Scouting Forums

BALOO Requirement

My DE has told us that the BALOO requirement can be covered by a leader with IOLS for a pack overnighter. I can’t find anything that confirms this or prohibits it explicitly. I am BALOO trained, but there was a campout that my Pack went on without me and there was a leader that had IOLS that camped.

BTW, everyone made it back intact and the world did not implode. They also had a lot of fun and ate well.

That is interesting to hear. Our current cubmaster took over the role to help out the charter org while looking for someone to step up (me) and was told he needed BALOO training even though he already had IOLS from the troop where he ASM’d. I ended up doing BALOO at the same time and they covered a lot of the same stuff (according to him).

The thing is, BALOO targets things differently. In Scouts BSA you have a different mentality, scouts are in charge and need to step up etc. With Cubs the focus is on what the leaders can do to give them the best experience… even if it means cancelling because its raining really bad or changing activities etc. You know this, lol, you have BALOO already.

I think, if your DE says its ok, and the IOLS leader understands the differences between the two programs… it shouldn’t be a problem.

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@DrewQ I think you are right to question what your DE has said. There is no written exception to having a BALOO trained adult anywhere I’ve ever seen.

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There will be some overlap, but one of the purposes of BALOO is to familiarize Cub Scout leaders with the BSA’s camping policies for packs. IOLS is not designed for packs and would not cover this information. It is also about the experience, as Marie said above.

Keep in mind, also, that councils can set some of their own policies in a committee. So this could have been raised in the past and someone decided it was acceptable on a case by case basis or something.

I will re-examine this with my DE. I was not sure if it was an unwritten rule. Thank you.

I don’t think councils can set more lenient standards than National, only more strict.


in certain things that is true. Such as advancement and exceptions for requirements. Councils cannot even make advancement exceptions for scouts with special needs, it has to go through National. That being said, for certain policies councils have some autonomy (as far as I understand) for example. Councils can choose which sorts of religious awards they wish to recognize, especially where there is controversy. Similar to the idea that the charter organization can decide whether they are ok with Girls joining their packs or scouts who are gay etc. There is precedent for the council to have made a decision about something like this.

All in all, its good to hunt down an answer so you know what to do in the future, but its not really an emergency, you know?

This is a different situation, though. Training is one thing, but the BSA’s Guide to Safe Scouting also says that BALOO is required.

What’s done is done, but in the future I would err on the side of caution when safety and insurance issues are involved. If the DE says that there is an exception, ask the DE to show you the council’s exception and policy in writing.

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I agree with @JenniferOlinger. Safety is one area where a council cannot deviate on the lenient side.

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I don’t disagree with @JenniferOlinger, but in this situation the person has outdoor leader training. Though it may not be BALOO, it is a BSA outdoor leader training program that covers many of the same things. Specifically in regards to Safety. I wouldn’t be surprised, and now I’m very curious about the answer, if the council said it was cool with them.

I have contacted my DE via email and will let you know what their response is.

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The question I would have is: is this an actual council policy exception (if so, then it should be written somewhere) or was it a judgement call made by the DE. You would want to make sure that you are covered in case something happens, for insurance purposes. If the council has a written policy exception, then you are more likely to be covered than the judgement call situation.


Yes, the person has outdoor leader training, but not the outdoor leader training the BSA requires for Cub Scout overnighters.

It’s like saying it’s OK for you to drive a motorcycle because you have an operators license… Different experiences = different requirements.

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BALOO came out around 2003 or 2004, and it became a requirement around 2006. At the time, IOLS was about five years old, having replaced the outdoor sessions of what was called Scoutmastership Fundamentals in 2001. The indoor sessions of Scoutmastership Fundamentals were replaced by Scoutsmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster Leader Specific Training.

When BALOO became required, there were many long-time Scouters who had completed Scoutmastership Fundamentals and more recent vintage Scouters who had taken IOLS who flocked to BALOO courses in order to comply. No exceptions were permitted. I know a gentleman who took BALOO in September 2006, who had been a Cub Scout volunteer leader for roughly 40 years by that time. (He’s still active.)

It is hard to imagine that a council can waive a requirement that is stated in the Guide to Safe Scouting with such specificity. Even if it were true, I’m a believer in applying best practices whenever possible. It seems the best practice for a pack is to make sure there is a BALOO-trained adult on the outing. If something goes wrong, who wants to explain to a very upset parent (and maybe a jury) why this safety guideline was not taken seriously?


Has anyone else seen BALOO done in a single day? Same amount of activities and overall hours, just not overnight, one long day.

I thought overnight was now required

The new BALOO syllabus requires an overnight camping experience.

Thanks. Do you know where in the syllabus I can reference that?

On page 15 of the syllabus, the staff is directed to “Assign camping spots by den.” Presumably, if it was contemplated that the participants might not be camping, it would have said, “If the participants will be camping overnight, assign camping spots by den.”

On page 17 of the syllabus, it says, “Participants should have settled into their campsites before coming to this session.” Again, it could have said, “Participants who are camping overnight should have settled…”

The overall tone of the syllabus assumes the participants are camping overnight. That includes the sample schedule. The syllabus does say that the sample schedule does not need to be followed as long as all session are presented. Of course, sleeping is not identified as a session. That would be an argument that you could squeeze the course into a single day. But, in my opinion, it is a weak argument and does not overcome the things it says on pages 15 and 17.

The sample agenda has two morning and one evening flag ceremonies. It is difficult to tell whether these are “sessions”, but the three flag ceremonies would be difficult to squeeze into a single day. You might find yourself doing the second flag raising in the dark.

The BALOO schedule is very tight with overnight camping. Trying to get it done in a single day might create unnecessary health and safety risks, Is it really a good idea to get participants to show up for the course at 7 am having already eaten breakfast, make them skip dinner and then send them home at about 10 pm? Will they be ok to drive after such a long day?

It strikes me as odd that there might be people who would want to get trained to take Cub Scouts camping but oppose camping overnight themselves as part of the process of that training. I feel as though the participants would be cheated of the full experience, if they took BALOO and didn’t camp overnight.

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