Canned programs for Scouts are attractive because they are easy. They are also poor excuses for a Scout activity. Canned experiences require little preparation, skill development or leadership. In our part of the world there are whitewater rafting trips, ski weekends, museum lock-ins and similar activities that only require Scouts show up and be led by the hand through an activity or presentation.
Scoutmasters should be adamant that activities are aimed at fulfilling the promises of Scouting and not simply entertainment. Activities that Scouts plan and present for themselves, as imperfect or halting as they may be, are always preferable to a canned program.
All of our Scouts want to ‘have fun’. Canned programs can be ‘fun’ but are simply an end in themselves. Fun is not an aim of Scouting but Scouting is fun. Scouts get a real sense of satisfaction from creating their own program. Scouting demands that Scouts be more than participants – they must be the planners, the leaders the developers.
A Scout-made program surpasses any canned program. When the Scouts have invested themselves in building a challenging, ambitious activity they benefit from something they have done for themselves.