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The Scouting program has three specific objectives, commonly referred to as the "Aims of Scouting." They are character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness.

The methods by which the aims are achieved are listed below in random order to emphasize the equal importance of each.


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.

Outdoor Programs

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. 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.

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 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.

Leadership Development

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.




This is something to think about.  Is your patrol really using the Patrol Method?  Read the two examples and you decide. 


Troop A -


This Troop has Patrols.  The Patrols have flags and the Scouts in the Patrol all wear the same Patrol patch.  The Patrols sit/stand together during the Troop opening and then again during the Troop closing.  All skill sessions are done as a Troop, attended by those boys needing to learn that particular skill (and anyone else with nothing better to do).  These sessions are taught by Troop adults or visiting experts.  Games played during/before the meeting are based on individual participation.


Campouts are done as a Troop.  The boys tent with a buddy (from any Patrol) and use gear that the Scouts own (or borrow) themselves.  Cooking and cleanup is done in one large group.  Outing fees are collected from the parents by the Troop Committee and food purchase is done by a group of Scouts who need that activity for advancement (helped by adults).


The Troop sends all new Scouts to the "First Year Camper" program at their summer camp.  The expectation is that many (all?) of the requirements of all the ranks up through 1st Class can be earned this first year.  The new Scouts are put into a "New Scout Patrol" and stay in it for a year.  After the first year, the group continues as a Patrol under a new name.  The Patrols tend to be age-stratified.


Troop A has an active Scoutmaster, he runs the PLC meetings, and has a fair amount of general help from Assistant Scoutmasters and Troop Committee.  All youth Troop jobs are elected and there are no performance standards.


Almost nothing in the Scout's environment is based on teams.


Troop B -


This Troop has Patrols.  The Patrols have flags and the Scouts in the Patrol all wear the same Patrol patch.  The Patrols sit/stand together during the Troop opening and closing.  Skill sessions are done by Patrol and are usually taught by the older Scouts in the Patrol.  Sometimes special skill sessions are done by invited experts and sometimes other Patrols are invited to join in.  Games played during/before the meeting are based on Patrol teams.


The Troop has a mixed schedule...some months have Troop outings and some have Patrol outings.  If it is a "Troop outing" month, the Patrols travel to the site, camp, cook, cleanup, do most program, pack up, and travel home by Patrol.  Some special times are set aside during the outing for the Patrols to get together (Patrol vs. Patrol games, campfire program, assembly, etc.).  If it is a "Patrol outing" month, each Patrol does its own thing (sometimes two Patrols might share an outing).  Fees are collected by the Patrol, the food is bought by the Patrol, and the group camping equipment is "owned" by the Patrol (Patrol name is written all over it).


The responsibility for doing all the skills-training up through 1st Class rests on the shoulders of the Patrol Leader.  He either uses his older Patrol members to teach the new guys (during games, camping trips, while getting ready for camping trips, etc.) or he invites help from the Troop's older Scouts.  The skills taught are exactly the skills used during Patrol activities.  New Scouts are put into a "New Scout" Patrol until they either earn Tenderfoot or two months have elapsed.  They are then graduated into one of the "regular" Patrols for the rest of their career with the Troop.  The Patrols are a mix of all ages found in the Troop.


Troop B has an active Scoutmaster (whose main job is to train the SPL and the Assistant Scoutmasters).  The SPL runs the PLC and the Troop does (or doesn't do) whatever the PLC comes up with (after appropriate blessings by the Troop Committee).  Each Patrol has a permanent Assistant Scoutmaster assigned to it.  The Patrol's SA and one/more of the parents make up any needed adult presence on Patrol outings.  Sometimes the SM is invited along on a Patrol outing, sometimes he isn't.


The PL is elected by his Patrol, he appoints all other Patrol jobholders.  The SPL is elected by the entire Troop, he appoints all other Troop jobholders.  The PL and all Troop jobholders each have their own adult who works with them.  The PL and all Troop jobholders have a written detailed job description and get with the SPL (and their adults) to write up a "contract" based on it.  They get reviewed by the SPL and if they are not doing their job (per their contract) they either spiff up or they get replaced.  The SPL (and their adult) has to agree before they can get advancement "credit" for any job held.  They can keep trying out different jobs until they either find one they can do or they get old/gray and become Scoutmasters....


Almost everything in the Scout's environment is based on teams.


Are both Troops using the Patrol Method?