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The Organization of Scouting
Excerpted from BSA Troop Committee Guidebook
For Successful Troop Operation
Copyright 1998, Boy Scouts of America, ISBN 0-8395-4505-3
Let's take a look at how Scouting is organized.
The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated on February 8, 1910, and chartered by Congress in 1916 to provide an educational program for boys and young adults. Boy Scouting was modeled after the Scouting movement founded by Robert S. Baden-Powell in England in 1908.
The BSA's National Council is led by a volunteer board of directors, the National Executive Board. The administration is performed by a staff of professional Scouters.
Among its major functions, the National Council develops program; sets and maintains quality standards in training, leadership selection, uniforming, registration records, literature development, and advancement requirements; and publishes Boy's Life and Scouting magazines.
The National Council maintains national high-adventure bases for use by Scouts in Minnesota, Florida, and New Mexico. It also organizes a national Scout jamboree every four years.
The Local Council
Of course, it would be nearly impossible to administer directly the more than 50,000 registered Boy Scout troops and teams from a centrally located national office. To achieve this, the National Council issues a charter to each local council. The United States and its territories is divided into 327 local councils. Each council has a headquarters city from which it administers the Scouting program within its geographical boundaries. Like the National Council, the local council is led by volunteers, with administration performed by a staff of professional Scouters. The council president is the top volunteer; the Scout executive is the top professional.
The local council's responsibilities include:
bulletGranting charters to community organizations
bulletPromoting the Scouting program
bulletRegistration of units and council personnel
bulletProviding facilities and leadership for a year-round outdoor program, including summer camp
bulletOffering training in a timely manner
The District
A Scouting district is a geographical area within the local council, as determined by the council executive board. District leaders mobilize resources to ensure the growth and success of Scouting units within the district's territory.
Each district has a district committee composed of key Scouters. This committee does not make policy, but rather works through chartered organizations to assure the success of troops. A district committee does this by forming a number of subcommittees, each specializing in an area of concern:
bulletUnit Service
bulletAdvancement and recognition
bulletCamp promotion and outdoor activities
bulletActivities and civic service
Members of the district committee are volunteers like yourself. The district trains adult volunteers, provides district programs for troops such as camporees and Scouting shows, assists in the formation of new troops, and helps coordinate the Annual Giving Campaign.
The district commissioner staff also provides the troop with a unit commissioner. The unit commissioner gives direct coaching and consultation to the troop committee and the Scoutmaster.
The volunteers on the district committee can be a helpful resource to the troop committee. Call upon their guidance when needed.
The Scouting professional who provides district service is the district executive. You should make a point to get to know your district executive personally. This person can be very helpful in showing you how to accomplish your troop program goals.
The Chartered Organization
Your troop is "owned" by a chartered organization, which receives a national charter yearly to use the Scouting program as a part of its youth work. These chartered organizations, which have goals compatible with those of the Boy Scouts of America, include religious, educational, civic, fraternal, business, labor, governmental bodies, and professional associations.
Each chartered organization using the Scouting program provides a meeting place, selects a Scoutmaster, appoints a troop committee of at least three adults, and chooses a chartered organization representative.
Chartered Organization Representative
bulletIs a member of the chartered organization.
bulletServes as head of "Scouting department" in the organization.
bulletSecures a troop committee chairperson and encourages training.
bulletMaintains a close liaison with the troop committee chairperson.
bulletHelps recruit other adult leaders.
bulletServes as liaison between your troop and your organization.
bulletAssists with unit rechartering.
bulletEncourages service to the organization.
bulletIs an active and involved member of the district committee.
As the troop committee works on behalf of the chartered organization, your troop must be operated within the organization's policies.
The chartered organization must also approve all adult leaders. The chartered organization representative is your liaison to the troop's operating organization. As a member of the chartered organization, that person will guide you on the organization's policy. The representative will know the most effective ways to get the organization's assistance and maintain a mutually satisfactory working relationship with the chartered organization.
In the chartered organization relationship, the Boy Scouts of America provides the program and support services, and the chartered organization provides the adult leadership and uses the program to accomplish its goals for youth.
The troop committee's primary responsibilities are supporting the Scoutmaster in delivering quality troop program, and handling troop administration. How to accomplish them will be explained in the remaining chapters of this guidebook.
Last revised 2/9/2007
Troop 96


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Last modified:  04/21/14