Session 2. Overview of the BSA

Time: 20 minutes
Objectives: At the end of this session, participants will be able to

  • Understand the mission of the BSA.
  • Be familiar with the purpose of BSA.
  • Understand the structure of the BSA.
  • Know what programs and what ages are involved.
  • Understand the “whole Scouting family.”
Training aids: Flip chart and markers
Material for distribution: The Chartered Organization Representative, No. 33118C

Overview of Scouting

Some chartered organization representatives (CORs) may not be familiar with the Scouting program. This presentation is to orient the new CORs and serve as a review for those with Scouting experience.


Write on a flip chart the BSA Mission Statement: “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 Law.”

Ask: “What word or words stand out to you?” Underline words as mentioned.


Write the purposes of the Boy Scouts of America on a flip chart:

  • Citizenship training
  • Character development
  • Personal fitness

Ask: “From your knowledge, what Scouting activities address these purposes?” (Examples: pinewood derbies, campouts, electing troop and crew officers, community service projects, etc.)

Be aware that activities tend to be program-specific, and different methods are used in different programs.

The BSA accomplishes its purpose by making its program available to existing organizations that have compatible goals. These groups include religious, educational, civic fraternal, business, labor, and governmental bodies.

Organization of the BSA

Whole Family

  • First-graders are Tiger Cubs.
  • Second- and third-graders are Cub Scouts.
  • Fourth- and fifth-graders are Webelos Scouts.
  • Eleven- to 18-year-olds are Boy Scouts.
  • Fourteen- to 21-year-olds may be Venturers (coed).

A chartering organization that has Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, and Venturing has the “whole Scouting family.” This is the optimal situation in that it allows a boy a seamless transition from program to program.


The boy is the main reason the rest of the organization exists. Programs are designed to meet his need at the appropriate age and grade level.


Adult volunteers work at all levels of Scouting. They may be a Scoutmaster, district committee member, or national president. Working with volunteers is a group of professionals. Professionals are there to support the volunteers’ work.

Chartered Organizations

Organizations are granted a charter by the BSA. The organization may be a church, civic group, school, or other such organization that seeks permission and works in conjunction with the BSA to provide an outreach program for youth. The chartered organization is the “franchisee” and as such is the “owner-operator” of the Scouting program.


A district is a geographic area designed to support Scouting in an area through training, program planning, and support. A district committee is composed of volunteers who deal with specific tasks, including membership, program, and finance. The district also has a commissioner staff. A unit commissioner is assigned to coach your unit adults, help solve problems, and provide other guidance as needed.


A council is a geographic area composed of districts. Each council has an executive board of volunteers and a staff of professionals. The council supports chartered organizations by providing materials and certain facilities, such as camps. There are approximately 300 councils in the BSA.

National Organization

The national organization consists of four regions, 33 areas, and the national office in Irving, Texas. The national office develops program, policy training, literature, and videos, and maintains the standards for the organization. There is a national volunteer board that oversees the National Council.

Refer to “How Scouting Works” in The Chartered Organization Representative book, No. 33118C.