The Canadian Path program is the way Scouting is done in Canada. Developed by Scouts Canada, this well-rounded program offers youth aged 5 to 26 an opportunity to experience new things, have more adventures and develop into confident and capable individuals, better prepared for success in the world.

From Beaver Scouts to Rover Scouts, youth take the lead in deciding what program areas they will pursue. Taking charge, the youth will organize ways to achieve these goals, and will collectively reflect on their experience after the goal is met. With support from adult Scouters, this “Plan-Do-Review” method is one of the many ways that the Canadian Path can help youth develop into critical thinkers, extend their personal progression, and encourage active participation in an inclusive team dynamic.

The Canadian Path brings Scouting back to its roots by using the Scout Method as its basis, which was first introduced by Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout Movement.

Canadian Path FAQ

Have questions on how best to transition to The Canadian Path? Visit the Canadian Path FAQ on the Online Support Centre.

Canadian Path FAQ

The Canadian Path is comprised of several components:

  • A non-formal approach to learning
  • The seven components of the Scout Method
  • The Four Elements: Youth-led, Plan-Do-Review, Adventure and SPICES (the six attributes Scouting aims to foster: Social, Physical, Intellectual, Character, Emotional and Spiritual)
  • A balanced program in six Program Areas: Environment & Outdoors, Leadership, Active & Healthy Living, Citizenship, Creative Expression and Beliefs & Values
  • A personal journey of growth

The Four Elements

The Canadian Path is defined by its four key elements.

  • Youth-led
  • Youth-led
  • Plan-Do-Review
  • Adventure
  • What Do YOU Want to Experience?

    Right from the start, Lord Baden-Powell’s vision for Scouting was of a program in which the youth took responsibility for their activities and adventures. Scouts play the most important role within their Sections, and Scouters need to give them the opportunity to step up and run the program.

    Youth decide what activities they want to do, what adventures they want to undertake and what challenges they wish to give themselves. Youth bring their own ideas and interests to the mix to create adventures in all six Program Areas (Environment & Outdoors, Leadership, Active & Healthy Living, Citizenship, Creative Expression, and Beliefs & Values) so that the program truly becomes their own. They can use resource materials provided to suggest starting points in the Plan-Do-Review process for all kinds of adventures.

    This does not mean that there is no Scouter involvement in the program, of course. Youth-led is not a free-for-all where anything goes while the adults stand back and watch. Our Scouters have an active role in mentoring, encouraging, guiding and inspiring youth.

    Scouters are ultimately responsible for creating a safe, inclusive, and fun environments where youth can take on increasing responsibility and leadership roles.


    PLAN: With the Canadian Path, all youth are involved in the planning process—brainstorming, making suggestions and providing input about the Program Areas they are interested in. Then, with guidance from their Scouters, youth select the activities they will pursue along their Path. Scouters engage all youth in the planning for age-appropriate activities and adventures.

    DO: Everyone—youth and Scouters—is involved in the planned activities, and all youth are engaged and challenged in ways appropriate to their abilities. The Scout Law, Promise, and Motto of each Section make up the basic code of behaviour for activities—creating a well-rounded program full of fun and adventure.

    REVIEW: It’s important to include a review as part of the process for Scouting activities. This will help youth to reflect upon their personal growth, and it will help them recognize ways to do things in the future.

    At the end of the activity, or at the next Scout meeting, youth and Scouters should take time to talk about their experience. Here are some questions to help the review, but youth and Scouters can also come up with their own questions.

    • What did you see, hear or notice?
    • Did you take any photos that you’d like to share?
    • What did you enjoy about this activity?
    • What was a challenge for you in this activity?
    • What do you know now that you didn’t know before?
    • What might we do differently if we did this activity again?

    Sometimes review will happen quickly and sometimes it will need more time.

  • YOUR Adventure Starts Now!

    Our youth have been asking for some new meaningful experiences, things that they will not experience at school. Let’s help them get out and have those adventures.

    The image of youth exploring in the wilderness is one of the first ideas that springs to mind when thinking about Scouting. Imagine Beaver Scouts catching fireflies at a local Scout camp, or Venturer Scouts taking a helicopter to a remote wilderness in the Rocky Mountains and hiking out. It’s what many members of Scouting love about the program, and it’s what compels a lot of people to come see what Scouting has to offer them.

    It’s important to recognize that Adventure isn’t always something physically evident. Adventure is about exploring new things, sharing new ideas, learning new skills, and creating new paths. Whether youth are pursuing outdoor challenges, experimenting with STEM concepts, exploring their faith, or tackling a project related to personal expression or community development, they are growing as individuals by having new experiences.

  • Start your Path with SPICES!

    The SPICES concept gives the Scouts Canada program a useful framework to ensure well-rounded program offerings.

    At each Section level, Scouters use The Canadian Path to support youth development and growth in each of the following areas:

    Social: Through participation in Scouting adventures, youth begin to understand how they depend on others, and how others depend on them. Scouting adventures allow them to be part of a diverse group and develop cooperation and leadership skills.

    Physical: Scouting adventures provide many opportunities for youth to be responsible for the care and wellbeing of their bodies.

    Intellectual: Through Scouting adventures, youth have opportunities to develop in their ability to think, to plan, to innovate and to use information in an original way to adapt to new situations.

    Character: Scouting adventures guide youth to take responsibility for themselves while still respecting the needs of others, helping them to create a lifelong personal values system.

    Emotional: Through Scouting adventures, youth members are given opportunities to recognize and respect their own feelings and to learn to express them in a healthy manner while respecting the feelings of others.

    Spiritual: In the midst of Scouting adventures, youth members have experiences in which they recognize that they are part of a larger spiritual reality and learn to respect the spiritual choices of others. (Note: The larger spiritual reality could include, but is not limited to: a relationship with God, Allah, Jehovah, Heavenly Father, Supreme Being, the eight-fold path of Buddhism, a Higher Power, a connection with nature and the earth and a connection with the global community.)

    The SPICES shape our program; by including objectives from each area, we can ensure that we are meeting the needs of young people. Each of the SPICES should be fully explored as a youth member moves through the Scouting program, with some activities from each of the SPICES taking place each year, throughout each Section, and throughout the program as a whole.

Program Areas

The Canadian Path is divided into six Program Areas—categories of the different opportunities that Scouting offers.

Each Section explores all of the Program Areas through age-appropriate activities. As your Section plans its adventures, you may discover that your plans include more than one Program Area.

Including features from multiple Program Areas makes the adventure more challenging and encourages development in all of the SPICES. Remember, the Canadian Path is Youth-led, so the youth will decide on adventures for every Program Area. The ideas below give a sense of the fantastic possibilities the six Program Areas can provide.

  • Environment & Outdoors
  • Environment & Outdoors
  • Leadership
  • Active & Healthy Living
  • Citizenship
  • Creative Expression
  • Beliefs & Values
  • Adventures in this Program Area involve exploring, hiking, camping, paddling and other ways of enjoying the outdoors, even as youth learn new skills to live in, and take care of, their environment and Leave No Trace.

    • Learning about and interacting with nature and the environment
    • Learning about how to enjoy, respect and live in the outdoors
    • Preparing camping, hiking and other outdoor activities
    • Developing safety and survival skills
    • Caring for, and protecting, the environment
    • Understanding the interdependence we have with the environment
  • During adventures in this Program Area, youth learn about and practise the skills of being good leaders in their Section, local community and Canada.

    • Participating in administration of small groups, larger groups, the Section and the community
    • Exploring a variety of styles of leadership
    • Acting as a mentor for other youth in the program
    • Experiencing shared leadership within small groups
    • Understanding what makes a good leader
    • Learning to move between being the leader and being a good team member under other leaders
  • During adventures in this Program Area, youth are involved in playing, having fun and being active while they develop good mental and physical habits for happy and healthy living.

    • Learning about health and fitness
    • Exploring the benefits of a healthy lifestyle
    • Experiencing a variety of options for fitness and joy in movement
    • Respecting and understanding the diversity in body types and appearances
    • Incorporating healthy activities in all aspects of life
    • Making wise and healthy choices
    • Learning first aid skills and what to do in emergency situations
  • During adventures in this Program Area, youth are involved in learning about being good citizens in their community, Canada and world.

    • Learning about the local community, Canada and the global community
    • Offering service to Canada and to other communities
    • Leading linking activities with a younger Section
    • Learning about being a good citizen through participation in democracy and gaining knowledge of Canada’s history, form of government, legal system, etc.
    • Understanding the interdependence that exists between people and between countries
    • Participating in activities such as jamborees that create connections beyond our local community
  • During adventures in this Program Area, youth are involved in sharing and exploring their own creative expression and trying out the creative expression engaged by others.

    • Exploring a variety of creative pursuits in visual arts, music, spoken arts, digital arts, drama and more
    • Learning about and trying new interests
    • Increasing skills in areas of personal interest
    • Offering leadership to the group in an area of personal interest and expertise
    • Using imagination in problem solving and in working as a team
    • Recognizing the benefit of including a variety of skills, interests and perspectives in a working team
  • During adventures in this Program Area, youth explore personal values and beliefs as well as the diversity of cultures and faiths that make up our communities, our nation and our world.

    • Exploring and reflecting upon the beliefs, values and attitudes that are part of our society
    • Understanding our own beliefs, values and attitudes in relation to others
    • Respecting diversity of culture and faith
    • Developing group, team and individual codes of practice in relation to the environment, working together and being a Scout
    • Working with the Internal Compass model (which engages Wonder, Gratitude, Service and Reflection as the foundation of Duty to God)
  • Share Your Adventures

    Share your adventures with Adventures on the Path! Adventures on the Path is where all members of Scouts Canada can submit and share their adventures.

    Adventures on the Path

Share your thoughts with Scouts Canada about The Canadian Path and help us build a better program for today’s youth. You can do so by completing one or all of the below surveys.