Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills

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Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills

Cover of the 2018 edition of the course guide
First edition:
Latest edition:2018, 72 pages
No. 33640 Adobe Acrobat PDF
No. 721-140 (Spanish) Adobe Acrobat PDF
BSA Supply Number:N/A
Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills is the outdoor training course required for all Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters.

There is also a Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation (BALOO) for Cubmasters, Cub Scout Den Leaders, and Webelos Den Leaders.

Outdoor skills are critical to the success of the Scouting program, and Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills will provide leaders with the basic outdoor skills information needed to start a program right. The skills taught are based on the outdoor skills found in the Scouts BSA Handbook. The course is also ideal for Venturing leaders because it focuses on skills that build confidence and competence in leaders conducting outdoor camping experiences.

A Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster is considered trained upon completion of Scoutmaster Leader Specific Training and the Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills. Troop committee members and Webelos Den Leaders who plan to move into a leadership position in a troop are encouraged to complete this training as well.

This hands-on program gives adult leaders a practical introduction to the patrol method of a Scout-led troop by teaching many of the practical outdoor skills they need to lead Scouts in the out-of-doors. In addition, the teaching methods, activities, and games model the variety of teaching used in effective and engaging Scouting programs. Participants should leave the training experience with a full understanding of how the patrol method operates, a feeling of comfort in working with and instructing their Scouts, and an increased level of confidence taking Scouts outdoors safely.

The local council and/or district usually offer Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills several times each year. Check with your troop, unit commissioner, district training chair, or local council service center for dates and locations.

Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills is required for Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters to earn the Scouter's Training Award.


Skills Sessions

The skills sessions presented in Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills closely follow the Scouts BSA Handbook and are meant to serve as an adult training outline. By using these skills sessions in conjunction with the Scouts BSA Handbook, new leaders can become proficient in many of the basic outdoor skills through First Class rank, and gain exposure to the patrol method and numerous teaching methods and learning games. Each skills session references specific chapters in the handbook and highlights the 2016 advancement requirements.

  • Campsite Selection
  • Outdoor Ethics
  • Fire Site Preparation and Building
  • Cooking
  • Ropes—Whipping, Tying, and Lashing
  • Woods tools—Knife, Camp Saw, and Axe
  • Plant Identification
  • Animal Identification
  • Finding Your Way—Map and Compass
  • Packing and Hiking Techniques

See also

Online or classroom Leader Training

Youth Protection training (YPT) is required for all BSA registered volunteers and must be retaken every two years. Some councils and units may require more frequent (e.g., annual) retaking of YPT). Check with your local council and unit to find out what their policies are.

In addition to YPT, registered adults should complete the following courses online at

  • Before the First Meeting
  • First 30 Days
  • Position Trained

Other training opportunities: RoundtableUniversity of ScoutingThe Trainer's EDGEpow wow

Outdoor Leader Training

In addition to fulfilling other requirements, some unit leaders need outdoor-specific training.

Other outdoor-related links

Leadership skills training

Advanced training

Youth (including Venturers and Sea Scouts under 21 years old)

External links

Personal tools