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?”
As a unit commissioner and Friends of Scouting presenter, I have the opportunity to visit many troops and packs and get insight into how they operate. We commissioners also talk among ourselves about problems and issues in our units.
One of the troops had an observation about a recent campout:
…the boys were separated by patrols… more boys seemed to be engaged cooking and cleaning…younger Scouts did well…we should continue this method.
While on one hand I’m happy that the troop conducted a successful patrol-method campout and has seen its benefits, I was disappointed to hear that most of their monthly “campouts” tend to be group activities: a ski trip, a merit badge clinic, a museum weekend, and so on.
This troop seems to be employing the patrol method on a part-time basis, Continue reading “The part-time patrol method”
We sometimes use the terms interchangeably. We have a boy-led troop with boy-led patrols. They read Boys’ Life. “Never do anything a boy can do” is a key piece of advice, and Baden-Powell made frequent references such as “The Scoutmaster teaches boys to play by doing so himself” and “The boy is not governed by don’t, but is led by do.”
It is the Boy Scouts of America, after all. Our constituency is overwhelmingly young men – boys – and we frequently think of them as such. However, when it comes to dealing with them in the context of Scouting, it helps to think of them with higher expectations than merely “boy”. Continue reading “Boys or Scouts?”
The tenth point of the Scout Law, A Scout is Brave, is often explained as
He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at him or threaten him.
We frequently have conversations with our Scouts about the Scout Law and advise them to live the values in the Oath and Law in their everyday lives as well as when within a Scouting context.
The same applies to Scouters, of course, but top leaders (including both the Scoutmaster and committee chair) should take this one to heart.
We often get tossed around by parents (and sometimes other leaders) who think they may know of ways to “improve” the Scouting program. Continue reading “A Scout(master) is Brave”
Has this ever happened to you?
The following question was posted on one of the Scouting forums in the last few weeks. I thought it was an interesting conundrum and offered my comments. Since it’s unfortunately not an uncommon situation, maybe you can relate. I’ll paraphrase:
Last month at the troop committee meeting, I [a Scoutmaster] was told that “this boy-led thing” was not working. I was hurt and disappointed in the boys. The parents thought the boys chose their leaders poorly at the previous election, and they want a major overhaul. I’m not sure we did the right thing, but we had two boys express interest in being senior patrol leader. The assistant Scoutmasters and I picked between the two and chose a tenth grader as the new SPL.. We let him pick his staff down to the patrol leaders and assistant patrol leaders. The boy we chose believes in the patrol method and wants to continue to develop it. I think.he has chosen a good staff, but the parents are still calling for changes. What do you do to quell a parent revolt?
Continue reading “How do I quell a parent revolt?”