BSA / DNA

Sustainability is in the BSA’s DNA, although we haven’t always used that term. Robert Baden-Powell, who founded Scouting, said Scouts should leave behind nothing at camp but their thanks to the landowner who let them stay there. This “leave nothing but footprints” ethic evolved into the Outdoor Code, which the BSA devised in 1948, and the principles of Leave No Trace, which we adopted in the 1990s.

Outdoor Code
As an American, I will do my best to—
Be clean in my outdoor manners.
Be careful with fire.
Be considerate in the outdoors.
Be conservation-minded.

Principles of Leave No Trace
1. Plan Ahead and Prepare.
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces.
3. Dispose of Waste Properly.
4. Leave What You Find.
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts.
6. Respect Wildlife.
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors.

But sustainability means more than just leaving no trace. It means leaving a legacy. In our second century of service, we have built the Summit Bechtel Reserve as a showplace for sustainable development, introduced the Sustainability merit badge, and held Sustainability Summits in West Virginia (in 2013 and 2014) and at National Geographic headquarters in Washington (in 2015). At the same time, councils across the country have introduced sustainable practices in their camps and office facilities.

We invite you to join us and them as we journey into a more sustainable future.