"Scouting is a Game with a Purpose"

Why You Should Read Chapter 10
of the Scoutmaster Handbook

Chapter 10 of the Scoutmaster Handbook is a valuable source of understanding and insight into the development of boys and the deeper objectives of the Scouting program. It is both practical and clearly written. The material below is excerpted from the 1990 Printing.

"A new Scoutmaster is likely to approach his troop with self-confidence. He anticipates that his enthusiasm will excite his young charges to get the most they can out of Scouting. Learning about the characteristics of boys, how to motivate them, how to deal with their behavior, and how to help them with their problems will give the Scoutmaster the insights necessary to enjoy working with his Scouts."

Healthy Adolescent Development

  • Physical/ Biological Aspects

  • Mental Characteristics

  • Relationships and Social Experience

  • Values

  • Experimentation

  • Social Experiences

What You Can Do

"There are a number of easy ways you can make Scouting an interesting, challenging, yet safe place to be, a worthwhile experience for troop mem-bers and an enjoyable one for you. These measures also create an atmosphere that prevents behavior and interpersonal problems, while it motivates Scouts to do their best."

  • Relax. Scouting is fun. You’ll be off to a good start if you see that fun and excitement are planned into all activities.

  • By maintaining your good attitude and persevering when problems arise, you can show your troop that difficulties can’t stop a worthwhile experience.

  • Provide new experiences.

  • Make your troop a safe place.

  • Think ahead.

  • Assign responsibility. Scouts need to be held responsible for what they do.

  • Give Scouts freedom.

  • Don’t fall into the trap of controlling the Scouts’ experiences and doing everything for them.

  • Recognize Scouts as individuals.

  • Contribute to their sense of belonging.

  • As much as possible, treat Scouts as partners.

  • Recognize their need to know.

  • Demonstrate self control and he consistent.

  • Reflect with Scouts on experiences. This means you take time to talk with them about their experiences, ideas, plans, and desires. It’s a con-versation in which a Scout should feel free to voice an opinion without fear of criticism. When several participate, they learn to understand them-selves and one another.

Responding to Problems

  • The best way to deal with problem behavior is to prevent it.

  • Understand the problem first.

  • Respond reflectively rather than reactively.

  • Use simple requests and questions to help a Scout get control of his behavior, rather than trying to control him yourself.

  • If necessary, feel free to express disappointment with inappropriate behavior.

  • Never criticize or degrade a Scout’s character or personality.

  • Don’t discount his feelings.

  • Help him reflect on his problem behavior.

For more information on ways to address problems see "Problem Solving"

Teaching Ethical Values

"Parents and Scout leaders expect young people to develop the qualities of integrity and compassion for others. They want them to know right from wrong. How can you teach ethical values? You will find continual opportunities arising from the activities and interactions of your troop members. After an activity or in the middle of a problem, it is a good idea to stop, sit down, and discuss what happened. We call this reflection."

For more information on ethics and values see "By a Quiet Campfire," What are Values?" and "Bringing Scouting’s Values through to Youth."


"Reflection is the process of discussing an experience to help learn important lessons, helping Scouts to integrate their previous knowledge with new learning and with the views of others."

For more information on reflection as a method of teaching ethical values and its use in the Boy Scout see "Thoughts on Reflection" (under development).

Community Service

"Community service can increase the Scout’s self-esteem and give him a sense of accomplishment. In addition, it provides opportunities for career exploration and for learning about the world of work. It challenges him to work cooperatively with others, to learn to compromise, and to com-municate clearly. It encourages skill development. It presents opportunities to use decision-making skills. It provides realistic education for responsible citizenship."

For more information on community service as a method of teaching ethical values, see "Community Service: An Extra Dimension" (under development).

Scouting is a Game with a Purpose: Links

  By a Quiet Campfire
  What are Values?
  Bringing Scouting’s Values through to Youth
  Problem Solving
  Why You Should Read Chapter 10
of the Scoutmaster Handbook
  Some Thoughts on Reflection
Under development
  Community Service: An Extra Dimension
Under development

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Please write to:
Lewis P. Orans

Copyright © Lewis P. Orans, 1996
Last Modified: 10:49 PM on December 24, 1996