Understanding the BSA’s Shooting Sports Requirements

Shooting sports is a common activity at most Scout camps and has been a staple of short-term camps and continuing short-term camps log before these terms existed in the BSA. Two of the questions that often arise are who can supervise these activities and how can we get them trained. This article will strive to provide resources to answer each of these questions and provide some guidance to be able to provide safe, quality shooting sports programs to our youth.

Let’s walk through some steps for planning a shooting sports program.

Step 1: Before planning any shooting sports activity, ask yourself is this appropriate for the program level of the camp?  – Find this answer in the age appropriate guidelines of the Guide to Safe Scouting.

  • In general Cub Scouts are approved for BB Gun shooting, Archery and Sling shots (some exceptions apply, and some additional opportunities are allowed for Webelos Scouts)
    • Cub Scouts are only approved to participate in shooting sports at the district or council level. Shooting Sports is NOT approved as a unit activity.
  • In general Scouts BSA are approved for Rifle, Shotgun, Archery, and special programs like Chalkball, sporting arrows and Cowboy Action shooting (these special programs require a council to be approved through an application process).
  • In general Ventures and Sea Scouts are approved for all Scouts BSA programs and in addition are approved for pistol shooting.

Step 2: Once you have established the shooting sport(s) that will be offered refer to the NCAP standards for guidance on set up and supervision. See NCAP standards PD-213, PD-214, and SQ-407, SQ-408.

  • PD-213 discusses the archery programs of the BSA
  • PD-214 discusses the Rifle, shotgun, BB, and additional programs of the BSA
  • SQ-407 discusses the supervision of BB devices and Firearms
  • SQ-408 discussed the supervision of archery programs

Step 3: Determine the training needs of the staff. Some staff are required to have National Camping School Certifications, while others may be required to have National Rifle Association (NRA) Instructor or NRA Range Safety Officer (RSO) training.

  • All Council shooting sports programs must be supervised by a National Camping School Shooting Sports Director.
  • Training for National Camping School Shooting Sports Director can be found through the National Camping School website.
  • NRA training opportunities can be found at the shooting sports website.

Step 4: Run a safe program!

Have more questions about shooting sports? Visit https://www.scouting.org/outdoor-programs/shooting-sports/ or find some additional information in the Shooting Sports Manual