Information: CITIZENSHIP

Citizenship Information Troop Meetings Main Event

Related Advancement

  • Tenderfoot Citizenship requirements
  • Second Class requirements 8a, 8b, 8e
  • First Class Citizenship requirements
  • Citizenship in the Community merit badge
  • Citizenship in the Nation merit badge
  • Citizenship in the World merit badge


Branches of Government – The United States government has three branches. The legislative branch, which includes the Senate and House of Representatives, makes the laws. The executive branch, which includes the president, the cabinet, and various departments and agencies, is charged with enforcing and administering laws. The judicial branch, which includes the courts (the most significant of which is the Supreme Court), interprets and applies the laws. These three branches work together to make the government function properly. State and local governments—and even nonprofit organizations—often use a similar three-branch structure for their own governance.

Bill a Law

FoundingFathersChecks and Balances – To make sure that one branch of the government does not become too powerful, a system of checks and balances exists in our country. This system allows for each branch of the government to “check” the others, keeping the power of each branch balanced with the others. Some people think the president has the most power in the government, but that is not true. Each branch is equally powerful and can call for a “check” on another branch at any time if it considers the actions of another branch unconstitutional.


COMMUNITY SERVICE – Community service is a selfless act that benefits the people or area around you, and it is a key part of the Scouting program. Various advancement requirements involve doing community service, giving back to an organization, or completing a project for your neighborhood. Think about all of the community service hours you have completed thus far in your Scouting career—you probably have a lot! Community service shows that you care about others and are willing to help. Giving back and taking care of your community is part of being a good citizen. Don’t take for granted the democracy and freedoms we have in this country—community service is an effective way to show appreciation for the gifts of citizenship, freedom, and democracy we all enjoy as Americans.

Staying Nonpartisan – We live in an age when political parties and outside groups seek to gain political advantage over even the smallest issues. Scouting remains strictly nonpartisan, however. As you discuss government and citizenship, it is important to focus on the process and not the politics. Keep in mind that everyone in your unit doesn’t necessarily share the same political views.

Read Policy on Scout Participation at Political Events.

GO ON THE ROAD – This program feature offers great opportunities to take your program on the road. Rather than holding weekly meetings at your regular meeting place, hold them at city hall, the local courthouse, or another government facility. If possible, involve elected representatives or other government officials in teaching.

Resources and References

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Citizenship Information Troop Meetings Main Event