Troop Committee Guidebook


For Successful Troop Operation

Boy Scouts of America

1325 West Walnut Hill Lane

Irving, Texas 75038

Publication Number: 34505B (1998)




Welcome to the family of Scouting. As a troop committee member, you can help enrich the lives of boys and make a difference in the kind of men they become. Since 1910, it has been the mission of the Boy Scouts of America to prepare young people to make ethical choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

Boy Scouting works toward three aims. One is growth in moral strength and character. We may define this as what the boy is--his personal qualities, his values, his outlook.

The second aim is participating citizenship. Used broadly, citizenship means the boy's relationship to others. He comes to learn of his obligations to other people, to the society he lives in, and to the government that presides over that society.

The third aim is development of physical, mental, and emotional fitness.Fitness includes the body (well-tuned and healthy), the mind (able to think and solve problems), and the emotions (self-control, courage, and self-respect).

To accomplish these aims, Boy Scouting has developed its program using eight methods.

1. Ideals. The ideals of Scouting are spelled out in the Scout Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan. The scout measures himself against these ideals and continually tries to improve.

2. Patrols. The patrol method gives Scouts an experience in group living and participating citizenship. It places a certain amount of responsibility on young shoulders and teaches boys how to accept it.

3. Outdoors. Boy Scouting is designed to take place outdoors. It is in the outdoors that Scouts share responsibilities and learn to live with each other. It is here that the skills and activities practiced at troop meetings come alive with purpose.











4. Advancement. Scouting provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps to overcome them through the advancement method. The Scout plans his advancement and progresses at this own pace as he overcomes each challenge. The Scout is rewarded for each achievement, which helps him gain self-confidence. The steps in the advancement system help a boy grow in self-reliance and the ability to help others.

5. Adult Association. Boys learn from the example set by their adult leaders. Troop leadership may be male or female, and associations with adults of high character is encouraged at this stage of a young man's development.

6. Personal Growth. As Scouts plan their activities and progress toward their goals, they experience personal growth. The Good Turn concept is a major part of the personal growth method of Scouting. Boys grow as they participate in community service projects and do Good Turns for others. The religious emblems program is also a large part of the personal growth method.

7. Leadership Development. Boy Scouting encourages boys to learn and practice leadership skills. Every Scout has the opportunity to participate in both shared leadership and total leadership situations. Understanding the concepts of leadership helps a boy accept the leadership roles of others and guides him toward the citizenship aim of Scouting.

8. Uniform. The uniform makes the Scout troop visible as a force for good and creates a positive youth image in the community. Wearing the uniform is an action that shows each Scout's commitment to the aims and purposes of Scouting. the uniform gives the Scout identity in a world brotherhood of youth who believe in the same ideals.

Our youth must make mature decisions about many things that their limited experience with life has not prepared them for. many of these decisions will have long-term consequences. The ready availability of drugs and alcohol and the rising number of youth gangs are situations our youth face daily. The number of single-parent households, the effects of the seemingly never-ending change caused by the impact of new technologies, and the increased amount of time parents must spend away from their children to ensure economic survival are all factors that make the Scouting program so vital to our nation's future.

Boy Scouting has successfully assisted more than 98 million members since 1910 to develop the character and peer group associations to make ethical decisions and become role models in their communities.

The Scouting movement has also developed special programs to educate our youth regarding drugs, child abuse, literacy, the new world of careers, and hunger in America.

Working as a team in support of the troop and its Scoutmaster, you can help your youth members to develop the confidence, skills, character, and mental fitness that will allow them to give quality leadership to a changing society.

The resources listed at page 43 will be especially helpful as your troop committee members begin to understand their role in troop organization and successful troop operation.







Organization of Scouting

Let's take a look at how Scouting is organized

The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated on February 8, 1910, and chartered by Congress in 1916 to provide an education program for boys and young adults. Boy Scouting was modeled after the Scouting movement founded by Robert S.S. Baden-Powell in England in 1908.

The BSA's National Council is led by a volunteer board of directors, the National Executive Board. The administration is performed by a staff of professional Scouters.

Among its major functions, the National Council develops programs; sets and maintains quality standards in training, leadership selection, uniforming, registration records, literature development, and advancement requirements; publishes Boys Life and Scouting magazines.

The National Council maintains national high-adventure bases for use by Scouts in Minnesota, Florida, and New Mexico. It also organizes a national Scout jamboree every 4 years. 

LOCAL COUNCIL - Connecticut Rivers

  Of course, it would be nearly impossible to administer directly the more than 50,000 registered Boy Scout troops from a centrally located national office. To achieve this, the National Council issues a charter to each local council. The United States and its territories is divided into 327 local councils. Each council has a headquarters city from which it administers the Scouting program within its geographical boundaries. Like the National Council, the local council is led by volunteers, with administration performed by a staff of professional Scouters. The council president is the top volunteer, and the Scout Executive is the top professional.

The local council's responsibilities include:

Granting charters to community organizations

Promoting the Scouting program

Registration of units and council personnel

Providing facilities and leadership for a year-round outdoor program, including summer camp.

Offering training in a timely manner


SCOUTING DISTRICT- Mattabasset District

  A Scouting District is a geographical area within the local council, as determined by the council executive board.

District leaders mobilize resources to ensure the growth and success of Scouting Units within the District's territory.

Each district has a district committee composed of key Scouters. This committee does not make policy, but rather works through chartered organizations to assure the success of troops. A district committee does this by forming a number of sub-committees, each specializing in an area of concern: 


·  Advancement and Recognition

·  Finance

·  Camp promotion and outdoor activities

·  Training

·  Activities and civic service

·  Unit Service



 Members of the District Committee are volunteers like yourself. The district trains adult volunteers, provides district programs for troops such as camporeesand Scouting shows, assists in the formation of new troops, and helps coordinate the annual giving campaign.

The district also provides the Troop with a Unit Commissioner. The Chartered Organization Representative gives direct coaching and consultation to the Troop Committee and to the Scoutmaster.

The volunteers on the District Committee can be a helpful resource to the Troop Committee. Call upon their guidance when needed.

The Scouting professional who provides district service is the District Executive. The Committee Chairman for the Troop and the Scoutmaster should make a point to get to know the District Executive. He can be very helpful in demonstrating how to accomplish the troop's program goals. 



Your Troop is "owned" by a Chartered Organization. It receives a national charter which must be renewed yearly to use the Scouting Program as part of its youth work. These groups which have goals compatible with those of the Boy Scouts of America, include religious, educational, civic, fraternal, business, labor, governmental bodies, and professional organizations. 

Each chartered organization using the Scouting program provides a meeting place, selects a Scoutmaster, appoints a troop committee of at least three adults, and chooses a Chartered Organization Representative [ whose duties include:

Is a member of the chartered organization

Serves as head of "Scouting Department" in the organization

Maintains a close liaison with the troop committee chairman

Helps recruit other adult leaders

Serves as a liaison between the troop and the chartered organization. Assists with Unit rechartering [each December the Troop must go through a re-chartering process]

Encourages service to the organization

Is an active and involved member of the district committee


As the Troop Committee works on behalf of the chartered organization, your troop must be operated within the 

The chartered organization must also approve all adult leaders. The Chartered Organization Representative is your liaison to the troop's operating organization. As a member of the chartered organization, that person will guide you on the organization's policy. The representative will also know the most effective ways to get the organization's assistance and maintain a mutually satisfactory working relationship with the chartered organization.

In the chartered organization relationship, the Boy Scouts of America provides the program and support services, and the chartered organization provides the adult leadership and use the program to accomplish its goals for youth.

The Troop Committee's primary responsibilities are supporting the Scoutmaster in delivering a quality troop program and handling troop administration. How to accomplish them will be explained in the remaining chapters of this guidebook. 


The Scoutmaster 
 The Scoutmaster is the adult responsible for the image and program of the troop. The Scoutmaster and his Assistant Scoutmasters work directly with the Scouts. The importance of the Scoutmaster's job is reflected in the fact that the quality of his guidance will affect every youth and adult involved in the troop.

The Scoutmaster can be male or female, but must be at least 21 years old. The Scoutmaster is appointed by the head of the chartered organization.

The Scoutmaster's duties include:


Train and guide boy leaders.

Work with other responsible adults to bring Scouting to boys.

Use the methods of Scouting to achieve the aims of Scouting.



Meet regularly with the patrol leaders' council (PLC) for training and coordination in planning troop activities.

Attend all troop meetings or, when necessary, arrange for a qualified adult substitute.

Attend troop committee meetings.

Conduct periodic parents' sessions to share the program and encourage parent participation and cooperation.

Take part in annual membership inventory and uniform inspection, charter review meeting, and charter presentation.



Conduct Scoutmaster conferences for all rank advancements.

Provide a systematic recruiting plan for new members and see that they are properly registered.

Delegate responsibility to other adults and groups (assistants, troop committee) so that they have a real part in troop operations.

Supervise troop elections for the Order of the Arrow.



Make it possible for each Scout to experience at least 10 days and nights of camping each year.

Participate in council and district events.

Build a strong program by using proven methods presented in Scouting literature.

Conduct all activities under qualified leadership, safe conditions, and the policies of the chartered organization and the Boy Scouts of America.


Assistant Scoutmaster

To fulfill his obligation to the troop, the Scoutmaster, with the assistance of the troop committee, recruits assistant Scoutmasters to help operate the troop. Each assistant Scoutmaster is assigned specific program duties and reports to the Scoutmaster. They also provide the required two-deep leadership standards set by the Boy Scouts of America. An assistant Scoutmaster may be 18 years old, but at least one in each troop should be 21 or older, so he can serve in the Scoutmaster's absence.

Types of assistant Scoutmasters include:

Assistant Scoutmaster--New Scout patrol

Assistant Scoutmaster--Venture patrol

A troop should recruit as many assistant Scoutmasters as possible. it has been found that many successful troop have three or more. 


The flow of new Scouts is an essential element of a healthy Scout troop. Boys joining a troop bring fresh enthusiasm and energy to the entire program. Many troops assign an assistant Scoutmaster to be responsible for troop membership growth such as the Webelos-to-Scout plan, recruiting new Scouts, and troop rallies for new members.

Membership should be a shared concern of all adult leaders, but someone should have the specific responsibility of steady new boy recruitment. If there is no assistant Scoutmaster handling this important duty, a troop committee member should be responsible. 


The Scout troop is made up of patrols. A patrol is a grouping of six to eight boys who work together. Each patrol elects its own boy leader, called a patrol leader.

The new Scout patrol is composed of new members who have not entered the seventh grade.

The experienced Scout patrol is for those boys who are age 12 and older.

Venture patrols are made up of boys who are age 13 or older who want more challenging high-adventure experiences. 
The Troop's 
Youth Leaders

The troop is actually run by its boy leaders. With the guidance of the Scoutmaster and assistants, they plan the program, conduct troop meetings, and provide leadership among their peers.

Junior Leader Positions

Senior patrol leader - top junior leader in the troop. He leads the patrol leaders' council and, in consultation with the Scoutmaster, appoints other junior leaders and assigns specific responsibilities as needed. The senior patrol leader is elected by troop members, usually for a six-month term.

Assistant senior patrol leaders - fills in for senior patrol leader in his absence. He also is responsible for training and giving direction tot he quartermaster, scribe, troop historian, librarian, and instructors.

Troop historian- collects and maintains troop memorabilia and information on former troop members.

Librarian- keeps troop's books, pamphlets, magazines, audiovisuals for the troop.

Instructor- teaches one or more advancement skills to troop members.

Chaplain aide- assists in troop religious services and promotes religious emblems programs.

Junior assistant Scoutmaster- a Scout 16 or older who supervises and supports other boy leaders as assigned.

Patrol Leader - gives leadership to members of his patrol and represents them on the patrol leaders' council (PLC).

Assistant patrol leader - fills in for the patrol leader in his absence.

Venture patrol leader - leader of a troop's Venture patrol.

Troop Guide - advisor and guide to the new Scout patrols.

Den Chief - works with a Cub Scout den as a guide.

Quartermaster- Works with the adult Quartermaster. Responsible for troop supplies and equipment.

Scribe- the troop secretary. Takes attendance at the Troop Meetings.

Bugler- plays the bugle at troop meetings and at campouts.






The Patrol Leaders' Council

The patrol leaders' council (PLC), not the adult leaders, is responsible for planning and conducting the troop's activities. The PLC is composed of the following voting members: senior patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leaders, patrol leaders, troop guide, and Venture patrol leaders.

At its monthly meetings, the PLC organizes and assigns activity responsibilities for the weekly troop meetings. The troop committee interacts with the patrol leaders' council through the Scoutmaster.

Annual Program Planning Conference

The troop's activities are selected and planned at the annual program planning conference. Submit the troop's yearly plan to the troop committee for its support. At this time, the troop committee may make alternative suggestions for the patrol leaders' council to consider. To avoid conflicts between troop plans and activities of the chartered organization, clear the program calendar in advance with the chartered organization representative.


Chapter 4

Troop Committee Organization and Responsibilities 

The Troop Committee is the troop's board of directors and supports the troop program. But you ask, "What does the troop committee do?" The troop committee does the following:

Ensures that quality adult leadership is recruited and trained. In case the Scoutmaster is absent, a qualified assistant Scoutmaster is assigned. If the Scoutmaster is unable to serve, a replacement is recruited.

Provides adequate meeting facilities

Advises the Scoutmaster on policies relating to Boy Scouting and the chartered organization

Carries out the policies and regulations of the Boy Scouts of America

Supports leaders in carrying out the program

Is responsible for finances, adequate funds, and disbursements in line with the approved budget plan

Obtains, maintains, and properly cares for troop property

Provides adequate camping and outdoor program (minimum 10 days and nights per year)

Serves of boards of review and courts of honor.

Supports the Scoutmaster in working with individual boys and problems that may affect the overall troop program.

Provides for the special needs and assistance some boys may require.

Helps with the Friends of Scouting campaign.

Assists the Scoutmaster with handling boy behavior problems.



You can have a full committee with a reasonable amount of recruiting effort. The first five positions are essential for quality troop operation. Fill those positions first. There is no maximum limit to the number of troop committee members. The minimum number is three adults ages 21 or older.

For committees with more members than positions listed, assign each additional member to assist in one of the areas. The more support each position has, the better that area will function. Needless to say, there is a job for everyone the committee approves.

The video presentation, The Barbecue: Working with the Troop Committee, and accompanying viewer's guide is the single best introduction to troop committee operations. It explains the various committee positions and duties in detail. The Barbecueshould be reviewed by all new and old members of the troop committee. It is available from your local service center. 

Duties of the Chairperson 


Organizethe committee to see that all functions are delegated, coordinated, and completed.

Maintain a close relationship with the chartered organizations representative and the Scoutmaster.

Interpret national and local policies to the troop.

Prepare troop committee meeting agendas.

Call, preside over, and promote attendance at monthly troop committee meetings and any special meetings that may be called.

Ensure troop representation at monthly roundtables.

Secure top-notch , trained individuals for camp leadership.

Arrange for charter review and recharter annually.

Plan the charter presentation.


Duties of the Secretary 

Keep minutes of meetings and send out committee meeting notices.

Handle publicity.

Prepare a family newsletter of troop events and activities.

Conduct the troop resource survey.

Plan for family night programs and family activities.

At each meeting, report the minutes of the previous meeting.


Duties of the Treasurer (Finance/Records) 

Handle all troop funds. Pay bills on the recommendation of the Scoutmaster and authorization of the troop committee

Maintain checking and savings accounts

Train and supervise the troop scribe in record keeping.

Keep adequate records in the Troop/Team Record Book.

Supervise the camp savings plan.

Lead in the preparation of the annual troop budget.

Lead the Friends of Scouting campaign.

Report to the troop at each meeting

Keep adequate records of expenses



Duties of Outdoor/Activities

Help in securing permission to use camping sites.

Serve as transportation coordinator.

Ensure a monthly outdoor program.

Promote the National Camping Award.

Promote, through family meetings, attendance at troop campouts, camporees, and summer camp to reach the goal of one outing per month.

Secure tour permits for all troop activities.

Report to the troop committee at each meeting.



Duties of Advancement

Encourage Scouts to advance in rank

Work with the troop scribe to maintain all Scout advancement records.

Arrange quarterly troop boards of review and courts of honor.

Develop and maintain a merit badge counselor list

Make a prompt report on the correct form to the council service center when a troop board of review is held. Secure badges and certificates

Work with the troop librarian to build and maintain a troop library of merit badge pamphlets.

Report to the troop committee at each meeting.



Duties of Chaplain

Provide a spiritual tone for troop meetings and activities.

Give guidance to the chaplain aide.

Promote regular participation of each member in the activities of the religious organization of his choice.

Visit homes of Scouts in time of sickness or need.

Encourage Boy Scouts to earn their appropriate religious emblems.

Report to the troop committee at each meeting


Duties of Training

Ensure troop leaders and committee members have opportunities for training.

Maintain an inventory of up-t0-date training materials, videotapes, and other training resources.

Work with the district training team in scheduling Fast Start training for all new leaders.

Be responsible for BSA Youth Protection training within the troop.

Encourage periodic junior leader training within the troop and a the council and national levels.

Report to the troop committee at each meeting.



Duties of the Equipment Coordinator 

Supervise and help the troop procure camping equipment.

Work with the quartermaster on inventory and proper storage and maintenance of all troop equipment.

Make periodic safety checks on all troop camping gear, and encourage troops in safe use of all outdoor equipment.

Report to the troop committee at each meeting.



Chapter 5

Selecting and Recruiting Adult Leaders


A key function of your troop committee is assisting in the selection of the best possible person to be your Scoutmaster. Your Scoutmaster will be a role model for the boys and will reflect the character of the chartered organization. The Scoutmaster must be the kind of person you would want you own sons to be influenced by and whose judgment will always be in their best interest.

To find the right person, it is strongly recommended that you use the following steps.

Step 1

The head of the chartered organization, or the chartered organization representative should be briefed by a representative from the local council who can provide recruitment techniques, videos, and other support material such as the brochure Selecting Quality Leaders.

Step 2

Meet with the other troop committee members to develop a prospect list, and follow these steps:

a. Review part one of the videotape Selecting Quality Leaders.

b. Develop a list of prospects who closely fit the descriptions you heard in the videotape. Be prepared by obtaining lists of the chartered organization membership and parent rosters. Choose prospects who live up to the values of the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives. do not make assumptions about whether or not prospects will accept or have the time to do the job. Give them the opportunity to make their own decision.

What are the personal characteristics of a successful Scoutmaster? These ten characteristics have been found:

Commitment to the ideals of Scouting

High moral standards

Ability to relate to boys

Ability to keep a "cool head" under pressure

Good organizational skills

Ability to relate to and interact with adults

Flexibility and the ability to compromise

Good planning ability

High energy level

Good attention to detail

c. Rank the prospects. The committee should agree on and rank the top three prospects, in preferential order

d. Clear the list of prospects with the head of the chartered organization before making any contact.

e. Preview part two of the videotape Selecting Quality Leaders. It explains the vision of Scouting to the prospective Scoutmaster. You should preview it to become familiar with the points it makes.

f. Select at least three people from the committee to call on the number one prospect. These persons should know the prospect quite well and have influence in the prospect's decision.

Step 3

Make an appointment with the number one prospect. This should be done by the person who knows the prospect best and has this person's respect. It can usually be done on the phone. Set a date and time to meet, preferably at the prospect's home. You will want to involve this person's spouse since it will affect the prospect's time at home. If the prospect questions the purpose of the meeting, frankly state that it is to discuss a matter important to the youth of the community. Confirm the date and time with the other members who will be making the visit.

Step 4

Call on the prospect as a group. Gather at a convenient place and arrive at the prospect's home as a group. Review the steps that have been taken, explain how the qualifications were reviewed, and let the prospect know that he or she was considered by all to be the number one prospect to do the job.

Give the prospect a true and realistic picture of the job: time demands, adult leadership support, special problems the troop is facing, and other relevant information. After all the questions have been answered, a member of the committee extends the invitation to serve the organization as its Scoutmaster (subject to approval) and pledges the organization's full support.

If for some reason the prospect is unable to accept the position, you should repeat the process with the number two prospect (who now becomes number one). 

Step 5

Have the prospect complete an application to join the Boy Scouts of America. It is the responsibility of the committee to review and screen the application. Individuals who have lived in the community for three or more years and are known to members of the committee well enough for them to serve as a reference should require little additional screening.

Conduct a reference check on those who are new to the community as well as those who may be new to volunteer Scouting. References should be checked in a discrete, non-threatening manner, and previous Scouting experience should be confirmed.

Upon approval, the application is signed by the chartered organization head of the chartered organization representative, and is submitted tot he local council. All leaders registered with the Boy Scouts of America must meet its standards for leadership. 

Step 6

Once the prospect has accepted the position and has been approved as a leader, the head of the chartered organization should personally welcome the new leader. An announcement should be placed in the local newspaper and the chartered organization's publication, if applicable. A formal induction ceremony should take place as soon as possible at a meeting of the chartered organization. 

Step 7

A representative from the local council will contact the new leader to schedule Fast Start training using the video and accompanying booklet. Attendance at the next roundtable is encouraged as well as participation in the next Scoutmastership Fundamentals or Varsity Scout Leader Fundamentals, and BSA Youth Protection training. 

Assistant Scoutmasters

The same standards used to determine the best prospect for Scoutmaster should also be used to qualify assistant Scoutmasters. The majority of successful troops have three or more assistant Scoutmasters. This is not an unrealistic goal. The guide Selecting Quality Leaders can help you through the selection process. The video presentation Selecting Quality Leaders is also a useful tool. 

Recruiting Committee Members

Experience has shown that troops with committees of seven or more members work more effectively and provide better troop program support. The minimum number of committee members required is three adults ages 21 or older. If the committee is well run and active, you should have little difficulty getting others to join. But again, be sure that each member has a meaningful responsibility and is kept actively involved.

As with securing a Scoutmaster, to get qualified adults involved with your troop, you must first identify good people, select and rank the top prospects, and then use all available influence to recruit them.

Where do you find new committee members? The best source is parents of troop members. Parents have a natural interest in their sons having a successful Scouting experience. They are also an excellent resource for troop program assistance. The Troop Resource Surveyshould be completed by every troop member's parents. This task is the responsibility of the assistant Scoutmaster of the new-Scout patrol.

The survey will inform the committee what professions, special interests, skills, and resources are available to your troop. For example, a parent who works at a printing shop could help the troop produce a first-rate newsletter. Another parent might be a banker. Obviously, this person would likely be considered for the position of the committee treasurer. But their hobbies may be cycling and fishing. If asked, they may well be more than willing to work with the boys in either of these activities.

The troop committee secretary should have a copy of every troop resource survey conducted by the assistant Scoutmaster for new Scouts or by other committee members. At the monthly committee meeting, the Scoutmaster should be consulted as to what adult help and talents are needed for the coming month's program. A care review of the collected resource surveys should begin the committee's search.

Not every parent will be able to serve on the troop committee or make a similar long-term task, but every parent should have the responsibility to perform a short-term task sometime during the year. Baking cookies for a bake sale, providing transportation to campouts, giving skill demonstrations at troop meetings, and accompanying the troop on a hike are all examples of help that is expected of troop members' parents. Let the parents know that the troop will call on them occasionally for help. Keep the parents involved!

Troop committee members should also use the troop resource survey with interested members of the charted organization, personal friends, Eagle Scouts, and Scouting supporters in your community. Once your resources are identified, don't hesitate to use them.


Chapter 6

Troop Finances

Proper management of the troop's finances will allow your troop to achieve its program goals. The recording, disbursing, and budgeting of troop funds, along with unit money-earning project assistance, is the responsibility of the troop committee and its treasurer.

Troop Bank Account

Every troop should have a checking account at a local bank. An account that requires two signatures on each check, those of the committee treasurer and Scoutmaster, is recommended. Troop funds need to be recorded and deposited weekly into the troop's checking account. The Troop/Team Record Book is an indispensable tool for this purpose. Disbursements from the checking account are made on the recommendations of the Scoutmaster with the authorization of your troop committee.

Petty Cash Fund

Occasionally in the course of troop activities, the Scoutmaster will need unplanned miscellaneous articles. The committee needs to establish a petty cash fund for this purpose. When most of this fund has been paid out, the Scoutmaster accounts for it with the receipts of purchases and secures a new advance from the treasurer.

The Annual Budget

The troop budget is a plan for receiving and spending the troop funds. Immediately after approval of the troop's annual program plan, the Scoutmaster and the committee treasurer should start the preparation of the annual budget. The Unit Budget Plan and the Troop/Team Record Bookare useful guides.

Troop expenses will include:

Membership registration fees

Boys' Life subscriptions

Unit accident insurance

Advancement and rank badges

Literature for the troop library and record keeping

Unit charter fee (which goes to the general liability insurance program)

Reserve fund (for unexpected expenses)

Program materials (including unit flags, new camping gear, and program supplies)

Activities funds for summer camp and high-adventure trips (usually paid by the participating boy and his parents or raised through special troop money-earning projects)


Sources of Income

When the cost estimates for expenses have been calculated, the next step is to identify sources of income. These include:

Dues. Dues are usually paid weekly or monthly by troop members. In some troops, the boys pay a yearly fee. We don't recommend this because it doesn't help the Scout learn how to budget. In most such cases, the parents pay the fee, so the boy will not learn how to pay his own way, and the fee could prohibit many potential Scouts from joining the troop for economic reasons.

Troop money-earning projects. The remainder of the anticipated expenses not covered by dues and surpluses from the previous year must be raised through money-earning projects.

Troop Money-Earning Projects

These projects can be large or small, depending on the amount of money that is needed. Some suggestions are: 

Troop-sponsored dinners

·  Council-sponsored fund-raisers (popcorn sales, Scouting show tickets, etc.

·  Collecting aluminum cans for recycling

·  Bake sales

·  Car washes

·  Product sales (ink pens, candy, greeting cards, ect.

·  Lawn care service


Project selection should begin with the patrol leaders' council and the Scoutmaster. They will bring their ideas to the troop committee.

Here are some guidelines to help you determine whether your project conforms to Scouting standards.

Have your troop committee, chartered organization, and local council approved your project, including the dates and methods?

Do your plan and its projected dates avoid competition with money-raising programs and policies of your chartered organization, local council, community chest, and United Way?

Is your plan in harmony with local ordinances, free from any stigma of gambling, and consistent with the ideals and the purposes of the Boy Scouts of America?

If a commercial product is to be sold, will it be sold on its own merits and without reference to the needs of Scouting either directly (during sales presentations) or indirectly?

If tickets are sold for any function other than a Scouting event, will they be sold by your Scouts as individuals without depending on the goodwill of Scouting to make the sale possible?

When sales are confined to parents and friends, will they get their money's worth from any product they purchase, function they attend, or services they receive from your unit?

If a project is planned for a particular area, do you respect the rights of other Scouting units in the same neighborhood?

Is it reasonably certain that people who need work or business will not lose it as a result of your troop's plan?

Will your plan protect the name and goodwill of the Boy Scouts of America and prevent it from being capitalized on by promoters of shows, benefits, or sales campaigns?

If any contracts are signed by your troop., will they be signed by an individual without reference to the Boy Scouts of America and in no way appear to bind the local council or the Boy Scouts of America to any agreement of financial responsibility?


Camp Savings Plan

Local councils use every opportunity and means available to keep summer camp cost to a minimum. But despite their best efforts, many boys and their families will have difficulty paying the average camp fee at one time. The Boy Scouts of America has devised a systematic savings plan that will allow most boys to have their camp fee paid when it is due.

By depositing money weekly or monthly toward the camp fee, the majority of the fee will be paid by camp time. 

Friends of Scouting

The local council provides may services to make the Scouting program possible for your troop. These services include program, support materials, training, advancement program, activities, camping facilities, high-adventure opportunities, and personnel readily available to assist in making possible a better program for your troop.

Friends of Scouting, or FOS (called Sustaining Membership Enrollment, or SME in some councils), is a primary source of operating income for the council. Friends are those individuals with an interest in the Boy Scouts of America and a desire to support the program financially. When properly informed and given the opportunity, many families of youth members wish to become Friends of Scouting. 


Chapter 7


Ranks are simply a means to an end, not an end in themselves. Everything boys do to advance and earn these ranks, from the day they join until they leave the program, should be designed to help boys have an exciting and meaningful experience. This means providing your boys a stimulating and active troop program!

Education and fun are functions of Scouting, and they are the basis of the advancement program. In the Scouting program, recognition is gained through leadership in the unit; attending and participating in the activities; living the ideals of Scouting; and developing a proficiency in outdoor living and useful skills.

No council, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add or subtract from any advancement requirement. The advancement requirements have been carefully developed to achieve the aims of Boy Scouting. To alter the requirements would defeat that purpose and would also be unfair to the Scout.

Boy Scout advancement is a four-step process:

1. The Boy Scout learns. A Scout learns by doing. As he learns, he grows in ability to do his part as a member of the patrol and the troop. As he develops knowledge and skill, he is asked to teach others. In this way, he begins to develop leadership.

2. The Boy Scout is tested. A Scout may be tested on requirements by his patrol leader, Scoutmaster, assistant Scoutmaster, a troop committee member, or a member of his troop. The Scoutmaster maintains a list of those qualified to give tests and to pass candidates.

3. The Boy Scout is reviewed. After a Scout has completed all requirements for a rank, he has a board of review. For Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle palms, the review is conducted by members of the troop committee The Eagle board of review is conducted in accordance with local council procedures.

4. The Boy Scout is recognized. When the board of review has certified a boy's advancement, he deserves to receive recognition as soon as possible. This should be done at a ceremony at the next troop meeting. The certificate for his new rank may be presented later at a formal court of honor.

The committee member responsible for advancement must become familiar with the video presentation Boy Scout Advancement; the booklet National Advancement Policies and Procedures Committee Guide; and the booklet Boy Scout Requirements. These three resources are indispensable tools to use in your troop's advancement program. The entire troop committee should review the Boy Scout Advancement video.

Any registered Boy Scout may earn merit badges, badges of rank, and Eagle palms until his 18th birthday. A Scout with a disability may work toward rank advancement after his is 18 years old (review "Program for Youth Members with Disabilities" in National Advancement Policies and Procedures Committee Guide).

If a Scout foresees that he will be unable to complete the requirements for the Eagle rank prior to his 18th birthday, a petition may be filed in writing with the national Boy Scout Committee through the local council for special permission to continue to work toward the award after reaching age 18. The petition must show good and sufficient evidence and detail extenuating circumstances. Extenuating circumstances are defined as condition or situations that are totally beyond the control of the Scout.

If circumstances should also prevent a Scout from requesting the extension before he is 18, it is still permissible to ask for the extension, detailing the circumstances that presented him from completing the requirements and from requesting the extension before age 18. A limited extension may be granted by the national Boy Scout Committee. 

The Scoutmaster Conference

You will notice that participation in a Scoutmaster conference is a requirement for every rank. The purpose of the conference is to ensure that the Scout is ready for his board of review. An increasing level of trust between the Scoutmaster and each Scout develops during these conferences. In time, the Scoutmaster is allowed by the Scout to become a positive guide and influence in his life. The conference is also an opportunity for the Scoutmaster to review the Scout's personal growth and set goals for further advancement.

The Merit Badge Program

The ranks of Star, Life and Eagle require that a Scout earn a certain number of merit badges. Merit badges are awarded to Scouts for fulfilling requirements in specific fields of interest. The subjects range from Agribusiness to Woodwork and cover areas such as hobbies, careers, sports, science, and Scouting skills. In all, there are more than one hundred merit badges. (See Boy Scout Requirements.)

A Scout, along with a buddy, works closely with a council-approved merit badge counselor to complete the requirements for the merit badge. Each counselor must be a registered adult member of the Boy Scouts of America and an expert in the chosen subject. When a boy feels that he is ready to earn a merit badge, the Scoutmaster will give him the name and telephone number of an approved counselor from the merit badge counselor list, usually provided by the local council or district. Because the Boy Scouts of America does not permit a youth member to work alone with an adult, each Scout must have a "buddy" to accompany him. (See Boy Scout Requirements.)

If an approved list is not provided, or if the Scoutmaster feels that some of the popular merit badges need additional counselors, the troop committee member responsible for advancement has the primary responsibility for developing the troop's own counselor list. Troop counselors must meet the same qualifications as persons serving district and council-wide, and they must be approved by the district or council.

The requirements for merit badge counselors are:

1. Be 18 years of age or older and of good character.

2. Be recognized as having sufficient skills and education in the subjects for which they are to serve as merit badge counselors.

3. Be registered as adult members of the Boy Scouts of America.

Potential sources for counselors are parents (review your troop resource survey), former Scouts, committee members, local school teachers, government agencies, labor union, special-interest clubs, technical and industrial organizations and serious hobbyists. A useful tool is the Work Sheet for Building a Merit Badge Counselor List. Other tools include:

Merit Badge Counselor Orientation. A practical training aid for adult leaders.

Merit Badge Counselor Information. Qualifications and background information for counselors.

Recommending Merit Badge Counselors. A forum for suggesting names of potential counselors.


Service Projects

To help foster a sense of personal responsibility and citizenship, Scouts are required to participate in a service project approved by their Scoutmaster for the ranks of Second Class, Star, Life, and Eagle.

The time of service must be a minimum of 1 hour for Second Class and 6 hours for Star and Life ranks. This may be done as an individual project or as a member of patrol or troop project. Star and Life service projects may be approved for Scouts assisting on Eagle service projects. The Scoutmaster approves the project before it is started.

Eagle Scout


For the Eagle service project, ,a boy must plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project for any religious institution, school, or his community while he is a Life Scout.

The Eagle Scout service project provides the opportunity for the Eagle Scout candidate to demonstrate the leadership skills he has learned in Scouting. He does the project outside the sphere of Scouting.

Before any Eagle service project is begun, it must be approved by the district or council advancement chairman and the recipient of the project.. 

Board of Review (Except for Eagle Scout)

When A Scout has completed all the requirements for a rank, he appears before a board of review composed of at lest three and not more than six committee members.

The review has three purposes:

1. To make sure that the work has been learned and completed.

2. To find what kind of experience the boy is having in his patrol and troop.

3. to encourage the Scout to progress further.

The board of review is not a time to retest the Scout, but to determine the Scout's attitude and his acceptance of Scouting ideals. It is also important to review those Scouts who are not advancing. the guidance and care shown could motivate these Scouts to further achievement.

The review should be conducted at a convenient time and location, such as a troop meeting, summer camp, or the home of a member of the troop committee. Scoutmasters and assistant Scoutmasters do not participate in the board of review..

The board of review members should feel free to refer to the Boy Scout Handbook, Scoutmaster Handbook, or any other references during the review.

Because many boys are ill at ease when talking to adults, it is important that the board of review be held in a relaxed atmosphere. A certain amount of formality and meaningful questioning should be used during the review. Use questions that require a narrative answer.

Examples of the kinds of questions that might be asked are:

What do you like most in troop outdoor activities?

What new things did you do/learn on your latest campout/service project/troop meeting?

What did you learn/feel in giving service to others?

Why is being a Boy Scout important to you?

What are your goals in Scouting?

How will fulfilling requirement number _______ help you?

These types of questions will help the boy to see the value and practical application of his efforts.

At the conclusion of the review, the board should know whether a boy is qualified for the rank or palm. The Scout is asked to leave the room while the board members discuss his achievements. The decision of the board of review is arrived at through discussion and must be unanimous. If members are satisfied that the Scout is ready to advance, he is called in, congratulated, notified as to when he will receive his recognition, and encouraged to continue his advancement or earn the next palm. Scouts who are not advancing should also come before the board of review. The board should show interest in these Scouts' rank progress. Ask the kind of questions that may reveal why they are not advancing:

Do you enjoy the outings/troop meetings?

Which of the requirements are most difficult for you?

Do you find that school activities are taking more of your time? Which ones?

Let the Scout know that he has the support of the board of review members and that there is no doubt that he can achieve the next rank. The board's concern and supportive manner will both help the Scout's confidence and impress upon him the importance of advancement in his Scouting experience.

At the conclusion of every board of review, it is the committee's responsibility to prepare and turn in to the local council office a copy of the Advancement Report, and ensure that the badges earned by the boys are obtained and awarded in a timely fashion. 

Eagle Board of Review

The Boy Scouts of America has placed the Eagle Scout board of review in the hands of either the troop committee or the district or council advancement committee. Your council has determined which method is to be used.

The Eagle board of review is composed of a minimum of three members and a maximum of six members. the members do not have to be registered Scouters, but must understand the importance of the rank and the Eagle board of review. At least one district or council advancement representative shall be a member when the board of review is conducted on the troop level.

If a unanimous decision is not reached, a new review may be convened at the request of the applicant, the Scoutmaster, or the troop committee. If the applicant is again turned down, the decision can be appealed to the national Boy Scout Committee. Your district or council representative can help in this process. 

Courts of Honor

When a Scout advances, he should be recognized as soon as possible--preferably at the next unit meeting. He is recognized a second time at a public ceremony called a court of honor.

The main purposes of the court of honor are to furnish formal recognition for achievement and to provide incentive for other Scouts to advance.

Formal courts of honor should be conducted at least four times a year. All Scouts who have advanced since the previous court of honor are honored. Their parents and friends should be invited to attend the ceremony.

Suggestions on court of honor agendas and ceremonies are found in Troop Program Resources for Boy Scout Leaders. 








Chapter 8

Troop Committee Meetings


The committee meeting is attended by all committee members and the Scoutmaster. Occasionally you may want to invite guests such as your chartered organization representative and unit commissioner.

The Scoutmaster is not actually a member of the troop committee, and has not vote. The committee should not forget that its primary responsibility is supporting the troop program. The importance of mutual cooperation between the two groups of leaders is critical for the smooth and successful operation of the troop.

The support and administration of an active troop requires the participation of every committee member. Every member should have a working assignment. This will not only help the troop to operate effectively, but will assure team spirit and their attendance at meetings. When people feel that it doesn't matter if they attend or not, often they will choose to do something else. 

Suggested Troop Committee Meeting Agenda 

1. Call the meeting to order--Chairperson

2. Welcome and introduction of new members and guests--Chairperson

3. Approval of previous meeting's minutes--Secretary

4. Reports

Scoutmaster (troop's progress, actions of patrol leaders' council, disciplinary problems, attendance, monthly outing plans, other troop meets

Secretary (newsletter, additional resource surveys)

Outdoor/Activities (outdoor plans, special activities, district and council activities, summer camp update)

Treasurer (report on current financial standing, money-earning projects, Friends of Scouting)

Chaplain (update on chaplain support to troop members, religious emblems program, participation of boys in the religious emblems program)

Training (new training materials, youth leader and adult volunteer opportunities for training)

Equipment Coordinator (status of new and existing troop equipment and of troop needs, new procedures for safe use and storage of equipment)


5. Old business (reports on task assignments from previous meeting)

6. New business (assign tasks as issues are discussed)

7. Announcements (including the date of next month's troop committee meeting)

8. Adjournment

If everyone is prepared, troop committee meetings should not last longer than one and one-half hours. It is the chairperson's responsibility to keep the meeting moving swiftly. There is no better way to discourage attendance than to conduct meetings that last too long with too little accomplished. the video The Barbecue: Working with the Troop Committee will also give you some helpful hints on conducting the committee meetings. 

Chapter 9

Outdoor Program, Rechartering, Training, and Policy

Outdoor Program, Rechartering, Training, and Policy

Most boys join Boy Scouting for one reason - to have fun in the outdoors. The troop committee, working in support of the Scoutmaster, should make every effort to give their Scouts an outdoor experience every month. This goal is not easy to accomplish. It takes people (leaders, transportation) and money (food, equipment), but this challenge can be met with the help of the troop committee.

Two registered adult leaders, or one adult leader and a parent of a participating Scout, one of whom must be at least 21 years of age or older, are required for all trips or outings.

For complete information on current policies and procedures for safe activities, consult the Guide to Safe Scouting available from the local council.

Tour Permits

Tour permits establish high standards of health and safety for your troop and assure parents and the council that your tour will be wisely planned, safe, and fun.

The Local Tour Permit Application must be filed with the Council service center in Portland 2 weeks in advance of a scheduled trip of less than 500 miles

National Tour Permit Application must be submitted to your local council office for approval at least 1 month before your departure on a trip of more than 500 miles. The council office forwards it to the regional office for approval.




Safety is the number one concern when arranging transportation for troop outings.

For trips beyond hiking distance, you will need to arrange for private cars. Trucks may not be used for transporting boys except inside the cabs. Insurance companies may refuse to accept responsibility if this rule is violated. Private cars or licensed buses should be used.

General guidelines are:

Seat belts are required for all occupants.

All drivers must be have a valid driver's license that has not been suspended or revoked for any reason. If the vehicle to be used is designed to carry more than 15 persons, including the driver (more than 10 persons, including the driver, in California), the driver must have a commercial driver's license (CDL).

An adult leader of at least 21 years of age must be in charge and accompany the group.

The driver must be currently licensed and at least 18 years of age. Youth member exception: When traveling to an are, regional, or national Boy Scout activity or any Venturing event under the leadership of an adult (at least 21 years of age) tour leader, a youth member at least 16 years of age may be a driver, subject to the following conditions:


a. Six months' driving experience as a licensed driver (time on a learner's permit or equivalent is not to be counted)

b. No record of accidents or moving violations

c. Parental permission granted to the leader, driver, and riders.

Passenger cars, station wagons, or sport utility vehicles may be used for transporting passengers, but passengers should not ride on the rear deck of moving vehicles.

Trucks may not be used for transporting passengers except in the cab.

All driving (except short trips) should be done in daylight.

All vehicle must be covered by automobile liability insurance with limits that meet or exceed requirements of the state in which the vehicle is licensed. it is recommended that coverage limits are at least $50,000/$100,000/$50,000. Any vehicle designed to carry 10 or more passengers is required to have limits of $100,000/$500,000/$100,000.

Do not exceed the speed limit.

Do not travel in convoy. (See page 4, No. 2 in Guide to Safe Scouting.)

Driving time is limited to a maximum of 10 hours and must be interrupted by frequent rest, food, and recreation stops. If there is only one driver, the driving time should be reduced and stops should be made more frequently.

If you use the troop resource survey to identify willing drivers and ask for their help well in advance, you should be able to secure the needed cars. 

Types of Troop Camping

Short-term camping is usually done over one or two nights on the weekend. The troop-equipment must be adequate for the number of boys involved. These short-term camps allow advancement opportunity, fun, and fitness. As we pointed out earlier, troops should camp monthly.

Resident camping lasts at least a week and sometimes longer. This will be at a council summer camp facility.

Camping Equipment

It is the troop committee's responsibility, in cooperation with the Scoutmaster, to secure adequate numbers of tens, cook-kits, and other outdoor gear. Because of the cost of this equipment, a troop money-earning project will usually be organized (see chapter 6). The equipment coordinator should work closely with the troop quartermaster to maintain the troop's equipment with adequate repair and storage. 


Near the end of your charter year, your council will provide an application for charter renewal. This is a computer printout of information previously furnished. Your task of reregistering the troop is much less than that of registering it initially. You need only update the printed information. An instruction sheet will accompany the renewal papers.

You will receive a printout with all youth and adults presently registered, from which the unit commissioner and troop committee will conduct a membership inventory. The commissioner and committee chairman then hold a charter renewal meeting attended by the commissioner, chartered organization representative, executive officer of the chartered organization, Scoutmaster, and all other adult volunteers. At this time, they identify which youth and adults to reregister. Your completed charter renewal application is then submitted to the local council. 


Quality Unit Award

One measure of a Boy Scout troop's success is fulfilling the requirements for a national Quality Unit Award. There are 10 requirements of which four are mandatory:

*Training. The Scoutmaster will complete Boy Scout Leader Fast Start Training and Scoutmastership Fundamentals.

*Two-Deep Leadership. We will have one or more assistant Scoutmasters registered, trained, and active. One registered adult is assigned responsibility for Youth Protection Training.

Planned Program. Our troop will conduct an annual planning conference, publish an annual troop program calendar, and present parents at a family activity.

Service Project. Our troop will conduct a service project annually, preferably for the chartered organization or the community.

Advancement. Sixty percent or more of our Boy Scouts will advance a rank, or we will have a 10 percent increase in total rank advancement over a year ago. Approved rank advancements for this recognition include Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle.

Boys' Life. Fifty percent or more of our Boy Scout members will subscribe to Boys' Life magazine, or we will have a 10 percent increase over a year ago.

*Outdoor Activities. The troop will conduct six highlight activities (such as hikes, campouts, trips, tours, etc.) and attend a Boy Scouts of America long-term camp.

Membership. We will renew our charter with an equal or greater number of youth registered over a year ago.

Patrol Method. We will conduct troop junior leader training as outlines in the Scoutmaster Handbook and hold monthly patrol leaders' council meetings.

*On-Time Charter Renewal. The troop will complete its charter renewal before its current charter expires.




Note: Since this guidebook was published the BSA has put a wealth of resources on the web. To receive training on line please go to the BSA Online Learning Center.

All adult leaders should take advantage of the available training opportunities. Fast Start training can be done in your home or, if a new troop, at your first committee meeting by a district or council representative. Contact your district executive or a member of the training committee to schedule training. Within the first few weeks, the new committee members should review the following Boy Scout Leader Fast Start videos:

Troop Organization

The Troop Meeting

The Outdoor Program'

Viewer's Guide Booklet

These are available at your local council service center. 


On a monthly basis, districts conduct roundtable meetings, which emphasize troop program. Adult leaders, including troop committee members, meet and learn new program ideas, get information on up-coming events, and share solutions to common problems. Roundtable meetings are excellent training opportunities. Each month has a program feature and a training feature.

Restricted Activities 
The following activities have been declared as unauthorized and restricted by the Boy Scouts America:

All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are banned from program use. ATVs are defined as motorized recreational cycles with three or four large, soft tires, designed for off-road use on a variety of terrains.

Boxing, karate, and related martial arts are not authorized activities.

Chainsaws and mechanical log splitters may only be authorized for use by trained individuals who are over the age of 18, using proper protective gear in accordance with local law.

Exploration of abandoned mines is an unauthorized activity.

Varsity football teams and interscholastic or club football competition and activities are unauthorized activities.

Fireworks secured, used, or displayed in conjunction with program and activities is unauthorized except where the fireworks display is conducted under the auspices of a certified or licensed fireworks control expert..

The selling of fireworks as a fund-raising or money-earning activity by any group acting for or on behalf of members, units, or districts may not be authorized by councils.

Flying in hang gliders, ultralights, experimental-class aircraft and hot air balloons, parachuting, and flying in aircraft as part of a search-and-rescue mission are unauthorized activities.

Motorized go-carts and motorbike activities are unauthorized for Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs. All motorized speed events, including motorcycles, boats, drag racing, demolition derbies, and related events are not authorized activities for any program level.

Participation in amateur or professional rodeo events and council or district sponsorship of rodeos are not authorized.

The activity commonly referred to as "war games" -- where individuals shoot paint dye at one another -- is an unauthorized activity.

Hunting is not an authorized Cub Scout or Boy Scout activity, although hunting safety is part of the program curriculum. (The purpose of this policy is to restrict chartered packs, troop, and teams from conducting hunting trips. ) However, this policy does not restrict Venturing crews from conducting hunting trips or special adult hunting expeditions provided that adequate safety procedures are followed and that all participants have obtained necessary permits and/or licenses from either state or federal agencies. While hunter safety education might not be required prior to obtaining a hunting license, successful completion of the respective state voluntary program is required before participating in the activity.

Motorized personal watercraft, such as jet-skis, are not authorized for use in Scouting aquatics, and their use should not be permitted in or near BSA program sites.

Except for (1) law enforcement officers required to carry firearms within their jurisdiction, and (2) circumstances within the scope of the BSA hunting policy statement, firearms should not be in the possession of any person engaged in camping, hiking, backpacking, or any other Scouting activity other than those specifically planned for target shooting under the supervision of a certified firearms instructor. (Among the purposes of this policy is to prohibit adult leaders from bringing firearms on BSA camping and hiking activities or to unit meetings.)

Parasailing, or any activity in which a person is carried aloft by a parachute, parasail, kite, or other device towed by a motorboat or by any other means, is unauthorized.

All activities related to bungee cord jumping (sometimes called shock cord jumping) are unauthorized.

For detailed information, consult the Guide to Safe Scouting.


Youth Protection Training

BSA offers a training program for adults that explores the various forms of child abuse. Using a video presentation and discussion guide, the causes, signs, and proper response to and reporting of child abuse incidents are explained in detail. For the protection of yourself, as a leader, and the boys in your troop, every adult associated with the troop, including merit badge counselors, should attend this seminar. To participate in Youth Protection training, contact your local council district executive for the next training session. 

Youth Protection Guidelines

Child abuse is a critical problem in America, with several million incidents reported each year. Emotional abuse occurs when a young person is continually berated and denigrated, and the youth's self-esteem is severely harmed. Physical abuse involves the bodily injury of a child. Sexual Abuse is any sexual activity between an adult and a child or between children when there is an unequal distribution of power, as in the case when one child is significantly older or larger.

The Boy Scouts of America recognizes child abuse as an unacceptable, and has developed a five-point strategy to combat such abuse:

Educate Scouting volunteers, parents, and Scouts to aid in the detection and prevention of child abuse.

Strengthen leader selection procedures to prevent offenders from entering the Boy Scouts of America leadership ranks.

Strengthen policies that create barriers to child abuse within the BSA program.

Encourage Scouts to report improper behavior so that offenders can be identified quickly.

Swiftly remove and report alleged offenders. If at any time you suspect an instance of child abuse within the Scouting movement, you must contact your local council Scout executive immediately. Each Scout executive has established contacts with local child protective and law enforcement agencies, and is aware of procedures to be followed to ensure that children will be protected from further abuse.

As a volunteer in Scouting, adult leaders are cautioned not to be investigators of allegations of child abuse. Reports of suspected abuse can best be handled by trained professionals working in cooperation with the local council Scout executive. As long as reports are made in good faith, all states provide immunity from liability to those who report suspected abuse. 

Sexual Abuse

Child molesters--individuals who sexually abuse children--do not fit into any convenient profile. They may come from any walk of life--even respected community professionals--any may be members of their victims' own families. Children also molest other children, an activity who significance is often minimized.

With their parents or other trusted adults, all boys joining a Scout troop must complete the exercises in the parents' guide entitled How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse. 

Standards of Youth Protection

While there is no way to detect every potential child abuser in advance of attempted or actual abuse, the Boy Scouts of America clearly conveys the message that Scouting is a hostile environment for individuals who want to abuse children.

After selecting the best possible leaders, the BSA structures further protection for children into its programs. The following policies have been adopted by the Boy Scouts of America to provide additional security for youth and to protect adult leaders from situations in which they may be vulnerable to allegations of abuse:

Two-deep leadership. Two registered adult leaders or one registered adult leader and a parent of a participant, one of whom must be 21 years of age or older, are required on all trips and outings. The chartered organization is responsible for ensuring that sufficient leadership is provided for all activities. This requirement applies to the activities of provisional troops and of the Order of the Arrow.

No one-on-one contact. One-on-one contact between adults and youth members is not permitted. In situations that require personal interaction such as a Scoutmaster's conference, the meeting should be conducted in view of at least one other adult.

Respect of privacy. Adult leadership must respect the privacy of youth members in situations such as changing into swimming suits or taking showers at camp. In similar situations, adults should also protect their own privacy.

Separate accommodations. When camping, no youth is permitted to sleep in the tent of an adult who is not that youth's own parent or guardian. Councils are strongly encouraged to have separate shower and latrine facilities for females. When separate facilities are not available, separate times for male and female use of showers should be scheduled and posted.

No secret organization. There are no "secret" organizations recognized within the Boy Scouts of America. All aspects of Scouting are open at all times for observation by parents or guardians and troop leaders.

No hazing. Physical hazing and initiations are prohibited by the Boy Scouts of America and may not be included as part of any Scouting activity.

Appropriate attire. Proper clothing is required for all Scouting activities. Skinny-dipping is not condoned by the BSA.



Behavioral Problems

Occasionally the troop committee may be asked by the Scoutmaster to deal with a problem which might involve disciplinary action or a health issue of an individual youth or adult member. These issues should be dealt with in strict confidence. If the subject concerns a scout, his parents should be fully informed of the issue.

Because serious or recurring behavioral problems may require the troop committee's involvement, the Scoutmaster should share discipline problems with the goal to integrate the youth into the Scouting program. Problems that may lead to a youth's permanent removal from the troop should be handled by the Scoutmaster and the troop committee, and should involve the Scout's parents or guardians. Together, the troop committee, parents, and Scoutmaster should work toward a solution with the troop's best interest in mind. 

Smoking and Drinking

It is a policy of the Boy Scouts of America that the use of alcoholic beverages and controlled substances is not permitted at encampments or activities on property owned and/or operated by the Boy Scouts of America, or at any activity involving participation of youth members.

Health is a most valuable possession. Smoking will dangerously impair a person's health. The BSA recommends that leaders maintain the attitude that young adults are much better off without tobacco. Leaders are encouraged not to use tobacco products in any form nor allow their use at any BSA activity.




1998 national BSA Advancement Policies and Procedures, NO 33088A

Advancement Report, No 34403

The Barbecue: Working with the Troop Committee, AV-048; viewer's guide AV-048VG (Audiovisual items, indicated by the prefix "AV," usually come with syllabus or viewer's guide; additional copies of these guides may be ordered)

Boy Scout Advancement, AV-02V001; syllabus, AV-02G001

Boy Scout Handbook, No. 33229

Boy Scout Requirements, NO. 33215A

Boy Scout Uniform Inspection Sheet, No 34283

Fast Start Videos:

The Troop Meeting, AV-023

The Outdoor Program, AV-024

Troop Organization, AV-025

(All three on one video, AV-026)

Viewer's guide, AV-026VG

Fieldbook, NO 33200

First Class--First Year Tracking Sheet, No 34118

How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse: A Parent's Guide, No. 46-015

Insignia Guide, No 33066A

Junior Leader Handbook, No. 33500

Local Tour Permit Application, No. 34426

merit Badge Counselor Information, NO 34405

Merit Badge Counselor Orientation, No. 34542

National Tour Permit Application, No. 4419

Personal Health and Medical Record, Class 3, No 34412

Personal Health and Medical Record, Class 1 and 2, No. 34414

Recommending Merit Badge Counselors, No. 34532

Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, No. 57-492

Scoutmaster Handbook, No. 33002

Selecting Quality Leaders, No. 18-981

Selecting Quality Leaders video, No. AV-02V009

Troop Program Resources for Boy Scout Leaders, (available January 1999)

Troop Resource Survey, No. 34437

Troop/Team Record Book, No 34508

Unit Budget Plan, No. 28-426

Unit Money-Earning Application, No. 34427

Work Sheet for Building a Merit Badge Counselor List, No 4439