American Scouting overseas

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American Scouting overseas
Boy Scout at Camp Tama
Boy Scout at Camp Tama
Girl Scouts and Brownies from two troops in Singapore pass Girl Scout cookie boxes up the brow of the rescue and salvage ship USS Safeguard (ARS 50) as part of Operation Thin Mint
Girl Scouts and Brownies from two troops in Singapore pass Girl Scout cookie boxes up the brow of the rescue and salvage ship USS Safeguard (ARS 50) as part of Operation Thin Mint
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There have been American Scouts overseas since almost the inception of the movement, often for similar reasons as the present day. Within the Boy Scouts of America, these expatriate Scouts are now served by two overseas Councils and the Direct Service program. Within the Girl Scouts of the USA, the USAGSO serves such a purpose.

Boy Scouts of America[edit]

Direct Service[edit]

The Direct Service is a program service of the Boy Scouts of America's International Division, created in 1955 to make the Scouting program available to citizens of the United States and their dependents living in countries outside the jurisdiction of the Transatlantic Council (headquartered in Italy and serving American Scouts in much of Europe), the Aloha Council (serving youth residing in much of the eastern and Central Pacific as well as Guam, American Samoa, and several Hawaiian islands) and the Far East Council (headquartered in Japan, serving several nations in the western Pacific.)[1]

History[edit]

Camp Aztec

According to BSA records and Reports to Congress, BSA overseas councils were referred to as "Extra Regional"—being outside the BSA's then-twelve Scouting regions in the states, which were consolidated in 1973 to six and again to the current four in 1993. Overseas councils were organized in the Panama Canal Zone (1923), Peking, China (1923), Philippines (1924), and Guam (1947). The "Direct Service Council" was formed in 1956, as a result of conversations within the BSA's national office in New Jersey. Several Scouting associations, on behalf of their American citizens living in those countries, wanted to have American Scouts and Scouters to serve as part of their associations while overseas. In fact, the high commissioners in Japan, Europe, and Panama invited BSA to send commissioned Scout executives to help create a program for Americans living overseas. International Scouting accords discouraged such memberships except via wartime criteria that allowed for a small number of youth to take part in local programs when no program of their own host nation existed. The BSA's response was to create within the International Division a "local Council equal" which would do many if not all the services which the BSA provides to communities in other areas of the world and within the United States. These services include membership accounting, unit chartering and rechartering, advancement reporting and filing, insignia and badge issuance, certification of awards and advice on where to conduct Scouting-related activities (mostly camping or ways that the BSA's requirements to "visit community agencies", for instance, could be met while in Zaire or the Isle of Man or in Peru). Direct Service Council did not include Transatlantic, Far East, Aloha, or Canal Zone Councils which had BSA charters to operate as councils since the early 1950s.

The Direct Service Council was headed initially by James R. Sands, the Associate National Director of the BSA's International Division and assisted by two staffers and two technicians. Key national staff officers working within the BSA's National Office wore "extra hats" as Direct Service Council "staffers"; while key volunteers served as members of the Executive Board of the Council and key BSA youth members were initially made leaders of the Council's youth programs until the Council could get on its feet. After 1974, the Council elected their own Council officers (by mail) and an election was held to elect youth representatives for their Order of the Arrow Lodge and their Explorer Presidents Association chapter. In 1989 the practice was discontinued and appointments were made directly through postal mail from the national office.

In areas whereby significant numbers of American citizens lived, "District" organizations existed. These areas included Hong Kong, Guatemala and Central America, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Kenya and the countries surrounding Lake Victoria, Mexico and the Caribbean, and Canada. Each "District" had a volunteer structure, to include District Chairs and members as well as Commissioners to assist existing and new units. Some "Districts" even raised the funding necessary to "borrow" an executive with a multinational firm to serve as their District's professional representative; in other cases, firms like Saudi Aramco "donated" an executive to head up Scouting in that part of the world. Those individuals coordinated directly with the BSA's International offices and in the 70s and 80s had the resources to quickly get materials, training aids, awards and insignia, and uniforms to youth and adult members within their areas.

While the BSA officially had no "Districts" within Direct Service Council, they did respond positively to the effort by creating special versions of the traditional Direct Service Council insignia to be worn by youth residing in those parts of the Council's "territory" without calling them "Districts". Before Direct Service Council folded, there were ten official such "Council Shoulder Patches" or CSPs in addition to the default CSP. In many areas of the Council, individual units and parents of Lone Scouts created their own unofficial CSP emblem to wear, with flags and symbology of the local area on those patches, instead of the standard emblem. A 12th such emblem was created when Canal Zone merged with Direct Service later.

In 1973, the Direct Service Council newsletter was created, to further provide information to DSC Scouts and Scouters and those serving on its Council "staff" and "leadership". Much of the information was copied from other BSA publications with specific information about registration, how to participate in BSA national and international activities/events, and new forms placed as inserts. In 1975, the first instances of the word "District" were printed in the newsletter, further acknowledging the growth of this "notional local Council."

The "expansion" and "contraction" of the Direct Service Council depended heavily on the numbers of Americans living in those countries not served by active BSA Councils overseas. This explains why in some years individuals or specific countries in Europe, North Africa, and the Near and Far East were alternately parts of Aloha Council (serving many Pacific island nations), or Transatlantic Council (serving much of Europe, Northern Africa and the Near East) or the Far East Council (serving the far end of the Pacific rim) one year, and the next year part of Direct Service Council. Council territories expanded and contracted, which made it important that the small International Division staff stay in constant touch with overseas Councils and their professional staffs.

With the retirement in 1986 of Jim Sands, the BSA's biggest defender and supporter of International Scouting, Margerite ("Marge") Weilexbaum was appointed as the Council's Administrator, who provided administrative services normally provided by a commissioned professional Scouter. She attempted to hold things together until her retirement in 1995.

In 1987, the former Panama Canal (Zone) Council was consolidated and made a part of the Direct Service Council, in a similar way that other Councils were consolidated or merged to form larger local Councils in other areas of the world. An "official" 12th CSP issued by the former Council for its youth to wear featured the words "Direct Service" in addition to the words "Canal Zone." While not officially created by the BSA, the patch was worn by DSC youth and adults living in the Zone until the middle 90s.

In 1990, a national office shakeup and reorganization slimmed down the International Division and many of its functions were sheared off to other program divisions within the National office. Many DSC Scouters state that this was the start of the end of the Council.

With the retirement of its longtime Administrator five years later, several decisions were made with regard to the Council.

The first was that it would no longer serve or be listed as a "local Council" but rather, in the traditions of the old Lone Scout Service, would serve as a "service element" within the National office. Scouts and Scouters would continue to receive "direct service" from the staff, but the staffing would be cut almost to the bone — from five to two. It was understood that with the advent of faster communication and coordination between units and individuals in the field and the national offices, that the existing staffing support was no longer needed. The newsletter was discontinued.

The second was that all supporting elements which made Direct Service a true gem in the eyes of those members and Scouters in the field would be eliminated. This means that in some locations, the "borrowed executives" used to support "district and multi unit" activities in the Council would no longer be supported. BSA Camp inspections at several camps in the former Council would also cease, as well as most Order of the Arrow activities. The Lodge would continue, and individual units may continue to hold OA elections. The actual Ordeal, Brotherhood, and Vigil Honor ceremonies, however, would be conducted by local Councils in Europe, the Far East or Pacific or held until the Scout or Scouter could return Stateside to participate. This was further restricted by the Order of the Arrow in 1999.

The biggest impact was that the Council could no longer conduct sustaining membership enrollment, or "Friends of Scouting" campaigns as a Council any longer. Units, individuals and those organizations and corporations supporting American Scouting around the world would instead be asked to donate directly to the National Office with funding no longer "earmarked" for the Direct Service Council, but placed in the general operation funds of the BSA.

In 1998, the word "Council" was finally removed from the Direct Service and plans to no longer issue or sell the ten existing Council CSPs would be made. The Direct Service Council finally died although the BSA continues to this day to provide "direct service" to youth and adults living and working around the world—in those locations where there no longer exists a BSA local Council.[2]

Administration[edit]

Direct Service is administered by the International Division of the Boy Scouts of America. It provides some of the same services that a local council provides: Processing registration and magazine subscriptions, maintaining records, approving advancements, processing supply orders, organizing National and World Jamboree participation, operating Gamenowinink Lodge #555, Order of the Arrow, and providing information and program resources.

Membership[edit]

Approximately 3,000 youth members and 1,000 adult leaders belong to Direct Service units, or are registered as Lone Scouts in isolated areas of the world. Direct Service members are the children of international businesspeople, American expat community,diplomatic corps officials, and U.S. military personnel. Direct Service serves 100 Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, and Venturing crews in 47 countries on five continents.

Currently, the following countries have one or more Scouting units registered through Direct Service:

Program[edit]

The meetings and activities of Direct Service units are basically the same as those in the United States. Minor modifications are sometimes necessary because of circumstances that occur when living in another country. These modifications often lead to cooperative efforts between the BSA members and Scouts of other associations who attend joint Scouting activities such as jamborees, rallies, community projects, and other events. Local groups of units (formerly districts under the former Direct Service Council) maintain their own camps.

Chartered organizations[edit]

The chartered organizations of Direct Service units include American schools and churches, international schools, U.S. embassies, multinational corporations, parents' groups, veteran organizations and groups, and fraternal organizations.

Order of the Arrow[edit]

Gamenowinink Lodge, chartered in 1962, serves 135 Arrowmen as of 2004. The lodge totem is a globe, and the name translates to "On the Other Side of the Great Sea" in the Lenni Lenape language. Gamenowinink Lodge is under the supervision and administration of the BSA International Division in Irving, Texas. In 1971 Gamenowinink Lodge absorbed Cuauhtli Lodge #446 of the Scouts de America Council, which served American Scouts in Mexico, and in 1987 absorbed Chiriqui Lodge #391 of the Panama Canal Council, which served American Scouts in the former Panama Canal Zone.

Overseas Arrowman[edit]

Several alumni groups exist to support American Scout Councils and the Order of the Arrow overseas. Foremost among them is the Overseas Arrowman Association (OAA), a private organization incorporated in 1989, and the TAC (Transatlantic Council) Alumni Association.[3][4][5]

Awards[edit]

Scouting awards are presented as in any local council, including the Silver Beaver Award and the District Award of Merit. All nominations are reviewed by the BSA Direct Service committee.

Financial support[edit]

Direct Service units organize their own activities to earn money for special programs, equipment, and service projects.

Communications[edit]

Communication between the International Division and its Direct Service units is by mail, fax, e-mail, and telephone. Unit leaders receive periodic bulletins containing special information.

Canada[edit]

One of the newest BSA direct service units, Troop 511, was established in 2008 and is chartered to the Western Chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce in Canada in Calgary, Alberta.

Far East Council[edit]

Far East Council
Far East Council CSP.png
Owner Boy Scouts of America
Headquarters Camp Zama
Country United States
Founded 1953
Website
fareastcouncil.org
 Scouting portal

The Far East Council of the Boy Scouts of America, headquartered at Camp Zama in Japan, was created in 1953 to make the Scouting program available to United States citizens and their dependents living in several nations in the western Pacific.

Administration[edit]

Far East Council is organized similar to other BSA local Councils, and follows the Status of Forces Agreements with their host nations and the U.S. military. Far East Council is a part of the Western Region, BSA

Organization[edit]

Far East Council members are the children of international businesspeople, American expat community, diplomatic corps officials, and U.S. military personnel. Far East serves Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, and Venturing crews in five countries.

Currently, the following countries have one or more Scouting units registered through Far East Council:

Far East Council American Scouting overseas map

Program[edit]

1950s badge of the Far East Council

The meetings and activities of Far East Council units are basically the same as those in the United States. Minor modifications are sometimes necessary because of circumstances that occur when living in another country. These modifications often lead to cooperative efforts between the BSA members and Scouts of other associations who attend joint Scouting activities such as jamborees, rallies, community projects, and other events.

Camps[edit]

Chartered Organizations[edit]

The chartered organizations of Far East Council units include American military bases, schools and churches, international schools, U.S. embassies, multinational corporations, parents' groups, veteran organizations and fraternal organizations.

Order of the Arrow[edit]

The Achpateuny Lodge,[6] originally chartered in 1953 as Hinode Goya Lodge (Rising Sun), served 360 Arrowmen as of 2013. The lodge totem is a dragon, and the name translates to "East Wind" in the Lenni Lenape language. Officially, Baluga Lodge #538 (Philippine Islands Council), merged with Hinode Goya, the lodge later changed its name to Ikunuhkatsi (reportedly translated from Filipino Tagalog as "a Gathering of the Nations") in 1975. Ikunuhkatsi was inactive near the end of its charter year in 1983, and in 1984 it was rechartered as Achpateuny Lodge.

Awards[edit]

Trail medals are issued for the hiking and cleanup of several World War II and historic sites, such as Task Force Smith throughout the Council territory. Taiwan has the Silver Moccasin medal for those who backpack across the island West to East (usually) on the historic Neng Gau trail (in the 1960s and 1970s) or the historic Batongguan trail (a 9-day trek taken by several Scouts in 2008). In 2005 Taiwan District re-cast the historic Golden Carabao medal, which was awarded in the 1960s and 1970s to adult volunteers for exemplary service.

Transatlantic Council[edit]

Transatlantic Council
Transatlantic Council badge.png
Pocket patch of the Transatlantic Council
Owner Boy Scouts of America
Headquarters Livorno
Country United States
Website
tac-bsa.org
 Scouting portal

The Transatlantic Council of the Boy Scouts of America, originally created in May 1950 as EUCOM, BSA Advisory Board and later EUCOM Advisory Council, serves to make the Scouting program available to United States citizens and their dependents living in west-and-central Europe, the Near East, and North Africa. The boundaries of the Council constantly shift due to changing political alliances and circumstances in nations where servicemen are stationed. Transatlantic Council has served nations as diverse as Norway and Ethiopia. In landmass, it is the largest of the councils of the Boy Scouts of America.

History[edit]

There have been American Scouts overseas since almost the inception of the movement, often for similar reasons as the present day. Troops existed, sometimes chartered under the British system, sometimes not chartered until the creation of the Council. Lone Scouts were under the direct service of the Boy Scouts of America.

Administration[edit]

Transatlantic Council remains a council within the North East Region, BSA.

Organization[edit]

Transatlantic Council members are the children of international businesspeople, American expat community, diplomatic corps officials, and U.S. military personnel. Transatlantic serves Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, and Venturing crews in 23 countries on three continents.

Currently, the following countries have one or more Scouting units registered through Transatlantic Council:[7]

Program[edit]

The meetings and activities of Transatlantic Council units are basically the same as those in the United States. Minor modifications are sometimes necessary because of circumstances that occur when living in another country. These modifications often lead to cooperative efforts between the BSA members and Scouts of other associations who attend joint Scouting activities such as jamborees, rallies, community projects, and other events.

Chartered Organizations[edit]

The chartered organizations of Transatlantic Council units include American military bases, schools and churches, international schools, U.S. embassies, multinational corporations, parents' groups, veterans' groups, and fraternal organizations.

Order of the Arrow[edit]

The Black Eagle Lodge,[10][11] chartered in 1952 as Bald Eagle Lodge, serves 615 Arrowmen as of 2004. Another Bald Eagle Lodge had been previously chartered and the lodge changed the name to Black Eagle Lodge. The lodge totem is a black eagle, a stylized version of the traditional heraldic Black Eagle emblem of Germany. Its history of Neckerchiefs and Patches is at Matt Kirkland's Black Eagle Lodge 482 Patch Museum.[12] A history of documents, newsletters and programs can found at Black Eagle Lodge 482.[13]

Awards[edit]

Battle of the Bulge Trail badge

Trail medals are issued for the hiking and cleanup of several World War I and World War II sites throughout the Council territory.

Girl Scouts of the USA[edit]

USA Girl Scouts Overseas
Owner Boy Scouts of America
Headquarters New York
Country United States
Website
Official website
 Scouting portal

Girl Scouts of the USA are serviced by way of USA Girl Scouts Overseas (USAGSO) headquartered in New York. USAGO has four offices:

  • USA Girl Scouts Overseas—North Atlantic serves units in Europe
  • USA Girl Scouts Overseas—West Pacific serves units in Japan, Okinawa and Korea
  • USA Girl Scouts Overseas—U.S. Virgin Islands serves the Virgin Islands
  • Guam Girl Scouts Council serves the island of Guam

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Direct Service". Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved 2013-03-07. 
  2. ^ Hook, James; Franck, Dave; Austin, Steve (1982). An Aid to Collecting Selected Council Shoulder Patches with Valuation. 
  3. ^ "TAC Alumni Connection". Transatlantic Council, BSA. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  4. ^ Ken Kittelberger. "Black Eagle Lodge History - from the pages of the Deep Water Traveler Newsletter". Overseas Arrowman Association (OAA). Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  5. ^ "Overseas Arrowmen Association". Order of the Arrow, Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  6. ^ "oa803.org". oa803.org. Retrieved 2011-11-13. 
  7. ^ "Districts". Transatlantic Council, BSA. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  8. ^ Philipp Lehar/Phips (February 2012). "Boy Scouts in den bayrischen Bergen". Sarasani-Zeitschrift der Pfadibewegung Schweiz (in German) 11: 14–15. 
  9. ^ "Thank You". TAC in Focus. February 2010: 6. February 2010. 
  10. ^ "Black Eagle Lodge News(Order of the Arrow)". TAC in Focus. May 2010: 12. May 2010. 
  11. ^ "OA". Transatlantic Council, BSA. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  12. ^ "Matt Kirkland's Black Eagle Lodge 482 Patch Museum". Blackeagletrader.com. Retrieved 2011-11-13. 
  13. ^ "blackeaglelodge482.com". blackeaglelodge482.com. Retrieved 2011-11-13.