Otters are scouts ages 5-7 years old. They play games, make crafts, and learn about nature and being helpful to others.

The Otter motto is “Busy and bright.”

Otter Uniform

The Otter Uniform is a red tee-shirt (either short or long sleeves) with the group necker. Otters also wear a red baseball cap.

The Otter investiture badge goes on the left side with the Inclusivity badge above it. On the right is the WFIS badge.

The paw badges go on the right arm under the Group Name badge. The Safety badge, Camping and Guide badge go on the left.

The uniform, hat, and badges can all be ordered from the BPSA Quartermaster.

Field Guide for Otters

The Otter program has a Field Guide, which is a small book meant to be used and filled in by the scout. It can be printed as a booklet, folded in half and stapled down the middle to make a small booklet for each scout to carry, reference, and write in. There is space for the scout to take notes and draw pictures as well as keep track of their own status on earning badges. So it is a good idea for each child to have a copy.

Some groups have a copy for each Otter that the Otter Leader keeps with the group supplies, handing them out at the start of a meeting and taking back up at the end of the meeting. This way the scouts and their families are not responsible for remembering to bring it to each meeting.

You can order printed copies from Lulu.com.

Otter Leader Guide and Supplementary Resources

There are a few different documents that could be clasified as “Leader Guides” for the Otter program. Each are listed below with some discussion of how or why you would use them. In general, it is a good idea to review all of these documents as they do have some different information about how to lead Otters and provide different ideas. They all have value in the program for different reasons.

The Original Otter Leader Handbook – This is the old handbook that was replaced by the Field Guide above. It includes information about the structure of an Otter Raft, investiture and swimming up to Timberwolves. But the badge information is obsolete. The badge requirements were modified with the publication of the Field Guide.

Ideas for Otter Leaders is a book that was put together by a Rover from the 39th Cypress to help Otter Leaders. It includes a lot of great information about how to structure meetings and how to set an overarching plan for your scout year. There are also embedded resources and explanations for each badge requirement.

The Field Guide includes a section called “Friends of the Forest“. This is a little story that should be read to the children to help them learn about the Otter Motto and Law. It is linked here as a separate document in case you find that helpful.

Our friends in the 64th Brandywine (a group in the North East region), put together this Otter Investiture Quick Reference Card. You might find it handy to print out and laminate so you can have the motto, law and promise easily at hand.

This is the script for the Swimming Up Ceremony. This is also in the Ideas for Otter Leaders document above, but it can be handy to have as a separate document.

Fun and Games

A bit part of scouting is learning through games. Particularly with Otters. Games are incorporated into meetings as a way to get the kids up and moving between crafts or story time activities while reinforcing scout skills and how to be part of a team.

This document includes a lot of great ideas for games to play with Otters. Most are quick games that don’t require a lot of materials or set up time. Some, like obstacle courses, do require more preparation. This should be a good starting point if you are looking for ideas of how to add more fun to your Otter Meetings.

Kim’s Game is a traditional scout game that helps build observational skills. It is a requirement for the Red Paw. This document explains how to play this game with the Otters.

Another great game for Otters is an Obstacle Course. This is a requirement for the Blue Paw and this document has some great ideas to get you started.

Knots are another traditional scouting activity, and some folks would even call them fun 😉 This simple guide has great info about different knots and general knot terminology and will be a great help for the Tan Paw.

Sometimes it is helpful to have the kids color something while you read them a story or talk about something. Or just to break up a meeting. These coloring sheets are great to use with the Otters.

Sing Along Time

Singing is a scouting tradition, whether it is around the campfire or during a hike. There are a few songs specifically for Otters that you may find cute to incorporate into your adventures.

Otters On A Cedar Log

This is the Otter theme song. It is very cute to have them all sing along with this while actually sitting on a log for their campfire song.

Here we sit like Otters on a Cedar log,
Otters on a Cedar log,
Otters on a Cedar log,
Here we sit like Otters on a Cedar log,
Waiting for the fun to start,
Waiting for the fun to start,
Waiting for the fun to start,
Here we sit like Otters on a Cedar log
waiting for The fun to start. YEAH!!!!

Otter Jodies

This is a hiking thing. One person says or sings a line and then the Otters or hikers repeat it. It’s a way of keeping everyone in sync during a hike.

Otters, Otters what do you know?
Busy and Bright is the way to go.

Otters, Otters what do you like?
Any adventure with a hike!

Otters, Otters what do you see?
All my Otter Scouts hiking with me!

Otters, Otters what’s in your pack?
Our ten essentials and a tasty snack!

Otters, Otters what do you do?
Render service to my crew.

Otters, Otters what’s in that stew?
Peas and carrots and Timberwolves too!

Here are a few songs that are great for closing out a meeting.

Taps

Day is done, (stand motionless)

Gone the sun,

From the lake, (Extend both arms towards ground)

From the hills, (raise arms parallel to floor)

From the sky, (raise both arms towards sky)

All is well, safely rest, (lower arms slowly)

Friends are nigh. (bow head)

Vespers

Softly falls the light of day
As our meeting fades away;
Silently each Otter asks
Have I done my daily task?
Have I kept my honor bright?
Can I guiltless rest tonight?
Have I done and have I dared,
Everything to ‘Be Prepared’

Articles from Around the Region

If you are looking for more tips and ideas for how to run an Otter Raft, there are some great blog posts on this site that can help you out.