Scouting Forums

Scouts attending other troops, girls & boys

A question: can a scout who joined a new girls troop, participate and get credit (rank requirements, camping nights, hiking miles, service project hours) by attending the troop that her brother is in? We have a parent advocating for this and it’s causing a stir. She isn’t camping with the troop for girls, the girl troop leaders aren’t observing her performance, etc. She is now requesting merit badges counselors from the troop for boys. There is no troop for girls near her home, so she joined as a member in a troop for girls farther away, but wants credit “as if she’s a scout”, (not family camping), when she’s with her brother. Isn’t this against current rules? Who decides?

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Smartest thing to do is to get the two Scoutmasters, the scout and the parents to discuss it.

On first thought, I’m probably not OK with the situation. But then, I wouldn’t really be OK if a male youth from another unit started routinely participating in my unit with discussing it first.


There are several issues here to consider, but I will address them out of order. In regards to MB Counselors, if the scout wants to work with a particular (registered) counselor, then the scout can do so. This is covered in the Guide to Advancement (G2A).

Next, as for signing off requirements for Scout through First Class, the SM of the person’s troop decides who may sign those off. The person signing off is then responsible for ensuring the requirement is met.

Finally, there is an issue of being “active” and this is as clear as mud. A troop may set “reasonable” levels of involvement to be considered active. But they must be reasonable, and they must be the same for all. And… if the scout has a reason for a lesser involvement then such must be taken into account.

I agree with Steve that the two SMs should discuss this and figure it out. And everyone else should simply accept their decision. They should be given wide latitude to make the call on the situation.

Take the gender question off the table and here is my (personal) take as an SM. If one of my scouts could more ably participate in another troop and had valid reason to not simply join the other troop I would be fine with it. It would need to completely be a committee decision before any allowance on dues was made.

Reverse the situation and my feelings would be that a small amount of participation would absolutely be fine IF the other SM didn’t have heartburn. If it was a very regular participation, then some monetary consideration would seem fair. AS much as I wish our troop had unlimited resources it just isn’t the case. And regular involvement would incur some cost for the troop. Again, this would be a discussion I would have with the committee and defer to their judgement.

To be make things clear, it is entirely possible that this young lady was already as involved as she could be. I am in the program for the youth not my personal bragging rights. So I want to make it work for the youth. Of course once the person hits First Class, there is a clear obstacle in the way. The only possible leadership position I can see working in this situation would be Den Chief. And then I would want monthly (or so) check in with the Den Leader to ensure that the job is being done.


The biggest hangup if I were the leader of the boy troop is that I might not have enough trained female leaders to meet YPT requirements, especially for camp outs…


I wouldn’t be overly concerned about the YPT leadership requirement. It would be a matter of fact issue that she can’t be there without a registered female leader over 21. (YPT is needed to be registered now.) I would go ahead and state the obvious that mom might want to step up and take YPT and register if she hasn’t already. Otherwise it is at the mercy of who is going to be there.

Then again, for all we know they have female adults. They may be lacking the needed five females to start another troop.


These are all solid points to consider- the gender issue is a factor in the decision because troops are not (yet) co-ed. Can the activity done in the boys troop really equal active participation? It is very muddy. Is scouting a “do it on your own, any way you want” program, or knowledge and skill development coming from being an embedded member of a patrol, functioning within a troop, growing into leadership serving younger scouts, under direct guidance of a relationship with a SM. The program is the process, not a checklist to cross off, right? There are so many perspectives on this; I welcome the divergent views, as well as any guidelines BSA may offer on it.

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  1. Allowing a girl to participate in a boy troop might cause a problem for the remote boy-only unit and its chartered organization.

  2. The remote boy troop might lose its charter for not following BSA rules and regulations.

  3. Is Lone Scouting a option for this female Scout?

  4. Another option is to find 4 more girls and form a local girl troop

PART 1 & 2:

In reply to:

BSA national and/or council decides. The troop also controls which youth get to join them.

The boy troop (or their chartered organization) might simply refuse to allow a sister of a boy member to take part in their meetings in order to be in compliance with the unit’s charter and BSA bylaws, rules and regulations.and more specifically the council’s bylaws, rules and regulations.

Bottom line:

Per the Family Scouting FAQ, updated 11 Feb 2019, page 10, PDF: - Scouts BSA -

Q: How are Scouts BSA troops structured? You can form a linked troop or create a separate troop. In both options, troops will remain single gender.

See also

  • What is changing, what is not: infographic poster
  • Family Scouting infographic poster
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A Scout is a Scout.

It is clear that her brother is attending; a parent can stand in for any registered leader without YPT or registration. A parent, who knows the program, can also sign off on requirements if the SM agrees.

All this is, is a territory conflict: a Scout is a Scout - not a territory.

The SMs should have a phone call and possibly multiple into each other’s Troops as ASMs for reciprocity.


I’d suggest a reading of the current guide to safe scouting. A parent no longer can be used to fulfill Youth Protection rules.


Then how does the Scout live at home?

Regardless of someone flagging the post as inappropriate and removing the context of the conversation from the statement, the fact remains that a parent is still responsible for their child and visiting another unit should not effectively qualify the other unit as out of YPT compliance.

This is still a discussion that needs to happen between the units in question.

The ONLY place where a parent is allowed to fulfill the 2 deep YPT requirement is when it is just the Scout Scout and leader. If there is a 2nd Scout present, an un-registered parent no longer meets the 2 deep requirement.

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Which would be my point.

The parent will always trump the Troop. Anything less defeats the values of Scouting.

The Troop is required to observe 2 deep leadership, regardless of the presence of the parent. In this case, I would encourage and expect the parent to be registered in both units, effectively fixing the perceived issue.

  1. Adult Supervision per the YP FAQs page:

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.

  1. The rule change referred to in a previous post is:

Effective June 1, 2018:

Adults accompanying a Scouting unit who are present at the activity for 72 total hours or more must be registered as leaders. This includes completing a criminal background check and Youth Protection training. The 72 hours need not be consecutive.

Announced in a Scouting magazine 16 March 2018 article and included in the current Guide to Safe Scouting.

  1. Cub Scouting program exception: The parent registered as a Lion or Tiger adult partner member is not not required to take Youth Protection training and is not considered to be a registered leader for meeting two-deep leadership requirements. Per the YP FAQs page cited above.

The key phrase there is the Scout. If it was intended to apply when multiple Scotus are present it would say a Scout

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This is in reference to Merit Badge Counselors; dealing in context requires taking the context into account.

The context is “Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse” in the Guide to Safe Scouting (GSS), Youth Protection and Adult Leadership chapter. Please read that chapter in the GSS or in Youth Protection - How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse - A Parent’s Guide, 100-015, 2018 printing, pp. 13ff, distributed with the Scouts BSA Handbook for Girls, 2019 printing.

That chapter’s Program Requirements section also states:

All aspects of the Scouting program are open to observation by parents and leaders.

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While that may be the case, having the trained females is an issue for the second scoutmaster, not the scoutmaster of the girls’ troop.

I identify as a 12 yo pirate princess.

That being said, I have read it cover to cover this week for the 4th or 5th time this year. Not everything is covered 100% nor is it bulletproof.

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.

Since the boys Troop does not serve females, the parent, who would ideally be a registered female parent in the other Troop, would qualify until the 72 hour mark is reached.

The boys Troop does not have to accommodate the female leader requirement - the parents of the youth in question would need to provide that.

Since the parents should be part of the unit the sibling is in, it shouldn’t be a problem as they should, at least, be on the Committee.

Basically, the entire YPT argument is null and void, if the units are involving the parents. If they aren’t, the unit with the sibling should push the issue, not the unit with the female Scout.

  • edit -
    I don’t have this issue - Sea Scouts are integrated Co-Ed; we dealt with it before the Charter happened.
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R. Leon Noble. I cannot accept your interpretation In reference to help and safety. I believe you are “playing with words” instead of following the intent.

I can quote official publications, however if you want an official interpretation I suggest going through the BSA chain of command (District Membership Chair, Council VP for Membership, District and/or Council Scout Executive) or submitting a request for assistance at .

When parents register as leaders they also agree to the Scouter Code of Conduct, 680-104, Rev. 1/19, PDF.

To get back to Mary’s original question. At this time a female youth cannot be registered as a youth member of a boy troop.

P.S. I am a member of a district membership committee and a district training committee.


The following does not solve Mary’s issue.

From what I have read and viewed, a boy troop and a girl troop meeting at the same location may have joint opening and closing ceremonies, but are suppose to split up into separate troops for troop and patrol meetings, and activities. (Girls and boys mature at different ages.)

At camporees the girl troop participate as a separate troop (competing against other boy or girl troops).

I do not know yet how Merit Badge camps and training activities are adjusting to the Scouts BSA program.