What Is Scouting? Scouts BSA Explained by 39 Scouts and Scouters

There are many things that all Scouts have in common, like being prepared, merit badges, service projects, campouts, and fun adventures with their troops.” Yet, every Scouting experience is unique — just like Scouts themselves! Because of these similarities and differences, one might wonder, “what is Scouting, really?”

If you’re a Scout or Scoutmaster, how would you describe Scouting to someone who didn’t know what it was?”This is a question I wondered for the longest time, which is why this article now exists! After polling tons of Scouts and Scoutmasters, I’m excited to share with you 39 exceptional ways to describe Scouts BSA! 😀

For me, Scouting was a place where I could push my limits, learn valuable skills, and transform into a dependable young adult. There were friendships, challenges, and exciting moments which helped shape my values and cultivate character. Earning Eagle was one of the greatest things I’ve ever done!

Plainly defined, Scouting is a youth organization that aims to develop skills, character, and preparedness in young people through troop meetings, outdoor activities, and community service projects. Open to both boys and girls ages 11 to 17, Scouting offers a structured environment to earn merit badges, advance in rank, and participate in a wide range of exciting activities

Read on to learn about the adventures, friendships, leadership-building, and good clean fun that Scouting has brought to families across the country! Many exceptional BSA troop participants shared a ton of awesome answers about what Scouting truly is, and what it means to them. So, let’s dive in!

39 Unique Ways to Describe Scouting (Opinions From Scouts and Scoutmasters)

  • Scouting is an amazing program filled with outdoor adventure and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. It has incredible people who are always welcoming and helpful. Scouts are amazing people that you can’t find anywhere else.
  • Scouts is an opportunity for EVERYONE to have a lot of fun and learn some things too! 
  • Scouting opens the doors to numerous opportunities—opportunities to explore the world around you, to learn the skills needed for survival, to make lasting friendships, to embark on adventures, and to make memories that will last a lifetime.
  • For me, Scouting means so many things. It’s a way to connect with other people who love adventures just as much as I do, a way to learn new skills through merit badges, a way to make friends for life. Scouting pushes me to be a better person every day, and allows me to be who I truly am.

For context, I asked 100’s of readers in my ScoutSmarts Scribe Newsletter, How would you briefly describe Scouting to a classmate or friend who doesn’t have any prior background? Or, what does Scouting mean to you?” (sign up to share your experience too!). In no time, countless unique, creative definitions of Scouting began pouring in. For their privacy the repliers will stay anonymous, but thank you so much if you wrote in and shared what Scouting means to you! 

Reading these descriptions from fellow Scouts and Scouters was incredibly inspiring for me, and I hope it will be for you too! Scouting truly touches lives and helps to make our world a better, more positive place. So, with that being said, please enjoy our awesome readers’ thoughts on what defines Scouting!

  • I would tell a friend that Scouting is a new path—a new path that leads to new journeys and explorations.
  • Scouting is a time to build memories with my three sons.
  • Scouting to me is a way that I am able to form a moral compass and make myself a good citizen.
  • Scouting to me means being outdoors, interacting with other Scouts from all ages with all different types of backgrounds, and honestly just having fun with other people who are having fun too. 🙂

Did you know? The BSA has partnerships with various organizations, including the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and the American Red Cross, to provide unique Scouting experiences and service opportunities.

  • Scouting means to me that everyone gets to have fun and learn outdoor skills.
  • Scouting helps build character and helps young people gain life skills.
  • It’s an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of kids while having amazing adventures and fun as an adult.
  • To me, Scouting is an opportunity to grow friendships and develop leadership skills. 
  • Scouting is an amazing youth program that teaches confidence and independence. Scouting just happens to do it through a program that focuses heavily on outdoor adventure! Every child should get a chance to experience the program!

Did you know? Steven Fossett, a remarkable Eagle Scout, achieved incredible feats including completing a solo nonstop global voyage in both a hot air balloon and an ultralight airplane. Notably, he triumphed in the Chicago to Mackinaw boat races, engaged in the challenging Iditarod dog race, and conquered multiple IronMan triathlons. Beyond these achievements, he truly embraced the Scouting mottos both in Cub and Boy Scouts: consistently striving to do his best and being thoroughly prepared.

  • It means meeting new people with similar interests, exploring new skills and hobbies, and having fun outdoors.
  • Scouting is a wonderful opportunity to learn lots of interesting and helpful life skills like leadership, personal management, and cooking, as well as hobbies like stamp collecting, horsemanship, and photography. We go on lots of campouts, hikes, and pretty much anything outdoor.
  • I love Scouting because it’s fun to go to Camp May Point! 😀
  • Scouting to me means spending quality time with my son, watching him learn valuable life skills, and have fun with his friends while doing so.

Did you know? In 2021, the United States celebrated the recognition of its first female Eagle Scout, a milestone achieved subsequent to the program’s inclusion of girls.

  • Scouting is an activity-based program that helps young people develop important skills, values, and knowledge. It’s all about having fun while learning and growing. In Scouting, you can participate in various outdoor adventures like camping, hiking, and fishing, as well as engage in community service projects. It promotes teamwork, leadership, and self-confidence, while also teaching practical skills like first aid, navigation, and problem-solving. Scouting is a great way to make new friends, explore the world around you, and develop into responsible and well-rounded individuals. 
  • Scouting prepares our youth for life’s challenges and opportunities.
  • To me, Scouting means practicing citizenship and being prepared for everyday life. 

Did you know? Amidst World War II, in June 1942, Time magazine bestowed upon the BSA the moniker “Public Scavenger Service #1” in recognition of its remarkable efforts in organizing collection drives.

  • Scouting is an incredible opportunity to learn and grow as an individual. It has taught me to take leadership positions that I would not have considered without Scouting to help guide the way for me. Scouting taught me so many valuable skills that are applicable to my life today!
  • Scouting is about hard work and learning skills, and having fun while doing it.
  • The best second family you’ll ever have!
  • Scouting is an outdoor adventure program that provides an avenue for Scouts to develop the skills necessary to make ethical and moral choices. Scouting builds value in self-esteem, confidence, speaking, leadership, and followership through activities. Scouts earn badges, awards, rank and learn life skills through fun and camping. Scouting enables youth to develop into model citizens in school and society. Scouting means a lot! 🙂

Did you know? The first World Scout Jamboree occurred from July 30 to August 8, 1920, in London, uniting Scouts from across the globe. An impressive turnout of 8,000 Scouts representing 34 nations participated in the event.

  • Scouting is an organization that helps young adults “Be Prepared” for life through outdoor activities, leadership, and merit badges. To me, Scouting is a way of learning important skills that are not taught in school, such as leadership skills!
  • Scouting is fun, and it gives me a lot of opportunities I wouldn’t have otherwise.
  • We have fun while learning about hiking, camping, and so many other neat experiences! Scouting means growing in friendships and experiences. 

Did you know? World Scout Scarf Day, observed annually on August 1st, is a special occasion during which Scouts globally proudly don their neckerchiefs as a symbol of unity and camaraderie. 

  • I would describe scouting as an adventure that teaches many outdoorsy and life skills such as leadership, knots, etc.!
  • It is a way to experience life like nothing else—the outdoors, service, leadership, patriotism, new experiences, friendship—all while having a great time doing unique things. The breadth of experience is awesome!
  • Adventure, leadership, skills, fun, outdoors experiences, and so much more!
  • To me, Scouting is about helping others. I’ve learned so many things from community service that I used to think of as a chore. Additionally, Scouting is about preparing oneself for the future. Scouting has taught me so many life skills through merit badges such as Personal Management, Personal Fitness, First Aid, and Emergency Preparedness. Another thing about merit badges is that most of them give you a sneak peek into different kinds of career paths.

Did you know? The BSA’s “ScoutReach” initiative is dedicated to expanding Scouting opportunities to underserved communities and youth facing challenging circumstances. This is especially important today, which is why I wrote about why Scouting matters more than ever in an article for NESA!

  • It’s discovering the outdoors and trying things I never knew I could do before! 
  • Scouting means so much to me than just camping. At first that was all that I enjoyed, but now it is so much more. I go to Scouting events to learn about God’s creation, other people, life, and myself. I have grown to become a better leader and a better person. Scouting has led me much farther to maturity than anything else has ever done. 😀
  • An opportunity to serve your community, learn new skills, meet new people, and to become a better person.
  • Scouting is a chance to get into the outdoors with experienced individuals and learn how to be a better member of society.

Did you know? Ever shop at Walmart? Haha, silly question, I know. Well, fun fact—the founder of Walmart, Sam Walton, was also an Eagle Scout! Pretty neat, right? But that’s not all… At the time, in his home state of Missouri, Sam was recognized as the youngest Eagle—ever! He was only 13, in eighth grade, when he Eagled out! (if you want to earn your Eagle in 2 years too, check out my article!) Later, Sam became quite wealthy and even received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award due to his charitable giving!

  • Scouting is a program that introduces you to the outdoors and many new experiences. This is a big commitment that pays off as this can even help you later in life! 
  • An outdoor adventure of a lifetime!
  • It’s a great experience to make new friends, learn important life skills, and have fun. 
  • I step onto the field, the grass tickling my boots as I begin my Scouting journey. The air is filled with anticipation, a mix of excitement and determination pulsating through my veins. I adjust my cap, ready to absorb every detail, every nuance, in my quest to get Eagle. 

As you can see, Scouting means a whole lot to countless Scouts, Scoutmasters, and parents across our country. In fact, it seems like Scouting matters now more than ever! Whether they’re aiming for Eagle, building lifelong bonds, or just exploring the great outdoors, Scouts are always growing while having a ton of fun! 🙂


Now that you’ve heard from them, what’s YOUR definition of Scouting? Do you have a friend who doesn’t know about Scouting, but might join you if they did? I encourage you and your troopmates to spread the word and recruit your friends into the enriching Scouting experience!

Thanks for reading, and for being an awesome human being! If you enjoyed learning more about Scouting is, I’d highly recommend also checking out any of the following articles if they spark your interest:

With that, I hope you learned something useful! Until next time, I’m wishing you all the best in your Scouting adventures to come!😀


I'm constantly writing new content because I believe in Scouts like you! Thanks so much for reading, and for making our world a better place. Until next time, I'm wishing you all the best on your journey to Eagle and beyond!

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