A Scouting program consists of what-Scouts-DO! All Scout activities, meetings, outings, and special events should each add colorful brush strokes to the grand painting illustrating how Scouting is fun with positive outcomes. We can always sense when fun is happening. We can hear the laughter and make note of the happy remarks and exclamations. We can acknowledge the impressive display of focussed attention by observing their level of enthusiasm and involvement. The Scouts want to be doing what they’re doing! This active fun, itself, is a positive outcome. Additional positive outcomes are produced when Scouts:

  • 2put an acquired skill or skills into action
  • experience a sense of belonging
  • nurture their self-esteem
  • exercise their resourcefulness
  • exemplify teamwork
  • share responsibility
  • feel successful
  • learn a life lesson

1A Scouting program that rocks provides the grounds for both fun and learning. Even when specific Scout skills aren’t part of the picture and they’re just playing a fun game, there’s always an opportunity to participate cheerfully while fostering good sportsmanship.

3Planning and preparation are necessary components of any good Scouting program. With all the planning material, program resources, and program features, along with the excellent training available for Scout leaders, planning programs that rock should be a simple proposition. But, it will always require time, organization, and a good dose of eager creativity.

Here are two program approaches that can serve as a framework for success:

Comprehensive Approach to Planning a Program that Rocks – Simply put, the Comprehensive Approach features as many opportunities as possible to be 4entertained, inspired, and pleased, and all within the context of the same event. Scouting is filled with numerous opportunities to present an array of memorable experiences that expose Scouts to new circumstances and broaden their horizons. There are a wealth of Scouting destinations that provide a wide scope of program possibilities, already built into the opportunities they offer. But, in between summer camps, themed campgrounds, and high adventure bases, any expenditure of time and energy spent to assure that the week to week program rocks, is well worth the extra effort. —> Here’s an example.

Sequential Approach to Planning a Program that Rocks – A Sequential Approach to Scout programming is one where gaining specific skills, and then putting them into action, 5pave the way towards a memorable and rewarding experience. This experience is ordinarily featured during a “main event” like an outing or special trip. During the meetings leading up to the special event, the skills and their related activities are presented in a stepwise progression and can be likened to building blocks. The goal of the “sequential approach” is to use these building blocks to provide the grounds for the Scouts to enjoy and appreciate a memorable and rewarding experience—something outstanding.

In order for the Scouting program to rock, the Scout meetings leading up to this super cool main event in themselves should be filled with fun! —> Here’s an example.


As often as possible, Scouts should come away from a meeting, outing, or special event feeling happy, invigorated—feeling good about Scouting, and good about themselves.

The content of this post has not been taken from any offi­cial BSA pub­li­ca­tions.

One comment

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    Kevin V. Hunt says:

    Very excellent article. Some really great ideas and information. I have long been interested in the program planning function and have enjoyed teaching this concept through the years. I have also written a book on the subject – though presently unpublished.

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