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Unit Recharter Instructions

Scouting is unique among youth organizations. One of its most unusual characteristics is that it doesn’t own or operate Scouting units. The ownership of packs, troops, teams, and crews is vested in community organizations or other groups. The Scouting movement provides the program, technical help, and special facilities. The chartered organization provides an adequate, safe meeting place and dedicated, capable leadership. Additionally, the chartered organization agrees to and adheres to the principles and policies of the Boy Scouts of America.

Since 1916, when the U.S. Congress granted a charter to the Boy Scouts of America, the BSA has the approval to grant charters to organizations. The BSA renews its charter annually. Likewise, chartered organizations renew their commitment to Scouting and their local council each year. As commissioners, we are in an excellent position to help and lead the unit charter renewal process.

The charter renewal process is an important, fundamental task. A great deal of unit loss is related to the process of renewing the unit’s charter. Among the commissioner’s duties is to help the unit be successful, and one way a unit commissioner can help is to ensure the unit’s charter renewal process is completed on time. The commissioner is responsible for the on-time charter renewal of all of their assigned units.

One of the early warning signs of a troubled unit is its failure to renew its charter on time. Making sure the charter renewal process is done correctly is also the responsibility of a commissioner. A good commissioner follows up early to ensure timely completion of the charter renewal process. It is also important that there is a charter renewal plan in place with goals of zero time lapses and zero dropped units. If we lose a unit, we lose membership.

What can we, as commissioners, do to help the unit complete the charter renewal process? We can ask the following questions:

  1. Does the unit use online rechartering? Online charter renewal provides a more accurate and efficient process. Does your district need to hold online rechartering training? That’s a good place for the district commissioner staff to jump in and help organize, instruct, and even teach the course. What about a district charter renewal party? How about a district roundtable on charter renewal?
  2. Does your unit have delinquent fees holding up charter renewal? Can the unit commissioner help collect those fees?
  3. Is the charter renewal process pending because direct contact leaders need Youth Protection training? Can the unit commissioner conduct the training for the unit leaders at the next unit meeting or unit committee meeting?
  4. Does the charter need certification signatures from the chartered organization or council?
  5. Is there another issue that is holding up the charter renewal process? The commissioner staff can help offer a solution to solve the problem. Don’t forget that the district commissioner staff has all the resources and support of the district committee. It is the district committee’s responsibility to set up the district for success and that means successful units!

Bottom line: Do what needs to be done. Discover who has the charter renewal forms and what is holding up the process; consult with your district executive; and if necessary hand-carry the forms through the renewal process.

Finally, complete the process with the charter presentation. The charter belongs in the hands of the chartered organization, not the unit. It is important to capture the interest of as many of the members of the chartered organization as possible. Remember, the BSA gives an annual report to Congress. The charter presentation ceremony is the unit’s opportunity to report to the chartered organization. If possible, stage the presentation during a regular meeting or activity of the chartered organization. Thank the chartered organization for the opportunity to present the charter and for accepting Scouting as a program of action for its organization.

Commissioners must help stop the loss of units. When I see year-end membership percent losses and last-year unit losses, I begin to think of ways commissioners can help. We must STOP THE LOSS! Remember, it is the commissioner’s responsibility to ensure that a unit is healthy; a lost unit can’t be healthy! The unit commissioner has the tools to renew the unit’s charter and keep it healthy. Let’s get to work.

Recharter is …

  • Annual commitment of a chartered organization to continue owning and operating a specific Scouting unit
  • Annual renewal of individual memberships of a unit’s youth and adult members
  • Annual authorization from BSA for a chartered organization to use a BSA program to serve youth

Mandatory Training – Top Unit Leader

  • All “pack leaders” must have complete all BSA training required to be considered “trained for the position” in order to recharter in that position
  • Recharter process will not complete until the top unit leader on the recharter has required training

Examples of items in a charter or recharter agreement

The Boy Scouts of America is an educational resource program. It charters this program to a community or religious organization or group to use as part of its service to its own members, as well as the community at large.

The local B.S.A. council provides the support services necessary to help the chartered organization succeed in their use of the program.  The responsibilities of both the B.S.A. council and the chartered group are described below.



  • Conduct the Scouting program according to its own policies and guidelines as well as those of the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Include the Scouting program as part of its overall program for youth and families.
  • Appoint a chartered organization representative who is a member of the organization and will represent it to the Scouting district and serve as a voting member of the local council. (The chartered organization head or chartered organization representative must approve all leader applications.)
  • Select a unit committee of parents, and members of the chartered organization (minimum of three) who will screen and select unit leaders who meet the organizations standards as well as the standards of the B.S.A. (The committee chairman must sign all leadership applications.)
  • Provide adequate facilities for the Scout unit (s) to meet on a regular schedule with the time and place reserved.
  • Encourage the unit to participate in council outdoor experiences, which are vital elements of the Scouting program.
  • To cooperate with the council in its .fund-raising effort through the Friends of Scouting Campaign for units.
  • Require each adult leader to participate in a council-sponsored youth protection training seminar.                                   



  • Respect the aims and objectives of the organization and offer the resources of Scouting of help in meeting those objectives.
  • Provide year-round training, service, and support to the organization and its unit (s).
  • Provide training and support for the chartered organization representative as the primary communication link between the organization and the B.S.A.
  • Provide techniques and methods for selecting quality unit leaders and then share in the approval of those leaders. (A council representative must sign all leader applications.)
  • Provide primary general liability insurance to cover the chartered organization, its board, officers, chartered organization representatives and employees against all personal liability judgments. The insurance includes attorney's fees and court costs as well as any judgment brought against the individual or organization. Unit leaders are covered in excess of any personal coverage they might have, or, if there is no personal coverage, the B.S.A. insurance immediately picks them up on a primary basis.
  • Provide camping facilities, service center, and full-time professional staff to assist the organization in every way possible.
  • To assist the chartered organization with a religious affiliation in the promotion of the religious emblems program.
  • To join with the chartered organization in promoting and encouraging the practice of the daily good turn as a part of basic citizenship training.
  • To work with the chartered organization in extending the Scouting opportunity to the greatest possible number of youth and families.

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