Welcome! This forum has a treasure trove of great info – Scouters helping Scouters! Just a heads up, though - all content, information, and opinions shared on this forum are those of the author, not the BSA.

Scouting Forums

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

Scouting magazine


Created: 2019-06-30; Post 1 updated 2021-05-09

1 Like

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)

1 Like

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)
  • approved by the APO chapter to serve on its advisory committee
  • 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.


Adopted by the 1967 Alpha Phi Omega National Constitutional Convention, As amended through the 2016 National Convention, published in the National Bylaws and Standard Chapter Articles of Association, Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, Spring 2019 (published biennially)
© copyright 2019 Alpha Phi Omega. Extracts pertaining to advisors:

SECTION 5. ADVISORY MEMBERSHIP. Advisory membership may be conferred upon persons approved by the chapter to serve on the advisory committee and whose chapter has completed the necessary forms and submitted them to the National Office. Those advisory members who have not previously held active or advisory membership shall be initiated according to the official Initiation Ritual of the Fraternity. Advisory members shall have all rights and privileges of active membership except those of voting within a chapter at meetings other than those of the Chapter Advisory Committee, directing the supervision of pledges or new members, and directing the establishment of pledge or new member or active membership programs and policies. Individuals who previously held advisory membership and whose advisory membership status concluded for any reason, may be reinstated to advisory membership in accordance with any provisions adopted by the chapter. The reinstatement to advisory membership will only be completed once the chapter notifies the National Office of the change in membership status and transmits to the National Office a certification from the individual acknowledging their agreement with this change in their membership status.

This chapter shall have an Executive Committee. ,. The Chair of the Advisory Committee shall serve as a non-voting member of the Executive Committee.

SECTION 1. This chapter shall have an advisory committee consisting of four or more advisors including, at minimum, two advisors from the faculty, administration or staff of this educational institution, one advisor representing scouting or other youth services, and one advisor from the community. One of the advisors shall be elected by the chapter as the Chair of the Advisory Committee and shall serve on the chapter’s Executive Committee.
SECTION 2. Chapter advisors shall work with the chapter officers and chapter members to help them to understand and comply with all procedures, policies, and regulations of the National Fraternity, and the educational institution, as well as regulations and laws of the local, county, state, and federal government.
SECTION 3. The Chair of the Advisory Committee shall maintain communications with the section, region and national levels of the Fraternity with regards to information that is pertinent to the chapter’s good standing and active participation in Fraternity activities.

… The officers of this chapter shall submit the required advisor registration form within ten days of adding an advisor to the advisory committee. No fees are required for advisory members. …

Risk Management (2019)

Extract from THE STANDARD POLICY OF RISK MANAGEMENT, Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, published in the National Bylaws and Standard Chapter Articles of Association, Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, Spring 2019 (published biennially)
© copyright 2019 Alpha Phi Omega, p. 43

Advisors and alumni serving Alpha Phi Omega on behalf of their employer or respective volunteer agency (educational institution, youth service organization, etc.) will do so in accordance with the policies of said entity, including but not limited to risk management and personal liability. Advisors and alumni shall adhere to the provisions of this and all applicable policies of the Fraternity when engaging in Fraternity-related activities. Advisors and alumni shall recognize the appropriate authority of elected or appointed officers, representatives or employees of the Fraternity in questions of policy and shall not engage in activities designed to circumvent Fraternity policies.

Membership policy pertaining to advisor’s role (2019)

Extract from Alpha Phi Omega MEMBERSHIP POLICY, Article III, Section I, published in the National Bylaws and Standard Chapter Articles of Association, Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, Spring 2019 (published biennially), © copyright 2019 Alpha Phi Omega.

I. Advisory, honorary and alumni members of Alpha Phi Omega participate in supporting, but not dominating, roles to active chapters, enabling the active chapters to fulfill the purpose of Alpha Phi Omega. It, therefore, is not the function of members other than active brothers to direct the supervision of pledges or new members or to direct the establishment of pledge or new member or active member programs and policies in any chapter.

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: 2019-07-23 11:44 am PDT

1 Like

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.

1 Like

Do you invite APO college students to support Scouting?

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

1 Like

@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.


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.

1 Like

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.

Alpha Phi Omega Herbert G. Horton Service to Youth Award

Some parts of this award’s description and requirements may be
© Copyright 2017. Alpha Phi Omega.

2019 summary description APO Awards web page adapted for 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.

Applications (nominations) may be submitted by Alpha Phi Omega active chapters, recognized alumni associations, chapter advisors, alumni volunteers, or elected officers at the national, regional or sectional level. Application procedures and fee information are included on the APO application web page.

Extracts from online application page (July 2019)

Herbert G. Horton National Service to Youth Award

In February 2004, the Alpha Phi Omega National Board of Directors established the Alpha Phi Omega Herbert G. Horton Service to Youth Award. Named after Herbert G. Horton, the Easton, Pennsylvania Scout Executive who first introduced APO founder Frank Reed Horton to Scouting, the award seeks to recognize brothers of the Fraternity who made significant contributions to the youth of their communities by volunteering in the programs of nationally recognized youth service organizations and promoting the relationship between those organizations and Alpha Phi Omega.

(In APO the term “brothers” refers to both female and male members of APO.)

Qualification Guidelines

To be considered for this award an individual must:

  1. Be an active, alumnus, advisory, or honorary brother of Alpha Phi Omega in good standing.
  2. Be a currently registered member of the youth service organization where they are seeking to promote the relationship with Alpha Phi Omega (i.e., Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the United States of America, Camp Fire USA, 4-H, etc.)
  3. Be currently active with the youth service organization. Specific examples include: BSA: Active with a Cub Scout pack, Boy Scout troop, Venturing crew, other BSA unit, local council, or the national organization. GSUSA: Active with a Girl Scout troop or group, local council, or with the national organization. Camp Fire USA: Active with a Camp Fire club, local council, or with the national organization. 4-H: Active with events and activities at the local, regional, state or national level.
  4. Have displayed, through their activities with the youth service program, the principles and values of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity.
  5. Have displayed outstanding dedication to the principles and values embodied within the youth service program they serve, such as, the Boy Scout Oath and Law (BSA); the Girl Scout Promise and Girl Scout Law (GSUSA); the Camp Fire USA Mission and Camp Fire USA Core Values (Camp Fire USA); and the 4-H Council Mission (4-H).
  6. Display outstanding dedication to the furtherance of a relationship between Alpha Phi Omega and the youth service organization at a local, regional, state and/or national level.

Activity Record of Candidate

Give a narrative of the pertinent facts: dates, offices held, results, training completed, etc. Focus should be on how the individual worked to develop and/or strengthen the relationship between APO and the noted youth service organization. If more space is needed, feel free to attach extra sheets to this application

A. Provide information on the candidate’s activities to positively support the development of a relationship between Alpha Phi Omega and the identified youth service organization.
B. Provide information on the candidate’s activities within Alpha Phi Omega at the chapter, alumni, sectional, regional and national levels. (At least one, but not more than five)
C. Provide information on the candidate’s activities within the identified youth service organization. (At least one, but not more than five)
D. Provide other information on the candidate that, in your opinion, supports the basis for the candidate’s selection to receive the Alpha Phi Omega Herbert G. Horton Service to Youth Award. (At least one, but not more than five)

Post created 2019-07-21.
Post last updated: 2019-07-23 09:47 am PDT

1 Like

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.


Training for Alpha Phi Omega Advisors?

The current place to start is to read the APO Advisor Orientation Guide

APO has a leadership development program. APO IMPACT is Alpha Phi Omega’s existing national training program to give chapter leaders and alumni volunteers the skills needed to run healthier and more productive chapters and committees.

APO is expected to have graduate training for advisors in the future as part of their Volunteer University. Online courses appear to be planned or under development.

APO Volunteer University (VU)

APO Volunteer University is the Fraternity’s NEW graduate school designed especially for alumni and volunteers. The program is broken down into eight colleges or tracks, each aimed at the needs of various volunteers within the Fraternity.

Complete five courses in any track to complete the track and receive recognition (a frame-able certificate, recognition in the T&T and an announcement to your sectional chair and regional chair). Each track will have 5-8 courses/workshops from which to choose.


  • Essentials of APO Volunteering
  • Advising

Additional tracks are listed at the Alpha Phi Omega Volunteer University web page.

Some of these courses are existing APO IMPACT courses. Others are developed as face-to-face workshops that can be delivered at a sectional or regional APO conference.

The APO National Volunteer Conference (NVC) is also a great place to complete a track.

Eventually, most of the workshops will be converted to online courses to make them as accessible as possible to the entire volunteer population.

Post created: 2019-07-27

1 Like

Last chance to sign-up for APO Region A & B Volunteer Conference, Berkeley, CA, on 10 August 2019

August 1st is last day to sign-up for this training conference that is open to Faculty and Scouting Advisors to APO and APO alumni. For registration information see post 7 in this discussion topic.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 7 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.