In cooperation with the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of the USA, the National Park Service offers Scout Ranger Programs in many national parks to get youngsters involved in learning about, enjoying, and protecting park resources. The programs offer participating Boy/Girl Scouts opportunities to earn Resource Stewardship Scout Ranger patches or certificates by completing specified kinds of activities.
The Resource Stewardship Scout Ranger Program offered to Boy and Cub Scouts is a collaboration between the Boy Scouts of America and the National Park Service under the umbrella Good Turn for America initiative. The Resource Stewardship Girl Scout Ranger Program is offered in connection with
Linking Girls to the Land (LGTTL), an interagency partnership between the Girl Scouts of the USA's Elliott Wildlife Values Project and federal natural resource agencies.
To earn a Resource Stewardship patch, a scout must participate in appropriate activities at one or more national parks -- any combination of parks and appropriate activities is OK -- for a minimum of ten hours. This involvement can include activities such as viewing park films, attending ranger-led tours, exploring park exhibits/buildings, reading about the park, taking photos in the park, or performing volunteer services such as helping with trail maintenance or invasive plant removal.
The ten-hour requirement represents approximately two afternoons, or a month of volunteering two or three hours per weekend. It is, in any event, what the NPS considers a significant investment of "quality time."
A volunteer coordinator, youth programs coordinator, or park interpreter typically serves as a park's Scout Ranger Program contact person. Scouts keep track of their progress on activity sheets and are awarded their patches when they deliver their completed activity sheet (or acceptable verbal report) to a designated NPS employee or volunteer at a visitor center or information center.
Scouts who don't choose to earn a patch can qualify for a certificate by completing at least five hours of appropriate activities. Using the honor system, scouts go online to download their certificate after they've completed the required five hours of activities.
The Scout Ranger Program is not part of the qualifications for the Boy Scout Eagle award or for the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, or Gold awards. However, as many high-achieving scouts can affirm, experiences gained in the Scout Ranger Program enhance progress toward these lofty goals.
For more information, visit the Park Service's Scout Ranger Program page and the Resource Stewardship Girl Scout Ranger Program page.