Taughannock District
Baden-Powell Council, BSA
Scouting's Membership Policies


Youth Membership Policy

Youth membership in the Boy Scouts of America is open to all youth who meet the specific membership requirements to join the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Sea Scout, Exploring and Venturing programs. Membership in any program of the Boy Scouts of America requires the youth member to:

(a) subscribe to and abide by the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law

(b) subscribe to and abide by the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God), and 

(c) demonstrate behavior that exemplifies the highest level of good conduct and respect for others and is consistent at all times with the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. 

No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.

As of January 30, 2017, the BSA policy as to transgender youth is as follows:

We will accept and register youth in the Cub and Scouts BSA programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application. Our organization’s local councils will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child.

The Boy Scouts of America is committed to identifying program options that will help us truly serve the whole family, and this is an area that we will continue to thoughtfully evaluate to bring the benefits of Scouting to the greatest number of youth possible – all while remaining true to our core values, outlined in the Scout Oath and Law.

See the BSA's Voice of Scouting website for more information

The BSA provides programs geared toward young people from first grade through age 20, as follows:

  • Cub Scouts is a family-oriented program designed specifically to address the needs of young people in first through fifth grades
  • Scouts BSA is for boys (and girls, after February 1, 2019) age 11 through age 17 (or at least 10˝ and completed fifth grade), designed to achieve the aims of Scouting through a vigorous outdoor program and peer group leadership with the counsel of an adult Scoutmaster. Boys and girls in Scouts BSA are organized into Scout Troops, each of whose members are of the same gender. 
  • Venturing, Sea Scouts and Exploring are co-ed programs for youth ages 14 through 20 (or age 13 and completed eighth grade). Venturing provides positive experiences through exciting and meaningful youth-run activities that help members pursue their special interests, grow by teaching others, and develop leadership skills. Exploring is a career- or vocation-oriented program, with each post specializing in a specific field. Sea Scouts, Scouting's second-oldest program, has its own advancement system geared toward adventure on the water. 

For more information on how girls and boys are included in the Cub Scout and Scouts BSA programs, see the BSA's Family Scouting page. https://www.scouting.org/familyscouting/ 

Adult Leadership Standards

During the 2015 Boy Scouts of America National Annual Meeting in May, Dr. Gates encouraged the Scouting family to reflect on the challenges, primarily regarding adult leadership standards, facing the BSA and potential alternatives for addressing them.

As a result of the rapid changes in society and increasing legal challenges at the federal, state, and local levels, on Friday, July 10, 2015, the Boy Scouts of America Executive Committee adopted a resolution amending the adult leadership standards policy. The resolution was unanimously adopted by those present and voting. The National Executive Board met and ratified this resolution on Monday, July 27.

This resolution allows chartered organizations to select adult leaders without regard to sexual orientation, continuing Scouting’s longstanding policy of chartered organizations selecting their leaders. 

This change allows Scouting’s members and parents to select local units, chartered to organizations with similar beliefs, that best meet the needs of their families. This change would also respect the right of religious chartered organizations to continue to choose adult leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own. 

Scouting will continue to focus on reaching and serving youth to help them grow into good, strong citizens. By focusing on the goals that unite us, we are able to accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve.


Venturing and Sea Scouting Membership

Effective on March 1, 2015, Venturers and Sea Scouts aged 18-20 are to be considered "adult participants" rather than "youth". This brings the adult/youth age line in Venturing and Sea Scouts into line with Scouts BSA. That should eliminate those strange situations where a given 20-year old member was "youth" when he was with his Venture Crew, so one day he could tent with his 17-year old Venturer friend but not with a 22-year-old Crew Advisor - but if the same three people were also in a Scout troop and went camping the next day, the 20-year-old "adult" ASM could not camp with the 17-year old Scout, but must camp with the 22-year old ASM.  

New Venturers in the 18-20 year old age range should be registered on Adult registration forms, not Youth forms as in the past. Existing Venturers/Sea Scouts who turn 18 should now be re-registered as Adult Participants - use an Adult registration form, with the position code marked as "Venturer" or "Sea Scout".

This chart should help explain matters - reposted from the Utah National Parks Council - "thanks!"

For the Utah National Parks Council blog entry on all of the 2015 changes to Venturing, see:

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