Aims and Methods of Scouting

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Purpose of the Boy Scouts of America

The purpose of the Corporation is as set forth in the original certificate of incorporation under the laws of the District of Columbia, dated February 8, 1910, and restated in the Act of Incorporation enacted by the Congress of the United States of America on June 15, 1916, as follows: “That the purpose of this Corporation shall be to promote, through organization and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in Scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods which are now in common use by Boy Scouts.” In achieving this purpose, emphasis shall be placed upon its educational program and the oaths, promises, and codes of the Scouting program for character development, citizenship training, leadership, and mental and physical fitness.
Charter and Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America Adobe Acrobat PDF, June 2018, Article I. General; Purpose; pg. 7

BSA Mission Statement

The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical choices over their lifetime by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.
Mission & Vision of the Boy Scouts of America

Aims of Scouting

All levels of the Scouting program share four specific objectives: Character development, Citizenship training, Personal fitness, and Leadership development.[1] [2]


One is growth in moral strength and character. We may define this as what the boy is himself; his personal qualities, his values, his outlook.


A second is participating citizenship. Used broadly, citizenship means the boy's relationship to others. He comes to learn obligations to other people, to the society he lives in, and to the government that presides over that society.


A third aim is development of physical, mental, and emotional fitness. Fitness includes the body (well-tuned and healthy), the mind (able to think and solve problems), and the emotions (self-control, courage, and self-respect).


A fourth aim is leadership development.

Methods of Cub Scouting

Methods of Scouts BSA

See: What Is Boy Scouting? Adobe Acrobat PDF

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

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

Main article: Patrol

The patrol method gives Scouts an experience in group living and participating citizenship. It places responsibility on young shoulders and teaches youth how to accept it. The patrol method allows Scouts to interact in small groups where members can easily relate to each other. These small groups determine troop activities through elected representatives.

Main article: Scouting Ideals

The ideals of Scouts BSA are spelled out in the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Scout motto, and the Scout slogan. The 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.

Outdoor Programs

Scouts BSA is designed to take place outdoors. It is in the outdoor setting that Scouts share responsibilities and learn to live with one another. In the outdoors, the skills and activities practiced at troop meetings come alive with purpose. Being close to nature helps Scouts gain an appreciation for the beauty of the world around us. The outdoors is the laboratory in which Scouts learn ecology and practice conservation of nature's resources.

Main article: Boy Scout advancement, see also: Advancement

Scouts BSA provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps in overcoming them through the advancement method. The Scout plans his advancement and progresses at his own pace as he meets each challenge. The 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.

Association With Adults

Youth 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 who is willing to listen to youth, encourage them, and take a sincere interest in them can make a profound difference in their lives.

Personal Growth

As 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 Scouts BSA. Youth 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 Scout to determine his growth toward Scouting's aims.

Leadership Development

The Scouts BSA program encourages youth to learn and practice leadership skills. Every Scout has the opportunity to participate in both shared and total leadership situations. Understanding the concepts of leadership helps a youth accept the leadership role of others and guides him toward the citizenship aim of Scouting.

Main article: Uniform

The uniform makes the Scout troop visible as a force for good and creates a positive youth image in the community. Scouts BSA is an action program, and wearing the uniform is an action that shows each Scout's commitment to the aims and purposes of Scouting. The uniform gives the 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.

Methods of Venturing

Updated June 1, 2014:

  • Leadership and Mentoring
  • Group Activities and Adventure
  • Recognition
  • Adult Association
  • The Ideals
  • Group Identity
  • Service

Methods of Sea Scouting

  • Ideals
  • Group Activities
  • Advancement
  • Adult Association
  • High Adventure, Outdoors, Nautical Activities
  • Uniform
  • Teaching Others
  • Leadership

Methods of Exploring

  • Voluntary association between youth and adults
  • Ethical decision-making guidance
  • Group activities
  • Recognition of achievement
  • Democratic processes
  • Interactive experiences

See also


  1., "A fourth aim of Scouting, Leadership Development, has been added to the other three (Character Development, Citizenship Training, and Physical and Mental Fitness). The fourth aim of Scouting will be included in all the Scouts BSA and Cub Scout modules.", Accessed: 29 November 2018
  2., "The Aims of Scouting are: Character, Citizenship, Personal Fitness, and Leadership", Accessed: 29 November 2018

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