Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Knotty Situation

I have been known to have said that my only job is to provide the opportunities that my boys need to learn and grow into First Class Scouts. By providing good meetings and monthly activities, I feel that I have done everything I really can to do so. Some boys take advantage of that, some don’t; for some, Scouting is their world, for others, it’s just another thing on their weekly schedule, including school, homework, football, theater, band, etc.

Yesterday I had a Scoutmaster Conference with one of the latter type. He’s a dedicated Scout who has been owned by his football coach since August. As a result, he hasn’t been to very many patrol meetings in the last little while. We had a good discussion about the Scout Law, (“Let’s try for something a little more meaningful than ‘Trustworthy means doesn’t lie.’”) and I tried to convey that a Scout can be a Scout at football practice, because the Scout Law is universal, it applies to everything we do. It’s not the meetings, it’s the man-in-training.

That said, it makes it harder to learn the required skills if you don’t go to the meetings. Last night, we did knots and lashings in anticipation of building a catapult later this month. We (there are two of us “Eleven-year-old Scout Leaders” because I made a fuss about two-deep leadership and all that) had one boy in attendance, so we helped him review basic knots, showed him a couple of new ones and worked through square and diagonal lashings. He is also on notice that he’s the instructor next time when we have a new boy assimilate into the group.

This morning it occurred to me that in addition to providing opportunity, we are in effect the boys’ Troop Guides. This is, of course, a direct result of the quorum-centered compartmentalization that pretty much segregates 11YO boys from their 12-and-up peers (i.e., last week's team mates). That’s OK. I like working with them on these fun, new skills. It gives me a chance to remember what I loved as a kid, learn a whole lot more about the world, and hopefully pass along an appreciation for all of it.

1 comment:

Fishgutts said...

How great would it be if the Troop actually had a Troop Guide who's assignment it was to help the 11 YO "patrol"?