What is Scouting About?
The goal of Scouting is to train youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, and educational programs. For younger members, the Scout method is part of the program to instill typical Scouting values such as trustworthiness, good citizenship, and outdoors skills, through a variety of activities such as camping, aquatics, and hiking.
The Scouting program has specific objectives, commonly referred to as the “Aims of Scouting.” They are character development, leadership development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. Leadership development is also one of Scoutings eight methods contributing to both good character and good citizenship.
The methods by which the aims are achieved are listed below in random order to emphasize the equal importance of each.
Ideals – The ideals of Scouting are spelled out in the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Scout motto, and the Scout slogan. The Scout measures themselves against these ideals and continually tries to improve. The goals are high, and, as they reach for them, they have some control over what and who they become.
Patrols – The patrol method gives Scouts an experience in group living and participating citizenship. It places responsibility on young shoulders and teaches Scouts how to accept it. The patrol method allows Scouts to interact in small groups where they can easily relate to each other. These small groups determine troop activities through their elected representatives.
Outdoor Programs – Scouting is designed to take place outdoors. It is in the outdoor setting that Scouts share responsibilities and learn to live with one another. 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 humankind’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 in overcoming them through the advancement method. The Scout plans their advancement and progresses at their own pace as they meet each challenge. The Scout is rewarded for each achievement, which helps them gain self-confidence. The steps in the advancement system help a Scout grow in self-reliance and in the ability to help others.
Association with Adults – Scouts learn a great deal by watching how adults conduct themselves. Scout leaders can be positive role models for the members of their troops. In many cases a Scoutmaster who is willing to listen to the Scouts, encourage them, and take a sincere interest in them can make a profound difference in their lives.
Personal Growth – As Scouts plan their activities and progress toward their goals, they experience personal growth. The Good Turn concept is a major part of the personal growth method of Scouting. Young people grow as they participate in community service projects and do Good Turns for others. Probably no device is so successful in developing a basis for personal growth as the daily Good Turn. The religious emblems program also is a large part of the personal growth method. Frequent personal conferences with their Scoutmaster help each Scout to determine their growth toward Scouting’s aims.
Leadership Development – The Scouting program encourages Scouts 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 and becoming a servant leader helps a Scout accept the leadership role of others and guides them towards participating citizenship and character development.
Uniform – The uniform makes the Scout troop visible as a force for good and creates a positive youth image in the community. 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.