My Last Word on Beltloops
Tue, 23 Jul 1996 10:35:52 -0400
When I began my Chess in Scouting initiative to get National to conse=
to a chessplaying beltloop and pin (working within the system), I wa=
requested by National (Burts Kennedy) to submit a letter on Pack 157=
perceptions of the Sports and Academics program. I did so, complete=
with a rank-by-rank breakout of loops and pins earned over the past=
year, and complete with our views on the program booklets and how we=
apply them. To that extent, I am working within the system.
As I see it, my job as a scout leader is to use the program I have be=
handed, and whatever other positive resources I can muster, to furth=
the educational and character development of my community=92s boys. =
take this job very seriously. When I award a scout a beltloop or pi=
he has earned it.
I do not indiscriminantly hand out awards, nor do I convey to my scou=
that it=92s acceptable to break rules. The idea is abhorrant to me,=
would undermine any attempt to build the character of my scouts.
The Sports and Academics booklets provide guidelines. They are not=
rulebooks. They are not intended to be rulebooks. Also, they are n=
textbooks. They are merely intended to spark in scouts an interest =
pursuing a particular field of endeavor. My job is to nurture that=
interest. If I can accomplish that aim through the booklets, fine. =
that=92s not possible (it=92s not), I will use textbooks, kids=92 sc=
books, experiment kits, home-built projects, the wisdom of teachers,=
advise of coaches, the expertise of my neighbors - any means necessa=
to cultivate that scout=92s interest. THAT=92S my job.
And when that interest is demonstrated, and that scout has learned=
something new, or done something he didn=92t feel he could do, I rew=
his achievement. Period.
My impression was that our scouting program was built on that kind of=
Education of young people is an interpretive exercise. If I am to be=
bound to the dogma of the literal printed page in every publication =
out by BSA, I could not run a den or pack. No one could. And if th=
program is insistent on a inflexible, dogmatic approach to teaching=
young boys, with no recourse to common sense, the problem lies with =
program, and not with leaders attempting to do their best.
Den Leader Coach
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City