10 easy steps to plan an independent trip

Introduction

Welcome to the first steps of your travel journey!

This page is for Guiders wishing to plan an independent international or interprovincial trip for girl/youth members that want to travel abroad as members of Guiding. Providing our girls with the opportunity to travel is a rewarding and exciting adventure; and an opportunity the girls will remember for the rest of their lives. Thank you for taking the time and energy to enhance our girls' Guiding experience through travel. The travel team in Ontario is here to help with your planning, and to navigate you through the Safe Guide form submission process.

International Adviser, Ontario Council

Step 1: Goals & Prep – Getting Started

Before you start planning, you need to be familiar with the processes associated with planning an independent trip. Here’s what you need to read to prepare:
  1. Safe Guide – full document
    1. If you’re going on an international trip, pay special attention to: Safe Guide – International Travel 72 Hours or More Planning Guide – 131
    2. If you’re going on an interprovincial trip, pay special attention to Safe Guide – Activity Guide – Travel: In Canada – 72 Hours or More (page 79)
  2. Governance Policy 01-19-01 – Fund Development
  3. Governance Policy 03-04-01 – Financial Stewardship
  4. These documents will give you some of the basics that you need to plan the trip from a risk management and financial perspective. After you’ve reviewed them, it’s time to talk to the girls in the unit about what they want to get out of their independent trip. Get them involved by reviewing Safe Guide, activity guides, and applicable governance policies with them. Take note of the timing for paperwork as noted on the IT.1 (International Group Trip Planning Timeline). Consider these questions: Where do you want to go? Why are you going? Who is going? When should you go? Remember to involve parents/guardians in this process as well.

Step 2: Submit the SG.8 package and Ontario Council Code of Financial Accountability

Once you and your girls have decided some of the key details about the trip, it’s time to work on the SG.8 package. The package should be submitted to trips@guidesontario.org. The items included in this package are: Once the package has been received in full, depending on the nature of your trip, it will be sent to an International or Interprovincial Assessor for review. This Assessor will work with you throughout the duration of the planning process to provide Safe Guide and fundraising approval (if applicable – further details in Step 4). You will receive an official acknowledgment of your SG.8 package via the office.

*In addition to providing parents with the SG.1, you must also have them sign the SG.2 Parent/Guardian Permission for Non-Regular Unit Activities to indicate that they understand the commitment associated with their girl’s participation in the trip.

**Why do we have to use this template? Ontario Council members run 20-25 independent trips per year. Budgets need to be vetted by several different parties - International Assessors, the Trip Assessment Chair, and the Event Coordinator. Having a standardized template that doesn't require interpretation makes it efficient and easy for volunteers and staff to work with members planning trips to approve their budget.

Step 3: Trip Finances

After your trip’s SG.8 package has been approved, it is time for you to complete the gravity form to open a separate centralized bank account for your trip. A separate account is required because trips typically have a significant financial commitment on the part of all participants. Keeping finances specific to the trip separately ensures that they don’t get entangled with typical unit finances. Check the Independent Trip Budget template for important information to consider when dealing with finances associated with your independent trip.

Step 4: Detailed planning and fundraising

Once the SG.8 package has been approved, and the bank account has been opened, the trip can begin more detailed planning (i.e. booking tours, flights, etc.) and fundraising initiatives, if applicable. Here are some items to take in to consideration as you enter this phase:

Detailed planning – notes:
  • Though it is not compulsory at this stage, it is highly recommended for both international and interprovincial trips that you also have participants sign off on the IT.7 Guarantee of Financial Responsibility for International Group Trips to demonstrate that they understand the financial commitment associated with the trip. The IT.7 must be collected for international trips for the one year check in (further details in Step 5).
  • If at any time the trip participants change, please submit updated participant lists to trips@guidesontario.org
  • Remember that the ratio cannot exceed one adult for every three girls. If you find yourself in this position, contact trips@guidesontario.org for assistance.
  • Refer to the Government of Canada website regularly to see if any travel advisories have been issued for your intended destination(s). Refer to page 131 in Safe Guide to see how each level of advisory should be handled. If any issued travel advisories are of concern, contact trips@guidesontario.or g for assistance. Changes may have to be made to locations on trip’s itinerary; this can occur in the planning process or while travelling.
  • All participants must book their travel together as part of a group reservation. No one is permitted to use travel incentives or a rewards program.
  • If there are any agreements/contracts associated with your travel bookings that require a signature, please submit them via this form. Please note that processing can take up to two weeks.
Fundraising – notes
  • • Any fundraising outside of cookie sales is subject to approval. If your trip wishes to engage in additional fundraising, you must submit the FR.1 Application for Fundraising Approval to trips@guidesontario.org. The FR.1 is approved by one assessor who approvals all fundraising applications.

Step 5: One year check in (international only)

This step is only applicable to international trips. About a year before your trip, Safe Guide requires your trip to submit an updated set of paperwork. The purpose of this is to ensure that your trip’s planning is on track. The items included in this package are: Once the package has been received in full, it will be sent to your International Assessor for review. The Assessor will work with you to acknowledge the submission. You will receive an official acknowledgement of your one year check in via the office.

Step 6: Submit the IT.3 package (international)

This step is only applicable to international trips. About six months before your trip, Safe Guide requires your trip to submit an updated set of paperwork. The purpose of this is to get IT.3 acknowledgement for your trip. The items included in this package are: Once the package has been received in full, it will be sent to your International Assessor for review. She will do her piece, then it will be forwarded to the Trip Assessment Chair. This process can take up to 6 weeks. You will receive an official acknowledgement of your IT.3 package via the office.

Step 6: Submit the SG.3 package (interprovincial)

This step is only applicable to interprovincial trips. About one month before your trip, Safe Guide requires your trip to submit an updated set of paperwork. The purpose of this is to get SG.3 acknowledgement for your trip. The items included in this package are: Once the package has been received in full, it will be sent to your Interprovincial Assessor for review. She will do her piece, then it will be forwarded to the Trip Assessment Chair. This process can take up to 6 weeks. You will receive an official acknowledgement of your SG.3 package via the office.

Step 7: Trip subsidy

After the IT.3 or SG.3 package has been approved, the trip is eligible to apply for the Ontario Council Trip Incentive and Financial Assistance Program.

Step 8: Final Approval

This step is only applicable to international trips. Two to three months before your departure date, Safe Guide requires your trip to submit an updated set of paperwork. The purpose of this is to cover off on any details that may have changed from the time that your trip received IT.3 approval. The items included in this package are: Once the package has been received in full, it will be sent to the Trip Assessment Chair for review. You will receive an official approval of your final package via the office. The IT.3, IT.11 and SG.4s that have been approved will be shared by the office with the National office to notify them of your upcoming travel.

After you have received final approval, please ensure that you register with the Government of Canada's 'Canadians Abroad' program. Canadians Abroad is a free service that allows the Government of Canada to notify you in case of an emergency abroad or a personal emergency at home. This service also enables you to receive important information before or during a natural disaster or civil unrest.

Step 9: Travel

Go on the trip, have a fantastic time!

Step 10: Financial Reconciliation

In accordance with Safe Guide, you are required to submit the financials associated with your trip within 30 days of the last day of your trip. The items included in this package are: Once the package has been received in full, staff will reconcile your account. They will contact you within 60 days with the results, and to discuss how to handle any remaining funds.

Meet the volunteer & staff teams that support independent trips

There are lots of volunteers and staff to help you through the process. Here’s the team behind support to independent trips:
  1. Volunteers:
    1. International Adviser, Ontario Council – international.adviser@guidesontario.org
      • The International Advisers position oversees the independent trip process in Ontario.
    2. Trip Assessment Chair – Sabrina Francescut – sg.international@guidesontario.org
      • Sabrina provides final Safe Guide approval for all independent trips in Ontario.
    3. International Assessors
      • i. There’s a team of volunteers that liaises with Guiders to approve/acknowledge their Safe Guide paperwork and fundraising applications. An Assessor is assigned to a trip when the SG.8 package is submitted, and works with the Responsible Guider throughout the planning process.
  2. Staff:

    In Ontario, all paperwork connected to trips, including trip unit finances and fundraising, are supported within the Events department.

    1. Event Administrative Assistant – Banusha Mahendren – trips@guidesontario.org or 1-877-323-4545 ext 2487
      • Banusha monitors the trips inbox and responds to day to day inquiries. She also connects with Guiders to ensure paperwork related to Safe Guide and Ontario-specific processes has been submitted accurately.
    2. Event Coordinator – Judy Hudson – event.coord3@guidesontario.org or 1-877-323-4545 ext 2484
      • Judy supports inquiries related to planning independent trips, escalated issues, and financial compliance.
    3. Event Administrative Manager – Jennifer Devine – event.manager@guidesontario.org or 1-877-323-4545 ext 2462
      • Jennifer oversees the administration of the independent trip process and is available for any escalated issues
    4. Unit Banking Administrator – Allison McColeman – trips@guidesontario.org or 1-877-323-4545 ext 2408
      • Allison does the day to day processing of expenses and revenues related to independent trips in the unit banking system.
1/19/2019 11:27:25 AM