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Baden Powell Service Association

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I stumbled across this organization while reading some articles about alternative Scouting groups and similar organizations. I really know very little about it, and it seems to be a rather small group at the moment (just a handful of units around the country as far as I can tell), but it has a great deal of appeal as an alternative to the BSA. It is remarkably similar to the BSA in many ways, and different in ways that I personally find refreshing, most notably an inclusive, non-discriminatory membership policy.


Anyone know anything about the BPSA? Any experiences with the organization, or knowledge of how it works, how things are going with this fairly new group, etc?


I'm certainly curious. I just ordered a Pathfinder handbook to get a better sense for what that part of the program is about.



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The Baden-Powell Service Association (BPSA) was formed in the U.S. in 2006 as an independent and traditional-style Scouting Association. It perpetuates the principles and practices of scouting laid down by Robert Baden-Powell[/url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_baden-powell] in 1907 that had been developed and refined in boy scout associations around the world for over 99 years. These principles are so fundamentally sound and the practices so adaptable that traditional scouting goes on developing and can never be dated or unsuited to any community. Our aim is to promote good citizenship and wholesome physical, mental and spiritual development, as well as training in habits of observation, discipline, self-reliance, loyalty, and useful skills.

The BPSA is totally independent of, and not affiliated with, either the Boy Scouts of America or the Girls Scouts of the USA. We are members of theWorld Federation of Independent Scouts[/url=http://www.wfis-worldwide.org/] (WFIS) and as such are not in competition with other American scouting associations; we are only their brothers. We are affiliated with the Baden-Powell Scouts’ Association of England.


The training scheme devised by Baden-Powell is based on using the natural desires of young people as a guide to the activities that will attract and hold them. The appeal of true scouting has always been to that element of the vagabond, pioneer, and explorer, which is part of our nature, and is at its most evident in youth. Hence the significance of the opening sequence of Baden-Powell’s “Explanation of Scouting†in Scouting for Boys:


Scouting is an outdoor movement and that is part of its character. To whatever degree conditions may, at time, force us indoorsâ€â€such as weather, darkness, or town lifeâ€â€we must regard this as second-best necessity and never as a satisfactory substitute for the real thing.


The BPSA believes that everyone deserves a chance to participate[/url=http://bpsa-us.org/about/#] in the movement which Baden-Powell started, and with that, we have crafted our policy of inclusion:


We’ll see you on the trail!


For more information on traditional scouting and how scout groups work in the BPSA, please download[/url=http://bpsa-us.org/about/#] our Introduction to Traditional Scouting[/url=http://bpsa-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/intro-traditional-scouting.pdf] manual.


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  • 2 weeks later...
You should avoid them as they have some issues you may not want to get mixed up in.
Considering the fact that there is a never ending torrent of issues with the bsa. There really is nothing wrong with the BPSA. They are primarily focused on the scoutcraft/bushcraft skills that have been declining in this country.
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  • 4 weeks later...

Over here in the UK we found ourselves camped next to a troop from BPSA back in April. We found them lovely, welcoming people. They follow a very traditional programme very similar to the one originally used when scouting first started and with the same age ranges too. They have the same ethos as the UK scout association though so we found them very easy to get on with.

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  • 2 weeks later...


Anyone know anything about the BPSA? Any experiences with the organization, or knowledge of how it works...?



I am not currently a member of BPSA, but I served on its original Policy, Organization, and Rules committee (PO&R: the document that gives a Traditional Scouting program its structure).


Much of the BPSA's material is taken from my Traditional Scouting Website:




Baden-Powell's Scouting is radically different from what Americans call "Scouting" in two ways:





A. B-P's badges are called "Proficiency Badges." They reflect a Scout's "Current Proficiency" (as opposed to past achievements).


B. Proficiency Badges are either Outdoor Skills or practical Public Service Skills such as first aid (as opposed to school subjects).


C. What Americans call "rank" badges are tested in B-P Scouting through the adventure of significant solo backwoods "Journeys" and "Expeditions" (as opposed to indoor, adult-run Scout Spirit requirements, Scoutmaster Conferences, and Boards of Review).


D. "Qualifying Badges" (the required badges, all outdoor) are retested every twelve (12) to eighteen (18) months (as opposed to our "no retesting" one and done, also known as "Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle").





A. B-P's Patrol System Patrols camp a minimum of 150-300 feet apart on Troop campouts.


B. In common with Green Bar Bill's "Real" Patrols, a Patrol System Patrol is required to hike on a regular basis (and sometimes camp) without other Patrols or adult leadership. This is where the Patrol Leader (not a "Troop Guide") teaches and signs off on Scoutcraft skills.


C. In the Patrol System, a Patrol's most gifted natural leader serves as Patrol Leader for as long as possible because of i) the controlled risk involved in Patrol Hikes, ii) actual competency needed to teach and test all Tenderfoot through First Class skills, and iii) because the Patrol Leaders actually run the Troop (as opposed to the adult Troop Committee, Troop SPL, Troop ASPLs, Troop Guides, etc.).


D. The purpose of a Patrol System Patrol is Patrol Adventure (as opposed to learning "leadership skills").



Have you had a chance to look through the Pathfinder handbook you ordered?



Yours at 300 feet,




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  • 7 years later...

I know this is a pretty old topic, but I feel I should contribute to your knowledge about this organization.

The principles BPSA-US is founded on are pretty sound. They draw material directly from the original orginization and writings of Robert Baden-Powell. I love their current handbooks; they are practical and straight to the point. Even if you didn't join BPSA-US, there's a lot to get out of the handbooks.

I joined them April last year, excited to do Rover scouting because I never had an opportunity to scout growing up. However, a few months after joining, BPSA-US decided Baden-Powell, despite the amazing scouting legacy, is a racist "white Victorian male" (quoted from a reply from HQ to my disappointmemt in their decision) that no longer has a place in their program because of the whole Black Lives Matter movement. As such, they'll be changing the program name and removing B-P's influence altogether; in other words, it will no longer be a traditional scouting program. Funny how a program that touts inclusivity doesn't believe in forgiveness for a few mistakes a dead man made.

I was pretty disgusted by this announcement. It was B-P's writings that convinced me to become a Rover scout. Looking at the way the BPSA-US markets themselves now, it's easy to see they are just a front for activism for LGBT and BLM, and not really for traditional scouting. Scouting was not meant to promote political or social trends, nor cater to the whims of the politically correct. It's really disappointing that they're trying to fix something that isn't broken.

If you're interested in traditional Rovering that isn't a front for political and social activism, look up Rovering 4 Life Association. It's a new organization and growing. They have  similar program to the current BPSA-US, except it doesn't emphasize one social or political group over everyone else. I'm currently a Rover Scout Leader in R4LA, and I'm loving it.

My membership in BPSA-US expires in April, and while I'm grateful to the organization for introducing me to traditional scouting, I'm not interested in being an activist under the guise of a scout.

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Just read their recent newsletter. Was disappointed in their commissioner comments. No one is perfect, we are all products of our times. We got to recognize both the success and failures of our role models. We need to learn from their mistakes and grow. If anything happened to BSA, I was looking to join BPSA, now I don't know. 

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