Scouting’s Ulterior Motive

Scouting's ulterior motiveKeep before your mind in all your teaching that the whole ulterior motive of this scheme is to form character …


Scouting’s ulterior motive, our goal as Scouters,  is forming character.

The methods of Scouting , (the patrol system, outdoor adventure, etc.), are the tools of character development. We track this development using reflection, counselling, mentoring and coaching.

If our work is invested in developing an individual’s mental and moral qualities what milestones indicate we’ve succeeded? What direction do we want to see this formation take?

The Scout oath and law define the ideal character we aim to develop;  the ability to  resolve conflicts, solve problems, empathize with others, persevere through difficulties, control impulses, communicate clearly, make thoughtful decisions, and work cooperatively with others.

As we observe our Scouts we are looking for these indicators of character development:

  • A sense of curiosity – the drive to collect information and expand knowledge.
  • Ability to solve problems by analyzing choices ethically
  • A capacity for recognizing, reasoning with, understanding, and managing emotions in others and in themselves
  • Adaptability to different situations, capacity for thought, innovation and adventure.
  • Understand the value of ethics and morals as ways to understand and help people, society and the world.
  • True concern for others expressed in empathy and compassion.

Scouts with strong character have internalized the Scout oath and law and measure themselves against this internal standard; they judge their own actions based on self-knowledge and self-motivation. They learn to appreciate and nurture themselves. They realize that their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being not only benefits themselves but keeps them prepared for service.

We’ve succeeded when Scouts begin to see beyond their own welfare to the interests of others, understand the importance of teamwork, engagement, commitment and working together towards common goals.