Trips and outdoor visits
Visits to archaeological sites, museums and other venues are often the highlight of a YAC club’s year, but they do take a little more planning than a session at your usual venue. It’s really important for the person planning the session to visit the venue in advance so you can:
- Complete your risk assessment and check whether the site is accessible for all of your members
- Find out if there’s a suitable place to stop for refreshments
- Find out about access to toilets
- Check how to get there, or where you can meet parents
- Find about any charges, like entry fees
- Make plans for bad weather: are there sheltered areas you can use if need be?
As with all YAC sessions, you must have no more than eight children present for every one formally approved YAC Leader or Assistant, and there must be a minimum of two Leaders or Assistants present. You may want to split your members into small groups during the session: you must ensure that you have enough Leaders or Assistants so that each of you is within the sight and hearing of another Leader or Assistant. You might ask additional adults to come along to help out, but please remember that additional adults – whether parents, venue staff, or one-off helpers – do not count toward the 1:8 ratio. If you do not feel you have enough Leaders and Assistants to run your visit safely, then why not consider making it a family activity and getting each child to come with their own accompanying adult?
Getting permission from parents
Before making a visit away from your usual venue, you must ensure you have given parents/carers full information about where you will be and received their written permission for the session.
Make sure you have provided the following information:
- Where you are going to be and how you can be contacted on the day
- Start and finish times and locations
- How you will be travelling to the venue, if necessary
- Equipment needed: remember to include appropriate clothing, footwear and sun cream depending on the time of year
Below is an example of how you could give the necessary information and get parents’ permission:
Dear parents and carers
On Sunday 27th July YAC are visiting the Sunshine Museum to see their new exhibition. Please meet us at the museum front entrance at 11am and collect your child at 3pm at the same place. We will have a picnic lunch in the museum gardens, so please remember to give your child a packed lunch, drink, a sun hat and sun cream. If you need to contact us during the session you can phone Jamie’s mobile on 07752 689 985.
To give your permission for your child to come on this visit, please sign and date below and include your contact telephone number for the 27th
Your contact telephone number for the 27th July:
Getting to the venue
The best option is to get parents to drop their children off at the venue and collect them at the end of the session. You’ll need to provide clear address details, and potentially maps and directions. You should not get involved in arranging lifts for children from other children’s parents, though they are welcome to arrange this among themselves.
If parents are not able to bring their children to the venue, then take your group on public transport. This can be an exciting part of the trip for many children and helps them develop important life skills. It will of course need to be risk assessed along with every other part of the day, and you should complete the journey yourself as part of your planning, so you know exactly what to expect.
If you’re taking a large group on a long journey, it may be worthwhile hiring a coach. Make sure that the company providing the coach and driver are fully insured and that the coach has seat belts.
If you are considering hiring a minibus to drive your members on a trip, you must be aware that YAC insurance does not cover you for this. If you think hiring a minibus is your best option for a trip, then you should investigate this with the minibus hire company.
Avoid using your private car to transport YAC members as far as possible. YAC insurance does not cover your for accidents in your car. If it is imperative that you take members in your car, then you should contact your own insurer to ask about Class 1 Business Use, which is usually given free of charge. You must ensure that your vehicle is roadworthy, has an up-to-date MOT certificate and is taxed. You must not drive on YAC business if conditions are hazardous. It is also vital to remember to comply with child protection guidance in this case: take another YAC Leader or Assistant in the vehicle with you to ensure that you are not alone with a child or children.
What to take with you on a trip
- A First Aid Kit and a First Aider
- Your session plan and risk assessment
- Completed parent/carer permission forms
- Emergency contact details for everyone
- Register: do regular head counts and check members off as they’re collected at the end
- Contact details, maps and information about where you are going, including details of the nearest Accident and Emergency Department and public telephone
- Mobile phones: make sure all of your adults know each other’s numbers
- Cash for emergencies like forgotten lunches
- Ideally, high-visibility vests for everyone
Child protection issues
There are a few things you can do to make sure that your members are safe during your trip:
- Make it easy for the whole group to identify each other: high visibility vests for children and adults are great.
- Put the children in pairs and ask them to take care of their partner.
- Assign two or three pairs to each adult and make sure the children know who their adult is. Ask every adult to count their group regularly.
- Don’t give children name badges in public places.
- If using a public toilet, a Leader or Assistant must check the toilet before use by the groups, then remain outside the main door to supervise the children entering and leaving.
- Make sure your members know they must ask permission to go to the toilet, and never wander off on their own.
- As always, never leave your members unsupervised.
Group walking and crossing the road
Below is some general advice on walking with your Branch members in a variety of situations. Please remember to try your journey in advance so you can identify any potential problems and think of the best way to approach them.
- Always try to take routes with clearly defined footpaths/pavements.
- Place one adult at the front of the group, one at the back, and others interspersed throughout.
- If you are walking on a road with no footpath, face the direction of oncoming traffic.
- Do not walk on roads with no footpaths at dusk or in the dark: rearrange the trip for summer time!
- Walk at the pace of the slowest member of the group: don’t leave anyone behind.
- Give each member a sticky label to put on the inside of their coat which lists the Leaders’ mobile phone numbers. Tell them that if they are lost, they should go into the nearest shop and ask a staff member to call the Leaders. They should wait at the shop until the Leader arrives.
- Alternatively, agree a highly visible meeting point, like a statue in a town centre that everyone can easily find. Tell your members that if they are lost they should make their way there and wait until a Leader arrives.
If your trip is in the countryside:
- It is even more important to try your journey in advance to plan the safest route.
- Check regularly that your members are warm, dry, hydrated, well-fed and protected against the sun.
- Do not apply sun cream to members in case of allergies: members must bring their own and apply it regularly themselves.
- In the summer, avoid walking at the hottest times of day.
- Split the walk into stages and have regular rest breaks.
- Make sure everyone has enough water and makes their supply last for the whole walk.
- Leave a copy of your route plan with someone who is expecting you back at the end of the day (e.g. a Leader’s partner) and ask them to contact the emergency services if you do not return by the given time. Make sure they have timings for your walk, a route map and contact details for all the Leaders and Assistants on the walk. Make sure you let this person know when you have returned or if you are going to be late!
If your trip is near the sea or on a beach, please contact YAC HQ to talk through your plans. You must make sure that you:
- Check the tide times and look for warning flags.
- Inform the local coastguard where you will be walking and when.
Crossing the road:
If at all possible, use a designated crossing (e.g. a zebra crossing), even if this means going out of your way. Follow the Green Cross Code. If you are with a large group of children, split into smaller groups to cross, making sure that the whole group can see each other and is aware of what is happening. Your adults may need to make several crossings to get the whole group across.
The Green Cross Code
1. First find the safest place to cross
- If possible, cross the road at: subways, footbridges, islands, zebra, puffin, pelican or toucan crossings, or where there is a crossing point controlled by a police officer, a school crossing patrol or a traffic warden.
- Otherwise, choose a place where you can see clearly in all directions, and where drivers can see you.
- Try to avoid crossing between parked cars and on sharp bends or close to the top of a hill. Move to a space where drivers and riders can see you clearly.
- There should be space to reach the pavement on the other side.
2. Stop just before you get to the kerb
- Do not get too close to the traffic. If there is no pavement, keep back from the edge of the road but make sure you can still see approaching traffic.
- Give yourself lots of time to have a good look all around.
3. Look all around for traffic and listen
- Look all around for traffic and listen.
- Look in every direction.
- Listen carefully because you can sometimes hear traffic before you can see it.
4. If traffic is coming, let it pass
- Look all around again and listen.
- Do not cross until there is a safe gap in the traffic and you are certain that there is plenty of time.
- Remember, even if traffic is a long way off, it may be approaching very quickly.
5. When it is safe, go straight across the road – do not run
- Keep looking and listening for traffic while you cross, in case there is any traffic you did not see, or in case other traffic appears suddenly.
- Look out for cyclists and motorcyclists traveling between lanes of traffic.
Do not cross diagonally.