By Darryl Alder
Sep 05, 2019

Scout Ambassador Toolchest: Why Should Community Organizations Charter Scouting Units?

A Unique Alliance: Community Organizations and Scouting

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA)’s mission is compatible with many civic, service, and community organizations’ objectives.

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.

Why Community Organizations Partner with BSA

Scouting is an educational resource chartered by Congress and incorporated to provide resources for community organizations serving youth. Our programs offer effective character building, citizenship training, and personal fitness awareness for girls and boys of all walks of life.

Working together Scouting and community organizations:

  • Increase both organizations community visibility by having Scouting programs associated with your group. A partnership with BSA shows your community commitment by serving youth. It provides those neighborhood youth valuable experiences as they give service, including Scouting for Food, the Good Turn for America service initiative, Eagle Scout service projects, and cleanup efforts.
  • Promote a shared vision and provide opportunities for community organizations to use BSA facilities, which gives your organization’s officers and staff access to council camping, conference, and training facilities. This includes housing, dining, and instruction in team building, all set in majestic outdoor environments such at local camps and even at our nationwide high adventure bases (Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia; Northern Tier in Minnesota, Northwest Ontario and Northeast Manitoba; Florida National High Adventure Sea Base, and Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico).
  • Provide manpower to accomplish your organization’s community service projects. For more than 100 years, Scouting has had a strong tradition of providing community service and incorporates service into each Scout’s rank advancement program.
  • Increased exposure of your organization’s ideals and mission to the parents of participating youth. Scouting is intergenerational—some youth and older generations become isolated from each other. Scouting provides an opportunity for adults to work as mentors, becoming merit badge counselors, leaders, or committee members all connecting with young folks.
  • BSA’s educational materials and multimedia resources are available to organizations through BSA websites.
  • The BSA extends its Congressional Charter to community organizations to use Scouting to attain the goals they have for youth in their community.

Why Scouting?

You may be asking why an organization would affiliate with Scouting. Here is just one example:

“Since their inception, Rotary International (1905) and the Boy Scouts of America (1910) have been partners in serving young people. The principles and goals of both organizations are closely allied.
Character-building; service to country, to others, and to self; teaching leadership skills, and becoming aware of the world around us—these are all incorporated into the programs and activities of each organization.
“The values expressed in Rotary International’s Motto and the Four Way Test greatly parallel those articulated in the Scout Oath, Law, motto, and slogan. Rotarians have long served as role models, demonstrating leadership, character, and the value of selfless service to the community. Rotary clubs in the United States charter nearly 1,400 Scouting units (Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, and Venturing crews) serving more than 50,000 youth members”

Similarly Optimist International states: “Our future lies with our children and the challenges and problems they face can often seem insurmountable. Today, more than ever before, our young people need the guidance and mentoring of positive adult role models. By chartering a Scouting unit, an Optimist Club can provide a positive alternative to the youth of their community… The positive expression of values in the Scout Oath, Law, slogan, and motto mirror the Optimist Creed and the objective of “Bringing out the Best in Kids.” Optimists have long served as role models and mentors, demonstrating by example the skills of leadership and character,
as well as the value of positive selfless service to the community.” (In the USA Optimist Clubs charter more than 300 unitsserving more than 13,000 youth.)

A Scouting charter for organizations like this makes for a great partnership for both groups while building the nation’s future.

Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders…
in and out of Scout uniform.

The traditional Scouting divisions are Cub Scouting for children in grades K-5, Scouts BSA for youth ages 11 to 17 and Venturing and Sea Scouting for young men and women ages 14 (or 13 and having completed the 8th grade) to 20.

After 2.5 years of research, Cub Scouts reported significant increases in cheerfulness, helpfulness, kindness, obedience, trustworthiness, and hopeful future expectations

Tufts University Study

As studies show, youth who participate in Scouting develop into leaders with integrity. They show lifelong positive character traits and demonstrate greater responsibility. They become women and men of faith with devotion to both God and country.

Organizations that make a commitment to operate a Scouting unit, help to enrich the lives of young people in their neighborhoods and towns, which will make a difference in the kind of adults they will become.

One Charter or Three, It’s Your Choice

Your organization could charter a Cub Scout Pack, Scout BSA boys and or girls troop and/or troop. I guess that is one charter or four, or whatever you like, but Scouting has three programs all with the same aim, but age-appropriate methods.

The Boy Scouts of America describe each program this way:

Girls Den having fun

Cub Scouts (grades K-5) lets kids have fun while teaching them skills that will help them later on. From the thrill of shooting an arrow to learning how to transform a block of wood into a race car, Cub Scouts is one thrill after another. With a program expertly tailored to match each age in a young child’s life, Cub Scouts learn that even when fun isn’t easy, it’s always an adventure. In Scouting, everything has a purpose. And it shows kids that doing their best is the most fun of all.

Boys troop on a field trip

Scouts BSA—”With more than 130 Merit Badges—from Archery and Art to Welding and Wilderness Survival—Scouting is the ultimate form of learning by doing. Scouts explore their interests and improve their skills while working toward Scouting’s highest rank: Eagle. By first imagining, planning then doing their own service projects, Scouts learn the value of hard work, and experience the thrill of seeing it pay off. Add in outdoor adventures, hiking and camping, and Scouting gives youth experience that will benefit them throughout their life.

Co-ed crew in high adventure

Venturing and Sea Scouting—”All teens have one moment that opens their eyes to a world that’s bigger than they ever imagined. It might happen while paddling a quiet lake, bonding with new friends around a beach bonfire, or rising to the challenge of leading an exhausted crew to the edges of adventure. Venturing and Sea Scouting gives young men and women access to a range of programs and empowers them to create their own experiences. It brings Scouting values to life through both high adventure outdoor activities and challenging real-world projects.

Check out this list of organizations that use Scouting—if yours is not here let’s add it soon!

With this long list of organization, you can surely see nearly group could have a Scout group. From your home owner’s association (HOA) to your professional association, from a community action group to a concerned parents group, from your garden club to your history club, every group that finds the values of the Scout Oath and Law compatible with there organization’s mission, is a viable Scouting partner.

So what are you waiting for, Scouting offers a wealth of opportunity to help your organization and the youth and families in your community. To learn how to organize a Scout unit, contact your local Scout Council.

Darryl Alder, blogger for "The Boy Scout"
Author: Darryl Alder is a retired career Scouter with more than 30 years of service. However, his pride in Scouting is his volunteer service as an Exploring Advisor, Varsity Scout Coach, Scoutmaster, Cubmaster, Chartered Organization Representative, and Commissioner. He currently serves on the Utah National Parks Council Executive Board and is a Scouting Ambassador.

Other articles in this Charter Partner series include:

For other articles in this series see:

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One thought on “Scout Ambassador Toolchest: Why Should Community Organizations Charter Scouting Units?

  1. Darryl AlderDarryl Alder Post author

    After this research, I disovered that I have pioneer great-grandfather, who as as a 13 year old boy (Scout age) crossed the plains, in 1852 to Salt Lake City. That got me thinking about the Son’s of the Utah Pioneers (SUP) and whether they charter troops; I’ve asked them to consider the matter and am currently looking into joining my local SUP chapter.


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