The Otter program is still in development at the national level, but serves as an excellent introduction to Traditional Scouting for younger children. Their motto is “Busy and Bright.” The Otters are the youngest section in our Association with children joining at the age of 5 years and going to the Timberwolf program at the age of 8 (Kindergarten through 2nd grade). The Otter Section is referred to as a “Raft” (much like the Timberwolf “Pack”) and the smaller units within the Raft are referred to as “Dens”; and both boys or girls may join (with the ideal number being 6–8 per Den). Otters learn useful family skills, community skills, and learn to play safely together while introducing them to the concepts of Scouting and preparing them for the Timberwolf program.
The Otter Raft should meet as a unit at least once a month (not counting at least one day trip or service outing per month), and be led by the Raft Leader with help from Assistant Raft Leaders. The leaders may also serve as “Den Leaders” of one of the Otter Dens. Separate parents should be recruited from the group to serve as Den Leaders of the other Raft’s Dens, if more than one exists. At the Raft Meetings, the Otters can, after the opening ceremony, announcements, etc., break out into their smaller units (Dens) to work on whatever badge or project it is they’re learning at the time.
All adult leaders (SMs or ASMs) will need to register with BPSA as Rover Scouts and will need to complete a Brownsea Training Course within their first year of membership. A minimum of two registered adult leaders is required per section. Parents from the Otter Raft may step up to help lead on occasion, but they may only do so if accompanied by a registered leader (SM or ASM). These leaders will need to be of the opposite sex if the Raft or Den is co-ed.
Our Otter Handbook is geared towards the Otter Leaders and parents and is not intended to be a handbook for the Otters themselves. Leaders and parents should use this book as a guide to the program, training, and requirements when working with the Otters and putting together a program. Currently, the handbook is in a very “rough” draft format and is subject to change in the future. We welcome feedback on the handbook from those Groups choosing to implement an Otter Section to help us improve the program.
Otter Leader Handbook (PDF)
Friends of the Forest - The story on which the Canadian Beaver program is based.
A Book for Eager Beavers - The companion book to the Friends of the Forest (1972).
Cubmaster’s First Year - Great resource for new Otter Raft Leaders.