Scouts is a youth-led, youth-run organization, but the youth must be trained to be leaders. One of the Scoutmaster's most important responsibilities is to provide the direction, coaching, and training that empowers the youth with the skills they will need to lead the troop. Scouting's value to young people is clear, but the advantages of Scouting are not limited to youth. Adults also develop leadership and physical skills with every training experience.
Training: Every Scout deserves a trained leader. When leaders understand Scouting, they are more effective in their roles. Every leader should take both Fast Start Training and Youth Protection Training online. Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters should then take Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster Basic Leader Specific Training and Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills (IOLS). Troop committee members should take Troop Committee Challenge online. Learn more about leader training.
Roundtable is a monthly meeting offered by districts that gives leaders hands-on experience and provides a forum for leaders to offer and receive help from their fellow Scouters. Roundtable is open to all parents and leaders. Roundtable meetings allow you to hear directly from the district leaders on upcoming district and council events and activities. This is a great place to ask questions and meet other parents and leaders in your area. Find a roundtable near you.
Annual Planning: A common element of strong units is they all have a good annual program planned a year in advance that is then shared with all families in the form of a calendar, trained leaders and the right leaders. Attend May roundtable to receive copies of the district and council calendars and information on programs to help plan for the next calendar year.
BeAScout.org is a tool prospective families use to find units to join. BeAScout.org has a Google pin for every unit. Unit leaders can update your unit information to make it EASY for new Scouting families to find your unit. Is your unit information correct? Unit leaders can update the unit information (by signing into MyScouting) to make it easy for new Scouting families to find your unit by logging into myscouting.org. Find a complete set of step-by-step instructions on how to update your BeAScout pin in this guide, and/or watch this “Setting Up Your BeAScout Unit Pin” instructional video.
Additional resources are available.
Troop Leader Resources is a new, BSA-authorized website that helps Scouts and Scouters plan better meetings. With its videos of real Scouts in real troops, the site is a one-stop shop for new and experienced troop leaders. Helpful tools include: Troop Meeting Agenda, Program Features, Program Resources, Planning, Outings, General Troop Information (troop positions, the patrol, boards of review, courts of honor, fundraisers and the Scoutmaster conference).
TroopLeader.org contains useful information and practical ideas to help make it easier for youth and adult troop leaders to present Scout meetings that are fun with positive outcomes.
ProgramResources.org is designed to serve as a planning tool for troop leaders. Its aim is to provide resources that contribute to making parts of the troop meeting more meaningful, engaging, and fun.
Guide to Advancement - The authoritative source on advancement policies and procedures and best practices for all BSA traditional programs.
Scout Advancement Requirements - Scouting provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps in overcoming them through the advancement method. The steps in the advancement system help Scouts grow in self-reliance and in their ability to help others.
Merit Badges: find the requirements for each badge.
Troop Program Resources bring together 48 features to help making program planning easier for unit and youth leaders. The mix of topics—outdoor, sports, health and safety, citizenship and personal development, STEM, and arts and hobbies—provides the kind of variety, adventure, challenges, and opportunities for advancement units can use to keep members coming back.
Family Scouting is designed to serve as the single point of information on the latest resources and updates about family Scouting.
Welcome to Our Troop! is a one-page, customizable document to be used at parent orientation.
Troop Resource Survey can be used to identify the skills and interests of parents so that they can take a more active role in helping Scouts.
Orientation for New Scouts BSA Parents provides brief presentations to draw new Scout parents into the troop experience.
New Units and Leaders
New Troops Planning resources to assist the new troop in planning their first month’s meetings and programs.
New Scout Leader is designed as a simple check-the-box style start-up process for the new Scoutmaster who may be unfamiliar with Scouts BSA.
Welcome new Scoutmaster resources.
National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) is a fellowship of Scouts who have achieved the Eagle Scout rank and who desire to use their efforts and influence toward forming the kind of youth America needs for leadership. The objective of NESA is “to serve Eagle Scouts and, through them, the entire movement of Scouting.”
Outdoor Literature highlights outdoor knowledge and skills.
Conservation and Environment
COPE is an acronym for Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience. It comprises a series of outdoor challenges, beginning with basic group initiative games and progressing to more complicated low-course and high-course activities.
Climbing programs are operated within the BSA.
Fishing resources help Scouts achieve the Fishing, Fly-Fishing, and Fish and Wildlife Management merit badges.
Leave No Trace is an awareness of our impact on the environment that teaches us to respect the rights of other users of the outdoors as well as future generations.
Safety Policies, Guidelines and Model Plans include Guide to Safe Scouting, Age-Appropriate Guidelines for Scouting Activities, Age Guidelines for Tool Use and Work at Elevations or Excavations, The Driver’s Pledge, Medication Use in Scouting, The Sweet 16 of BSA Safety, Service Project Planning Guidelines, Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies
Shooting Sports have the ability to attract and retain youth in the movement. Programs can be run in a troop with the proper trained leadership.
Poison Ivy Treatment Brochures are helpful in identifying the particular plants and contain related information.
High Adventure: Designed to help older Scouts, with guidance from their adult leaders, plan and safely carry out council and unit high-adventure treks.
Uniform Inspection Sheet for Scouts and leaders ensure that adults and Scouts alike present themselves properly dressed in their uniforms.
Wilderness Use Policy: In order to minimize human impact on fragile ecosystems, the BSA emphasizes these practices for all troops, and crews planning to use wilderness areas.
Other Leader Resources
The district is a division of the council that helps bring Scouting to your local area. Districts focus on membership, unit support, fundraising, training, district activities and promoting advancement and camping. There are a variety of volunteers on the district committee who can help including the district training chair, district advancement chair, district activities chair and district finance chair. Commissioners are volunteers who help Scout units succeed and can be a valuable resource. Each district has a district executive who is a Scouting professional available to answer your questions and can help explain BSA policies. A good place to meet district volunteers and other leaders in your area is at the district monthly roundtable meeting.