Re: Scout camps
Ian Ford (ianford@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Sun, 20 Jun 1993 10:40:35 +0100
Thanks for the reply. I really admire the training materials that BSA put
out, especially the MB pamphlets. I wish that I had the equivalent when I
was running a UK Scout Troop. Incidentally, I used to run as Air Scout
Group and am still marginally involved with our County Air Training Team.
I took the lads from T401 to Biggin Hill recently and did the aviation MB.
The set-up there is great ... we have a company that lends us an aircraft
for ground instruction, and the airport authorities give us virtually free
range. The Team can organise anything from visits for Cub Scouts to more
specialised courses for Scouts and Venture Scouts. My BSA Scouts did all
the practical requirements for Aviation MB in an afternoon. Last year
three lads went on the Air Scouts " Aeronautics " course and learnt ground
handling etc. They were awarded the British badge and certificate, then I
did the other bits to meet the BSA requirements for Aviation MB. I was
hoping to get them back on the Team this year as Crew, but they return to
the States as soon as Summer Camp is over. In UK we dont have an age
requirement for Badge Examiners (MB Counselors) - it is at the discretion
of the Scout Leader. In my Air Scout troop I autghorised several Scouts to
act as Examiners where they were qualified.
The UK program is much more flexible in that (a) the MB counselor can
adapt the requirements to suit the environment or the needs of the group,
and (b) almost every award (rank) is peer reviewed, and the PLC has very
great discretion to modify requirements. Most progressive awards (ranks)
have a clause which says something like - " meet any one of requirements
from this section [lists about four or five alternatives] or undertake a
project of a similar level of attainment agreed by the PLC . " In effect
each Scout plans his own advancement within the broad scheme.
Another difference is that awards gained outside Scouting count for
badges, e.g. a kid who is in a swimming club can get his coach to sign off
requirements without that person having to be a registered examiner.
Likewise. most Scout badges link to national awards, so a kid who gets a
Pony Club qualification <automatically> qualifies for the Equestrian
badge, etc. This is how we get over the lack of specialist counselors -
kids are put intouch with specialist organisations and follow their
existing training programs. The education service used to run recreational
classes in things such as metalwork, and some Scouts did their Craftsman
badge by attending classes for one or two terms.
I don't know how things work in the US, but I found that I could easily
fill a program with outside specialists, e.g. the Red Cross or St John
Ambulance would teach first aid, the Royal Life Saving Society would teach
water safety, etc. Being in London meant that there were hundreds of
agencies who wanted to bring their programs to kids. The local council
would run National Cycling Proficiency courses for Scouts and Cub Scouts,
then we would conduct the road test for our badge.
Of course you need to make sure that standards are acceptable, but most
groups work with the Education Service and have to meet appropriate safety
standards, youth protection policies etc.
It's an alternative way of working the program. We've done something
similar with T401, e.g. we arranged for a group of lads to visit the local
fire station for four evenings to do the Firemanship MB. Two Mums went
with them after school. The actual " test " was done by one of the ASMs
who is in the oil business and has some offshore fire-fighting experience,
so the counselor was a BSA person. (We couldn't register the fire officer
because they work shifts, so we could not know which officer would
actually be instructing each week!)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City