Is Boy Scouting?
of the BSA
Methods of the Scouting Program
The Scout Oath and Law
Scouting, as known to millions of youth and adults, evolved during the early
1900s through the efforts of several men dedicated to bettering youth. These
pioneers of the program conceived outdoor activities that developed skills in
young boys and gave them a sense of enjoyment, fellowship, and a code of conduct
for everyday living.
In this country
and abroad at the turn of the century, it was thought that children
needed certain kinds of education that the schools couldn't or didn't
provide. This led to the formation of a variety of youth groups,
many with the word "Scout" in their names. For example,
Ernest Thompson Seton, an American naturalist, artist, writer, and
lecturer, originated a group called the Woodcraft Indians and in
1902 wrote a guidebook for boys in his organization called the Birch
Bark Roll. Meanwhile in Britain, Robert Baden-Powell, after returning
to his country a hero following military service in Africa, found
boys reading the manual he had written for his regiment on stalking
and survival in the wild. Gathering ideas from Seton, America's Daniel
Carter Beard, and other Scoutcraft experts, Baden-Powell rewrote
his manual as a nonmilitary skill book, which he titled Scouting
for Boys. The book rapidly gained a wide readership in England and
soon became popular in the United States. In 1907, when Baden-Powell
held the first campout for Scouts on Brownsea Island off the coast
of England, troops were spontaneously springing up in America.
William D. Boyce,
a Chicago publisher, incorporated the Boy Scouts of America in 1910
after meeting with Baden-Powell. (Boyce was inspired to meet with
the British founder by an unknown Scout who led him out of a dense
London fog and refused to take a tip for doing a Good Turn.) Immediately
after its incorporation, the BSA was assisted by officers of the
YMCA in organizing a task force to help community organizations start
and maintain a high-quality Scouting program. Those efforts climaxed
in the organization of the nation's first Scout camp at Lake George,
New York, directed by Ernest Thompson Seton. Beard, who had established
another youth group, the Sons of Daniel Boone (which he later merged
with the BSA), provided assistance. Also on hand for this historic
event was James E. West, a lawyer and an advocate of children's rights,
who later would become the first professional Chief Scout Executive
of the Boy Scouts of America. Seton became the first volunteer national
Chief Scout, and Beard, the first national Scout commissioner.
Purpose of the BSA
The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated to provide a program for community
organizations that offers effective character, citizenship, and personal
fitness training for youth. Specifically, the BSA endeavors to develop
American citizens who are physically, mentally, and emotionally fit;
have a high degree of self-reliance as evidenced in such qualities as
initiative, courage, and resourcefulness; have personal values based
on religious concepts; have the desire and skills to help others; understand
the principles of the American social, economic, and governmental systems;
are knowledgeable about and take pride in their American heritage and
understand our nation's role in the world; have a keen respect for the
basic rights of all people; and are prepared to participate in and give
leadership to American society.
Boy Scout Program
Boy Scouting, one of the traditional membership divisions of the
BSA, is available to boys who have earned the Arrow of Light Award
at least 10 years old, or have completed the fifth grade and are
at least 10 years old, or who are 11, but not yet 18 years old.
The program achieves
the BSA's objectives of developing character, citizenship, and personal
fitness qualities among youth by focusing on a vigorous program of
Boy Scout program
membership, as of December 31, 2004, is
988,995 Boy Scouts/Varsity Scouts
543,487 adult volunteers
Thousands of volunteer leaders, both men and women, are involved
in the Boy Scouting program. They serve in a variety of jobs — everything
from unit leaders to chairmen of troop committees, committee members,
merit badge counselors, and chartered organization representatives.
Like other phases of the program, Boy Scouting is made available
organizations having similar interests and goals. Chartered organizations
include professional organizations; governmental bodies; and religious,
educational, civic, fraternal, business, labor, and citizens' groups.
Each organization appoints one of its members as the chartered
organization representative. The organization is responsible for
meeting place, and support for troop activities.
Who Pays for It?
Several groups are responsible for supporting Boy Scouting: the
boy and his parents, the troop, the chartered organization, and
Boys are encouraged to earn money whenever possible to pay their
expenses, and they also contribute dues to their troop treasuries
to pay for budgeted items. Troops obtain additional income by
approved money-earning projects. The community, including parents,
supports Scouting through the United Way, Friends of Scouting
and special contributions to the BSA local council. This income
provides leadership training, outdoor programs, council service
other facilities, and professional service for units.
The BSA publishes the Boy Scout Handbook
(more than 37.8 million copies of which
printed); the Patrol
information relevant to boy leadership;
the Scoutmaster Handbook; more than
dealing with hobbies,
vocations, and advanced
Scoutcraft; and program features and
various kinds of training, administrative,
for adult volunteer
leaders and Boy Scouts.
In addition, the BSA publishes Boys'
Life magazine, the
national magazine for all boys (magazine
circulation is more than
1.3 million) and Scouting
magazine for volunteers, which has
a circulation of over 1.1 million.
Conservation activities supplement
the program of Boy Scout advancement,
young people to
better understand their interdependence
with the environment.
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.
Do a Good Turn Daily
|A Scout tells
the truth. He keeps his promises. Honesty is part of his code
of conduct. People can depend on him.
|A Scout is
true to his family, Scout leaders, friends, school, and nation.
|A Scout is
concerned about other people. He does things willingly for others
without pay or reward.
|A Scout is
a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He seeks to
understand others. He respects those with ideas and customs other
than his own.
|A Scout is
polite to everyone regardless of age or position. He knows good
manners make it easier for people to get along together.
|A Scout understands
there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants
to be treated. He does not hurt or kill harmless things without
|A Scout follows
the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws
of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws
are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner
rather than disobey them.
|A Scout looks
for the bright side of things. He cheerfully does tasks that
come his way. He tries to make others happy.
|A Scout works
to pay his way and to help others. He saves for unforeseen needs.
He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses
time and property.
|A Scout can
face danger even if he is afraid. He has the courage to stand
for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at or threaten
|A Scout keeps
his body and mind fit and clean. He goes around with those who
believe in living by these same ideals. He helps keep his home
and community clean.
|A Scout is
reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties.
He respects the beliefs of others.