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I thought the BSA was a camping club, what are the Aims and Mission of the BSA?

Date: 11 Jan 1998

There are two entities to the BSA: The BSA traditional Scouting organization and the wholly owned subsidiary: Learning for Life/Exploring.

There are three aims to Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Scouting:

  • Aim I -- To build moral strength and character
  • Aim II -- To foster citizenship
  • Aim III -- To develop fitness

These three aims are the bedrock of the American Scouting movement. They represent the long term outcomes we want for every boy.

It is the mission of the Boy Scouts of America to serve others by helping to instill values in young people and in other ways prepare them to make ethical choices over their lifetime in achieving their full potential. (BSA Mission Statement)

It is the mission of Learning for Life/Exploring to serve others by helping to instill core values in young people and in other ways prepare them to make ethical choices throughout their lives so they can achieve their full potential.

"Values are those things that really matter to each of us ... the ideas and beliefs we hold as special. Caring for others, for example, is a value; so is the freedom to express our opinions." ("Ethics in Action", BSA 1990)

"Ethics deals with what we believe to be good or bad and with the moral obligations that these beliefs imply. Ethics involves the rules for deciding right and wrong and the code of conduct that is based on our decisions. While there are some things that not everybody sees eye-to-eye with in this area, there are a whole lot more that we do agree about. For example, to steal is wrong, for most of us. So too is physical assault. Most of us don't think it is right to cheat in school; many of us think it is injustice to punish someone who didn't do anything wrong. As an idea, ethics is simple, but the consequences are profound!" ("Developing Ethical Leaders Through Action", 1990)

The BSA strives to help enrich the lives of young people and make a difference in the kind of people they become. Since 1910, it has been the mission of the BSA to serve others by helping to install values in young people, to prepare them to make ethical choices over their lifetime and achieve their full potential.

Some more references:

  • Maintaining BSA Standards
  • "The Scout Oath and Law are not up for negotiation. Our values are not for sale."
  • Text of this article from Scouting magazine, September 1992. can be found at:

Some resources for instilling values in young people can be found at:

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