The Canadian Path helps us to be one Scouts Canada, sharing a program that is consistent for all Sections and relevant to today's youth.
The Canadian Path is founded on Four Key Elements (Youth-led, Plan-Do-Review, Adventure and SPICES), Six Program Areas and Outdoor Adventure Skills.
The Four Elements
The Canadian Path is defined by its four key elements: Youth-led, Plan-Do-Review, Adventure and SPICES.
The Four Elements provide youth with the opportunity to play an active role in facilitating and creating their own Youth-Led Path and program. The Plan-Do-Review element creates a more engaged and reflective process for our members, which they can apply to all their Adventures - and there will be many Adventures! SPICES will provide youth with a program that fosters well-rounded individuals, better prepared for success in the world.
Right from the start, Lord Baden-Powell's vision for Scouting was 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 interest into 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.
Create YOUR Path!
With the Canadian Path, all Scouts are involved in the planning process - brainstorming, making suggestions and providing input about the Program Areas they are interested in. Then, with guidance from the Scouters, Scouts make the choices about what activities they will pursue along their Path. Scouters engage all Scouts in planning for age-appropriate activities and adventures.
Everyone - Scouts and Scouters - are 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.
It's important to include Review as part of the process of Scout activities, so Scouts can learn how to reflect upon their involvement and to determine how to revise or enhance future activities.
At the end of the activity, or at the next Scout meeting, youth and Scouters should take time to talk about the activity. During the review Scouter and Scouts will consider what they experienced, what they enjoyed about the activity, what challenges they encountered, what new knowledge they gained, and any changes they would make if doing the activity again.
YOUR Adventure starts now!
Our youth have been asking for some new meaningful experiences, things 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, 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 the following areas:
- 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.
- Scouting Adventures provide many opportunities for youth to be responsible for the care and wellbeing of their bodies.
- 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 ot new situations.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The Six 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
Adventures in the 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.
- Leaning about and interacting with nature and the environment
- Learning about how to enjoy, respect and live in the outdoors
- Camping, hiking and other outdoor activities
- Safety and survival skills
- Caring for, and protecting, the environment
- Understanding the interdependence we have with the environment
During Adventures in the Program Area, youth learn about and practice the skills of being good leaders in their Section, local community and Canada.
- Participation in administration of small groups, larger groups, the Section and the community
- Exploring a variety of styles of leadership
- Acting as a mentor of 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
Active & Healthy Living
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
Beliefs & Values
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 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)
Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts and Scouts have maps to help explore the different areas in an age-appropriate way. Beaver Scouts will explore the Pond and surrounding areas with the help of the Friends of the Forest, tracking their progress within the different Program Areas. Cub Scouts will explore the Jungle with the help of the wolf pack and their jungle friends, visiting different locations associated with the different Program Areas. Scouts will explore many trails scattered across Canada to help them explore the different Program Areas.
Venturer Scouts will use the framework of climbing a mountain and reaching the summit to have adventures in the different Program Areas. And Rover Scouts use the mentoring method to compliment their framework of paddling their own canoe in order to design their balanced program around the different Program Areas.
Outdoor Adventure Skills
The Outdoor Adventure Skills program is an invitation for Scouts to try something new - to be outside more, testing themselves with progressive challenges while always staying within their capabilities to stay safe. In short, it's about having life-changing experiences.
Each Outdoor Adventure Skills pathway is divided into 9 stages with a badge awarded for each stage. However, the purpose of the OAS program is not the badge. Rather, the OAS should be seen as tools to support the Plan-Do-Review process.
The 9 OAS pathways are:
- Camping Skills
- Trail Skills
- Winter Skills
- Paddling Skills
- Aquatic Skills
- Emergency Aid
- Vertical Skills
- Sailing Skills
Stages - The stages are not aligned to any Section. While a Beaver Scout would naturally start at stage 1 and move through the stages during his or her time in Scouting, a new Venturer Scout with no Scouting experience would also be expected to start at stage 1 and move up. The OAS present a progressive standard for all youth members.
Competencies - The OAS stages are presented as a set of competency statements. "I know how to pitch a tent" or "I can plan for a week long hiking trip" - that kind of thing. These specific statements outline the knowledge, skills and experiences that youth need to display to move up to the next stage.
Risk Assessment - OAS are not certifications. Scouts should not be excluded from an Adventure because they have not reached a certain stage. Rather, the decision of whether a youth should take part in a particular Adventure should be based on risk management; as always, youth and Scouters should ask themselves, "Am I in the Right Place at the Right Time with the Right People and the Right Equipment?"
Assessing Competencies - Competencies need to be assessed. This can be done by the Scouter, a mentor, an external specialist or instructor or through a peer assessment. For a peer assessment, one youth assesses a less experienced youth in a given OAS pathway. When using peer assessment for OAS, the assessing youth must be 2 stages further along than the youth being assessed. What about if a youth has learned new skills outside of Scouting? Of course, that's great! The Scout can review his or her competencies with the other youth and Scouters.