Democracy is especially dear to the rural citizen. His home is his castle. His labors are at the frontiers of civilization-where we ask the soil to produce our foods and raw materials.

For that reason, he finds the structure of the Boy Scouts of America of deep interest-because that structure is strikingly democratic-with representation and local responsibility-those basic principles of democracy.


The National Council receives its authority from the Congress of the United States to do a specific job:

"That the purpose of this corporation shall be to promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in Scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods which are now in common use by Boy Scouts."

The Local Council through annual re-chartering is authorized by the National Council to do its work in harmony with the Congressional Charter grant of responsibility.

The local sponsoring institution or neighborhood group of men is in turn chartered by the National

Council on recommendation of the Local Council, to use the Scout program in accordance with the spirit of the Federal Charter. This institution (church, school, grange, or group of citizens in a smaller town) appoints a committee, selects its Scoutmaster, provides meeting place, continuing oversight, and camping opportunities for their boys.


Planning, all along the line, is done so that all have representation on bodies which are planning for those groups.

The "sponsoring institution" is represented on the District Committee and on the Local Council. Indeed, 51% of the Local Council membership must be the "institutional" or sponsoring representatives.

Each District Chairman is a member of the Local Council Executive Board and the chairman of each District Operating Committee is a member of the Council Committee for that activity.

The Local or Area Council sends its representatives to the National Council, a majority of its members shall be such Local Council representatives. The National Council members living in a Region constitute the "Regional Committee."


THE NATIONAL COUNCIL meets annually in the spring or summer in some part of the United States, sometimes in New York, and then in Chicago, San Francisco, Memphis, Buffalo, Cleveland, or some such places then perhaps back in New York again. The first of these meetings was held in Washington at the White House. Attendance has increased until over a thousand Scouters attend.

THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE BOARD meets bimonthly. Its various divisional and other committees meet at various intervals, as needed.

Daniel Carter Beard


"THE REGIONS" hold an annual meeting of the Region including the Executives and the National Council members, those from each Local or Area Council, as well as other Scouters and Cubbers who desire to attend. Some Regions hold several meetings of the various committees of the Region.

THE "LOCAL OR AREA COUNCILS" hold annual (or semi-annual) meetings of the entire Council, including of course the representatives of all sponsoring institutions and all districts. In addition to this the Executive Board of the Council usually meets once a month.

Also there are various Council Committees which meet monthly or less frequently, as is desirable. The various District organizations or District Committees of the Council usually conduct a monthly meeting.

THE SPONSORING INSTITUTIONS, more and and more of them, hold annual (or semi-annual) meetings-often these are reunion dinners to which Troop (or Pack or Ship or Tribe) alumni are invited. In addition, most Troop Committees (or group com-mitees) meet monthly to plan and carry on their programs.

THE TROOP (OR PACK OR SHIP) usually meets once a week (as do the individual Patrols) in addition to hikes and overnight trips, and in addition to the weekly meeting of the Scoutmaster and his staff of Assistants and Patrol Leaders.

THE TRIBE, because of distance and work, chores, or home needs of the boy, meets with a frequency determined by local conditions, but usually monthly.

What They Do

The National Council, the National Executive Board, the National Committees-the Regional Committees, the Local Council and its Committees, the Districts and their Committees, the sponsoring institutions and their committees-all of these hold their meetings for the same purpose of making Scouting effective with boys.

They all meet:

1. To plan future action, including extension, training, servicing, camping, health and safety, finance, needed organization.

2. To check on progress on previous plans through reports from those responsible.

3. To authorize expenditures.

4. To pass on items of policy (see Chapter V (How Scout Organization Works).)

5. To consider new proposals and projects.


The Federal Charter places upon the National Council the responsibility for all legislation and policy determination, in which Local Councils share through their representation on the National Council. Through literature and training courses these policies are made of record and available to all Councils, their officials and leaders.

Local Area Councils are responsible for carrying out the Scouting program in their areas, according to Constitution and By-Laws of the Boy Scouts of America. At any time they may initiate suggestions or proposals of changes deemed desirable-but these proposals must be acted on by the proper National Committees.

Similarly, the sponsoring institutions are in charge of their own Troops, Packs, Ships or Tribes subject always to the general policies outlined above. The institution, or anyone in it, may at any time initiate proposals through the Local Area Council as indicated above.

How To Reach Them

While these various meetings occur at regular intervals, suggestions or proposals can be made to the Sponsoring Committee, the Local Council, the Regional Committee or the National Council at any convenient time. Matters for the Local Area Council, the Region, or the National Council should start with the Scout Executive of the Local Council.

Matters involving more than one Council should be taken up with the Regional Office. Ordinarily requests or suggestions should be made in writing, so they may be in form to pass on for consideration by the various committees.