Scouts BSA works toward three aims. One is growth in moral strength and character. Character can be defined as the collection of core values by an individual that leads to moral commitment and action, and encompasses a scout’s personal qualities, values, and outlook.
A second aim is participating citizenship. Used broadly, citizenship means the scouts’s relationship to others. They come to learn of their obligations to other people, to the society they live in, and to the government that presides over that society.
A third aim of Scouts BSA 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, and self-respect).
The methods are designed to accomplish the aims. Thus it is important that you know and use the methods Scouts BSA. Other methods are good, but they may bring different results—results quite different than the Scouting Movement is seeking
The ideals of Scouting are spelled out in the Scout Oath and Law, motto, and slogan. The Scout measures them self against these ideals and continually tries to improve. The goals are high, and as they reach for them, they have some control over what they become. ‘‘Show Scout spirit,’’ a requirement for rank advancement, means living up to these ideals.
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 Scouts how to accept it. The patrol method allows Scouts to act in small groups where they can easily relate to each other. These small groups determine troop activities through their elected representatives.
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 humankind’s place in it. The outdoors is the laboratory for Scouts to learn ecology and practice conservation of nature’s resources.
Scouting provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps to overcome them through the advancement method. The Scout plans their advancement and, by participating in the troop program, progresses as they overcome each challenge. The Scout is rewarded for each achievement, which helps them gain self confidence. The steps in the advancement system help them grow in self-reliance and the ability to help others.
Scouts learn from the example set by their adult leaders. An association with adults of high character is encouraged at this stage of a young scout’s development.
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. Scouts 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 their Scoutmaster help each Scout to determine their growth toward Scouting’s aims.
The Scouts BSA 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 helps a Scout accept the leadership roles of others and guides them toward the citizenship aim of Scouting.
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.