This article highlights the following:
- An overview of Activity Waivers
- Activities covered by the Waiver
- Prohibited Activities for ALL Students
- Prohibited Activities for YES and CB Students
- Examples of Activities Requiring a Supplemental Waiver
- Determining Whether an Activity is Considered "High Risk"
- How to View Activity Waiver Status for a Student
- How to View Activity Waiver Statuses for all Students in a Team
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.
- 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, surfing, kayaking, 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.
Host families are not permitted to sign facility specific waivers (such as for a water-park or zip-lining) requiring consent/signature of a parent or legal guardian. Host families are asked to contact their AFS representative (liaison or support coordinator) to obtain the signature of the natural parents. This simply means that a little extra planning is required before a hosted student can participate in these activities.
These activities are not covered by the Medical Plan and/or the Additional Benefits and participants may not engage in them under any circumstances:
• Professional athletics;
• Hang gliding, paragliding or parachuting
• Military training exercises (includes ROTC activities);
• Piloting or serving as a crew member in any aircraft.
• Passenger in a non-commercial aircraft*
*There may be exceptions to this exclusion. Please inquire with Support staff.
Further, AFS prohibits students from engaging in any activity that would require the student to have a license to operate (such as driving a car).
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. CB students are not permitted to handle firearms.
Before engaging in a high-risk activity, please contact AFS Support staff for guidance on whether or not the activity will be approved and/or if a Supplemental Activity Waiver is required. Examples of activities that require an additional waiver include:
- Operator or passenger of: 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)
- Kite surfing, parasailing, bungee jumping, and trapezing
- Whitewater activities
- 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
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:
- Will there be any outside parties involved (e.g. a white-water rafting tour operator) who may need a signature from a natural parent/legal guardian on their own consent and release form? (see Facility Specific Waivers above)
- 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.
You can view a hosted student's activity waiver status, including what activities are forbidden by going to the Team Widget on MyAFS and looking at the Hosted Student tab. See screenshots below:
Here is a screenshot of a student with forbidden activities:
Here is a screenshot where AFS has not yet received a student's activity waiver:
Here is a screenshot where a student has no forbidden activities identified by the waiver:
Each Sending Partner has their natural parents sign an Activity Waiver and then the Partner Country enters a record in AFS Global Link that an Activity Waiver has been signed. Liaisons can also find out whether their hosted student has a signed Activity Waiver on file, by clicking on the student's Service Reference number in Global Link. About half way down the page you will see the fields shown below.
To see an Activity Waiver summary for all of the students in a team, use the Hosted Student Activity Waiver report in the Reports section of Global Link:
Select the correct Program Year and Program Cycle and then View Report.
If the natural family does not wish to permit a particular activity, the activity will be listed in the forbidden activities field. If the parents have specifically denied permission, the student is not permitted to do that activity until/unless an additional waiver is obtained.
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 the Participant Support Department of the national AFS-USA office. To see an example of the activity waiver click here. To see an example of the supplemental activity waiver click here.
Important Note: Host families are not permitted to sign facility specific waivers (such as for a water-park or zip-lining) requiring consent/signature of a parent or legal guardian. Host families are asked to contact their AFS representative (liaison or support coordinator) to obtain the signature of the natural parents. This simply means that a little extra planning is required before a hosted student can participate in these activities.
If you have any questions about allowable activities or waivers please contact the Participant Support staff at 1-800-AFS-INFO (800-237-4636 and dial 9).