Developing planning skills among young scouts
Barry Runnels (barry_c_runnels@MMACMAIL.JCCBI.GOV)
Thu, 13 Aug 1998 11:27:15 -0600
>I am leading a troop of 10 going-into third grade Brownies - I have been
>working with them since kindergarden. My big goal this year is get them
>much more involved in planning and executing their own activities.
I have learned a lot from working with Cub Scouting and building a boy run
Troop in this area. This is what I experienced. No matter how much you
expect from youth, they can only perform at their level of maturity. In
other words, don't expect your third graders to plan like a sixth grader.
Successful performance in planning and executing is relative to the age of
the Scouts. In my Pack I ask the Wolf Den leader to participate in the
skits so the Scouts wouldn't be afraid of getting up front of the audience.
I ask the Bear leaders to help them practice but not participate in the
Skits. I ask the first year Webelos Leaders to pick the skits but make the
Scouts practice on their own. The second year Webelos Scouts pick, practice
and perform their own skits at every Pack meeting and campfire without any
help from the adults.
Starting a new Troop is the same. You can't expect a new 12 year old SPL to
perform the same as a 15 year old. So build your program to allow for the
difference in their maturity. How far do you let them go? When your Scout is
not having FUN, you went to far.
But you need to take it in small steps. Each year give them more
responsibility than the year before. They don't have to perform like adults
to be successful. Even though your teaching them new skills, it's the
confidence in themselves that is really important. If they have the
confidence to take on the responsibility without fear of their performance,
you have succeeded. This is hard for adults. We still have to remind each
other in our Troop that it is how the PLC reacts to their performance that
we are concerned about, not the performance itself. PLCs seem to perform the
best when they trust the adults will let them learn from their successes and
failures. In other words, the adults don't bail them out every time they
appear to be getting into trouble. Also, it takes a couple of years to build
that trust from the Scouts. So we better start now.
It's a great idea to teach your Scouts planning and executing. I wish the
BSA encourage more of this in Cub Scouting. I think it would decrease the
number of drop outs in Cubs and first year Scouts in Troops because I had
great success with my Cub Scouts during their first year of Scouting in
Troops. I am convinced self-confidence is very important for successful
crossovers into Troops.
Your going to really enjoy watching your Scouts grow. I sure have.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City