We encourage our Scouts to develop universal values
We enable our Scouts to develop the Six Pillars of Character
The Scout Programs of Adventure Scouts USA encourage each of our Scouts to be a good person. It sounds like a simple concept, but we believe too few people make the effort.
While the term “good person” can be open-ended and somewhat free to interpretation, we decided that there are indeed universal values that any group of people anywhere could comfortably embrace. We also decided being a good person is an essential part of our Scouts’ lives, and if someone is not a good person, nothing else matters.
If asked, many people from many walks of life and with many different belief systems would say a good person cares about others, tells the truth, has integrity, and so forth. These are universal values that transcend differences between us. When individuals have freedom of choice, they are more likely to develop into good people. Therefore, we believe our Scouts must be free to make their own choices and then deal with the consequences of their choices in a safe environment with Counselors on hand. The key to being a good person is personal responsibility. We make sure our Scouts are free to make their own choices and go on their adventures, and that they understand they are defined by their choices and by the way they treat others.
We instill in our Scouts the universal values of being a good person. Good people are trustworthy, respectful, caring, responsible, fair, and good citizens.
Below are six pillars of character, which we instill in our Scouts:
Our Scouts demonstrate trustworthiness by being honest and forthright. Our Scouts are expected to tell the truth and to not repeat gossip or falsehoods. Trustworthiness also means living life in an honest way by refusing to steal or cheat. We do not ask our Scouts to promise or swear, but to do what they say they will do. Our Scouts are considered as good as their word. In this way, we demonstrate that we trust our Scouts. Because we show that we trust and respect our Scouts and treat them with the dignity due all persons, they choose to live up to our expectations and their own.
Respect is particularly important as we are fully nondiscriminatory Scout Programs. Our Scouts discover the benefits of inclusive Scout Programs by having FUN and meeting other Scouts who differ from themselves. Seeing and understanding how others, such as our Scouts with challenges, give their best everyday helps our Scouts appreciate the circumstances of others.
Our Scouts care about their families and friends, each other, and the entire world. They have the courage to stand up for each other and do what is right even when it is difficult. We promote the development of strong, caring relationships. We promote strong families and strengthen family values by offering activities that bring our Scouts together with multiple generations and extended family members who participate together naturally in activities that are FUN and interesting to all. We also foster strong bonds of friendship between our Scouts, and even include a portion of our meetings with friendship-oriented activities, which encourage our Scouts to get to know each other better.
Our Scouts exhibit responsibility by being as good as their word. As our Scouts progress, we encourage them to take on added responsibilities, such as the Team Leader position. The Team Leader is primarily responsible for making sure all their fellow Scouts participate in every activity on every level.
Our Scouts are expected to be fair. Our Scouts evaluate the demonstration of each other’s Challenges and are expected to offer constructive criticism. Our Scouts help each succeed rather than judge each other’s efforts.
We enhance responsible citizenship in several ways. Our Scouts participate in projects of service to the greater community. As Scouts get older, these projects build on each other and become more involved. One of the activities our Scouts participate in is volunteering at Election Day polls, when possible, an ideal activity for Scouts to appreciate the power of voting! In another example, our Scouts, with adult assistance, cook, prepare and deliver meals to shut-ins, particularly at holiday time.
Our Scouts Give Their Best
Our Scouts are good people because they always give their best. A good person reaches inside themselves and does what they believe is right, even when it is difficult or unpopular. For instance, if our Scouts witness someone sitting alone in their school lunchroom, we expect them to sit with that person. If they witness someone being treated unfairly, they are expected to stand up for that person.
The Difference Between Bad Behavior and a Bad Person
As most of us know in the modern era, people, youth included, demonstrate bad behavior and poor decision-making skills for a number of reasons. Certainly, this does not necessarily mean they are bad people. During Scout Programs, Team Meetings and activities our Scouts work together in pairs and in small groups. This enables them to develop the skills of cooperation, problem solving and listening. Therefore, our Scouts realize the distinction between criticizing an idea rather than another person and between a bad idea and a bad person.
Our Scouts are people and no person is perfect. We do not expect perfection, but we do expect our Scouts to give their best, and to constantly work toward self-improvement and service to others.
Our Scouts develop a sense of pride and accomplishment because they know they are giving their best, and are a part of a community dedicated to helping them be the best people they can be.