In Scouting we believe that a boy should believe in God, should believe in his country, and should believe in himself. We try to develop activities that will help a boy grow and that will help him become confident in his own ability. Unfortunately, if you tell boys that you’ve got a program that will help them develop a belief in God, country, and self, boys will stay away in droves.
However, we don’t have to try to come up with a plan for how to attract and keep boys. Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, worked that out long ago. His plan had four elements. These are: fun, adventure, advancement, and a safe haven. Fun and adventure are the two shinning stars that initially attract boys. They are part of the glue that keeps boys sticking to Scouting. Advancement is also an element that holds a boy in Scouting. Working toward fixed goals, a boy receives recognition and positive reinforcement when he achieves these goals. This is a powerful force in keeping a boy involved in Scouting activities.
Last, but by no means least, in Scouting a boy is among friends who will never mistreat him and who will always treat him with courtesy and kindness. Having such a safe haven is an invaluable magnet whose pulls holds a boy in Scouting.
Scouting influences character
Having a boy attracted to Scouting and having him remain in Scouting gives us a chance to influence his character. It gives us a chance to help him develop his belief in God. It gives us an opportunity to help him develop a belief in his country. And it gives him a opportunity to develop confidence in himself and his ability to deal with the world. Thus, for a Scouting unit to be successful, it must make sure that fun and adventure are the substance of the unit’s activities. The unit leader must make sure the unit has a strong advancement program with every boy advancing every year. It is especially important that first year Boy Scouts reach First Class in their first year.
Finally, the leader must be sure the unit is a safe haven. There must be no teasing nor hazing. Every adult he meets must be friendly and kind. Nor can this be a sometimes thing. It must be all the time — every time. Fun, adventure, advancement, and a safe haven is the Scouting program and the tools we use.
If you need help in planning your program, invite your Unit Commissioner to a committee meeting to talk about program planning. If you don’t know your Unit Commissioner’s number call your District Commissioner – he’ll help you. If you would like to be a Unit Commissioner and help units bring the Promise of Scouting to their boys, call your District Commissioner and tell him you’d like to help other units have fun.