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Inside the Scouter Code of Conduct, a critical checklist for adult volunteers

We ask our Scouts to follow the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Adult leaders, though, are held to an additional standard.

It’s called the Scouter Code of Conduct.

Think of it as a checklist of expectations for adult conduct in the Scouting program. At Scouting meetings and events, these are your rules to live by.

The Scouter Code of Conduct, available here as a PDF and included at the end of this post, outlines 10 standards for adult leader behavior. The code is aimed at keeping young people safe in the Scouting program.

It debuted in its current form around October 2015, but this is the first time I’m blogging about it.

You’ll notice it addresses some key items that could put participants at risk. That includes reminders about transportation and unauthorized activities. Many of the items tie in to the BSA’s mandatory Youth Protection training.

Scouter Code of Conduct

On my honor I promise to do my best to comply with this Boy Scouts of America Scouter Code of Conduct while serving in my capacity as an adult leader:

  1. I have or will complete my registration with the Boy Scouts of America, answering all questions truthfully and honestly.
  2. I will do my best to live up to the Scout Oath and Scout Law, obey all laws, and hold others in Scouting accountable to those standards. I will exercise sound judgment and demonstrate good leadership and use the Scouting program for its intended purpose consistent with the mission of the Boy Scouts of America.
  3. I will make the protection of youth a personal priority. I will complete and remain current with youth protection training requirements. I will be familiar with and follow:
    1. BSA Youth Protection policies and guidelines, including mandatory reporting
    2. The Guide to Safe Scouting
    3. The Sweet Sixteen of BSA Safety
  4. When transporting Scouts I will obey all laws, comply with youth protection guidelines, and follow safe driving practices.
  5. I will respect and abide by the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, BSA policies, and BSA-provided training, including but not limited to, those relating to:
    1. Unauthorized fundraising activities
    2. Advocacy on social and political issues, including prohibited use of the BSA uniform and brand
    3. Bullying, hazing, harassment, and unlawful discrimination of any kind
  6. I will not discuss or engage in any form of sexual conduct while engaged in Scouting activities. I will refer Scouts with questions regarding these topics to talk to their parents or spiritual advisor.
  7. I confirm that I have fully disclosed and will disclose in the future any of the following:
    1. Any criminal suspicion, charges or convictions of a crime or offense involving abuse, violence, sexual misconduct, or any misconduct involving minors or juveniles
    2. Any investigation or court order involving domestic violence, child abuse, or similar matter
    3. Any criminal charges or convictions for offenses involving controlled substances, driving while intoxicated, firearms or dangerous weapons.
  8. I will not possess, distribute, transport, consume, or use any of the following items prohibited by law or in violation of any Scouting rules, regulations and policies:
    1. Alcoholic beverages or controlled substances, including marijuana.
    2. Concealed or unconcealed firearms, fireworks, or explosives.
    3. Pornography or materials containing words or images inconsistent with Scouting values.
  9. If I am taking prescription medications with the potential of impairing my functioning or judgment, I will not engage in activities which would put Scouts at risk, including driving or operating equipment.
  10. I will take steps to prevent or report any violation of this code of conduct by others in connection with Scouting activities.

86 Comments on Inside the Scouter Code of Conduct, a critical checklist for adult volunteers

  1. Wow! I better schedule some extra time for reciting this as an opening for troop committee meetings.

  2. I think this is a good thing. This is the first I’ve heard of this. A quick review of the current Adult application makes no reference to it. BSA needs to do a better job of communicating these behavior expectations.

    • Apparently it was released Oct 2015. It’s probably part of the secret rules, like no pirates at District/Council run events, that you don’t hear about unless you know people who know people in the BSA. I don’t know if it’s actually “required” or not, but the points seem like good ideas to me.

      • There is no secret “no pirates” rule

        • I hope not, since one of our council camps has a pirate ‘ship’ (building constructed to look like a ship)

        • It isn’t a BSA rule; I’ve seen council run events with a pirates theme. Perhaps this is a council specific rule for Bart’s council.

        • Pretty sure we discussed this a few yrs back and Pirates as a themes are not allowed (cub day camps, etc(due to their negative perception) Same as you can’t shoot aliens etc at air range since aliens are “living beings” and we can’t shoot living things.

          I think that is why you see the theme tweaked to be adventure on the high seas (sailor theme) instead of pirates adventure on the high seas (pirate theme).

        • Robert Takacs // March 24, 2017 at 9:20 pm //

          Read the BSA Document 33088, it will make you a better leader

        • Austin Klauss // March 25, 2017 at 12:22 am //

          eab, are you by any chance talking about boxwell reservation?

        • Rule is not a secret. I went to National Camp School in 2015, I was told flat out, that pirates are forbidden and BSA. The pirate lifestyle isn’t consistent with BSA values. Hi which would rape Rob’s do murder, and more. This is not something we want to be teaching our boys.

          The pirate ship can easily be changed into one of Columbus’s ships or something similar. The only difference between a pirate ship, and any other ship of the time was the skull and crossbones.

      • Unfortunately you have a hard time fighting against what I would call “ghost rules.” And since there is no list of non-existent rules, it is tough to prove they don’t exist. If you want evidence ask 20 scouters if Boy Scouts have to travel in Field Uniform. I would be shocked if you don’t hear at least one say they have to “for insurance reasons.”

        I choose that particular one because I wrote Bryan on just that issue and it was debunked. There is no such rule and not a shred of truth. Fast forward a bit more than a year later and I hear someone start to tell me the rule. Followed by, “well, still.”

        I will say that the BSA adores nobody any favors with a lack of indexing on the resources available. And this is an example of a resource. This post is the first I have heard of the document that has existed since Oct 17, 2015. But it is a resource not a rule. At least according to The Voice of Scouting.

        https://voiceofscouting.org/scouter-code-of-conduct

  3. VOAPresident // January 13, 2017 at 9:46 am // Reply

    When I started my crew, this is one of the resources I used when I presented to the chartered organization. Really helped to show that Scouting is looking out for their youth.

  4. Pat Kronenwetter // January 13, 2017 at 10:10 am // Reply

    I’m a little dyslexic, I admit, but is not the Scout Sign in the photo being made with a left hand?

    • Maybe the photo changed, but the person in the image looks like he’s saluting with his right hand.

      • This was adapted from the “Mockingjay Code of Conduct.”

      • Geoffrey Forbes // January 18, 2017 at 10:19 pm // Reply

        It is a right hand…but it’s not a salute…

    • If you look at his shirt, you can see the flag on his saluting sleeve. The flag is always on the right sleeve. So, he is saluting with his right arm.

    • Bryan Wendell // January 13, 2017 at 10:42 am // Reply

      I had previously posted image an image that was backward but fixed it.

    • George Meier // January 13, 2017 at 10:44 am // Reply

      Perhaps the image was a reversible transparency . . . or not. Perhaps the code of conduct should include proofreading before publication.

    • nope

  5. This is a relevant and important post. Thanks.

  6. Bradley White-Findeisen // January 13, 2017 at 10:12 am // Reply

    In over 40 years as a Scouter, I’ve never heard of this. Is this “official” BSA? Although I agree with the standards, parts of it sound a little Orwellian to me. When the Boy Scouts turn into the Brown Shirts, I’m out.

    • The link goes to scouting.org, so I’m guessing it’s official.

    • Which parts seem Orwellian?

  7. What is the reference for this? Is it an official Scouting Code? As others have mentioned I have not seen this before. Is it in our Scoutmaster training or in Woodbadge or on the Adult Application.

    • Apparently it’s part of the secret rules, like no pirates or pirate-themes at District/Council run events.

  8. This was first released back in October 2015 according to http://www.riskmanagementinscouting.com/bsas-adult-leader-code-of-conduct-a-standard-of-care-by-another-name/ (posted Oct 31, 2015). I don’t know whether it’s actually “required” or not, but it generally seems like a good idea to me.

  9. Will Sulzbach // January 13, 2017 at 11:01 am // Reply

    41 years a Scouter and never heard of it.

  10. Rob Bardsley // January 13, 2017 at 11:04 am // Reply

    This is in the Scouting Safely section of the BSA website in the sub section Policies, Guidelines and Model Plans. Here is the description.

    Policies

    Scouter Code of Conduct
    This document provides a resource that clearly defines the desired behavior for adults involved in Scouting

    So it has been out there but has never really been promoted or referenced in various trainings or other events.

    Good ideas but not helpful if few people know it is out there and even less if fewer people actually use it.

  11. As in all codes, guidelines, rules, regulations, laws, sometimes it’s good to clarify , elucidate, explain and interpret.
    The Scout Promise and Scout Law covers just about everything, yes? all one has to do is be specific in your case study.
    Seat belt use in transporting Scouts? Trustworthy, Helpful, Kind, Obedient , and all the rest can be applied to start with. I think a thoughtful Scouter could find the use of the Scout Law in deciding ones actions every day. This Scouter Code just expounds a little on some specifics.
    “What would B-P do?” “Would my Grandmother approve?” “Would Irving approve?”

  12. Image shows Scout sign using incorrect hand.

  13. While this is a positive addition to discussions on Scouter demeanor and such, I fail to understand why we need additional codes and such beyond the basic tenets already in place. Hopefully any leader that truly wants to do it right will be able to interpret the Oath and Law in a personal manner, and doing so would adhere to these clarifications anyway.

    I have serious concerns about much of our society no longer seeming to be able to make educated and rational interpretations to clearly written, but subjective statements. This extends beyond the Scout codes. The seemingly acceptance of bending rules for personal convenience or with an attitude of it is not going to matter. We see this in our sports personalities, our politicians, and many other individuals that at one time would have been held up as role models to growing youth.

    That is why I periodically harp on my disappointment when people with Scouting backgrounds who are in the public eye appear to not be “doing their best”. Off the stump.

    • Dean Whinery // January 13, 2017 at 2:28 pm // Reply

      Gee, I failed to reveal that 1987 parking ticket. Seriously, a person doing his/her best to live according to the Ten Commandments, augmented by the Scout Oath and Law, need not fret about this “new” ting.

      • Why? Lawyers trying to ensure they’ve covered all possibilities. so the BSA is covered in case of a lawsuit later.

    • I think today our society is too quick to adopt another creed or code of conduct. I fail to see anything that isn’t covered by the oath and law.

  14. I think teaching each and every adult to “run the twelve” before they do something would’ve covered all of this with s lot fewer words.

  15. I still think #6 needs to be reworded, especially with the new Youth Protection Training for Scouts that is being rolled out. Discussing what is inappropriate in a unit violates the letter of the low for #6 and can be used as a lame excuse to dodge a hard topic in that training. I understand the spirit of #6 – that it’s addressing what is really predatory behavior, but the way it’s written makes it so one can argue that you are breaking the rules in having any conversation at all that even touches on sexuality in any way shape or form And how does a MB counselor work with a scout on requirement 6.b.2 for Family Life if one is banned from talking about this very requirement?

    Like I said, I know that is not the intent, but it is how it reads, and as such feel it needs to be reworded.

  16. re Family Life rqmt 6…..there is no requirement to discuss the family meeting with the counselor. The ‘discuss’ portion is limited to how to have a family meeting…..not the meeting contents

  17. Item #8 might need to be revised with the words “At scout functions”. As read by some; I would be in violation of 8b since most times, while not in scout uniform or at a function, I am in possession of a concealed firearm. The firearm is not prohibited by law since I have a permit, and should not be in violation of Scouting policy as I am not acting in a scouting capacity. I am just paranoid when it comes to the wording of firearms and prohibit.

    • Robert Lawton // January 13, 2017 at 2:09 pm // Reply

      You missed this part: “…while serving in my capacity as an adult leader”.

      • Some of the country we camp in have had bear sightings in the last few years. Properly concealed, I would rather be in violation of this “rule” than take a chance (however small) of not being able to protect the scouts. It seems like the BSA is getting more and more into controlling us instead of supporting us.

      • I read that at the top, but it needs to be reiterated within this section due to the way it’s written.

    • I cannot support #8.b as it is a violation of my constitutional rights to bare arms in public AND on my own property. Legally carried firearms are NOT prohibited by law nor by the 2nd Amendment. I do respect the right of the BSA to prohibit weapons on its own property. Will that ban eventually extend to a scout pocket knife or an ax, hatchet etc., as in the UK as each is potentially a deadly weapon?

      This rule means that a person may not have a scout/scout meeting in their home or business if there are weapons/firearms on the premises (note the word POSSESS)
      even if secured in a gun safe.

      Note that under Missouri law my vehicle is my property and an extension of my home. A concealed carry permit holder cannot transport scouts even if the weapon is locked up in a safe in the trunk of the vehicle. It means that no scout can have firearms training even if such training is given on BSA property (Arrowhead), goodbye Rifle Shooting Badge. You cannot have two conflicting rules, regulations or policies.

      It means also that in the event of any incident occurring at any scout event, from a terrorist shooting to the act of a mentally unstable person wielding ANY weapon to harm another, or any other act that could reasonably have been stopped by a citizen carrying a legal weapon and acting lawfully THEN the entire legal liability falls squarely on the BSA for failure to enact reasonable policies to prevent or put in place a reasonable protective deterrent.

      • Duke Johnson // January 18, 2017 at 4:45 pm // Reply

        Your guns are more important than being involved in scouting. Got it; been nice having you in the program.

      • Well, it says “prohibited by law or in violation of any Scouting rules.” I am a MB counselor for rifle shooting/shotgun shooting and frequently must transport firearms for that role. However, I do so in accordance with local laws and I follow Scouting rules.

        If you have a permit or are in a free state that does not require one, you are not in violation of the law. Depending on how the firearm is secured, you may or may not be in violation of Scouting rules. As you point out, the word POSSESS is modified by the pre-conditions. Specifically, you agree not to possess XXXXX that is prohibited by law or in violation of Scouting rules. While I agree that the rules can be restrictive, I’ll bet you would also agree that Scoutmasters leaving unsecured loaded personal firearms in their unlocked vehicles while attending a troop meeting/camp or whatever is a really bad idea.

        If we ignore the pre-conditions, explosives would be a problem for many Cub Packs. The model rocket engines they use are classified as an explosive, but are both legal and permitted (with proper safety considerations) by Scouting rules.

        If the BSA tried to regulate my personal behavior and firearms activities outside of Scouting, I would resign and be done as would a large number of volunteers–I don’t think that is what this means, though. Anybody else remember Scout hunting trips and rifles holstered on our saddles? BSA has changed a lot, some for better and some for the worse.

      • From the BSA website (Feb 2016):

        The BSA is reinforcing its stance on handguns or other firearms at Scouting activities, with the open or concealed carry of handguns or other firearms.
        While various state laws may have authorized individual Scouters to legally carry or conceal firearms, they are NOT permitted to carry them while involved in Scouting activities outside of the shooting sports program.
        This applies to all persons involved in the activity, as the activity should be under the control of an appropriate Scouter. This has not changed.
        Review the BSA policy in the Guide to Safe Scouting in both the Shooting Sports section and the unauthorized activity listing that states, “Except for law enforcement officers required to carry firearms within their jurisdictions, firearms shall not be brought on camping, hiking, backpacking, or other Scouting activities except for those specifically planned for target shooting under supervision of a currently certified BSA national shooting sports director or National Rifle Association firearms instructor.”

  18. Robert Lawton // January 13, 2017 at 2:10 pm // Reply

    So far as I can tell, this looks like a consolidation of policies that have been around for a very long time.

  19. Ugh. As close as I can tell, Boy Scouting is an excellent program that continues to raise fine young men and future American leaders. Our Scouters across the country are good people who seem to be doing a fine job. Do we really need to add another page of “code” to risk management documents that are already so long that nobody but the district old retired boys’ club reads them? Perhaps our national organization could spend its time figuring out how to help and support us, rather than control us.

    I remember back when we were fighting the cold war. One of the things that we frequently criticized the old Soviets for was their laws requiring neighbors to turn in other neighbors (and even family members) to the state whenever they perceived a “violation” of state rules. There were all sorts of horror stories about this Soviet practice. It was a recipe for abuse, anti-democracy, and undermining community. It’s how dictators establish and maintain control.

    Is that what we really want to embrace as the BSA? The old Soviet mandatory reporting laws over “advocacy on social and political issues” or making a right turn on an empty country road without using a turn signal?

    I’d also second “Orwellian”. I appreciate Corporate’s desire to maintain the integrity of the BSA uniform and brand, but let’s not double-speak that’s a youth safety issue.

  20. So all of our adult scouters pledge to be ‘physically fit.’ This’ll be interesting!

  21. The promise not to carry firearms in violation of law is fine. Other than at scout camp, when is one prohibited from carrying a lawful firearm under scout rules, regulations and policies?

    • Pretty much always per the Guide to Safe Scouting.

      http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/HealthandSafety/GSS/gss07.aspx

      “Except for law enforcement officers required to carry firearms within their jurisdiction, firearms shall not be brought on camping, hiking, backpacking, or other Scouting activities except those specifically planned for target shooting under the supervision of a currently certified BSA national shooting sports director or National Rifle Association firearms instructor.”

      • Scout Commissioner // February 5, 2017 at 11:11 pm // Reply

        I often travel distances to a Scout Camp and law enforcement agents have advised me to carry my concealed handgun and my lawful, valid, concealed carry license as I travel about. Upon entering Scout property, I remove and disable/disassemble the firearm and store it in under the tire-well space, in a plain paper bag. Magazines are kept in my day pack with me No one could ever find or assemble, then to shoot such a useless bag full of junk parts. Yes, I have been checked, cleared, investigated, examined by many government departments and any hound’s tooth that is cleaner no longer has any enamel left on its surface. I also have high-levels of personal liability insurance in case of any unperceived liability on any kind of specific Scout event or Scout property. I think this is enough. Tell me otherwise.

  22. BSA’s “new” (2015) “Scouter Code of Conduct” in part states “I will exercise sound judgment and demonstrate good leadership and use the Scouting program for its intended purpose consistent with the mission of the Boy Scouts of America”. However, as “sound judgment” and “good leadership” for a particular activity cannot generally be exercised without the benefit of training and experience, I might have suggested that this provision be worded as follows: “I will obtain the experience and training necessary to enable me to exercise sound judgment and demonstrate good leadership during the planning and conduct of a contemplated outdoor Scouting activity“, as discussed in my Scouting risk management blog http://www.riskmanagementinscouting.com/the-exercise-of-sound-judgment-by-bsa-fiat-is-it-possible/. Of course, any training and experience that a unit can provide to its well-meaning volunteers will enhance the odds of a successful outdoor activity, during which they will be able to exercise the requisite sound judgment and good leadership.

  23. I think this should be tweaked. #9 mentions prescription drugs. I think #9 should also include a reminder that alchohol is prohibited, and should also include marijuana (which is legal or illegal or a prescription drug depending on jurisdiction). I know we mention this is guide to safe scouting – but since this “code of conduct” looks to be a reminder of rules established in youth protection and G2SS, it makes sense to emphasize it here.

  24. Why two standards, plain and simple. if we expect our youth to follow the scout law, why can’t we. No discussion, no reason not to.

  25. Kelly Horton // January 15, 2017 at 12:54 am // Reply

    Since pot has been legalized in many states, is the BSA going to make it OK to smoke it? I do not see that smoking tobacco is not mentioned at all. We all know that is hazardous to the smoker as well as the non-smoker that has to breath it. The old Scoutmasters Handbook state the Scoutmasters are not to drink or smoke.

  26. Two things revealed here:
    1) Yet again BSA has a communication failure. It has taken more than a year to get the word out.
    2) There are no points that are not covered in the oath and law.

  27. Rule 8 needs to be rewritten for better clarity. It could be construed as prohibiting the drinking of alcoholic beverages or possession of a gun outside of Scouting.

    I suspect the intent is to say not to do these things while at Scouting activities.

  28. I’ve been a BSA volunteer since 1978. In my opinion, the only code of conduct adults need in Scouting are the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Did someone actually get paid to come up with this “Orwellian” code of conduct?

  29. H. David Pendleton // January 16, 2017 at 4:02 pm // Reply

    If one is living the Scout Oath & Law, then these items are given except for #3. Staying up on #3 is what separates those that are involved in the BSA program to those committed to the BSA program.

  30. (the first version got deleted somehow)

    This, in MY opinion, is NOT NEEDED. Between the Scout Oath/Promise and Laws, the Guide to Safe Scouting and the youth protection policies — we don’t need yet ANOTHER 2 by 4 to hit Scouters upside the head with when they refuse to understand the mostly common-sense policies expressed in those publications and ideals which address ALL youth and ALL adults.

    The BSA has went onward for 90 some-odd years before we brought forward a set of youth protection policies which became the “industry standard” for youth protection and abuse prevention. We don’t need a set of additional “rules” on top of those to tell adults involved in our programs how to behave properly around other adults and especially around the youth in our programs.

    If someone needed a set of written “guidelines”, tear out the pages from the Scout Handbook and the Guide to Safe Scouting, and give them the adult youth protection booklet (just in case that they need a written refresher above that which is found online).

    This code is not needed. It’s there for key Scouters to point to, ask for compliance, and hold our fellow volunteers accountable. I note that there is *not* a professional version of this (or does the code apply to both volunteers and professionals equally?).

    • I wouldn’t think that professional scouters are excluded from this.
      Is it superfluous to the oath and law? Yes.
      But, are we expected to recite it at every meeting? No.

  31. Matt Culbertson // January 17, 2017 at 9:12 am // Reply

    Maybe Bryan could research and tell us what the genesis of this is. Was this written after the membership decisions?

    Also the majority of these codes of conduct are contained in the BSA adult application. Does the BSA believe that we should mandate G2SS as a course and condition to be approved as an adult leader? We have additional required legal state clearances to have our adult applications approved in the state of PA and even more to be approved to serve youth in the diocese.

  32. Fred Spellman // January 18, 2017 at 4:30 pm // Reply

    Well suited to adapt to the “Game of life” in Wood Badge. In Scout Leader Training I often ask the trainees if they drive 5 mpg over the speed limit. and then how they would explain that to the boys.

  33. John McKenzie // January 18, 2017 at 4:56 pm // Reply

    More roadblocks for adults to get through. No wonder new adults aren’t “knocking the doors down” trying to join Scouting.

  34. Dr Recharter // January 18, 2017 at 4:57 pm // Reply

    It seems like to me that this clearly another case of someone making up some more rules, policies, codes, and etc. Yes I agree with the concepts and they are good. But there is nothing in the BSA that is similar. Remember the old sayimg, “We shall not ADD to or TALE AWAY from …”

    In my 3 decades of being a Scouter, I have never heard of such a thing. If official, please provide the source. I’m waiting.

  35. I would have preferred the conduct was written more positively particularly in light that we need to recruit more adult volunteers. It reads like contract written by a lawyer. A Scout is Cheerful and I find that hard to get in the tone of the text.

  36. Duke Johnson // January 18, 2017 at 5:00 pm // Reply

    Just amazing how this group takes something perfectly reasonable and tears it apart because it’s something that didn’t exist in 1910. Why are so many of you SO negative? Do you not understand that this mentality turns people off and contributes to the struggle in recruiting new members?

    I don’t like the designated hitter, but when my son joined little league I didn’t see it as a platform for me to complain about the issue. My God, you are here to benefit children; quit projecting your personal politics on the program.

  37. #4. When transporting Scouts I will …, comply with youth protection guidelines…, The YPT guidelines states you are not to have one on one contact or must be within sight of another adult for discussions. How is this to be applied, do you need two adults in the vehicle when traveling to camp?

    • Steve Harris CM // January 18, 2017 at 7:41 pm // Reply

      The simple answer is YES. If you are transporting a Scout that’s not your family member.
      Two deep is mandatory

    • Two-deep leadership, is on events and outings. Meaning you only need two adults on any Scout event or outing. It doesn’t matter how many Scouts are going, you only need two adults.

      For transporting Scouts, the no one on one contact is the rule that applies. As long as you have multiple Scouts in your car, you are in compliance. Bryan did a Blog on this topic.

  38. Darwin is a Harsh Mistress // January 18, 2017 at 5:42 pm // Reply

    “Entryist” social justice warriors make the secret introduction of a vague and malleable “code of conduct” a very high priority. It is part of their “appeal to authority” once they launch a POINT-AND-SHRIEK attack on some poor schlub.

    BSA corporate might as well be ATT or IBM with their diversity butt kissing and “progressive” indoctrination. In fact, I think the program is losing whatever residual value it may have retained after the homosexualist capitulation.

    Pity. It leaves those of us with SONS in the program in a very tight bind. We’ve done everything to inculcate traditional values but are slapped in the face at every turn. Is it deliberate? Or is BSA hanging for dear life, clinging by its fingernails, trying to outlast a relentless, evil foe that would unsex and emasculate our boys before they have a chance to live?

  39. What attracts and holds youth membership is quality program. The eight Methods are supposed to lead to quality program

    We have trivial training in the Outdoor Method (“Introduction” followed by ??). Journey to Excellence (?) counts indoor movie weekends as “weekend campouts.” Where do Adults learn exciting, advanced outdoor skills to teach troop leaders so they can teach other Scouts? They are largely on their own.

    We have very weak training in the Patrol Method (better than 2000-2014 but still weak). Wood Badge uses the DGE method to teach Patrol Method, never explaining what it is, a failing it shares with “Basic” training.

    We have advancement presented as a de facto goal, rather than merely one of eight Methods, and not one of the top five at that.

    Attention to the quality of the “product” by which we will live of die as an organization should be given more – not less – attention. When is the Year of the Patrol Method?

    Safety is very important, but less important than program. Get out of the “bubble.”

  40. Scouter’s Code of Conduct.
    1. I will be a living example of the Scout Oath, Law. Motto and Slogan. (Replaces previous Scouter’s Code of Conduct. Don’t confuse detailed user’s instructions with a code of conduct.)

    2. I will always teach, use, and support Boy Scouting’s most important Method, the Patrol Method as B.S.A. defines that Method (And B.S.A. should be about the task of defining that Method in all of its training materials for Scouts and Scouters.).

    3. I will do my very best to encourage the Scouts in my unit to camp and/or hike each month of the year and be examples of living the Outdoor Code and principles of Leave No Trace.

    4. I will do my best to develop the Scouts in my unit as responsible and capable leaders by training, example, and opportunity to lead.

    5. I will do my best to encourage the individual Scouts in my unit to grow into self-confident, contentious, caring citizens who make the Good Turn, respect for others, and attention to their spiritual life an integral part of their personal culture.

    6. I will encourage and facilitate advancement in rank and earning (actually earning) of Merit Badges by the Scouts of my unit as a means of encouraging their growth in skills and knowledge and as good citizens.

    7. I will wear official B.S.A. uniform at all Boy Scout indoor program and, as practicable, at Boy Scout outdoor program and will strongly encourage the Scouts of my unit to do the same. (Having a “uniform” – that is, the same clothing, for all Scouts and Scouters, instead of merely a B.S.A. brand of clothing, would greatly facilitate this goal.)

    • Sandra Hannan // January 19, 2017 at 8:23 am // Reply

      Thank you Tom for a Scouter Code of Conduct that reminds us of what is most important for a Scouter to do. Perhaps if we add:

      #8 – I will maintain my BSA safety trainings and make time to read G2SS annually in order to continue to be allowed to serve the youth of my community as a BSA leader.

      we could get National to adopt this much more meaningful version of a Code of Conduct – and effect a real and positive change in the program by taking it back to the basics that makes it great.

      • This does not address one of the larger reasons for Units failing. Parent behavior. We are in danger of losing a Troop that is over 50 YO because of the behavior of two parents over several years. (Not at the same time).How about something that spells out the 3 R’s of life – Repsect, Responsibility,and Resourcefulness and how it fits into scouts?

  41. How about one for the BSA National Office “We will not update the Scout handbook or Merit Badge books or Requirements more frequently than once every 5 years (7 would be preferable) so that we don’t soak the boys and their parents for an excessive amount of money”.

  42. Except for the part that violates the Constitution for NO REASON, OK list.

  43. We near a time when every aspect of Scouting will be micromanaged and rules, guidelines, and vides will eliminate the use of common sense,

  44. Larry Gallamore // January 19, 2017 at 7:30 am // Reply

    These rules are not just BSA rules, they are rules we should live by each day. Protect our youth, keep them safe as we lead the future young men into manhood. Lead buy good examples, be the man or women that these young men can look up too, remember they are our future.

  45. A lot of this stuff seems like plain old fashioned common sense, especially the stuff about distributing pornography, smoking marijuana, bullying, and/or engaging in sexual activity while at Scouting events. I mean, really?? Is there anyone out there that was planning to do any of these things in their capacity as a leader? Thank goodness we had Joe Smith recite this pledge as it derailed his plans to smoke marijuana and show pornography to his Pack while bullying a few Scouts… It is kind of like saying Scout leaders should not physically assault Scouts, it just goes without saying.

    Aside from that, does BSA really need more rules? I think the number of rules BSA already has regarding how to structure and run outings and the training it requires leaders to have (like an 8 hour BALOO course just to go camping overnight) are a big turnoff for leaders and potential leaders (I am a Den Leader).

    The Scout Oath and the Scout Law cover everything a leader needs to know as long as they are committed to them.

  46. This Code is “a critical checklist for adult volunteers”…? No. This Code should be “a critical checklist for all adults involved in Scouting.”

  47. By way of comparison, here is the link to the Scouts Canada Code of Conduct, which must be signed and acknowledged annually by adult volunteers to maintain active registration status, its purpose being as follows: “The Scouts Canada Code of Conduct is a written agreement which outlines a Scouter’s willingness to abide by the organization’s policies and procedures, and to ensure conduct is in keeping with the organizations mission and principles. This agreement is reviewed and re-signed on an annual basis as per Scouts Canada’s Bylaws, Policies and Procedures.” It would appear that the purpose of the new BSA Code of Conduct is generally intended to align with the purpose of the new Scouts Canada Code of Conduct.

    http://www.scouts.ca/sites/default/files/2014_2015-Code_of_Conduct.pdf

  48. Howard Hayden // January 20, 2017 at 1:14 pm // Reply

    Much of this document assumes that Scout Leaders are already in violation of any reasonable code of conduct. Why not require an FBI Background Check for all Scout Leaders, then most of you adults, usually parents of the kids in Scout units, will very likely pass. Some years ago, I was the transportation for an MD who was doing clinical evaluations at the State Prison. To pick him up at the close of his assigned duties, I had to enter a restricted area into the Visitors’ Parking Area. No firearms are permitted on prison grounds. I went to the local police, explained my situation, and asked them to ‘baby-sit’ my target pistol so I could enter the Prison property. The Desk Sergeant told me to place the gun, unloaded, in the storage space (spare tire area) and to lock the space as I was waiting for the MD. I often travel many miles to visit Troops at Scout Camps; according to the stipulations of the Policy written herein, I need to shed the firearm before entering Camp. I do not, but I disable the gun and do not store ammunition with it. I have a license to carry; I pass every background check easily; I do not carry any firearms on Scout property. At Philmont, the local gun shop will ‘baby-sit’ my firearm for a week for $10, so I can do that. I am behaving reasonably; if this is inadequate according to your shopping list herein, please send me, your faithful Volunteer, into retirement. Hey! i always recite the Prayer of Confession before receiving the Sacrament of Holy Communion! Now what?

    • The prohibition against possession of a firearm in the Code of Conduct must be read in relation to the discussion in the Guide to Safe Scouting (“items prohibited by law or in violation of any Scouting rules, regulations, and policies”) which says “Except for law enforcement officers required to carry firearms within their jurisdiction, firearms shall not be brought on camping, hiking, backpacking, or other Scouting activities except those specifically planned for target shooting under the supervision of a currently certified BSA national shooting sports director or National Rifle Association firearms instructor.”

  49. I can rewrite this code in one scentence.

    Scouter Code of Conduct:
    I will lead using the Scout Oath and Scout Law as my guide and I will be fully trained prior to accepting my leadership position.

    Feel free to pass this on!

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