During 2021 we expect to be allowed a gradual return to nights away activities in all jurisdictions.  This may start off with small expedition camping for Scouts and Explorer Scouts, then increase to bigger camps, then eventually opening wider nights away opportunities. Check the readiness level table for the allowances and restrictions in your jurisdiction.  

The legal framework for this may be confirmed quite late in the day so all plans need to be simple and flexible.  Even after we go to Green we may well still have guidance in areas like group size, transport, testing, social distancing and face coverings that impact our camping plans.   

Remember both adults and young people will have been away from camping for over a year and so there will be a lot of skills rebuilding to do.  We will have more first-time campers than ever before. The recommended approach for sections is for local camping with a back-to-basics outdoor Scouting programme.    

All the standard guidelines for nights away apply. Remember that a Nights Away Permit Holder (at the right level for the event) must be present and the Nights Away Notification form needs to be submitted to your District Commissioner. This includes approval of the event risk assessment.  

The COVID-safe processes for each nights away event need to be built into the risk assessment provided with the Nights Away Notification (these do not require a COVID risk assessment to be approved through the Smartsheet approval process). Risks are very specific to each event so your approval process for restarting nights away will be on an event by event basis rather than via a generic camping risk assessment. Standard parental consent for the nights away event will indicate acceptance of the Covid-safe processes and permission for the child to attend.

More information on planning Covid Safe Nights Away can be found here

The new sections are – Planning COVID – safe nights away in 2021 and an example risk assessment – Small group or patrol camp Risk assessment – camping on campsite – small groups (plus COVID considerations)

All up to date nights away information can be found at www.scouts.org.uk/nightsaway

Dave Bentley
Spen Valley Nights Away Advisor