Boy Scouts Our Purpose
The purpose of the Boy
Scouts of America, incorporated on February 8, 1910 and chartered by
Congress in 1916, is to provide an educational program for boys and
young adults to build character, to learn the responsibilities of
participating in citizenship, and to develop personal fitness.
Since its founding in 1915, the Los Angeles Area Council has brought
its purpose and values to millions of youth. Last year the Council served
23,434 youth in the Greater Los Angeles Area.
The Scouting program facilitates meaningful contact and
communication between youth, parents, and other community
organizations (partners) to help young people adopt strong values
and life skills. The program presents activities that are fun,
interesting, and provide valuable experiences directed at the
maturity and interests of the young people at their appropriate age
and ability levels.
The purpose of the Los Angeles Area Council is to meaningfully and
proactively offer leadership for the delivery and quality of the
program, to assemble and train volunteers, and to gather resources
to implement and promote the program to parents, youth, and the
general community in the Los Angeles area.
Boy Scouting is a year-round
program for boys age 11 - 17. Boys who are 10 may join if
they have received the Arrow of Light Award or have finished
the fifth grade. Boy Scouting is a program of fun outdoor
activities, peer group leadership opportunities, and a
personal exploration of career, hobby and special interests,
all designed to achieve the BSA's objectives of
strengthening character, personal fitness and good
Thousands of volunteer
leaders, both men and women, are involved in the Boy
Scouting program. They serve in a variety of jobs —
everything from unit leaders to chairmen of troop
committees, committee members, merit badge counselors, and
chartered organization representatives.
Like other phases of the
program, Boy Scouting is made available to community
organizations having similar interests and goals. Chartered
organizations include professional organizations;
governmental bodies; and religious, educational, civic,
fraternal, business, labor, and citizens' groups. Each
organization appoints one of its members as the chartered
organization representative. The organization is responsible
for leadership, the meeting place, and support for troop
Several groups are
responsible for supporting Boy Scouting: the boy and his
parents, the troop, the chartered organization, and the
community. Boys are encouraged to earn money whenever
possible to pay their own expenses, and they also contribute
dues to their troop treasuries to pay for budgeted items.
Troops obtain additional income by working on approved
money-earning projects. The community, including parents,
supports Scouting through the United Way, Friends of
Scouting campaigns, bequests, and special contributions to
the BSA local council. This income provides leadership
training, outdoor programs, council service centers and
other facilities, and professional service for units.
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, and personal fitness.
The methods by which the
aims are achieved are listed below in random order to
emphasize the equal importance of each.
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. The goals are high, and as he reaches for them,
he has some control over what and who he becomes.
Patrols. 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
members can easily relate to each other. These small groups
determine troop activities through 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. In the outdoors the skills and
activities practiced at troop meetings come alive with
purpose. Being close to nature helps Boy Scouts gain an
appreciation for the beauty of the world around us. The
outdoors is the laboratory in which Boy Scouts learn ecology
and practice conservation of nature's resources.
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.
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 who is
willing to listen to boys, encourage them, and take a
sincere interest in them can make a profound difference in
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.
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.
Uniform. 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.
Local councils operate and
maintain Scout camps. The National Council operates
high-adventure areas at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico,
the Northern Tier National High Adventure Program in
Minnesota and Canada, and the Florida National High
Adventure Sea Base in the Florida Keys. About 70 councils
also operate high-adventure programs.
The BSA conducts a national
Scout jamboree every four years and participates in world
Scout jamborees (also held at four-year intervals). Fort A.
P. Hill, Virginia, was the site of the 2005 National Scout
Beginning of Scouting
Scouting, as known to
millions of youth and adults, evolved during the early 1900s
through the efforts of several men dedicated to bettering
youth. These pioneers of the program conceived outdoor
activities that developed skills in young boys and gave them
a sense of enjoyment, fellowship, and a code of conduct for
In this country and abroad
at the turn of the century, it was thought that children
needed certain kinds of education that the schools couldn't
or didn't provide. This led to the formation of a variety of
youth groups, many with the word "Scout" in their names. For
example, Ernest Thompson Seton, an American naturalist,
artist, writer, and lecturer, originated a group called the
Woodcraft Indians and in 1902 wrote a guidebook for boys in
his organization called the Birch Bark Roll.
Meanwhile in Britain, Robert Baden-Powell, after returning
to his country a hero following military service in Africa,
found boys reading the manual he had written for his
regiment on stalking and survival in the wild. Gathering
ideas from Seton, America's Daniel Carter Beard, and other
Scoutcraft experts, Baden-Powell rewrote his manual as a
nonmilitary skill book, which he titled Scouting for Boys.
The book rapidly gained a wide readership in England and
soon became popular in the United States. In 1907, when
Baden-Powell held the first campout for Scouts on Brownsea
Island off the coast of England, troops were spontaneously
springing up in America.
William D. Boyce, a Chicago
publisher, incorporated the Boy Scouts of America in 1910
after meeting with Baden-Powell. (Boyce was inspired to meet
with the British founder by an unknown Scout who led him out
of a dense London fog and refused to take a tip for doing a
Good Turn.) Immediately after its incorporation, the BSA was
assisted by officers of the YMCA in organizing a task force
to help community organizations start and maintain a
high-quality Scouting program. Those efforts climaxed in the
organization of the nation's first Scout camp at Lake
George, New York, directed by Ernest Thompson Seton. Beard,
who had established another youth group, the Sons of Daniel
Boone (which he later merged with the BSA), provided
assistance. Also on hand for this historic event was James
E. West, a lawyer and an advocate of children's rights, who
later would become the first professional Chief Scout
Executive of the Boy Scouts of America. Seton became the
first volunteer national Chief Scout, and Beard, the first
national Scout commissioner.