4.4.4 Charter Agreements and Responsibilities of Chartering Parishes or Schools
A charter agreement is a legal agreement between a scouting organization, such as Boy Scouts of America (“BSA") or American Heritage Girls (“AHG"), and a parish or school. (See Section 4.4.3 for information regarding whether a scouting unit or troop uses a charter agreement or an outside user agreement). Each charter agreement lasts for one year and a new charter agreement must be signed every year to continue the troop or unit. The language in the charter agreement often changes from year to year so it is important to use the current version of the agreement for the location's Catholic troop or unit. As the charter organization, the parish or school assumes responsibility for the oversight and leadership of the scout unit or troop.
Locations may use only the following charter agreements:
Scouts BSA (Boy Scouts of America). A special Catholic Charter Agreement negotiated by the USCCB with the BSA
American Heritage Girls. Charter Organization Ministry Agreement (“COMA") which must be submitted to and approved by the Office of Legal Counsel prior to signing.
Like other contracts, only the person in charge of the parish or school is authorized to sign the charter agreement on behalf of the location. Each year, prior to signing the charter the person in charge should ensure the Information Checklist for Chartered Scout Units ("BSA Information Checklist" or "AHG Information Checklist") has been updated with current information. A copy of the pertinent Information Checklist and the signed Charter Agreement should be kept on file at the parish and emailed to the Real Estate Department.A scout unit or troop chartered by an Archdiocesan parish or school is a ministry of the parish or school and the person in charge is responsible for designating (or approving) key leaders and providing oversight. If the person in charge chooses to delegate any oversight responsibilities to another person (e.g. the parish business manager, an associate pastor, etc.), this should be clearly communicated in writing to the designated (or approved) leaders of the scout unit or troop.The key leaders (e.g. charter organization representative, unit/troop committee chair, scoutmaster, treasurer, etc.) are responsible for ensuring that the scout unit or troop follows the policies, procedures, and guidelines of both the scouting organization and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, as well as any additional guidelines established by the parish or school. They are also responsible for recruiting and supervising other volunteers for the unit or troop. The key leaders should encourage the scouts to participate in and complete the appropriate religious emblem programs. All key leaders and other adult volunteers assisting with a scout unit or troop, whether or not they are formally registered with the scouting organization, shall be listed on the Adult Volunteer Roster for Scout Units. The roster must be updated annually and a copy should be maintained by the chartering parish or school. Unit or Troop FinancesA chartering parish or school is responsible for the finances of the scout unit or troop. A custodial fund may be set up in the main operating account of the parish or school, or a separate checking account may be established for the unit or troop under the EIN of the parish or school (see Handbook Section 6.2.5 and Parish/School Bank Accounts – Signature Cards and Petty Cash Guidelines. The person in charge at the location must determine which individuals from the scout unit may be included as an authorized signer on the bank account. Bank statements should be sent from the financial institution to the parish or school (see Handbook Section 220.127.116.11).The scout unit or troop must have a treasurer to handle financial matters for the unit or troop. The treasurer must be familiar with the rules for handling cash, checks, and credit cards as well as other regulations pertaining to the finances of the unit or troop. The treasurer meets regularly (at least monthly) with the person in charge, parish or school business manager or bookkeeper, as determined by the person in charge, to maintain accounts and prepare financial reports. Safe EnvironmentScout units or troops chartered by an archdiocesan parish or school must comply with the safe environment policies of both the scouting organization and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The person in charge of the parish or school is responsible for entering and/or verifying the information for all volunteers in the archdiocesan Safe Environment Platform. To comply with the policies of the archdiocese, all key leaders and other adult volunteers must complete the following prior to beginning their service with a scout unit or troop:
Be fingerprinted through the archdiocesan Fingerprinting Office and have a clear background;
Complete initial safe environment training by participating in VIRTUS Protecting God's Children for Adults;
Review the Guidelines for Adults Interacting with Minors and sign the acknowledgement of receipt.
If an adult volunteer has never been fingerprinted by either the archdiocese or the scouting organization, as an accommodation, the archdiocese will allow volunteers to bring the fingerprinting form from the scouting organization with them to their fingerprinting appointment at an archdiocesan location. The fingerprint technician will “double-roll" the volunteer's fingerprints to process them two times (once for the Archdiocese and once for the scouting organization) at no charge to the volunteer. The monthly fingerprinting schedule for the Archdiocese is available from the Fingerprinting Office.Safe environment training (VIRTUS) certification is valid for four years. Recertification takes place prior to the expiration of the current certificate. The Guidelines for Adults Interacting with Minors must be reviewed and the acknowledgement of receipt must be signed annually. Each year, the key leaders of the scout unit or troop are responsible for collecting copies of each adult volunteer's current VIRTUS certificate and acknowledgement of receipt of the Guidelines for Adults Interacting with Minors and providing those copies to the chartering parish or school.Participation in Scouting ActivitiesPolicies, procedures, and guidelines from the scouting organization are the primary source of direction for all activities done by a scout unit or troop unless otherwise stated below. Each scout unit or troop is expected to follow the direction provided by the scouting organization. Youth and adults must be registered with the scouting organization to participate in scout activities. Current rosters must be maintained by the key leaders of the scout unit or troop. Scout units or troops should use forms such as permission slips and medical releases that are provided by the scouting organization. If any of these forms are not available from the scouting organization, the following forms from the Archdiocesan Administrative Handbook should be used:
Student and Youth Activity Permission Form: This form gives permission for a minor to participate in an off-site event or activity. If needed, a Spanish translation of the form can be provided to parents or guardians for their information; however, the English form is the one that must be signed.
Medication Authorization and Permission Form: This form gives permission for a minor to take prescription or non-prescription medication while participating in an activity or event whether it is held onsite or off-site.
Overnight activities (e.g. camping) are common in scouting. Scouting organizations sometimes require parents or guardians to accompany their child(ren) for overnight activities. Every adult participating in an overnight activity with a scout unit or troop that is chartered by an archdiocesan parish or school is required to comply with archdiocesan safe environment policies, including fingerprinting. (See Safe Environment above for further information.) This includes parents or guardians who are accompanying their own child(ren). If a parish or school plans to publish or exhibit the image, name, voice, or work of anyone involved in a chartered scout unit, written permission must be obtained in advance from the parent or guardian. The forms below are used for this purpose and must be kept on file by the parish or school.
Parent/Guardian Release for Student or Minor (Noncommercial) – If needed, a Spanish translation of this form can be provided to parents or guardians for their information; however, the English form is the one that must be signed.
Adult Release (Noncommercial)