2017 Hands Across The Border

Greetings Fellow Scouters/Unit Troop and Venture unit leaders.

The 36th Annual Hands Across the Border will be held in Canada at Camp Stone, near Kimberley British Columbia, September 29-Oct 1, 2017.

The event organizer is long time Scout Canada Scouter and friend of the Montana Council, Lamont Luscher. This is the first time in several years the event will be held in Canada. This is very exciting news and I believe those units going will have a great experience.

I am currently part of the Council International Committee. I will be coordinating the MT Council participation in the event, and I plan to attend, as well. To give you an idea, the camp’s location is a 5-hour drive from Missoula, not taking into account border crossing time. 

I know September 2017 seems like a long time from now, but going to Canada will present certain requirements that we need our units and scouts attending to take care of in time.

  1. Passport:

As you are all aware, in order to cross into Canada, you will need either a valid passport or a passport card. The passport card is the cheaper option and it requires the parents of the scout going to apply for one for their scout. If the scout or scouter already has a regular passport, also known as a passport book, which will not expire during this time, they are good to go. If not, a passport card is the most economical way to go, only $30.00 versus $100 + for a regular passport.

The passport card is a credit-card size U.S. passport that, just like a passport book, is proof of U.S. citizenship and identity. It is more convenient and less expensive than a passport book, but can only be used to re-enter the United States at land border crossings and sea ports-of-entry from: Canada or Mexico. This is the link parents need which has details on how to apply for one. https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/information/card.html

  1. BSA Tour Plan file with the Montana Council:

The new tour and activity plan is simply a planning tool to help leaders be prepared for a safe and fun adventure. It can help you ensure trained leadership is in place, equipment is available, and there is safe and appropriate transportation to and from an event.

Please use the online version of the plan whenever possible. It is a unit-level tool when you sign into MyScouting.org . Find a printable version for your Scouters without Internet access on the tour and activity plan FAQ page. Please review all of the information on the page and the hyperlinks. A video showing you how to submit a tour and activity plan is on the FAQ page and herehttp://www.scouting.org/Home/HealthandSafety/Alerts/TourActivityPlan.aspx

  1. Parental permission Form:

Parental permission form that allows the Troop leader to take the scout across into Canada. I will be working on a form that everyone can use.

  1. BSA Medical Form A and b, and possibly C if you will take 72 hours or more, all depends on when you plan to leave on Sept 30 and when you are coming back on Oct 1st.

Citizenship in the World merit badge: Requirements 7 c and e could be accomplished at this event if the scout is working on this merit badge.

I will be sending updates as they become available. Please, if you think your unit is planning on attending, let me know as soon as possible. I don’t need numbers until we get closer to the event but it will be nice to know how many units are planning on going. You can reach me at thiguera@aol.com, or 406-552-3404.

Yours in Scouting,

Tony Higuera
International Committee