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  • Mission or Aims?

    Tonight, I pulled up the Aims & Methods of the BSA. Publication 521-042 (under Hispanic resources for some reason) lists the Aims, which are: Character, citizenship, and fitness. These are achieved by the Methods: Outdoors, advancement, ideals, patrols, uniform, association with adults, leadership development, and personal growth. Evolved over the years, but familiar to us all.
    The aims are what we're trying to bring about in boys, and the methods are how we do it.

    But listed in various places is also the BSA's mission statement; for example, on the cover of "Selecting Quality Leaders" in asbence of the Aims, and in the Guide to Advancement above the Aims and Methods. It is: "The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law."

    To me, the mission statement seems to be at odds with the aims. The 3 aims basically line up with "physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight" but the mission statement sets a single goal of ethical and moral choicemaking. Its premise is the Scout Oath which includes 3 things, but the missions statement's phrasing disregards 2/3.
    In my opinion, the mission statement is 1990s corporate doodoo and its existence alongside Aims muddies the water--aim and mission are the same thing. Worse, its wording ignores the aims, narrowing the focus to just one aspect of the aims. The outdoors, uniform, patrols, and advancement have nothing to do with producing young men that make ethical choices. The issue is further confused by its placement in various publications without the Aims, or above/in front of the Aims giving it a clear priority over the Aims.

    What do you all think? Am I overthinking it? Am I wrong? Am I right? Is it somewhere in between?
    Last edited by Scouter99; 01-24-2014, 01:36 AM.

  • #2
    Well I agree with you, the Aims are clear enough without the corporate management speak.

    The Vision statement also shortchanges the Aims of Scouting.
    "The Boy Scouts of America will prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Law."

    I would drop both the Mission and Vision statements and focus on the Aims which is what we should be doing.

    My $0.02

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    • #3
      I think your overthinking it....The ultimate goal is the Mission. How do you get there? The Aims and the Aims are accomplished with the Method. The Vision is trash...'Eligible Youth'? What about the others? Don't care about them?
      Last edited by duckfoot; 01-24-2014, 05:09 AM. Reason: Why does it tell me error loading post, then posts it?

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      • #4
        I really never fuss about this. Keep in mind that the BSA for the past few decades had three oaths in operation depending on the division you were in, each echoing the three aims. Mission statements restate the aspiration of the corporation. So they are often a little oblique to the aims.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by duckfoot View Post
          The Vision is trash...'Eligible Youth'? What about the others? Don't care about them?
          I think that's a PC way to say "boys" not girls (and of course not atheists and formerly homosexuals). I think it sounds wishy-washy, but I don't have a problem with its exclusionary nature because, yes, BSA exists to instill certain values to a certain segment of the youth population.
          That does not mean that the people involved in BSA (that's us) don't care about girls, it means we've got a certain amount of charity time in our lives and we've got a passion for this group.

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          • #6
            Yes, "eligible youth". The BSA can't do anything about those youth who are not members, and to become a member you must meet certain requirements - be "eligible".

            "Eligible youth" is also NOT a PC way to say boys only. Really? Do you know nothing of the organization you have a "passion" for?

            The Vision is a vision for the ENTIRE corporation of BSA. Hello! There are girls in BSA! "Eligible youth" covers ALL youth members, boys AND girls, and is simply a more succinct, professional, way of stating it.

            Comment


            • qwazse
              qwazse commented
              Editing a comment
              Don't forget those Learning For Life-ers who the BSA provides programs for -- without digging into their lifestyles in a politically incorrect fashion.

              Generality is one of the weaknesses of mission statements. They are designed to cover every niche program that may be conjured up in some backwater of the organization. But they do serve as a canned reply to the question "what are we doing keeping *that* program?"

          • #7
            This stuff was created long before political correctness, politics or the cultural war. Don't make it more than it is, which is a road map of the BSA. A Vision statement is intended as the he main single objective of the company, organization or program. Vision Statements are usually a short easy to remember idealistic goal. They purposely idealistic and appear impossible so that they aren't easily met and more importantly so that it doesn't change over time. I remember reading somewhere that Baden Powell's Vision Statement for Scouting was world peace. A Mission statement while still vague of the details for reaching the vision usually ties the theme of the program to the vision. The Aims are not the "how" of get to the vision, but instead more of where by setting the boundaries or arena of the vision program. The methods are the how. The Practice of the scout law is the focus in using the methods. The scout oath is the connection to the aims to the mission. If all is like it's laid out, you see a trend toward the Vision. There is a book out that said the majority of the top Fortune 500 companies usually hire employees that believe in their company vision and mission statements. I have found that the adults of the more successful "boy run" troops understand and try to guide their program under the Vision, Mission, Aims and Methods guidelines. It's a pretty clear path and keeps the focus simple when questions pop up.

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by ScoutNut View Post
              "Eligible youth" is also NOT a PC way to say boys only. Really? Do you know nothing of the organization you have a "passion" for?
              Ew-wee. Good afternoon, happy Friday, welcome to our very mundane discussion of a mundane topic, complimentary Valium is by the coffee pot.

              Yes, we all know that Venturing and Exploring/LFL include females. They're a very tiny group and the politics of the wording of the aims/mission/vision isn't the topic of the discussion thus my ill-developed perspective. But, yes, your take on the use of that phrase is a better analysis.
              Last edited by Scouter99; 01-24-2014, 12:39 PM.

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              • #9
                Originally posted by qwazse View Post
                I really never fuss about this. Keep in mind that the BSA for the past few decades had three oaths in operation depending on the division you were in, each echoing the three aims. Mission statements restate the aspiration of the corporation. So they are often a little oblique to the aims.
                Yeah, and that's why this isn't something that I spend any time worrying about, it just simply struck me as odd last night while I had both in front of me in the middle of having a very hard time actually finding the Aim and Methods on BSA's website to begin with.
                The curiosity to me is, yes, MS's restate or state an organizations aspirations, and I would consifer theAims to be a mission statement by another name. So, why is a MS necessary alongside the Aims, and if modern corporate conventions require something labeled a MS, why craft one that omits 2/3s of your pre-existing mission-statement-by-another-name?

                Comment


                • #10
                  The whole purpose of Scouting since 1907 has been building character, citizenship, and fitness. We accomplish that essentially with outdoors, advancement, ideals, patrols, uniform, association with adults, leadership development, and personal growth. Sadly we must also follow a lot of guidelines in the interest of safety and liability, but the purpose hasn't changed. Anything else said that appears to confuse or contradict those goals is irrelevant. Baden-Powell and many others have and do wish for world peace and other things, but we as Scouters can only do what's in front of us to do.

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                  • #11
                    I never understood what was wrong with the aim, methods, etc... of scouting as written by J. Alexander in the 1911 Handbook.

                    "The aim of the Boy Scouts is to supplement the various existing educational agencies and to promote the ability in boys to do things for themselves and others."

                    "The method is summed up in the term Scoutcraft, and is a combination of observation, deduction and handiness, or the ability to do things."

                    "This is accomplished in games and team play, and is pleasure, not work, for the boy."

                    "All that is needed is the out-of-doors, a group of boys, and a competent leader."

                    Comment


                    • qwazse
                      qwazse commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Well, DT, since 1911 scouters (BP included) started realizing that it's not just about boys. Even if we were still unisex in membership, our mission would always include youth in general, and a better society at large. When you're trying to get some philanthropist to write a check for millions (never done that personally, but know the fellas who do), a "here's how we're impacting the world" catchphrase goes a long way.

                  • #12
                    Originally posted by DuctTape View Post
                    I never understood what was wrong with the aim, methods, etc... of scouting as written by J. Alexander in the 1911 Handbook.

                    "The aim of the Boy Scouts is to supplement the various existing educational agencies and to promote the ability in boys to do things for themselves and others."

                    "The method is summed up in the term Scoutcraft, and is a combination of observation, deduction and handiness, or the ability to do things."

                    "This is accomplished in games and team play, and is pleasure, not work, for the boy."

                    "All that is needed is the out-of-doors, a group of boys, and a competent leader."
                    DuctTape,

                    Your quote from the first paragraph of the 1911 Scoutcraft requirements chapter is a paraphrase of the legal "mission" of the BSA, as defined by the statute that grants our corporation an absolute monopoly on Scouting in exchange for that particular Scoutcraft program (as "Scoutcraft" was still defined in 1916):

                    The purposes of the corporation are to promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies:

                    1) The ability of boys to do things for themselves and others,
                    2) To train them in Scoutcraft, and
                    3) To teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues,

                    using the methods that were in common use by boy scouts on June 15, 1916 (Congressional Charter).

                    The problem with the law is that it is only enforceable in one direction: The BSA routinely sues competing corporations that use "Scout" terms that are generic in the rest of the world, but who has the legal standing to enforce upon the BSA's First Class Scouts the competency in Scoutcraft skills necessary for a backwoods journey of 14 miles without adult supervision?

                    http://inquiry.net/advancement/tf-1st_require_1911.htm

                    The so-called "Mission Statement" neatly side-steps the terms of our Congressional Charter through Program Neutering: In the name of inclusiveness we replace very specific ("June 15, 1916") outdoor skills with nebulous "ethical choices," upon which all those good indoor program people can agree.
                    Last edited by Kudu; 01-26-2014, 11:37 AM.

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