Outdoor Programs

Outdoor adventure is the promise made to boys when they join Scouting. Boys yearn for outdoor programs that stir their imagination and interest.

In the outdoors, boys have opportunities to acquire skills that make them more self-reliant. They can explore canoe and hiking trails and complete challenges they first thought were beyond their ability. Attributes of good character become part of a boy as he learns to cooperate to meet outdoor challenges that may include extreme weather, difficult trails and portages, and dealing with nature's unexpected circumstances. Scouts plan and carry out activities with thoughtful guidance from their Scoutmaster and other adult leaders. Good youth leadership, communication, and teamwork enable them to achieve goals they have set for themselves, their patrol or squad, and their troop or team.

Learning by doing is a hallmark of outdoor education. Unit meetings offer information and knowledge used on outdoor adventures each month throughout the year. A leader may describe and demonstrate a Scouting skill at a meeting, but the way Scouts truly learn outdoor skills is to do it themselves on a troop outing.

Bike Program Guides Being Developed

The BSA’s Biking Task Force is developing guidelines for BMX and mountain biking programs. The BSA is seeking your feedback. See the documents on the new biking page for more information.

Local Council Participation Grant Program

Many councils realize great savings by participating in nationally negotiated contracts. The BSA would like to encourage more participation and pass along even more savings to local councils. The BSA has developed a grant program based on the savings that have accrued on our total purchases as of the anniversary of these contracts. Click here to learn more and apply.

BSA Antarctic Scientific Program
The Antarctic Scout will join teams of scientists conducting research during expeditions scheduled for the Antarctic summer season. The focus of this assignment is to add value to the different research teams by providing the positive assistance required to accomplish their mission. As a support member, the candidate will assist the scientists in the daily activities required to successfully conduct their field research projects. These assignments may be as simple as helping to cook the daily meals and doing camp chores to the more challenging tasks of gathering and analyzing samples for testing—and even wrestling seals!
Aquatics: Safety Afloat
Safety Afloat has been developed to promote boating and boating safety and to set standards for safe unit activity afloat. Before a BSA group may engage in an excursion, expedition, or trip on the water (canoe, raft, sailboat, motorboat, rowboat, floating in an inner tube, or other craft), adult leaders for such activity must complete Safety Afloat Training, have a commitment card, No. 34242, with them, and be dedicated to full compliance with all nine points of Safety Afloat.
There are many awards, as a Scout, that you can earn, training you can attend, and opportunities for advancement. Check out this section to learn more about moving forward with your Scout training and see some of the many programs BSA has put together for the experience of a lifetime!
The BSA’s Biking Task Force is developing guidelines for BMX and mountain biking programs. The BSA is seeking your feedback. See the documents below for more information.
Organized camping is a creative, educational experience in cooperative group living in the outdoors. It uses the natural surroundings to contribute significantly to physical, mental, spiritual, and social growth. Cub Scouting offers camping opportunities for Cub Scouts through day camps, resident camps, Webelos den overnight campouts, council-organized family camps, and pack overnighters.
Conservation and Environment
Since 1910, conservation has been an integral part of the Boy Scouts of America. The BSA has been a positive force in conservation and environmental efforts. Scouts have rendered distinguished public service by helping to conserve wildlife, energy, forests, soil, and water. Past generations of Scouts have been widely recognized for undertaking conservation Good Turn action projects in their local communities.
COPE and Climbing
Young people today seek greater challenges, and climbing and rappelling offer a worthy challenge. The satisfaction of safely climbing a rock face is hard to top. While introduction of the Climbing merit badge in spring 1997 spurred interest in these activities through the BSA, the proliferation of climbing gyms and facilities has also made climbing and rappelling readily available throughout the United States.
The BSA’s fishing program continues to grow. Counselors can find information here on helping Scouts achieve the Fish and Wildlife Management, Fishing, and Fly-Fishing merit badges. There are also resources for Cub Scout leaders that assist in planning a fishing outing.
National Scout Jamborees
Scouting's flagship event is a gathering of Scouts, leaders, and volunteer staff. Once every four years, over the course of 10 summer days, Scouts from all over the country gather to experience everything that is great about the Boy Scouts of America.
Leave No Trace
Every Scouting activity should be planned with Leave No Trace principles in mind. Leave No Trace is a method that prepares Scouts to make ethical choices in the outdoor environment and to respect the rights of other outdoor users, as well as future generations. It's an awareness and an attitude rather than a set of rules. It applies in your backyard or local park as much as in wilderness or backcountry areas.
National Camping Schools
The BSA operates national and local high-adventure bases and programs. Outdoor activities include day hikes, service projects, patrol activities, weekend overnights, camporees, and jamborees.

The Boy Scouts of America places the greatest importance on creating the most secure environment possible for our youth members. To maintain such an environment, the BSA developed numerous procedural and leadership selection policies and provides parents and leaders with resources for all our programs.
Shooting Sports
The following guidelines relate to use of firearms within the Scouting program. Safety should ALWAYS be the primary concern when using firearms.
Standards and Forms
This section is dedicated to providing the BSA Standards and Forms needed for Adults and Children to attend events and gain leadership skills.
Outdoor Literature
Outdoor knowledge and skills are highlighted throughout Scouting literature:

The Boy Scout Handbook
Nationally Approved Historic Trails
Okpik: Cold Weather Camping
Knots and How to Tie Them
Merit Bage Series: Climbing
Project COPE Manual