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Dads, Daughters, Camping, and Girl Troops

This is a hypothetical that almost became a reality, and in case it every does I was hoping to get some thoughts on this.

The scenario is that we had a backpacking event as a troop (girl troop) and due to COVID the group was small with three parent/child pairs:

  1. Female Scoutmaster + her daughter
  2. Male ASM + his daughter
  3. Male ASM + his daughter

In our case we took separate cars to get to the trail head. So far all good, right?

The question is: if the female SM had a car incident or similar and couldn’t make it, what should the two ASM’s do?

On the one hand, IIRC the rules are we would have to turn back as we don’t have a female leader on the outing.

On the other hand it would be two parent/child pairs, e.g. no single parents/single scouts. So it would seem that would be OK as you are always with your own child, right?

Anyway, just wondering if anyone else has encountered this or if it has come up before.

Well as it is still a Scouting event you would return home. If it became a family event that is a different matter, just don’t file for national insurance when you break your leg and have to get heli’ed out.


Yes. That is clearly not allowed. You must always have 2, registered adults over 21. If any Scouts BSA girls or Cub girls are present, 1 of the 2 adults must be a female.

No exceptions to not having a female leader older than 21 present. Not even for family camping.

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.

FAQ Link…https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/yp-faqs/#as
Q: Why is a female adult 21 years of age or over required whenever female youth are present, but not the other way around?

A. The requirement to ensure that a registered female adult is present at activities serving girls is not dissimilar to policies we’ve enacted in the past for Venturing when male and female adult leaders were required for certain co-ed activities. At this time, we believe that these are the best, most appropriate measures for our movement. We hope you understand that these requirements were given substantial and thorough consideration.

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The references above are correct. If you only have 1 registered female over the age of 21 planning to attend but something happens where she cannot, you either have to find another registered adult female over the age of 21 or cancel the event. There are no exceptions for holding an event when every girl has their father present if there are no other registered adult females present.


Thanks all. This is what I suspected and it’s good to have this confirmed.

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If the car incident happens before you leave is going to be different than on the road or at the destination. We actually had a caravan of cars a few years back and about two hours into a 4 hour drive one of our leaders vehicles loaded with scouts and gear broken down and it was a mess. Fortunately it was all male and we reshuffled the deck and made it work.

If the car can’t be used prior to to leaving I would rent a car and get with the Committee and COR to see if the Troop can cover a rental. If you are only transporting two people an economy car should be affordable.

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This happened once with our crew with less drama. The mom became suddenly unavailable and it was me another dad, and our daughters. We cancelled the scout event and called it a daddy-daughter event.



  1. During a family event can the scout uniform be worn?
  2. Other than denial of an insurance claim, if upon investigation it is learned that rules were broken, are there any other repercussions the unit, and chartering organization may suffer?

#2 - that is why I would not take the risk to find out.


A lot of it depends. If you lose the female leader then you will lose the ability to call the trip a BSA event. If it’s two dad’s and their daughters nothing is stopping you from making a family event. If you were planning on using BSA property to backpack in then I would rethink my trip.

LOL, I hadn’t thought about it before, but this “female leader required” BS also means that a registered single father can’t take his own daughter to a male merit badge counselor appointment or fundraiser.

In theory; however the parent or legal guardian of the Scout may serve as the second adult. This parent or legal guardian does not have to be a registered leader.

The wording does not specify whether one of the adults has to be female. Therefore if it were 2 leaders not related then at least one female leader - YPT rules. If one person is a Parent or legal guardian then they do not need to be a registered leader, therefore probably don’t have YPT and you could therefore argue that it could either be the male parrent or female parent.

This is why some of the YPT rules make me nuts (aggravate my existing nuttiness?). It’s like finding yourself on a staircase in an M. C. Escher print.


Sorry it’s not clear if you’re responding to the OP or two the merit badge counselor scenario. There were updates to youth protection in 2018. In the OP’s scenario the event needs to be cancelled. For a merit badge meeting you can have a counselor and a non registered parent, although it doesn’t clarify the gender issue.

Q: The Barriers to Abuse say that there must be two registered adults present for all Scouting activities and meetings. Does that include merit badge counseling? Fund-raising events?

A. Yes. However, the parent or legal guardian of the Scout may serve as the second adult. This parent or legal guardian does not have to be a registered leader.

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