Boy Scouts of America

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The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with over 4.5 million youth members in its age-related divisions. Since its founding in 1910 as part of the international Scout Movement, more than 110 million Americans have been members of the BSA.[2]

The BSA goal is to train youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and, at older age levels, career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations. For younger members, the Scout method is part of the program to inculcate typical Scouting values such as trustworthiness, good citizenship, and outdoors skills, through a variety of activities such as camping, aquatics, and hiking.[3][4]

The Boy Scouts of America celebrated its one-hundredth anniversary on February 8, 2010.

The BSA is a constituent member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. The traditional Scouting divisions are Cub Scouting for boys ages 6 to 10½ years, Boy Scouting for boys ages 10 1/2 to 18 and Venturing for young men and women ages 14 (or 13 and have completed the 8th grade) through 21. Learning for Life is a non-traditional subsidiary that provides in-school and career education.[1][5] The BSA operates traditional Scouting locally through units sponsored and operated by churches, clubs, civic associations, educational organizations and the like. Units are led entirely by volunteers who are supported by local councils using both paid professionals and volunteers.

The influence of Scouting on American society is frequently cited by both its advocates and critics. In addition to nostalgic memories of campfires kindling friendships, prominent leaders in various fields of endeavor have credited the skills they learned in Scouting as helping mold them into successful citizens. Critics have called the BSA's membership obligations unfair, resulting in litigation in various state and federal courts. However, the Supreme Court has affirmed that, as a private, expressive association, the BSA can set its own membership standards under the Constitutional right to freedom of association.

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