Craig Bond (CraigB1051@AOL.COM)
Tue, 21 Feb 1995 01:52:32 -0500
Recently, we were asked to give a brief run-down of the BSA
structure. This is the talk I give at the Basic Training programs
in our District, without the flip chart drawings.
There are basically about four levels to BSA, and two sides.
The bottom level is BSA National Council, chartered by the US
Congress to bring Scouting to the youth of America. It is
headquartered in Irving, Texas (between Dallas and Fort Worth), and
has currrently divided the country into four basic regions
(Southern, Eastern, Central and Western).
The National Council charters the second level: 380+/- local
councils covering all the US and certain US dependents overseas, to
bring Scouting to the youth in their areas. These Councils are
independent corporations that are sort of like franchises in that
they have independence within the rules and regulations of BSA.
Each local Council issues local charters to the third level:
community groups, businesses, organizations, called chartered
organizations or institutions to bring Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting,
or Exploring (primarily) in their communities.
The chartered organizations form the top level: individual units
(Packs, Troops, and Posts) for each of these programs.
Cub Scouts (grades 1-5) are organized in Cub Scout Packs, with
individual groups of (preferably) 6-10 boys in first grade (Tiger
Cub Groups), second grade (Wolf Den), third grade (Bear Den), and
fourth and fifth grade (Webelos Dens). There may be more than one
of these dens at each level; sometimes, a den has more than one
grade in a single den, but ideally not. The average pack in the
USA has 40 boys. Each pack's program leader is a Cubmaster (CM);
each den has a Den Leader (DL) or Webelos Den Leader (WL).
Boy Scouts (roughly, age 11-17) are less formally organized within
their formal organization as a Boy Scout Troop. BSA would like
them to have a New Scout Patrol, 1-2 patrols with more experienced
boys, and a group of older (14+) boys called a Venture Crew).
Troop has an adult Scoutmaster (SM) and (we hope) some Assistant
Scoutmasters (officially, SA; unofficially, ASM). It also has a
youth leadership group led by the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL), and
each patrol, a patrol leader (PL). Average troop size is 19.
Explorers (roughly, age 14-20) are generally very informally
organized in posts that usually are (and sometimes are not) co-ed
units with a common interest. Many are outdoor interest (hiking,
camping, etc.); some are career interest (health care, law
enforcement, law, modeling...and more than a hundred others). They
have an adult Explorer Advisor (EA), and a youth President, Vice
Presidents, etc. Average size: 18.
There are a couple other related programs: Varsity Scouting Teams
(boys, age 14-17), sports oriented; and Sea Exploring Ships (same
age as other Explorers).
I mentioned two sides: volunteer and professional. Volunteers run
the Scouting program; professionals administer it. As a
professional, I work for the volunteers in my district, although I
was hired and can be fired only by my Scout Executive (chief
administrative officer of the Council). For example, there are
nearly 4,200 volunteer leaders in our Council and 15,000 youth, but
only 13 on the professional staff and five clerical staff.
These two sides of the program are mirrored throughout BSA -- the
National President is Norman Augustine, also President/CEO of
Martin Marrietta Corp; Jere Ratcliffe is the Chief Scout Executive.
Incidentally, BSA also has a wholly-owned subsidiary called
Learning for Life, which is a school-based program whose challenge
is to bring a value-based program to kids who do not otherwise join
Hope this provides a sketch (very brief, and there is much more to
an organization that has over four million youth members) to
members outside the US.
Craig Bond, SrDE, but speaking only for myself, not BSA
Incidentally, I gotta brag: finished my ticket weekend past. Just under the
wire. How pleased to be a done Bear.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City