Learn About Scouts BSA

Scouts BSA teaches life lessons centered on the four aims of Scouting:

  • Character
  • Fitness
  • Citizenship
  • Leadership


Scouts BSA provides youth with programs that allow them to

  • Try new things
  • Provide service to others
  • Build self-confidence
  • Reinforce ethical decision making

Scouting provides youth with a sense that they are important as individuals. It is communicated to them that those in the Scouting family care about what happens to them, regardless of whether a game is won or lost.

Scouting promotes activities that lead to personal responsibility and high self-esteem.  These activities focus on:

  • Adventure in the Outdoors
  • Conservation  
  • Preparedness
  • Life Skills  
  • Personal Fitness  
  • Citizenship & Community Service  
  • Leadership

As a result, when hard decisions must be made, peer pressure can be resisted, and the right choices can be made.



Be Prepared means preparing young people for life. It is a program of experiences that broaden horizons and show young people what’s possible.



Youth can join Scout troop who have earned the Arrow of Light  rank and are at least 10 years old, or have completed the fifth grade and are at least 10, or who are 11, but not yet 18 years old.


Where is Scouts BSA?

Scout BSA Troops are chartered by schools, civic and religious organizations. Click on the button below, to search, and learn about locations and leader information in your area.

Find a Scouts BSA Troop Near You


What does my child get out of it?

The Scouts BSA program is designed to develop physical, mental and emotional fitness. Fitness includes the body (well-tuned and healthy), the mind (able to think and solve problems), and the emotions (self-control, courage, and self-respect).

Youth also get a sense of accomplishment as they earn awards and other recognitions all while having fun.  They also learn leadership as the work with and lead their peers 

Click here for additional information on the Value of Scouting.


What does my family get out of it?

The Scout BSA program provides fun activities for youth.  Families can be involved when it comes to volunteer roles, service, or other designated activities.

Younger or Older youth can participate in other programs of scouting, while helping and teaching the younger scouts valuable skills.  Younger youth typically tag along, participating in family events, looking forward to when they can join Cub Scouts, all while having fun.


Types of Activities

A Scout Troop meets once each week or every other week at their troop meeting. Beyond that, it depends on the patrol and troop. A troop may hold a special activity, such as a service project or outdoor experience, in place of one of the meetings or in addition to the meetings.

Beyond meetings, activities are planned by youth with the guidence of adult leadership, about one activity a month is typical

  • Hikes
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Crafts
  • Picnics
  • Community Service
  • Archery
  • Nature
  • Skills
  • STEM
  • Games
  • Field Trips
  • Parades
  • Climbing
  • Songs & Skits
  • Conservation

...and many others activities, possibilities are endless.

While most activities are done within the patrol or troop, large group events are hosted for all area Scouts, Click here to see what Camping and Outdoor Adventures are planned in our area.


When / Where / How Long?

The when, where & how long all depends on each Scouts BSA Troop.

The Troop, typically meet once a week, at a school gym, cafeteria or community center, for about an 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

The troop may be broken down into one or more patrols.  These patrols may hold additinal meetings, or meet prior to or after the regular troop meeting. Troops also try to have at least one or more activities per month, location depends on the activity, time can range from a half hour game to a weekend of camping.


Uniform, Books, Supplies

The single most important piece of equipment a Scout needs is the Scout Handbook. A local Scout shop is the best place to buy a handbook, and the staff there can guide you to get exactly what you need. See more at our Gateway Area Scout shop.

The uniform is also very important as it plays an essential role in creating a sense of belonging, and it’s where a Scout gets to display his awards and rank achievements. Check out the interactive uniform builder at www.bsauniforms.org   Uniforms can be ordered online or in person at the local Scout shop.

Additional supplies and equipment may be needed for certain activities such as camping trips or field days. What equipment is needed, as well as whether it will be provided by the troop, will vary. Unit leaders will provide information about any required supplies at the beginning of each program year.

Adult Uniforms consist of the tan Scouting BSA uniform shirt, with cap, green uniform shorts, or slacks, belt, socks, neckerchief and slide.

Many Scout Troops adopt a t-shirt to wear as an alternative during activities.

Other themed Scout gear and supplies can enhance the scouting experience.

Some Troops have a hand-me-down program, as youth grow, however many scouts, or more so their parents like to keep prior intact uniforms, with awards and patches, as mementos, or to hang up on display at the scouts future Eagle Scout Award court of honor.


Where are the Female Troops for Scouts BSA?

  • Troop 515 – French Island Lions Club – Sue Adams, SM & Toby Adams, CC
  • Troop 531 – Houston American Legion 
  • Troop 91G – Holmen American Legion – Kent Safranski, SM & Todd Clark, CC
  • Troop 72 - Tomah - Scott White, SM
  • Troop 19 – Onalaska Valley View Rotary -Toby Wolf, SM  CC contact us at onatroop19@gmail.com and check out the OnaTroop19 flyer!
  • and many more troops are forming this year!

SM = Scoutmaster, CC = Committee Chair.  For contact information, please call the Scout office.


What does it cost?

There's a one-time registration joining fee of $25.  The yearly membership and insurance is about $85 (based on 2023 fees), Handbook $8, Uniform and accessories (new) $25-$75.  Troops may have an activity fee, and large group events may have an event fee.

Again, these costs can vary by Troop, as a successful fundraiser may cover all the scouts cost for the year, as well as camperships and other scholarship programs through the "No Scout Left Behind" fund to help those who need it.


Health and Safety

A youth's Health and Safety, is always an important part of the scouting program, the BSA has implemented a comprehensive program to protect youth. The beginning of every scout handbook is a pull-out pamphlet that the parents and scouts should review.  Every registered leader receives a background check and is required to take and renew Youth Protection Training. 

For details on No One on One Contact and Two Deep Leadership review the BSA's Youth Protection at this link.


Special Needs & Assistance

Youth with physical disabilities and youth and adults with developmental or cognitive challenges are welcome in the Boy Scouts of America. Various accommodations exist to facilitate advancement. These youth do not need to join a special unit oriented to serving members with disabilities, although those exist and may be beneficial in some cases. The severity of disability will indicate how members should be registered.

When knowledgeable parents, guardians, or volunteers are able to provide assistance and oversight, most anyone can be a member. While leaders should be enthusiastic about helping those with special needs, they should also recognize the demands that will be placed on their patience, understanding, and skill in working on advancement.


What else can we say?