Otters (5-7 years old)

Otters practicing folding a flag.

The Otter program is designed for children ages 5 to 7 who are interested in scouting. Every meeting and activity is done with all genders together and we encourage groups to have leaders of all genders so that scouts can see adults doing the tasks of scouting together.

Otters are just starting their journey in the game of scouting and our goal is to make it fun and engaging. Children are designed to learn through play, so that is what we do. We play with them in ways that help them learn the skills of scouting.

Otter scouts should be registered with OSG and with their local group.


Otters wear red shirts, either short or long sleeves, with badges sewn right onto the shirt. This means that scout uniforms are clothes, meant to be worn and washed. Getting outside, hiking, camping, and playing are dirty work, so our uniforms are practical and affordable. You can purchase uniforms and badges through our Quartermaster Store.

Earning Badges

Otters roasting marshmallows on a camping trip.

What about badges? The otter program offers a short set of badges that scouts can earn for participating in community service projects and learning scouting skills. This level offers a limited number of badges that generally take several meetings to earn. This is because we want our otters to see that scouting is more than just earning badges.

Otter programs participate in a wide range of activities that have nothing to do with badges and everything to do with learning and scouting. Reducing the emphasis on badges means that leaders can take advantage of local opportunities and help their scouts try out scouting activities without worrying about developing enough skills to earn a badge. In many groups, this means that otters tag along on events planned for older scouts, but get to participate at an age-appropriate level. They observe the older scouts and can look forward to when they will be big enough to do things on their own.

Swimming Up

Swimming up is what we call it when a scout moves from Otters to Timberwolves. Some groups move scouts up to another level on their birthday, while other groups prefer to have a ceremony at the end of the school year to move up a cohort together.

You can ask your Group Scoutmaster which one your group participates in.


The Otter Field guide, or handbook, is available for purchase through our Quartermaster or to download as a PDF.
There are additional leader resources available at