The Scouting triangle: Remove one side, and the movement can’t function

fire-triangleYou’ve heard of a fire triangle, right? It’s the geometric illustration of the three elements a fire needs to ignite: heat, fuel and oxygen. Remove one, and the blaze goes bye-bye.

Inspired by this simple illustration, Michael Dulle created what he calls the Scouting triangle. Remove one of the three elements of the Scouting triangle, and the movement wouldn’t exist.

Dulle, a Scouter with Troop 459 out of Overland Park, Kan., shared the Scouting triangle concept with me, and it’s simple but brilliant.

The fuel is the program, the oxygen is the youth and the heat is trained adult leaders. All are essential for Scouting to function.

Find a higher-res version of the triangle that you’re free to share and more insight from Dulle after the jump.

The Scouting Triangle

By Michael Dulle, Troop 459


Fuel = Program
  • National provides program and operational guidelines
  • Councils provide support, facilities, program information and training
  • Districts provide local programs and measurement tools
  • Units implement programs and opportunities for the Scouts to achieve Scoutings mission at leadership and character development
Heat = Trained Adult Leaders
  • Register with the BSA through local council
  • Leaders complete required position-specific training
  • Organize Cub, Scout, and Venture or Varsity unit through an approved chartered organization.
  • Chartered Organization Representative is appointed
  • Chartered organization forms a unit committee
  • COR appoints unit leader and committee chair
  • Committee chair forms a committee including the treasurer and secretary
  • Unit leader develops unit Scouting program with the advice and consent of the unit committee
  • Committee chair and Scoutmaster attend the district roundtables monthly and learn about new Scouting opportunities to assist in developing their units program
  • District appoints unit commissioner to work with units
  • Unit committee develops recruiting program such as School Night for Scouting and unit recruiting nights during regularly scheduled unit meeting
Youth = Oxygen
  • Youth register with the local council through an approved unit chartered organization
  • Youth attend regularly scheduled unit meetings
  • Youth learn life skills using the EDGE method
  • Youth attend monthly campouts
  • Youth attend annual long-term camping programs
  • Youth learn leadership skills serving in various patrol, team and crew unit leadership positions
  • Youth enroll in the NYLT to gain leadership skills
  • Youth make it a practice to assist in community service projects through their unit, school, church or other community organizations
  • Youth advance in rank and responsibilities
  • Youth strive to earn the Eagle rank and/or the Venture Silver award
  • Youth age out and become young adult leaders

An outstanding overview of our outstanding program, wouldn’t you say? Thanks to Michael for sharing it with us.

Other program logos

NEW: Some commenters asked about putting BSA logos in the triangle instead of fire. Good idea! Check these out:

scouting-triangle-bsa scouting-triangle-sea-scouts scouting-triangle-venturing scouting-triangle-varsity scouting-triangle-boy-scouts scouting-triangle-cub-scouts

Scout Triangle PowerPoint

Michael Menninger has shared this PowerPoint presentation on the Scout Triangle and encourages Scouters to use it however they wish.

44 thoughts on “The Scouting triangle: Remove one side, and the movement can’t function

  1. Brian: Your triangle is oversimplified. You have left out the BSA making a mess of our scouting policy. This has led to a decrease in donations and a massive increase in the registration fees. All of this has led to a decrease in membership and all of us at the local level having a tough go. At the top of the pyramid you should have indicated a strong group of national leaders willing to stand up for the BSA’s original principles. Now we have a bunch of spineless, PC, beaurocrats that have us floundering because they have ruined the BSA’s reputation.

    • This may be simplified, but it works. The more the person understands the program and is able to carry it out, the more retention and fun is had by all. This creates value which translates to better participation at all levels and types of Scouting. Yes, donations to the local Council will go up.

      Change happens. It’s slow sometimes and not understood immeditely or at all. But, the BSA has corrected it’s course in the past and we are in that tide of change now. Embrace it how you will, I tend to learn as much as I can and help as much as I can.

      • Scouter Adam: How does jacking up our fees create more value? Same can be asked of how does adopting policies that cause more and more companies to pull their funding create more value? Especially I say this in one of the worse economies in decades. Economics is funny but it does point out that if you raise prices you get less sales (Participation). I do thank you for your being a volunteer. (Like me)

        • I do not know how or why the National Fees went up. I do not know what they cover. I have ideas, but nothing solid.

          As to adopting policies? Hhmm…this has been debated a lot on both sides. Let’s just say that due to people outside of Scouting figured out that there are two rules that keep some people out wasn’t to their liking. They started an online petition that in the end made the BSA ask and clarify the rules. That was voted on by all Council Key 3 and other Council Voting Members. It was passed in a democratic process. Much like voting in a Den, Patrol, Team, Crew or Ship. Majority wins.

          As to the companies pulling funding. Well…again, that is their right after they found out what rules the BSA has. You will also see that another Scout Organization was created out of it. All of this I will not debate since there is nothing that I can do to change it at a national level.

          What I am saying is that based in your Unit, District and Council you can affect change and create value. Put on the best Training, Camporee, Cub O Ree, Daycamp or STEM Event. Make it the best. That way the youth will want to go there, the parents will want to send their youth there. Then, when FOS comes around they will remember what has been done and support the Council in that endevour.

          Thanks to you as well for being a volunteer. YIS

    • Godwin’s law:Nazis::Bryan’s law:gay scouts ruining the world.

      I challenge Bryan to post something, anything, that can’t be tied back to the gay scout decision/policy by those on the losing end of the vote. 🙂 Or just create a permanent thread where this horse can be further beaten.

        • I can see the usefulness of both icons. If a fleur de lis were to be used, it would be good to have alternate versions with the Cub Scout logo and Venturing logo for each unit type to use for their particular program. The fleur de lis isn’t as recognizable as the Cub Scout logo to folks in a Cub Scout Pack. It’s part of the uniform and all but most parents and leaders identify with the Cub Scout logo much more readily. Maybe the three branches of the fleur de lis could contain the logo from each program?

          If the fire symbolism is retained, it would be cool if the three levels of the fire were the three representative colors of the primary unit types: Cub Scouts (blue), Boy Scouts (olive), Venturing (forest green). It looks like that may have been attempted but I think fewer and fewer folks identify red with the Boy Scout program since the switch to olive around 2010 (I know that I don’t associate red with a Troop).

        • yes. use however you want. and nice graphics, too, Bryan. you guys can copy those graphics and change the presentation to suit. you might need to match the colors to the “shapes” that are blogging the legs of the triangle though.

  2. I like the illustration. Three points make a plane (as in geometry). Three legs make a stool that’s stable. My only thought is to switch out the flames in the middle to a fleur de lis (Boy Scout symbol).

  3. This is not a new concept. I’ve seen this before in older training manuals and promotions, possibly 1970’s or 80’s.

    • I was in Scouting in the ’70’s and ’80’s and do not remember ever seeing this concept. However that does not mean it did not exist. I can assure that I did not knowingly take any of the ideas from any previous publication. If you can find some earlier documentation on this concept please let me know ASAP. I will differently give credit to the original author.

  4. At our Scouter’s Rendezvous we have discussed this and which part is what. We came up that Scouts are the Fuel, Leadership is the Heat and Program is the Oxygen. No matter, which is what, all parts are needed. Great graphic!

  5. Great illustration. While I think the first commenter is a bit extreeme with how they’ve expressed themselves there is something there valid. We’re getting hit pretty hard by the sudden increase in fees in our area. Also, the FOS process is not clear to most families that all this goes to the council level and nothing is returned to the packs/troops directly.

  6. In the Cascade Pacific Council (Portland Oregon area) we have started COMIT95in15. Which is Connect, Onboard, Mentor, Inspire & Train. We want 95% of all Direct Contact Leaders in the Cubscout Program to be fully Trained by Dec 31st 2015. That means, if you are a Tiger DL, you get FULLY trained for your position. Then when it’s time to be a Wolf DL, you get Trained again. If you become a Cubmaster, you get Trained for that. When you are a Committee Member yours Trained. So, in theory you can become Trained for EVERY POSITION. It means that you will know your current position, the upcoming position and possibly the one the new Parent will be soon. This leads you to be perfect for a Pack Mentor (similar to Pack Trainer) so you can help others along with Training and be their Mentor for that position.

    This will lead people within the Pack to not only be fully Trained, but to understand that OWLS & BALOO Trainings are out there. More information to create a good program that will help retain the Scouts and also help ease the burden on just a few Parents who step-up.

    This will also create a culture of understanding the Scout Program and enable the Parents to know that once they crossover with their son, that Boy Scouts has other expectations for training. It is a filter/bubble up effect.

    Understanding the program and knowing that the Adult next to you will understand the program and cause less confusion. While, every Scout deserves a Trained Leader…isn’t really also true that Every Trained Leader deserves and Equally Trained Leader next to them?

    So, once knowledge increases, the Program begins to get better, better retention and everything blooms. That will reduce what the first person talked about.

    Support Scouting, Get Trained and understand the Program.

    If you explain that you do not have time for training, do not want to be trained or you know it all great. Don’t be in Scouting. It’s not for you. If you hold all the Scouts to the requirements of the Rank they are trying to attain and not yourself…how good is that Scout? The Scouts need to show, demostrate and train others to attain their rank.

    Finally, in every position that I have held and within any job anyone has, there is training and ongoing education. If you do not take training at work, you will be out of work or left behind. Same for Scouting.

    • Adam: Our council (Heart of America) began the 100% trained Leader Concept 3 years ago. The 1st year, all Direct Contact Leaders had to be trained. The 2nd year, all Direct Contact and Committee Members. The 3rd year, all leaders including the COR.

      I believe that we have led the country in trained leader rate for 2 or 3 years in a row now. In 2013, that was 99%. The only ones not trained were probably the new Tiger Den Leaders and other new leaders that joined since their last charter. We charter by 31 December for the Missouri units & 31 January for the Kansas units. No one can be on the Charter unless they have YPT & their position specific training.

      We haven’t had an issue with getting the leaders to take the training as every Scout deserves a trained leader!!!

      • An individual may be registered in HOAC if they only complete their YPT. If only complete YPT then they are registered as a 91U Unit Scouter Reserve. The other part of your post is correct.

        • The training required for 91U is only YPT so that would make them 100% for their position. 91Us, however, are not Committee Members. If someone is going to spend 30 minutes doing YPT, they may as well do another 30 minutes & complete the Committee Challenge. It’s not rocket science.

        • Some folks do not want to be a member of the committee and do not see the need to take any additional training. The folks that do the absolute minimum are the drop off pick up parents. The only reason they take YPT is so they may attend some of the campout functions. The only reason the 91U and 92U positions were created was the loss of revenue from the 18 to 20 year old young adults who could not be a member of the committee. The only position they could hold was ASM. National obviously felt there would additional loss of revenue if they did not relax the 21 and over training requirements.

  7. Am I seeing this correctly? It looks like it burning up on the inside (fire within). Instead of the flame, how about the fleur-de-lis?

  8. Years ago when attending COR training a similar concept using a hinge pin was introduced. The Unit, the Chartered Organization and the District were described as the circle portion and the COR was the pin that connected all three together. I like this concept and will likely introduce it to other unit leaders . Thanks for posting it Brian.

  9. Wow, surprised to see all the thumbs down on my comments considering all I did was point out the truth and the obvious. It is true that our fees were jacked up more than 50% and it is true that with the new scout policy passed with much derision from media outlets causing many companies that once donated funds now pulling that funding because of our muddled new policies and finally the BSA spending boatloads of money we don’t have on projects that are money pits. And all that is needed for all to overlook is some fancy media scouting exec is to make a fancy new way to say what we already know. Sorry to be so down on this and FYI I am a cub and troop volunteer and will continue to do so. Just making it harder for all now we have to raise more money to give to BSA which does not help support our local CO.

  10. I do sadly have to disagree with some of it if my professional opinion. Scoutings three sides are “motivated, and devoted scouts (striving to learn skills not necessarily earn rank)” “Willing, and not necessarily trained adults (they shouldn’t be called leaders we don’t lead once they are full scouts since it is supposed to be boy led)” “and a scout’s plans (Plans are made by the scouts and for the scouts and it is for them to decide if they continue to advance in rank or skill)”

    • I don’t know, if all I got are a bunch of unmotivated youth, I’ll take them. They slowly turn to the “dark side” once they realize the personal gratification that comes from pitching in.
      Plans can be dashed. Part of the program is coming along side youth and helping them pick up the pieces. Youth working program cheerfully has carried me through some of the worse times in my life.
      Yes, I’ll take any adult with integrity, but trained ones come in handy! Their training helps connect the youth to the program they’re asking for.

      Let’s face it, no diagram is gonna cover all the bases. That said, I might be borrowing one of these.

  11. Mike: Whats the problem with saying it on this post? It was in response to and relevant to the topic. Its hard to put one’s head in the sand but if that what we are supposed to do, I can get that. I guess I knocked the hornets nest. There is a saying about sunlight being a great disinfectant. Just sayin’

Join the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s