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Scouting and the Family

A Grownup's Guide To The Scout Program


Scouting offers a wide variety of creative activities based on small peer groups, with a responsibility to the world we live in. It also promotes wholesome personal and social development.

Scouts Canada believes that children learn by doing. Scout activities encourage youth to discover and understand their world through play and adventure. Briefly, let's talk about how you and Scouting can work together to help your child develop into a responsible citizen.

Scouts Canada And Your Child

Scouts Canada is the largest youth educational organization in Canada. With a quarter of a million members across the country, we also form part of the world-wide Scouting Movement which includes over 25 million members in 151 countries.

Scouting runs youth programs specifically designed for each age grouping: Beavers (5-7 years old), Wolf Cubs (8-10 years old), Scouts (11-14 years old), Venturers (15-17 years old), and Rovers (18-26 years old).

To understand how Scouts can meet your child's needs, let's look at what makes Scouting special.

Scouts Canada's Principles

Scouting is based on three broad principles which represent its fundamental beliefs.

Duty to God:

This is defined as: " Adherence to spiritual principles, loyalty to the religion that expresses them and acceptance of the duties resulting therefrom."

Duty to Others:

This is defined as: "Loyalty to one's country in harmony with the promotion of local, national and international peace, understanding and cooperation", and "Participation in the development of society, with recognition and respect for the dignity of one's fellow-being and for the integrity of the natural world."

Duty to Self:

Defined as: "Responsibility for the development of oneself." This is in harmony with the educational purpose of the Scout Movement whose aim is to assist young people in the full development of their potentials.

Scouting's core philosophy and values are expressed by the principles. These form a "code of ethics" for how Scouting expects all members to conduct themselves while participating in activities.

The Scout's promise, law and motto are age-appropriate versions of Scouting's principles.

Scout Promise, Law And Motto


On my honour
I promise that I will do my best
to do my duty to God and the Queen,
To help other people at all times,
and to carry out the spirit of the Scout Law.


A Scout is:
Helpful and trustworthy,
Kind and cheerful,
Considerate and clean,
Wise in the use of all resources.


Be Prepared

Scouts Canada's Mission

Scouting's principles are put into action and focus through our mission statement.

mission is:

To contribute to the education of young people, through a value system based on the Scout Promise and Law, to help build a better world where people are self fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in society.

Scouting's Mission is achieved by:
  • involving youth throughout their formative years in a non formal educational process.

  • using a specific method that makes each individual the principal agent in his or her development as a self-reliant, supportive, responsible and committed person

  • assisting youth to establish a value system based upon spiritual, social and personal principles as expressed in the Promise and Law.

Scout Program Goals

In order to fulfill Scouting's principles and mission, the Scout program is geared specifically to meet the developmental needs of most 11-14 year olds.

The program emphasizes having fun while encouraging youth to feel good about themselves, their friends and family, God, and the environment. The Scout program helps youth expand their leadership skills and gain self confidence.

This is accomplished through activities which encourage Scouts to:
  • express and respond to their own spiritual values and beliefs while showing concern for others
  • develop self reliance
  • pursue hobbies and personal interests
  • develop self discipline and the skills of working cooperatively with others
  • cooperate in setting and achieving small group and personal goals
  • practice leadership skills
  • relate with adults
  • be of service to others
  • camp, explore the outdoors, and develop good conservation practices.

In Scouts, activities are designed to teach skills in progressive levels of difficulty. Scouts need both adult and peer support and approval as they play, learn and discover. Children need this for building self-esteem and self-confidence. It is critical for them to feel a sense of accomplishment for what they have achieved, both as individuals and as a member of a group. Recognition is in the form of Achievement Awards, in four stages of difficulty, as well as personal Challenge badges recognizing a wide range of interests. Recreational pursuits are encouraged, and many of the challenge badges are based on skills required to safely enjoy the outdoors.

How Troops Are Organized

The Scout Movement was founded by Lord Baden-Powell, an Officer of the British Army, and a hero in the Boer War. B-P noted the eagerness of youth to be trained in outdoor skills, tracking, observing events around them, and to have fun while doing it.
A Scout Troop of up to 25 youth is organized into small groups called "Patrols". The Scout chosen to lead is called a "Patrol Leader". The "PL" has an "Assistant Patrol Leader". Scouts usually rotate through these early leadership jobs based on age and experience, and are usually chosen by the members of their patrols. Patrols range in size from 5 to 8 members.

The primary adult leader of the Troop is referred to as the "Troop Scouter" . Other leaders are called Patrol Councillors, and work with one Patrol. The Troop Scouter, Patrol Councillors, Patrol Leaders and Assistant Patrol Leaders form the Leadership Team.

Older Scouts are sometimes invited to work with a Wolf Cub Pack, as a "Kim". Kim is a character in Richard Kipling's Jungle Book, and is part of the leadership team.

The leaders in your Scout's Troop are supported by a group committee. The committee is responsible for ensuring the programs offered meet Scouts Canada's guidelines and that the Troop has enough resources to operate effectively. The group committee represents a sponsor which is the overall partner with Scouts Canada. Sponsors are typically community centres, clubs, religious institutions or parent groups. The sponsor works closely with Scouts Canada to ensure Scouting programs and resources are meeting the needs of all its youth and adult members. Parents, and other interested adults, are encouraged to attend and become involved with the group committee.

After learning a bit about Scouts, your child will be ready to become "invested", or formally welcomed, into the Troop. You will be invited to attend the "investiture ceremony" to help welcome your child into the worldwide brotherhood of Scouting.
This first level of achievement is called a "Pioneer Scout."

Your Role in Scouting

Scouting is a family-based organization. Activities we offer, plus the values and skills we provide, are aimed at supporting your efforts to teach your child what is needed to become a well-rounded person. Your personal involvement is important to help reinforce the lessons your Scout learns. Here are some suggestions to help you become involved:
  • Sit down with your child and look through the Scout book together. What activities do you find interesting or appealing? How could you work on these activities as a family?
  • Find out what activities leaders plan to run in your child's Troop. Most Scout troops set aside time for the Patrols to discuss desired activities. The Patrol Leaders and their Assistant Patrol Leaders meet with the Patrol Councillors and the Troop Scouter to draw up program plans from the scout's input.

  • Get to know leaders by their real names. Too often parents only know leaders as " Scouter Jim. " Leaders are truly interested in your child's welfare. Tell them what your child likes to do, and how you can help out. This will help them plan fun activities.
  • If your Scout is interested in working on an activity outside of the meeting, or you want to make it a family project, talk over your plans with the leaders. They can provide useful tips and tell you how well it fits into the weekly programs or activity badges.
  • Your talents, hobbies and interests are great program assets worth sharing with the Troop. Find out how you can become a resource for the troop's programs. This will let you spend valuable time with your child and share experience. Scouts really enjoy showing off for an adult family member who attends a meeting. This sense of pride helps strengthen adult-child relations. When your child joins Scouts, you become part of the group's support team.
  • Become a leader. Scouts Canada offers up-to-date training and resource materials. Leadership is fun and exciting. You will be with your Scout during a special time and see him (or her) develop and grow before your eyes. As well, the friendship and camaraderie you'll share with other parents can lead to long-lasting relationships and memories.

Helping Scouts Stay Safe And Healthy

A child's health and safety are the most important issues facing any parent. The world is quickly changing and the stress on today's Cub is growing daily. The Scout program has specific activities which help a child explore important social issues, such as alcohol and drug abuse, smoking and personal safety. Take the opportunity to discuss these issues openly. It is a perfect chance to share your insights, values and experience with your child.

The Scout Book will introduce your child to participation within specific activity areas. While your Scout may only see the fun and excitement the activities present, each area focuses on a clear purpose and goal.

The purpose and goals for each activity area set out how the activities are relevant to today's child while meeting developmental needs.

The Four Activity Areas

Citizenship Award


To create a feeling of responsibility, care and concern for our community.


  • To explore what services are needed to support a community, and how a person would access these services if required
  • To provide practical activities that explore the history of the community.
  • To develop an understanding of Public Service departments, and the services they provide.
  • To actively contribute to the community through participation.
  • To develop an understanding of Government, the roles and responsibilities of the various levels of government, the role of Civil Servants and the role of political parties.

Leadership Award


To encourage Scouts to be a contributing member of the Troop and to develop Leadership Skills.


  • To develop and assess the roles and responsibilities of the Scout Leadership team.
  • To enhance and contribute to the Court of Honour and Patrol in Council in the Troop.
  • To develop and assess plans, such as a home fire plan, or a similar emergency plan.
  • To plan and help lead Patrol Activities.
  • To provide a leadership role to another community group.

Personal Development Award


To encourage Scouts to lead active and healthy lives and to have a positive image of themselves.


  • To encourage Scouts to develop Spiritually, Socially, Intellectually and Physically.
  • To offer the opportunity for Scouts to plan and participate in "Scout's Own"
  • To encourage Scouts to have healthy lifestyle attitudes through developing active living habits.
  • To promote the positive benefits of being involved in physical activities.
  • To educate Scouts about health risks associated with tobacco products.
  • To educate Scouts about health risks associated with drug and alcohol abuse.
  • To encourage the practice of good hygiene habits for maintaining personal health and promoting self-reliance.
  • To develop personal goals and assess achievements.

Outdoor Skills Award


To provide opportunities for Scouts to develop self-confidence and leadership skills through basic camping, hiking, canoeing and other outdoor pursuits.


  • To instruct Scouts on how to enjoy the outdoors safely, by developing wood craft skills.
  • To introduce Scouts to various outdoor pursuits through age-appropriate activities based on progressive skill development and fun.
  • To develop each Scout beyond the ability to cook to the level of "Chef"
  • To encourage "No Trace Camping" and to have each Scout develop a "Environmental Code" of conduct.
  • To be actively involved in an Environmental Project of their choosing.
  • To develop Camping Skills through practice and teaching other Scouts.

Challenge Badges


To encourage Scouts to develop interests and explore activities in a number of diverse areas. There are 52 Challenge Badges grouped into 7 categories:
  • Athletics
  • Outdoors
  • Home & Family
  • Personal Development
  • Science & technology
  • Environment
  • Culture & Society

Personal Challenge Awards

  • Level 1: any   6 Challenge Badges from at least 2 categories.
  • Level 2: any 10 Challenge Badges from at least 4 categories.
  • Level 3: any 14 Challenge Badges from at least 6 categories.

Other Awards

  • Year Round Camper
  • Religion in Life
  • World Conservation
  • Duke of Edinburgh

The program as outlined above became effective in September 1988.
Badge and Award requirements are outlined in the Scout Handbook.

Area Badge

Return to Parent's Guide to Scouting page.

This Web Page is maintained by Scouts Canada Thunder Bay Area.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.

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