Unit Parent Guides and By-Laws
Many units work off the philosophy that the only
by-laws the unit needs are the Oath or Promise, and Law.
They may or may not create a parent guide to help answer
parent's questions about the unit. Other units
incorporate additional rules, over and above the BSA
rules. Sometimes these rules are placed into additional
documents. In this page we will look at some example
parent guides, unit handbooks and supporting
documentation that units have put together.
We encourage the use of a "Troop Guidebook"
or "Pack Guidebook" that contains information
about the who what when where and how of the Troop. The
BSA has a set of by-laws and would prefer that units not
use the expression "by-laws".
- Keep it short. Parent Guides that are longer than
15 pages will not be read. If you have a lot to
communicate, consider a short parent guide, and
place additional information into handouts for a
particular activity. For example, instead of
incorporating a sample parent permission slip,
and all the rules associated with an outing, into
the Parent Guide, simply say that there will be
permission slips issued prior to an outing and
that no Scout can attend the outing without one.
- Make the font at least 12 point (remember, we are
all getting older). If the guide is hard to read,
it will not be read.
- Write it with the parent in mind. Try to
anticipate the questions the parents will have.
Parent guides tend to be read by people just
entering the unit. Ask youself: What was it that
I was concerned with when I joined the unit? For
example, tell a Boy Scout parent about
uniforming, sleeping bags, and tenting. Don't go
into details about white water rafting, since a
11 year old won't be participating in that
- Don't let your program suffer. Paper is fine, but
the boys are active in Scouting because of the
program. Don't get caught up in administrative
details at the expense of the program.
- Many Scouters advise not calling anything a
by-law. That is an official term that has a lot
of hidden meaning. Call your handbook a 'guide'.
Here are a few links to parent guides different units.
We have some example
parent guides at US Scouting.
BSA Troop 237 in Orinda, CA has a troop handbook at
BSA Troop 86 at Osan AB, South Korea has their guide
Some units have created additional documents that
outline requirements for different troop positions. See: Troop
Projects and Library
Manual by George Hutcheson
For example of Cub Scout documents, see the
Netcommish Cub Scouting pages.
For example of Boy Scout documents, see the Netcommish
Boy Scouting pages
For more ideas for unit documents see our US Scouting
Created by: Bill
District Commissioner, Salt River District, Grand Canyon
Council, Boy Scouts of America. Please let me know of any
additions or corrections.