An Ethics in Action Program For Boy Scouts.

by Beth Emshoff,
Viking Council, Boy Scouts Of America,
Minneapolis, Minnesota

and the

Center For Youth Development And Research,
University Of Minnesota, St. Paul

Table of Contents



Chapter One:
Scouting and Values

Chapter Two:
Boy Scouting Is Youth Development Through Learning From Experience

Chapter Three:
DELTA Activities, Part I

  • Overview
  • Scouting: A Safe place for boys
  • Cooperative Skill Building
  • "How TO" use these games and Scout Skills
  • Lead the Reflection
  • Initiative games (15)
  • Chapter Three:
    DELTA Activities, Part II

  • Scout Skills (25)
  • Create your own Scout Skill
  • Self Guided Activity
  • Chapter Three:
    DELTA Activities, Part III

  • Idea Notebook: Questions for Reflecting
  • Problem Solving Model
  • DELTA Good Turn
  • Leaders Guide for the DELTA Good Turn
  • Some additional thoughts
  • Program Settings for DELTA
  • Chapter Four:
    A Guide to the Ethic’s In Action Videos

  • Leader’s Guide to the "Foxes and The Hound"
  • References


  • Overview of Youth Development
  • Awards and Recognitions
  • DELTA Planning Calendar

  • Forward

    This book you are holding is unusual. It was written by a group of University colleagues who have talked about, worked and invested much of themselves in the "Ethics In Action" project on an almost daily basis for the past three years. Scouts, Scout leaders, and professional Boy Scout personnel all contributed to the effort. It represents the joint experience of developing DELTA.

    Because DELTA was developed by a partnership of Scouts and University faculty, it joins the wisdom of both in a method of positive youth development. DELTA was designed to fit into Scouting. What we have come to understand is that DELTA is Scouting.

    Ethical development is a major aspect of a youth becoming an adult. DELTA is a method of enhancing the ethical development of a special youth – a Scout; a person who values justice, caring, and service to others.

    This book represents a very special possibility: ethically sensitive and ethically courageous Scouts and adult leaders. DELTA will show you how to make this possible.

    We invite you to join us in helping Scouts learn the skills that will prepare them to become the ethical, servant leaders of tomorrow.


    When the Viking Council, Boy Scouts of America approached the Center for Youth Development and Research (CYDR) at the University of Minnesota in 1985 about designing a "few activities" to teach ethical decision making, neither would have imagined the comprehensive program that has come to be called "Ethics in Action." This initial request was based on parents and leaders wanting more help from Scouting in this area. Throughout that next year University faculty and council professionals met to explore how this interest in reinforcing values and ethics within the context of Scouting could best be realized.

    The result was a commitment to design developmentally appropriate programs for youth at all levels of scouting. The program for Cub Scouts, Developmental Education For Lifetime Values, (DELV) was initiated first and completed in the fall of 1988. The Boy Scout counterpart to DELV is Developing Ethical Leaders Through Action, (DELTA) and that’s what this book is about.

    The creation and evolution of the DELTA program involved many people and organizations. CYDR colleagues were consulted almost daily for the past two years for ideas and critical comments on program directions and materials. Dr. Judith Erickson, who developed DELV, was particularly helpful throughout the process, supplying historical perspectives, insights on developmental theory, and consultations on two of the videos. She participated in the writing team that edited this book along with another CYDR colleague Dr. Michael Baizerman. Dr. Baizermans daughter, Tasha, is the author of DELTA’s Right, Wrong, or What? story book. Another member of the writing team, Alice Keppel, has been involved with DELTA at a couple of levels. Her husband and two sons are in the DELTA troop featured in the videos while she has done numerous editing and writing projects for DELTA over the past year. Student research assistants Chris Sells and Steve Kittel brought years of Scouting experience to the field testing of materials.

    Colleagues on the Viking Council staff have been supportive and provided insights for embedding DELTA into Scouting. Jacquie Clemans always managed to get whomever or whatever was needed in a cheerful manner. Dr. John W. Larson, National Council, Boy Scouts of America, Director of Education / Community Relationships has been supportive throughout the process and provided helpful direction in the early stages of development. Gene Peterson, Mary Waters, Area Director and Tom Ford, North Central Regional Director, Boy Scouts of America have also supported this effort. Critical to the successful development of Ethics In Action has been the encouragement and advocacy of former Viking Council President Charles Hann and current President Paul Curran. Bob Gagner, Director of Camping, for the Viking Council played a critical supportive role in the development of DELTA. He worked closely with DELTA’s project director for two summers at Many Point Scout Camp, helping to integrate DELTA into camp programming and staff training.

    The program materials in DELTA are outstanding, due in great part to the audio-visual professionals who were involved. Barbara Lyman, the graphic artist, who designed the layout for this book and created all of the line drawings. Writer Gary Lindberg captured the essentials of program components and translated them into wonderful scripts for the five DELTA videos. Producer/director Muffy Robinson provided the magic to bring these scripts to life and earned our respect for her enduring patience and creativity. IDS Financial Corporation funded, in part, these videos which were filmed at their production facility, Studio 55. Jeff Werner, manager of Studio 55 gets much of the credit for moving the idea of these videos into reality. Perhaps the greatest insights and critical comments that helped to shape DELTA were from the Scouts and Scouters who worked with us in the pilot troops. They are the inspiration that kept us going when things bogged down. Almost thirty troops have tried and evaluated DELTA programs and materials. To all of you who have attended training sessions, shared a cup of coffee along with your impressions at camp, or helped survey Scouts, we are grateful. In particular to the leaders of several two year troops, 161 in Minneapolis, 204 in Anoka, 353 in Litchfield, and 711 in St. Anthony. The Scouts in troop 161 are the "talent" in four of the five videos. Their Scoutmaster Greg Stromberg and parents are due great thanks for all of their cooperation during the filming.

    A number of the materials that are a part of DELTA have been reprinted from other sources. We wish to thank Project Adventure’s Karl Rohnke, author of "Cowstails and Cobras" for permission to use or modify a number of games that are included in this book. The "Idea Notebook" in the games section is from an article by Dr. Clifford Knapp and is reprinted with his permission.

    Not only human resources are necessary for the creation of new programs. We wish to express our deep appreciation for financial support for design and continued development of DELTA that has been provided by the Pillsbury Foundation, the Otto Bremer Foundation, the North Central Regional Trust Fund, Super Valu Stores, Inc., the Thorpe Foundation, and the IDS Financial Corporation.

    Beth Emshoff
    Research Fellow
    Center For Youth Development & Research

    Clarence Hammett
    Scout Executive
    Viking Council,
    Boy Scouts of America

    DELTA3.jpg (2782 bytes) Chapter One: Scouting and Values

    February 8, 1998