In Article 1 of the Constitution of the World Organization of Scouting, the purpose of the Movement is summarised as follows:
“Contribute to the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual potential, as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities.”
The Scout Movement aims to contribute to the integral development of young people, in view of the fact that true education is what comprehensively covers all dimensions of the person. It recognises, in addition, that the various dimensions of the person are interrelated, form an inseparable whole, and influence each other.
“Scouting considers that each young person is:
- a complex being whose identity is formed, in part, through the interaction and relationships between the various dimensions of the person (physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual), between the individual and the outside world and, finally, between the person and a Spiritual Reality.
As a result of this, Scouting is aimed at the development of the whole person, trying to stimulate development in all dimensions:
– recognises that the various dimensions of the human personality are connected and influence each other;
– admits that the integral development of the person can only take place as a result of multiple experiences that necessarily extend over a period of time.
- a unique person, each one with their own personal history, set of characteristics, different needs, capacities, and rhythm of development.
As a result of the foregoing, the Movement addresses the development of the totality of the human being as a unique person:
– recognises that the development of the capacities of each young person happens at their own pace, with explosions of growth in certain areas and with periods of latency in others. The Scout Movement, therefore, seeks to meet the educational needs of each young person as they arise, while constantly stimulating development in all areas.
– admits that each person has different potentialities and, in such a way, tries to help each young person to develop to the maximum of their ability (“to do as much as one can”).
- and an integral part of the world in which each young person lives.
As a result of this, Scouting is aimed at the development of the whole human being as a unique person, who is also an integral part of the world in which they live:
– seeks to help each young person to recognise themselves as a part, albeit small, of a whole and to develop a sense of belonging, which helps make sense of life.
This requires a multiplicity of opportunities for each young person to interact with and make a significant contribution to the world of which they are a part (the family, the local, national and international community, the cultural heritage and the natural environment).1
The areas of personal growth are the way in which the Youth Programme presents each of the personality dimensions, which together comprise the totality of a person.
Scouting takes all the dimensions of the human personality into account and, therefore, identifies several areas of growth on which Scouting’s educational competencies are based.
The definition of the areas of personal growth is the necessary starting point to develop a Scout programme. The areas of growth should not be considered separate elements, but as parts of a whole.
Thus, for each of the dimensions of the personality, we define an area of personal growth that together form the acronym SPICES:
The body is at the root of everything else: emotions, intelligence, and social nature. It is through our senses and body that we discover the world and communicate with others. However, physical development is itself influenced by emotions and social relationships. Disorders such as obesity are often due to emotional or relationship problems. The spiritual dimension is related to the meaning of life. It cannot develop independently from our relationship with others and with ourselves; it is based on sociability, intelligence, and affectivity. Finally, the character is the dimension that unifies a person and forms their identity.
It would be a serious error to consider each area of growth independently of the others. The human personality cannot be sliced. On the contrary, the aim of education is to help the child and then the young person to gradually build up an identity and develop their autonomy, in other words the ability to unify all the dimensions of their personality into a coherent life plan. It is for this reason that Baden-Powell placed so much emphasis on the development of character.
Areas of personal growth serve many purposes:
- At the national level, they facilitate the ordering of the final competencies of the educational process, as well as the ordering of the intermediate competencies of each age section.
- They help to clearly link the purpose of Scouting with the Youth Programme.
- They help adult leaders and young people to consider educational learning opportunities and projects in different areas of growth, avoiding concentrating only on some and neglecting others.
- They guide the self-assessment of personal progress in the different areas, reinforcing weaknesses and shortcomings.
- They allow young people to better know themselves by recognising and differentiating the different dimensions of their personality.
Defined in the World Scout Youth Programme Policy, it is understood that the areas of personal growth are part of the fundamental and invariable elements of the Scout Programme. Therefore, NSOs need to check that their programmes cover all the dimensions of the individual’s personality.
The areas of personal growth are very broad, prompting questions such as: What aspects of physical development are we going to take into account in our Youth Programme? Health education, the functioning of our body, hygiene and personal appearance, food, knowledge of our body, diseases and how to prevent them …?
For each area of personal growth, it is necessary to identify educational priorities or trails, taking into account the needs and aspirations of young people in your particular social and cultural context.
From each educational trail you can then build coherent educational competencies. In the annexed “Tool to Define Educational Trails in the Areas of Personal Growth” we propose some examples, but as an NSO, you are encouraged to find the formulation that best corresponds to the situation faced by young people in your country.
For example, in the area of intellectual development, we propose three priorities or educational trails: searching for information, processing information, and problem-solving.
This choice is based on the need for young people in our society of mass communications to be encouraged to think for themselves instead of letting themselves be influenced by the media. It is possible to identify other urgent needs and to translate them into different educational trails.
The areas of personal growth and the educational trails are necessary to establish the educational competencies on which you will develop your Youth Programme.
Criteria to follow when defining the educational trails
- The needs and aspirations of young people in a specific social and cultural context.
- The social, cultural, economic, and political demands that you have identified in the definition of your Educational Proposal.
- Your ability as an NSO to be able to respond to both the needs and aspirations of young people and the demands of society, from the relevance of the Fundamentals of the Scout Movement.
Once the educational trails for each of the personal growth areas have been defined, you can, in the next stage, define the educational competencies on which you will develop your NSO’ Youth Programme.
The specific tool on Areas of Personal Growth propose some examples of educational trails for each of the areas, but as an NSO, you are encouraged to find the best formulation corresponding to the sociocultural context of your country.