What Is Boy Scouts?
Lord Robert Baden-Powell began Scouting in Great Britain in 1907 and was immediately successful in attracting boys and adult leaders to its adventurous and fun outdoor program. In addition to teaching boys outdoor skills and teamwork, boys learned responsibility, character, and the need to do good for others. Several years later, in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America was incorporated to provide a program for community organizations that offers effective character, citizenship and personnel fitness training for youth. Over 100 years later, Scouting is one of the largest youth organizations in the world.
The Boy Scout program is for boys ages 11-17. Members join a Boy Scout Troop and are assigned to a patrol, usually a neighborhood group of six to eight boys, similar to a Cub Scout Den. Troops and their patrols meet weekly, practicing skills, playing games, and learning to plan and manage for themselves as the boys help organize outings, such as hikes, campouts, and outdoor trips, and other activities.
The role of the Scoutmaster and his staff of adult leaders is to coach the boys in developing leadership skills, thinking through problems and tasks, and learning how to work and play together as a team. The Troop Committee includes parents of boys in the Troop and members of the chartered organization.
The Purposes of Boy Scouting
Specifically, the BSA endeavors to help boys develop into American citizens who:
- Are physically, mentally and emotionally fit
- Have high degree of self-reliance as evidenced in such qualities as initiative, courage and resourcefulness
- Have personal values based on religious concepts
- Have the desire and skills to help others
- Understand the principle of the American social, economic and governmental systems
- Are knowledgeable about and take pride in their American heritage and understand our nation's role in the world
- Have a keen respect for the basic rights of all people
- Are prepared to participate in and give leadership to American society.
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 as 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.
The Boy Scout Oath
On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country,
And to obey the Scout Law,
To help other people at all times
To keep myself physically strong,
Mentally awake, and morally straight
The Boy Scout Motto
The Scout Law
A Scout is:
Long after a young man matures and grows into adulthood, the imprint of Scouting and what he learned and experienced in the program will stay with him. There are tons of stories about how Eagle Scouts frequently can be found in positions of leadership in their communities, churches, companies, and even in military service. But the fact of the matter is that even if a boy only gets as far as Tenderfoot, years later he will more than likely remember the Scout oath and the words "On my honor...", remember the name of the summer camp he went to, and the names of his patrol mates - even when he can't remember the date of his own wedding anniversary. Scouting soaks into the very core of the people who get involved in it because it gives meaning to Honor, Friendship, Trust, Faith, and all the other things that form us and sustain us as individuals. So even when a man stands hunched over his cane and his knurled fingers have to be willed to form the Scout sign, it's no surprise that many will say with a choked voice of pride packed with memories, "I remember...". And we're all better for it.