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Alpha Phi Omega and Scouting

This topic is for discussing the relationship between Alpha Phi Omega and Scouting.

Founded on the principles of principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law, Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity active on many college campuses. APO’s service program encourages its members to continue the Scouting involvement through college connections. Most chapters are coeducational.

Scouts BSA Handbook for Girls. 39006, © Boy Scouts of America, 2019 printing, p. 438

  • Mission: Prepare campus and community leaders through service.
  • Cardinal Principles: Leadership, Friendship and Service


Created: 2019-06-30

Alpha Phi Omega and Scouting Summary

“Alpha Phi Omega is a national college service fraternity located at over 350 college and university campuses throughout the nation. Although the fraternity is not part of the Boy Scouts of America, it was founded upon and operates under the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.” per the BSA Chartered Organization Resource Guide (2014 printing, p. 5).

Some Alpha Phi Omega (APO) chapters co-register as BSA Venturing Crews. Some APO chapters sponsor units as a BSA chartered organization. APO has a special relationship with BSA and is listed in the Boy Scout Handbook (2016 printing, p. 437).

The National Council of the BSA recognized Alpha Phi Omega as the National Honorary Scout Fraternity for BSA members in 1932.

BSA sponsors APO member participation in World Scout Moots (Wikipedia page). APO sponsors a APO service team at BSA National Jamborees. APO with the help of its chapters, recognizes Scouts who have achieved Scouting top awards (or “top ranks”) through its Scouting certificates program.

Service to Scouting is part of the APO service program. APO group service projects include, but are not limited to: running or assisting at Merit Badge training events, camp clean-up and tree-planting in the spring, and assisting at food collection centers for BSA’s Scouting for Food events (usually in November). Each APO chapter has a Service Vice President who is the chair of the chapter’s Service Committee.

APO members (male and female college students and advisors) and alumni serve Scouts as BSA volunteers at all levels of BSA. Other opportunities for APO member individual service include serving youth as Merit Badge Counselors, STEM program Counselors and Mentors, commissioners to support units, and as council volunteers.

Scouting volunteers and professionals serve as Scouting and Youth Service Advisors on APO chapter advisory committees. Many APO chapters were founded or re-established with the help of BSA volunteers and professionals during the decades before and after World War II, and all the way up to the present time.

– William Wells and Charles Howard-Gibbon (2015, updated 2018)

BSA Scouting Advisor for APO Chapter


2019-07-16: The Scouting Advisor is:

  • a BSA professional or registered volunteer approved by the council Scout Executive (historically was the Scout Executive)
  • a registered member of the APO chapter they are serving.(free national membership)
  • Is not an APO chapter officer unless the Scouting Advisor is the chairman of the APO chapter’s advisory committee.

Colleges may restrict non-student voting members or officers to the college’s employees.

2016-02-02: History:

  • I believe for many Alpha Phi Omega chapters since the 1930’s the council Scout Executive was directly involved, for example as a founder of and/or an APO chapter Scouting Advisor (now Scouting and Youth Services Advisor).
  • The duty of the chapter Scouting Advisor was to represent Scouting to the chapter.

APO Scouting and Youth Services Advisor Role

Per Alpha Phi Omega Advisor Orientation Guide, Spring 2018, p. 7, Types of Advisory Roles:

As a scouting and youth services advisor, ensuring the chapter maintains a commitment to serving the youth is a top priority. This advisor should have a solid grasp on community youth programs, as well as the needs of youth in the community surrounding the campus. This advisor is key in helping the chapter provide meaningful service for and with youth.

An advisor affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America or Girl Scouts of the United States of American might assist the chapter in planning events with a local area council such as Merit Badge Universities, STEM badge events, or field days. Local scout camps are typically great locations for chapter and/or officer retreats, so chapters may want to take advantage of potential connections the advisor has.

The main points of contact for this advisor can include but are not limited to: vice president of service, secretary, and president. All advisors should be in contact and have a relationship with the executive committee as a whole.

Scouting Advisor Training (2019)

  • APO Toast Song. A Scouting Advisor will need to learn the APO toast song in the APO pledge manual to participate in meeting closings, banquet closings and other APO ceremonies, (APO US and APO RP toast songs may be different)
  • APO Advisor training
  • BSA basic position-specific training is not currently available
  • The college’s “student group adviser’s training” (recommended)

APO Resources

National Resources

You may be able to go through th APO Resource Library page to access resources without logging in.

Local Resources

  • APO Chapter’s constitution and bylaws (different for each chapter due to different college student activities requirement and state laws) - provided by chapter

Scouting Advisor Uniform and Non-Uniform Clothing

  • Scouter Dress Uniform with APO service pin, APO life membership pin, or APO pin jewelry. For APO semi-formal and formal occasions a recipient of APO Distinguished Service Key award(s) may wear the APO DSK award(s) suspended from a ribbon around the neck.
  • BSA field uniform with APO pin emblem patch worn as a temporary badge.
  • APO Herbert G. Horton Youth Service Award worn the same as other national Chartered Organizations Awards per the BSA guidelines. Embroider square knot: “Community Organization Award, gold knot on purple, No. 613864, Scouter.” for field uniform. Medallion on ribbon may be worn at appropriate semi-formal and formal activities.

This post updated: 2019-07-22 02:18 am PDT

Some APO News (2018-2019)

Bill W. - 2018-07-28: APO Archive web site
(For link see first post in this discussion.)

“Alpha Phi Omega is excited to share this digital archive of the Torch & Trefoil magazine, the official quarterly publication of the Fraternity. Originally named The Lightbearer , APO launched the first official issue in 1927 with nationwide chapter distribution. The publication was renamed Torch & Trefoil in 1935 … The magazine includes information on programming, chapter news and events, fraternal issues and achievements as well as all other matters pertaining to the growth and evolution of APO as the nation’s largest Greek-letter fraternity.”

This web site also includes an online copy of the APO history book.

Bill W. - 2019-01-08: 2018 Alpha Phi Omega Regional Realignment

For those Boy Scout of America councils and districts that have working relationships with Alpha Phi Omega, the Alpha Phi Omega regions have been realigned.

As a requirement of the APO National Bylaws to reevaluate chapter region alignment every six years, the National Convention has approved and implemented the realignment of the existing regions into 18 new regions, effective December 31, 2018.

Do you invite APO college students to support Scouting?

If so, what for and how? Merit badge counselors? Assistant Scoutmaster? etc,

@Bill_W, when I was a student, my APO Chapter supported big events like Camporee, and the District Derbies at the mall in February, where we were the extra hands and feet that were needed for things like setup, check in, and tear down. We also did maintenance weekends at the council camp, in exchange for a free use of the facilities that weekend.

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APO Region Volunteer Conferences 2019

APO Pledge Manual

The 2019-2020 pledge manual is now available in digital form

The Fraternity’s Pledge Education Task Force has been hard at work the past two years reviewing and updating the Fraternity’s resources available to new members. We are excited to announce the Pledge Manual received a major update as a result of their feedback, to better fit the needs of the new members and the chapters they represent.

Download the APO Pledge Manual.

APO Toast Song

The conclusion of any Alpha Phi Omega gathering is indicated through the Toast Song, a moving display of brotherhood that will be a great experience. The Toast Song is a tradition shared by members all over the world. When we gather for ceremonies, chapter events and conferences, we sing the Toast Song at the conclusion to remind each other of our shared brotherhood.

The toast song with keyboard music score for 4-part harmony may be found on page 36.

BSA Community Organization Award

Community Organization Award square knot. This square knot is available to be worn by uniformed Scouters who have been recognized for their service to Scouting youth in the community.

The concept of the Community Organization Award is similar to the adult religious recognition program in that the award itself and the criteria for granting the award is under the ownership and auspices of the particular national chartered organization which presents the award. The intent of the National Uniform and Insignia Committee is to provide a square knot for Scouters who have received a BSA accepted and authorized award from a national community organization.

Herbert G. Horton Youth Service Award (APO National Award)

APO 2019 description adapted fof BSA readers:

This award is awarded by the Alpha Phi Omega National Scouting and Youth Service Committee to an active, alumni, advisory or honorary member of Alpha Phi Omega who has made a significant contribution to the youth of their community through Scouting and/or another youth service organization and who has worked to strengthen the relationship between Alpha Phi Omega and the youth service organization at a local, regional, state and/or national level. This award is a neck medallion, lapel pin and certificate presented at a regional conference or at the National Convention.

  • 2014 description of award at US Scouting Service Project - Linked to by BSA Awards Central web page appears to be obsolete.

Post created 2019-07-21.
Post last updated: 2019-07-22 3:49 am PDT

Phyllis Churchill Tenney Excellence in Advising Award (APO Award)

This award recognizes service for exemplary advising to an individual APO chapter over a substantial period of time. Recipients are presented with the award at the biennially APO National Conventions by the APO Awards and Appreciation Reference Committee. Nominations can be submitted by active or alumni members of the advisor’s APO chapter and multiply awards may be presented.