Your child is joining more than four million members of the Boy Scouts of America.
The Boy Scouts of America makes Scouting available to our nation’s youth by chartering community organizations to operate Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Varsity Scout teams, and Explorer posts. The chartered organization must provide an adequate and safe meeting place in capable adult leadership and must adhere to the principles and policies of the BSA. The Gateway Area Council provides unit leader training, program ideas, camping facilities, literature, professional guidance for volunteer leaders, and liability insurance protection.
Scouting’s adult volunteers provide leadership at the unit, district, council, and national levels. Many are parents of Scouts; many entered Scouting as youth members. Each chartered organization establishes a unit committee, which operates its Scouting unit, selects leadership, and provides support for a quality program. Most unit committees depend on parents for membership.
The unit committee selects the Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Varsity Scout Coach, or Explorer Advisor, subject to approval of the chartered organization. The unit leader must be a good role model because our children’s values and lives will be influenced by that leader. You need to know your child’s unit leader and be involved in the unit committees activities so you can evaluate and help direct that influence.
Scouting uses a fun program to promote character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness for every member. You can help by encouraging perfect attendance, assisting with your child’s advancement, attending meetings for parents, and assisting with transportation.
Chartered organizations agree to use the Scouting program in accordance with their own policies as well as those from BSA. The program is flexible but major departures from BSA methods and policies are not permitted. As a parent, you should be aware that:
- Leadership is restricted to qualified adults who subscribe to the Declaration of Religious Principle, the Scout Oath, and the Scout Law.
- Citizenship activities are encouraged, but partisan political activities are prohibited.
- Military training and drills are prohibited. Marksmanship and elementary drill for ceremonies are permitted.
- The Boy Scouts of America recognizes the importance of religious faith and duty; it leaves religious instruction to the member’s religious leaders and family. Members who do not belong to a unit’s religious chartered organization shall not be required to participate in its religious activities.
- Two registered adult leaders or one registered adult leader and a parent of a participant, one of whom must be 21 years of age or older, are required on all trips and outings. If activities are coeducational, leaders of both sexes must be present.
- Corporal punishment and hazing are not permitted. Parents and unit leaders must work together to solve discipline problems.
- One-on-one activities between youth members and adults are not permitted; personal conferences must be conducted in plain view of others.
- If you suspect that anyone in the unit is a victim of child abuse, immediately contact the Scout Executive, who is responsible for reporting this to the appropriate authorities.
- All Scouting activities are open to parental visitation. There are no “secret” organizations within the Boy Scouts of America.