Scouting is a game. A game that BPSA feels should be open to be played by anyone.
The Aims of Scouting are to improve:
- Character – Training Scouts in habits of observation, obedience, and self-reliance
- Service – Instilling loyalty and thoughtfulness for others and teaching services useful to the local community (“service over self”)
- Health – Promoting their physical, mental, and moral development
- Proficiency in Outdoor Skills/Crafts – Teaching self-reliance, confidence, and leadership through progressive responsibility and training in scoutcraft and public-service skills
How Scouting does this is through the Scout Method. The Scout Method is defined as a system of progressive self-education through:
- Having a uniform, promise, and law
- Learning by doing (hands-on training)
- The Patrol System – Membership in small groups involving progressive acceptance of responsibility and development of character, competence, self-reliance, dependability, and capacities to both cooperate and lead
- A progressive and stimulating program of activities, including games, useful skills, service in the community and all taking place largely in the outdoors
To elaborate on some of these key methods…
The Patrol System – membership in small groups
The Patrol System is the one essential feature in which Scout training differs from that of all other organizations, and where properly applied, it is absolutely bound to bring success.
The patrol is a unit of Scouting always, whether for work or play, for discipline or duty.
The Patrol System puts responsibility on to the individual; immediately gained in appointing a Patrol Leader to responsible command of his/her patrol. Then, through emulation and competition between patrols, you produce “patrol spirit,” which raises the tone among the youth and develops higher standards of efficiency all around. Each youth in the patrol realizes that they are a responsible unit and that the honor of their patrol depends on some degree on their own ability to play the game of scouting.
Progressive Training Scheme
Proficiency badges show a Scout’s “current” skill level.
Retesting is important to keep current, failing to re-pass means you don’t get to wear the badge.
Proficiency badges are not ranks. Ranks are Patrol Leader, Troop Leader, Group Scoutmaster, Quartermaster, etc. And proficiency badges are organized into two general categories: Scoutcraft and Public Service.
These badges are worn on the Scout’s uniform and require the Scout to maintain current proficiency to continue to wear those badges, with retesting as often as once a year.
The uniform is an integral part of the Scout Method. As B-P said, “Smartness in uniform and correctness in detail may seem a small matter, but has its value in the development of self-respect, and means an immense deal to the reputation of the Movement among outsiders who judge by what they see.” If youth dress like Scouts they will act like Scouts; and our adult Rovers and Leaders in the movement set the example.
However, B-P also stated that, “I have often said, ‘I don’t give a fig whether a Scout wears a uniform or not so long as his heart is in his work and he carriers out the Scout Law.’ But the fact is that there is hardly a Scout who does not wear the uniform if he can afford to buy it. The spirit prompts him to it.”
Given all of this, BPSA understands the uniform is a method to help achieve the Aims of Scouting, as B-P has stated. It is not an aim in and of itself. If a group, Scout, or parents—due to finances, environment, or other reasons—can’t afford to purchase a uniform in full, it’s OK. If the scouts start off with only the necker and nothing else, the game of Scouting can still be played. Scouts, parents, and groups can work towards being able to provide uniforms progressively and in the future by any number of means; as the uniform is an important part of the Scout method. But the focus of ANY local scout group or section should be on the implementation of the program and other Scout methods before worrying over uniform.
As a traditional scouting organization and part of the wider Scout Movement worldwide as a member of the World Federation of Independent Scouts, we wear the Traditional Scout uniform distinctive of Scouts seen prior to the 1960s. We don’t recreate this uniform exactly, and understand that better materials and utility can be built into the uniform while still keeping to the traditional model. We also understand that, because we are a coed organization, some adjustments and considerations need to go into choosing a similar uniform that women and girls in the association wear. BPSA is dedicated to ensuring that, when we arrive at the point where we find a uniform supplier and standardize the uniform across the association, that we want the best possible traditional uniforms for both men and women, youth and adult, in our organization.
This is the program that BPSA is founded upon and represents. For those adults and youth, whether women or men, who want to participate in a program that develops the character and resourcefulness of youth through progressive learning of outdoor skills and strives to replace self with service, we encourage everyone to join in and play the game of Scouting with BPSA.