Participating in the Troop activities along with your son can be a rich and rewarding experience. We hope you will consider such participation and we look forward to meeting and working with you in the future.
The following is taken directly from the BSA National Web Site:
The Scouting program has three aims or purposes: character development, citizenship training, and physical and mental fitness. What makes Boy Scouting unique is that it has eight methods it uses to achieve those aims. Those eight methods define Boy Scouting and show how it is different from other programs.
Ideals — 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.
Patrol Method — Patrols are small groups of Scouts who camp together, cook together, play together, and learn together. Patrols are where Scouts learn citizenship at the most basic level. They also take on responsibilities within the Patrol, and learn teamwork and leadership. Patrols sort of look like Cub Scout dens, but there is one big difference: Patrols elect their own leaders, and through these patrol leaders, Scouts have a voice in deciding what activities the troop will put on its calendar. Patrols are one component of what we call youth-run, or youth-led, Troop.
Outdoor Programs — Boy Scouting is designed to take place outdoors. We camp. We hike. We get dirty. We get up close and personal with bugs and spiders. There's no way around it. Our program is largely built around outdoor activities. So, expect to have more laundry after a campout and to hear some interesting stories about wild things.
Advancement — Boy Scouting has a system of ranks in which Scouts learn progressively more difficult skills and take on progressively greater responsibilities. The highest of these ranks is Eagle Scout. Becoming an Eagle Scout is an important achievement that your son can be proud of his entire life. But turning out Eagle Scouts is not what the Boy Scouting program is all about. Advancement is probably the most visible of the Boy Scouting methods, and the easiest to understand, but it is only one of eight methods. We strongly encourage advancement, but we never force it — advancement is the Scout's choice, and he sets his own pace. We don't do "lock-step" advancement. And many great Scouts, and great men, never became Eagle Scouts.
Associations With Adults — Boys learn a great deal by watching how adults conduct themselves. Scout leaders can be positive role models for the members of the troop. In many cases, a Scoutmaster, a merit badge counselor, or one of the troop parents who is willing to listen to boys, encourage them, and take a sincere interest in them can make a profound difference in their lives. Adult association is also part of what we call a youth-led troop. Adults understand that their role is to create a safe place where boys can learn and grow and explore and play and take on responsibilities — and fail, and get up and try again. If you were involved with Cub Scouting, this is a very different role that can take some time getting used to.
Personal Growth — 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.
Leadership Development — The Boy Scout program encourages boys to learn and practice leadership skills. Every Boy Scout has the opportunity to lead in some way, whether as part of a team, or as the leader of his patrol or as the senior patrol leader of the troop. Leadership development is another component of the youth-led troop.
Uniform — Like most sports teams, Boy Scouts wear a uniform. Like most sports teams, we expect our Scouts to wear the uniform when they are doing Scouting, and to wear it properly. It is a symbol of who we are and what we do.
Let's come back a moment to the youth-led concept of Boy Scouting. It is different than how Cub Scouting works, and it is different from the way a lot of youth activities are run, where the adults decide what to do and the youth do it. Boy Scouting is different, and it is sometimes difficult for adults to realize that we have a different role and a different goal. In Cub Scouting and in many other programs, our goal is to have fun activities and generate achievements. Our role is to make sure that the activities happen, that the achievements take place.
Boy Scouting is different. In Boy Scouting, the role of the boys is to have fun activities and generate achievements. The role of the adults is not the destination, but the journey. That is, our responsibility as adults is to promote the "process" of Scouting. What is important for us is the following:
- not the food on the campout, but that the boys cooked it
- not a sharp-looking flag ceremony, but that the boys put it together
- not who would make the best patrol leader, but that the boys elect one
- not that Johnny learns first aid, but that Billy teaches him
- not that we cover everything on the meeting agenda, but that the senior patrol leader is in charge
Our goal is not to get things done, but to create a safe and healthy environment with the training and resources that the Scouts need, and then let them do it. It can be a very messy business, and painful to watch. Meetings where the boy leaders are in charge can be very chaotic. And it can be very tempting for adults to jump in and sort things out, because that is what adults do. But we have to remember that that is the process of Scouting. That is how they learn — even from disorganization and failure. We just have to remember that our business as adults is not the same as the business of the boys. It is up to them to get things done. It is up to us to make sure they have what they need, but (within the bounds of health and safety) not what they do with it.