Re: ASM for New Scouts
Tim Hewitt (thewitt@FAIRCHILDSEMI.COM)
Mon, 8 Jun 1998 09:35:18 -0400
Gibson, Jim Wrote:
> Hello group!
> I've just accepted the responsibility to be the ASM for the new scout
> patrol. Apart from what is detailed in the Scoutmaster handbook --
> support for troop guide and new scout patrol, recruitment of new scout
> parents, and troop recruiting mostly through the local Webelos dens --
> does anyone have any pointers, tips, wisdom, experiences, etc they would
> be willing to share?
First class, first year.
At the heart of the New Scout Patrol is advancement. No, not by cranking out
the requirements in the meeting place, but by putting together an interesting
program and making sure you do things that advance the scouts.
I'll give you as an example of a weekend we are planning later this month.
We are overnighting at a local council camp. It's a primitive camp, no
structures (other than outhouses) and some great surrounding areas for hiking.
The activities we have planned are:
2 1/2 mile hike to a waterfall for lunch. I'm treating the boys to lunch if
they find me :). The waterfall is not marked on the map, but it is easy to
locate. There is no trail to the falls, so the boys have to decide how to get
there, and plan the route with map and compass. We have already done basic
orienteering with most of them, so this is a great drill. I'm leaving 30
minutes early and making lunch (leaving early so they don't follow me). If
they find me, they eat :). Another leader will be hiking with them, but they
will follow their own "orienteering" course to get to me - we just didn't call
it that. Distance and bearing is required before I ok the course they are
taking. They have built a 2 1/2 mile orienteering course without even knowing it...
After lunch, we will be returning by following another route around the lake.
They will plan this trip from the falls, and we'll all hike together on their
chosen path. This one will actually pick up a jeep road, so there will be less
compass work, however they still have to decide where to pick up and leave the
road - so some work will be required. Drawing the route out before we leave
will be required, as well calculating the distances and bearings.
When we have completed this, they will have their Second Class requirement for
drawing a 5 mile map and following it with a compass. They will have their
First Class 1 mile orienteering course (the trip out).
The afternoon project is to build a trebuchet (sp) - two actually - and have a
water balloon fight. This will get them their lashing requirements, as well as
their "build a useful camp gadget" requirement. Yes I find it a useful camp
gadget - entertainment of 14 Scouts at camp is of particular use to me.
The younger scouts will also learn their knots - all the interesting knots
will be taught for this activity. The use of a bowline in rescue will not be
discussed, but they will certainly have to tie one.
Isn't this much more fun then sitting around a meeting hall signing off books?
They will also learn the value of well done lashing, as their balloon
throwing machines will literally fall apart if their lashing is done poorly.
They have been instructed that they can fire their balloons at the other
patrol as soon as their trebuchet is complete, and so there is some good
competition to see who can finish first and pelt the other patrol while they
are still building. If one machine falls apart, the other patrol can keep on
firing, so quality construction is also important. A road divides the two
patrols, and they can situate themselves anywhere they want on either side. It
should be great fun.
We built a trebuchet using rubber bands and garden stakes at the meeting hall,
so they all know what one looks like and the basic principals of how it works.
The key to keeping Scouts in the program is making the program interesting. If
an interesting program also gets them to First Class in the first year, all
the better (based on BSA statistics)! We are a one year old troop, and our
first year was not spent using this philosophy. We had 60 percent of our
Scouts drop out. Since March, we've been using this new formula, and have more
than doubled in size, with more boys threatening to transfer in from other
area troops every month.
It's not a boy run program yet - our oldest Scout is 13 and a Tenderfoot
(almost 2nd Class - next month!). We do have patrols, but as yet no permanent
SPL, ASPL, or other troop level boy leadership positions. These are coming. We
elect a TSPL (temporary) for each camping trip and he gets to exercise his
leadership skills for the weekend. This has been very interesting so far, with
some boys being elected multiple times, and others not! The boys will get a
fun, loaded program first, they they will put together their own flavor of the
same. It's working per the plan at present. I hope to be completely out of the
actual program planning by the Spring of next year, having turned it over to
Tim Hewitt, Scoutmaster
Troop 350, Old Orchard Beach, ME
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City