Understand ABBF: Minors, consent, and keeping safe
At ABBF, we believe in two core principles when it comes to participating in adventure.
- Everyone is safe. No matter what. As long as it is in our control, it shall be covered, no matter how close to the finish line we seem.
- Informed consent is paramount. All our participants are very aware of what they are undertaking. They know of the risks with as much clarity as they know of the adrenaline and thrill. We tell them the facts as they are.
It is to ensure that these principles are truly conformed to that ABBF has a policy of only working with individuals above 18 years of age. All participants are required to give consent and sign waivers, especially for expeditions with a higher adventure quotient to them! (Think tandem cycling in the Himalayas, ahem.) When minors are involved, this issue of informed consent becomes a little difficult.
While ABBF understands that there is nothing except the line of legality that separates 17 years and 11 months from 18 years and 1 month, this line becomes an important one in the field of adventure sports. It is important to have participants who have legal and psycho-social autonomy, independence, and rationality. By the law, this privilege is only awarded to those above a certain age. We do however make one exception.
At ABBF, we fundamentally believe adventure should be open to all. How then are you restricting it only to adults, you ask us? We allow minors on board our events on one condition – parental participation. Not consent, mind you, but participation. It is not enough for parents to sign off the form for ABBF. No. For minors to join us, we require parents to come with us – cycle, run, assist, what have you – but be present. This is how fifteen-year-old Manasvi became the first blind girl to cycle from Manali to Khardung La (her father was her captain) and fourteen-year-old Ananya (who has cerebral palsy) experienced paramotoring with her mother’s help.
The idea is simple. We are committed to keeping everyone safe. This is only possible when there are participants who can take responsibility for their own actions. If there are those who can’t, we shall wait until they can or until they have someone to do so. Adventure is for all, but adrenaline cannot be traded for safety.