Serving Scouts in Rural and Remote Areas

The following is a course outline that I prepared for use at the National Capital Area Council's University of Scouting in 1996, which may have some ideas that you can use:

Unit Commissioner Resource Page

ECS 406


a. Instructor & Qualifications - Commissioner in Rural Areas of Indiana and Washington State

b. Students - Introduce Selves

c. Rules of the Road - Questions and Discussion Welcome


Today there is a great variety of rural communities. Some are stabe, high-growth area, or otherwise responsive to conventional Scouting methods. The rural area that pose the greatest challange to normal Scouting operation are those characterized by poverty or isolation from urban areas. These areas are the special focus of this session. Tailoring Scouting to rural areas is a part of our Scouting heritage. Baden-Powell taught that "what suits one particular troop or one kind of boy, in one kind of place, will not suit another within a mile of it, much less those scattered over the world and existing under totally different conditions."


a. What are the special needs of remote rural areas where poverty may be a factor?

  • Getting to meetings

  • Getting uniforms and books

  • Affording uniforms and books

  • Camping gear

  • Transportation to events

  • Part-time jobs to help the family

  • Other?

  • Discuss and List Other Ideas

b. What unusual challenges will a Unit Commissioner experience?

  • Same problems as in any area?

  • Recruiting leaders

  • Visiting Units

  • Keeping in touch

  • Being an outsider?

  • Getting cooperation of parents

  • Finding solutions to special problems

  • Communicatons & Information

  • Discuss and List Other Ideas

c. What are some successful alternatives? - Ideas and Discussion

  • Discuss and List Successful Experiences

Here are a few ideas to get started.
d. Suggestions and ideas:

  • Den aides instead of den chiefs

  • Lone Cub Scouts/Lone Boy Scouts

  • Wagon-wheel troops -- weekly patrol meetings and monthly troop meetings (extended Saturday or Sunday meeting which includes and outdoor activitiy, community Good Turn, or family activity)

  • School bus dens / school bus patrols

  • Unit "mailboxes" at roundtables (folders or envelopes for each unit in milk crates)

  • "Circuit riders" -- using people who travel throughout a remote rural area on a regular basis, usually because of their job, to perform selected unit service tasks.

  • Uniform Banks

  • Camperships - earned?

  • Deliver Training to the Unit

  • Multiple Unit Equipment Banks (share camping gear, etc.)

  • Higher ratio of Commissioners to Units

  • Direct ordering of supplies, equipment, badges, uniforms, etc.

  • Low-cost activities, awards, etc.

  • Brother-units

  • Consignments from Scout Shop for Circuit Rider

  • Fundraisers for uniforms, equipment, etc.

  • Other

f. What Resources Can You Bring to the Unit

  • Program Ideas

  • Alternative Strategies for Meetings

  • Leadership Assistance to Get 'em Started

  • Information about Activities and Events

  • Traveling Scout Service Center - Bring the Information to the Units - What to Bring?

    • General Information

      • BSA at a Glance Fact Sheet

      • Council Information Sheet/Packet

      • District Information Sheet/Packet

      • List of Key District Telephone Numbers

      • Calendar of District and Council Events

      • Merit Badge Counselors List

      • BSA Catalog

      • BSA Library of Literature

        Don't forget Boy's Life
      • Spare copies of Scouting and Boys Life Magazines

      • Information about the Order of the Arrow

    • Commissioner Tools

      • Commissioner's Fieldbook

      • Commissioner Basic Training Manual

      • Commissioner Helps for Packs, Troops and Posts, No. 33618

    • Manuals and Program Information

      • Cub Scout Leader's Manual

      • Scoutmaster's Handbook

      • Youth Handbooks

      • Program Helps

      • Sample Troop/Pack Introduction Letters for New Scouts

      • Sample Newsletters (KIS)

    • Registration

      • Registration and Subscription Information

      • Registration Forms for Adults and Youth

      • Chartering Information

      • Recharter Packages

    • New Unit Start Information

      • Cub Scout Meeting Plans.

        • "Bobcat and Wolf" / "Wolf in the Den" #8263A

        • "Our Neighborhood" / "All About People" #34203

        • "Cub Scout Chefs" / "Who Am I?" #34212

        • "Community Carnival" / "Sports Heroes" #34211

      • Getting ready for Troop Meetings #18-990-4.

      • Woods Wisdom (1995).

        Hands on Troop Activities Can Be Simple

      • Boy Scout Meeting Plans

        • Camping #34170

        • Citizenship #34171

        • Communications #34172

        • Community Living #34173

        • Conservation #34174

        • Cooking #34175

        • Environment #34176

        • Family Living #34177

        • First Aid #34178

        • Hiking #34179

        • Physical Fitness #34180

        • Swimming #34181

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    • Training and Support Information

      • Fast Start Training Tapes and Outlines

      • Training, Roundtable & Wood Badge Information Flyers

      • Leadership Training: Plans, Procedures, Materials

      • Training Award Cards

      • BSA, JLTC Staff Guide #34533 (1995)

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    • Quality Program

      • Quality Unit Award Forms

      • National Camping Award

      • National Summertime Award

      • Information about Cub Scout Day Camps

      • Information about Long Term Resident Camps

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    • Advancement Information

      • Advancement Policies and Procedures

      • Advancement Report Forms

      • Individual Scout Record

      • Merit Badge Application Cards

      • Life to Eagle Packet and Eagle Scout Award Application

      • National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) information

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    • Financial Support

      • FOS Information

      • Unit Budget Plan

      • Policies concerning moneyrasing

      • Unit Money-Earning Application

      • List of fund-raising ideas


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    • Recognitions and Awards for Adults

      • Cards for Cub Scout and Boy Scout Leader Awards

      • Scoutmaster Award of Merit Application

      • Veteran Application

      • World Conservation Award application

      • William T. Hornaday Award application

      • Nomination for the District Award of Merit

      • Nomination for the Silver Beaver

g. Strategies for success - how do you help the unit leader deliver a the promise of Scouting with a quality program that helps meet the three aims of Scouting? -- Open Discussion

The Adventure of Scouting for dozens of Scouts depends heavily upon your ability as Unit Commissioner to deliver the Promise of Scouting through unit service. Your commitment and willingness to take additional training to help deliver on this promise are keenly appreciated. May the Great Scoutmaster of all Scouts smile upon you in all that you do to bring Scouting to youth in your area.

Deliver the Promise of Scouting - Start 'em Out on the Adventure of a Lifetime

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