Scouts BSA is for boys (and,
after February 1, 2019, girls) 11 to
17 years of age. Young people also may become Scouts if they have earned the
Cub Scouting Arrow of Light Award and are at least 10 years old or have
completed the fifth grade and are at least 10 years old.
The Scouts BSA program has three specific objectives, commonly referred to as the "Aims of Scouting." They are character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness.
The methods by which the aims are achieved are listed below in random order to emphasize the equal importance of each.
Scouts BSA is designed to take place outdoors. It is in the outdoor setting that Scouts share responsibilities and learn to live with one another. In the outdoors the skills and activities practiced at troop meetings come alive with purpose. Being close to nature helps
Scouts gain an appreciation for the beauty of the world around us. The outdoors is the laboratory in which
Scouts learn ecology and practice conservation of nature's resources.
The ideals of Scouts BSA are spelled out in the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Scout motto, and the Scout slogan. The
Scout measures himself against these ideals and continually tries to improve. The goals are high, and as he reaches for them, he has some control over what and who he becomes.
Scouts BSA provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps in overcoming them through the advancement method. The
Scout plans his/her advancement and progresses at his/her own pace as he meets each challenge. The
Scout is rewarded for each achievement, which helps the Scout gain self-confidence. The steps in the advancement system help a
Scout grow in self-reliance and in the ability to help others.
The patrol method gives Scouts an experience in group living and participating citizenship. It places responsibility on young shoulders and teaches boys how to accept it. The patrol method allows Scouts to interact in small groups where members can easily relate to each other. These small groups determine troop activities through elected
representatives, the Patrol Leaders.
The Scout Troop
Scout Patrols are organized into Troops, under the
leadership of an elected Senior Patrol Leader, and encouraged and
advised by an adult Scoutmaster and his (or her) assistants. The
SPL and Patrol Leaders make up a Patrol Leaders Council which
plans and carries out the Troop's program.
The Troop will usually have an outing once a
month, and most troops will plan a major trip or high adventure
activity at least once a year, such as a touring trip to
Washington DC, or a hike on a Historic Trail.
Most Troops hold regular weekly meetings - see the
chart, below, to see when each of our District's Troops
At the weekly Troop meetings, Scouts can work on
their advancement, learn Scout Skills, plan for their next outing, play games and
generally have fun. Meetings may also involve guest speakers or
field trips to local points of interest.
Summer meetings are usually less formal, with the
Scouts taking advantage of the good weather and late sunsets to
hike or swim or do other outdoor activities.
Scouts are active, by definition. You'll find them
out on the hiking trail, or riding their bikes around Cayuga Lake on
a weekend bike hike.
What would a Scout's Summer be without a week at
Summer Camp? Our Council operates two camps - Camp
Barton on Cayuga Lake and Camp
Tuscarora in the Catskills.
Food is always a hit among hungry Scouts - here at the Hungry
Games, a Camporee on a cooking theme.
Several times a year the Troop will meet with
other troops for a weekend activity, usually organized by the
District or Council. These "Camporees" often involve
competition between Patrols in games involving Scout Skills,
physical activity, and problem solving. Sometimes a Camporee will
focus on a Merit Badge or a theme such as Nature or Survival.
See our Scrapbook page
for pictures and descriptions of past District Camporees.
Scouts practice firebuilding skills at a Winter Camporee
Scouts earned Aviation Merit Badge and got to fly at a Flying
A World-Wide Movement
A Scout is a member of a world-wide movement -
there are Scouting organizations in almost every country. While he
is in the Scouts, a Scout may have the opportunity to take
part in an International activity involving Scouts from other
countries, such as a National Jamboree or the Blair
Atholl Scottish Jamborette, or he might host an overseas Scout
here on home visitation.
If you are interested in starting a new Pack,
Troop or Crew in your area, please contact the Taughannock
District Executive at DE@TompkinsCortlandScouts.org
A note on girls in Scouts BSA
Younger girls, from kindergarten to fourth grade,
will be able to join Cub Scouts starting in
June 2018. Starting on February 1, 2019, girls between 11-17 years
of age will be eligible to join Scouts BSA. While the Scouts BSA
program will be open to both boys and girls after that point, each
troop will be single-gender. The details have not yet been fully
announced, but it is expected that many, if not all, sponsors who currently sponsor
Scout troops for boys will, after February 1, 2019, also sponsor
troops for girls. The two affiliated troops may share a single
troop committee, and may meet at the same time and place and plan
joint activities, but each troop must have its own Scoutmaster
(that is, one person cannot be Scoutmaster of both troops). In all
likelihood, affiliated boy and girl troops will use the same troop
number for everyday use, although for paperwork purposes the new
girls-only troop will probably have a prefix in the computer - so,
for example, if the sponsor of current Troop 46 forms an affiliate
girls-only troop, it might be "Troop 6046" in the
computer, but all of the girls and boys and leaders would wear
"46" on their sleeves.