Since its beginning days in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has been concerned with extending the Scouting program to boys in isolated areas or those who find it impossible to join a nearby Scouting unit. The Lone Scout plan serves such boys who cannot take part in a nearby Cub Scout pack or Boy Scout troop on a regular basis because of such factors as distance, weather, time, or disability. These boys apply for membership through participating local BSA Councils as individual Lone Cub Scouts or Lone Boy Scouts.
Although the Lone Scout member might miss the opportunity to participate in activities in the pack or troop, the program makes it possible for such boys to become members of the Boy Scouts of America and to know the fun, values, and achievement of Scouting.
The Boy Scouts Association of Great Britain authorized this program in 1913. By then, Lone Scouts were found in Canada, New Zealand, Malta, Gibraltar, South Africa, and Burma.
William D. Boyce, a Chicago publisher who helped organize the Boy Scouts of America in 1910, was responsible for organizing the Lone Scouts of America in 1915. The Lone Scouts of America and the Boy Scouts of America merged in 1924. Since then the Boy Scouts of America has administered a Lone Scout plan as part of its mission of bringing Scouting to all American youth who wish to take part, regardless of circumstances. Each local Council of the Boy Scouts of America may choose or not to choose to enroll youth as Lone Scouts, due to their particular structure and ability to support this program option.
Who May Register as a Lone Scout
Provided the membership requirements are met, there are certain situations in which a boy's needs and interests might best be served by the Lone Scout plan because he cannot readily join a unit or attend meetings of packs and troops.
Boys who are eligible to become Lone Scouts include:
Boys who have completed the first grade or who are 8, 9, or 10 years old may join as Lone Cub Scouts. Boys who have earned the Arrow of Light Award or have completed the fifth grade or who are 11 years old may join as Lone Boy Scouts and remain active until age 18.
Friend and Counselor
Every boy registering as a Lone Scout must have an adult, 21 years or older who meets adult membership requirements and agrees to serve as the boy's Lone Scout friend and counselor. This counselor is usually the boy's own parent but might also be his guardian, minister, teacher, 4-H Club leader, or an experienced Scouter who lives nearby.
The friend and counselor encourages, instructs, examines, and reviews the boy on all steps toward Scouting advancement. This person also helps the Lone Scout take part in local council and national activities. For more information on the role of the Lone Scout friend and counselor, consult the Lone Scout Friend and Counselor Guidebook
Lone Scout Activities
Although a Lone Scout carries on many activities at home and in his community, he also may participate in local district and council activities along with boys from local Scouting units. The activities may be camporees, Scouting shows, and service projects as well as Cub Scout day camp and Cub Scout or Boy Scout resident camp. A Lone Scout may be invited to special meetings of a pack or troop. Lone Scouts may also be participants in National Jamborees as members of a local Council's contingent.
The Lone Scout follows the same basic program as other Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, but he carries out the program through independent action and self-reliance, special skills suitable to his situation, and communication (by letter, radio, computer, text, Skype(tm) or other teleconferencing tool, etc.) with other Scouts with parental oversight and approval.
Lone Cub Scouts and Lone Boy Scouts may advance in rank in the same manner as do Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts in packs and troops. The only difference is that reference to packs, dens, troops, and patrols do not apply.
Insignia and Uniforms
Lone Cub Scouts and Lone Boy Scouts are encouraged to purchase and wear a uniform as do other Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. The wearing of the uniform at appropriate times may have more significance for a Lone Scout than for boys belonging to packs and troops. It can help to give the boy a feeling of belonging and support.
Lone Scouts are entitled to wear the Lone Scout Emblem in the second emblem position on the left sleeve replacing unit numbers. They can also wear any other badge and insignia appropriate to Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. Lone Scouts also have their own neckerchief which may be worn instead of standard Cub Scout or Boy Scout neckerchiefs.
Former Lone Scouts
Hundreds of thousands of boys have belonged to the Boy Scouts of America as Lone Scouts. A significant number of people have experienced the fun, the satisfaction, and the values of the Scouting program through the Lone Scout plan.