Character Development

Since its origin, the Scouting program has been an educational experience concerned with values. In 1910, the first activities for Scouts were designed to build character, physical fitness, practical skills, and service. These elements were part of the original Cub Scout program and continue to be part of Cub Scouting today

Character development should extend into every aspect of a boy's life. Character development should also extend into every aspect of Cub Scouting. Cub Scout leaders should strive to use Cub Scouting's 12 core values throughout all elements of the program—service projects, ceremonies, games, skits, songs, crafts, and all the other activities enjoyed at den and pack meetings

Cub Scouting's 12 Core Values

1. Citizenship:
Contributing service and showing responsibility to local, state, and national communities.
2. Compassion:
Being kind and considerate, and showing concern for the well-being of others.
3. Cooperation:
Being helpful and working together with others toward a common goal
4. Courage:
Being brave and doing what is right regardless of our fears, the difficulties, or the consequences.
5. Faith:
Having inner strength and confidence based on our trust in God.
6. Health and Fitness:
Being personally committed to keeping our minds and bodies clean and fit.
7. Honesty:
Telling the truth and being worthy of trust.
8. Perseverance:
Sticking with something and not giving up, even if it is difficult.
9. Positive Attitude:
Being cheerful and setting our minds to look for and find the best in all situations.
10. Resourcefulness:
Using human and other resources to their fullest.
11. Respect:
Showing regard for the worth of something or someone.
12. Responsibility:
Fulfilling our duty to God, country, other people, and ourselves.
12 Core Values and
the Scout Law

Boy Scouts learn and strive to live by the Scout Law:

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent

Many of the core values of Cub Scouting relate directly to the Scout Law:

Core Value Scout Law
Compassion Kind
Cooperation Helpful
Courage Brave
Health and Fitness Clean
Honesty Trustworthy
Positive Attitude Cheerful

Character can be defined as the collection of core values by an individual that leads to moral commitment and action.

Character development should challenge Cub Scouts to experience core values
in six general areas: God, world, country, community, family, and self.

Character is "values in action."

Character ConnectionsTM

The goals of the Cub Scout leader are

  • to seek out and maximize the many opportunities to incorporate character development
  • to convince the young Cub Scout that character is important to the individual, to his family, community, country, world, and God

Character development should not be viewed as something done occasionally as part of a separate program, or as part of only one area of life. For in reality, character development is a part of everything a Cub Scout does. Character development lessons can be found in every aspect of the Cub Scouting experience.

When it comes to developing character, the complete person must be considered. Character development involves at least three critical areas:

  1. Know (thought)
  2. Commit (feeling)
  3. Practice (behavior)

In Cub Scouting, addressing these three critical areas and relating them to values is referred to as Character Connections.

Character Connections asks the Cub Scout to:

Know

Character development includes moral knowledge—both awareness and reasoning. For example, children must understand what honesty means and they must be able to reason about and interpret each situation, and then decide how to apply the principles of honesty.

What do I think or know about the core value? How does the context of this situation affect this core value? What are some historical, literary, or religious examples representing the core value?

Commit

Character development includes attention to moral motivation. Children must be committed to doing what they know is right. They must be able to understand the perspectives of others, to consider how others feel, and to develop an active moral conscience.

Why is this core value important? What makes living out this core value different? What will it take to live out this core value?

Practice

Character development includes the development of moral habits through guided practice. Children need opportunities to practice the social and emotional skills necessary for doing what is right but difficult, and to experience the core values in their lives.

How can I act according to this core value? How do I live out this core value? How can I practice this value at school, at home, and with my friends?

To make Character Connections an integral part of Cub Scouting, the 12 core values are being integrated throughout the boys' handbooks and advancement program. Program support for character development can be found in Cub Scout Program Helps, in the Cub Scout Leader Book, and at your monthly roundtable meetings.

Remember:

  • Core values are the basis of good character development.
  • Character must be broadly defined to include thinking, feeling, and behavior.
  • Core values should be promoted throughout all phases of life.