Scouting Forums

Den Leader for Girl Dens

I’m looking at bring girls into our pack, but I am struggling with the leadership requirements. While I understand the purpose of requiring an adult female for girl dens, this puts a burden on organizing around a family with multiple genders in one pack.
For example, I’m den leader for my Bear son, but I want to have my daughter join as a Lion. If she is the only girl, can I (a male) be the den leader if she’s the only Lion in her den? What about if there are two girls and both fathers are there?
Has national or whoever given guidance on girl dens where the adult leadership is 1 to 1 but with the fathers of each scout? Or is it just a no go?

Based on the Guide to Safe Scouting, it appears that at least one female registered leader 21+ must be present at all activities where female youth are in attendance.

The registered female does not need to be a den leader. They could be a committee member or even a registered leader in a different unit. If it ends up being two dads with them primarily. I’d suggest holding den meeting at the same time and location as another den that has at Least one female registered leader (preferably more for backup).

The guide to safe scouting provides no allowance for cases where every scout has a parent present.

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The guide does indicate that a single youth can be with their parent. If both youth have a parent present then it’s a proper gathering. It may not be a den event in this case since the female youth don’t have a female adult present, a stated requirement for a den, but a legit gathering it is. If the den is only 2 I’d suggest working with the male counterpart den at that point until you another youth and female adult. You still need the group dynamic.


Please site your source for

What I see in the latest Guide to Safe Scouting is:

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.

The only exception I have seen from an official BSA source is when a Merit Badge Counselor is meeting with a single Scout, the Scout’s parent may serve as the 2nd registered leader.

I think that the confusion comes from the wording of this “exception”:

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.

I understand based on articles from Bryan on Scouting and other sources that the intent of this response is, as @edavignon noted, to permit a youth’s parent to serve as the second adult at either merit badge counseling or fundraising activities at which that youth is attending. It’s also not clear if this would supercede/satisfy the requirement for a female leader to be present with female youth. I can see arguments that having the female parent present would logically satisfy the requirement, but until there’s clear direction from the BSA on that, I understand that the registered female leader is a requirement.

Honestly, that’s one of the challenges I’ve heard (from other leaders) is facing a lot of units that would otherwise be happy to serve female youth. They just can’t get enough female leadership to satisfy this requirement at every event without overtaxing the female leaders that they have been able to recruit (or who have self-recruited such as by starting units).

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Not just female adult leaders. Now we need to guarantee two adult leaders if a patrol/crew of one sex or a mix wants to hike across town and meet at the coffee shop.

If it’s any consolation, Scouts UK, once it turned its program around, took decades to recruit leaders to meet the demands for all of the youth who wanted to join it.

The only solution that I see is communities banding together to provide whatever 21-30 year-old’s need to feel secure enough in their schedule to commit time from work, school, military, etc … to contribute to the life of a troop.

However, the jury’s still out as to if the new YP moves will restore public trust to the point that a larger percentage of parents will want their youth to participate in BSA.

Fair point.

Our troop is very fortunate in that we still have a cadre of leaders whose scouts have long since graduated from the program and moved on to adult life. That said, I can see we’re going to be hitting the wall soon if we don’t get enough new blood into the adult leadership pool.

Thanks everyone for the replies.
The answers are unfortunately, but unsurprisingly what I expected.
We’ll just have to work hard on getting my adults to sign up to help in official positions.

Have you considered having some moms register as Unit Scouter Reserve? The only training required is YPT. And BSA does a background check. They fulfill the registered leader requirement, but don’t have any other responsibilities.


If you have a female committee member that can be present it counts. Or you can have the Lion den meet at the same time and place as another den with a female leader. You can also have a mom register as a leader and do youth protection training that is going to already be coming with her child but not give her any extra “leader” duties.

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Doug and Shelley,
Thank you for the ideas, these make work for the expected situation.

Thanks Richard for the great question.
As far as our Pack, I was tapped to be the “Girls Den Leader” last year when my husband (Den leader for our now Bear son) was at pack committee meeting. At the time, we only had two girls interested in joining, but the feeling was we needed to start somewhere. I can happily say that it has grown since then- I now have 9 registered Cubs and at least 4 or 5 more known in the pipline. Our charter organization requires the girls to be separate from the boys at Den level- we can mingle at Pack events though.
So for this year, as I had multiple ranks signing up, but no majority, I started a multi-age Den and tried to make the activities overlap for the girls. Now, I also have the benefit of a co lead (mom) that has a Bear and a Lion, so this transition has been helpful. With greater numbers, we are looking a splitting up the meetings more to better meet the needs of our Scouts- for instance, the Lion/Tiger group on one end of our meeting space doing one activity and the Bear/Webelo/AOL group at the other end doing their thing. I highly encourage our parents of our older Scouts to remain present during the meetings so they can participate as well, but this also helps keep YPT requirements intact. H

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We’re another pack that has gone with the model of having our girl dens meet at the same time as the boys’ den with two female leaders. The girls know who we are and how to find us if they ever feel like they need to talk to a mom.
Gender aside, I think the people making the rules really need to take another look at the Lion/Tiger groups and think about how having a rule that a parent must attend with the child at every event or they can’t come creates a completely different scenario where the two-registered-leaders piece doesn’t make sense. Parents already balked at the $65 registration/dues we asked for last year. We hadn’t done the math and by the time we covered the book and beltloops, plus the $39 for registration + council insurance, we were already over budget, so that will be going up this year. Since the program is designed to rotate through member homes, they can’t rely on the leaders from other dens to meet the “2 registered leaders” requirement, so you’ll need to pay up to register at least three of them.
It’s just not realistic to expect kindergartners to participate in our fundraisers (if it’s even allowed) so the pack has to subsidize the den and cover those leaders to the tune of $120. I’m really not sure what the point is. How does having two people who have gone through a background check out of a whole group at an event make the group safer? Now that YPT is available regardless of registration status, wouldn’t it make more sense to just require that all parent partners take YPT?

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Back to the original question of girls and dads, we have lots of moms involved with their sons because cub scouts is the scouting option for boys, so whichever parent is more interested in scouting is the one who steps up.
But moms for the girls dens is hard, because girl scouts is still the default scouting option for girls, and if the mom is interested in scouting stuff, she’s likely to have been a girl scout and have some allegiance to that organization. It’s the families who have dads who want to share an activity with their daughters who are the ones bringing them to our pack, and I think that’s a beautiful thing.

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The leadership requirements will not be changed via comments in the forums. The BSA does not monitor these forums. If you want to get a policy changed, you need to work through the BSA. I recommend starting with your council professionals.

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