Varsity Scout Program

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Varsity Scout Program has been discontinued.
In May 2017, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the LDS church, or Mormons) announced that in 2018 they would no longer be sponsoring Varsity Teams. Since the LDS church created the Varsity program in 1984 and were basically the only group using it, Varsity has since been discontinued. Medals/awards/patches will continue to be available to earn until they are no longer available in a local or national Scout shop. (See Discontinued awards.)

Varsity emblem.
Varsity emblem.
See: Varsity Scouting Fact Sheet

Varsity Scouting is a program of the Boy Scouts of America. It is available to boys under the age of 18 who meet the following qualifications:

  • boys who are at least 14 years old.
Prior participation in Cub Scouting or Boy Scouting is not required.

Varsity Scouting offers five program fields of emphasis: advancement, high-adventure/sports, personal development, service, and special programs and events. Each of these programs is led by a youth member of the team called a program manager, who receives assistance from an adult Program Adviser (a member of the Team Committee).



Varsity Scout strip. Worn over the right pocket, centered above the BSA strip or above the interpreter strip and below the BSA nameplate.
Varsity Scout strip. Worn over the right pocket, centered above the BSA strip or above the interpreter strip and below the BSA nameplate.

Varsity Scouts are members of a Varsity Scout Team chartered to a community organization, such as a church or service club. It is led by a youth Varsity Scout team Captain and an adult leader called a Varsity Team Coach. The coach is supported by an adult Team Committee, made up of parents and members of the chartered organization. It is a stand-alone unit, chartered independently of a Scout troop, but the chartering procedure is essentially the same.

The team may be divided into Squads, and each squad elects a youth Squad Leader.


Varsity Scouting has five fields of emphasis. A youth member, called a Program Manager, is responsible for each of the five fields of emphasis and works with an adult member called a Program Adviser from the team committee to coordinate each phase of the program. The five fields of emphasis are:

Varsity Scouts use the same advancement program as Boy Scouts. They can also receive the recognitions offered through such programs as the Fifty-Miler Award; Mile Swim, BSA; etc.
This program field of emphasis includes high-adventure and sports and is supported by 27 program features.
Personal Development
Varsity Scouting promotes growth through spirituality, leadership abilities, citizenship, social and cultural attributes, and physical fitness.
The emphasis is on service, with the intent that it become integral to one's daily experience. Projects are conceived, planned, managed, and carried out by individual Varsity Scouts and/or the Varsity Scout team.
Special Programs and Events
Varsity Scouts take an active part in special programs and events at district, council, regional, and national levels.

Leadership and program

Varsity Scouting offers five program fields of emphasis: Advancement, High-Adventure/Sports, Personal development, Service, and Special Programs and Events. Each of these programs is led by a member of the team called a Program Manager, who receives assistance from a member of the Team Committee.

Position of responsibility requirements for Star and Life ranks may be met by a Varsity Scout serving as a team Captain, Cocaptain, Program Manager, Squad Leader, or other leadership roles assigned by the team coach. The acceptable positions of responsibility for the Eagle Scout rank are listed on the Eagle Scout Rank Application.

Advancement and recognition

The Varsity Scout advancement follows the same rank requirements to Eagle and Eagle Palms as those for Boy Scouts. Supplementing this Eagle trail, a Varsity Scout is also eligible for the additional advancement opportunity of earning the Denali Award. To do this he must earn at least one Varsity Letter, and serve as Program Manager (a position of responsibility), acting as primary leader in at least two of the fields of emphasis and participating in the remaining three fields.

Varsity Letter

Main article: Varsity Letter
The Varsity Scout letter V-emblem is awarded to team members who participate high-adventure or sports program features and are preceded by training or practice sessions. Activities are planned by the youth high-adventure/sports program manager; participation may also result in the team member receiving a Varsity Scout activity pin for the V-emblem. Varsity Scout letter bar pins are awarded for subsequently completed high-adventure or sports program features.
— 2000 Varsity Scout Guidebook (34827A)

Denali Award

Main article: Denali Award
The Denali Award is the highest award in Varsity Scouting. Varsity Scouts must earn at least one Varsity Letter, and serve as program manager (a position of responsibility), acting as primary leader in at least two of the fields of emphasis and participating in the remaining three fields.
— 2000 Varsity Scout Guidebook (34827A)

Merit Badges

Main article: Merit Badges

Varsity Scouts can earn Merit Badges by following the same requirements and policies as Boy Scouts.


The traditional Boy Scout uniform with a "Varsity" identification strip above the right pocket and with blaze orange shoulder loops are worn at formal occasions. Many teams design their own T-shirt for outdoor activities.

Scout Oath

Varsity Scouts will use the Scout Oath. Varsity team members will also learn and live by the Varsity Scout Pledge.


Program Features
Three volumes of program features support the high-adventure/sports program field of emphasis.

Each program feature contains resource materials that will prepare a team for an ultimate adventure or sports season. The high-adventure areas are backpacking, canoe camping, caving, cycling, discover America, fishing, freestyle biking, frontiersman, mechanics, orienteering, rock climbing and rappelling, snow camping, survival, and whitewater canoeing. Each feature contains approximately three months of program.

The sports program features contain basic rules, techniques, and strategies for basketball, bowling, cross-country skiing, roller hockey, shooting sports, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, triathlon, volleyball, and waterskiing.

  • Varsity Scout Guidebook. The Varsity Scout Guidebook is used by adult leaders and youth in Varsity Scouting.
  • Boy Scout Handbook. The Boy Scout Handbook contains information devoted to Varsity Scouts and supporting the Varsity Scout program.
  • Troop/Team Record Book. The Troop/Team Record Book is used to record member information, rank advancement, and financial records.
  • Varsity Scout Leader Fast Start. The Varsity Scout Leader Fast Start video supports the orientation of new Varsity Scout leaders.
  • Varsity Scout Leader Fundamentals. This is a three-part training program for training adult Varsity Scout leaders.
  • Varsity Scout Roundtable Planning Guide. The Varsity Scout Roundtable Planning Guide supports the programs outlined in the program features.

External links BSA Website Materials
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