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Purpose

Our troop's underlying purpose is very similar to that of the BSA as a whole, "[to] prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who [makes] ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law." This sounds great to parents, but to this day I do not believe we have ever seen a boy drawn to Scouting in order to become a "model citizen," and not because he wanted to go camping and play with fire and knives (by "play," I mean, "learn to use responsibly").

In general, our main purpose can be seen as teaching a wide range of skills to boys in order to build character and foster responsibility and independence. The term for the skills we teach is "Scoutcraft."

Just a little side note, some may ask why I chose the ".ninja" top-level domain. The Oxford dictionary gives the informal definition of "ninja" as "a person who excels in a particular skill or activity," whereas the original ninja was trained in many skills, like the Scout. 

Just for fun, I compared some traditional "ninja skills" (ninjutsu) with the Scout's skills (Scoutcraft):

Bōryaku (謀略) – Tactics, Plans, Strategies

General leadership skills:

  • Being able to plan for camping trips and activities (where to camp, what to bring, etc.),
  • Planning a hike (maps, paths, orienteering, etc.)
  • Planning and completing Service Projects.

Good Communication skills are essential!

Katon-no-jutsu (火遁の術)Fire Techniques

Kayakujutsu (火薬術) – Pyrotechnics

Hitsuke (火付け)Firestarting

  • Rank Requirements:
    • Second Class 2a-d
  • Firem'n Chit – Firebuilding certification
  • Fire Safety Merit Badge

Hojo-jutsu (捕縄術) or Nawajutsu (縄術)Art of Rope Tying

  • Rank Requirements:
    • Scout 4a-b
    • Tenderfoot 3a-d
    • Second Class 2f-g
    • First Class 3a-d
  • Pioneering Merit Badge

Sui-ren (水練) – Water training

  • Rank Requirements:
    • Second Class 5a-d
    • First Class 6a-e
  • Swimming, Scuba Diving, Lifesaving Merit Badges

Chi-mon (地文) – Geography

  • Rank Requirements:
    • Second Class 3a-d
    • First Class 4a-b
  • Orienteering Merit Badge

Tenmon (天門) – Meteorology

  • Rank Requirements:
    • First Class 5b-d
  • Weather Merit Badge

Bajutsu (馬術) – Horsemanship

  • Horsemanship Merit Badge

Kyūjutsu (弓術)Archery

  • Archery Merit Badge

Hōjutsu (砲術)Art of Firearms

  • Rifle Shooting Merit Badge
  • Shotgun Shooting Merit Badge

Angou (暗号)Signaling and Codes

  • Signs, Signals, and Codes Merit Badge

Seishinteki kyōyō (精神的 教養) – Spiritual refinement

  • From the Scout Oath: "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God..." and the Scout Law: "A Scout is reverent."
  • Religious Emblems: More than 30 awards for religious service available for many different faiths are recognized by the BSA.

Zanshin (残心)Mental awareness or clarity

  • From the Scout Oath: “On my honor I will do my best…to keep myself mentally awake...

Chōhō (諜報) – espionage

These are more like Spycraft, but even that has applications for the well-rounded Scout:

Observation skills:

  • Kim’s Game

  • Tracking

  • Plant and Animal evidence.

  • Where are the exits in a room? Fire Extinguisher? AED?

Stealth and Concealment:

  • Tracking
  • Leave No Trace
    • Second Class Requirement 1b
  • Low Impact Camping
    • First Class Requirement 1b
  • Outdoor Code and Ethics.
    • Scout Requirement 1e
    • Tenderfoot Requirement 1c

General knowledge:

  • Signs, Signals, and Codes (Merit Badge)

  • Wilderness Survival (Scout Skills and Merit Badge)

  • Pathfinding (knowing your community and how to get around),

  • Citizenship (Merit Badges)

  • Emergency Preparedness (Merit Badge)

Hensōjutsu (変装術) – disguise and impersonation

Intonjutsu (隠遁術) – escaping and concealment

Shinobi-iri (忍び入り) – stealth and infiltration



The rem
aining skills are martial arts related and are not taught directly by the Boy Scouts. These mostly deal with edged weapons, and the closest we get to that is through a knife or tomahawk throwing activity at some camps (not very common, though). The BSA officially does not approve offensive martial arts; however, "defensive" arts such as Tai Chi, Aikido, and Judo are "approved Scouting activities" but must be supervised and taught by a qualified instructor. It may be possible to use such a martial art in completing the Sports merit badge, but the counselor must approve it.

Interestingly, there was among the original 14 Merit Badges (called Badges of Merit back then) a Master-At-Arms merit badge. Wherein a Scout would prove mastery of three of the following: single stick, boxing, jiu jitsu, wrestling, quarterstaff, or fencing.


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