Updated in 2017
Watching fireworks with your Scouts can spice up your Fourth of July celebration. Setting them off, though? Best leave that to the experts.
With Independence Day approaching, it’s important to remember that setting off fireworks is an unauthorized activity in the Boy Scouts of America, except when the display is conducted by licensed experts.
Here’s the specific line from the Guide to Safe Scouting:
Fireworks secured, used, or displayed in conjunction with program and activities is unauthorized except where the fireworks display is conducted under the auspices of a certified or licensed fireworks control expert.
In other words, watching professionally-produced displays — like those you’ll see at the 2017 National Jamboree — is fine. Creating your own little show at this weekend’s campout at so-and-so’s ranch, though, isn’t permitted.
Scouts and Venturers can earn money for their adventures by selling a ton of different products. Fireworks, though, shouldn’t be one of them.
Again, from the Guide to Safe Scouting:
The selling of fireworks as a fundraising or money-earning activity by any group acting for or on behalf of members, units, or districts may not be authorized by councils.
Parade floats and hayrides
The Fourth of July often means parades, and community members love seeing Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Sea Scouts and Venturers marching through the streets.
There’s a relevant part in the Guide to Safe Scouting that applies here, too:
The BSA rule prohibiting the transportation of passengers in the backs of trucks or on trailers may be tempered for parade floats or hayrides, provided that the following points are strictly followed to prevent injuries:
- Transportation to and from the parade or hayride site is not allowed on the truck or trailer.
- Those persons riding, whether seated or standing, must be able to hold on to something stationary.
- Legs should not hang over the side.
- Flashing lights must illuminate a vehicle used for a hayride after dark, or the vehicle must be followed by a vehicle with flashing lights.
What’s with all the rules?
This and other Health and Safety-focused posts may make it sound like the BSA is spending a lot of time telling you what not to do.
Commenter mikemenn puts it into perspective:
What are acceptable risks? Is the possibility of losing a hand, an eye or hearing justified for a boy to become a man? I disagree. For the most part, what’s prohibited nowadays has probably saved hundreds/thousands of injuries that occurred back in the ’50s and ’60s.
Fireworks are fun to watch. And if you’re comfortable handling them in a non-Scouting event, go for it. But if the mission statement is “boys come first,” then rules such as no fireworks are the thing I want to see. There are other ways to have fun.
Well said, Mike.
Photo courtesy CJ Nusbaum