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In the rest of the world Scouting volunteers are expected not only to own a copy of the rules but, more importantly, be familiar with them! A Scouting rule book is usually called the "Policy, Organization, & Rules" (PO&R). If you have ever attended an international Scouting event, you may have noticed foreign Scouters exchanging copies of their associations' PO&Rs so that they can see at a glance how the other programs are structured. This is more useful in libertarian countries that allow a free market in which its citizens can pick and choose from alternatives a Scouting association best for them.


An example of a PO&R can be found at the Inquiry Net, in this case the last PO&R that Baden-Powell himself edited:




In the United States, the government picks one Scouting corporation for all its citizens. When you join you must agree in writing to obey the rules and regulations of the BSA, but few Americans have ever read them. Indeed, when everyone seems so nice why should you read something before signing it? That would be rude!


The closest most of us ever come reading the BSA's actual rules are the sentences we are allowed to view in the Guide to Safe Scouting which appear in bold-face type, so reminiscent of the red type in our Bibles.


Presumably it is easier to issue fatwas through the GtSS and Wood Badge than it is to actually change the offical rules and regulations. For instance, my 2007 printing of the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America does not mention the GtSS's "rule" against laser tag.


Just sayin'


sailingpj writes:


Hey Kudu, where can one find that two volume set of BSA rules and regulations? Is that something you can order from somewhere or something? I would like to take a look at it.


A Scout is Loyal and Obedient!


Far be it from me to lead you into temptation, Sailingpj!


If you have been to Wood Badge, then you probably want to do things the way the corporation wants you to do them. Certainly you do not want a Wood Badge Moose Tracker to see you "buck" the system. What do you suppose happens to a buck when a Moose Tracker catches up to him? :)


The standard procedure is to call your District Executive and tell him you want to read the BSA's Rules and Regulations. He will usually be surprised and then tell you politely that it is his job to explain all that to you (even if he has not actually read them).


If you insist on reading the rules for yourself then obviously you are a trouble maker :)


Council policies on allowing trouble-makers to read the rules and regulations vary widely around the Untied States. On the one hand there are apocryphal reports of the two volume set for sale at the local Scout Shop! Others suggest that your Troop's Institutional Head can easily order a set through your Council's Scout Executive.


On the other hand, most Councils require you to make an appointment with the DE or the Scout Executive. Here again the policy varies from Council to Council because understandably there is no official rule about reading the rules. Outsiders would not understand!


Reportedly some liberal Councils will allow you to make a photocopy of the rule in question. At the other extreme some Councils have an "eyes only" policy: You can read the rules under close supervision but you are not allowed to take notes.


Eagle92 writes:


That said, if you google the actual names of the pamphlets, using quotation marks around the title, someone has posted them on a website that allows you to read them and print them, but not save them. Sorry I cannot provide the link, but I found them using my old computer which crashed.


Yes, Eagle92, for a small fee we could download our own copies of the BSA's rules and regulations from scribd.com before the BSA slams them with a cease and desist order, "but that would be wrong." :)






Yours at 300 feet,




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Cool, thanks for posting those links.


I have never been to wood badge, actually I won't even be old enough to go to wood badge for another 6 months or so.


My interest in these publications has nothing to do with bucking the system. It has everything to do with making the system work for me, but to make the system work in my favor I need to learn everything about how the system functions as possible.


Moosetracker, I agree that Kudu is currently in the minority, but I see it as a grow minority. I am basing that on what I see at various scouting functions, and what I see here on this forum. When I first joined it seemed like almost nobody ever agreed with Kudu. Now he has something of a following, people who not only agree with him, but semi-actively defend his point of view.

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Regardless of your point of view, there is not much of a conspiracy in my experience to keep the BSA policies out of the hands of volunteers. You can order your own copy through your local council. They will forward your payment and request to national.


Its hard enough to get most folks to read and comply with the G2SS; uniform? forget it! So its no wonder that MOST (but not all) involved never care to see the documents. So if you want to read them, just ask. If you want a copy, order it through your council office - not the local scout shop. I received my first copy from my DE - without even asking for them specifically. He just thought they would answer my questions.

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Have to agree with evmori.


In most organizations, members are either GIVEN a hardcopy of the organizations rules (bylaws, standing rules, officer lists, membership list, etc). My parliamentarian organizations publish these on a regular basis and ALL members are provided with a copy (am sure our membership fees cover the cost of these). Other groups atleast put their rules on their website for all to get, &/or make hardcopies available for sale in their catalog.


If the BSA would follow this, they would need to put these doc up on the National website and make them for sale in thru ScoutStuff, WHICH THEY USED TO DO in the past.


This isn't just something out of line with other scouting orgs. This something out of line with OTHER ORGANIZATIONS.



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When we sign the application, we agree to abide by the rules & regs of the BSA but we are never given a copy of them and finding them is next to impossible. All this does is give the BSA an easy out if they want to get rid of a volunteer.

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ntrog8r writes:


You can order your own copy through your local council. They will forward your payment and request to national.


No, ntrog8r, perhaps "you" can order "your" own copy through "your" local Council, but Council policies vary radically from state to state. In my last Council, the District Executive would submit such a request to the Scout Executive and the SE would ignore it.


I was told off the record to have my IH request it.


moosetracker writes:


... thats Moosetracker with no space between....


I was referring to Sarah Palin, and she puts a space between. :)


moosetracker writes:


And you are still a minority, good - bad - or just different.


Sounds like a great idea for a Scoutmaster Minute about Peer Pressure, moosetracker: A Scout can tell right from wrong by whether or not he is in the minority!


Yours at 300 feet,





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Job performance varies from person to person. It is National policy to release the Rules and Regulations, not a Councils. If "you" or anyone else has an issue where the Council office is NOT following National policy, by all means give National a call.


Having Execs at any level that seem to stand in the way of the Scouting experience is extremely frustrating - I know all too well. Fortunately, the BSA enables "you" and everyone else the means to bypass them and call the National office. So, outside of disagreeing with National's policies, which most of us here disagree with at least some of them, it isn't too difficult to get a personal copy of the Rules and Regulations.


As far as various Council policies such as reading BSA rules but not taking notes - I suppose anything is possible. My experience is limited to only six Councils in the Lower 48 and one in Alaska. With the sheer number of Councils there are bound to be employees that screw this up.


I do think the BSA is behind the times when it comes to using the interet for things like this. It does seem these kinds of things would be posted and EASY TO FIND on National's website. Unfortunately, I find it difficult to find much of real use there.


Fortunately Scouting is filled with volunteers who, mostly, have their hearts in the right place and want to deliver a quality Scouting experience to the young men entrusted to them. And fortunately those volunteers have people like you, Kudu, to remind them of what CAN be if they stick to the basics. And yes I mean that sincerely; it really is unbelievable the difference 300 feet can make.

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Back when I was a Scout Leader (SM) In the UK we did have copies of the POR.

The Book wasn't free! You had to order it from Scouts Shops.

I haven't checked for a while but it was on the UK Scouting web site. Last time I looked it seemed a bit bigger than I remember it being.

While I tend to agree that having all this stuff in one handy, dandy book is a good thing.

I also remember having a few pain in the neck adults who liked to use the book to beat up on others with.

I have at times been known to bend the odd rule (No matter where it might be or not be!) And I hate people who seem so self righteous beating me over the head with what at times is their interpretation of "The Rules".


Another thing that comes to mind is what good are rules if nobody is ever going to see that they are being followed?


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Interesting. They're not secret, but it looks like they're kinda sorta semi-secret (in an organization that doesn't tolerate secret organizations):


"Volunteers requesting copies of these publications _MUST_ contact their local council which _WILL FORWARD_ their request and [$1.50] payment to ... Irving, TX." (Emphasis added)."


If anyone told me there was a "no notes" policy, I would hand them the check for $1.50, point to that page, and remind them that they will forward my check (made out exactly as specified) to National.


I don't intend to be a troublemaker, but sometimes it's nice to know how to be a troublemaker, just in case the need ever arises.

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