Friday, September 13, 2013

Camping vs. Requirements

Something I sent to my Scouts' parents.

One of my favorite Scouting blogs is Scoutmaster CG, written by Clarke Green, who has been a Scoutmaster going on 30 years, in a troop of well over 30-40 Scouts (it's obviously not an LDS operation).  Last week, he posed a question: How long should it take to earn First Class? His answer, based on his years of experience, is that Scouts who go camping advance, but they do so at their own pace.  "...In my experience Scouts take anywhere from six months to five years to reach First Class." He goes on to say:
"Scouts focused on requirements will eventually not have any more requirements to [finish]. If  we've created the expectation that there will always be something to check off the list, when the list is all filled up they are done [that's not what we want, is it?].

"If we focus on camping they learn to love going camping and doing fun stuff with their friends. They play, sit in the sun, go for a hike, take a swim not because they feel pressured by a list of things to do but because they truly enjoy doing it. Naturally, in the course of these things, they are building skills.

"Once a Scout decides that they want to advance they simply cannot be stopped, sometimes that happens when they are eleven, sometimes when they are fifteen. Some Scouts may never show much interest in advancement at all.  The important thing is not how fast or far they advance but who they become."

I try to use this philosophy in working with the Coyote Patrol.  Wednesday nights are for learning and practicing new skills; monthly hikes, camps and other activities are, in part, the "exams" to show, demonstrate, explain, etc. a requirement.  While I would like to see every Scout attain First Class in this first year, the truth is, Scouting is one of many draws on their time and interests; some simply don't have the time.  Requirements and ranks aren't the objective though - growth in character is, and each Scout is in charge of his own Scouting experience.

Prepared. | For Life.™

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