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It is my personal opinion that the minimum number of adults is 3 with 4 being better. What if Murphy raises his ugly head and one of the Scouts gets sick and needs to stay at camp while the other Scouts are on a day hike? It takes 2 adults to stay with him. Having 4 would leave 2 adults to go on the hike.


OGE - I am also an ASM and I hold my son to higher standards than I do the other boys (not that I don't also hold them to high standards because I do) My son is well versed in his knots. Unfortunately our troop is having a small problem with the SM. He shows favortisim to his son.



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In days gone by, one adult was all that was required. A long time Scouter told me that when he had a troop in Sicily, he took 24 scouts on a train trip to Northern Italy by himself.


When I was in Junior High, my church group would go on outings with maybe 40 kids, boys and girls with one or two adults. Lest you get the idea that we spent our time reading the bible, most of the time on the bus was spent playing poker, singing lewd songs or trying to get into the pants of one of the girls.


The only problem with a large number of adults getting involved is that too many agendas wind up being revealed with many of the parents being there to ensure that their child gets special treatment.

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I tend to agree with Scouter Paul. 4 would be more the min. in our troop. Murphy tends to follow our troop around like a lost puppy. We have had several instances where we need that other adlut and yes WE all packed up and left, due to lack of leadership.


Plus limiting adult/parent participation you maybe missing the next SM that is just needing a couple of great outings to get them to raise their hand for training the next go around.


It seems to me that some of you/ your troops have never been leader/adult needy, as we have, and any one that is a parent/guardian is ask to go until one says yes, so that we can provide a weekend of scouting. You will never know how much you appreciate to many adults until you don't have them.



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It's always sad when bad things happen to kids in institutions that are trusted by all. My heart ached thinking about what happened to your son and family; I pray that you will resolve the problem.

What I got from ScoutPerson's post was that he didn't flat-out refuse parents from overseeing activities.


I really don't think we're going to come to an agreement...what each of us has responded with is within scouting policies/guidelines/etc. so can we all agree to disagree?

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Venturer 2002, not sure where you're coming from. Your original post implies there is some "limit" either desireable or in the rules for number of adults on an outing. You also indicate that some adults in your unit (I presume they're parents) come when "not invited."


Whoa! First, there are no secret activities in the boy scouts. Therefore any parent that wants to attend may do so. If the outing is one involving a skill set (like a backpacking trip) then the parent must take the responsibility to get the skill set. But the unit does not have the right to exclude the adult. There are exceptions. For example, at Philmont 75% of the crew must be youth members so units often have either "seniority" or "sign up" methods to rotate the leadership among those who would like to go.


Second, your post indicating that 2 is all thats necessary or desireable is wrong. 2 is the minmium requirement. Mimimum is the opposite of maximum. While we go for 2 deep leadership, you don't find anything in 2 deep that says "only 2". In fact, unless your whole unit is staying in one place and doing only one thing, you can't even achieve 2 deep with only 2 adults.


Our troop encourages all parents who want to camp to go camping. Our last sunmmercamp was 34 boys and 10 adults. Our "normal" weekend outing is about 23-26 boys and 6-8 adults.


As a scoutmaster I can't usually get enough adults. And an adult involved in the program is usually also a family and boy involved.


So, the question isn't "how many adults" its "how many adults can I get to go and support our boys' activities". If you have a "problem" with certain adults, find out what the problem is. Is is adults who dont' understand the program and its goals? If so, what have you done to teach them? If its adults who are disruptive, what have you done to educate them or correct behavior.


good luck,



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I apologize, I shouldn't write posts at 3 a.m. The Rule of four is as you wrote two adults two boys MINIMUM.


I do feel things you wrote, such as possibly being obsessive because I attend most of the campouts my son's troop takes, as pretty outrageous. Im the Assistant Scoutmaster, I'm expected to be there, I have a responsibility to be there! The other assistants feel the same way.


You have taken opinions that Scoutperson asked us to offer and taken them way too personally! No one has attacked him . It is obvious that the vast majority of us see two deep as a minimum not as the standard the Scoutperson suggests. We see safety in numbers and an opportunity to promote family bonds. We have learned how to use parental resources and control their participation so that it does not interfere with the boys. AND YES the troops I have been in have all promoted patrol activities free of adult involvement.


I still contend that restricting or discouraging adults from attending is contrary to the rules of youth protection, and recommend that the troop scoutperson serves re-evaluate that policy.


So take a chill pill, relax and take part in the conversation, but no one has tried to attack anyone in this string, your tone however is out of line.



Bob White


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Wow, lots of slamming going on here. In my opinion over 90% percent of our council complaints deal with parents or problem with parents and that they are not trained (today when Im at the office Ill see if we can actually put a number to this because I think its even higher).


No place does it say that parents have a right to attend outings (sorry but its true). Taking that and saying youth protection is violated and were running a closed organization is not what was said. I have a responsibility to all participants on an outing. This includes adults. If you want to participate then heres an application, training schedule, and where to purchase a uniform.


Trained leaders are what units are lacking and not adults (again my opinion). Why we limit adults/parents is they are not needed again this is our unit. Let me run through an example of my last camping trip:


33 Total including everyone, broken down as follows:


4 Adults SM, CC, ASM, ASM all with over ten years experience and they all have been trained and also we all do training for council.


4 Boys - Eagle Scouts ages 17-19 years old


This leaves 25 youths ages 11-17 at various ranks and skill levels.


In this case, I do not need any additional adults. If a parent comes to me and says they want to go too, then I say sorry the adult roster is full. Sorry, if many of you think this is wrong or against some rule but it is not. In our Cub Pack, parents are encouraged and often its a requirement. But, were talking about Boy Scouts, and the Patrol Method works. Also, I would like to point out that in scouting adult leadership is not even required in patrol activities. If many of us continue to believe many adults are required then its hard to imagine many of us would allow a patrol hike or a patrol campout etc. (just my thoughts).


Also, I want to state that any assumptions about our unit being run wrong or that campouts occur with older kids teasing/bugging/making fun of others is wrong or that there should be concerns about safety is just unfounded (in our unit). We run a tight unit that follows the rules of BSA to the letter.


Every adult has a background check done before joining and one every 3 years there after. Prior to joining they require a current physical and this is updated as required by BSA policy (based on age). Every adult takes youth protection training, safety a float, safe swim, basic leadership training, and CPR; they are also required to watch several videos too which deal with several topics and we are all recertified yearly.


Before someone asks about the cost, our CO will pay for training and the background checks. Since we started this policy, as directed by our Chartering Organization, we have the fastest growing troop in council. I contribute this to being the major factor as to our membership increase because the youths are running the program and only trained leaders are participating. Also, I need to point out that the Chartering Organizations policy is that all adults must be trained, and a background check completed before attending campouts, they do have an exception for quests that requires information about each adult attending but these must be submitted and filled-out prior. Our CO beliefs they have the overall responsibility for the program therefore they want to ensure the safety of all that attend. Give you an example: How do many of you ensure the required insurance is on each vehicle that goes? The BSA requirement is higher than our state, therefore (again our troop) any adult that drives has to supply to the CO a copy of their policy and the CO verifies it along with the adults driving record.


Ive had adults that do not have the minimum insurance and had two prior DWIs ask if they can drive. None of that would have been checked if it wasnt for this policy; the CO wouldnt even allow that parent to drive with only their son. Not on an official outing under their control, sorry its against their rules.


Someone mentioned that possibly all adults were being treated this way because of a few bad experiences. Yes, but Ive learned that by asking upfront for the paperwork, training, and background checks that the good adults have no problem. If an adult really wants to help theyll do the training and those are the adults we all need.


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Other thoughts:

Often, at roundtable, the question arises as to adults not wanting to attend training but are willing to do outings (have fun). Often, and in my opinion too often, these units are also those that are having problems which are often related to not being trained. By making the training mandatory you get only adults that are trained and having trained leaders and committee members is by far better than having nobody trained.


How many restrict the number of adults on their committee? Would a troop be best served by lets say a committee of 5 trained adults or 15 adults that havent been trained? Or maybe 20 adults, after all the more the better? That in my opinion is not what scouting is about. Just food for thought, were running a program for boys and not adults those focused on that is what were trying to achieve. Those wanting a family camping experience can do that someplace else


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To the best of my knowledge, our troop does not limit the number of adults attending outings. However, they do limit who can attend - only men are accepted.


We have a very well qualified and trained mother who goes to summer camp every year. However, she cannot camp with the troop - she stays in the family camp area.


As a mother, I can visit my son at camp. My husband could stay.


The troop has no women in any official leadership roles. There are not even any women serving on the troop committee. It's quite difficult for some of us to deal with.

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Why would you stay in a troop that has that kind of attitude towards ladies? Is it an LDS troop by chance? Other than that, I would find a new troop willing to allow all qualified leaders to attend.


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Ill take women leaders in a minute; love to have them. Two of our ASM are women and some of the best campouts have been with 2 male and 2 female leaders. Again, were focused on trained leaders regardless of gender and age (assumes at least 21). We just cannot have them all going at the same time, sorry but the adult roster is full for this trip.


One of our thoughts is to expand the program beyond monthly camping trips to camping trips every two weeks. So, instead of 8 adults attending each monthly camping trip, were focusing on have 4 adults taking camping trips twice a month. We can have a high adventure backpacking trip the 1st of the month for older kids (or kids able to do it) and then a general camping trip the 15th without hiking.


Again, I would rather use the patrol method and have patrols doing weekly activities (including camping) instead of one large camping trip monthly with more than 4 adults. If women want to attend then fine as long as theyre trained. Every year our PCL and youths have a meeting where they plan next years activities, their list is often three times larger than what can be accomplished. It would be nice to say, sorry Mrs. Jones the adult roster is full but we still have openings for next week.

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I would never restrict the amount of adults on the troop committee. In some of our lean years we have even registered more adults than scouts. We do have quite a few men whose sons have aged out of scouting, but still enjoy the program so much that they want to remain involved. Restrict them? Tell them they are not needed any longer? BULL!! Their experience and expertise in invaluable. They are very willing to do what they can when they can to assist. We also have a number of young men 18+ who have aged out, but still participate when college permits. Restrict them? They serve as role models for our present scouts. Our Committee is about 50/50 men and women. Our CC has been female for about the last 25 years!

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Start a Crew for your 18+ youths and expand your program. If you have more adults than hold 2 campouts a month, or more. Seek high adventure, start a varsity program, etc. Everyone has said they don't want to loose adults when they ask to go. So, if you have 10 adults have 5 this weekend and 5 the following weekend. Too many focus on the program for adults, whereas it should be focused on youths. I'm perfectly fine with having 40+ ASM but having them on one campout defeats what our program is trying to do. But, instead I would have 10 events scheduled with each event having 4 adults. Show me that and you'll have one heck of a scouting program.



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Remember, I never said we restrict the number of activities ONLY the number of adults that can attend on the activity roster. We often have two activities going on per month and sometimes more. The more adults, the more activities we can hold and offer. Why take one camping trip when you can offer two or more?

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we have several adults in our troop who don't even have kids who are active in the toop any more, and some who are more active then their kids. Although the devotion is great, it appears to me that it becomes a pissing contest between these adults over who is more "involved" and "commited"



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