PROVIDING A COMPASS FOR LIFE
For nearly 110 years, the Boy Scouts of America has helped shape future leaders by providing a program for young people that builds character, promotes good citizenship and develops personal fitness. We empower youth to make the right choices, conquer challenges and understand the importance of personal responsibility.
The Boy Scouts of America provides youth with programs and activities that allow them to
- Try new things;
- Provide service to others;
- Build self-confidence; and
- Reinforce ethical standards.
While various organizations and youth groups teach basic skills and promote teamwork through a variety of activities, Scouting goes beyond that, encouraging youth to achieve a deeper appreciation for service to others in their community.
We are known as an innovative leader for providing opportunities, resources, facilities and programs that attract and keep young people involved in Scouting. Effective leadership is key to a successful Scouting experience, and we take great strides to recruit leaders who serve as positive role models.
Scouting also promotes activities that lead to personal responsibility and high self-esteem. As a result, when hard decisions have to be made, peer pressure can be resisted and the right choices can be made.
What to Expect
When you join the Boy Scouts of America, Scouting becomes an extension of your family. From echoing your values to the overall care and well-being of your child, Scouting helps members manage their time and activities, and will always be there when you return from a hiatus.
Scouting offers youth numerous opportunities to channel much of the physical and emotional changes they will experience into productive endeavors such as service projects and Good Turns (or a volunteered kind act of good deed). Many Scouting activities allow youth to associate with others from different backgrounds. The Religious Emblems Program offers pathways for Scouts to more deeply understand their duty to God and encourages members to grow stronger in their faith. The unit provides each Scout with the opportunity to explore, try out new ideas and embark on adventures that are designed for members to simply enjoy their time with one another in the hopes that they will develop lifelong friendships.
Scouting programs are flexible and are designed to accommodate the need to balance the everyday work and life requirements of a busy family. It’s easy to plan for meetings and activities, and if something unexpected comes up, just let your leader know.
Your child can work on achievements at his or her own pace. For example, if your child is in a spring soccer league and has to miss several meetings and activities, he or she can still complete and sign off on Scout activities to work toward the next level.
The skills and values your child learns through Scouting can be applied to any non-Scouting activity he or she participates in. As your child builds character, Scouting can serve as a valuable defense to the peer pressure youth can sometimes experience both in- and outside of the classroom.
The Adventure of Scouting
Scouts have the opportunity to acquire skills that make them more self-reliant in the great outdoors. Whether its exploring canoe paths, hiking trails or completing challenges they initially thought were beyond their abilities, Scouts will develop good character attributes as they overcome outdoor challenges that may include extreme weather, difficult trails and portages, and dealing with nature’s unexpected circumstances.
Learning by doing is a hallmark of outdoor education. Unit meetings offer information and knowledge used on outdoor adventures, with leaders often describing and demonstrating a specific skill. However, the way Scouts truly learn is to do it themselves on an outdoor unit excursion.
Scouting implements the patrol method to teach skills and values. Scouts elect their own patrol leader and learn quickly that by working together and sharing duties, the team can accomplish far more than any of its members could do alone. The patrol succeeds when every member of the group succeeds, and Scouts learn that good teamwork is the key to success.
Health and wellness is also part of the outdoor experience. As Scouts hike, paddle, climb, bike or ride, their muscles become toned and their aerobic capacity increases. Scouts learn to purchase cost-effective ingredients to prepare flavorful and nutritious meals while working as a patrol to plan menus for their outings.
Service to others and good citizenship is learned through outdoor activities such as conservation projects, collecting food, building trails and shelters, and conducting community service projects that promote healthy living.
The safety of your youth is an important part of the Scouting experience.
The Scouting program, as contained in our handbooks and literature, integrates many safety features. We encourage all parents and guardians to familiarize themselves with our program, safety policies and age-appropriate guidelines.
Visit the links below to learn more about Scouting and safety:
Types of Outdoor Activities
Typical outdoor Scouting activities include:
- Camping — Learn to live in the outdoors. Camping takes you on exciting adventures into the natural world.
- Camporees — Councils and districts plan camporees and other outings during the year that give Scouts the opportunity to test their knowledge and skills in competitive events with other troops and patrols.
- Council High Adventure — A high-adventure experience includes at least five nights and six days of trekking in wilderness and other rugged, remote locations. Trekking may include backpacking, canoeing, mountain biking, horse packing, mountain climbing, ski touring, rafting, kayaking and a host of other outdoor adventures.
- Cub Scout Derbies — Race a model car in the Pinewood Derby, a sailboat in the Raingutter Regatta or a miniature rocket in the Space Derby.
- Day Hikes — Reasonably short hikes (3 to 10 miles) in terrain without a lot of elevation gain or loss.
- Jamborees — Every four or five years, the Boy Scouts of America hosts a National Scout Jamboree. More than 40,000 Scouts and leaders from across the country participate in this 10-day event filled with the most popular and highest-quality outdoor activities for Scouts to enjoy.
- National High Adventure — The BSA operates national high-adventure bases and programs. With two locations in the Florida Keys, the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base offers a variety of aquatic and boating programs. The Northern Tier National High Adventure Program, based in northern Minnesota with two satellite bases in Canada, provides a variety of canoe treks and programs. Philmont Scout Ranch and the Double H Ranch in the mountains of New Mexico provide excellent backpacking treks.
- Patrol Activities — A Boy Scout patrol may hike or camp with other patrols or squads in the unit or, with the permission of the Scoutmaster and parents or guardians, the patrol may hike or camp on its own.
- Service Projects — Doing service projects is one way for Scouts to keep their promise to help other people. These day-long projects may be related to conservation, food collection, building shelter or healthy-living activities.
- Summer Camp — Summer camp is what many Scouts enjoy most. Camp programs provide numerous opportunities for Scouts to earn merit badges along their advancement trail. Resident Scout camping includes at least five nights and six days of fun outdoor activities.
- Unit High Adventure — The highest level of challenge for a troop or team is to plan and carry out its own high-adventure experience. These activities, available for more experienced Scouts, are planned and implemented by youth members with coaching from their adult leaders.
- Weekend Overnights — Troops that plan and implement outings once a month attract and retain Scouts at a much higher level than those who have fewer outings during the year.
How You Can Help
There are many ways that you can help Scouting in your area. Whether you are volunteering directly with Scouts or helping out behind the scenes, you can make an impact on the lives of Scouts by volunteering your time.
How can you help? Here are a few ideas:
Serve on an ongoing basis
- Leader (Cubmaster, Den leader, Scoutmaster, Venturing crew advisor)
- Assistant leader
- Board of review coordinator/member
- Court of honor coordinator/member
Assist with events or activities
- Event coordinator/event committee member
- Pinewood derby coordinator/committee member
- Service project coordinator/committee member
- Camping trip participant
- Banquet coordinator/committee member
- Day camp coordinator/participant
- Summer camp coordinator/participant/promotion
- Merit badge counselor
- Advancement committee chair/member
- Communications committee chair/committee member (Webmaster, PR, newsletter)
- Secretary: recordkeeping, activity permits, meeting minutes, annual recharter activities
- Treasurer/assistant treasurer
- Youth protection training coordinator
- Life to Eagle coordinator
- Merit badge coordinator
- Chartered organization representative
- Friends of Scouting coordinator (fundraising)
- Unit committee chair/member
- Unit youth recruiter
- Product sales committee coordinator/member
- Promoter of district/council events to parents
- Religious award committee coordinator/member
- District/council committee member
- Transportation coordinator
- Quartermaster (supplies)