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Scouter-to-youth ratios and camping supervision requirements change per section, reflecting the gradual independence learned and earned by Scouts Canada youth members.


October 22, 2016 - An Important Message Regarding Scouter-Youth Ratios

The Canadian Path emphasizes the importance of the Scout Method. By fully leveraging the Scout Method on a regular basis, Scouters and youth will achieve the most enriching Scouting experience. During the development stages of The Canadian Path, many youth and Scouters called attention to the fact that they were not able to fully implement the team (Patrol) system. As a result, program delivery was challenging, and youth engagement and retention was often negatively impacted.

A team (Patrol) is comprised of 6–8 youth of various ages and is the primary unit in which Scouting takes place. To ensure that the team (Patrol) system is appropriately supported by both program content as well as the Volunteer structure at the Section level, Scouts Canada changed its Scouter:youth ratio to ensure that there is one Scouter assigned to support each small team or Patrol.

Current ratio requirements are now 1:8, Scouters to youth, with at least two Scouters always within eyeshot and earshot of each other. Section 4008 of our Bylaws, Policies and Procedures has been updated accordingly:

“(iii) Colony, Pack, Troop and SCOUTSabout:
Each Colony, Pack, Troop and SCOUTSabout Section must have a minimum of two Scouters present at all times. In total, the minimum ratio of Scouters to youth members for a Colony, Pack, Troop or SCOUTSabout Section is one Scouter per Patrol (team), or 1:8; but not less than two (2).”

It is important to note that this policy is reflective of a minimum requirement. Ratios should continue to be assessed by Section Scouters depending upon the nature of an activity and the needs of the youth. However, at no time should there be less than 1 Scouter for every 8 youth.

Safety is Our First Priority

The safety of all members continues to be of paramount importance. Prior to considering this change, a review was completed of the volunteer/staff supervision requirements at a number of similar youth serving organizations. Even with this change, Scouts Canada will continue to hold a strong leadership position when it comes to the number of Scouters working with youth on a regular basis.

For details on how other youth-serving organizations address volunteer/staff supervision requirements, please review the [https://web.archive.org/web/20170515021621/http://www.scouts.ca/vstk/pdf/tools/Change-in-Scouter-Ratio-FAQ.pdf Change in Scouter — Youth Ratio Q&As, October 20, 2016 (saved in Web Archive)].

Implementing the New Ratio Requirement

Implementing the new ratio in your Group creates an opportunity to discuss The Canadian Path and the team (patrol) system with both Scouters and Scouts. Having one Scouter per small team reinforces the Scout Method, while ensuring program quality for our youth members. This is also a great opportunity for your Group to reflect upon the number of Scouters within each Section and determine if there is an opportunity to grow and allow new youth an opportunity to experience Scouting.

Scouts Canada is currently updating training materials and other documentation to reflect this change. For those who purchased a Scouters’ Manual, stickers with the new ratio will be available in Scout Shops for free. These stickers are meant to be placed on the front cover; informing all who read the manual of the correct ratio.

Getting Greatest Value from the Canadian Path

The Canadian Path will ensure that Scouts Canada continues to offer great, safe Scouting adventures that youth would not experience elsewhere. More time outdoors, more challenging adventures and new, meaningful experiences that will allow youth to plan and lead their own adventures. By aligning our Scouter-youth ratios with The Canadian Path’s emphasis on working in teams, we will help Scouting youth draw the greatest learning, the best value, and the biggest adventure from our new program.

To help you further understand how this change affects you and your Group, please review the Change in Scouter — Youth Ratio Q&As.

Ratio Pre 2016

As noted above, the following is no longer relevant. It remains here for reference. Click "Expand" to the right to show older content →

Section Ratio Camping/Outdoor requirements
Colony 5-1 (2 min.)[1] Family Camping[2], with Scouters present.
Pack 6-1 (2 min.) Camping with Scouters, parent helpers[3] optional.
Troop 6-1 (2 min.) Camping with Scouters
Option for short-term[4] camp without supervision[5], with Troop Scouter and parental permission.
Company None set, but 2 min if present[6], one must be 21+[7] Short-term or long-term[8] camping without supervision, with advisor and parental permission.[9]
Crew None set, but a 25+[10] adult Scouter is needed. Camping without supervision[11].

To Count Toward Ratio

The Scouter must have Wood Badge Part I completed in the section applicable to their primary role[12]

Youth Scouters

Note that Scouters under the age of 18, often called Youth Scouters and formerly called Scouters-in-Training, can be part of the "Scouter" side of the ratio [13] (only after two adults Scouters are also present) once they complete Wood Badge Part I in addition to the rest of the required screening (which they should do within their first year). This also applies to the younger Activity Leaders[14], to whom we now also refer to as Scouters or Youth Scouters. Handy if you have 13+ Cub Scouts or 11+ Beaver Scouts!

  • UPDATE* Beginning in the 2015 – 16 Scouting year, a young person under

the age of 18 applying to be a volunteer with Scouts Canada will be considered as a Scouter for the purpose of the Two Scouter rule [15] once they have met the screening requirements for volunteers with Scouts Canada.

This must be explained to the applicant and their parent/guardian during the interview portion of the screening process. Interview Assessment Guide for Youth Aged Applicants

Note that Venturer Scouts attending events with younger sections are ratio-neutral [16].

For more information on screening, check out the Volunteer Screening Policy Update (May 2013).


BP&P 4008.3 – Exceptional Circumstances (Adult Supervision):
In exceptional circumstances, where one or more Scouters are unable to attend a meeting/activity, another registered Scouter should be recruited to take his/her place. If the Scouter in charge is to be replaced it must be with : Beaver/Cub/Scout section, an adult who is 18 years of age or older; Venturer section and adult who is 21 years of age or older. If it is not possible to replace a registered Scouter with another registered Scouter, a parent/guardian may be recruited to fill in. Note: In this situation, at least 50% of the Scoutership team must be Registered Scouters.


  1. BP&P 4008.2 (iii): Each Colony, Pack, Troop and SCOUTSabout Section must have a minimum of two Scouters present at all times. In total, the minimum ratio of Scouters to youth members for a Colony or Junior SCOUTSabout Section is 1:5; or 1:6 for a Pack, Troop, Senior SCOUTSabout Section; but not less than two (2).
  2. BP&P 10000.2 – Definitions: (v) “Family Camping” is an overnight camp where each Beaver is accompanied by an adult member of their family or adult designate.
  3. Volunteer Screening Policy Update (May 2013): Parents or Guardians attending an overnight Scouting activity with their own child are not required to provide a PRC so long as they do not have responsibility for other youth and that they are supervised by two registered adult members at all times. They must, however, complete the other screening steps as defined in the policy.
  4. BP&P 10000.2 – Definitions: (i) “Short-term camp” consists of two nights or less.
  5. BP&P 10001.3 - Troop Scouters may approve patrol size groups of Scouts (two to ten) holding short-term camps without adult Scoutership, providing each Scout has obtained permission from a parent or guardian
  6. BP&P 4008.2 (v) Venturer Companies and Extreme Adventure Groups: Whenever adults (Scouters) are present, there must be at least two, one of which must be a registered Scouter (see Section 4008.3 and 10001.4)
  7. BP&P 4008.2 – Requirements for Section Scoutership: Venturer and Extreme Adventure sections will have at least two registered Scouters, one of which is 21 years of age or older and who is responsible for the section and Scoutership team. Assistant Scouters must be at least 18 years of age
  8. BP&P 10000.2 – Definitions: (ii) “Long-term camp” consists of three nights or more
  9. BP&P 10001.4 – Venturers/Extreme Adventure Venturers may hold short-term/long-term camps without adult Scoutership, providing each youth has obtained permission of a parent or guardian and the approval of the advisor.
  10. BP&P 4008.2 (v) Rover Crews: Must have at least one Scouter who is 25 years of age and who is responsible for the section (see Section 10001.5).
  11. BP&P 10001.5 – Rovers may camp without adult Scoutership provided notification has been given to the Rover crew advisor
  12. Effective September 1, 2013 new volunteers who have not completed Wood Badge 1 for their primary role will not count for ratio,
  13. BP&P 4008.5: SITs working with Colony and Pack Sections can be included in the Scouter : youth member ratio provided they have: (1) successfully completed Wood Badge Part I for the Section in which they will be working; (2) have completed three Personal Reference Check (usually the individuals section Scouter); and (3) has read and understands the Duty of Care document.
  14. BP&P 4008.4: AL’s are eligible to take Wood Badge Part I and receive the appropriate recognition. They are part of the Scouter:youth ratio if they have completed WB1
  15. The Two Scouter Rule: Case Studies and FAQ’s that illustrate proper implementation
  16. Volunteer Screening Policy Update (May 2013): For overnight camps, in addition to the Code of Conduct and expectations discussion, the Venturer Scout must complete the Child & Youth Safety Training. These Venturer Scouts do not count towards ratio, so the 2 Scouter rule must be followed at all times.