The Scouting program has three specific objectives, known as the “Aims of Scouting.” They are character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness.
- Character Development Boy Scouting works toward three aims. One is growth in moral strength and character. We may define this as what the boy is himself: his personal qualities, his values, his outlook.
- Citizenship A second aim is participating citizenship. Used broadly, citizenship means the boy’s relationship to others. He comes to learn of his obligations to other people, to the society he lives in, to the government that presides over that society. •
- Fitness A third aim of Boy Scouting is development of physical, mental, and emotional fitness. Fitness includes the body (well-tuned and healthy), the mind (able to think and solve problems), and the emotions (self-control, courage,
Scouting’s methods are designed to accomplish these aims. Thus it is important you know and use the methods of Boys Scouting.
Other methods may be good, but they will bring results quite different than we are seeking in our Aims.
The patrol method gives Boy Scouts an experience in group living and participating citizenship. It places responsibility on young shoulders and teaches boys 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.
Association with Adults
Boys 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 boys, encourage them, and take a sincere interest in them can make a profound difference in their lives.
The uniform makes the Boy 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 Boy Scout’s commitment to the aims and purposes of Scouting. The uniform gives the Boy Scout identity in a world brotherhood of youth who believe in the same ideals. The uniform is practical attire for Boy Scout activities and provides a way for Boy Scouts to wear the badges that show what they have accomplished.
The Boy Scout program encourages boys to learn and practice leadership skills. Every Boy Scout has the opportunity to participate in both shared and total leadership situations. Understanding the concepts of leadership helps a boy accept the leadership role of others and guides him toward the citizenship aim of Scouting.
The ideals of Boy Scouting are spelled out in the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Scout motto, and the Scout slogan. The Boy 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 and who he becomes. Reviewing these with the Scout, in the regular Scoutmaster conference, helps the boy focus on his own character and growth.
Boy 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 Boy Scouts gain an appreciation for God’s handiwork and humankind’s place in it. The outdoors is the laboratory for Boy Scouts to learn ecology and practice conservation of nature’s resources.
Boy Scouting provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps in overcoming them through the advancement method. The Boy Scout plans his advancement and progresses at his own pace as he meets each challenge. The Boy Scout is rewarded for each achievement, which helps him gain self-confidence. The steps in the advancement system help a Boy Scout grow in self-reliance and in the ability to help others.
As Boy 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 Boy Scouting. Boys 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 his Scoutmaster help each Boy Scout to determine his growth toward Scouting’s aims.
Brad Harris, Council Vice President for Membership, uses this mnuemonic device to remember the methods:
A dult Associaition
L eadership Development
S cout Ideals
P ersonal Growth
Use this device at the end of each troop meeting to see if you are using all eight methods. Remember there is more to Scouting than advancement, the full growth of the Scout is in jeopardy if along the Trail to the Eagle he missed the full program—the Scout may not become the man he could if all the methods were used.
Author: Darryl Alder | Strategic Initiatives Director, Utah National Parks Council, BSA