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Statement on Local Church Scouting Activities During the COVID-19 Pandemic


June 03, 2020

STATEMENT ON LOCAL CHURCH SCOUTING ACTIVITIES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The Missouri Annual Conference is aware that several local churches charter boy scout troops. The
Conference is also aware of questions with respect to scouting activities and camps during the COVID-19
pandemic.

When a local church serves as the chartering organization for a boy scout troop, the troop together with all
its assets and liabilities is owned by and part of the local church. For this reason, we recommend treating the
troop exactly as the church would any other ministry of the local church. This means that leaders should
have some connection to the local church and be certified via Safe Sanctuaries or Safe Gatherings as all
adult leaders serving children and youth ministries. It also means applying the same guidelines developed for
meetings and activities of the local church to the troop’s meetings and activities.

The decisions with respect to meeting or participating in boy scout camps is a local church decision. The
Annual Conference strongly recommends the same sorts of conversations and engagement previously
recommended for restarting worship and holding other activities. Local churches should seek out the
guidance of local health officials and become well-versed in guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease
Control and other healthcare organizations. As scouting activities resume, the first priority should be the
safety of all participants. Churches should require that all participants be free from COVID-19 symptoms
and maintain a temperature below 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit before participating in activities, and that
organizers and participants engage in proper social distancing.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 remains highly contagious and in-person activities carry some risk. Issues of
liability related to holding activities and events during the current situation remain unclear. Regardless, any
liability arising out of a charter troop will be the responsibility of the local church. Because of that, local
churches should discuss any decisions with respect to local church activities, including boy scout troops,
with their insurers. If deciding to go forward with boy scout ministries, the church should also consider
obtaining liability waivers from the parents of those children served.

If church members or attendees participate in a troop that is not chartered by the local church, church
leaders should make clear the nature of the church’s relationship to the troop to parents of participants. In
such event, the church will lack control over decisions by the troop leaders except to the extent the troop is
utilizing the church’s building, and decisions as to participation in the troop’s activities will be the sole
responsibility of the parents and troop leaders.

For examples of camp waivers, please contact Christa Edwards in the Office of Finance & Administrative
Ministries at cedwards@moumethodist.org.
 
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