Why the Outdoors

Outdoor adventure is the promise made to young people when they join Scouting. Boys and girls yearn for outdoor programs that stir their imagination and interest.

In the Outdoors we strive to meet the Aims of Scouting.

Character Development:

In the outdoors, Scouts have opportunities to acquire skills that make them more self-reliant. They can explore canoe and hiking trails and complete challenges they first thought were beyond their ability. Attributes of good character become part of them as they learn to cooperate to meet outdoor challenges that may include extreme weather, difficult trails and portages, and dealing with nature’s unexpected circumstances.


Good youth leadership, communication, and teamwork enable them to achieve goals they have set for themselves, their patrol, and their troop. This working together through the patrol and troop teaches active citizenship. 

Personal Fitness:

Scouts are challenged in the outdoor adventure and high adventure and are pushed physically and mentally to accomplish tasks of the outdoors. 


Scouts plan and carry out activities from start to finish. With thoughtful guidance from their Scoutmaster and other adult leaders scouts make a plan and carry out this plan. Learning by doing is a hallmark of outdoor education. A youth or adult leader may describe and demonstrate a Scouting skill at a weekly meeting, but the way Scouts truly learn outdoor skills is to do it themselves on a troop outing.


WHAT IS IT? The National Outdoor Conference is Scouting’s largest gathering of volunteers and professionals charged with delivering the world’s greatest outdoor program for youth! It’s four days of networking, elective sessions, outstanding keynote speakers, outdoor vendor exhibits, clean mountain air, backcountry excursions, special program opportunities, great music and entertainment, and fellowship with Scouting’s top outdoor leaders. Join fellow Scouters and outdoor enthusiasts from across the country to learn new methods, share ideas, and check out the latest in outdoor gear and programs. This is the place to be if you are involved in any way with outdoor programs.

WHERE IS IT? Philmont Scout Ranch, Cimarron, New Mexico—the world’s largest camp

WHEN IS IT? September 25 – 29, 2019.

REGISTRATION: Register here

WHO SHOULD ATTEND? Anyone and everyone involved in national, region, area, council, district, and unit outdoor program delivery. That means Scout executives, directors of support services, program directors, rangers, camp directors, council presidents, and council program vice-presidents. Anyone who chairs a committee on council and district camping, conservation, aquatics, COPE/climbing, or shooting sports should also plan to be there, as should properties chairpersons and other volunteers or professionals responsible for delivery of outdoor programs.

NEW! Outdoor Programs & Properties Manual

Your one stop for all council outdoor program information, with links to all current resources. Replaces the Camp Program & Property Management guide. DOWNLOAD THE OUTDOOR PROGRAMS & PROPERTIES MANUAL

High Water Hazard Advisory

Please read the High Water Advisory and urge all BSA program leaders operating on moving water to view the video “Reading The Rhythms of Rivers and Rapids” available on the Aquatics Program page.

Latest Edition of Trail To Adventure newsletter

Here is the Summer 2019 edition of the Outdoor Programs Support Committee’s  Trail To Adventure newsletter

To subscribe to the Trail To Adventure newsletter click here

Program Quality Evaluation Tool (PQET)

Councils can evaluate and improve their outdoor and camp programs using this self evaluation tool.  Your Scouts deserve the best! LEARN MORE