The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America-incorporated on February 8, 1910, and chartered by Congress in 1916-is to provide an educational program for boys and young adults to build character, to train in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and to develop personal fitness.
Community-based organizations receive national charters to use the Scouting program as a part of their own youth work. These groups, which have goals compatible with those of the BSA, include religious, educational, civic, fraternal, business, and labor organizations; governmental bodies; corporations; professional associations; and citizens’ groups.
Volunteer adult leaders serve at all levels of Scouting in more than 300 local councils, 28 areas, and four regions, and nationally with volunteer executive boards and committees providing guidance.
Each autonomous local council is chartered by the BSA, which provides program and training aids along the guidelines established by the National Executive Board and the national charter from Congress.
Order of the Arrow
The Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s national honor society, recognizes those Scout campers who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives. The order has local lodge, section, and national meetings.
National High-Adventure Bases
The BSA has three national high-adventure areas, and all three are unique. The Northern Tier National High Adventure Program offers wilderness canoe expeditions and cold-weather camping; the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base offers aquatics programs in the Florida Keys; and Philmont Scout Ranch offers backpacking treks in the rugged high country of northern New Mexico. Volunteer leaders may attend the Philmont Training Center each summer for a week-long training conference.
National Good Turn
The Good Turn continues as an important part of Scouting. It could be a simple daily act of assistance by an individual youngster, or a coordinated national effort. In 1986, youth members distributed 14 million brochures for families, informing them of the need for donated human organs and tissue as a part of the Donor Awareness Presidential Good Turn. The 1988-91 Scouting for Food National Good Turn resulted in the collection of more than 425 million cans of food for the needy. Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, and Venturers participated in Scouting Environment Day in April and Scouting Energy Day in October.
National Crime Prevention Program
The BSA’s National Crime Prevention Program has four components: youth, family, community, and unit-each with its own role in the program and suggested activities.
Developing crime prevention coalitions and initiatives with local United Ways, Law enforcement, and other agencies are a key component of this new BSA program.
The National Crime Prevention Council in Washington, D.C.; the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the National Sheriffs’ Association; and the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy supports the BSA National Crime Prevention Program.
The Boy Scouts of America publishes two magazines: 91-year-old Boys’ Life, produced monthly for 1.3 million subscribers in three demographic editions (LOW demographic goes to all Tiger Cubs and Cub Scout subscribers through age 8. MIDDLE demographic goes to all Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts 9 years and older and all adult Cub Scout leaders who subscribe. HIGH demographic goes to all Boy Scout-age subscribers and all other subscribers); and 90-year-old Scouting magazine, produced six times a year for all adults registered in Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, and Venturing. In addition, unit leaders and commissioners receive special program inserts in Scouting.
The BSA publishes handbooks for all phases of the Scouting program, more than 100 merit badge pamphlets for Boy Scouts, leader books, training pamphlets, program helps booklets for unit leaders, and other literature for use by youth members, adult leaders, and parents.
The National Council is supported largely through annual registration fees paid by all members, charter and service fees paid by local councils, an Annual Giving Campaign among national employees and selected volunteers, income from the sales of Boys’ Life and Scouting magazines, and Scouting equipment, bequests, and special gifts. Local councils are supported by communities through an annual Friends of Scouting campaign, the United Way, special events, foundation grants, investment income, bequests, endowment gifts, and special contributions.
On the unit level, chartered organizations that use the Scouting program provide meeting places and often furnish program materials and other facilities. Youth members help to pay their own way by paying dues to their pack, troop, team, ship, or crew treasuries, and through approved money-earning projects, they can earn additional income for their units.