The Baden-Powell Service Association (BPSA) was formed in the U.S. in 2006 as an independent and traditional-style scouting association. The principles and methods originally drafted by Robert Baden-Powell in 1907 have been developed and refined in scout associations around the world. BPSA's program harkens back to the origins of scouting: promoting self-reliance, good citizenship, training in habits of observation, and loyalty. Our badgework and program are simple, our uniform is minimal. We teach real outdoor skills and engage in adventures, campouts, and community-building. Service is one of our core tenets, as we create a culture where children and adults ask, "How can we help?"
BPSA believes that all people and all families should have an equal place in the scouting movement. We welcome scouts and their families as they come to us, and we will do our best to make scouting and its activities accessible to every child or adult who wishes to join. Our mission statement is as follows:
BPSA welcomes everyone, regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, class, ability, religion (or no religion), or other differentiating factors. Our mission is to provide a positive learning environment within the context of democratic participation and social justice. We foster the development of scouts in an environment of mutual respect and cooperation.
The training scheme devised by Baden-Powell relies on using the natural curiosity and imagination of young people as a guide to the activities that will attract and hold their attention. Our method and practice provide youth with the opportunity to craft and develop their own adventures, trips, and service projects. The appeal of true scouting has always been to that element of the vagabond, pioneer, and explorer, which is part of our nature, and is at its most evident in youth. Scouting is an outdoor movement and that is part of its character. To whatever degree conditions may, at time, force us indoors—such as weather, darkness, or town life—we must regard this as second-best necessity and never as a satisfactory substitute for the real thing.
Robert Baden-Powell was a complicated public figure, with a philosophy that varied widely throughout his life. We must acknowledge and denounce the racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, et al that B-P spoke about and committed to the written word. BPSA-US exists because of a small group of people willing to rewrite the narrative about who can and should be a scout. We strive every day to develop a program and a culture that is in line with 21st Century inclusivity and equity. Our views on society, humanity, and culture as an association do not reflect those written by Robert Baden-Powell, and though we wholeheartedly embrace and adhere to his educational theory and philosophy, we choose to distance ourselves from B-P’s written cultural bias.
BPSA-US is not affiliated with either the Boy Scouts of America or the Girls Scouts of the USA. We are members of the World Federation of Independent Scouts (WFIS) and as such are not in competition with other American scouting associations; we are only their brothers and sisters in scouting.
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