Scouts BSA Program

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Scouts BSA
Ideals · Aims and Methods
Ranks · Merit Badges · Awards

Scouts BSA is a program of the Boy Scouts of America. It is available to boys under the age of 18 who meet any of the following qualifications:

  • boys at least 10 years old who have completed the fifth grade
  • boys who are at least 11 years old.
Prior participation in Cub Scouting is not required.

The Boy Scout program is designed to develop a boy's character, citizenship, and personal fitness using the following methods: a structured advancement program, high ideals, the patrol method, outdoor activities, adult association, personal growth, leadership development, and uniforming. This program and development structure is referred to as the Aims and Methods of Scouting.

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.

BSA Vision Statement

The Boy Scouts of America will prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Law.


Scout Oath

The Scout Oath or Promise is a pledge to help our community, our world, and ourselves.

The Scout Oath (or Promise) reads as follows:

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.

See Also

Scout Law

The Scout Law consists of twelve points intended to guide the behavior and decisions of scouts and scouters. The Scout Law is:

A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.

Scout Motto

The Scout Motto is "Be Prepared."

Be Prepared… the meaning of the motto is that a scout must prepare himself by previous thinking out and practicing how to act on any accident or emergency so that he is never taken by surprise.
— Sir Robert Baden-Powell

Scout Slogan

The Scout Slogan is "Do a good turn daily." On rank patches, the scroll is turned upwards into the shape of a smile to remind Scout to do a good turn cheerfully.

Outdoor Code

The Outdoor Code:

As an American, I will do my best to—
Be clean in my outdoor manners.
Be careful with fire.
Be considerate in the outdoors.
Be conservation-minded.

Aims and Methods

The Aims and Methods of Scouting are the purposes for which Scouting tries to instill in its members and the ways it attempts to do so.

Structured advancement and recognition


The Scouts BSA advancement program is divided into three main areas. The first and primary advancement area is a series of ranks that the Scout progresses through known as the Eagle Scout trail. The rank system occurs in two distinctly different phases.

After joining Scouts BSA, youth work on the Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks. During this phase, all four ranks may be worked on at the same time. These ranks focus on Scouting skills - the outdoors, physical fitness, citizenship, patrol and troop participation, and personal development. After completing these ranks, a Scout should be adept at participating in all of the activities in the Scouts BSA program, literally a First Class Scout.

During the second phase, Scouts work on the Star Scout, Life Scout, and Eagle Scout ranks. These ranks are worked on one at a time and must be earned in order. Here the focus of advancement switches from Scouting skills to personal development and community service. Merit badges are an integral part of this part or rank advancement.

After earning the Eagle Scout award, a Scout still has the opportunity for advancement recognition by earning Eagle Palms.

Merit Badges

Merit badges are the second main area of the Scouts BSA advancement program. Unlike ranks, there is a degree of choice in the merit badge program. A sub-group of merit badges are known as Eagle required merit badges. To earn Eagle Scout, most of these badges must be earned although some are "either/or" badges. The remainder of the badges help with earning ranks as well as Eagle Palms after the Eagle Scout award has been earned.

Scouts may work on merit badges from they time they join a Scout troop until they turn 18 years old. There is no time limit for completion of merit badges other than age 18.


See: Awards

Awards are the third area of the advancement. Unlike the first two areas or advancement, awards are completely optional and carry no special privileges with them. However, they are still an important part of the program providing opportunities not available in the other areas.

See also

Scouts BSA portal

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