Some comments related to Jason's message
Sun, 2 Dec 1990 12:31:00 MST
Jason has some very valid points. Since we are dealing with individuals,
what is says may be true for some, and un-true for others.
I still beleive (and I have stated this before) that one of the greatest
opportunities scouting offers is the opportunity to fail. Leadership
skills for most of us are learned skills. According to the book, the
Patrol Leaders job in the "New Scout Patrol" rotates every few months. I
do not have the new ScoutMasters book, but the suppliment which came out
when the program was introduced says, "The new Scout patrol will elect a
patrol leader who will serve only a short time." The system as I
interprete it, is designed to give each of the new scouts an experience at
leadership. Sure the scout may not have any idea of what he is doing, but
that is the whole point. It is a learning experience.
In real life we are always facing tasks which we have never done before.
We have to learn how to deal with these tasks, or we stay in our shells of
self doubt forever. I will give you an example from my background. While
working on my undergraduate degree many years ago, I took one programming
class in Fortran. When I finished my degree in management I found myself
working with computers quite frequently. Over a nine year period I went
form knowing nothing, to becomeing an operator. Then came a big break. I
was hired by a company whose industry I knew quite well to help them
develop a computer system. I had work with the vendor in the past and was
familiar with the type of programs they wanted to develop. As their System
Manager, I was not expected to do any programming, I had never written what
I call real programs (just the simple things which really do nothing in the
Fortran class I took some ten years earlier). My job was to help them
design the system and manage the programming staff to be sure we got what
we wanted. In a nutshell the company soon found it did not have the money
for programmers to get the system done quickly, we have had only one to two
programmers on the system at one time. Seeing my job turn into nothing
with the slow rate of development, I jumped in and started to help with the
development. I had never written "real" code before, but decided to teach
myself and get involved because I saw a need. Sure I made mistakes, that
is part of learning something new. My employer did not mind, he just
wanted to see progress. As for myself, I am now a computer consultant
working my way toward a Master's Degreee in Management Information Systems.
I would not be here if I had not put myself in a position to learn
something new, even though I knew there would be failures along the way.
The patrol of new scouts is an environment designed for this type of on the
THAT IS WHAT THE NEW PROGRAM IS ABOUT, GIVING THE SCOUTS THE OPPORTUNITY TO
LEARN IN THE BEST ENVOIRNMENT FOR LEARNING. AN ENVIROMENT WHERE THEY HAVE
TO PRATICE THE LESSION. Another simple illustration of this is my ability
to speak Spanish. This is not as simple as it sounds, I am hearing
impaired and have sufficient trouble with English. I did not learn to
speak Spanish from the three years of Spanish I took in College, I learned
it from the six months I spent living in Bogota, Colombia. In Bogota I had
to live Spanish. Without that experience about all I could handle is
telling someone how to form different forms of the verbs. With that
experience I can carry out real conversations in Spanish.
Yes, expecting someone to be a leader at eleven may be too much to ask of
many scouts, but all the new program is asking for is an opportunity to try
to start teaching that 11 year old scout to be a leader. That is the
reason behind the guide and the Assistant Scoutmaster assigned to the
patrol, TO TEACH. Expectiong older scouts to respond to an 11 year old scout
who does not know what he is doing, but is learning is not going to work.
That must be one of the reason the 11 year olds are grouped together.
LEARNING IN AN ENVIRONMENT WHICH IS FUN AND IN WHICH THE MISTAKES WHICH ARE
PART OF THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE ARE LOOKED AT, AS JUST PART OF THE EXPERIENCE
AND NOTHING TO BE PUNISHED, IS ONE OF THE THINGS SCOUTING IS ABOUT (to me at
Sorry to be so long. I just want to be sure every one out there
understands that unsuccessful in scouting can be just as fun as successful
and sometimes more educational. An 11 year old does not have to be a
successful patrol leader, as we thought of patrol leaders in the past, in
order to LEARN SOMETHING. The part about learning something is the part we
need to see. As an adult leader, I can usually prepare and work around
those things which fail or do not work. As an adult leader, I can not teach
a young scout to lead with lectures and example as well as I can teach him
with lectures, examples and HANDS ON EXPERIENCE!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City