a drawing by Baden-Powell
You Delivering the Promise?
acquisition a new Scout is likely to make is his personal
copy of the Boy Scout Handbook. The pages fast become dog-eared
because of constant use. The handbook is a book of
dreams, dreams of "Adventure . . . hiking along
trails . . . canoeing across misty lakes . . . a patrol
bike-hike . . . [a] plunge into a cool mountain
lake." It also talks of being prepared to help
others, and of the values Scouting stands for. It tells a
new Scout that he will have a voice in how his troop operates.
and may even have the opportunity to lead.
Boy Scouting is a great program that yearly attracts
almost one million young men. How do we fulfill the
promise for these Scouts? Do we provide a program in
which boys can truly be leaders and be involved in
shaping their future and the future of others around
them? Do we provide a program that is exciting and
challenging, one that every Scout wants to tell his friends
about? This brochure will give you an idea of how
successful troops "fulfill the promise." It
also provides some suggestions on how, you, too, can
fulfill the promise for the Scouts in your community.
Only you and the leadership of your troop can determine
whether your troop is fulfilling the promise. To do this,
you will have to ask some hard questions and answer them
In the past year, the Boy Scouts of America has surveyed
thousands of Scoutmasters. Hundreds of Scouts and Scoutmasters
have been interviewed. From this information, we have
been able to determine a number of attributes common to
You may ask, what is considered a successful troop? This
is a good question. The ultimate answer is probably a
troop where a boy feels that the promise has been
fulfilled. Since that feeling is hard to quantify, we
focused on some program items that relate to the promise.
We looked first at the level of program planning in the
troop and the amount of youth involvement in the process.
We examined key ingredients such as troop elections,
junior leader training opportunities, and frequency of
patrol leaders’ council meetings. We sought information
on the outdoor program. We checked the level of training
of the leaders, and even how many assistant Scoutmasters
were active in the troop. We evaluated troop meetings to
make sure all Scouts were being involved. We asked the
troops if they were Quality Units.
We received a lot of useful information. Most of it you
have heard before. Good troops do things by the book;
they go camping frequently, and have lots of quality
adult and boy leadership. What we did find was that as a
troop grew in size, the number of quality indicators also
increased. It’s the old chicken-or-egg problem: which
came first, the size or the quality? The fact is, good
troops with good programs serve a large number of Scouts.
In fact, once a troop reaches twenty-one Scouts, the
level of quality changes significantly.
So let’s talk about how we can help you get your troop to
grow. Growth will come when you deliver the promise to
your current members and have a workable plan to attract
new members. Focus on the elements that follow.
Adapted from Delivering the Promise,
No. 18-251, Boy Scouts of America, 1993
Your feedback, comments and suggestions
Please write to: Lewis P. Orans
© Lewis P. Orans, 1996
Last Modified: 10:18 PM on December 14, 1996