The Four Elements
The Canadian Path is defined by its four key elements:
- Youth-led: The program is directed by its youth members—not the Scouters.
- Plan-Do-Review: A three step process informs all activities in the Canadian Path program.
- Adventure: Scouts explore new things, share new ideas, learn new skills and create new paths.
- SPICES: Social, Physical, Intellectual, Character, Emotional and Spiritual are the six dimensions of personal development for the Canadian Path program.
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