Developed in 1915, just five years after the beginning of the Boy Scouts of America, Lone Scouts is the BSA’s acknowledgment that a normal Scout troop won’t work with some young men. You could call Lone Scouts the BSA’s original outreach program.
Lone Scouts, as the name implies, do much of their Scouting alone. They wear a Lone Scout patch, seen above, in the spot where a traditional Scout wears his unit number. They’re guided by a carefully selected and trusted mentor, usually a parent.
Regular Scout-to-Scout and Scout-to-leader interaction has advantages, so Lone Scouting isn’t right for boys able to attend meetings with traditional Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout troops. These units have the best potential to offer a quality Scouting program, says Peter Self, team leader of Member Experience Innovation for the BSA.
“It’s in traditional Scouting units that boys learn how to get along in a den, how to use the patrol method, how to lead others or how to work as a team,” he says
Still, there are many circumstances that seem perfect for Lone Scouts, such as:
- A home-schooled Scout, whose parents don’t want him in an outside youth group
- A Scout who is a U.S. citizen and living abroad (geographically separated from closer units offer here in TAC)
- A Scout participating as an exchange student away from the U.S.
- A Scout who has a disability or communicable illness that prevents meeting attendance
- A Scout who lives in a rural or remote community far from any unit
- A Scout whose job, night school, or boarding school conflicts with meeting schedules
- A Scout whose family travels frequently or lives on a boat, etc.
- A Scout whose living arrangements with separated parents frequently takes him from one community to another
- A Scout who lives in an environment where getting to and from meetings may put him or his family in danger
Lone Scouts may have an experience that differs from those of traditional Scouts, but they’re still part of the Scouting brotherhood. They still enjoy those experiences only Scouts — Lone or otherwise — can have.
“With the entire Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting programs open to them, they may, under the watchful eye of a Lone Scout friend and counselor, strive for the Eagle Scout rank, just as any other boy,” Self says.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: How do I register as a Lone Scout in TAC?
A: Register by paper application for both the Lone Scout and the appropriate Lone Scout Counselor (usually a parent) with a current Youth Protection Form uploaded to their district’s Sharefile portal. Paper applications are found here (youth) and here (adult). District Sharefile links are found here.
Payment for both is through secure pay, located here.
Q: How is advancement reporting done?
At this time, Lone Scouts are not enabled for Advancement Sync in Scoutbook. Therefore, all Lone Scouts must use the Advancement Report form, found here. Make sure to write LONE on the unit number field. When complete, email the form to TACemail@example.com.
Q: Who are the main points of contact for lone scouts?
Finally, be sure to read through the Lone Scout Guidebook, found here.
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