Purpose of Scouting
Purpose for the Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated to provide a program opportunity for community organizations that offers effective character, citizenship, and personal fitness training for youth.
Who Can Join
Boy Scouting, one of four membership divisions of the BSA (the others are Cub Scouting, Venture, and Learning for Life/Exploring), is available to boys who have earned the Arrow of Light Award or have completed the fifth grade, or who are 11 through 17 years old, and subscribe to the Scout Oath and Law. The program achieves the BSA’s objectives of developing character, citizenship, and personal fitness qualities among youth by focusing on a vigorous program of outdoor activities.
Aims and Methods of the Scouting Program
The Scouting program has three specific objectives, commonly referred to as the ”Aims of Scouting.” They are:
- Character Development
- Citizenship Training
- Personal Fitness
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.
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.
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. Boy Scouts get away from it all! They camp, hike, and fish in the great outdoors. 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 concept 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.
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 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 Greater Los Angeles Area Council operates several scout camps.
The National Council operates high-adventure programs at Philmont Scout Ranch, New Mexico; Northern Tier National High Adventure Programs, Minnesota and Canada; and Florida National High Adventure Sea Base.
The BSA conducts a national Scout jamboree, held every four years at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, and participates in World Scout jamborees (also held at four-year intervals).