Suppose 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”
Every school day, our Scouts get up in the morning, have their breakfast, gather their belongings and head off to school for a day of learning. Important subjects such as history, English, mathematics, science, music and art are taught, with the aim that our young people will acquire a well-rounded set of skills to give them a starting point when they head out to college and a career.
Trouble is, they aren’t learning the important stuff. In fact, what they actually are learning most likely works counter to their future aspirations. Continue reading “What aren’t they learning in school?”
When I started as the committee chair of our troop, one of the things that went through my mind was how many things I’d need to be responsible for. I had a pretty good handle on advancement (or so I thought), matters of finance and the rules of safety and youth protection. But what about the outdoor program? Camping equipment? High adventure?
Sooner or later, I learned that I didn’t need to know every nuance and detail of those subjects, because we had other volunteers who had the know-how to take care of them. I relied on them for a basic understanding of their areas, and let them do what was needed without any interference.
A committee chair who views himself or herself as the ultimate expert on every aspect of troop operations is fooling himself and shortchanging those around him. Continue reading “Get off your high horse”
The Golden State Warriors won the championship of the National Basketball Association this week. The team is led by an experienced basketball man – as a player, general manager and television commentator – but a rookie coach. Steve Kerr, in his first coaching assignment, took on a different style of leadership than those he played under or worked with, and certainly different from most of what we imagine a “head coach” to be. And he achieved not only something that is difficult but rare – guiding his team into winning a championship his first time ever as a coach.
Kerr, profiled this week in the Washington Post, didn’t consider himself to be the most important person on the Warriors’ squad. Continue reading “A leader we can learn from”
The game of Scouting that we play is indeed a game. We hope that our boys are having fun, and one of the best ways to have fun is to play a game. William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt was the first to describe Scouting as a game with a purpose.
Most games we play have winning as the desired outcome. In order to determine a winner, a metric is needed: the score. Indeed, virtually every game – from sports to darts to cards – has a means of scoring the outcome. The football coach Vince Lombardi was the one who famously pondered:
If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep the score?
The boys playing the game enjoy keeping track of how they’re doing, whether they are playing a sports contest, engaged in a robotics or debate competition, or playing the game of Scouting. Continue reading “Why keep score?”