Mac’s Message #8: Understand How the Scouting Programs Build Upon Each Other

by | Oct 27, 2014

Mac McIntire

Mac McIntire

There is a way to be successful in every element of your life. All you have to do to succeed is figure “it” out. Figure out how to be successful in that particularly portion of your life—and then do “it.” The “its” in life are usually very simple and clear if you think about it. But some people never figure “it” out, ignore “it,” refuse to do “it,” or fight against “it.” And by so doing they fail miserably.

The good news about Scouting is someone has already figured “it” out. Each level of the Boy Scout program is a step-by-step, systematic, developmental process to turn boys into strong men of character. Each individual Scouting program progressively emphasizes different things to nurture a boy through the various developmental stages of young manhood.

The emphasis of the Cub Scout program is on home-centered and family activities. Boys and families work together with adult leaders to build moral strength, character, fitness, and fun. The Webelos emphasis shifts from family to a boy’s peers. Activities are group centered rather than family centered. Parents are placed in a supportive role as a boy works on advancement and his Faith in God Award. The eleven-year-old Scout program emphasizes a boy’s individual role within a group. The boys begin to gain confidence by functioning in a unit and serving in patrol leadership roles.

The emphasis of Boy Scouts is teamwork. Boys meet in patrols, work together on merit badges and rank advancement, and serve in unit leadership positions where a boy learns to be personally responsible for a group. The Varsity program continues the boy’s leadership development where he becomes a program manager responsible for planning and executing the unit’s programs. He also enhances his personal skills and strengthens his values so he can stand up to peers. Finally, the Venturing program is outwardly focused on applying leadership and team building skills for the benefit of others. The program emphasizes service, teaching others, life planning, career development, and putting into practice one’s beliefs. Venturing is the final Scouting preparation for manhood.

Whenever you fail to follow or implement the prescribed Scouting program as designed you thwart the successful development of the boy. You neglect an important building block of a boy’s growth. You replace “it” with something less effective. You miss the mark by shooting from the hip rather than taking a firm stance behind the steady pillar of the expertly designed Scouting program.

As I have done many times before, I strongly encourage you to catch the vision of Scouting, learn the proper program, implement the program as designed, and reap the success with your boys that comes from doing “it” the way “it” was meant to be done.

Take a Moment to Reflect

  •  Are you carrying out the Boy Scout, Varsity, or Venturing program the way it was designed?
  • Are you building a firm foundation at the current level of your boys’ development so they will be fully prepared when they move up to the next level in the Scouting program?
  • Are you fully developed (trained) in your role so you can fully develop your boys in their roles?


Turn Your Reflection Into Action

  •  What will you start doing, stop doing, or do better as a result of your reflection?


“And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me.”(Words of Mormon 1:7).

 -Mac McIntire is a dedicated Scouter who has blessed many lives through his service and acute understanding of the Scouting program. He currently lives in Evanston, Wyoming.