Outdoor Ethics

Outdoor Ethics

Graham Twaddell

Committee Chair
Grand Canyon Council

Outdoor Ethics and Leave No Trace are key components of all core BSA outdoor programs. Consider the combined effects of millions of outdoor visitors. One poorly located campsite or campfire may have little significance, but thousands of such instances seriously degrade the outdoor experience for all. Leaving no trace is everyone’s responsibility.

Help protect the front and backcountry by remembering that while you are there, you are a visitor. When you visit a friend, you take care to leave your friend’s home just as you found it. You would never think of trampling garden flowers, chopping down trees in the yard, putting soap in the drinking water, or marking your name on the living room wall. When you visit the front and backcountry, the same courtesies apply. Leave everything just as you found it. Hiking and camping without a trace are signs of an expert outdoorsman, and of a Scout or Scouter who cares for the environment.

A Leave No Trace Trainer course provides more advanced awareness and skills training, and develop youth and adults capable of effectively teaching these important outdoor skills and ethics. A unit with an active Leave No Trace Trainer will be better equipped to travel lightly on the land.

A 16-hour, overnight, Leave No Trace Trainer course trains adults and youth ages 14 and up to serve as Leave No Trace Trainers. It is recommended training for the Outdoor Ethics Guide troop junior leadership position.

Grand Canyon Council’s Outdoor Ethics Team goal is for every unit, within every district, to have some level of formal Leave No Trace training. By becoming a Leave No Trace Trainer, you will learn the skills and gain the confidence to host Leave No Trace awareness workshops for you unit.

Training Schedule:

Grand Canyon Council schedules Leave No trace Trainer Courses the third weekend of March every year! Click here to review available Outdoor Ethics events.

Indoor Nature Activities for Kids

Scouts and Scouters – Stuck at home? Now is the perfect time to earn the Scouts BSA Outdoor Ethics Award!

The requirements are as follows:

  1. Recite from memory and explain the meaning of the Outdoor Code.
  2. Watch the National Park Service Leave No Trace videohtml icon It’s on the right side of the page.
  3. Complete the Leave No Trace online course html icon. Print the certificate.
  4. Complete the Tread Lightly! online course html icon. Print the certificate.
  5. Participate in an outdoor ethics course, workshop, or training activity facilitated by a person who has completed the BSA outdoor ethics orientation course or is a BSA outdoor ethics trainer or master.

Complete requirements #1-4, and then have a parent or unit leader contact Graham Twaddell, Grand Canyon Council’s Outdoor Ethics Advocate, for information on an at home training activity that satisfies requirement #5. 

Additionally, LNT.org has prepared a variety of indoor nature activities for youth to learn from throughout the Covid-19 social distancing period.  

2021 BSA Central Region Virtual Outdoor Conferences

The Central Region Outdoor Program Support Committee (CROPS) is hosting two conferences in January 2021 focusing on all aspects of Outdoor Programs for all levels of Scouting – – Cubs, Scouts BSA and Venturing. We will be gathering members of the CROPS Team and other experts from around the country to share new and exciting information on Fishing, Cope & Climbing, Aquatics, Shooting Sports, Conservation, Outdoor Ethics and NCAP.  We will be offering sessions on Cub Outdoor program ideas, lessons learned from offering Camp during the pandemic, disaster recovery at camps and much more. Please review all the sessions being offered for more detailed information.

This year’s conferences will be virtual meetings using Zoom. They will be offered on Saturday, January 16th, and will be repeated on January 23rd. The conferences are open to all Scouters, volunteers, and professionals, at all levels of Scouting with an interest in Outdoor Programs, NCAP and camping. There will be more than 20 sessions offered each day and you can register, at no cost of course, for both Saturdays to attend more sessions.

Each session will be 50 minutes long with a 10 minute break between sessions.

Register online at:

January 16th Registration Link Click Here

January 23rd Registration Link Click Here  

You will receive a Zoom invite for each day you are interested in attending. On the day of the conferences, you can then choose what session you are interested in during each time slot.

Attendance will be capped at 300, so be sure to register early!

Questions? Contact:

Dan Gille                                 dcgille@gmail.com

Mike McCarthy                       mike.mccarthy@scouting.org

2021 Virtual Outdoor

Conferences sessions (all times are CST):

8:30am to 9:30:

Welcoming and Opening Keynote Addresses

Session Breakouts

9:30 to 10:30

Conservation & Sustainability for Councils: Conservation and sustainability are key parts of maintaining a healthy council property. In this session you learn about this topic from the experience of volunteers.

Scouts BSA Level II Cope/Climbing Templates: This session will review and demonstrate how to easily adapt the generic training courses created by the National COPE/Climbing Sub-Committee.

Aquatics Update: Learn about the newly revised Aquatic Staff Guide. There will also be a discussion of Covid & Aquatics – – best practices and lessons learned in 2020.

Disaster Recovery at Camp: You will hear from councils who have experienced damage from severe weather. They will discuss what to do when the storm hits and how to plan and mange recovery from the storm. Note: There will be another session that explores insurance and camps in more depth.

10:30 to 11:30

COPE and Climbing Program Trainer Couse: During this session we will review the pre-requisites, content and supporting documents you will need to attend the Program Trainer Course.

Fishing: My tool for recruitment, retention and reactivation: What makes fishing such a great outdoor activity? This session will answer that question and help you learn how to recruit, retain, and reactivate Scouts through a quality fishing program.

Insurance at Camp: This session will explore the various types of insurance needed at camps, how they work and what they cover.

 BSA Distinguished Conservation Service Award Program: Here is your chance to learn about the new conservation award program.

11:30 to 12:30

NCAP Updates: This session will cover updates on the changes in the 2021 NCAP process, the new Short Term Camp Standards and how they apply to council events, an update on the 2021 Assessor Training and will also cover the changes to The Authorization to Operate process. NOTE: This is a 2-hour session and will be completed following the 12:30 to 1pm lunch break.

Shooting Sports Update: What’s new in Shooting Sports and how can you continue to engage more Scouts in this exciting part of the Scouting program? This session will take aim at all the fun that can be had in BSA’s shooting sports programs, including a preview of the soon to be released updated BSA Shooting Sports Manual.

What is Outdoor Ethics? In this session you will learn the answer to this question as well as updates from the 2020 National Outdoor Ethics Conference

High Adventure Updates: The Summit, Orion Project and the Future of the National Scout Jamboree:  What is happening at the Summit?! And What is this Orion we keep hearing all about it? What is next for the National Scout Jamboree? Attend this session and you’ll zoom through all the excitement that is awaiting Scouts and Scouters over the next few years at the Summit. Want a sneak peek? Check out this video … it’s worth the moment or two to view …  https://youtu.be/Z6-XzxKXB_A    

12:30 to 1:00: Lunch

1:00 to 2:00:

NCAP Updates Continued

High Adventure Updates: Northern Tier, Philmont and Florida Seas Base: From New Mexico to Minnesota to the Florida Keys – high adventure is preparing for its biggest summer EVER in 2021. Attend this course to find out what’s NEW at our national high adventure bases and how you can get in on the action.

The Business of Camping:  Camp is a critical delivery method of Scouting’s mission! And yet there are real costs associated with maintaining and operating our camping programs. Attend this session to find out how you can take some key steps to ensure your council’s camping business is set for success for the next decade.

2:00 to 3:00

Insurance issues related to non-Scout use of council properties: Learn about what types of insurance coverage is needed for non-Scout groups using a council camp or property.

Lessons learned from Covid-19 at camp: Learn from councils who operated camps during the pandemic. What did they do? What programs did they offer? Lessons learned.

The Future of the BSA’s Outdoor Programs:  What is coming for BSA’s outdoor programs?! How will we continue to engage today’s youth and families in Scouting’s outdoor programs? Attend this session to hear all about what our national outdoor program committees are working on and what the future holds!

3:00 to 4:00

Cub Scout Outdoor Programming: Engaging Cub Scouts in outdoor programs is crucial to Cub Scout retention! From the den, to the pack, to individual families – every level of Cub Scouting deserves quality outdoor programs. This session will walk through ideas you can implement at every level and will highlight resources for 2021 and beyond.

Family Camping Initiatives: Expand camp usage by attracting families to camp at your council camps. How to do this?

Building Effective Camp Websites: Any successful business knows you must have a great website – and this is true for camps too! This session will walk through what GREAT websites have in common and some easy first steps you can take to make sure your camp is attracting a strong online following.

Upcoming Outdoor Ethics Events

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