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Two Deep Leadership

Our Patrol likes to meet at the library or local restaurant to plan campouts or work on advancement, merit badges, etc. We often have one registered leader, two or three parents and seven to eight scouts. Under the revised rules for two deep leadership are we allowed to meet?

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BSA’s Guide to Safe Scouting
Youth Protection and Adult Leadership: Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse

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)

Patrol meetings are considered Scouting activities, so you need a second registered adult leader age 21+ in order for your patrol to meet.

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From experience, the easiest solution for this is, if one or more parents (21+) are willing to serve as merit badge counselors, have them register with council to serve. My understanding is that a MBC counts as a registered leader for the purpose of two-deep leadership. That could also offer an added incentive to attend patrol meetings: an opportunity to work towards (or get signatures for work already finished) one or more merit badges.

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I’ll take the question one step further. How about an individual Scout who wants to meet with a Merit Badge Counselor. Does the counselor need to have another registered leader to meet with the Scout and stay within policy? Under the old rules, two adults, counselor and parent both over 21 along with the scout would work. I don’t see that working under the new rules. I know counselors who meet a Scout at a Starbucks in a public place in full public view. Seems to meet the spirit of the rules but not the letter.

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There’s a specific response related to merit badge counseling here:

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Thanks! I had not seen this.

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It’s a shame that your patrol can’t meet at a scouts basement like mine did back in the day. But …
If you’re having a hard time getting your parents registered and trained in Youth Protection, consider having your SM contact the district, to see if another registered scouter can join your leader. (I would gladly do that.) The librarians might also be interested in registering as merit badge counselors (for MB’s like Reading, Scholarship) as might be the restaurant owner (for MB’s like American Business, Salesmanship).

If I knew that a dozen scouts would hang at my establishment throughout the week, I would have each of my staff register as MBCs.

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While I agree that many folks can register and be leaders, the point of two deep leadership for a meeting is that there are two adult leaders who are responsible for what happens during the meeting. Having multiple registered people in the building does not make it clear which two are responsible for that meeting. However, it does make monitoring for no one-om-one easier, since there are trained eyes all around.

One possible remidy is for the one adult that came with the scouts asks another trained adult in the building to be his backup.

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@DougWright, I want to push back on this interpretation. The purpose of two-deep leadership and no one-on-one contact is to ensure that 1. scouts will less likely be victims of abuse, 2. adults with integrity will less likely be falsely accused of abuse, and 3. the BSA can claim that it took all reasonable action in the event that abuse does occur.
Adults are not responsible for what happens during a patrol meeting. In other words, they don’t have to be at the table monitoring every word of discussion. They are not responsible for any safe activity the scouts plan. They are not responsible for the PL’s duty roster assignments, the budget for the next activity, what’s going on the menu, who’s bringing what gear.
They are responsible for when a patrol meeting turns into something it’s never supposed to be. Being in the vicinity (line of sight, or around the corner within earshot) should be sufficient to protect scouts from abuse. So adults are responsible, for example, to note if an older scout is grooming a younger scout, or someone is bullying someone else, or if an adult is seeking to isolate one or two scouts for a special meeting, etc …

You’re absolutely right about asking. It is common courtesy to ask another adult to be your “2nd adult.” I’ll happily keep another leader company while his/her scouts use a facility. But, I need to know that I’m “that guy” so I don’t wind up leaving that leader in a position where he/she could be accused of wrongdoing.

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I agree. The adults are not running the patrol meeting. They just need to monitor what’s going on. At a distance is good.

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