Boy Scouts of America: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Boy Scouts of America

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Boy Scouts of America
Boy Scouts of America
Headquarters Irving, Texas
Country United States
Founded February 8, 1910
Founders William D. Boyce
Ernest Thompson Seton
Daniel Carter Beard
Membership Traditional
2,832,636 youth
1,132,353 adults
120,262 units
Learning for Life
1,342,222 youth
40,658 adults
12,796 units
Chief Scout Executive Robert J. Mazzuca
President John Gottschalk
Affiliation World Organization of the Scout Movement
Official Website
Scouting portal

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with over four million youth members in its age-related divisions. Since its founding in 1910 as part of the international Scout Movement, more than 110 million Americans have been members of the BSA.[3]

The BSA goal is to train youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and, at older age levels, career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations. For younger members, the Scout method is part of the program to inculcate typical Scouting values such as trustworthiness, good citizenship, and outdoors skills, through a variety of activities such as camping, aquatics, and hiking.[4][5]

The Boy Scouts of America celebrated its one-hundredth anniversary on February 8, 2010.

The BSA is a constituent member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. The traditional Scouting divisions are Cub Scouting for boys ages 5 to 11½ years, Boy Scouting for boys ages 10 to 18 and Venturing for young men and women ages 14 through 21. Learning for Life is a non-traditional subsidiary that provides in-school and career education.[1][6] The BSA operates traditional Scouting locally through units sponsored and operated by churches, clubs, civic associations, educational organizations and the like. Units are led entirely by volunteers who are supported by local councils using both paid professionals and volunteers.

The influence of Scouting on American society is frequently cited by both its advocates and critics. In addition to nostalgic memories of campfires kindling friendships, prominent leaders in various fields of endeavor have credited the skills they learned in Scouting as helping mold them into successful citizens. Critics have called the BSA's membership obligations unfair, resulting in litigation in various state and federal courts.



With the organization of the Boy Scouts of America in 1910, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints organized the MIA Scouts (pictured; Church Administration Building, c. 1917) a year later, and became one of the first sponsoring organization of the BSA in 1913.

The progressive movement in the United States was at its height during the early twentieth century.[7] With the migration of families from farms to cities, there were concerns among some people that young men were no longer learning patriotism and individualism. The YMCA was an early promoter of reforms for young men with a focus on social welfare and programs of mental, physical, social and religious development.[8]:72–82

BSA had two notable predecessors in the United States: the Woodcraft Indians started by Ernest Thompson Seton in 1902 and the Sons of Daniel Boone founded by Daniel Carter Beard in 1905.[9] In 1907, British General Robert Baden-Powell founded the Scouting movement in England using elements of Seton's works among other influences.[10] Several small local Scouting programs for boys started independently in the U.S., soon after, many of these programs merged with the BSA.[11]:52

In 1909, Chicago publisher W. D. Boyce was visiting London, where he encountered the Unknown Scout and learned of the Scouting movement.[12] Soon after his return to the U.S., Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910.[13] Edgar M. Robinson and Lee F. Hanmer became interested in the nascent BSA movement and convinced Boyce to turn the program over to the YMCA for development in April 1910. Robinson enlisted Seton, Beard, Charles Eastman and other prominent leaders in the early youth movements. In January 1911, Robinson turned the movement over to James E. West who became the first Chief Scout Executive and Scouting began to expand in the U.S.[8]:148

The BSA's stated purpose at its incorporation in 1910 was "to teach [boys] patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred values."[3]:7 Later, in 1937, Deputy Chief Scout Executive George J. Fisher expressed the BSA's mission; "Each generation as it comes to maturity has no more important duty than that of teaching high ideals and proper behavior to the generation which follows."[14] The current mission statement of the BSA is "to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law."[4]


Traditional membership

Varsity Scouts preparing to go backpacking

In the BSA, Scouting is considered to be one movement with three main programs:

Cub Scouting is the largest of the three programs, available to boys from first to fifth-grade or 5 to 11½ years.[15] The program is designed to pursue the aims of character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. Cub Scouting is divided into age-based levels of Tiger Cubs, Wolf Cubs, Bear Cubs, and Webelos Scouts.[4][16]

Boy Scouting is the flagship program of the BSA for boys ages 10 to 18.[15] It uses outdoor activities such as camping, aquatics and hiking to achieve the aims of character, citizenship and personal fitness training.[17] Varsity Scouting is a sub-division of Boy Scouting available to boys ages 14 to 18; it adds a program of high adventure and sporting activities.[18] The Order of the Arrow is the Boy Scouting national honor society for experienced campers, based on American Indian traditions and is dedicated to the ideal of cheerful service and brotherhood.[19]

Venturing is the program for young men and women ages 14 through 21.[15] Its purpose is to provide positive experiences to help youth mature and to prepare them to become responsible adults.[20] Sea Scouting is a sub-division of Venturing focused on nautical activities.[21]

There are about 100,000 physically or mentally disabled Scouts throughout the United States. Anyone certified as disabled "may enroll in Scouting and remain in its program beyond the regulation age limits. This provision allows all members to advance in Scouting as far as they wish."[6] Advancement is measured by the achievement to the best of the Scout's abilities.

Learning for Life

Learning for Life is a school and work-site based program that is a subsidiary of the BSA. It utilizes programs designed for schools and community-based organizations that are designed to prepare youth for the complexities of contemporary society and to enhance their self-confidence, motivation, and self-esteem.[22] Exploring is the worksite-based program of Learning for Life with programs based on five areas of emphasis: career opportunities, life skills, citizenship, character education, and leadership experience.[23]

Learning for Life is not considered a traditional Scouting program; it does not use the Scout Promise, Scout Law, uniforms, or insignia of traditional Scouting. All Learning for Life programs are open to youth and adults without restriction based on gender, residence, sexual orientation, or other considerations other than age requirements.[23][24]

Membership controversies

Though the non-traditional program, Learning for Life, does not restrict participation other than by age, membership in the traditional BSA programs is more restricted and controversial. Girls can only join Venturing though women can be adult volunteers in all programs. BSA membership policy also excludes known or avowed atheists or agnostics from all traditional programs. "Known or avowed homosexuals" are not employed or allowed to be adult volunteers; no current, formal policy forbids them from being youth members but they cannot hold youth leadership positions.[25] The BSA contends that these policies are essential in its mission in the traditional programs to instill in young people the values of the Scout Oath and Law. These policies have been called unjust by critics and legally challenged at the state and federal level. In Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, the Supreme Court has affirmed that, as a private, expressive association, the BSA can set its own membership standards under the Constitutional right to freedom of association. However non-discrimination laws may prohibit certain types of government support and other lawsuits have been filed to determine what is and is not permitted or required.

Scout Oath and Law

The Scout Oath for the BSA developed from the original version by Lord Baden Powell, the main difference was that the second line stated that "I will do my duty to God and the King." [26] The Scout Law for the Boy Scouts of America was originally adopted in 1910. By 1911 it was adjusted to what it is today.

Scout Oath

On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country;
To obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.[27]

Scout Law

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. The original version by Lord Baden-Powell had only 10 points to the Scout Law (the last two of the BSA version were added).[27]

Aims, methods, and ideals

The objectives of the BSA are referred to as Aims of Scouting: character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. The BSA pursues these aims through an informal education system called the Scout method, with variations that are designed to be appropriate for the age and maturity of each membership division.[4][28] Each unit is sponsored by a community organization as part of their youth program and is involved in the neighborhood and community.

Cub Scouts wear a uniform that gives each boy a level of identity within the den, the pack and the community. The boys learn teamwork by meeting and working together in a den of eight to ten boys under adult leadership. They learn and apply the ideals codified in the Cub Scout Promise and the Law of the Pack,[29] and in the Character Connections program that develops the core values of citizenship, compassion, cooperation, courage, faith, health and fitness, honesty, perseverance, positive attitude, resourcefulness, respect and responsibility.[30] The advancement system uses both age-based ranks and an optional Academics and Sports Program designed for the development of physical, mental and emotional fitness.[16][31] Most advancement is done in the home and is intended to involve the entire family and many Cub Scout activities include family members.

Boy Scouts learn to use the ideals spelled out in the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Scout motto, and the Scout slogan.[27] They wear a uniform and work together in patrols of eight to ten boys with an elected patrol leader. Scouts share responsibilities, apply skills learned at meetings and live together in the outdoors. The advancement system provides opportunities for personal growth and self-reliance.[32] Scouts interact with adult leaders who act as role models and mentors, but they are expected to plan their own activities within the troop and to participate in community service. Opportunities are provided for leadership training with practical application.

Venturers are expected to know and live by the Venturing Oath and Venturing Code.[33] They associate and work directly with adults as partners, but the crew is led by elected youth officers who are given opportunities to learn and apply leadership skills. Venturers plan and participate in interdependent group experiences dependent on cooperation. An emphasis on high adventure provides opportunities for team-building and practical leadership applications. A series of awards provide opportunities for recognition and personal growth.[34] Each award requires the Venturer to teach what they have learned to others returning the skill and knowledge back to the community and enabling the Venturer to master those skills.


National Council

BSA National Office in Irving, Texas

The National Council is the corporate membership of the Boy Scouts of America and is administered by paid professional Scouters and volunteer Scouters. Members include the elected National Executive Board, the regional executive committees, the local council representatives, members at large, and honorary members. The National program is directed by the National Executive Board and administered by the Chief Scout Executive using a staff of professional Scouters.

The BSA was granted a Congressional charter in 1916, now codified as 36 U.S.C. Chapter 309,[35] stating that their purpose is to:

promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods that were in common use by boy scouts on June 15, 1916.

The charter authorized and set standards for the incorporation of the BSA and provided for the "exclusive right to use emblems, badges, descriptive or designating marks, and words or phrases" that they adopt.

The BSA is governed by the National Executive Board and directed by the national president, elected by representatives from the local councils.[36] Board memberships include regular elected members, presidents, the Advisory Council chair, and the chairman of the Board of Regents of the National Eagle Scout Association. The board may also include up to five appointed youth members. Professional Scouters of the National staff are nonvoting members.

The National Executive Board has five group standing committees: the Administration Group Committee, Program Group Committee, Human Resources Group Committee, Regional Presidents' Group Committee, and Relationships/Marketing Group Committee.[37] Each of these committees is in turn directly responsible for a corresponding support group that provides administrative functions. Group committees may in turn be responsible for support standing committees and groups divided into divisions. Ever since the Boy Scouts of America's founding in 1910, the President of the United States has served as the organization's honorary president during his term in office.[38]

Groups and divisions

Boy Scouts canoeing on the Blackwater River, Virginia

The Program Group is responsible for delivering the Scouting program and includes the Boy Scouting, Cub Scouting, and Venturing Divisions. The Scoutreach Division emphasizes service to rural and urban areas and to minority populations. The African American Focus works with African American populations in partnerships with the NAACP, various African American churches and other groups. The Hispanic/Latino Focus includes the ¡Scouting – Vale La Pena! emphasis for Hispanic youth that provides Spanish language resources such as handbooks, training material, and videos. The Soccer and Scouting emphasis is a partnership with the National Soccer Coaches Association of America to provide alternatives for Cub Scout age Hispanic youth. The Asian American Focus reaches out to Indo-Chinese American, Vietnamese American, Chinese American, and Korean American communities. The Rural Scouting focus targets small communities and includes the American Indian Scouting Association in partnership with the Girl Scouts of the USA.

The High Adventure Division administers Philmont Scout Ranch, Northern Tier National High Adventure Bases, and Florida National High Adventure Sea Base.

The Jamboree Division provides support for the world and national jamborees. The International Division is responsible for relations with other Scout and Guide organizations; it includes the Interamerican Scout Foundation and Direct Service. The Relationships Division is responsible for relations with supporting organizations outside the BSA, including the AFL-CIO, Elks, VFW, and all religious associations and awards.

The National Supply Group is responsible for developing and selling uniforms, apparel, insignia, literature, and equipment. It sells equipment and supplies through National Scout Shops, local council trading posts, authorized independent resellers, and online at Supply Group also licenses trademarks for use by other commercial vendors. The Administrative Group provides internal administration service and support. It includes the Marketing and Communications Division responsible for marketing the BSA program, administering the national websites and publishing Scouting for adult leaders and Boys' Life for youth.

The National Scouting Museum is located in Irving, Texas. Exhibits include Norman Rockwell paintings, high adventure sections, hands-on learning experiences, interactive exhibits, and a historical collection tracing uniforms, themes, and documents from the beginning of the Scouting movement in America. Among the museum's artifacts are the Eagle Scout medal of Arthur Rose Eldred, the first Eagle Scout.

The National Court of Honor certifies and the BSA's highest awards: lifesaving and meritorious action awards, Distinguished service awards, Eagle Scout and Quartermaster.

Regions and areas

Boy Scouts of America regions as of 1992

For administrative purposes, the BSA is divided into four regions—Western, Central, Southern and Northeast.[36] Each region is then subdivided into areas.

Each region has a volunteer president, assisted by volunteer officers and board members, and the day-to-day work of Scouting is managed by the regional director, assistant and associate regional directors, and area directors. Regions and areas are subdivisions of the National Council and do not have a corporate status separate from the BSA.[37]

  • Central Region covers all of Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • Northeast Region covers all of Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Puerto Rico, Transatlantic Council, and the Virgin Islands, and parts of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • Southern Region covers all of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee, and parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • Western Region covers all of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Far East Council and the Pacific Basin, and parts of Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Texas.

Local councils

The BSA program is administered through 300 local councils, with each council covering a geopolitical area that may vary from a single city to an entire state. Councils receive an annual charter from the National Council and are usually incorporated as a charitable organization.[36]

The council level organization is similar to that of the National Council. The council executive board is headed by the council president and is made up of annually elected local community leaders.[37] The board establishes the council program and carries out the resolutions, policies, and activities of the council. Board members serve without pay and some are volunteer Scouters working at the unit level. Youth members may be selected to the council executive board according to the council by-laws.

"The Ideal Scout," a statue by R. Tait McKenzie in front of the Bruce S. Marks Scout Resource Center in the Cradle of Liberty Council

The Scout executive manages council operations—including finance, property management, advancement and awards, registrations, and Scout Shop sales—with a staff of other professionals and para-professionals. Volunteer Commissioners lead the unit service functions of the council, help maintain the standards of the BSA, and assures a healthy unit program.[39]

The BSA charters two councils for American Scouts who live overseas, largely on military bases in Europe and Asia. The Transatlantic Council, headquartered in Germany, serves BSA units in much of Europe, and the Far East Council, headquartered in Japan, serves units in the western Pacific areas. The Direct Service branch makes the Scouting movement available to U.S. citizens and their dependents living in countries outside these jurisdictions or in isolated areas. The Aloha Council in Hawaii also serves BSA units in the American territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and in the sovereign countries of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau.[40]

The Greater New York Councils are unique in that they are divided into five boroughs with each led by a borough Scout executive and each borough then divided into districts.

Councils are divided into districts with leadership provided by the district executive, district chairman, and the district commissioner.[36] Districts are directly responsible for the operation of Scouting units and, except for the district executive, are mostly staffed with volunteers.[37] The voting members of each district consist of volunteer representatives from each chartered organization having at least one BSA unit, plus annually elected members-at-large who in turn elect the district chairman. Boroughs and districts are subdivisions of the local council and do not have a separate corporate status.

Units and chartered organizations

The unit is the main operating group of the BSA.[36] Units use different names for each membership level—Cub Scouts are organized as packs, Boy Scouts as troops, Varsity Scouts as teams, Venturers as crews, and Sea Scouts as ships.

BSA's primary mission is to provide a values-based youth program that can be used by local institutions for the benefit of the youth in their community. Thus each unit is operated by a community-based organization such as a business, service organization, school, labor group, or religious institution that has applied for and received an annual charter from the BSA.[35][41] This chartered organization is responsible for selecting leadership, providing a meeting place, and promoting a good program. The chartered organization representative is the manager of Scouting in a chartered organization and serves as a liaison between the unit, the chartered organization, and the BSA. Chartered organizations use the Scouting program to support the goals and objectives of the organization. As of December 31, 2007, the BSA's membership report by chartered organization indicated that approximately 62 percent of units are sponsored by religious institutions:

BSA traditional Scouting membership as of December 2007 — top 25 chartered organizations
Organization Packs Cub youth Troops Scout youth Crews Vtr youth Total units Total youth
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 9959 135115 18726 199141 8028 66473 36713 400729
United Methodist Church 5307 232758 5201 125989 1187 9673 11695 368420
Roman Catholic Church 4617 189985 3878 97185 905 10141 9400 297311
Parent-teacher groups other than PTA 3911 162534 874 21527 340 8671 5125 192732
Groups of citizens 2454 85060 1249 24297 1035 20159 4738 129516
Baptist churches 2114 69296 1969 33813 350 3467 4433 106576
Lutheran churches 1875 71680 1888 46834 436 3710 4199 122224
Presbyterian churches 1531 68556 1893 53031 408 3514 3832 125101
Business and industry 1432 42328 931 17298 1096 13712 3459 73338
Private schools 1568 46883 698 15171 804 30458 3070 92512
American Legion 1248 45762 1220 23023 311 4130 2779 72915
Lions Clubs International 1288 48539 1224 24174 190 1996 2702 74709
Other community organizations 922 30192 680 14671 814 16421 2416 61284
Parent-Teacher Associations 1779 73075 330 6336 41 971 2150 80382
Community centers 725 17521 509 9268 211 4444 1445 31233
Rotary International 625 27061 618 15570 179 3225 1422 45856
Fire departments 607 21636 583 11499 217 1889 1407 35024
United Church of Christ 565 24039 653 16224 119 966 1337 41229
Episcopal Church 551 24167 608 17261 161 1666 1320 43094
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 571 21648 584 12038 131 1027 1286 34713
Source: Boy Scouts of America Membership Report[42]

Units are administered by a unit committee appointed by the chartered organization. The unit committee, led by the committee chairman, oversees the unit program and activities and manages record keeping, finance, leadership recruitment, and registration. Each unit is led by a registered and trained leader—a Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Coach, Advisor, or Skipper. These leaders, with one or more assistants, are appointed by the unit committee and must be approved by both the chartered organization and the local council. Leaders are required to complete training that gives an overview of the Scouting program, initial and advanced skills required for their position and the Youth Protection program. Additional certifications are required for events such as camping, swimming, boating and climbing. A continuing curriculum is available for additional skills including mentoring, youth leadership, supporting Scouts with disabilities or ADHD, conducting faith services and Leave No Trace.[43]


The National Council is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is funded from private donations, membership dues, corporate sponsors, and special events.[44] In 2005, the BSA ranked as the twelfth-largest non-profit organization in the U.S., with total revenues of $665.9 million. As of January 2007, the American Institute of Philanthropy listed former Chief Scout Executive Roy Williams as having the fifth-highest compensation of any nonprofit chief in the United States, at $916,028.[45] In 2005, Williams' pay was 0.26% of total expenses, whereas the national average among charities was a higher 0.34%.[46] Williams was honored in 2005 and 2006 as one of the top fifty most effective non-profit leaders by the Non-Profit Times.[47]

2006 Income
Net investment income $78,062,000
Fees $73,738,000
Supply operations $20,270,000
Retirement benefits trust $10,183,000
Contributions and bequests $5,191,000
Other $4,278,000
Magazine publications $2,742,000
Total Income $194,464,000
2006 Expenses
Program development and delivery $46,277,000
Field operations $6,043,000
Insurance programs $16,650,000
Human resources and training $10,050,000
Program marketing $6,741,000
World Scout Bureau fees $1,311,000
Total program expenses $117,072,000
Source: Better Business Bureau.[44]
The above numbers are for National Council operations and do not include local council income or expenses.

In January 2009, Hearst Newspapers reported that since 1990, one third of BSA councils had conducted timber harvests, which had resulted in at least 34,000 acres of U.S. forests being cleared. The harvests included 53 instances of logging in or near protected wildlife habitat.[48] The report found that a few local councils has been making large sums of money by selling off land, often granted to it in trust, to developers.[49]

Impact on American life

Scouting and Boy Scouts are well-known throughout American culture. The term "Boy Scout" is used to generally describe someone who is earnest and honest, or who helps others cheerfully; it can also be used as a pejorative term for someone deemed to be overly idealistic.[50] Prominent Americans in diverse walks of life, from moviemaker Steven Spielberg (who helped launch a merit badge in cinematography) to adventurer Steve Fossett to politicians, were BSA members as youths.[51][52] Over two-thirds of all astronauts have had some type of involvement in Scouting,[53] and eleven of the twelve men to walk on the Moon were Scouts, including Eagle Scouts Neil Armstrong and Charlie Duke.[54][55] The pinewood derby—a wood car racing event for Cub Scouts—has been declared "a celebrated rite of spring" and was named part of "America's 100 Best" by Reader's Digest.[56] President Gerald Ford said, "I can say without hesitation, because of Scouting principles, I know I was a better athlete, I was a better naval officer, I was a better Congressman, and I was a better prepared President."[57]

Norman Rockwell's Beyond the Easel

Famed American illustrator Norman Rockwell's works were closely associated with the Boy Scouts of America for much of the 20th century.[58]:43 Beginning in 1913, Rockwell began illustrating covers of Boys' Life, the magazine for BSA youth. He also drew the organization's annual calendar illustrations between 1925 and 1976.[58]:89 In 1969, as a tribute to Norman Rockwell's 75th birthday, officials of Brown & Bigelow and the Boy Scouts of America asked Rockwell to pose in Beyond the Easel for a calendar illustration. As part of the U.S. Bicentennial celebrations in 1976, Rockwell's Scouting paintings toured the nation and were viewed by 280,000 people.[58]:155 In 2008, a twelve-city U.S. tour of Rockwell's works was scheduled.[59]

Alvin Townley wrote in Legacy of Honor about the large positive impact of Eagle Scouts in America. Townley cited such examples as how Scouts, especially Eagle Scouts, were disproportionately represented among Hurricane Katrina's volunteer relief workers; just as they are disproportionately represented among members of the United States Senate.[3]:152 Mark Mays, CEO of Clear Channel Communications, told a magazine interviewer in May 2008 that, "Particularly in the very impactful ages of youth 11 to 14 years old, when they can really go astray and you're taking the time to spend with them and focus on cultural core values like reverent, trustworthy, loyal, and helpful —all of those different things ... Scouting has a huge positive impact on boys and their lives, and that in turn positively impacts our communities and society as a whole."[60] Mayor of New York City and business tycoon Michael Bloomberg, said that the BSA's Scout Law required of all Boy Scouts—a Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent—are "all the American values ... Americans have quaintly simplistic ways and direct ways of phrasing things ... I think it's one of the great strengths of this country."[3]:116

Peter Applebome, an editor of The New York Times, wrote in 2003 of his experience as an adult participating with his son in Scouting activities, "I feel lucky to have had this unexpected vehicle to share my son's youth, to shape it, and to be shaped by it as well."[61] He concluded that, although Scouting is viewed by some as old-fashioned, "Scouting's core values ... are wonderful building blocks for a movement and a life. Scouting's genuinely egalitarian goals and instincts are more important now than they've ever been. It's one of the only things that kids do that's genuinely cooperative, not competitive."[61]:319-320

At the turn of the 20th century, Halloween had turned into a night of vandalism, with destruction of property and cruelty to animals and people.[62] Around 1912, the BSA, Boys Clubs and other neighborhood organizations came together to encourage a safe celebration that would end the destruction that had become so common on this night.[63]

The Boy Scouts of America are quite particular about how and when the Scout uniforms and insignia may be used in film and other portrayals; and for that reason, most films and television productions made in the U.S. utilize "ersatz" Scouting organizations. Examples of this include the "Order of the Straight Arrow", portrayed in the King of the Hill cartoon series, and the "Indian Guides" depicted in the 1995 Chevy Chase film, Man of the House. A notable exception to this policy, is the final scene of The Sopranos television show, where Tony Soprano (apparently about to be murdered) sits down to dinner in a restaurant. At another table, several Webelos Scouts, in full uniform, are seated.

Good Turns

Smokey Bear with members of the Boy Scouts of America and the Camp Fire Girls celebrating the 50th anniversary of their founding in 1910.

From the inception of the Scouting movement, Scouts have been urged to "Do a Good Turn Daily", as it is the slogan for the Boy Scouts of America. The first national Good Turn was the promotion of a safe and sane Fourth of July in 1913. During World War I, Every Scout to Save a Soldier was a slogan used to motivate Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to help sell War savings stamps.[64]

Scouting for Food is an on-going annual program begun in 1986 that collects food for local food banks. In 1997, the BSA developed Service to America with a commitment to provide 200 million hours of service by youth members by the end of the year 2000. As part of Service to America, the BSA provided service projects in conjunction with the National Park Service (NPS). In October 2003, the Department of the Interior expanded the program with the creation of Take Pride in America, opening service to all Americans.[65]

Service to America became Good Turn for America in 2004 and expanded to address the problems of hunger, homelessness, and inadequate housing and poor health in conjunction with the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, and other organizations.[66]

Sex abuse cases

Scouting sex abuse cases are situations where youth involved in Scouting programs have been sexually abused by someone who is also involved in the scouting program. J.L. Tarr, a Chief Scout Executive in the United States, was quoted in the 1980s in an article regarding sexual assault cases against Scout leaders across 50 states: "That's been an issue since the Boy Scouts began.” Dr. Gene Abel, an Atlanta psychiatrist who has extensively studied child molesters, is quoted in the same article saying, "The volunteer organizations are just perfect for pedophiles, in the sense that they are just the ideal situation if they can get to a large number of kids, to kind of check out which ones might be the easiest victims."[67] Scouting was among the first national youth organizations to address the issue of sexual abuse of its members and in the 1980s developed its Youth Protection program, to educate youth, leaders and parents about the problem as a whole, and to introduce barriers to pedophiles using the Scout program to reach victims.

1991 Washington Times investigation

In May 1991 the Washington Times published a major five-part investigation entitled “Scouts Honor” on sex abuse in the BSA, which they had worked for two years preparing the series, reviewing internal and personnel records from the Boy Scouts; tens of thousands of pages of court records from more than 20 states; and more than 1,000 newspaper articles about abused Scouts; as well as interviewing more than 200 people, including molesters, families of victims, Scout leaders, sex abuse experts and lawyers. The newspaper restricted itself to reported cases of male Scout leaders abusing boy scouts prior to the introduction of its Youth Protection program: “The Boy Scouts are a magnet for men who want to have sexual relations with children...Pedophiles join the Scouts for a simple reason: it’s where the boys are.”[67]

The newspaper discovered that at least 1,151 Scouts reported being abused by their leaders over a 19-year period: they published a detailed list of 416 cases from 1971-1990 where a US Scout leader who was arrested or banned from Scouting for sexual abuse of Scouts, adding that experts said the real number of abusers and victims was probably several times higher. The newspaper articles later formed the basis for a book by the main journalist involved, Patrick Boyle: Scout's Honor: Sexual Abuse in America's Most Trusted Institution.

Legal actions

A number of families of abused boys have brought law suits against the Boy Scouts of America. For example in the five years from 1986 to 1991 the BSA and their local councils paid or agreed to pay more than $15 million in damages to settle lawsuits over boys who were sexually abused by Scout leaders, a study of 50 lawsuits against the Scouts showed. The BSA insurance reserve, from which the damages are paid, stood at $61.9 million.[67] The actual payment total, said the Washington Times in 1991, is probably far higher because the Scouts sometimes agree to pay damages only if the payments are kept secret. Keeping any type of damage award confidential is very commonly required by insurers. In August 2007, the Washington Supreme Court ordered the BSA to hand over documents concerning sexual abuse by Scout leaders, showing that the organization has removed about 180 of its leaders each year (about one every other day).[68]

National Scout jamboree

The national Scout jamboree is a gathering of Boy Scouts from across the US. It is usually held every four years, with some adjustment for special years such as the 2010 National Scout Jamboree that will celebrate the BSA centennial. The first jamboree was held in 1937 at the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.[69] Since then, jamborees have been held in varying locations. Beginning in 1981, the jamboree has been held at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. A permanent location owned by the BSA was sought in 2008 for future jamborees, high adventure programs and training. The Summit: Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve near Beckley, West Virginia will be the site of the 2013 National Scout Jamboree.[70]


  1. ^ a b "2008 Annual Report: Boy Scouts of America Annual Traditional Membership Summary". Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved August 14, 2009. 
  2. ^ "2008 Annual Report: Learning for Life Annual Participation Summary". Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved August 15, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d Townley, Alvin (2007). Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 12. ISBN 0-312-36653-1. Retrieved June 22, 2008. 
  4. ^ a b c d "BSA Vision Statement". U.S. Scouting Service Project. Retrieved July 22, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Aims of the Boy Scouts of America" (PDF). U.S. Scouting Service Project. Retrieved July 3, 2008. 
  6. ^ a b "Boy Scouts". The New Book of Knowledge. Grolier Online. Retrieved February 24, 2008.  (subscription required)
  7. ^ Phillips, John Calvin (2001) (PDF). Selling America: the Boy Scouts of America in the Progressive Era, 1910-1921. University of Maine. Retrieved July 19, 2008. 
  8. ^ a b Macleod, David L. (1983). Building Character in the American Boy: The Boy Scouts, YMCA and Their Forerunners, 1870–1920. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 0-299-09400-6. 
  9. ^ Anderson, H. Allen (1986). The Chief: Ernest Thompson Seton and the Changing West. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 0-89096-239-1. 
  10. ^ Beardsall, Jonny (2007). "Dib, dib, dib... One Hundred Years of Scouts at Brownsea". The National Trust Magazine (National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty) (Spring 2007): 525–55. 
  11. ^ Peterson, Robert W. (1984). The Boy Scouts: An American Adventure. American Heritage. ISBN 0-8281-1173-1. 
  12. ^ Peterson, Robert W. (2001). "The Man Who Got Lost in the Fog". Scouting (Boy Scouts of America). Retrieved June 24, 2008. 
  13. ^ Rowan, Edward L (2005). To Do My Best: James E. West and the History of the Boy Scouts of America. Las Vegas International Scouting Museum. ISBN 0-9746479-1-8. 
  14. ^ The National and World Jamborees in Pictures. New York: Boy Scouts of America. 1937. p. 131. 
  15. ^ a b c (PDF) Boy Scouts of America Youth Application. Boy Scouts of America. #28-406B. Retrieved March 10, 2008. "Venturers and Sea Scouts registered in a crew or ship prior to their 21st birthday may continue as members after their 21st birthday until the crew or ship recharters or until they reach their 22nd birthday, whichever comes first." 
  16. ^ a b "Cub Scout Advancement". U.S. Scouting Service Project. November 10, 2007. Retrieved July 14, 2008. 
  17. ^ "What is Boy Scouting?". Fact Sheet. Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved July 3, 2008. 
  18. ^ "Varsity Letters and Pins". U.S. Scouting Service Project. August 5, 2007. Retrieved July 3, 2008. 
  19. ^ "Order of the Arrow". Fact Sheet. Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved July 3, 2008. 
  20. ^ "What is Venturing". Fact Sheet. Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved June 24, 2008. 
  21. ^ "Sea Scouts, BSA". Sea Scouts, BSA. Retrieved June 28, 2008. 
  22. ^ "Learning for Life — Exploring". Learning For Life. Retrieved June 24, 2008. 
  23. ^ a b "Learning For Life". BSA Discrimination. Retrieved June 24, 2008. 
  24. ^ "What Is Exploring?" (PDF). Learning For Life. Retrieved June 24, 2008. 
  25. ^ "Morally Straight". Retrieved May 25, 2008. 
  26. ^ Baden-Powell, Lieut.-General R. S. S. (1908). Scouting for Boys (Part I ed.). Windsor House, Bream's Buildings, London E.C.: Horace Cox. p. 40. 
  27. ^ a b c "Boy Scout Oath, Law, Motto and Slogan and the Outdoor Code". U.S. Scouting Service Project. August 5, 2007. Retrieved July 14, 2008. 
  28. ^ "Basic Leader Training". Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved March 4, 2008. 
  29. ^ "The Cub Scout Promise The Law of the Pack and The Cub Scout Motto". U.S. Scouting Service Project. August 5, 2007. Retrieved June 28, 2008. 
  30. ^ "Character Connections". U.S. Scouting Service Project. August 5, 2007. Retrieved July 14, 2008. 
  31. ^ "Cub Scout Academics and Sports Program". U.S. Scouting Service Project. November 10, 2007. Retrieved July 14, 2008. 
  32. ^ "Boy Scout Advancement". U.S. Scouting Service Project. January 17, 2008. Retrieved July 14, 2008. 
  33. ^ "What is Venturing" (doc). U.S. Scouting Service Project. Retrieved June 28, 2008. 
  34. ^ "Venturing and Sea Scouting Awards". U.S. Scouting Service Project. August 9, 2007. Retrieved July 14, 2008. 
  35. ^ a b "Title 36 > Subtitle II > Part B > Chapter 309: Boy Scouts of America". United States Code. Cornell University Law School. Retrieved July 1, 2008. 
  36. ^ a b c d e Nelson, Bill. "Organization of the Boy Scouts of America". U.S. Scouting Service Project. Retrieved March 12, 2008. 
  37. ^ a b c d Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America. Boy Scouts of America. 1985. 
  38. ^ "2007 Report to the Nation". Boy Scouts of Amercica. 2007. Retrieved September 23, 2009. 
  39. ^ "Commissioners". Boy Scouts of America. 2008. Retrieved July 4, 2008. 
  40. ^ "Aloha Council". Aloha Council, BSA. Retrieved July 3, 2008. 
  41. ^ "Chartered Organizations and the Boy Scouts of America". Boy Scouts of America. 2008. Retrieved July 1, 2008. 
  42. ^ "Boy Scouts of America Membership Report – 2007" (PDF). P.R.A.Y.. January 7, 2008. Retrieved May 22, 2008. 
  43. ^ "BSA Online Learning Center". Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved July 14, 2008. 
  44. ^ a b "BBB Wise Giving Report for Boy Scouts of America". Better Business Bureau. March 2008. Retrieved June 28, 2008. 
  45. ^ "Top 25 compensation packages". American Institute of Philanthropy. Archived from the original on January 16, 2007. Retrieved June 28, 2008. 
  46. ^ "CEO compensation". Charity Navigator. Retrieved June 24, 2008. 
  47. ^ "NPT’s Power and Influence Top 50 2006". Non-Profit Times. August 1, 2006. Retrieved July 22, 2008. 
  48. ^ Kamb, Lewis (January 30, 2009). "Scout councils Defend Logging of Their Lands". Hearst Newspapers. 
  49. ^ Lewis Kamb (January 29, 2009). "Once-wooded Camps Sold Off to Developers". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 
  50. ^ Simon, Scott (June 14, 2008). "Remembering the Boy Scouts". National Public Radio. Retrieved June 14, 2008. 
  51. ^ McBride, Joseph (1999). Steven Spielberg. New York: Da Capo Press. p. 43. ISBN 0306809001. 
  52. ^ "Steve Fossett: Always Scouting for New Adventures". Airport Journals. October 1, 2007. Retrieved July 23, 2008. 
  53. ^ "NASA and Scouting: A Strong Alliance". NASA. Retrieved March 19, 2008. 
  54. ^ "Astronauts and the BSA". Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved June 24, 2008. 
  55. ^ Cowing, Keith. "Celestron and Boy Scouts Venture Where NASA cannot (Or will not)". Nasawatch. Retrieved April 27, 2008. 
  56. ^ "Best Mother-Son Finish". Reader's Digest. 2006. Retrieved February 29, 2008. 
  57. ^ Rumsfeld, Donald R. "Speech: Boy Scout National Meeting Breakfast As Delivered by Secretary of Defense and Eagle Scout Donald H. Rumsfeld". United States Department of Defense. Retrieved June 24, 2008. 
  58. ^ a b c Hillcourt, William (1977). Norman Rockwell's World of Scouting. New York: Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 0-810-91582-0. 
  59. ^ "Rockwell and Csatari: A tour de force". Scouting: 6. March–April, 2008. Retrieved June 22, 2008. 
  60. ^ "Leading the Way". Scouting: 33. May–June 2008. Retrieved February 13, 2009. 
  61. ^ a b Applebome, Peter (2003). Scout's Honor: A Father's Unlikely Foray Into the Woods. Orlando, FL: Harcourt. p. 325. ISBN 0-15-100592-3. 
  62. ^ "The New York Institute for Special Education". Retrieved September 3, 2009. 
  63. ^ "A Brief History of Halloween in America". DeliriumsRealm. October 9, 2007. Retrieved September 3, 2009. 
  64. ^ "Wilson Enlists Boy Scouts". New York Times. May 22, 1917. Retrieved September 23, 2009. 
  65. ^ "Take Pride in America". Department of the Interior. Retrieved June 24, 2008. 
  66. ^ "Service to America". U.S. Scouting Service Project. Retrieved July 22, 2008. 
  67. ^ a b c Patrick, Boyle (1991). "Scouts Honor". The Washington Times. 
  68. ^ "Boy Scouts' secret "degenerate" files revealed". Yahoo news / Planet Out. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  69. ^ "National Jamboree". Time. July 12, 1937.,9171,788126,00.html. Retrieved September 24, 2008. 
  70. ^ Chittum, Matt (August 5, 2009). "Goshen Will Not Host Scout Jamboree". Retrieved September 3, 2009. 

Further reading

  • Perry, Rick (February 12, 2008). On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For. Macon, GA: Stroud & Hall. ISBN 0979646227. 

External links

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Boy Scouts of America
by John Philip Sousa
Cover page to the sheet music
PD-icon.svg This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain). Flag of the United States.svg

Simple English

The Boy Scouts of America or BSA is an organization for children and teens with over 5 million members across the United States. They try to give young people life values.[1]



Boy Scouts are ages 11-17 and belong to troops, groups of Scouts associated with a church, school or post. Cub Scouts are scouts ages 6-10 and belong to packs. Cub Scouts include Tigers, Wolfs, Bears, and Webelos. Older Scouts can be Venturer Scouts.


The Boy Scouts of America were founded by American writer W. D. Boyce, in 1910, but were similar to Scouting groups in Great Britain and other early scout movements [2]. James E. West helped out the BSA in its early years, but also made the BSA more religious than scouts were in Europe. Scouting grew in the 1910s and 20s due to the rise of “boy’s books” devoted to Scouting and the First World War. Scouting had many members during the 1960s, but has declined since the 1970s, despite an attempt to make scouting modern by changing requirements and adding more merit badges.


Over the years, the BSA has taken some stands that many Americans did not like. These included being against unions (organized workers) in the 1920s, requiring Scouts to believe in God, and not allowing gays to join Scouting.


When a scout joins a troop, he gets the "Scout Badge". After that, he can earn rank. There are six ranks in the Boy Scouts: Tenderfoot, 2nd Class, 1st Class, Star, Life and Eagle. The first three focus on learning basic scout skills, including camping, cooking, swimming, first aid (basic medical care), citizenship, orienteering (use of a map and compass), and pioneering (tying knots). The final three focus on earning merit badges, serving the troop and serving the community. Eagle Scouts must plan and finish a project that benefits something other than Scouting, and earn 21 merit badges. Only about 2 or 3% of Scouts earn Eagle, but some of the ones that have include Gerald Ford and Neil Armstrong. [3]

Other pages


  1. "BSA Vision Statement". U.S. Scouting Service Project. Retrieved on 2008-07-22.
  2. Petterchak, Janice A. (2003). Lone Scout: W. D. Boyce and American Boy Scouting. Rochester, Illinois: Legacy Press. pp. 63–67. ISBN 0-9653198-7-3.

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address