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Can parents be the Adult POC for a Troop Event when no ASM/ScoutMaster is not available?

My son is the SPL for his troop. He is planning a short 2 hours hike. So far, my wife and I are planning to attend. That makes 2 adults. I understand the YPT requirement of needing at least 2 adults. Currently,no other ASM nor the ScoutMaster from his troop had shown interest in participating in this hike. Can I or my wife be the adult POC for this hike or does it requires at an ASM from the troop to make this hike happen? . This brings up a larger question, does an troop event require an ASM or scout master to be present to make it official. I know it’s always more advantageous to have an ASM or scoutmaster present to sign up rank, merit badge requirements or safety training. But sometimes, that’s not always possible for a small troop.

From the BSA:

Adult Supervision

Two registered adult leaders 21 years of age or over are required at all Scouting activities, including meetings. There must be a registered female adult leader 21 years of age or over in every unit serving females. A registered female adult leader 21 years of age or over must be present for any activity involving female youth. Notwithstanding the minimum leader requirements, age- and program-appropriate supervision must always be provided. (Youth Protection and Barriers to Abuse FAQs)

All adults accompanying a Scouting unit who are present at the activity for 72 total hours or more must be registered as leaders. The 72 hours need not be consecutive.

It’s disappointing to hear that no SM/ASM want’s to participate. Have you and your wife considered becoming ASM’s and be the “hiking” leaders?

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As WilliamC noted, all Scouting activities require two registered adults, over the age of 21. There’s two noted exceptions - while fundraising, and while meeting with a merit badge counselor. In those situations the Scout’s parent or guardian may be one of the two adults.

Others have provided the official documentation. I would only emphasize that the two registered leaders can technically be registered in any position (including committee) in any unit . Of course, if your CO and unit choose to have stricter requirements, they can.

Are either of the parents registered as a Merit Badge Counselor for Hiking. If so, then the Scout’s could start working towards the Hiking MB. If just a Scouting function ( fun hike), what are the SM feelings on the activity because they may have to sign off on it.

Simple solution: both parents register to be Hiking MB Counselors. It’s free. Now you have 2x registered adult leaders

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Be careful. Some councils do not consider Merit Badge Counselors to be registered for purposes of fulfilling the 2 registered leader policy except while working on a Merit Badge they council. In the above case, if the hike to fulfill the Hiking MB requirements, then an MBC can serve as 1 of the 2 leaders. A parent can fulfill the other unless there is more than one Scout present. A Merit Badge counselor only registered for Art MB could not fulfill one of the leader positions on a hike.

I really hope that this is something that those councils make very clear to their unit leadership if it’s not permitted. MBCs have to complete YPT, register and receive a background check. It seems like there should be clarity why they wouldn’t equally count for two-deep leadership in all contexts, if that is acceptable to the chartering org.

I can see an argument that a council might want additional training (e.g. Hazardous Weather) or a chartering org might want to run their own background checks/interviews. There may be other rationales. However, making those requirements and reasons clear would make it more likely that units will make sure they are satisfied. Otherwise, units read “registered leader 21+” and know that Parent X registered as a MBC and is 37. It looks like it meets the requirements the BSA set forth. Some folks aren’t willing to commit to being ASMs or MCs (for example), with a regular responsibility for supporting part of the unit program. However, they are more than happy to share their skills with scouts pursuing MBs, and would be willing to serve as a second adult on a patrol zoom meeting or day event to ensure compliance with two-deep leadership.

I think that, as long as units don’t abuse this, and the people signing up as counselors are actually serving that way, then it’s to the benefit of the council, unit, and most importantly the scouts that they be able to serve as part of two-deep leadership so the program can be delivered.


What I was told is the councils do not want adults thinking they can serve the unit in any capacity without paying the membership fee. If the adult wants to camp with the unit, participate in outings, then they should be registered in a unit position, not just as an MBC.


You want two registered adults that are not spouses. YP guidelines are there to protect you just as much as the scouts. If a false accusation is ever made, you will want that second non-spouse adult there to protect you.

If it’s a troop or a patrol hike, then you need 2 registered adults. (See the Guide to Safe Scouting as posted above.) I would recommend talking with the troop Committee Chair and getting registered in an adult position of some kind. Also talk with the Scoutmaster.

On the other hand, the Hiking merit badge does not require hikes to be done as troop / patrol hikes or even as a group. The Scout should talk to his or her Hiking MBC to find out what the MBC would approve.

Thanks, @edavignon. I think that, if that is the BSA’s intent, it should be written clearly that way, rather than simply as “registered”, which says nothing about payment. As I noted, I suspect units will work to comply if they are clearly noticed that “adults registered in unit positions only” is the requirement.

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There’s been some good feedback on what qualifies as a registered adult, but it sounds to me like you might have a bigger issue. You said the SM and ASMs showed no interest in participating; if it’s a scheduling conflict and they’re not available, that’s one thing, but if they’re just “not interested” you might want to talk to your chartering org about finding a new scoutmaster. If you have an SPL who is actively trying to plan and execute a classic outdoor scout activity and he can’t get support from the troop leadership, you have an adult leadership problem. Congratulations to your son for planning this, hope he finds the adults he needs to pull it off!

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It would be helpful to get a response from the OP. There’s a lot of experience willing to help but it’s a guessing game to a degree. One question I have is the OP and/or his wife on the Committee? Knowing what you status in the Troop is would really help in offering suggestions. If you are not on the Committee or an ASM I would strongly encourage you to get involved so you can operate from a stronger position to make your goal happen.


Good point. Also, remember that, right now, some councils are not permitting any face-to-face meetings (Michigan Crossroads is an example), so it may not be a case of the Scoutmaster/ASM “being uninterested” but the requested activities are explicitly not permitted right now.

So I guess I will mention the “elephant in the room.” When the SPL plans a hike and there is no SM/ASM “interested in participating” there is a major problem. Perhaps it is a poor choice of words. But the SPL and SM should be a team.

Hopefully this was just poor choice of words and they are otherwise committed. In my troop - there has seldom been any discussion of what “counts” as a troop event. I think that should really come down to the SM in consultation with the CC.

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@KirkWood it is what we call developmentally normative behavior. Youth plan activities, adults review the plan, suggest revisions, and assist in implementation.
However, the go-to adults often don’t have openings in their schedule when youth do. Troops need more depth than ever before and sometimes BSA’s administrative and financial restrictions limit that.

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Believe it or not, sometimes even Scouters sometimes fail to see the forest for the trees. Let me offer you another way to think about this.

Your son would like to go on a hike. He wants to invite some of his friends. You and your wife are going along. You’ll contact the other parents to let them know you’ll be there to help make sure they don’t get lost or hurt. They’re welcome to come too if they’d like.

This is not a BSA event. There is no SPL, SM, ASM, CO, MBC, POC, or YPT needed. I would, however, bring some water, maybe an energy bar, and a small first aid kit. Enjoy your hike!

Well, now you are chasing a rabbit down the hole. If a “kid” gets hurt make no doubt that people tend to go for the deepest pockets when it comes to litigation. It doesn’t matter what’s legal. The BSA would fold like a lawn chair.

I still wish the OP would chime in. This discussion is nothing but a big guessing game.

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Trying to find a loophole to avoid YPT compliance is…disturbing.

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