Orienteering Troop Program Feature for Scouts BSA

Main Ideas

BSA has created updated versions of the Troop Program features for Scouts BSA. The Orienteering program feature is available in digital format on the BSA website or can be purchased as a publication from you local Scout Shop.

This program feature teaches Scouts to navigate unfamiliar territory using a map and compass. It also introduces them to the sport of orienteering, where participants race to find markers called controls. The program feature includes some general information and some more specific ideas for meetings:

  • The basics of the sport of orienteering
  • Course designations and difficulty levels
  • Variations including nighttime, paddling and horseback varieties, cycling , and ROGAINE (Rugged Outdoor Group Activity Involving Navigation and Endurance)

Troop Meeting Ideas

Suggested troop meeting ideas for the program feature are grouped by essential, challenging, or advanced. Here are a few you can see in the guide.

  • Learn how to use a compass (essential)
  • Determine the bearings to a landmark (challenging)
  • Calculate and follow back bearings (advanced)
  • Learn about map symbols and contour lines (essential)
  • Understand the use of colors on a map (challenging)
  • Learn more about topographic maps (advanced)
  • Orient a topographic map (essential)
  • Learn to adjust for declination (advanced)
  • Find the best way to travel using a topographic map (advanced)
  • Learn the basics of the sport of orienteering (essential)
  • Find out about different formats for orienteering meets (challenging)
  • Find out about orienteering meets in your area (advanced)

Games and More

There are also several games suggested to keep things interesting at your troop meetings.

  • Compass Triangle Game
  • Map Symbol Relay
  • Crash Landing
  • Orienteering Scavenger Hunt

The plan even provides Scoutmaster’s minutes and ceremonies for meetings.

Fitness and Nutrition Program Troop Outing

Then there is the “Main Event”. Once again, there are suggestions for essential, challenging, or advanced. Details and planning aids can be found in the online guide.

  • Participate in an orienteering meet (essential)
  • Plan an orienteering field day for Webelos in your area (challenging)
  • Participate in a ROGAINE (Rugged Outdoor Group Activity Involving Navigation and Endurance) event

More Resources

Find some related helps and achievements for this troop program feature below.

Orienteering Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt requires some setup, but it is a fun way to introduce Scouts BSA to compass skills.

Maps, Compasses, and Declination

Scouts will be interested to learn that the north indicated by their compasses is not really true north. Instead it points to the magnetic north pole, which is not fixed. The difference between true north and magnetic north is called declination.

Personal Measurement Log

When you go on an course, you need to have some ways to measure things. Some of the methods used require you to have something of known length for comparison. A personal measurement log will help you with this.

Guide Me Game

This game makes a fun break in a meeting. The Scouts will have to work together to accomplish their goal.

The Outdoor Code

Every Scout who is spending time outdoors should be familiar with the Outdoor Code. It is especially important for Webelos, Scouts BSA, and Venturers who are out camping regularly.


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