Varsity Scouting (Boy Scouts of America)

Varsity Scouting (Boy Scouts of America)

Infobox WorldScouting
name=Varsity Scouting
owner=Boy Scouts of America

age=14 to 18 years
country=United States
members=62,161 youth (2006) [cite web |url= |title=2006 BSA Year in Review |accessdate=2008-01-05 |publisher=Boy Scouts of America]
Sea Scouting
prev=Boy Scouting
Quote box2 |width=22em |bgcolor=white |title=Varsity Scout Pledge |title_bg=#FF6600 |title_fnt=white |align=right |halign=center |quote=As a Varsity Scout I, will:Live by the Scout Oath (Promise), Law, motto, and slogan;Honor the dignity and worth of all persons; Promote the cause of freedom; andDo my best to be a good team member. |source=—"Varsity Scout Guidebook", 2000 (34827A)"

Varsity Scouting is part of the Boy Scouting program of the BSA. It is an alternative available to boys ages fourteen through seventeen that takes the basic Boy Scouting program and adds high adventure, sporting, and other elements that are more appealing to older youth to accomplish the aims of character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. [cite web |url= |title=BSA Fact Sheet: Varsity Scouting |publisher=Boy Scouts of America |accessdate=2006-02-07] Varsity Scouts are organized into teams, which are separate chartered units from a Boy Scout troop.

Varsity Scouts may participate in the BSA advancement system for troops and also have their own recognitions. Their uniform is slightly different. The number of Varsity Scouts is small, but has shown recent increases.


The Varsity Scout ideals are spelled out in the Scout Law, the Scout Oath, the Scout Motto, the Scout Slogan and the Varsity Scout Pledge. The Varsity Scout learns to use these ideals as a measure of personal growth and continually tries to improve.


In 1984, the program was rolled out as an official program of the BSA for boys fourteen through eighteen. In 1989, with the rollout of the Venture program, the Varsity letter was redesigned for use by Venture crews, and activity pins were also added.

While remaining small, the program has persisted, probably due to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' policy to charter a Varsity Scout team for all fourteen and fifteen year old boys.Fact|date=June 2008 In recent years, the number of teams chartered by other organizations has increased.


The Varsity Scout team is sponsored by a community organization such as a business, service organization, school, labor group or religious institution. The chartered organization is responsible for selecting leadership, providing a meeting place and promoting a good program. The chartered organization representative is the liaison between the team, the chartered organization, and the BSA.

The team committee is a group of adults, led by the team committee chair, who plan the team program and activities and manage record keeping, finance, leadership recruitment and registration.

The team generally meets weekly providing a pre-planned program. It is led by a youth who is elected as captain who is guided by the team Coach and assistant team Coaches. The Coach must be at least 21 and is directly responsible for training and guiding boy leaders, working with other adults to bring Varsity Scouting to boys and for using the methods of Scouting to achieve the aims of Scouting.

The team is divided into squads of eight to ten Varsity Scouts, led by an elected squad leader. Program managers are assigned as needed to take charge of team activities.


Varsity Scouts wear the standard Boy Scout field uniform, but wear blaze shoulder loops and a Varsity uniform strip above the Boy Scouts of America strip. Adults wear the same Varsity Scout uniform and may wear the Scouter dress uniform as required.

Advancement and recognition

Youth advancement

Infobox Awards
title =
width =
award2=Varsity Scout
Letter and Bar
award4=Activity Pins
award6=Denali Award
Advancement is a key part of the Varsity program. Varsity Scouts can earn any award or recognition that is available to Boy Scouts, including merit badges, ranks advancements, and other awards. There are also several awards that are only available to Varsity Scouts, and sometimes their leaders.

The Varsity Letter may be earned by participating in or accomplishing at least one high adventure or sports program, according to guidelines determined by the Varsity Coach, meeting attendance requirements and showing Scout Spirit.

The Varsity Letter is cloth patch that can be worn either on the front bottom of a merit badge sash or on the right breast of the Varsity Scout or Boy Scout jacket. This award can be earned every three months by an actively participating Varsity Scout. Subsequent awards are represented by gold bars pinned on the letter. Activity pins can also be pinned on the Varsity Letter.

Varsity Scouts can also earn activity pins in several areas of high adventure and sports. Program resources and official pins are available for backpacking, basketball, bowling, canoe camping, caving, cross-country skiing, cycling, discovering America, fishing, freestyle biking, frontiersman, mechanics, Operation On-Target, orienteering, rock climbing and rappelling, roller hockey, shooting sports, snow camping, soccer, survival, swimming, tennis, triathlon, volleyball, waterskiing, and whitewater canoeing. The requirements for earning an activity pin are determined locally by the team captain and are usually awarded at the conclusion of each ultimate adventure or sports season.

The Denali Award is the highest award in Varsity Scouting. The award is named after Denali, also known as Mount McKinley in Alaska. Requirements include advancing at least one rank in the Boy Scout program (or earning a palm for those who are already Eagle Scouts), serving in a leadership position for six months, taking primary and supportive leadership roles for activities in all five areas of emphasis, living the Varsity Scout Pledge, and completing a progress review.

Adult recognition

Adult Varsity leaders may earn the Varsity Letter and activity pins. They meet the same requirements as the youth and must also complete Fast Start and Basic Leader Training (New Leader Essentials and Varsity Coach Leader Specific Training), attend six Varsity Roundtables, and complete a minimum of six months tenure.

Varsity Scout leaders who complete tenure, training and performance requirements may earn the Varsity Scout Leader Training Award. [cite web |url= |title=Varsity Scout Leader's Training Award |format=U.S. Scouting Service Project |accessdate=2006-03-30] Varsity Coaches may earn the Varsity Coach's Key and the Varsity Scout Coach Award of Merit. [cite web |url= |title=Varsity Scout Coach's Key |format=U.S. Scouting Service Project |accessdate=2006-03-30] [cite web |url= |title=Varsity Scout Coach Award of Merit |format=U.S. Scouting Service Project |accessdate=2006-03-30]

The Fields of Emphasis

Varsity Scouting has five fields of emphasis. A well-planned Varsity Scout program includes elements from all of the fields of emphasis:

Advancement Varsity Scouts use the same advancement program as Boy Scouts. They can also receive the recognitions offered through such programs as the Fifty-Miler Award; Mile Swim, BSA; etc.

High Adventure. The basic framework for Varsity Scout activities revolves around high adventure and sports. Resource materials are available for 27 program features (listed above). The intent of this emphasis is to encourage a coherently planned set of activities that lead to occasional "ultimate adventures" or sports seasons. Following the original model, currently teams are encouraged to plan a set of activities quarterly that culminate in some type of big event.

Personal Development. "Varsity Scouting promotes growth through spirituality, leadership abilities, citizenship, social and cultural attributes, and physical fitness." The personal development side of Varsity encourages boys to focus on character development within the framework of their personal and religious beliefs. A particular focus on leadership skills is evident in many teams.

Service is an essential element of all Scouting, as emphasized in the Boy Scout slogan: "Do a good turn daily." An element of service should be present in all Varsity Scout activities. For example, a sports unit could include a clinic for a nearby Cub Scout pack. It is important that the boys be the ones that plan, manage, and conduct the service activities.

Special Programs and Events. As part of their programs, Varsity Scouts are encouraged to incorporate special programs and events on a regular basis. These could include district, council, regional, and national events as well as joint activities with neighboring teams or other groups, including activities involving girls of similar age.

Varsity Scouting shares the Aims and Methods of the Boy Scout program.


New leaders are encouraged to attend training for their position. [cite web |url= |title=Every Boy Deserves a Trained Leader |publisher=Boy Scouts of America |accessdate=2006-03-08] This training provides the essential information they need to provide a safe and successful quality program.

Fast Start Training is the introduction for adult leaders new to the Varsity Scout program. [cite web |url= |title=Varsity Leader Fast Start |publisher=Boy Scouts of America |accessdate=2006-04-13] Fast Start is self paced and provided as a video or online video. Youth Protection Training is required for all adult leaders and must be recertified per local council policy. [cite web |url= |title=Youth Protection Training |work=BSA Online Learning Center |publisher=Boy Scouts of America |accessdate=2006-05-17]

Basic Leader Training for Coaches consists of New Leader Essentials and Varsity Coach Leader Specific Training and Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills. Basic Leader Training for team committee members consists of New Leader Essentials and Team Committee Challenge. Once Basic Leader Training is completed, the leader is awarded a Trained emblem for uniform wear.

Supplemental training modules are designed to provide orientation beyond Basic Leader Training. [cite web |url= |title=Supplemental Training Modules |publisher=Boy Scouts of America |accessdate=2006-03-08] These shorter training sessions are often provided at the Roundtable, a monthly meeting of leaders from the district, at a University of Scouting program offered by the local council and at National Cub Scouting Conferences held at the Philmont Scout Ranch and the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base.

Wood Badge is the advanced training program for leadership skills for all adults in all BSA programs. Wood Badge consists of six days of training (usually presented as two three-day weekends) and an application phase of several months. When training is complete, leaders are recognized with the Wood Badge beads, neckerchief and woggle.

Coaches provide initial youth leader training within at the team level. Youth leaders are encouraged to attend National Youth Leadership Training at the district or council level.

ee also

* Boy Scouts of America membership controversies


External links

* [ History of Senior Scout Program of the BSA]
* [ MeritBadge.Org] - provides advancement and award requirements and other resources for Varsity Scouts and leaders.
* [ Denali Award] requirements
* [ Varsity Letter and Pins]
* [ Merit badges] - Varsity Scouts may earn merit badges.
*dmoz|Recreation/Scouting/Organizations/Boy_Scouts_of_America/Varsity_Scouting|Boy Scouts of America: Varsity Scouting

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