Re: Junior Leadership
Alan Houser (troop24@EMF.NET)
Tue, 13 Aug 1996 23:30:10 -0700
Tim Goncharoff <tgonchar@CATS.UCSC.EDU> wrote:
>Some of your collective wisdom would be appreciated on a problem our
>troop is having. We have mostly younger boys. Our entire Patrol Leader
>council is 12-13 years old. We have some very fine young men, but they
>are young, and they often stumble in their leadership duties...
>[snip]... Our Scoutmaster has gotten very impatient with
>some of the boys, and has so far removed a Senior Patrol Leader and two
>Patrol Leaders from office, passing the position on to their assistants
>until the next election. There has naturally been some bad feeling,
>among both the boys and some of the parents....
>are saying that these boys are really too young to make choices like
>these and that the Scoutmaster or the Parents' Committee should appoint
I can believe there would be bad feelings here. What a heavy-handed,
callous way of making a point!
Yes, a young leadership corps will not do as good a job as an older,
more experienced group of Scouts. But what are these guys learning?
Three strikes and you're out? With this style of Scoutmastering,
there may never be any older boys to lead the troop.
Try to remember back to when you first learned to ride a two-wheeler.
If it's anything like when I did, my father held the bike up while I
peddled, and let go when he thought I was going fine. Of course, I
immediately crashed because I felt him let go. But we did it again
and again until I didn't need his help in staying upright. It worked
so well, I did the same thing with my own sons.
It's a similar process with teaching boys to lead. We have to help
them learn to ride, let go when they're doing fine. Be ready to pick
them up and try again when they fall. That's the point of training
boy leadership. They can learn that making mistakes is not the end
of life as they know it, rather a way of learning what works and
what doesn't, in a safe environment.
With a young group such as your troop, the Scoutmaster may need to
be a little more hands on. And a lot more patient. But think about
how good they will be in 2 or 3 years with all that experience! That
is, unless they've dropped out after being humiliated by the guy
they're supposed to trust.
It's also good for the Scouts who aren't in the PLC to see that
mistakes can be made, both in leading and in selecting leaders. I
would strongly resist any attempt to remove the ability of the Scouts
to select their own leadership.
Alan R. Houser ** Scoutmaster, Berkeley Troop 24 ** firstname.lastname@example.org
** WWW page ** http://www.emf.net/~troop24/t24.html **
Scoutmaster, Mt. Diablo Silverado Council Contingent Jamboree Troop #3
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City