Boy Scouting, one of the traditional membership divisions of the BSA, is available to boys who have earned the Arrow of Light Award 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. The program achieves the BSA's objectives of developing character, citizenship, and personal fitness; and is guided by the Scout Oath and Law.
Scout Oath (or Promise)
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.
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly,
courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty,
brave, clean, and reverent.
The advancement program for Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts in the Boy Scouts of America is symbolized by the earning of seven badges, six of which are considered ranks. The advancement program is often considered to be divided into two phases. The first phase from joining to First Class is designed to teach the boy Scoutcraft skills, how to participate in a group and to learn self-reliance. The Scout badge is awarded when the Scout demonstrates a rudimentary knowledge of the Scouting ideals and program. Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class have progressively harder requirements in the areas of Scoutcraft, physical fitness, citizenship, personal growth and Scout Spirit.
The second phase of Star, Life, and Eagle is designed to develop leadership skills and allow the Scout to explore potential vocations and avocations through the merit badge program. The Star and Life ranks require that the boy serve in a position of responsibility and perform community service. Except for Scout rank, all ranks as well as Eagle Palms require that the candidate participate in a Scoutmaster conference and pass a Board of Review.
Because the Scout motto is Be Prepared, training is an essential element of the Boy Scout experience. As a result, the national, regional and local scout organizations arrange for Scout training in leadership, safety, and outdoors skills among others.