It is great to spend time alone with our sons, and there is an appropriate setting for that, but a Troop campout is not that setting. Adults who assist on a Troop function should work to assist ALL the Scouts, even if that means taking a less active role than we would in a family setting. Scouting is successful because it uses outdoor activities and group involvement to teach boys valuable lessons about life. This learning process is enhanced when the environment (physical and social) is structured in a way that provides physical and mental challenges that are overcome by team efforts. Those team efforts include leadership skills, communication skills and scout craft skills. Unfortunately it is inevitable that the team efforts also sometime include the need to learn by suffering the consequences of individual and team mistakes. The nature of this learning environment is somewhat different from the family environment; if it wasn't, there wouldn't be a need for scouting.

It is important for adult volunteers to help maintain this productive environment among the scouts. Sometimes this will require intervention by adults in the form of suggestions, directions or demonstrations. Sometimes, it is necessary for adults to "back off" and let the scouts fend for themselves within reasonable boundaries. Although it isn't always easy to tell which approach is best for a given situations, it is important to realize that parental instincts being what they are, most of us tend to intervene too often. This can be detrimental to the scouts if it deprives them of the opportunity to learn for themselves. It may not be easy to watch our sons suffer the consequences of poor planning, inadequate preparation, and incomplete camping skills, but when a permanent lesson can be bought with only temporary discomfort it is a bargain we shouldn't try to subsidize. By the time a boy is Scout age, he probably has more life skills than his parents are aware. Also, in a Troop setting, he has the assistance of other, often older scouts. For these reasons he probably needs less help than we realize.

In general adults should function as observers and safety devices: monitoring the situation and intervening only when needed.


Because Scouting is designed to be a "boy run" program, the number of adults attending overnight outings is limited to only what is required for transportation and proper supervision. Some outings require more adults than others depending on how much equipment is being transported, type of activity , number of Scouts, etc. Two adults is the minimum requirement.

It is preferable to have continuity of adult leadership from one outing to another for stability and growth of the program. Adult leaders attending weekly troop meetings shall have first priority in attending overnight activities, registered committee members shall have second priority , and parents of Scouts shall have third priority .

All adults attending troop outings are asked to follow the same guidelines, restrictions and program parameters that Scouts are asked to follow. Adults are role models present to set an example, provide supervision and see that the Scouting program is properly run by the Scouts. The Scout Oath and Law applies to adults as well as Scouts.

Effective 200 1, all adults attending outings MUST have successfully completed "Youth Protection" training. This training must be completed each year, regardless of prior training received. This is BSA policy and there are no exceptions.

Return to Home Page