Crazytime & Overtime
golden cliff (c60clg1@CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU)
Thu, 1 Feb 1996 00:18:42 -0600
I enjoyed your post. I agree that we want to focus on "Scouting"
activities as the "meat and potatoes" of our program. It may have been a
poor choice of words to use "dessert" to describe "downtime activities".
Maybe that wasn't the best analogy I could have used. I agree we don't
want the boys to feel the "Scouting" stuff is something they have to get
through to get the "fun" downtime activities. "Scouting" activities are
the "fun" activities.
I talked about a Florida trip which featured two days at Disney World,
which probably seemed like dessert at the time the trip was planned.
Afterwards, the boys realized that although Disney World was fun, the
sailing, snorkeling, etc. they experienced in the Keys was more fun. I
think the old saying applies "The more you put into something, the more
you get out of it".
I believe there are times when "downtime" activities are OK within the
context of busy active programs. I illustrated that through my own
example, we feed the boys a lot of Scouting and throw in some fun fluff every
now and then.
I guess I have to also state as a "general rule" it could be dangerous to
a program where activities are limited to one/month including service and
fundraising. If you have a smaller program content, then yes I fully
agree that you must scrutinize where you spend that time, because you are
on a tighter time budget. Limited time means very careful consideration
of how that time is spent. You must make a more thoughtful approach to
achieving the aims within a more limited program.
I am very boy oriented, and probably sometimes overeact to adults who
even hint at restricting activities that I view as just plain good fun.
I am very serious about Scouting as a program for young people, but I
also try to keep the program from seeming too serious. Scouting needs to
be a game, but a game with a purpose. I think proper balance is the key
and a very difficult thing to achieve.
I relate to your observation of the difficulty in creating a quality
program when our national average tenure for Scoutmasters is only two
years. Like you, I have been in this game a long time, and two years is
a very short time to master Scoutmastering. It will be 20 years in
November for me, I'm still learning, and still frustrated that I can
never get it quite the way I think it should be. My pledge is to give
every boy in the troop the best possible Scouting experience. The more
we learn, the more we learn how much more there is to know. After the
first two years I decided I would keep plugging along until I got it
right, years later I'm still trying.
The discussion here on Scouts-L is great because we can step back and
examine the theory of Scouting in the context of the reality we have been
in contact with. While we're Scouting out there, we are sometimes to
busy to stop and think too deeply, because we're dealing with the boys, the
details, other adult leaders, parents, finances, paperwork, and trying to
keep up with our committments, just like those alligators in the swamp you
were talking about.
Some people tell me we are going overboard on our troop program. That we
have taken one of the methods of Scouting and turned it into an Aim, or at
the very least brought it out of balance with other methods. I have to
admit a certain insecurity on that issue as I search for an answer within
Case in point. Because of the high number of program activities (as many
as 11 in a month, as few as 3) it dilutes the size of the group. We have
nine patrols (including new Scout patrol). If you have 10 boys on an
activity representing 6 different patrols, the chances of patrols
functioning normally are rather slight. In those cases we take another
structure within Scouting called the Venture Crew. Venture Crews are
temporary organizational structures geared toward an activity related
goal. They can be made up of boys from several different patrols.
Our larger group size activities are organized through a patrol structure,
our smaller group activities are organized through a crew structure. Some
critics point out that I might be jeapardizing the Patrol Method within
the troop by a having a hyperactive program schedule. I feel the crew
structure is another form of Patrol Method and teaches the same
fundamental skills of leadership and teamwork.
Other critics point out that a large number of activities pursued by a
subset of troop members lessen the shared experiences of the troop
overall, creating divisions within troop membership and erodes unity and
esprit d'corps. In other words, it's better to do a few things all
together, than a lot of things in splintered groups. I argue that we do
both within our program.
OK, I confess, my critics exist in my own mind. These are arguments I
have with myself as I question my own program perspective. Not many in
my troop will openly criticize or question me, which isn't healthy.
I was really a little disappointed no one responded to my post
except Charlie. I was looking forward to other viewpoints.
My question. New thread. When is Scouting too much of a good thing?
Can we overprogram, and when do we cross the line? Is "Overtime" bad?
Please. I'd really like some feedback.
P.S. to Charlie. Troop 33 will be heading down I-65 in June 1996 heading
for Florida. Huntsville is one of our stops, we do that "space" thing.
We already have some caving planned for Cumberland Caverns in Tennessee
and Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. We're really short on time to achieve all
the things we have planned. We're planning on visiting "Big Ed's" digs
down near Griffin, Georgia too (on the way back). What caving have you
got in northern Alabama? I think we'll have about 12 members in our group.
YIS, Cliff Golden email@example.com First Lutheran Church; DeKalb, IL
Scoutmaster Troop 33 Three Fires Council, Illinois
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City