Sunday, April 8, 2012

Reflection and Scoutmaster Minutes

Ninth of twelve ward Scouter Training modules.

Conducting reflections can make the difference between simply sleeping in a tent overnight and making it a meaningful experience, between burning the Dutch oven stew and creating an environment of success from what looked like failure.
"We can make our experiences more meaningful and effective if we reflect upon them. In Scouting, reflection is simply the process of the Scouts talking about their experiences immediately after an exercise or activity with a little bit of wise moderating...

"Reflection provides an opportunity for everyone in the group to have input into what happened. Reflection is best accomplished by asking open-ended questions such as 'What,' 'How,' 'When,' and 'Where.' In reflection, there are no right or wrong answers, just ideas, opinions, and insights.

"You can use reflections to evaluate troop activities, and it will result in improved engagement by your Scouts in future planning and execution of activities. Leading reflections is a simple process that can greatly enhance the learning process."

Rather than rack my brain to say what's already been said, I'll refer you to a Venture Adviser in Vernal, UT who wrote a great piece on his experience with conducting reflections. Two key points from his write-up:
"...it requires the [adult, but more importantly, youth] leader to be on the look-out for meaningful experiences."

"...[End] reflection with a prayer. (This also has the added benefit of a sense of finality to the activity, keeping everyone together until the end, instead of slowly migrating to the gym sometime along the way [for a session of Duty to Spalding].)"
I would add that a Scoutmaster Minute (or equivalent, depending on your group)  can really punctuate the reflection and bring the activity to a poignant close.

At the end of a recent hike with my 11YO patrol, we reflected about how reaching our destination required continual effort until you arrive. Sometimes the trail is hard, or not what you expected it to be, sometimes you may think you're too tired to go on, but stopping or turning back early means never reaching the goal. The spiritual implications were obvious even to eleven-year-old boys.  Here's a pdf of procedures and techniques for conducting reflections.

Resources:
Conducting Reflections PDF
Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops, pp.9/10
Brad Harris, Trails to Testimony, ch. 9
Adventures and Accidents Blog, "Reflection"
BoyScoutTrail.com
"Help Scouts Weigh Right From Wrong," Scouting Magazine, Nov/Dec 2011

1 comment:

Tory said...

I really like your pdf handout. I'm going to give that to the other leaders in my ward. Thanks.