COPA for Kids – Follow-up on Vulnerable Sector Check (VSC)
Since January, we began asking for all pilots flying youngsters in the COPA for Kids
(C4K) program to take some time and go through a VSC if they did not already have one
for another activity such as for their children’s school activities, coaching youth teams,
scouts, cadets, etc. I wanted to address a question that has been brought to my
attention by one of our sponsors for the COPA for Kids program, namely our underwriter
AIG. Some members have assumed that it is our insurers who have insisted that VSCs
be required. This is simply not the case. But Magnes, our risk management advisors and
insurance brokers, fully support the move. As many of you are aware, it has become a
standard practice in this country for organizations whose members and participants deal
with vulnerable people, principally children, to require a VSC prior to engaging in any
such activity. It is now a social norm. As such, organizations which do not take such
precautions are finding themselves vulnerable from a legal point of view and indeed,
some have faced existential threats to their programs and to their organizations as a
consequence of not taking what is now a commonly practiced precaution. The legal turn
this has taken for a program like C4K could be seen as unfortunate, but it would be
unwise to discard the legal requirement of doing so. It is even more so when taking an
individual youth on our upcoming sanctioned, insurance-covered “Discover GA Program”
(see below).
As many have reported, the VSC process is simple and free for the vast majority across
the country. I totally understand that it could be frustrating, by the simple fact of having
to go through this check when you are all volunteers. So too are many sport coaches,
scout leaders, camp volunteers, school helpers and many many others.
I personally want to thank all the volunteers in our in C4K program. Asking for a VSC is
in no way doubting your honesty or a test of your character, it is an unfortunate sign of
the times in which we live in. It is a simple check the community is asking of us, to be
able to give back to it. I know that you are putting your time, money, energy and heart
into these events and the country’s youth relies on your participation.
The new Discover GA Program
This exciting new initiative is a spin-off of the famous C4K program to promote GA. It
relies on the same basic principles and guidance material, but it means you can at any
time take any adult or a younger person who could not attend a C4K day and get the
same top-up insurance as the C4K events. For flights with minors, a copy of the pilot’s
current VSC must be on file with COPA prior to the flight.
Keep an eye out for upcoming details in our eFlight and our website.