Joining Scouts FAQ | Crossroads of America Council, BSA

Frequently Asked Questions on Joining a BSA Program

We understand you may have questions when starting your Scouting adventure. We’re here to help.

What are the Scouting programs?

Cub Scouting

A year-round, family-friendly program designed for children in kindergarten through fifth grade (ages 5-10). Activities are used to achieve the aims of Scouting—citizenship training, character development and personal fitness.

Scouts BSAScouts BSA
Designed for ages 11-17, youth in Scouts BSA learn responsible citizenship, character development and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities and educational programs.
A high-adventure based program for young men and women between the ages of 14 and 20. Its purpose is to provide positive experiences to help youth mature and prepare them to become responsible adults.
A career development program for young men and women between the ages of 14 and 20. Exploring units have a focus on a single career field, such as police, fire/rescue, health, law, aviation and engineering.
STEM ScoutsSTEM Scouts
A new program focused on fun ways for young men and women, grades 3-12, to learn more about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) using hands-on activities led by STEM professionals.
Sea ScoutsSea Scouting
A program for young men and women between the ages of 14 and 20 that promotes citizenship and improved members’ boating skills through instruction and practice in water safety, boating skills, and knowledge of maritime heritage.
How much does Scouting cost?

Scouting does charge fees for membership, events, and trips. Council and unit fundraising will help with those costs including Popcorn and Camp Card sales and will give a Scout the opportunity to earn the money needed to participate in summer camp or other programs. Crossroads of America Council believes all young people should participate and enjoy Scouting programs regardless of circumstance. If you would like more information about scholarships, please contact us by email or by phone at (317) 813-7125.

Below is a list of basic needs to start in each Scouting program. Items are available at council Scout Shops. Before purchasing any items, speak with your unit leader and he or she will be able to tell you more about any specific uniform or equipment guidelines for the pack, troop or crew.

Ready to get started? Get Started.

Cub Scouting

Required: $33 annual registration fee
Note: some individual units charge a unit fee

Optional items: uniform, handbook, Boys’ Life subscription, camping equipment (most Cub Scout camping does not require a special equipment purchase; talk with your Cubmaster before purchasing anything)

Scouts BSA

Required: $33 annual registration fee
Note: some individual units charge a unit fee

Optional items: uniform, handbook, Boys’ Life subscription, camping equipment (your Scout will need some camping gear; talk with your Scoutmaster before purchasing anything)


Required: $33 annual registration fee
Note: some individual units charge a unit fee

Optional items: uniform, camping equipment (Venture crews select their own uniform; talk with your Venture Crew advisor before buying anything)

What is the structure of Scouting?

Lion Cub Scout


or 6 Years Old


First Grade
or 7 Years Old


Second Grade
or 8 Years Old

Bear Cub Scout


Third Grade
or 9 Years Old


Fourth & Fifth Grade
or 10 Years Old

Scout rank


Tenderfoot rank


Second Class rank

Second Class

First Class rank

First Class

Star rank


Life rank


Eagle Scout

Which District would I be in?
What is needed on a uniform?

One of Scouting’s methods of youth development includes wearing a uniform. The Scout uniform makes Scouting visible as a force of good, signifies a Scout’s commitment to Scouting ideals and serves as an economic equalizer of all Scouts. Additionally, the uniform serves as a recognition mechanism for earned advancement.

Below are the basic parts of a Cub Scout uniform.* As a Scout earns advancement ranks, they will receive belt loops, emblems and badges to add to their uniform. Any council Scout Shop can help you with purchasing your Scout’s uniform as well as understanding correct patch placement.

*Note: The Lion Cub uniform for kindergartners consists of a t-shirt and hat. Please contact your den leader or any council Scout Shop for more information.

Do I have to volunteer if my youth joins Scouting?

The Scouting organization is unique in that it relies on nearly 8,000 adult volunteers in central Indiana to provide the fun, adventure and life lessons our programs offer. These individuals come from all walks of life and have varying degrees of involvement.

Specifically, Cub Scouting is designed to be a family-friendly activity where the entire family can be a part of the fun and adventure of the program. The degree of your involvement is completely up to you and what makes sense for your family and time availability. Whether you hold an official volunteer position such as a den leader or committee member or assist with driving Scouts to summer camp, know that you are helping to ensure your Scout and their fellow Scouts are having a positive Scouting experience.

Can my child with disabilities participate in Scouting?

Since its founding in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America had had fully participating members with physical, mental and emotional disabilities. Crossroads of America Council has developed an advisory committee on youth with disabilities whose purpose is to better serve our youth, families, leaders and partnered organizations. 

For more information, please contact

Heidi Viergutz
Scouting with Disabilities Advisor
(317) 813-7083

or visit us on Facebook.

What if I have more questions?

If you are not involved in a pack, you should start by filling out the form found here so that we can match you with someone who can assist you. If you are already in a pack, we recommend starting with your den leader followed by the pack leadership. Our council website also has many resources for a variety of questions and is also linked to the national site. Finally, any council service center has staff ready to assist you with any request.

If you still have questions, give Crossroads of America Council a call or send us an email.