Overview of Boy Scouts of America

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The mission of the Boy Scouts of America 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 Scout Law.

Scout Oath

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.

Scout Law

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

Scouting Anniversary Celebrations

Cub Scout blue and gold banquets, troop red and white dinners, and community window displays are held throughout the month of February as a part of the yearly
observance of:

  • The BSA’s birthday, celebrating the incorporation of the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910
  • Scout Sabbath, observed the Saturday after February 8
  • Scout Sunday, observed the Sunday before February 8


Cub Scouts

  • Motto: Do Your Best
  • For boys in first grade through fifth grade (or seven through 10 years of age)
  • 2012 membership, packs, and leaders:
      • 212,677 Tiger Cubs (first grade)
      • 726,775 Cub Scouts (second and third grades)
      • 589,221 Webelos Scouts (fourth and fifth grades)
      • 1,528,673 total Cub Scouts
      • 44,830 Cub Scout packs
      • 417,030 Cub Scout leaders

    Boy Scouts

    • Motto: Be Prepared
    • Slogan: Do a Good Turn Daily
    • For boys who are 11 through 17 years of age, or have earned the Cub Scouting Arrow of Light award and are at least 10 years old, or have completed the fifth grade and are at least 10 years old
    • Ninety-five percent of all Boy Scouts participated in Cub Scouting at some time.
    • 2012 membership, troops, and leaders:
        • 848,263 Boy Scouts
        • 38,713 Boy Scout troops
        • 497,187 Boy Scout leaders

      Varsity Scouting

      • For young men 14 through 17 years of age
      • Built on five program fields of emphasis:
          • Advancement
          • High adventure
          • Personal development
          • Service
          • Special programs and events
        • 2012 membership, teams, and leaders:
            • 62,432 Varsity Scouts
            • 8,353 Varsity Scout teams
            • 23,210 Varsity Scout leaders


          • For young men and women 14 years of age, or 13 years of age and have completed the eighth grade through 20 years of age
          • 2012 membership was 219,453 Venturers:
              • 31.2 percent of membership was female.
              • 17,075 Venturing crews
              • 58,208 Venturing leaders

            Order of the Arrow-Scouting's National Honor Society

            • The purpose of the Order of the Arrow is to recognize those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Scout Law in their daily lives and promote camping and responsible outdoor adventure, leadership development, and cheerful service to others.
            • Order of the Arrow includes more than 170,000 youth and adult members in nearly 300 local councils through the United States and its territories.

            Outdoor Activities

            Cub Scouting

            • Day camps: one- to five-day program with daylight and early evening activities, with no overnight activities
            • Resident camps: at least two nights of camping with a developed theme of adventure and excitement held at a council facility under the direction of trained leadership
            • Council-organized family camps: overnight camping involving more than one pack; held at a council-approved facility; with the council or district providing staffing, food service, housing, and program
            • Pack camping: overnight camping involving more than one family from a single pack, focused on age-appropriate Cub Scout activities, conducted at council-approved locations, and under the direction of BALOO-trained adults
            • Cub World: venues using make-believe themes, such as castles, frontier forts, pirate ships, and more; usually part of a Cub Scout resident or family camp

            Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, and Venturing

            • Camporees: camping with other troops, involving competition using Scouting skills and knowledge
            • Summer camps: weeklong camps with troops learning outdoor skills
            • Scouting shows: gala events demonstrating to the public how Scouting serves youth in the community
            • National and world jamborees: camping events held at four-year intervals where Scouts and leaders from the BSA or the World Scouting Association come together

            National High-Adventure Bases

            Philmont Scout Ranch

            Located in northern New Mexico, this high-adventure base offers a variety of rugged activities, including backpacking treks, horseback cavalcades, and training and service programs. Volunteer leaders may attend the Philmont Training Center each summer for a weeklong conference.

            • 31,432 Scouts, Venturers, and leaders attended in 2012.

            Northern Tier National High Adventure Program

            This adventure base, located in Minnesota and Canada, offers wilderness canoe expeditions and cold-weather camping.

            • 6,991 Scouts, Venturers, and leaders attended in 2012.

            Florida National High Adventure Sea Base

            Sea Base offers aquatics programs in the Florida Keys.

            • 13,309 Scouts, Venturers and leaders attended in 2012.

            The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve 

            Located in New River Gorge, West Virginia, the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve is the newest high-adventure base in Scouting. It is the permanent home of the national Scout jamboree and the site of the 2019 World Scout Jamboree. The Summit property is on 10,600 acres adjacent to the New River Gorge National River area. This area provides access to incredible outdoor terrain in the Appalachian Mountains, which provides some of the world’s best whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and mountain biking.


            Boys' Life Magazine

            Produced monthly for 1.1 million subscribers in three demographic editions:

            • For all Tiger Cubs and Cub Scout subscribers through age 8
            • For Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts 9 years and older
            • For all Boy Scout-age subscribers and all other subscribers

            Scouting Magazine

            Produced six times a year for adults registered in Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, and Venturing.


            The BSA publishes handbooks for all phases of the Scouting program for use by youth members, adult leaders, and parents.

            Merit Badge Pamphlets

            There are currently 130 merit badge pamphlets produced by the Boy Scouts of America to assist Scouts in earning merit badges.

            Updated March 2013



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