One of the very best organizations to help you raise successful boys is the Boys Scouts of America (BSA). I am a third generation scout, and all four of my boys have been in the scouts. Not only has the organization helped them to develop as young men, it has helped me to develop as a father. The BSA has TONS of great resources for parents of boys. As with any organization that works with kids, you need to know the leadership. I suggest you attend the meetings (especially the Cub Scouts) and get to know the pack or troop leadership.
Find your local council here: http://www.scouting.org/media/lcl.aspx
The BSA has well-defined guidelines for behavior and child safety. Be sure the group you are considering follows the rules to the letter.
Below is an excerpt from their youth protection guidelines. These guidelines are also worth considering when getting involved in any group that works with kids (church, synagogue, sports).
Barriers to Abuse Within Scouting
The BSA has adopted the following policies to provide additional security for our members. These policies are primarily for the protection of our youth members; however, they also serve to protect our adult leaders from false accusations of abuse.
- Two-deep leadership. Two registered adult leaders or one registered leader and a parent of a participant, or other adult, one of whom must be 21 years of age or older, are required on all trips and outings. The chartered organization is responsible for ensuring that sufficient leadership is provided for all activities.
- No one-on-one contact. One-on-one contact between adults and youth members is not permitted. In situations that require personal conferences, such as a Scoutmaster’s conference, the meeting is to be conducted in view of other adults and youths.
- Respect of privacy. Adult leaders must respect the privacy of youth members in situations such as changing clothes and taking showers at camp, and intrude only to the extent that health and safety require. Adults must protect their own privacy in similar situations.
- Separate accommodations. When camping, no youth is permitted to sleep in the tent of an adult other than his own parent or guardian. Councils are strongly encouraged to have separate shower and latrine facilities for females. When separate facilities are not available, separate times for male and female use should be scheduled and posted for showers.
- Proper preparation for high-adventure activities. Activities with elements of risk should never be undertaken without proper preparation, equipment, clothing, supervision, and safety measures.
- No secret organizations. The Boy Scouts of America does not recognize any secret organizations as part of its program. All aspects of the Scouting program are open to observation by parents and leaders.
- Appropriate attire. Proper clothing for activities is required. For example, skinny-dipping is not appropriate as part of Scouting.
- Constructive discipline. Discipline used in Scouting should be constructive and reflect Scouting’s values. Corporal punishment is never permitted.
- Hazing prohibited. Physical hazing and initiations are prohibited and may not be included as part of any Scouting activity.
- Junior leader training and supervision. Adult leaders must monitor and guide the leadership techniques used by junior leaders and ensure that BSA policies are followed.
- Member responsibilities. All members of the Boy Scouts of America are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the principles set forth in the Scout Oath and Law. Physical violence, hazing, bullying, theft, verbal insults, drugs, and alcohol have no place in the Scouting program and may result in the revocation of a Scout’s membership in the unit.
- Unit responsibilities. The head of the chartered organization or chartered organization representative and the local council must approve the registration of the unit’s adult leader. Adult leaders of Scouting units are responsible for monitoring the behavior of youth members and interceding when necessary. Parents of youth members who misbehave should be informed and asked for assistance in dealing with it.