Norman J. MacLeod (gaelwolf@MARLIN.SSNET.COM)
Mon, 14 Aug 1995 22:02:09 EDT
I think you ought to take your cue from your Scouts. If they can't stand the
tape, don't find it relevant to what they are doing, or wish to do - then
perhaps the tape is not the direction you should be going...
Our Scouts generally have a heck of a lot more on the ball than many adult
Leaders are willing to give them credit for, and you can use their inner
resources to help them train themselves, given the right opportunities. For
most, then, the tape is going to be a waste of time, since it takes them
away from the "doing" side of Scouting. And, it's in the doing that we elarn
the most, regardless of how old or young we are. After all, where's the
sense in using syllabus-contrived situations when just about any Scout Group
has more than enough situations ongoing at any give time to fill several
weeks worth of training?
I tend to have the most success in training others when I am able to use
what is happening in the Group as a basis for as much of the training as
possible. Done well, you not only provide valuable leadership training to
your "students", but you can also get a great deal of problem-solving done
in the "real world" that will help the Group. You also get an opportunity to
move problems to solutions more or less painlessly, especially if you have
the Scouts do most of the problem-sloving.
Putting on this level of training often invoves considerable prep on your
part, but it is DEFINITELY worth your time and effort.
Your JLT can easily be incremental. If you are having a monthly TLC (Troop
Leadership Council in BSAese), it can easily become a learning experience
without even adding any kind of "academic situation" pressure. Formal JLT
need not take place at the unit level, although it can. The problem with
running a Troop JTL, as I see it though, is that you can all too easily
forget that the best leadership training comes through leading.
So, ditch the tape if you like. Call it a crutch or whatever you wish, but
remember that YOUR SCOUTS HAVE SPOKEN! If they don't ever wish to see the
tape again, the worst thing you can ever do for training is to once again
borrow it from the Council office. There's aggro enough in providing
training for junior (or adult) Leaders without needlessly compounding it by
using materials that your trainees have already rejected.
Have a JLT time during your weekend activities where your Group's key
leadership trainer and the junior Leaders sit down together to discuss how
things are going. Keep the agenda simple -
How are things going?
Do the other Scouts hace suggestions or concerns that ought to be
taken into account?
Are there any problems with what we are doing?
Are we having any "people" problems with any of the other Scouts? If
Are we part of the cause of the problem?
Is a Scout causing the problem for everyone else?
Is any other Scout being hurt physically or emotionally as a
What can we do to fix it without further harm?
Is there enough going on or do we need to add to the programme now?
What's coming up next?
Have we bitten off more than we can chew this time?
Things along these lines...
This type of "time-out" and in-progress evaluation serves more than one key
to successful leadership.
The other Scouts see the junior Leaders having something that looks
suspiciously like "quality time" with an adult Leader.
The junior Leaders are doing the problem solving and programme
adjustments with an adult Leader as their consultant.
The newer junior Leaders are learning practical leadership technique
from the more experienced junior Leaders.
Decisions are reached by concensus, with guidance as needed from the
adult Leader (as minimal as possible...)
The adult leadership team have to have the type of relationship with the
junior leadership team that allows the decisions taken by the junior
Leaders to be acted on. Adult Leaders should intervene in the Scouts'
decisions only where safety is a concern.
Do you see the need for a formal JLT course at the Troop level sort of
withering away? If we use ongoing training to the way we do business as a
technique instead of scheduled formal training, we frequently come out
better in both the long and short run.
Something to think about, eh?
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City