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The Boy Scout Program
The Boy Scout Program is based on the principle that learning can be fun. Each scouting activity, and the manner in which it is organized and conducted, also has a purpose behind it – to develop Character, Fitness, Citizenship, and Leadership. We in Scouting believe that the personal and social development opportunities available through Scouting are not found in school or sports; Scouting is unique. Specific aims represent the long-term Scouting outcomes we want for every boy and form the bedrock of Scouting. To achieve the aims, specific methods are employed. The aims are the foundation of Scouting; the methods are the building blocks.
Aims of Scouting
The Boy Scout program works toward three aims.
- To Build Character – Developing the Scout’s personal qualities, values, and outlook: honesty, courage, integrity, self-reliance, self-discipline, self-confidence, and self-respect.
- To Foster Citizenship – Training the Scout on his duties, obligations, privileges, and functions as a citizen and member of his community.
- To Develop Fitness – Helping the Scout to develop physically, mentally, morally, and emotionally.
Methods of Scouting
The eight methods of the Boy Scout program are what we use to achieve the aims described above. The eight methods are:
- Ideals - The ideals of Scouting are spelled out in the Scout Oath, Law, motto, and slogan. The Scout measures himself against these ideals and continually tries to improve. The goals are high, and as he reaches for them he has some control over what he becomes. “Show Scout spirit,” a requirement for each rank advancement, means living up to these ideals.
- Patrols - The patrol method gives Scouts an experience in group living and participating citizenship. It places a certain amount of responsibility on young shoulders and teaches boys how to accept it. The patrol method allows Scouts to act in small groups where they easily can relate to each other. These small groups determine troop activities through their elected representatives.
- Outdoors - Boy Scouting is designed to take place outdoors. It is in the outdoors that Scouts share responsibilities and learn to live with each other It is here that the skills and activities practiced at troop meetings come alive with purpose.Being close to nature helps Scouts gain an appreciation for God’s handiwork and mankind’s place in it. The outdoors is the laboratory for Scouts to learn ecology and practice conservation of nature’s resources.
- Advancement - Scouting provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps to overcome them through the advancement method. The Scout plans his advancement and, by participating in the troop program, progresses as he overcomes each challenge. The Scout is rewarded for each achievement, which helps him gain self-confidence. The steps in the advancement system help a boy grow in self-reliance and the ability to help others.
- Adult Association - Boys learn from the example set by their adult leaders. Troop leadership may be male or female, and association with adults of high character is encouraged at this stage of a young man’s development.
- Personal Growth - As Scouts plan their activity and progress toward their goals, they experience personal growth. The Good Turn concept is a major part of the personal growth method of Scouting. Boys grow as they participate in community service projects and do Good Turns for others. There probably is no device so successful in developing a basis for personal growth as the daily Good Turn. The religious emblems program is also a large part of the personal growth method. Frequent conferences with his Scoutmaster help each Scout to determine his growth toward Scouting’s aims.
- Leadership Development - Boy Scouting encourages boys to learn and practice leadership skills. Every Scout has the opportunity to participate in both shared and total leadership situations, Understanding the concepts of leadership helps a boy accept the leadership roles of others and guides him toward the citizenship aim of Scouting
- Uniform - The uniform makes the Scout troop visible as a force for good and creates a positive youth image in the community. Boy Scouting is an action program, and wearing the uniform is an action that shows each Scout’s commitment to the aims and purposes of Scouting. The uniform gives the Scout identity in a world brotherhood of youth who believe in the same ideals. The uniform is practical attire for Scout activities, and provides a way for Scouts to wear the badges that show what they have accomplished.