The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) provides the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, which helps young people be “Prepared. For Life.®” The Scouting organization is composed of approximately 2.2 million youth members between the ages of 5 and 21 and approximately 800,000 volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories.
Since its inception in 1910, more than 130 million young men and women have participated in the BSA’s youth programs. More than 35 million adult volunteers have helped carry out the BSA’s mission.
BSA programs are divided by age and activity: Cub Scouting is for boys and girls in kindergarten through 5th grade, Scouts BSA is open to young men and young women in grades 6 through 12, and co-ed Venturing and Sea Scouting are available for young men and young women age 14 through 20. The BSA also offers career-oriented co-ed Exploring programs to youth age 10 through 20.
Traditional Scouting programs are operated by local chartering organizations, such as religious institutions, clubs, civic associations, and educational organizations, which implement the Scouting program for youth within their communities. These units are led entirely by volunteers appointed by the chartering organization, who are supported by local councils using both volunteers and paid professional staff.
In order to further outdoor activities, which are core to Scouting’s mission, the BSA has four High-Adventure Bases: Northern Tier (Minnesota, Manitoba, and Ontario), Philmont Scout Ranch (New Mexico), Sea Base (Florida), and Summit Bechtel Reserve (West Virginia).
The Foundation of Scouting
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.
Scout Mission: 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.