AFS International created a “blanket” waiver system among the AFS Partners giving natural parents an opportunity before the program starts to tell AFS what specific activities they will allow their child to participate in and specifically any activities in which their child will NOT be allowed to participate.
The goal of the activity waiver is to help natural parents understand that there are many types of common activities that their son or daughter may participate in while on an AFS program. AFS cannot name every activity a student may have the opportunity to do. Therefore, the natural parents are given a list that represents a number of common activities for students, such as school-sanctioned sports, here in the United States to help the parents decide what sorts of activities they will allow their child to partake in while on the AFS program.
Activities covered by this Waiver include but are not limited to:
- Passenger in a car, shuttle van or bus, in conjunction with normal program activity, including transportation to and from school, extra-curricular activities, and orientation events and enrichment activities arranged by AFS, passenger in a host family recreational vehicle (motorhome or camper)
- Outdoor Activities such as: horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, rappelling/rock climbing (indoor), sand boarding;
- Team and/or School Sports such as: all school sports such as American football, baseball, basketball, hockey, rugby, lacrosse, track & field, wrestling;
- Water Sports such as: swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, swimming, water parks, water skiing/tubing;
- Winter Sports such as: cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, sledding/tobogganing, snowboarding, snow tubing;
- Other Activities such as: laser tag, martial arts, roller-skating, skateboarding.
Prohibited Activities for ALL students
These activities are not covered by the Medical Plan and/or the Tail Medical Benefits and participants may not engage in them under any circumstances:
- Professional athletics;
- Driving a motorcycle;
- Scuba diving involving underwater apparatus, unless recognized certification obtained;
- Technical outdoor mountain climbing (use of equipment);
- Sky diving;
- Professional or amateur racing;
- Military training exercises (includes ROTC activities);
- Piloting or serving as a crew member in any aircraft.
Prohibited Activities for CB and YES students
Exchange students on the CB and YES program are not permitted to drive any motorized vehicle under any circumstances. Violators of this policy will be considered for program dismissal. This applies even if the student is in possession of an international driver’s license or if the host family feels that the student is a responsible and careful driver. Exceptions may be granted for farm equipment with written permission from AFS-USA. If authorized, the student must observe precautions regarding safety and legal limitations.
Examples of Activities Requiring a Supplemental Waiver
(THIS IS NOT AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST)
Before engaging in a high-risk activity, please contact AFS Support staff for guidance on whether a Supplemental Activity Waiver is required. Examples of activities that require an additional waiver include:
- Operator or as passenger (not permitted to operate motorized activity requiring a license): snowmobile, farm equipment, motorcycles, trikes, scooters, quad bikes, ATVs, etc.;
- Handling of weapons (guns, air guns, bows, swords, knives etc.) and shooting, hunting, practicing with them (this includes attendance at gun shows where the participant has an opportunity to handle weapons)
- Scuba diving (with proper certification)
- Parasailing, kite surfing, hang gliding, bungee jumping, trapezing
- Whitewater activities
- Passenger in a small plane, helicopter, and glider
- Activities that call for interaction with non-domesticated animals (such as swimming with dolphins)
- Hot air balloon ride
- Deep sea fishing/ice fishing
- Sled dogs
Determining Whether an Activity is Considered “High Risk”
We ask that our volunteers and host families carefully assess each potential activity and determine on a case-by-case basis if additional natural parent consent, in the form of a Supplemental Activity Waiver, would be prudent. Some questions you should ask yourself include:
- Is there any possibility of physical injury or other risk as a result of participating in this activity?
- Will there be any outside parties involved (such as a white water rafting tour operator, for example) who may need a signature from a natural parent/legal guardian on their own consent and release form?
- If my own child were going to participate in this activity in another country, would I want to be notified and asked my permission?
- Is this an activity in which the student does not participate at home?
- Is this an activity for which I want to have the natural parents’ consent?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, contact your AFS Support staff to obtain additional permission. There are many activities that may require a Supplemental Waiver. This means that the student will need to request an activity specific waiver for activities that are considered high risk. A list of examples is provided below.
If you have any questions about allowable activities please contact your liaison or the Participant Support Department of the national AFS-USA office.
Important Note: Facility specific waivers (such as paintball, water park) require natural parent consent/signatures. The host family is not permitted to sign on the behalf of the natural parents.