Adults teaching Scout skills

out_on_a_hike_250Suppose that instead of a usual weekend campout, the Scouts of your troop have decided to go on a weekend hike – maybe to get a taste of what a longer voyage like a Philmont trek might be like.

They’ll start out by getting dropped off Friday night, hike to their first campsite, set up and camp overnight. Then in the morning they’ll have breakfast, pull up stakes and hit the trail. Lunch is enroute, then arrival at a second site Saturday evening, where they’ll set up again, cook dinner, have a campfire and turn in. After Sunday morning’s breakfast, they’ll break camp and hike to where the parents are waiting to pick them up.

This requires not only a good amount of planning but some training, so the Scouts will know what to expect and what to plan for. Continue reading “Adults teaching Scout skills”

How to help young leaders grow

mechanics-fourstepsOne of the most fascinating and fulfilling things about being part of the Scouting movement is watching our young people grow and develop as individuals, team members and leaders.

Every time I sit on a board of review (as I did for two new Eagle Scouts last week), I’m reminded that, in one way or another, the adults of our troop helped these young men grow. We did it, not by doing for them, but helping them see what’s important and how to handle it when they see it. Continue reading “How to help young leaders grow”

Placing process before results

checklist_200A smooth-running troop is the dream of every Scoutmaster. Every Scout doing what he should do, youth leaders firmly in charge, and the senior patrol leader taking direction from the Scoutmaster and leading the other youth.

Most troops don’t fit that image, however. Patrols seem to vary from adequately prepared to barely functioning. It can be frustrating for a Scoutmaster to not see the Scouts getting anything done.

The same can apply to the troop committee. You see committee members not doing things the way you’d do them. You’re tempted to micromanage or just do things yourself.

When this happens, it’s time to step back and understand the real aim and the best approach to let the process take its course, rather than trying to fret about the end result. Continue reading “Placing process before results”

Changing of the guard

railtracks_200A few weeks ago, our troop had the beginnings of the changing of the guard.

First, the Scouts elected a new senior patrol leader. The winner wasn’t the first one to throw his hat in the ring. In fact, it was one of the other Scouts who decided, maybe at the last minute, to give it a whirl.

I didn’t listen to their stump speeches, but he must have given a good one, because he won the election. I don’t know by how much (I don’t concern myself with such details), but it shows that the message is important. He accepted the challenge of backing up his ideas and putting them in motion, and has been doing a terrific job. Continue reading “Changing of the guard”

Micromanaging: a bad idea

puppetWe’ve all been there, I’m sure. We’ve worked for, or with, someone who quite figuratively can’t see the forest for the trees. Someone who fusses over every small detail of a project, process or workplace and who directs even the most minute function, whether it’s something he or she knows about or not.

Micromanaging, as it’s come to be known, is the bane of corporate existence. Articles and entire books have been written about the phenomenon and what to do about it. It has even spawned a wildly popular comic strip, Dilbert, in which a typical engineer is tormented daily by his boss with inane orders, processes and obstacles to getting any work done.

Unfortunately, Scouting isn’t exempt from the micromanagers. Continue reading “Micromanaging: a bad idea”