One Oath and Law Proposed for All BSA Programs

The volunteer-led task forces supporting the 2011–2015 National Council Strategic Plan’s Goal 411, after considerable deliberation, have recommended moving to the use of the Scout Oath and Law for all BSA programs. This change would primarily impact Cub Scouts and Venturing.

The recommendation has been reviewed and endorsed by the national support committee responsible for program content changes. It has also been discussed and endorsed by the national officers of the BSA, and Wayne Perry has directed that the recommendation be brought forward to the National Executive Board at its October 2012 meeting.

The basis for the recommendation is strategic in nature and is intended to reinforce the connection between all of our BSA programs and the mission of the Boy Scouts of America. Since it is the mission of the BSA “to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law,” it is the task forces’ judgment that this goal is best achieved if all programs use the Scout Oath and Law as their primary statement of values and ideals.

As the changes might impact Cub Scouts, consultation with cognitive and child development specialists and educational practitioners involved in Scouting supported the reasonability of the recommendation and did not identify any age-appropriate difficulties with implementation. Additionally, research among parents and Cub Scout leaders was also supportive.

The changes as they impact Cub Scouts would be implemented with the full rollout of the work of the 411 Task Force, scheduled for the 2015–2016 program year.

Venturing Task Force Established

As also directed by the National Council Strategic Plan, a task force has been chartered to study the Venturing program, membership, marketing, training and program support structure and to make recommendations to increase relevance, stimulate growth, and enhance program support. The task force is targeting final recommendations by the end of the year with potential implementation in late 2013 or early 2014.

For additional information about both of the task forces’ work, please see the documents linked below. Comments and questions may be addressed to If you have comments and suggestions about Venturing, please include Venturing in the subject line.



85 Responses to One Oath and Law Proposed for All BSA Programs

  1. Cubmaster Jake says:

    “To help other people at all times” presents a challenge to some Cub Scouts — following this guidance, they may lack the ability to discern when it’s more appropriate to break this rule due to safety. As a trainer and Cubmaster, I’ve always found the Cub Scout promise to be a good fit for our boys. Learning the Boy Scout oath is a rite of passage for the Arrow of Light scouts, and I wouldn’t abandon the inherent value.

    • Susan Cheever says:

      I completely agree with your comment Cubmaster Jake. The current system is a perfect fit and the proposed change, while it could be implemented without creating huge problems, would make it less perfect.

    • Frank Miller says:

      Everything I have been taught (and teach as a member of the district training team) is that the distinctly different scouting programs are based on the BSA Age Appropriate Guidelines. The Cub Scout Oath is designed for Cub Scout aged youth. WEBELOS start learning the Scout Oath as they transition into the Troop. The Venturing Oath is for older scouts and introduces the Venturing concepts of Truth, Fairness, and Adventure along with reinforcing the Mission and Values of Scouting (Duty to God, Country, Others, and Self). Each crew has their own motto to go with their own unique program (My crew’s Motto is “Adaptable” and was chosen by the youth.)

      Another important question for the Venturing issue is how many youth were involved in making this decision/recommendation? Venturing is youth led, with Youth officers at every level from Crew to National. The Venturing Officer Association should have been involved in this process.

      Just one man’s humble opinion.

  2. Mary says:

    Most of the Cub Scout program is looking forward to becoming a Boy Scout. If they are given the same Oath and Law, there is nothing to look forward to. It’s like letting Tigers do the same thing as Webelos and Webelos doing the same thing as Star Scouts. Give them something to look foward to so when they get to do it, it’s exciting! 6 year old boys don’t want to memorize that long Oath and Law. They don’t understand the wording yet. 11 year olds entering a Troop have a hard enough time learning it. Give them something to work up to. Isn’t that part of the idea of scouting anyway?

    • Teresa says:

      While I do think the Boy Scout Oath and Law are a bit beyond the true comprehension of a great many Cubs, I strongly disagree that using the Boy Scout Oath and Law “there is nothing to look forward to.” If that is honestly the case, your Boy Scout troop is in serious need of improvement! The Cubs should look forward to the advancement of the program. The oath and law and part of the purpose, but the program is the game!

      • Mary says:

        I don’t understand your criticism. I said that the Cub Scouts need things to look forward to. As they progress through the ranks, they get to do more and more things. No need to criticize a Troop that you know nothing about.

    • M Millette says:

      I totally agree!!!

  3. Vicki says:

    Cub Scouts have a hard enough time memorizing their current oath, moto and law. The Boy Scout one is so, so long and hard for the typical cub scout to understand what it means.

    I personally think this is a mistake!

  4. Carl Anderson says:

    BSA National,

    It would be best if National would hold off on changeing the Venturing program at this time. Put on hold and gather input from Venturing youth and adults on how this feel about the program. Venturing is special and if it is going to follow a BOY Scout program, you will loose members. Now if you want to also change the BOY Scout program to include females (including OA)that would be a better fit than to gut the present Venturing program.

    Crew 781
    Cottage Grove, MN

    • Frank Miller says:

      Here, Here!

    • Eagle Scout Dave says:

      Guys (and Gals),

      You’re blowing this way out of portion. I’m a stickler for tradition and am still irritated that Scout Camps believe that a Dining Hall as better than scouts cooking for themselves. I do understand that it makes it easier for the leaders and scouts, so they have a “better” camping experience which increases attendance. BSA National needs to be careful about shifting focus from producing quality scouts toward producing more scouts. With all that being said, consistency within all the BSA functions is a good thing.
      1- Cub Scouts learn allot of things they don’t understand (Try having them explain the Pledge of Allegiance) But having them learn the Boy Scout Oath makes sense. That also means that is one less thing they have to learn for a transition. One more point, why send the message that your Cub Scout Oath wasn’t good enough, you now have to learn the Boy Scout one? (I know, that nit picks, but is in line with some of the other points mentioned in others posts)
      2- Venture Crews are no different than the other BSA programs in the fact that we all have issues/concerns that we think will make the program better. Give National some credit. They do have everyone’s best interest in mind. They put together the best group (committee) to work on these issues. Just because your specific Crew doesn’t see it the way they do, doesn’t mean they are wrong. Venture Crews are different and unique. They were created AS A PROGRAM in the BSA to appeal to both boys and girls. There is nothing traditional about that, except for the BSA trying to advance the ideals of scouting to a group of kids that didn’t fit into the traditional program. (That is a good thing)
      3- Many of you are being critical of this decision for valid reasons. Although most of the reasons are petty. In this world of scouting, we need to spend our time as leaders focusing on how we can make the events more fun while the kids are learning; and frankly, worrying about which Oath is best is a waste of time.
      It does sadden me that BSA National thinks their time is best spent on unifying all their programs with a common oath. Help us with making the program fun while teaching the kids and you’ll have an abundance of great scouts.

      • Bill Stewart says:

        I agree with most of what you say, but, being a Venturing Leader and having to deal with some who have no clue what Venturing is, making some consistancy will be helpful. Here’s why. Many folks think that Venturing is not even part of the Boy Scout Division of the BSA, Inc. They think that it is part of Learning for Life. That confusion has been there since the division of Venturing and Exploring in the late 1990′s. By making the Scout Oath, Law, Salute, etc. consistant unifies the three parts of Scouting. There becomes no confusion between the three and especially the fact that Venturing is part of Scouting and is not in a different part of the organization. We Venturers may even benefit from the closer ties by having young people recognize the fact that in a lot of cases Venturing is advanced Scouting, especially when you are talking about High Adventure.

      • Mark Pugh says:

        Eagle Scout Dave,
        While changes do come in many shapes and sizes and have some positive effects on the final products, I must state the following:

        If the National BSA continues it’s current course and continues to rewrite 100 plus years of standards Scouting, then do not be surprised whne it will be renamed Scouting – USA.

        We are becoming more like our brethern accross the pond and forgetting our embrace our roots. Boy Scout’s is about boy’s. It’s not a YMCA, YWCA or local youth program created needing support or corporate donations.

        If we are not careful in our outreach programs and keeping our promise to continue what our fonder created, we will see an exodus to other scouting organziations. It would not be the first time change created new opportuntities for the non-voting board members of a corporation.

  5. [...] official BSA e-newsletter Scout Wire first broke the news about the proposed [...]

  6. Michael Menninger says:

    Saw this on Facebook yesterday and it’s very intriguing. My first reaction is it would do away with the “cross-over” concept from Cubs to Boy Scouts. I believe it is this “transition” where we loose a good number of Scouts. If there is no transition and the program is seen as one continuous unit, Tiger to Eagle, then a unified system might help in retention.

    On the other hand, these are heavy concepts for first to third graders. Not that starting concepts this young is a bad thing. But it also does away with my 3 favorite words in Scouting: “Do Your Best.” I even like it over “Be Prepared” in many ways because it contains so many values and principles of the Scouting system.

    The main Venturing article mentions further studies with child psychologists and other young-child related issues that need to be fleshed out first. I look forward to seeing these studies.

    There might be other ways to integrate it into the Cub Program without doing a complete change. For example, the Cub Promise is already a simpler version of the Boy Scout Promise so maybe the Laws and Mottoes could be modified accordingly.

    This will be a fun discussion and I’m glad to see that BSA continually reevaluates itself.

    For Venturing, I see no issue and think it’s a great idea for that program.

    • TAHAWK says:

      It’s not “transition.” it’s suddenly being in a ground with (GASP!) High School boys. 0___0 Fear is the big barrier, which is why the good Den Chief is pretty much the sovereign remedy. Not so scary when you have been with one for a year – or more.

  7. Robin Lebo says:

    I do not think that changing the Sea Scout Promise is a good idea. It is in our apprentice requirements for them to know the law and know of Scout Oath and Venturing Oath. The Sea Scout Promise goes with Sea traditions. We are 100 yrs young this year and now you want to change a tradition. It would not be fair. Each program is unique. They all know about the Boy Scout program, it is talked about all the time, but not all under the Venturing umbrella get to participate. To become more unified you lose the uniqueness of each program. I don’t think you need to “fix” this part of the programs.

  8. Kim Wilkerson says:

    As a current Cubmaster and long Cub Scout Leader I have to agree that asking young boys to learn the Boy Scout Oath and Law is beyond their ability to understand. I have watched many Webleos and their Leaders as they with great eagerness tackle the Oath and Law. In the process one by one the boys will light up as the meaning of the words take hold in their minds. I would not dream of robbing them of this experience!

    • paulette says:

      As a long time den leader and a former Cubmaster I agree with Kim. Some of our tigers and wolfs struggle with just the Cub Oath and law. They improve with age. But we see the excitement and pride of our Webelos as they master the Boy Scout Oath and Law. They know they have mastered thing the younger scout have not done.

  9. Pete Siegel says:

    Mary’s and Vicki’s comments are spot on as is Carl’s. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

  10. John says:

    Keep the Cubs oath and law the same. They have a hard enough time remembering the current one.

    As a venturing leader I never really cared much nor able to fully commit the ventuing oath to memory. It actually reminds me of the opening credits of the old Superman with Geroge Reeves.

    I think the scout oath and law would be fine for venturing and continue to instill the values of scouting.


  11. John Karnes says:

    Although it may sound logical to make the Oath & Laws common to all programs, in my opinion, it is a mistake due to he nature of kids of all ages. The Scouts in my Troop (55 years ago) memorized nnot only the Oath but the entire Scout Law not just the 12 points.
    All children don’t develop at the same rate. If you must make changes, the challenges need to be individually tailored to the ages of the programs and kept current with today. The “right of passage” and individuality of each program are valid arguments from my 60+ years of experience in Scouting.
    What do the all of the youth say?

  12. Pete Brewer says:

    I have no problem with Venture Scouts having the same oath and law as the Boy Scout program, in many cases scouts are duel enrolled in both a troop and a crew. However, I believe that the Cub Scout Oath and Law should remain the same. I know very few first graders, the entry grade for Tigers, that would be able to comprehend such ideas presented in the scout law as reverent. As I recall, in first grade we were just learning how to spell fox.

    Pete Brewer
    Asst. Scoutmaster – Trail to First Class
    Allen, TX

  13. Meghan Foy says:

    BSA National,
    As a current venture scout, I respect and value the current venturing oath. It is a proper fit to the program. And though Venturing is essentially a co-ed division of the BSA, changing it to the “Be Prepared” oath and salute would actually bother me because they are the basis of BOY scouting. And as a female, I personally would not approve of this change unless other changes were implemented as well. The above suggestion of including females in the Order of the Arrow is a fine suggestion. Honestly, I would like the ability to earn merit badges like other boy scouts. I feel, because I am part of the BSA as a venture scout, that I should have that privilege, especially if I’ve done the same things as them.
    And as for cub scouts learning the full oath, I wish you luck with that. They have a hard enough time trying to memorize the oath of their level. Actually, they probably find it difficult to even want to try to memorize it. But the progression from cub scout to star scout oaths is an incentive for advancement.
    Thank you for taking the time for reading this.
    Meghan Foy
    Crew 2157, Rotterdam, New York

  14. John says:

    This does not seem to be a wise idea. Do the Cub Scout Promise and the Venturing Oath NOT instill or reinforce values? Why is the Boy Scout Oath and Law appear to be “more valued” by this initiative? If the goal is retention and growth of these programs to youth who are not in Scouting, how will the One Oath Initiative help? (answer: marginally, at best).
    For Venturing, this initiative is potentially very negative, we have many Venturers who treasure the “uniqueness” of Venturing (and some who actively resist ANY integration with Boy Scouts). Are we transmitting to them that they are being “assimilated” like the Borg? Is the message to them that the values of the Venturing Oath are not as good as those of the Boy Scout Oath.
    I think this needs to have a HEAVY discussion among Venturers, not just the Seven who are members of the Venturing Task Force…

  15. Michael Carter says:

    I’m writing to you to express my opinions and concerns on recent reports of impending major changes to all scouting programs and the Venturing program and to urge the National Council and Executive Board to reconsider.

    I understand that Tico Perez, National Commissioner recently told a group at Philmont (and my Council Executive confirmed) that:

    – All scouting programs will adopt the Boy Scout Oath and the Scout Law (i.e., no more Cub Scout or Venturing Oath or Code).
    – All units will adopt the Boy Scout sign and salute
    – There is also a group that is looking at Venturing and will likely redo the program. BSA has determined that Venturing “advancement” is too difficult to understand and that is in part why there is very little Venturing advancement. What the proposals will be is unknown.
    The idea is to simplify the identity issues between the four programs.

    From an “in the trenches” leadership position in the Venturing program and the parent of three current Venturers, I believe these actions/potential actions are not well thought out, from a number of reason:
    - Venturing is not “senior Boy Scouts”—and the majority of Venturers will tell you that in no uncertain terms. While some chartering organizations may use Venturing as part of a stepping stone program e.g. LDS, many, if not most, traditional Venturing Crews are independent and operate separately from Boy Scout troops. In our Crew, for example, we have 20+ members, of whom 12 are youth who have never been in Boy Scouts including several young women, 6 are former Boy scouts who moved to our crew, and 4 maintain dual registration in a Boy Scout troop. At the same time, our crew operates independently of the local boy scout troops, conducing our own activities, occasionally interacting with Boy Scouts, but for the most part maintaining a separation. Most of this desire for separation comes from the Venturers themselves, partly out of a desire to not be seen “stealing” scouts from local troops, and partly from a desire for uniqueness (see below).

    Dropping the Venturing Oath and Code in favor of the Boy Scout Oath and Law fails to respect the value that many Venturers have in this separation, fails to acknowledge that many Venturers (particularly the young women) were never Boy Scouts, and in some cases do not want to be seen as “senior Boy Scouts”. If the objective is to reduce barriers to transitioning from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts or Boy Scouts/Varsity to Venturing, it falls flat—In 9 years as a Scouter, I’ve NEVER seen a cub fail to move to scouts due to the Oath and Law—if anything, being able to move from Cub Scouts To Boy Scouts and make the full Scout Sign is a high achievement that many of them eagerly work hard to achieve. For Cubs, I feel we often have erred in pushing the Boy Scout program down into Cubs, due to pressure from Mom and Dad as well as scouters eager to push the youth so as to create good metrics for themselves. — I’m a firm believer in giving them something bigger to aspire to (e.g. “ if you want to be able to go backpacking camping, bridge up to Boy Scouts”)

    - I’ve also never seen a Scout decide to not join Venturing because they didn’t use the same oath or sign. Why? The Vast majority of Venturers value the “uniqueness”of Venturing. One of the major attractions of Venturing is that they are unique and different—different from Boy Scouts, different from Girl Scouts, different from even their peers. How? They decide on their own uniforms, establish their own codes of conduct, elect their own officers, and set their own program schedules. They make their own decisions, decide their own program, take on challenges that are unique and different than those tackled by any of those other groups (for example: my crew is actively planning to do a glacier climb of Mount Baker, WA next summer as a SuperActivity and n 82 mile canoe trip). In short, they WANT To be different. The last thing they generally want to do is to be lumped in with Boy Scouts, but welcome the sponsorship of BSA. The message my Venturers have communicated to me loud and clear is that they like the uniqueness of Venturing and treasure their independence.

    - Venturing Advancement or “recognition” is a tough one. There are lots of reasons that Venturers do not pursue recognition, but probably the key one is that they are too busy. Many Venturers are in sports, have jobs, and/or are starting college or in college prep classes- or all of these. While “recognition” is one of the Venturing Methods, I would point out that this recognition can come in many forms, and not just in badges—if anything, the recognition that Venturers most value is the praise of their crewmates for a job well done as a leader or for organizing a cool activity. Many of the youth have already been through years of advancement through Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts and at this point are looking for wholesome and challenging activity, not a chance to earn more ribbons. Will some earn the recognition? Of course, BUT is earning the medals as important as creating citizenship, character, and fitness? Earning advancement is not an indicator of success of the program instead, Venturing success should look at the number of activities, participation, and growth of the unit rather than focusing on “advancement”. By far the growth of the whole youth is far more important than the number of unit and individual advancements.

    Indeed, many of us in the trenches question the “why” behind this decision to modify the Venturing Program? If our strategic goals are to increase retention and membership in ALL of these programs in order to deliver a quality program to youth, how are ANY of these changes going to help achieve these goals? A significant part of the appeal of the scouting programs is the rich tradition and consistency of the programs over 100 years. Consistency and the values of scouting is something that both the youth and parents look for and find missing from most other current youth programs in the United States.

    My suggestion: put these initiatives on hold and ASK THE VENTURERS what they think. Start with the National Venturing Cabinet, talk to the regional VOA officers, and spot-survey crews around the US from different viewpoints: LDS, non-LDS, High Adventure, Boys-only, Girls-only, etc. Don’t just rely on “Voice of the Scout”, but rather strive in multiple ways to ask questions of a wide variety of the youth that your changes will affect (e.g. ask the national cabinet, put a questionaire on the Venturing Facebook page, send an email to Venturinglist, and ask Council Execs to do a random survey of their Venturers). As we practice in business (I work in the aerospace industry), don’t rely only on one channel of communication with your customers– that is a recipe for making bad business decisions.

    Only by listening to what the VENTURERS want and why they joined Venturing will you truly be ready to advance proposals that will help the Venturing program. Understanding the customer, the youth, is a key factor to selling the Venturing program to them. Designing or redesigning the Venturing program without substantial customer input increases the risk that the Venturing program will lose its current appeal. Using a small sample group or relying on consultants or “experts” excludes the majority of participants where far more valuable knowledge is available.

    Yours in Venturing,
    Michael Carter
    Parent Committee, Venturing Crew 954, Covington, WA
    Membership Chairman, Foothills District, Chief Seattle Council

    • Canoergirl says:

      Well said, Michael! I am an assistant Venterer leader and agree with all points you make!

    • Well said, Michael! Your comments are right on point.

      Expanding on the achievements: not a single one of my 20+ Venturers joined Venturing Crew 709 for advancements. They joined for high adventure, something we do very well. Having said that, since 2008 we have had five Scouts reach Silver, six Gold, and 13 Bronze Awards, plus seven Venturing Leadership Awards. We have been a successful Crew if you measure success by awards or achievements, which we don’t. We measure it by leadership, great high adventure activities and, most importantly, near 100% youth retention.

      Do fewer achievements mean the program is failing? Not at all. Most of the Venturing Crews I know run successful and adventurous programs with good youth retention without many youth earning achievements. It is just not a big focus of our program for any of the Venturing Crews that I have encountered.

      Personally, I can see no reason why we all have to fall under the same umbrella. We are different and like it that way. I polled our youth, and found that 100% were against the proposed changes. I wonder who was asked about this…I know my Crew was not, and as I sit on our Council Venturing Committee, I know our Council was not either. One wonders whose idea this was, and whether there is any real basis for its consideration, let alone its implementation.

      Dave Hendron
      Crew 709 (Vista CA)

    • Kay says:

      Well put Michael.
      Kay Borkowski
      Crew 725
      Simpsonville, SC
      Blue Ridge Council

    • Kathleen Ritchie says:

      I whole heartedly agree. I also polled my Crew – and they 100% said ABSOLUTELY NOT!

      They do not mind being part of the BSA but do not want to be lumped in with Boy Scouts – and I have 3 Eagle Scouts in my Crew who felt just as strongly.

      They also are slowly but surely working on awards – but with jobs, college, high school, band, drama, choir, sports, family responsibilities, church, etc. they too find it hard to participate 100% of the time and work consistently on that award progression.

      By nature of the age range that is what Venturing is going to be like – you can’t change that. We just turned 14 – give the program a chance to mature and let’s focus on education about Venturing – I think the numbers and membership will really increase if people know what it is.

      Kathleen Ritchie
      Advisor Crew 56
      Louisville, KY

  16. Charles Featherer says:

    This is a move meant to solidify the ‘morally straight’ position of the BSA at all levels. It’s a direct answer to those that believe Scouting should be open to all.

    Forget, for a moment, that to define ‘moral’ you look at the difference between right and wrong. “Should I steal that can of soup because I’m hungry?” Forget, that the term ‘straight’ was first used in the 1950′s to describe a particular orientation. That’s right, before the 1950′s it simply meant without bend or curve. Forget for a moment that Mr. Baden Powell is not here to give us further direction.

    Instead, for ONE SECOND, explain to me how many 1st, 2nd, and 3 graders can correctly memorize and better yet explain the different sections of the Scout Oath and Law.

    Think about that.

    Then, give up this ridiculous quest to fix something that isn’t broken.

    Yours in Scouting,
    Charles N. Featherer
    Scoutmaster, Troop 94
    Committee Member, Pack 94
    Publications & Website Adviser, Japeechen Lodge
    Egg Harbor Township, NJ – Jersey Shore Council

    • Rabbi Gershom says:

      I agree with you, Charles — my first reaction to this proposed change was that having 6-year-olds pledge to be “morally straight” is going to open up discussions that are NOT age appropriate. Yes, “straight” once did meant “honest” as in following the straight and narrow” or being a “straight arrow.” (And, being in my 60s, I CAN actually remember that.) but as you note, since the 1950s — over half a century ago! — it has taken on another meaning in American slang. Most youth I know today ONLY use it in terms of sexual orientation. Frankly, I do not want to be dealing with questions of sexuality with Cub Scouts. The only way this could avoid that would be to re-word that part — not very likely to happen.

      And I also feel “Do your best” is more age-appropriate that “Be prepared” which is too ambiguous for younger Scouts.

  17. rosemary bauer says:

    Having worked with my five boys through the program and currently involved in several areas of Scouting through my position as district training chair, I tend to agree with the majority of the comments so far in thinking that this is NOT a good idea. Scouting is designed to be “age-appropriate” and having the diffent oaths reflects this.A good point that was brought up above was what would this do to the Arrow of Light requirements? Again the idea of giving the scouts a goal to accomplish & be recognized for as they transition from Webelos to Boy Scouts would be lost. National listened to the parents regarding the issue of allowing openly homosexual leaders, they should listen to the parents & active leaders on this as well. By the way, great thoughts above by Michael Carter on the Venturing program, especially that the young people involved are more interested in service & action opportunities than acquiring recognition. I think is a great thing and gives me great hope for the future leaders of our country.

  18. Wesley Braswell says:

    As an adult growing up through the ranks from cub scouts and through boy scouts. I believe the cub scouts and boy scouts should have difference. As Cubmaster Jake stated earlier, it is hard for a cubscout to understand fully the Boy Scout Promise.

    The venturing promise and law is one thing, but the cub scout oath and promise are there for cub scouts to learn and then grow as they start to understand the boy scouts oath and law to grow in them and make the scout a better individual.

    Yours in Scouting
    Wesley Braswell
    Crew Advisor & scouter since 1996
    Crew 4205
    Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
    Greater Saint Louis Area Council
    Shawnee District

  19. Bryan Mondy says:

    If we’re going to change my beloved Cub Scout program, let’s do it via the Character Connections. Refocus those to teach the points of the Scout Law. Group the points into the three segments and teach our youngest Scouts this way. We already do this but it is not tied directly to the Scout Law. Fix what exists, there is no reason we should dump the entire basis of Bobcat and the Cub Scouting program to simplify things for people that apparently do not work with the Cubs.

    Change for the sake of change is not a good thing.

    Yours In Scouting,
    Bryan Mondy
    Pack 5
    Springfield, Missouri

  20. Bill says:


    I work in a Cub Scout Pack, Boy Scout Troop, Venturing Crew, and on the District and Council levels and have never heard of anything as far-fetched and totally off base as this idea!!!!

    I’ll not repeat the comments above, but EVERYONE of them disapproving this idea are correct!

    I’m not sure who your ‘experts’ were that you consulted, but their credentials need to be re-examined if they think a Tiger, Wolf or even a Bear can comprehend the meanings of, let alone memorize, the Scout Oath and Law.

    Stop trying to fix things that aren’t broken!!!! Leave tradition alone!!!!

    Instead, figure out new and more interesting ways to get youth AND parents more involved and retained! There are some things that you just DON’t mess with and this includes the ALL the programs Oaths and Laws!!!!

    Yours In Scouting,

    • Briant Dunnican says:

      God Bless you and the traditions of the BSA. After 100 Years of success why change it now. The Sea Scout are also 100 and that oath should not be touched. Having the Ventures and other older scouts add the law is fine but leave the oath alone. I know this is too late but still had to be said.

  21. Tommie says:

    Cubmaster Jake got it right. It is important to consider what is age appropriate. The concepte in the Cub Scout Oath, the Law of the Pack, Cub Scout Moto, etc. are perfectly suited to the age of the boys and thier ability to understand thier responisbility. Although there is overlap, the Boy Scout Law has concepts that are developmentally inappripriate. National BSA, you need to rethink this recommendation.

  22. James Green says:

    I think this is a mistake especially for the Cub Scouts. I don’t think at those ages they can really fulfill all points of the Law or aspects of the Oath. It seems those are what a boy is looking forward to grow into as a Scout. It’s less of an issue with Venturing although I like the Venturing Oath as it is. Keeping lines of separation I think is good especially with Venturing being co-ed overall. This may blur those lines. As a unit commissioner serving all three program, I think keeping as is will be best. Why fix what isn’t broken?

  23. Larry says:

    The Cub Scout Promise is age appropriate and should not be changed. It fits well into the “progression” to the Boy Scout Oath. The Venturing Oath in its current state misses the mark. Because of that, it is very rarely said or heard. Any opening ceremony for most scouting events starts with an oath….the Boy Scout oath. Let’s just make it the standard for all members of BSA above the Cub Scout level.

    As far as “re-engineering” the Venturing program….why?? The current recognitions make sense. If you really want to be daring…offer the Eagle Scout to all (yes, males and females) under 18, and gold/silver to 18-21. It is also about time the the OA definition of “adult” changed to 18 so females registered as scouters could be be voted in thru troops the had positions in….or even better…open OA to all scouts, from troops, teams, crews and ships regardless of gender…maintaining all of the requirements currently listed for eligibility.

  24. Jerry says:

    While I agree with what everyone is saying, that it is a VERY bad idea, I think the folks who need to be asked this are the Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts, and Venturers themselves on how THEY feel about it. I am excluding the Cubs specifically because I just talked to two of them, and they “have no idea.”

    Paraphrasing Baden-Powell: Never ask an adult what a Scout can tell you.

  25. Donna says:

    I am excited about this proposal. The values of the scout law like honest, kind, friendly– are words young children can understand and say and live by. Having the same oath & law, I believe starts the transition to Boy Scouts as a Bobcat when they learn it immediately embraces the family into the SCOUT organization for life–this is a good idea. To put all scouting under one umbrella (oath and law) shows unity as a movement and organization. Venturing will benefit by sharing the traditions of Boy Scouts and then “venturing” out to explore their own interests. It is called the Scout Oath and Law and I am glad that all Scouts would share it.

  26. Rhonda Bill says:

    Please reconsider. Why change what has worked for over 100 years. As for Venturing and Sea Scouts,and Explorers they are not Boy Scouts. They are unique in their own skill sets and each serve a different purpose. While the Scout Law is an awesome moral code of conduct, the promise, motto, oath of each should represent the fabulous programs that they uphold.
    In short, leave it alone!

  27. Richard D. says:

    This is eyewash and ultimately makes little difference except to a few adults with a need to make things tidy. But somehow the current Cub oath and law has been sufficiently aligned with the mission to serve the program for the past 80 years.

    Aligning the oaths and laws could be a meaningful change if national were willing to take on the heavy lifting of realigning the programs. Webelos is broken. Depending on who you ask, it’s either a final lap of Cub Scouting or an 18-month warm up to Boy Scouting. No one really undestands how to run a stand-alone Webelos program.

    The Webelos program misses the mark on the outdoors program. “Outdoorsman” is way below the skill and interest level of most 10-y.o.s. As a Scoutmaster, the successful Webelos we receive — those who are enjoying Scouting and STAY WITH THE PROGRAM — are those whose den leaders have taken them beyond the Webelos outdoor program and have the boys operating more like Second Class Boy Scouts.

    That, of course, causes programming problems for the troop, trying to merge new Scouts with wildly varying skill levels. Which is why a re-alignment needs to be top to bottom, including the Boy Scout program.

    Of course the real nut we need to crack is Webelos retention. And the Number One problem there is the rediculous ritual of “Crossover” which packs have developed. Researchers show that somewhere around age 10 or 11 kids begin developing the ability to critically judge their own performance. An 8-y.o. can wiff every pitch all season long, but still be convinced he’ll play for the Yankees one day. By age 11 that kid begins to understand baseball just isn’t his thing and starts to focus on those activities in which he excells. At the same time, kids are beginning to make their own choices (and hopefully parents are beginning to let them) and deciding what activities THEY want to pursue.

    So just as these 10-y.o. boys are questioning their interests and making decision for themselves, Scouting holds up a big EXIT sign we call “Crossover”. You’ve “finished” Cub Scouting, had a big party in your honor, and if you want to go on and join those big, hairy-legged Boy Scouts, we’ll make that as intimidating as possible.

    BSA needs to think out of the box on this. Look at making Webelos a stand-alone 24-30 month program incorporating many of the T-2-1 requirements. If national thinks “First Year/First Class” is such a great idea (and I know of no one in the trenches who does — our troop abandoned it long ago) then make it a Webelos program where it belongs. But then put some real meat back into the Boy Scout side. Being a proficient and self-sufficient first class scout (not nececssarily a First Class Scout) SHOULD take more than a year.

    We also need to fix the organization between packs and troops. Stand alone packs or troops without a “feeder” (I prefer to call them “brother”) unit at the same CO should be a rare exception. New unit development should be built around developing complete programs, not just single units, even if their is a natural phase-in as boys age through the program. There should be an automatic flow from Webelos to Boy Scouts, just as there is now between Cubs and Webelos. Why in the world do we require a new application moving from pack to troop?

    And honestly, after 15 years as a registered leader, I still don’t know enough about the Venturing to comment — but perhaps that is a bit of the problem in itself? It does seem to me the age overlap between the program means Venturing’s biggest competition of membership is Boy Scouting.

    But until you guys are ready to address some of the real issues within the program, tinkering with the oaths and laws will have little effect. It will only serve to create unnecessary irritation and controversy.

    • Doug says:

      I’ve read all these comments and agree with all the reasons that this is a BAD idea that will have no impact on the quality of the program.

      Although I don’t agree with all his arguements, Richard makes some compelling cases for fixing what does need working on – better program at the unit level. No one joins because of the oath / promise / law / law of the pack – they join for the fun and adventure. Learning the oath / law / promise / law of the pack is just part of it.

      The Cub Scout Promise and Law of the Pack DO INDEED instill the values of the Scout Oath and Law – they are just in language that younger boys understand. I asked my two boys – Wolf & Webelos to explain the Cub Scout Promise and Law of the Pack – and they were pretty good explanations. When I asked them to explain the Scout Oath and Law, my Wolf said “I don’t know what some of those words mean” and my Webelos looked them up in a dictionary – and still was not quite sure how to explain it.

      My concern is the people making the decision have already decided and will not consider what is being written here by those who have to use it every week with boys. My guess is the experts consulted were those who they knew would agree or give an opinion to support the idea – whether or not it makes any sense. Just my opinion.

  28. Don Grimm says:

    The Cub Scouts have a hard time learing the oath now
    they would have a harder time with the new one. Leave the
    Cub oath the way it is now.

  29. Mark Holloway says:

    I have a hard time believing that “child development specialists” and “educational practitioners” agreed that Cub Scout age children would have no problem with learning and understanding the concepts of the Scout Oath and Law. I have worked with Cub Scouts for over 12 years and it is obvious to me that there are definite differences in learning and comprehension abilities between Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. Also, the Cub Scout program has been refined over a time span of 100 years. If it wasn’t working, why wasn’t it changed long ago?

  30. Frank says:

    I think the changes would be a MISTAKE!! It is importent to meet the level of understanding for our youth and our scout program does just that. The Oath and Law were designed that way, by changing them I feel it would take something away from the cross over into Boy Scouts.

    Yours in Scouting

  31. Fred says:

    I look forward to Cub Scouts adopting the same oath and law. The current Cub Scout ones are more functional oriented and promoting a story line that most scouts, families and leaders don’t really understand. I’d rather see Cub Scouts learn specific valuses as taught by the Scout Oath and Law. As it is, few Cub Scouts and their leaders learn the Cub Scout version. And most leaders who are in both Cubs and Boy Scouts end up screwing up the Cub Scout version. Boy Scout version is easy and direct to learn. The Cub Scout one doesn’t get used enough and is not direct enough to what we values as Scouts and Scouters.

    Looking forward to the improvement!

  32. Hello all,
    I am the current President for crew 2020. I realize that most of the people commenting on here are ‘Leaders’ and ‘Know whats best’ but if you really think about what the attractive part of the BSA programs are is that the YOUTH (in marketing terms the CONSUMER) gets to make their own decisions as long as it follows the rules and guidelines set down. There are some exceptions, but for many (including myself), we prefer to instead of devoting our time to a minimum wage job better ourselves and have a say so in how to achieve this while still having fun. Correct me if I am wrong please. I truly believe if there is some action to be taken, ASK THE YOUTH what their opinion is FIRST. THEN take it into heavy consideration and maybe use the Council youth leaders etc. to help make a decision.


  33. Lindsey says:

    As a Venturing youth, I do NOT like the idea of having the same Oath, Law, Sign and Salute throughout all three programs. It seems as if everyone agrees that Cub Scouts should not have the same oath and law, but the same thing couldn’t be said with the Venturing Oath. Venturing is a different program than the Boy Scouts, so why should we have the same oath and law? It seems as though they are trying to push Venturing into Boy Scouts. These two programs are not the same. Varsity Scouts and Boy Scouts, I understand pushing them together, but not Venturing. There is a different award system, different ages, and co-ed. It’s wrong that they want to try and essentially turn Venturing into older Boy Scouts. I didn’t join Venturing to be a Boy Scout. I joined because I like the program that they have now and I like the uniqueness of it. If these changes are made and retained, I don’t know if I will continue to be involved in the program. It is wrong that three unique and different programs should essentially be smooshed together.

    Also, as John said, they are making it seem like the Boy Scout oath and law is more valued than the Venturing one. Why should Venturers take on an oath and law that wasn’t meant for their program in the first place?

  34. Chris says:

    I have to agree with what everyone says so far. BAD IDEA. But it seems like National wants to make it just that much easier for boys to earn their Eagle badge. They do not want to challenge them. Is it bad enough that we are practically giving away the badge due to troops and summer camps becoming Eagle Mills.

    I tell my Cub Scout Parents, It is OK if you boy does not earn EVERY AWARD. We will have fun every time that we can. I will try my best to help them get every award they want to earn.

    When it come to the Arrow of Light, I told my 3 Webelos that were trying for it, “I accept nothing but the standard” when it came to the requirement, Repeat from Memory the Scout Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan. One boy was slacking because he thought he didn’t need to know it. I told all of them in a group, “Know it or you do not get the Arrow of Light” His mother told me he was in the book every night after that learning it.

    Quit making it easy. Eagle Scout, Ranks, and Merit badges are supposed to challenge you.

  35. Lisa says:

    It is hard for a cub scout to memorize the cub scout oath and law do you know how hard it will be to memorize the boy scout one. Omg I think my kids will be done with scouting our council is combining into one big one with the whole left side of our state and now my boy scout has to go 3 hours away for his OA ordeal and for him to attend his summer boy scout camp this is getting to be too much. We can’t afford all of these changes.

  36. Shannon Perry says:

    I agree. Stop trying to fix things that aren’t broken. That’s what’s killing the Girl Scouts. This will wreck the Venturing program which is just now starting to find its feet. Each level has it’s place, and each program meets different needs. We don’t want to be just green shirted Boy Scouts. We like the fact that we have choices. We know how to integrate between the levels if people just follow the manual. My crew staffs day camp every year. They create the field sports program from scratch as part of their awards and as part of learning the other programs. Over half of my crew has not been in a Boy Scout troop, because they are girls, it wasn’t available or the troop wasn’t a good fit for them. We know how to work with troops and send the scoutmasters the information and documentation for what we do to help their boys achieve eagle. I don’t want or need to be a scoutmaster. My son is perfectly happy with his troop and very much enjoys being able to be in more than one crew. My daughters and the other young women in the unit don’t feel like they are 3rd class members because the OA issue doesn’t come up. The merit badge issue doesn’t matter here. Achieving awards works for us just fine. We need better resources and better support. We aren’t attached to a pack or crew, which eliminates silly rivalries with the boys from different units. We have the luxury of being neutral ground and being able to invite any unit without all that drama to any activity we might be running. We like our salute. We like our oath. We are not babies. A good percentage are college age and choosing this instead of frats or sororities. Why oh why do we need to change something that works just fine when people work together and the youth are allowed to run the show just like they are told they can in all the training?
    I protest. I protest on behalf of all the youth that we will lose because of this. I protest on behalf on all the adults as well.

    Most of all I protest because this change has nothing to do with what’s in the best interest of the Cubs or the Venturers that used to be Explorers that were combined with Learning for Life.. that were separate programs and the Air Scouts and other programs that were wrecked from tinkering and “fixing” all the way back to when my dad was an Explorer.. as was I, and now 3 of my 4 children so far (unless they jack it up so bad the 4th never gets the chance) my uncles, my cousins, my kids’ cousins, and I would hope.. you could get a clue that what’s killing the girl scouts is the need to reinvent the wheel.. which they have done 3 times since my youngest who is 11! and unsure how many times since my oldest 2 quit from frustration (21 and 18 now) as well as myself and my mother… Please feel free to kill a program that my family (my dad was a scout exec when I was born,) has supported through even those awful berets and other issues.. please no really do not do this. This is bad juju.

    Yours in Scouting,

    Shannon W. Perry
    Crew 3,
    Little Rock Arkansas

  37. Pat Friedrich says:

    Good Luck getting the six year olds to memorize the Boy Scout Law and Oath. Plus, having their own Oath and Law makes it special to them. There is plenty of time to be a Boy Scout, let them be “little guys” for a while. This is definitely a mistake.

    • indnajns says:

      That’s it! Those are exactly the words I was thinking — “… makes it special for them”. Thank you for verbalizing what I couldn’t put my finger on. I’m a Cubmaster. We’re CUB scouts. We’re not “Big Scouts”, which is what I call the scouts at the troop level, because technically, we’re all Boy Scouts. My son is about to make Eagle (fingers crossed). When he or his troop do something really exciting, like camp a whole week without their parents, or go to National Jamboree, I let my guys know this is what they’ll get to do if they stay in scouting. But we’re cub scouts. We don’t get to camp without our parents. We don’t go on high adventures. We build pinewood derby cars and simplistic toolboxes. We earn belt loops for trying new things, not hike 50 miles to earn a merit badge. Packs have FIRST Graders in them, and while I could teach my cubs, over a considerable amount of time, what the scout oath means, we’d rather be having fun — dressing up for Halloween, eating Dad and Lad cakes, earning our Arrow of Light, and getting ready for Crossover.

      I have to categorically disagree with the fellow who said Crossovers were ridiculous. What!?! I took over this pack because it hadn’t had a continuous leader for awhile. They had lost their way. They had lost the BSA way. They’d also lost all their Webelos. This past spring, we had a Crossover like they’d not seen in a long, long time – They were awarded their Arrow of Light badges, presented with a “Journey Arrow”, and a certificate of achievement. We held our ceremony outside with the whole pack in attendance. There was a large bridge with a troop waiting at the other side. Our Webelos were sent off with applause and cheers for their “new life” as “Big Scouts”. Is there not a ceremony for when you graduate high school? Or move from Middle School to High School? Then why shouldn’t there be a Crossover ceremony to move from a cub scout Pack to a boy scout Troop?

      If we’re all going to have the same oath, law, and sign, then how long until we all have the same uniform? Webelos can already wear the khaki shirts if they want. Once we’re all the same, being a “Cub” Scout will be nothing special. It’ll just be the start of a ten to twelve year journey, which will sound like a lifetime to a first grader and, in their minds, very boring. Too boring to bother with. Come on. We’re already competing with baseball, softball, soccer, football. Let’s keep this as special and as exciting sounding as possible.

      There are elementary schools separate from middle schools separate from high schools for a reason! I suggest National ditch their current group of “experts” and relearn why! (“Experts.” Now there’s a loaded word if I ever heard one. Some guy with a PhD knows more about my cubbies than I and my den leaders just because of some letters after his name? Snort.)

  38. As a Cub Scouter with two boys in the program AND a 411 Team member I’d like to assure all people in this thread this was done with a great amount of research, investigation, debate and consultation with those with expertise in a child’s capacity to understand things at a certain age.

    Personally I believe that Cubs can grasp the concepts in the Scout Oath and Law and that age appropriate instruction will be developed if adopted. Certainly a 17 year old will and should have a deeper understanding than a 7 year old, but it still has value. The Promise and Oath are not substantially different. The Law of the Pack is awkward and I’ve seen parent struggle to explain it as much as kids trying to grasp it. The 12 points of the Scout Law are concise and a tremendous guidepost for life.

    Ask any experienced Scouter or former Scout the Oath and Law – they will likely recite it on command. Ask the Promise and Law of the Pack to even veteran Scouters – maybe 50/50 recall on a good day.

    For those that indicate there will be nothing to look forward to or that boys embrace learning a new creed, I respectfully disagree. I think this is well intentioned speculation by Scouters who have come to realize the value of these things but I have yet to meet a boy who joined so he could learn to recite and understand a creed of any kind.

    The continuity and simplicity of message across programs as it fulfills the mission of Scouting is the goal here.

    We are a traditional organization and change is sometimes difficult. However I believe the net positives of a consistent message will prove beneficial, and defaulting to the Boy Scout Oath and Law is a natural choice.

    • BSA Internal Communications says:

      Thanks for weighing in, Scott — and to everyone else who has contributed to this discussion. It’s good to hear lots of varying perspectives on this issue.

      John Churchill
      Internal Communications

  39. Ralph McCain says:

    I beleive this action to pull all Scouting units to a form of unity will be good. I learned the Cub Scout oath as a Cub Scout;I leaned the Boty Scout oath as a Boy Scout; and like wise when I was an Exployer. I can’t say the Cub Scout oath did much for me as I was growing up and I can not remember much about the Explorers. But almost daily I use the Boy Scout oath as a mental reminder of the way to respect, treat and tolerate all persons I meet during my daily activities and how to be on my best behavior. I have used it almost daily for over 50 years. I beleive this to be a positive change.

  40. Mike Sun says:

    Rather than reiterate what many of the previous posters disagreeing with the proposed change, I’ll just add my voice to say I agree that this new recommendation isn’t the brightest idea proposed.

  41. william wilson says:

    i have been in the scouting since 1957 there has been a lot changes this should not be one off them.

  42. Dave Huber says:

    So does this announcement also mean that Cub Scouts will no longer recite an oath with two fingers held high? Are they now to use three fingers with their arm at 90 degrees just like the Boy Scouts? Taking that a step farther, will they also stop using the two finger Cub Scout handshake & salute? And finally, since they won’t be following Akela anymore, will they also be turning away from the Jungle Book references?

    Dave Huber
    Webelos Den Leader
    Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner

  43. Wallace says:

    I feel fortunate my son and daughter have about reached the end of their respective programs (ages 18 and 20). He got us into this thing when he brought that recruitment flyer home his first few weeks of 1st grade, and it’s been an adventure ever since. She decided she wanted to join his pack by his Wolf year but had to wait for venturing, but in the meantime she helped with his day camps as an underage den chief. With very few crews in our council, she had to pretty much start the program for herself. It took her thru Sea Base and Philmont (Kodiak Mtn.Trek) and Kodiak X in Ohio, with only the 3rd Silver award, last summer. My son’s Eagle BOR was just a few months ago. Having gone thru all 3 programs as an adult leader and advisor (OA included), I have seen everything up close, not including Sea Scouts or Varsity, and am saddened by what I see being proposed. Teaching a Tiger cub the Scout Oath and Law while making a Venturer do the same thing, without allowing them to be eligible for OA, is not right. Somethings are worth waiting for and others should have been allowed years ago, but by next year none of it will matter for my kids. They loved every minute of these programs and are thankful they were able to experience what will know as classic scouting (AKA the old BSA programs). It has changed our family for the better, and even though mom stayed out of it, she supported us every step of the way.

  44. Lewis Kingston III says:

    I keep seeing this come through my linked in discussion group. I grew up through the program. I started out in Tiger Cubs in 1984 and got my Eagle Scout in 1997. I never got to join Venturing because it was not founded until after I aged out, but I got more involved in the program and got involved on the District level. I ended up becoming the District Membership Chairman for three years. I also helped with training, and worked with OA.

    As a leader that has grown up through this program and one that has done training and worked with organizations to sell them the program. most organizations fall for the program for what each program has to offer each level of children. For Cub Scouts it reaches the kids where they are at during that phase of there lives at that moment.
    With Boy Scouts it is teaching them the values to grow up and become young men and the leadership values that they will need in life.
    When it comes to Venturing you choose the path to lead the young men and women down so that they can enhance their leadership skills to the next level.
    Each program needs to have its own distinction and be left alone. We need some level of accountability and we need to start thinking about what is best for the youth we serve. We serve a wide variety of youth but the program has worked for many years and if we work at it with what Lord Baden-Powell gave us iit will still work with just a few tweeks.

  45. Faun Guarino says:

    I think the change is totally inappropriate. There are THREE separate – but related- programs in scouting and each needs to be acknowledged and respected for what it teaches our children.

    While children can be taught to understand over time the meaning of the concepts in the Boy scout oath, to expect a 6 or 7 year old to be able to recite it properly is unrealistic. It totally ignores what we have been teaching for years — AGES AND STAGES!

    What SHOULD be changed are the CORE VALUES. From the beginning, we should have been using the Boy Scout Laws as the core values in Cub Scouting, dedicating months to help them live and learn their meanings. That would tie the program together, aid in Webelos to Scout transition and actually make some sense.

    • indnajns says:

      Now that I wholeheartedly agree in. Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent are all words any scout should be able to understand, no matter his age. The Law works for all scouts. Those twelve points are always “age appropriate”. The Promise/Oath should be kept age appropriate, as well. The very concept of “promise” vs “oath” is more than most elementary kids are going to be able to grasp. Let’s keep this fun and not make it too much like school work. Baden-Powell said, “Fun with a purpose”! Let’s not forget that!

  46. Rob Hoitt says:

    As a Venturing Leader and a Scouter for over 30 years, I would like to take a couple moments and chime in on my opinions on the discussions to change the Venturing Code and Oath to align it with the Scout Law and Promise.

    Without beating around the bush too much, I am cautiously supportive, but I want to add a few thoughts to make sure that the change is looked at with the best interests of the program, and with that the volunteers who work tirelessly to make it a reality as well.

    As you may have seen, Venturing Leaders for the most part are very resistant to change, and it is for good reason. While most folks will tell you that Venturing is the “New Program” of the BSA being only 14 years old, it actually is the most current iteration of a program that was conceived by E. Urner Goodman in the 1930’s. While his concept of “Senior Scouting” worked a little differently than how modern day Venturing does, the changes are not much more significant or drastic as any of the changes that fell on Cub Scouting or Boy Scouting in the same period of time, except for one major difference. In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s William Spurgeon led the charge to create “Career Awareness Exploring” which was an offshoot of the “Explorer (Exploring)” program, and while certainly the High Adventure aspects of Exploring were vastly overshadowed, the relevance of the program to the individual Boy Scout Troops was all but eliminated. While it was perhaps a good idea in the 1960’s to radically change the program, the price was the relationship that up until that point fed the overall Exploring program.

    Fast forward to 1998, as the changes to Exploring loomed, it made sense to roll Sea Exploring and High Adventure Exploring back under one umbrella, and at the time it was toted as “something new” and so the history of Venturing “began” at that time, without any ties to its origins or heritage as a result, the relevancy of the program to the Boy Scout Troops has not really ever been repaired. In fact, national support for the most part is limited to some collateral calling Venturing “Scouting’s Next Step.” Today with 14 years under its belt, Venturing still is looked at by many as a “distraction” which hinders its overall growth and weakens its ability to flourish.

    So my suggestion is that if we are going to make changes to Venturing, let’s do it right. With that in mind, I’d like to make the following suggestions to consider.

    · We need to promote the fact that the origins of Venturing is nearly 80 years old, and not 14. There is a wealth of history there which we’ve forgotten about, and the lack of promoting that history has affected the credibility of an amazing program. The better we do at promoting where Venturing has been, will pay off in dividends when educating Troop leadership on the value of Venturing.
    · An effort should be made to install some kind of “crossover” from Troops to Crews. This will enable both units to collaborate more, much like the model we see in place now with Packs and Troops. This will encourage better advancement through all programs.
    · Encourage Venturers to work with Cub Scouting more by placing a greater emphasis on Den Chiefs. Often children begrudgingly follow leaders who are about the same age, and this is where Venturing can play a huge part in not only providing great leaders to Cubs, but to prepare those leaders to be stronger adults as well. This will offer the added benefit of generating excitement in the young Cubs to “go the distance” into Venturing.
    · Revert the “Venture Patrol” name back to the “Leadership Corps.” The biggest reason here is due to the confusion created by both programs having such similar names. The previous iteration of “Leadership Corps” makes more sense in the application of the program to Troops, and makes the transition between the current programs easier on all levels.
    · Better utilize Venturing to capture the 21-25 year old segment. Right now we don’t do very much to capitalize on the outgoing “youth” from Venturing, in that all we really can do is make them “Alumni.” This lets go of our well-trained members and frees them with the hopes they will come back some day. And admittedly sometimes they do. However if we had a more formalized vehicle to retain those leaders, similar to UK’s Scout Network where leadership was taught and encouraged, these young adults would have purpose and encouragement to stick with Scouting after they age out.
    · Seek to heal the rift between the OA and Venturing. In reality, the OA and Venturing both have the same founder. Back in the 30’s to 50’s, a “Senior Scout” was a “Scout” and once he achieved First Class could be considered for the OA. Modern day Venturers are often Scouts who moved over. However it is very common to see Scouts afraid of joining Venturing because they fear they will become ineligible for the OA. While I certainly can’t speak for Dr. Goodman, in my 25 years of being an Arrowman, I’d be hard pressed to believe that his intention was for it to work this way. I’d bet we could find a solution if an effort was made to find it, and we should be steadfast in that quest. It will help all of the programs harmonize, and will bring us back to what Dr. Goodman intended.

    Scouting teaches us that we need to do our best, and in so doing, change is an expectation. So my hope is that we do our best to make the right changes to make this program better in the years to come, and I suspect that that vision is within us all.

    Thank you for reading;

  47. KevinDHarner says:

    If this does go through it will bring back the younger boy and older boy issue that was behind the creating on Cub Scouting to begin with.

    Kevin D. Harner
    Former Den Leader
    Pack Trainer
    Cub Scout Roundtable Staffer

  48. Mike Reep says:

    An important aspect of this announcement is that the change involved “consultation” and “research”. There is no reference to field testing, trial runs, or tests like I have seen mentioned when other program changes were discussed. It’d be interesting to know how long it took new Cubs to earn the Bobcat under such a program.

  49. Kathy says:

    As a venturer I really like this change. To be honest, no one I know knows the Venturing Oath anyway, and I am the executive board for my council and beyond. I also believe that many venturers don’t understand the whole tradition and ceremony of Boy Scouts, which keeps some of them from taking it seriously. I think this is a great change and whether or not it improves Venturing, it definitely won’t hurt it

  50. Dan McNair says:

    I sent an email to The essence is that Cubs are different than Boy Scouts. The need more focus and guidance, not more for the adults to do than there already is. Secondly how hard do we want to make the Bobcat rank, really? My opinion is that National needs to quit making changes for a few years for the sake of uniforms, merit badges, rank requirements, awards, and training.

  51. Debbie says:

    Keep each one unique! As a scout leader who has taken her son from Tigers through Eagle with 5 palms through Ranger, I see the benefit of each different part of BSA having it’s own voice, it’s own identity in the promise, oath, and code. Our Crew knows the Code and recites it at every meeting. It’s a matter of choice and determination (or lack thereof) if Crews decide it’s too difficult to memorize. Each different version (cub, scout, venture) is well designed for the age and focus of the group it was created for. Part of our American spirit and heritage is our freedom of individual expression. Taking that away to make “one size fits all” for each oath scouting would undermine this, would undermine the sense of growth and maturity that comes with progession, would undermine the “states rights” of each group. What changes next- one colour uniform for all? No more individual council strips? No more unit numbers? This is an exageration of course, but you have to consider where the boundary line goes once you start moving it. Keep it where it is.

    • Cary says:

      I agree with what Debbie has mentioned regarding that each segment of Scouting was developed for certain age groups. My son came in as a Bobcat and earned his Eagle and I, like thousands of other parents, progressed with him through Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts as a Leader. I recognized the value of having each segment of Scouting slightly different.

      It is a ‘rite of passage’ as I’ve heard put before for a Cub Scout Webelos II to learn the Boy Scout Oath & Law when Bridging from Pack to Troop. There is quite a bit of symbolism that can be placed within that ceremony.

      I opt to keep the programs as it is when it comes to;
      - Cub Scout Promise, Law of the Pack, & Slogan
      - Boy Scout Oath, Law, & Slogan

      Now, when it comes to Venturing…much can still be learned from the Boy Scout Oath & Law. 100 years of success has to count for something.

  52. Devyn McGowan says:

    My name is Devyn McGowan, I’m currently the President of my Venture Crew. I have many friends, even in my own crew, who are in boy and girl scouts but I am not. I am in a Venture Crew, which is different from Boy Scouts. I’m not trying to bring down the Boy Scouts or anything but honestly we’re not them. We’re our own people and group. I love our oath and laws, why should we have to change it?

  53. Devyn McGowan says:

    I honestly think the change would be a huge mistake. We’re our own people and our own crew. Venture Crew shouldn’t have to change everything it knows all over some rule change. We need to keep it all the same.

  54. Larry Sebby says:

    As a former Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Cubmaster, Troop and Pack Committee Chair, District Committee Member, and Unit Commissioner, and as a retired teacher and administrator, I firmly disagree with the movement to adopt the Boy Scout Oath, etc. by Cub Scouts. First, there should be age-appropriate language in each level. Cub Scouts do NOT understand fully, the meaning of the scout law, etc. Some have difficulty learning the current oath, etc. I think that when a Cub Scout makes a promise it should be one that he can fully understand. I have watched the excitement of many boys as they accomplished the learning of these things. Leave some excitement for when they advance.

    I think that having the Cub Scouts learn all the Scout things leaves little to work up to in the future. I see it all the time where youth teams are announced before each game, get fancy uniforms, warm-ups, etc. These things used to be reserved for the varsity athlete who worked many years to attain the varsity level. My personal opinion is that we see young children getting the special things too early, then there is nothing to look forward to. I think that is the reason many kids burn out in youth sports, etc. The same can be said for scouting. Let the Cub Scouts learn the Oath, Law, etc. while working on the Webelos II preparation for the Arrow of Light.

    I have been registered as a scout for over half of my 65 years of life. I’m on my third generation of boys going through the scouting program, and based on what I see of our society, I think that making this change would be a serious mistake. To keep boys interested in scouting, we need to be developing new things to learn and hold their interest, we don’t need to frustrate the younger boys, nor bore the older boys. Each unit should have something of its own with which the boys can keep learning and expanding their horizons.

    Grandpa Larry Scout

  55. Rob Bungarden says:

    Does the executive council that will approve this include all of the Conuncil Scout Executives? I am wondering if volunteers and family members get to vote, through their Scout Executive or is this simply a rubber stamp process.

  56. JT Jackson says:

    please don’t change the scout organization

    boys as young as Tiger and Wolf need to be eased into the program

    are there really complaints that the boys that young are disadvantaged?

    why fix something when it is perfect the way it is


    JT Jackson

  57. dean says:

    It is very important to note that the vast majority of Venturers, Sea Scouts and Explorers have NEVER been Boy Scouts. The appeal of this program is to young adults, age 13 through 20. There seems to be a blatant lack of understanding of the fact that there is a stigma among high school age youth about being a “boy scout” and youth tend to get hassled by their non-Scout peers when it is known that they are Boy Scouts. Moreover female Venturers often are not comfortable being associated with being considered a Boy Scout. Venturing, Sea Scouts and Exploring are age appropriate programs specifically designed for teenagers and thus do not and should not be conformed to the operational guidelines of traditional Boy Scout programs. Part of the appeal of young adult programs is their difference and diversity from Boy Scout programs that are and have always been designed largely to meet the interests and needs of 11-14 year old Boys, and not of 13 through 20 year-old young men and women.

    While this is not a reflection on the Boy Scout program, national statistics show that the greatest attrition from Boy Scout troops occurs at age 14 when youth enter high school. So this inappropriate effort to seemingly homogenize Venturing with traditional Boy Scout programs would be a tragic miscarriage of all that has made young adult programs [i.e., Venturing, Sea Scouts, and Exploring] very appealing and popular with today’s youth. The members of the National Venturing Committee and the National Staff who created Venturing in 1998 were highly experienced in developing these programs in consultation with the youth who were members of the programs, and they created the most successful and fastest growing division of the BSA under the aegis of the newly created Venturing Division. While other programs [e.g., Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts] were shrinking each year, Venturing, Sea Scouting, and Exploring was growing geometrically. This clearly indicates that the program was and continues to be successful and highly appealing.

    Moreover, the total available youth [TAY] in the age categories between 13 through 20 represent the greatest potential growth of BSA membership overall, yet Venturing, Sea Scouts and Exploring are serving less than 2 percent of all these youth.

    Why is that? Exploring and later Venturing and Sea Scouts have always been euphemistically referred to as the “Best Kept Secret in Scouting” for a very simple reason. The National office did not provide the same level of staffing for young adult programs as it did for traditional Boy Scout and Cub Scout programs. Moreover, local Councils rarely supported Venturing, Sea Scouts, and Exploring at the same level of professional staffing and program emphasis as they did Boy Scouting and Cub Scouting. Those few councils that did provide dedicated professionals for young adult programs, and supported volunteer adult committees to facilitate young adult programs actually showed remarkable growth in those programs. Regrettably, very few councils provide this level of support, despite the fact that their youth membership would increase dramatically if they made such efforts to grow and support young adult programs.

    So now, we are back to yet another “it ain’t broke, but we are going to fix it anyway” dilemma that is once again seeking to dramatically change a well-conceived program that has been and continues to be highly effective for reasons that at best are specious and of questionable rationale in light of the actual facts and history of the success of the programs.

    Case in point. The Venturing Division was dramatically changed in recent years, and key personnel who guided that program are no longer involved.

    The argument that “there is not a significant involvement of Venturers in the “advancement and awards program” is also a specious argument that again is born out of comparing Venturing to Boy Scouting. Venturing Recognition Awards are NOT intended to be advancement in the sense of a boy scout troop. They are RECOGNITIONS for accomplishments that are primarily associated with participation in high adventure outdoor activities. Studies and actual experience have shown that teens are NOT primarily interested in earning awards, unlike their younger Boy Scout peers. This probably accounts for the fact that the percentage of Venturing recognition awards presented is relatively low.

    A process known as “stealth recognition” in which advisors record participation by youth in various high adventure and other activities, and then notify the Venturer that they have qualified for a recognition. Thus, IF THEY CHOOSE to do so, they can complete the applications and be presented the award. So it is vitally important to NOT Compare Venturing RECOGNITION awards with Boy Scout ADVANCEMENT. They are not the same and never were intended to be.

    Another questionable development is the fact that the uniquely and brilliantly conceived Venturing youth leadership training which was developed by Venturers themselves, has been significantly dismantled and homogenized into the Boy Scout leadership training program. Venturing Leadership Skills Course is now converted into Introduction to Youth Leadership Skills; the unique Venturing Kodiak and Kodiak X courses were modified and homogenized into the a univeral Boy Scout leadership course such as NYLT and NAYLE. Clearly the concepts of Venturing leadership training have merit as they were selected to essentially replace the old and outdated Boy Scout leadership training, which is a compliment to Venturing. However, the down side is that much of the extraordinary leadership training programs that appealed to Venturers as a unique part of the Venturing program, has been taken away and so consequently, a part of the incentive to be in the unique Venturing program. A number of members of the original Venturing Committee and many experienced Venturing advisors and youth who developed these concepts for Venturers were quite upset with the Boy Scout Committee who took these programs and homogenized them into Boy Scout programs.

    It is apparent that a certain element may be determined to dismantle Venturing and remold it into a Boy Scout program in spite of the proven effectiveness and appeal of the brilliant program design and format. If there is strong evidence that such reforms would be positive and that the outcome of the proposed changes would greatly expand membership and growth of young adult Venturing, Sea Scout, and Explorer programs, perhaps such changes could be supported.

    However, from what has been presented in justification of the so-called reforms, there is [in my opinion], very little if any credible rationale and objectivity for making such changes. Time and efforts would be much better spent on promoting the existing programs as they are conceived and drop the reformation process entirely.

    My experience in the young adult programs of Exploring,
    Sea Scouting and Venturing cover a span of more than 50 years, both as an Explorer and Eagle Scout, and as an Advisor and Council Venturing Committee member. Moreover, I have seen similar previoius trends that take effective programs, and reform, modify or even eliminate program elements that were already successful, with no rational justification. Cases in point would include the National Explorer Congresses of the 70′s, National Explorer Olympics, National Exploring Conferences, et al.

    Most of all, it is vitally important to survey the youth widely and not just as selected small focus groups, to get a true and accurate representation of what the youth want. This is their program and they should have the right to determine what it should be without being overridden by adult committees who have probably very little appreciation or understanding of young adult programs and in particular, Venturing Crews, Sea Scout Ships, Explorer Posts, and what the youth themselves actually want.

    Most of the youth with whom I have discussed these ideas were strongly opposed to such changes for the reasons enumerated above. It would be well to consider the input of the youth for whom the program exists, and who have first hand experience with the manner in which it is and should be conducted.

  58. Fawn says:

    we have been in scouting for 12 years I was a Webelos leader when my youngest son was learning to talk he picked up the law oath and promise more quickly than some of the boys and he knew what they meant. When we washed are hands he would sing out a scout is clean. When he joined Cub Scouts he had a hard time adjusting to using the Cub Scout promise. If it is presented in the right way the boys will learn it and know what it means yes it is a change but change can be good.

  59. VGomez says:

    As a CubMaster, I think that having all the scouts, Cubs thru Ventures, using the same oath and law is a fine idea. I don’t doubt the ability of today’s cub scouts to learn and understand what the law means. If you look at the 12 core values, they are very similar to the law. I think the law is easier.
    I’m also a Venture Crew Advisor and feel that the program is insufficient and needs to attract kids earlier. My observation from Cubs on up is that the siblings, girls, of the cubs want to participate actively in cub scouting. It may be time to move towards coed scouting, like most of the world. There are a number of reasons that this could be successful: Attract girls to BSA, where they do fun things rather than sell cookies. That is the major complaint in our area regarding GSA. The younger and older sisters of our cubs want to be in boy scouts. The chances of getting more parents to volunteer for BSA are increased because all their children are in one program. We’ve had Moms who would like to help but are busy in girl scouts and Dad is working. Let’s get the Moms into our program!
    The Venture Crew attracts kids too late. They like doing the fun stuff but have already committed to sports and other activities a few years earlier. The girls just don’t have time to work on Ranger, Bronze, Gold and Silver awards.
    Go coed and end the Venture program. Let the girls earn Eagle. If there are troops or packs not wanting to go coed, I suspect there are plenty of others that would.

  60. Leader at all levels from Texas says:

    I am not normally someone to be controversial, but I do not agree with this change. In school, curriculum is not the same for 6 year olds as it is for 11 year olds and I don’t believe it should be in Scouts either. I work with Cub Scouts from Tigers to Webelos and have some special needs scouts also in each of the ranks. The Cub Scout Promise and Law are even a challenge to some of our scouts. The Cub Scout Oath and Law are geared more to the younger Scout and much easier to learn. The Akalea is an important part of a young Scout’s life and should not be excluded. There are many challenging words in both the Scout Law and the Scout Promise plus they are both longer and more difficult to learn. This shouldn’t be about what is easier for the Leaders or Parents it should be about the boys. That is what it should always be about! Each program is a separate piece of the Scouting experience and their Laws and Promises should reflect as such. Yes I understand the mission of the BSA “to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law,” BUT we are already doing that progressively! I know I can’t change it but I don’t have to approve.

  61. Johnny Stevens II says:

    First, let me apologize for not naming specific commenters form above; I spent an hour and a half reading the entire blog. And another two hours writing this reply.

    Wow!!! There is really a lot of opinion about this proposed change. Unfortunately most folk here are equating this change in the Oath and Law in to a change in the programs. While it sounds like there is some possibility of changes in the Venturing program, it is not tied to nor has anything to do with the Scout Oath and Law. EACH program is going to remain its own program. They will each still be age appropriate.

    For those how believe that cubs “can not learn nor understand” the Scout Law, do not give their cubs enough credit. They might not learn as fast as older scouts, but they all learn. You really need to remember what this program was intended to be from the beginning, “Fun with a purpose.” B-P, quoted Ralph Parlette, “Play is loving to do things, and work is having to do things.” Make it a fun game and they will learn faster than you. That is how a trained cub scouter is taught to “teach” his cubs. It just needs to be broke down more for the younger cubs. Boys of all ages enjoy healthy competitions and remember B-P’s “Champ Nit” style where the “winner” sits out giving those who need it the most “practice”.

    As for loosing your identity, once again there will still be three different programs all of age appropriate scouting. Each venture crew has the ability to have there own motto and choose your own unique uniform.

    On so far as cubs “not having anything to look forward to”, do you really thing that they are really looking forward to learning something new, especially it you the adult leader has not figured out how to make it fun?
    Try to remember what it was like to be that age; put yourself in their shoes. Be silly, goofy, and laugh with the cubs. Get on your knees, sit on the floor, look them in the eye from their level, not down at them. They will learn and amaze you.

    Learning/advancement at all levels should be real life experience. This is not just how Venturers advance; all BSA programs are intended to be this way. Adult leaders (through a sense of have their scouts be the best) subvert the program to be just another class for the scouts to attend. Not the way it is supposed to be folks!!! When conducted as intended, the scouts get benefits you have not even thought about; experience, self worth, motivation, sense of accomplishment, and knowledge beyond a book to name a few!

    One gentleman above expresses his fear to talk to cub age boys about the word “straight”. While there might be different meanings to the word in today’s language, there is one that we are concerned with, as in “straight and narrow”. As far as any sexual subjects, those are a family discussion. Even when you use the BSA’s It Happened To Me dvd, you have to include parents.

    Change is always hard to except even when we know it is “good”; “what if something goes wrong”, “what if it was better before”, “what if…” Ultimately none of us actually knows what will actually happen if anything.
    There have been and always will be change. If we refused to accept change; none of us could be blogging, we would not have flight, we would still be ridding horses, or not even riding horses.

    Many times, the BSA makes changes as stepping stones to other changes. Tigers were not originally officially a part of the cub program; tiger was earned before bobcat. Now they are fully integrated. Now the BSA is piloting Lion Cubs, a Kindergarten program. Once again, change. I do not know if the Oath/Law changes will lead to other changes, but we will all find out. In the 70′s, the cub law was changed. The last I checked, it did not destroy the cub scout program.

    For those who will drop-out/quit the program, you really don’t understand the program. If you are “going to take your toys and quit playing because you don’t get your way”, then you miss the meaning of any of the three program’s oath/laws.

    One scouter above suggested that this is just a way to make things easier for the adults and “we are just trying to give away the Eagle scout award.” I believe he should look up the history of the Eagle requirements as well as other rank requirements. The requirements are more stringent now than ever before. In 1911, the rank of Eagle could have been earned in as little as two months. In 1952, all ranks were given age limit of 18 years old, Prior the 1960′s there was not even a leadership project requirement.

    One person above stated that we no longer have Baden Powell to give us the answers. Actually, he has answered most of the questions. In 1920, he wrote a little book called “Aids To Scoutmastership”, you can find a copy of it at Other things that he covers in this book are the purpose of advancement. Advancement is not intended to make a scout an all knowing expert, but rather to build in him a familiararity with the subjects. While it does not good to”give awards away”, it also does not good to expect a scout (or cub or venturer) to perform at some level of expertice. Each scout should be evaluated on his effort in attaining knowledge. I could not be expected to perform complex computation the same as would Albert Einstein. If you look up the “guide to advancement”,, you will find the same guide lines used by the Boy Scouts of America today; it is about the experience getting there, not the destination.

    Finally and most importantly, this is ultimately the Boy Scouts of America’s program. We are just users of their product! I don’t agree with everything they do, but I use this program because it is the best out there.

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