Who We Are
The phrase, "traditional scouting" refers to a back-to-basics scouting movement based on the original principles and methods devised by scouting’s founder, Robert Baden-Powell. The aim of our association is, as stated by B-P himself, to promote good citizenship and physical, mental development and training in habits of observation, discipline, self-reliance, loyalty, and useful life skills. We meet outdoors, and service to the community is one of our core tenets. Our badgework focuses on proficiency in outdoor skills, citizenship, and self-reliance. We strive to preserve B-P's original methods and educational philosophy in our program as much as possible, while modernizing language to keep up with societal evolution and staying up-to-date with best practice and safety in outdoor education.
Yes, BPSA is proud to offer a traditional scouting program for youth and adults of all genders with open and progressive membership policies that disallow any and all discrimination. Our aim is to promote good citizenship, discipline, self-reliance, loyalty, and useful skills. We do not discriminate or exclude anyone on the basis of gender identity, race, nation of origin, religion (or no religion), sexual orientation, class, ability, or any other differentiating characteristics. BPSA welcomes everyone to the game of scouting and we'll do our best to get it right for all scouts who wish to join us.
A Group, in traditional scouting, is the organizational unit that contains within it each of the different program sections. Each Group will consist of an Otter Raft, Timberwolf Pack, Pathfinder Troop and Rover Crew.
No. The BPSA is totally independent of, and not affiliated with, the Boys Scouts of America or the Girl 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. We are more closely related to the Baden-Powell Scouts’ Association of England and the Baden-Powell Service Association in British Columbia, Canada.
We are all brothers and sisters in scouting and take great pride in sharing similar core values of service, community, and self-empowerment. BPSA welcomes all genders to scout together in equal dignity, and there is no religious requirement. Further, our program harkens back to the original scouting programs designed by Robert and Olave Baden-Powell. In practice, this means our badgework is simplified, our meetings are held outdoors, and we run independently of any sponsoring organizations.
Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell (22 February 1857 – 8 January 1941), also known as B-P, BP, or Lord Baden-Powell, was a lieutenant-general in the British Army, writer, educational innovator and founder and Chief Scout of the Scout Movement. After having been educated at Charterhouse School, Baden-Powell served in the British Army from 1876 until 1910 in India and Africa. In 1899, during the Second Boer War in South Africa, Baden-Powell successfully defended the town in the Siege of Mafeking. Several of his military books, written for military reconnaissance and scout training in his Africa years, were also read by boys. Based on those earlier books, he wrote Scouting for Boys, published in 1908 by Sir Arthur Pearson, for youth readership. In 1907, he held the first Scout Camp on Brownsea Island, which is now seen as the beginning of Scouting. It is B-P’s writings and Scouting program that are the roots of all Scouting organizations and associations around the world..
How to Join
You can register as part of an existing BPSA Group, as a Lone Scout (those participating in the program alone or with their child as part of our national 1st Lone Scouts Group), or you may inquire about starting a new group in your area.
Starting a new group requires one or two adults who will take on the role of Group Scoutmaster, or GSM. The GSM charters the group through BPSA and handles recruitment, registration, and marketing for their own group. For more information, please contact us.
Cost and Commitment
Registration varies by group. Groups maintain their own finances, paying only a flat yearly fee to BPSA for charter registration.
Each group varies in frequency, size, and scope. Some sections within a group are meeting bi-weekly; other groups meet monthly.
Commitment varies by group, and you're encouraged to ask this of your Group Scoutmaster(s) when you register. Often parents and guardians may be asked to sign on as leaders in order for the group to function. As we grow, the time commitment will lessen. At the Otter and Timberwolf level, families play a larger role in planning and carrying out adventures and events. As scouts move into the Pathfinder section, they are leading themselves—planning, creating, and implementing their own trips and events—under the guidance of one or two adult leaders.
Adults 18 and over who wish to volunteer as leaders must register as Rovers with an existing group, or as part of a new Group Charter. Once you are registered, you should make plans to attend one of BPSA’s Brownsea Training Camps for adult volunteers and leaders sometime within your first year (if possible). This training is required and necessary in order to fully understand traditional scouting, learn the skills needed to work with youth scouts, and how to operate and run the program within your group.
BPSA performs independent background checks annually on all registered adult members (Rovers 18+), whether working with youth scouts, or just individuals in the Lone Scout program. We do not accept third party background checks, and they must take place at the time of registration.
BPSA runs at least two Brownsea Training Camps per year, typically once in the spring and again in the fall. The Brownsea Training Camp is the first step in training for all BPSA leaders and required within their first year of service. Training is available beyond Brownsea called Wood Beads. We also have a robust online community of leaders who continually share ideas and resources.
BPSA takes safety and youth protection very seriously. Our Youth Protection Policy is available here: Code of Ethics and Youth Protection and it is required that registering adult volunteers/leaders learn these policies before working with youth. The guide is also part of our required Brownsea Training Course for Rovers. All adult leaders and Rovers (18+) undergo annual independent background checks. Further, our policy implements a strict "two-deep leadership" practice to ensure no child is ever alone with any one single adult (unless it is their own parent/guardian). Please read through the guide for a full overview of our policy and practices.
Currently, BPSA does not provide insurance to each of its chartered Groups, although we are in the process of putting this together to have available at some point in the future. Right now, BPSA Groups operate using the available Medical Release and Liability Waiver Form, and having each registered member of the group sign and turn it into the Group Scoutmaster to keep on file. This is the same process many after-school and youth sports programs use around the country. If the Group can afford a minimal accident and liability insurance for the group, or through the hosting or sponsoring organization if they have one, BPSA encourages them to do so. Scout Groups may also ask for proof of insurance coverage for each Scout as well at the time of registration and keep a copy of the Scout’s insurance card on file with his or her records and forms.