John Larson (jlarson@SPNT.COM)
Sat, 4 Oct 1997 18:11:05 -0500
--- On Fri, 3 Oct 1997 23:16:37 -0400 Jeff Claggett
> First compared to what? The Youth and the program come first in my book.
> Uniforms take a very very distant back burner.
---------------End of Original Message-----------------
The Youth does not come first. He is central - the *focus* of our intention.
What comes First is our Intention, or Aim. Our *intention* is to help him
become a citizen of good character, personally fit and capable of providing
leadership in our society.
We achieve this multi-facet Aim by a Program that is itself multi-facet.
These facets are called the Methods of Scouting, and they are the tools we
use to build character. They are not the materials, but the tools.
The Methods are:
1. The Ideals - The Scout Oath and Law spell out the definition of
character that we hold in high esteem. As Scouts live in the Scouting
environment, they should take on these characteristics as a part of their
2. The Uniform - a reminder that, though we are all individuals, we are a
part of a larger whole. The uniform helps instill pride in membership, as
well as providing a functional way to display various
3. The Patrol Method - a fully-functional small group and concept in which
Scouts learn citizenship, teamwork, leadership, sportsmanship, planning,
winning, and losing.
4. The Outdoors - where the laboratory of the unknown reinforces
self-confidence, the need to learn skills well, a deeper understanding of
our place in the Universe, and, by the way, how to do neat outdoor stuff.
5. The Adult Role Model - the adult leadership of the Troop should reflect
the same character as we want our Scouts to achieve. The adults should be a
visible part of the Scouts' lives, and they should model the behavior
outlined in the Ideals.
6. The Advancement Plan - a planned series of activities and expectations
that have badges associated with them. The badges are the *result* of the
objective - mastering new knowledge, skills, and attitudes - not *the*
7. Leadership Development - Through participation in day-to-day Patrol and
Troop activities, and through pursuit of various advancement objectives, a
Scout is put into positions of leadership and tested in a supportive
environment. Leadership isn't taught
, it is practiced. We allow Scouts to practice leadership with adult
guidance and oversight. Adults do not abdicate leadership responsibility,
but thoughtfully allow Scouts to practice leading themselves.
8. Personal Growth - This is the overall program objective of the Boy
Scouts of America. Scouts grow in character by practicing traits of
character. We provide opportunities to demonstrate and then improve
character. Leaders don't make the way easy, they
make the way challenging but not overwhelming. By reaching to master the
next challenge, boys become men.
Now, in the context of the Program or the Methods (which are the tools we
use to build character), Troop leadership - Youth and Adult alike - plans
day-to-day activities incorporating and balancing each of these 8 Methods.
The Uniform is hardly a distant back burner, but rather a solid central
ingredient. We go outdoors, we stress the Ideals, we maintain Patrol
integrity, we recruit and train adult leaders of good character, we manage
personal growth through advancement and
through adult expectations, and we expect Scouts to learn to lead
themselves. These are the What-we-do's.
But always, always, always, our objective is to build character in boys and
young men. Frequently, that requires that a young man abandon his personal
desires and do something he doesn't want to do. It might mean wearing a
different Council Shoulder Patch
, or combing his hair, or removing an earring, or overcoming his fears and
learning how to swim, or clearing up his behavior and becoming a welcomed
part of the group, or putting his video games away for a day and going on a
Building character is a full-time job, and it is our First job.
Remember our focus.
Cascade Pacific Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City