Start a Catholic Scouting Unit

Scouting units require adult leaders, youth, and a chartering organization. First the chartering organization agrees to adopt the Scouting program. Then you must recruit and train the leaders. Once you have your trained leaders, recruit the youth. From there you can plan your program year, complete the paperwork, and hold your first meeting. All of this can be completed and submitted to the parent organization at any time.



STEP 1: IDENTIFY A CHARTERING ORGANIZATION: With programs like Scouts BSA and American Heritage Girls, the chartering organization will own the unit. These are often Catholic parishes and schools. They'll provide a meeting space, help find and approve adult leaders, and appoint an individual as the Chartered Organization Representative. This representative works as a liaison between the organization and the troop. In the case of BSA, general liability insurance is provided for volunteer leaders and chartered organizations. The Executive Officer of the chartering organization must meet with the council representative and sign the Annual Charter Agreement prior to starting the unit. The Chartered Representative must also sign this.

STEP 2: RECRUIT LEADERS: Your new unit must have a few key leadership positions filled. These 6 adult leader positions are the minimum requirements to start a new unit. There must be a registered female adult leader over 21 in every unit serving females and a registered female adult leader 21 years of age or over must be present for any activity involving female youth.

  • The Executive officer of the Chartering Organization. In a Catholic parish, this will be the pastor, and in most cases his information including social security number will be required on a membership application (for background check), but they should not have to pay dues.
  • The Chartered Organization Representative. This adult leader acts as the liaison between the troop and parish or school and must approve all other adult leaders. For the BSA and American Heritage, this person must fill out a membership application, complete youth protection and if not already registered pay the annual membership fee. If the organization already sponsors other scouting units, then this person must be the same for all of them.
  • Committee Chair. This adult leader leads the behind the scenes administrative tasks of the troop. This person must be registered in the national organization, complete youth protection and pay any annual membership fees.
  • Scoutmaster, Cubmaster, Troop Leader, etc. This adult leader supports and guides the youth leadership as they plan and lead the unit. This person must be registered in the national organization, complete youth protection, and pay any required annual membership fees.
  • Two Committee Members. These adult leaders work with the committee chair to run the troop in roles like treasurer or secretary. They must be registered in the national organization, complete youth protection and pay the annual membership fee.

STEP 3: RECRUIT YOUTH: Now that you have your chartered organization and your adult leaders you can start to recruit youth. All youth will need to fill out youth membership applications for the national organization and pay their annual membership dues. You will typically need a minimum of 5 youth before the unit can be approved.

STEP 4: COLLECT ALL PAPERWORK AND MONEY: For a new unit, you'll likely need to turn in a new unit application, a signed charter organization agreement, and applications for every adult leader and youth member. In addition, the unit will need to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the parish or school that outlines expectations for both the unit and Catholic charter partner. 

STEP 5: SUBMIT ALL PAPERWORK AND MONEY TO THE COUNCIL SERVICE CENTER: Once you have collected all the required applications and money, you’ll need to deliver the paperwork to the local service center for the national organization. In most cases there will be a local representative who can review the submission.


Up and Running?

Be sure to review the resources available to Catholic units HERE, and plan to adopt the characteristics of a Catholic unit!