Young people need to know to be good and to do good. Few will argue with the importance of teaching values and responsibility to our children - not only right from wrong, but specific, affirmative values such as fairness, courage, honor, and respect for others. Beginning with the Scout Oath and Scout Law, the Boy Scouts of America program is infused with character-building activities that allow youth to apply abstract principles to daily living situations.
Young people need faith. There is abundant evidence that children benefit from the moral compass provided by religious tradition. We acknowledge that faith can become an important part of a child's identity. Each of the major faiths breeds hope, optimism, compassion, and a belief in a better tomorrow. Scouting encourages each young person to begin a spiritual journey through the practice of his or her faith tradition. One of the key tenets of Scouting is "duty to God." While Scouting does not define religious belief for its members, it has been adopted by and works with youth programs of all major faiths.
Young people need to be well. To get the most from life, one must be both mentally and physically fit. A commitment to physical wellness has been reflected in Scouting's outdoor programs such as hiking, camping, swimming, climbing, and conservation. First aid, lifesaving, and safety programs are synonymous with Scouting. Our programs today include strong drug abuse awareness and prevention programs emphasizing the value of healthy living habits.
People need to learn all through their lives. We live in a society that rewards continual acquisition of skills and knowledge. Scouting provides structured settings where young people can learn new skills and develop habits of continual learning that will help them succeed. From its foundation, Scouting has offered a concrete program of discovering, sharing, and applying knowledge and skills.
Young people need mentors. Positive relationships with adults—community and religious leaders and, of course, parents—provide youth with good role models and have a powerful impact on their lives. Young people of every age can benefit from constructive, one-on-one interaction with adults beyond their own families. Scouting provides such adult interaction. We have a process that screens, selects, and trains the leaders who can provide that extra attention all young people need to succeed in life.
Young people need to serve. The level of community service is a good indication of the health of any society. Scouting has, from its inception, been deeply rooted in the concept of doing for others. "Do a Good Turn Daily" is a core Scouting precept. Scouting encourages young people to recognize the needs of others and take action accordingly. Scouting works through neighborhoods, volunteer organizations, and faith-based organizations to help young people appreciate and respond to the needs of others.