Boy Scouts of America

File:Stamp US 1950 3c Boy Scouts of America.jpg
Boy Scouts of America on a 1950 stamp

The Boy Scouts of America or BSA is an organization for children and teens with over 5 million members across the United States. They try to give young people life values.[1]


Boy Scouts are ages 11–17 and belong to troops, groups of Scouts associated with a church, school or post. Cub Scouts are scouts ages 6–10 and belong to packs. Cub Scouts include Tigers, Wolfs, Bears, and Webelos. Older Scouts can be Venturer Scouts.


The Boy Scouts of America were founded by American writer W. D. Boyce, in 1910, but were similar to Scouting groups in Great Britain and other early scout movements.[2] James E. West helped out the BSA in its early years, but also made the BSA more religious than scouts were in Europe. Scouting grew in the 1910s and 20s due to the rise of “boy’s books” devoted to Scouting and the First World War. Scouting had many members during the 1960s, but has declined since the 1970s, despite an attempt to make scouting modern by changing requirements and adding more merit badges.


Over the years, the BSA has taken some stands that many Americans did not like. These included being against unions (organized workers) in the 1920s, requiring Scouts to believe in God, and not allowing gays to join Scouting.


When a scout joins a troop, he gets the "Scout Badge". After that, he can earn rank. There are six ranks in the Boy Scouts: Tenderfoot, 2nd Class, 1st Class, Star, Life and Eagle. The first three focus on learning basic scout skills, including camping, cooking, swimming, first aid (basic medical care), citizenship, orienteering (use of a map and compass), and pioneering (tying knots). The final three focus on earning merit badges, serving the troop and serving the community. Eagle Scouts must plan and finish a project that benefits something other than Scouting, and earn 21 merit badges. Only about 2 or 3% of Scouts earn Eagle, but some of the ones that have include Gerald Ford and Neil Armstrong.[3]

Oath and law

Scouts must learn, know and follow the Scout Oath and Scout Law:[4]

Scout Oath

These are the words of the Scout Oath:

"On my honor I will do my best, to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight".

Scout Law

A scout is:

  1. trustworthy,
  2. loyal,
  3. helpful,
  4. friendly,
  5. courteous,
  6. kind,
  7. obedient,
  8. cheerful,
  9. thrifty,
  10. brave,
  11. clean, and
  12. reverent.

Boy Scouts of America match holder

The Boy Scouts of America match holder (matchbox) was first introduced in the 1800s. It was made from tin and plated to prevent rust. It held approximately two dozen wooden match sticks. The design incorporates a screw cap that extends its contents for easy access when opened. It is 3 × 0.75 inches (76 × 19 mm), and the cap has a lanyard loop. The Boy Scouts of America insignia is etched into the bottom.

Related pages


  1. "BSA Vision Statement". U.S. Scouting Service Project. Retrieved on 2008-07-22.
  2. Petterchak, Janice A. (2003). Lone Scout: W. D. Boyce and American Boy Scouting. Rochester, Illinois: Legacy Press. pp. 63–67. Template:Catalog lookup linkScript error: No such module "check isxn"..
  3. "All BSA Eagle Scout Requirements since 1911".
  4. "Mission Statement and Vision Statement". Boy Scouts of America. 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2017.