A wise old man once told me…to prepare our youth for the important leadership roles of tomorrow don’t do anything for them that they can do for themselves. Our mission is to instill timeless values found in the Scout Oath and Law. The magic of Scouting is that all the methods we use help instill values. Our vision should be to prepare these youth to be responsible participating citizens and LEADERS who are guided by the Scout Oath and Law. Scouting provides the premiere leadership development program for youth today yet its effectiveness in leadership development is dependent on the adult who is guiding the den, pack, troop, team or crew.
One outdoor adventure this summer brought this message home to me. Our troop 1916 went on a fly fishing/canoeing trip to Moon Lake in the Uintah National Forest. We brought with us our fly fishing merit badge counselor. At this camp all ten of the requirements (skills) were taught and practiced. Since we had many boys that wanted to participate and limited resources we devised a plan that allowed the first boys who learned the skills to teach other boys with adults on the side lines coaching and guiding where needed. Each boy tied their flies, practiced tying knots, studied insects that fish eat, practiced some casting techniques and much more. The ultimate fun part of course was in the canoes with fly rods laying out lines on the water and fish actually taking the flies. What was best for me was to watch boys teaching boys, practicing leadership skills using the values of doing their best, using good citizenship skills in a patrol setting. Some examples of values used were helpful (willing to share knowledge and skills), kind (patience in teaching peers), courteous (civility in manners) and obedient (follow through on assignments). In our reflection of this adventure we adults felt we far too often jump in and did what the boy could or should be doing. It is a given that when we adults take over a meeting or activity the development of leadership development is denied to those who we are trying to teach. The reality is that youth especially our Varsity and Ventures will let you do it. If this happens you risk your activity to compete with entertainment found in today’s world which is pretty tough competition.
To all of our many Cub Den leaders, Scoutmasters, Varsity Coaches and Venture crew advisors I would ask us to consider our vision of where we want our boys to be. Always be asking what is the vision here. Is there a better way in the doing of our planning, executing and evaluating our program that will develop leadership skills? This emphasis can actually change behavior and improve outcomes of any activity.
Comments and thoughts are welcome. Cheerio and good day!
The Boy Scouts of America will prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Law