The aims of Scouting are character development, citizenship training, personal fitness (both mental and physical), and leadership development. Today we look at how character development is incorporated into the Scouting programs offered by BSA.
Cub Scouts also have lots of character development material incorporated into the program.
- Some activities help Cub Scouts think about how they can make the right choices in their everyday lives
- Religious emblem programs help develop their spiritual lives
- Cub Scouts learn the basics of what to do in an emergency and how to get help
- The Cub Scout motto – Do Your Best – serves as a guide for their actions and participation
Character development is such an important part of a youth’s education. I’m glad that we can do our part teaching our youth through the Scouting program.
The Scouts BSA advancement program provides lots of opportunity for character development:
- The Scout Law is basically a roadmap for character development: A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, clean, brave, and reverent
- Opportunities for leadership help develop confidence
- Instruction in first aid and emergency preparedness help Scouts prepare to take care of themselves and others when their help is most needed
- Religious observance is a regular part of the Scouts BSA program
Character development is an integral part of the Venturing program:
- Venturing is based on the ALPS model. The P in ALPS stands for Personal Growth. Venturers learn to set goals to develop character.
- Venturers develop leadership skills by planning their program
- With the program emphasis on teaching skills to others, Venturers learn to see through a perspective other than their own.
- A Venturer lives by the Scout Oath and Law.
- The TRUST Award helps Venturers explore their own faith and respect the beliefs of others.
Ideas and resources for building character:
The New Year is traditionally a time for beginning again. The thoughts below can be used as a Scoutmaster or Cubmaster Minute to encourage Scouts to look forward to a fresh start rather than focusing on the past.
A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. She respects the beliefs of others. Find prayers and graces for use in your program below.
Do you ever feel like you are repeating yourself when you are teaching your kids table manners? Your Cub Scouts can make Good Manners napkins for their holiday table or even for everyday family dinners.
This is a Cubmaster minute which is based on one of the old program helps plans. It goes well with this month’s core value of responsibility.
A reader asks if a Scout may wear the religious emblem knot if he earned a religious emblem as a Cub Scout. Yes, he may.
Cub Scouts love to help out at den meetings! A den job chart will help you spread the jobs around. Ideally each member of your den would have at least one job at every meeting.
Scout Sunday and Scout Sabbath are rapidly approaching. Scout Sunday is always the Sunday preceding February 8, or February 8 if it is a Sunday. The Saturday following Scout Sunday is Scout Sabbath.
A reader asks for ideas for the troop gift exchange. I’ve listed a few of my own. Readers, add your ideas also.
Four Facts game is an icebreaker game. It would also work well with any activity relating to personal history or storytelling. I think it could also be worked into a discussion about honesty.
Here is a Scoutmaster Minute which reminds us not to focus on the big insurmountable problem. Instead, just do what you can.
The 12 Core Values of Cub Scouting were replaced by the 12 points of the Scout Law a few years ago. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still use the core values as examples of good values. So use this…
The Abracadabra theme focuses on magic and positive attitude. BSA has a pack meeting plan for this theme and I have some other ideas to go along with it.
A reader asks “Can someone please share with me how you run training for Chaplain’s Aide?”
Here is how the BSA plan suggests tying together this crime prevention based theme with the value of honesty. “Crime is often an act of dishonesty. Kids Against Crime focuses on the opposite of dishonesty—honesty. Honesty is all about telling…
A Scout avoids causing needless harm another person, creature, or plant. A Scout’s actions always reflects a genuine care for other beings. Here are some ideas for the sixth point of the Scout Law. Add your own ideas about how…
Yesterday we went out to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery and participated in the 61st annual Memorial Day Good Turn. This event really seems to help our Scouts understand what Memorial Day is all about.
The Special Needs feature teaches Scouts to understand and appreciate the unique qualities and abilities of each person. Scouts learn to appreciate the challenges faced by people with special needs.
Cubmaster Minutes, Scoutmaster Minutes, Advisor Minutes are inspirational thoughts to help achieve BSA’s aim of character development. Do you have a minute or an inspirational story that you’d like to share? Contact me and I’ll share it here.
With Order of the Arrow elections approaching in the coming months, I though I’d share this Scoutmaster minute about cheerful service. It will help the troop remember what they should be basing their votes on and it should help current…
When I look at the young men and women I work with in Scouts BSA and Venturing, I have nothing but hope for the future.
Today I’d like to share a prayer with you which reflects a message of peace.
Even more resources for Character Development
A Scout is Reverent. This Scout Law prayer incorporates the twelve points of the Scout Law.
Scouting and sports go together. Many recognitions require that the Scout discuss sportsmanship. So what does good sportsmanship mean?
Duty to God Footsteps of Faith is one of the Wolf required adventures. For this adventure, Wolves visit a religious monument and create a display about their trip. They also explore other aspects of faith.
Here’s a grace which is sung to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. This makes a really wonderful Thanksgiving grace. Or it would be a good addition to a Scout’s Own prayer service.
The Journey to Excellence Service Project initiative encourages Scouting units to carry out meaningful service projects.
Duty to God in Action is one of the Arrow of Light required adventures. For this adventure, Webelos either earn the religious emblem of their faith or create and carry out a plan to strengthen their own beliefs.
A Wolf den leader asked a question about how to fulfill the Footsteps of Faith requirement. She wanted to take her Wolves to a Buddhist temple in the neighborhood so they could learn about a different faith, but the Cubmaster…
According to the program helps courage is being brave and doing what is right regardless of our fears, the difficulties, or the consequences. There is a pack meeting plan for Courage from the program helps. This meeting plan focuses on…
The oceans are the last unexplored frontiers on Earth. It takes courage to venture into undiscovered territory. Courage is also doing what is right regardless of the consequences. This month let us take our Cub Scouts under the oceans to…
The Cubs in Shining Armor theme revolves around the ideas of honor and service. So organize a summer service project. Knights went on quests, so you could have some sort of fun “quest scavenger hunt”.
A reader asks ” We have kids of different faiths and some atheists in our pack. Do you have a good list of non-religious questions for the duty to God requirements?”
The Down on the Farm meeting plan features ideas for the core value of responsibility – games, group activities, songs, and more to help Cub Scouts become responsible members of their Packs. This theme focuses on Duty to God, Duty…
A reader asks what to do when the money for the unit popcorn sale doesn’t add up.
This is a ceremony from an old roundtable handout. It would fit with any meeting where Cub Scouts working on improving their manners or are learning that words matter. Use it as a closing ceremony.
Faith is an important part of Scouting programs and religious emblems programs for Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, and Venturers reinforce what is stressed in the 12th point of the Scout Law
This Cubmaster or Scoutmaster minute uses a story about Gandhi to demonstrate what being cheerful and having a positive attitude means. For Cub Scouts, you could even have a few den chiefs act this out while you tell the story.
A Scout is Reverent. So don’t forget grace before meals. There are many grace songs which are appropriate for Scouts and they work well if not all of your group shares the same faith background. This grace is sung to…
Fellowship and Duty to God is one of the Bear required adventures. For this adventure, Bears either earn the religious emblem for their faith or explore the practice and history of their beliefs.
This favorite Cub Scout grace is a song. The tune is the theme of the Addams Family show. (Hence the name.)
Coming up with feasible service project ideas for young Cub Scouts can be a challenge. Lions (who are in kindergarten) need to do a good turn for the Pick My Path adventure. And Tigers (who are in first grade) need…
BSA has a Cub Scout pack meeting plan called Heroes in History related to citizenship. The Heroes in History meeting plan features games, group activities, songs, and more to help Cub Scouts learn the value of honest leadership.
Character is what you do when nobody is looking
Cub Scouts should know the Law of the Pack, but unless they are reciting it all of the time, they aren’t going to remember it. This puzzle will help reinforce the Law of the Pack.
Character education is a part of the Cub Scout program. Here is a brief Cubmaster minute to help Cub Scout understand the meaning of compassion. This goes with the Scout Law points of “kind” and “loyal”.
This is the S bar F Ranch grace. I will mention that at one point we had an SPL who took issue with the words Great Spirit and replaced them with Lord. But our other Scouts had no problem with…
Tiger Circles Duty to God is one of the Tiger required adventures. For this adventure, Tiger Cubs and their adult partners talk about faith and family and participate in an activity related to their beliefs.
Singing a grace is a nice way to remember that “A Scout Is Reverent” when you are out at camp this summer. At our local Cub Scout camp, packs take turns volunteering to lead grace in the dining hall. Teaching…
The Faith and Our Ancestors Game is an icebreaker activity with a genealogy twist. Players ask each other questions about how they think their ancestors lived.
February 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day. A Scout is Kind! Encourage your Scouts to go out of their way to be kind today. Maybe do more than just one Good Turn. 🙂 This is also a good day…
The Scout Law is the same for Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, and Venturers. So learning the Scout Law is important across age levels. This word search puzzle would make a fun warm up or gathering activity for any meeting focused…
By doing the requirement for the TRUST award, Venturers learn to deepen their own faith and to respect the beliefs of others. They understand that trust comes from having honest and respectful conversations about faith and culture. They put their…
I like any activity that helps children consider budgeting their money. “Mom, I need a dollar for … ” 🙂 Seriously, though this is a really important concept for them to grasp. If they only get $5 a month they…
Dealing with Scouts who won’t listen when somebody is speaking can be a real challenge. Here are some tips and a code of conduct to help them listen and ask questions respectfully.
Our Cub Scouts participate in the local Scouting for Food program every November.
Flip the Bird tag is an active game which is a combination of tag and keep away. In it, a players work together to keep their friends from being tagged.
A Cub Scout is Reverent. According to the program helps, faith is “Having inner strength and confidence based on our trust in God.”
Phone etiquette does not come naturally to most kids. It needs to be taught. Here are some very basic rules for talking on the phone.
Citizenship Football Game is a fun way to help Webelos and Scouts BSA work on citizenship requirements.
The Gives Goodwill meeting plan features ideas for the core value of citizenship – games, group activities, songs, and more. This theme has an emphasis on the importance of serving others in need.
“t takes courage to explore a new frontier, to cast aside the comfort of the life we know to go forth and explore our universe. Our Cub Scouts show similar courage in exploring the options and challenges of their advancement…
This makes a nice Scoutmaster Minute or Cubmaster Minute or even just a good reflection for a family gathering at this time of year. This is based on something in some old BSA program helps
According to the old Cub Scout program helps, being cheerful is related to having a positive attitude: “Being cheerful and setting our minds to look for and find the best in all situations.”
This question was sent to me by reader Barbara:It has come to my knowledge that one of my boys (Webelos) is being bullied in school. Now, one of my new recruits is one of the bulliers. I would like to…
Leave No Trace is an outdoor ethics program which encourages responsible use of outdoor resources. The frontcountry guidelines are the guidelines for day-use areas like parks and trails.
The Boy Scouts of America enumerates four aims of Scouting – Character Development, Citizenship, Leadership Development, and Fitness.
Challenge your Scouts BSA to show their gratitude for those who have passed on their ideals by doing more than just saying the Scout Oath and Law, but by living them.
Scouts of all ages need to learn the Scout Law. This classic Trustworthy Tommy song will help them remember the twelve points of the Scout Law and to understand what the points mean.
. If you are going to ride a bike, you’d better make sure it is in good repair first. You don’t want to be riding along and have your front wheel fall off or your brakes not work. I found…
The Boy Scouts of America joined the Messengers of Peace initiative in 2012. This program encourages Scouts around the world to work for peace by being a positive force in their communities.
This is a gathering activity I made to go with the Planting Seeds of Kindness theme. These are blank coloring sheets for making compliment cards. The Cub Scouts can color them. Then they cut them apart and give them to…
This is a ceremony about kindness which I wrote to go with the Planting Seeds of Kindness theme. It is based on a ceremony for compassion from the old program helps.
Today is Veterans Day. In honor this occasion, Mary sent in this cadence, or jody call. Thanks Mary!
Talking about respect with Cub Scouts will help them understand the Scout Law points of “courteous” and “reverent”. Here are some pack meeting ideas which helps Cub Scouts practice respect for others.
Two Cub Scout leaders ask about how to complete the faith related requirements with Cub Scouts who are raised in agnostic homes.
I needed a couple of activities for a recent meeting based on the Planting Seeds of Kindness theme. So one thing we did was make kindness fortune tellers (also known as cootie catchers.)
Cub Scouts can learn to be kind and compassionate. The program helps give this explanation of compassion: “Being kind and considerate, and showing concern for the well-being of others.”
Honesty is an important virtue. This brief inspirational thought can be used as a Scoutmaster minute to remind Scouts that it is better to be honest from the start than to try to cover our mistakes by shading the truth.
Does your unit want to send a care package to our troops? This article will help you locate a USO center to get started and has some ideas for what to put in the perfect care package.
Adventures in Coins is one of the Wolf Cub Scout elective adventures. For this adventure, Wolves play games and do activities related to coins. In the process, they learn all about coins.
The Skittles Skit, like many of the skits I have seen, is full of kid humor and outrageous behavior. That is why they like it so much.
This is a simple ceremony which can be used as an opening or a closing for a Cub Scout meeting with the theme of “Respect” which ties in with the Scout Law point of “Courteous”.
Native American lore is an important part of the Scouts BSA and Cub Scout programs. This Native American prayer is attributed to Chief Sealth (for whom Seattle is named).
Aware and Care is one of the Webelos/Arrow of Light elective adventures. For the Aware and Care adventure, Webelos learn about the challenges faced by people with disabilities.
Let’s be truthful. Some of the Cub Scout requirements which are all talking can be tough to do with a group of restless kids. This Show Me the Truth Game can make talking about truth and honesty easier.
It is really important for kids to learn how to say “Thank You”. Gratitude is something which needs to be taught, and Cub Scouts is a perfect forum for doing this.
Know somebody with great character? Give them this women’s t-shirt as a gift. It reads Character is what you do when nobody is looking
It seems to go without saying that we should follow the law. Clearly we aren’t going to take our Scout unit out and rob a bank – no matter how dire the fundraising needs! But what about that fishing outing…
Duty to God and You is one of the Webelos required adventures For this adventure, Webelos either earn the religious emblem of their faith or plan and take part in a worship service or reflection.
The Passport to Other Lands meeting plan features ideas for the core value of respect- games, group activities, songs, and more. These focus on the value of respect.
This chart will help children practice healthy habits. It includes some of the healthy things they should be doing every day and a place to make a tally mark when they do the item.
The old Cub Scout program helps had a Cub Scout pack meeting plan for the value of resourcefulness. This was a recommended theme for the month of February.
Basically, this means if you need a permit, get one. When our troop has a fire in the fire ring at our local city park, we are required to get a fire permit from the city. Would anyone say anything…
Scout spirit is mentioned in several of the requirements for Scouts BSA ranks. But what is Scout spirit and how does a Scout go about demonstrating it?
A reader asks about helping an auditory learner with the Webelos requirements. Songs can be a big help to auditory learners.
For the Build It Up Knock It Down adventure, Lions learn about building up structures and people
Here is a favorite Cub Scout grace – the Johnny Appleseed Song. This is a non-denominational grace which would be appropriate at any meal. And Cub Scouts always seem to enjoy singing grace rather than saying it.
A Scout knows that being brave is different than being reckless or foolish. A Scout who is brave is able to face difficult situations without being controlled by fear. Here are some ideas for the tenth point of the Scout…
Scouts are known for their honesty. Saying “Scout’s Honor” is a way of saying “You can trust me”. Here are some ideas for the first point of the Scout Law. Add your own ideas about how “A Scout Is Trustworthy”…
For the I’ll Do It Myself adventure, Lion Cub Scouts learn how to do simple tasks independently.