Are You Delivering the Promise?  

The first time that you are approached by another Scouter to attend a Wood Badge training course, you may well ask, "What's in it for me", and if you are like most adults in the Scouting program, you may not have an answer.  The answer can be found in an important survey conducted in 1992 and 1993, by the Boy Scouts of America. The survey was looking for information about what made one troop successful and another fail. They interviewed hundreds of Scouts and Scoutmasters. From this information they were able to determine a number of attributes common to successful troops. 


Although the survey was aimed at the Boy Scout program, its findings can be applied to all of the programs of the Boy Scouts of America. 


The following is from the introduction.

The first acquisition a new Scout is likely to make is his personal copy of the Boy Scout Handbook. The pages fast become dog-eared because of constant use. The handbook is a book of dreams, dreams of "Adventure . . . hiking along trails . . . canoeing across misty lakes . . . a patrol bike-hike . . . [a] plunge into a cool mountain lake." It also talks of being prepared to help others, and of the values Scouting stands for. It tells a new Scout that he will have a voice in how his troop operates. and may even have the opportunity to lead.

Boy Scouting is a great program that yearly attracts almost one million young men. How do we fulfill the promise for these Scouts? Do we provide a program in which boys can truly be leaders and be involved in shaping their future and the future of others around them? Do we provide a program that is exciting and challenging, one that every Scout wants to tell his friends about? This brochure will give you an idea of how successful troops "fulfill the promise." It also provides some suggestions on how, you, too, can fulfill the promise for the Scouts in your community. Only you and the leadership of your troop can determine whether your troop is fulfilling the promise. To do this, you will have to ask some hard questions and answer them honestly.

In the past year, the Boy Scouts of America has surveyed thousands of Scoutmasters. Hundreds of Scouts and Scoutmasters have been interviewed. From this information, we have been able to determine a number of attributes common to successful troops.

You may ask, what is considered a successful troop? This is a good question. The ultimate answer is probably a troop where a boy feels that the promise has been fulfilled. Since that feeling is hard to quantify, we focused on some program items that relate to the promise. We looked first at the level of program planning in the troop and the amount of youth involvement in the process. We examined key ingredients such as troop elections, junior leader training opportunities, and frequency of patrol leaders' council meetings. We sought information on the outdoor program. We checked the level of training of the leaders, and even how many assistant Scoutmasters were active in the troop. We evaluated troop meetings to make sure all Scouts were being involved. We asked the troops if they were Quality Units.

We received a lot of useful information. Most of it you have heard before. Good troops do things by the book; they go camping frequently, and have lots of quality adult and boy leadership. What we did find was that as a troop grew in size, the number of quality indicators also increased. It's the old chicken-or-egg problem: which came first, the size or the quality? The fact is, good troops with good programs serve a large number of Scouts. In fact, once a troop reaches twenty-one Scouts, the level of quality changes significantly.

Ask Yourself the Question

Now is the time to answer the big question. "Am I delivering the Promise to the Scouts in my troop?" If your answer is yes, than congratulations! If your answer is no, than this is the time to begin making that promise come true.

What's in it for you?

As you ask, "Am I delivering the Promise to the Scouts . . in my unit" remember some key bits in the findings of the survey; Quality adult leadership; Good units do things by-the-book; Level of training of the leaders.

Ask yourself how do I:

Let me suggest that the Wood Badge experience will provide most, if not all of the information and training that you need to answer YES!  when you ask Am I delivering the Promise to the Scouts . . in my unit?


Extracted from Delivering the Promise, No. 18-251, Boy Scouts of America, 1993



Delivering the Promise
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Revised: 2021/04/11