To further its objectives of extending membership privileges to citizens of the United States in other parts of the world, the Boy Scouts of America authorizes the registration of youth members and leaders and the establishment of units in areas lying outside of the jurisdiction of any local council. To foster and strengthen the close and friendly relationship that exists between the Boy Scouts of America and other Scout Associations, members and leaders of units will work in close harmony with their fellow Scouts and Scouters in the area. ...(Article XIII, Section 2, Clauses 1 and 2 of the Charter and Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America)
The purpose of Direct Service is to make the Scouting program available to United States citizens and their dependents living in countries outside the jurisdiction of the Transatlantic Council (headquartered in Germany, serving U.S. Scouts in most of Europe) and the Far East Council (headquartered in Japan, serving several Far East nations).
Direct Service is administered by the International Department of the Boy Scouts of America at the organization’s national office in Irving, Texas. It provides some of the same services that a local council provides - processing registration and magazine subscriptions, maintaining records, approving advancements, processing supply orders, organizing national and world jamboree participation, operating an Order of the Arrow Lodge, and providing information and program resources. Terry Meyers serves as the Direct Service Administrator.
Approximately 2,500 youth members and 900 adult leaders belong to Direct Service units or are registered as Lone Scouts in isolated areas of the world. Primarily, Direct Service members are the dependents of international businesspeople, diplomatic corps officials, and U.S. military personnel. Direct Service serves more than 100 Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Varsity Scout teams, and Venturing Crews in more than 40 countries on five continents.
Currently, the following countries have one or more Scouting units registered through Direct Service:
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Hong Kong
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- Trinidad & Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
The meetings and activities of Direct Service units are basically the same as those units in the United States. Minor modifications are sometimes necessary because of circumstances that occur when living in another country. These modifications often lead to cooperative efforts between the BSA members and Scouts of other associations who attend joint Scouting activities such as jamborees, rallies, community projects, and other events.
The chartered organizations of Direct Service units include American schools and churches, international schools, U.S. embassies, multinational corporations, parents' groups, and fraternal organizations.
The Gamenowinink Lodge No. 555, WWW (meaning, in the language of the Lenni Lenape, "On the other side of the Great Sea"), is under the supervision and administration of International Department. The lodge averages two hundred members.
Scouting awards are presented as in any local council, including the Silver Beaver Award and the District Award of Merit. All nominations are reviewed by the BSA's International committee.
Direct Service units organize their own activities to earn money for special programs, equipment, and service projects.
Communication between International Department and its Direct Service units is by mail, fax, e-mail, and telephone. Unit leaders receive mailings containing special information.
Some areas around the world that are serviced by the BSA overseas councils include:
Serving Japan, Korea, Philippines, Republic of China (Taiwan), Ryukyu Islands, Singapore, and Thailand
Austria, Azores, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Morocco, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and Wales
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