by trained individuals over the age of 18, using proper protective gear in accordance with local laws.

  • Exploration of abandoned mines is an unauthorized activity.

  • Varsity football teams and interscholastic or club football competition and activities are unauthorized activities.

  • Fireworks secured, used, or displayed in conjunction with program and activities are unauthorized except where the fireworks display is conducted under the auspices of a certified or licensed fireworks control expert.

  • The selling of fireworks as a fund-raising or money-earning activity by any group acting for or on behalf of participants, units, or districts may not be authorized by local offices.

  • Flying in hang gliders, ultra-light airplanes, experimental-class aircraft, or hot-air balloons (whether or not they are tethered); parachuting; and flying in aircraft as part of a search-and-rescue mission are unauthorized activities.

  • Motorized go-carts and motorbike activities are unauthorized. All motorized speed events, including motorcycles, boats, drag racing, demolition derbies, and related events, are not authorized activities for any program level.

  • Participation in amateur or professional rodeo events is not authorized.

  • Pointing any type of firearm (which includes paintball, lasers and pepper spray) at any individual is unacceptable. However, law enforcement departments and agencies using firearms in standard officer/agent training may use their training agenda when accompanied with appropriate safety equipment in the Law Enforcement Exploring program. Explorers may not point firearms, including paintball, lasers and pepper spray at other Explorers or Participants. Tasering and pepper spraying of Explorers or Participants are prohibited.

  • Motorized personal watercraft, such as jet skis, are not authorized for use in aquatics activities, and their use should not be permitted in or near Learning for Life program areas.

  • Hunting is not an authorized Learning for Life school-based program activity, although hunting safety is part of the program curriculum.

(The purpose of this policy is to restrict school-based programs from conducting hunting trips. However, this policy does not restrict Explorer posts from conducting hunting trips or special adult hunting expeditions provided that adequate safety procedures are followed and that all participants have obtained necessary permits and/or licenses from either state or federal agencies. While hunter safety education might not be required prior to obtaining a hunting license, successful completion of the respective state voluntary program is required before participating in the activity.)

  • Except for (1) law enforcement officers required to carry firearms within their jurisdiction, and (2) circumstances within the scope of the Learning for Life hunting policy statement, firearms should not be in the possession of any person engaged in camping, hiking, backpacking, or any other Learning for Life activity other than those specially planned for target shooting under the supervision of a certified firearms instructor. (Among the purposes of this policy is to prohibit adult leaders from bringing firearms on camping and hiking activities or to group/post meetings.)

  • Parasailing, or any activity in which a person is carried aloft by a parachute, parasail, kite, or other device towed by a motorboat or by any other means, is unauthorized.

  • All activities related to bungee cord jumping (sometimes called shock-cord jumping) are unauthorized.

  • Technical tree-climbing with ropes and harnesses is unauthorized Learning for Life activity. There are no uniform standards.  There is no available method to measure the weight bearing capacity of the tree limb and no backup procedure if the limb breaks

Parade Floats and Hayrides

Learning for Life prohibits the transportation of passengers in the backs of trucks or on trailers. This rule may be tempered for parade floats or hayrides, however, provided that the following guidelines are strictly followed to prevent injuries:

  1. Transportation on the truck or trailer to and from the parade or hayride site is not allowed.
  2. Those people riding, whether seated or standing, must be able to hold on to something stationary.
  3. Legs should not hang over the side.
  4. Flashing lights must illuminate a vehicle used for a hayride after dark, or the vehicle must be followed by a vehicle with flashing lights.

Unit Fund-raisers

Include these safety considerations when planning a unit fund-raiser:

  1. Money-earning projects should be suited to the ages and abilities of youth participants.
  2. Proper adult supervision should be provided.
  3. Youth should engage in money-earning projects only in neighborhoods that are safe and familiar and should use the buddy system.
  4. Leaders must train youth participants never to enter the home of a stranger and to know whom to contact in case of an emergency.
  5. Youth participants should be familiar with safe pedestrian practices and participate during daylight hours only.
  6. Adhere to all compliance requirements:
    1. Check local statutes regarding solicitation rules and permits.
    2. A fund-raising permit must be obtained from the local Learning for Life executive.

Climbing and Rappelling

  1. Qualified Supervision

    All climbing and rappelling must be supervised by a mature, conscientious adult who is at least 21 years of age and understands the risks inherent to these activities. This person knowingly accepts responsibility for the well-being and safety of the youth in his or her care. This adult supervisor is trained in and committed to compliance with the eight points of the Climb On Safely procedure. One additional adult who is at least 18 years of age must also accompany the unit. Units with more than 10 youth in the same climbing/rappelling session must have an additional adult leader at least 18 years of age for each 10 additional youth participants. In other words, a group of 11 to 20 youths requires at least three adult leaders; a group of 21 to 30 youths would require four adult leaders, and so on.

    The adult supervisor is responsible for ensuring that someone in the group is currently certified in American Red Cross Standard First Aid and CPR (a 6.5-hour course). In addition, the two-hour module "First Aid—When Help Is Delayed" is required. A course of equivalent length and content from another nationally recognized organization can be substituted. A higher level of certification such as emergency medical technician (EMT), licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), and licensed health-care practitioner is also acceptable. American Red Cross Emergency Response, a 43.5-hour course that includes CPR, is highly recommended.
  2. Qualified Instructors

    A qualified rock climbing/rappelling instructor who is at least 21 years of age must supervise all climbing/rappelling activities. The climbing/rappelling instructor has successfully completed a minimum of 10 hours of climbing/rappelling instructor training from a nationally or regionally recognized organization, climbing school, college-level climbing/rappelling course, or is a qualified climbing/rappelling instructor. Local Youth Protection training is required for all instructors. A Project COPE director or instruction fulfills this requirement.
  3. Physical Fitness

    Any climbing/rappelling activity requires evidence of fitness—at least a current Personal Health and Medical Record, Class 1, or a complete health history from a parent or legal guardian. The adult supervisor should adapt all supervision, discipline, and precautions to anticipate any potential risks associated with individual health conditions.

    If a significant health condition is present, an examination by a licensed health-care practitioner should be required by the adult supervisor before permitting participation in climbing/rappelling. The adult supervisor should inform the climbing/rappelling instructor about each participant's medical conditions.
  4. Safe Area

    All climbing/rappelling activities must be conducted using an established or developed climbing/rappelling site or facility. A qualified climbing/rappelling instructor should survey the site in advance of the activity to identify and evaluate possible hazards and to determine whether the site is suitable for the age, maturity, and skill level of the participants. The instructor should also verify that the site is sufficient to safely and comfortably accommodate the number of participants in the activity within the available time. An emergency evacuation route must be identified in advance.
  5. Equipment

    The climbing/rappelling instructor should verify that proper equipment is available for the size and ability level of participants. Helmets, rope, and climbing hardware must be approved by the UIAA (Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme) and/or ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials). All equipment must be acquired new or furnished by the instructor.

    Records must be kept on the use and stresses (the number of hard falls) on each item of equipment, which must be specifically designed for climbing/rappelling. Outside providers should be asked if they are aware of any stresses that have been put on their equipment. Any rope or webbing that has been subjected to more than three hard falls or that is four years old (whatever its use) must not be used. Refer to the Climb on Safely and Project COPE manuals concerning records that must be kept and made available even by outside providers.
  6. Planning

    When planning, remember the following:
    • Obtain written parental consent to participate in climbing/rappelling activities for each participant.
    • In the event of severe weather or other problems, share the climbing/rappelling plan and an alternate with parents and the committee.
    • Secure the necessary permits or written permission for using private or public lands.
    • Enlist the help of a qualified climbing/rappelling instructor.
    • Be sure the instructor has a topographic map for the area being used and obtains a current weather report for the area before the group's departure.
    • It is suggested that at least one of the adult leaders has an electronic means of communication in case of an emergency.

  7. Environmental Conditions

    The instructor assumes responsibility for monitoring potentially dangerous environmental conditions that may include loose, crumbly rock; poisonous plants; wildlife; and inclement weather. Use the buddy system to monitor concerns such as dehydration, hypothermia, and an unusually high degree of fear or apprehension. The adult supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the group leaves no trace of its presence at the site.
  8. Discipline

    Each participant knows, understands, and respects the rules and procedures for safely climbing and rappelling and has been oriented in Climb On Safely. All participants should respect and follow all instructions and rules of the climbing instructor. The applicable rules should be presented and learned prior to the outing and should be reviewed for all participants before climbing or rappelling begins. When participants know the reasons for rules and procedures, they are more likely to follow them. The climbing instructor must be strict and fair, showing no favoritism.

Learning for Life limits climbing to top roping. A separate relay safety rope with a separate anchor system is used for all rappelling activities. A UIAA- and/or ASTM-approved climbing helmet must be worn during all climbing/rappelling activities.

Safety First Learning for Life Guidelines

Copyright 2002 by Learning for Life