The BPSA’s Scout program is known as Pathfinders. This section is open to boys and girls beginning at age 11 and going through age 17 (grades 6 through 12). The emphasis will be in training through hands-on, outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, canoeing, and backpacking, as well as community-service projects. Pathfinders are organized into Troops that operate in Patrols of 6 to 8 members, led by a (youth) Patrol Leader who shares responsibility with an adult leader (called the Scoutmaster) for discipline, activity planning, and training the less-experienced members.
The Pathfinder Troop should meet as a unit once per month along with the rest of the Scout Group (not counting outdoor excursions and community service outings). Patrols should also meet separately once or twice per month, separate from the Troop meeting. All Pathfinder meetings (Troop or individual Patrols) should be done with as minimal adult interference or interaction as possible. The adult Scoutmasters are there to supervise, but not to lead, the Pathfinder Scouts.
All adult leaders are register with BPSA as Rover Scouts and need to complete a Brownsea Training Course within their first year of membership. Leaders are required to include two of the opposite sex for a Troop or Patrol that is co-ed.
The Pathfinder program is based upon Robert Baden-Powell‘s book, Scouting for Boys, and is similar in appearance to programs that were in common use nearly 100 years ago. The highest award a Scout can earn at the Pathfinder level is the George Washington Scout Award (see the Pathfinder Handbook linked below for more details).
When a Pathfinder turns 18, s/he is encouraged to continue their Scouting career by becoming Rover Scouts.
Golden Arrow Patrol – How to get your Pathfinder Troop started
Pathfinder Handbook – BPSA-developed handbook for the Pathfinder section. Click here to order a coil-bound version.
Scouting for Boys – The definitive manual for Scouts. This is the book that started Scouting. Complete with illustrations by B-P. Originally published in installments every other Wednesday from January 15, 1908. The book consists of introductions for Scouters, 28 “Campfire Yarns” for Scouts, and a summary.Also available in paperback.
Uniforms and Badges:
Pathfinder Uniform – The current official uniform shirt for all Pathfinder Scouts.
Hats – Pathfinders may choose to wear the traditional campaign-style hat or a red beret.
Pathfinder Badges & Awards – Must be ordered by Scoutmasters ONLY.