4 ways the BSA is strengthening its relationships with schools

In many cities and towns, the mission to grow Scouting begins at schools.

That’s where lots of young people first learn about the Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout troops of which their classmates are members.

The alignment is natural and robust. Scouting and schools emphasize civics, preparedness and service to the community.

Ready to strengthen the relationship between Scouting and schools in your area? The BSA has several resources to help.

Here’s a look at four of these tools — some new, some revised to meet modern needs.

1. Adopt-A-School

The BSA’s Adopt-A-School program often is the first step in connecting Scout units with schools.

Units make a minimum one-year commitment to partner with school administrations and offer the volunteer services that most effectively meet the school’s needs.

Here’s what this often looks like: In exchange for meeting space and other support from the school, Scout units complete at least four service projects to beautify the school inside and out.

The school and surrounding community benefit greatly, and units get service hours that count toward Journey to Excellence progress. It is the very definition of “win-win.”

Learn more: At the Adopt-A-School site.

2. Outstanding Educator Award

The Elbert K. Fretwell Outstanding Educator Award is a new BSA award with real potential to result in membership growth.

It’s named after the professor of education at Columbia University who became the BSA’s second Chief Scout Executive, succeeding James E. West.

The Outstanding Educator Award — also referred to as the Fretwell Award — is presented to teachers, educational support staff and school administrators who instill Scouting values in their students. It recognizes a person’s work for students in his or her professional role — not for what the person does directly for Scouting.

The award can be presented at the district, council, area, regional and national levels. There’s no minimum or maximum number of awards that can be presented per school year. That said, a good guideline is one award per year per school.

Learn more: In this implementation guidebook (PDF).

3. Report to the School District

Each year, the BSA sends a group of impressive young men and women to Washington, D.C., to present the Report to the Nation. The report, mandated in the BSA’s 1916 charter, is basically a Scouting good-news tour. The delegates meet with several key officials to tell them about the accomplishments of Scouts from the previous year.

Many BSA councils also organize a Report to the State trip. Same idea, different scale.

Report to the School District follows this pattern. Scouts meet with district leaders to tell them how Scouting supports the community. This is a great way to promote Scouting and renew relationships with schools.

It’s an opportunity to highlight and share the ways Scouting affects the local school district.

Learn more: In this Report to the School District Guide (PDF).

4. School Access Training Module

The phrase “school access” means something different in almost every school district.

It may be:

  • The ability to send home a message with prospective Cub Scouts.
  • The opportunity for a BSA representative to talk to a group of prospective Cub Scouts at school.
  • The use of a school facility.

A 50-minute training module tells volunteers what they should know about schools to optimize access, what the law says about school access, three examples of responding to school access challenges, and proven practices for building relationships with school personnel.

The module can be done as a stand-alone session or as a part of a “day of training” course.

Learn more: In this training module (PDF).

Any questions?

For question about these resources, email education.relationships@scouting.org.


      • Where did you get that information? Our School District with the endorsement of the Super puts out a letter allowing the schools to allow scouting events, recruiting, classroom walk trough’s and flyers to be passed out. Most of our units are church sponsored and they approach local public and charter schools.

        • That school district support is essential, but it’s not the same as being Chartered by the school district.

          Within the BSA, the Charter Organization has ultimate hiring/firing authority for all registered BSA volunteers in its chartered unit. Some pay for the unit’s charter fees. Most school districts don’t want that kind of administrative burden.

          That’s why a “school-affiliated” charter – where one exists – is typically managed by the PTSA, or similar outside organization.

  1. How can we let BSA National know that the schools around here will not allow us to talk to the boys, they will not allow us to send papers home with the boys, they do not endorse or encourage any recruitment in or near their schools whatsoever.

    • National knows. The hope is that some of the steps above will reopen those doors. It’s already working in cities and towns across the country.

    • Karen – contact your local District Executive and Council leadership they should have resources to help you with your situation.

    • Charter schools can do what they want; basically they are private schools funded with public money, and not accountable.

  2. I have to second Karen’s comment. Our local schools will allow forms to go home but previously we were allowed in to talk to the youth during the school day. This has since changed. The PTO will not even talk to me. We hold meeting at the school. How do you do go for a place that treats you as toxic?

  3. The training module has some neat ideas, and a quick scan of it makes it look like something easy to share at a district level. It is a draft and incomplete. Anyone know when it might be complete? We have several systems in our six county district with different levels of acceptance (even across the same school district).

    • It would be helpful if someone could answer the question about when the draft is expected to be completed.
      Side note: Of the four schools that my Troop recruits from, each Principal has a different policy. All in same District.

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