Re: Time to Train Another SPL
Steven Tobin (stobin@MMMPCC.ORG)
Wed, 9 Sep 1998 21:59:02 -0600
> I'm not trying to punish or make things difficult for Ryan. I believe
> that there's more to coaching a junior leader than to say "jump in and
> learn to swim." While he may do just fine without hearing what I have to
> say, I feel it would ease the transition. There's also a part of me that
> says each Scout must learn there are consequences for their actions.
Perhaps the hardest thing to learn about working with Scouts is how much
"guidance" each Scout needs at any given point in his development.
Interpret guidance as pushing. This is how I came to look at
Draw an graph for each Scout, with age on the horizontal, and 'guidance'
on the vertical. At 'zero' we have the new Scout at 11 years old, going
to maximum on the right for that Scout at 18 years old. If we plot the
course for a Scout, I put the first point at 11 years old and infinity
for guidance. The new Scout is immature, needs help every step of the way,
will remember nothing, and will accomplish very little on his own. The
second point goes in at 18 years old, and near zero for guidance level.
The 18 year old, if all has gone well, should be fairly mature and pretty
much self-sufficient, will remember to do things on his own (or at least
is capable of it), and will require only a small amount of guidance,
mostly confirmation and communication of his intentions and plans.
The path between these two points is where it get interesting. It is
never (well, almost never) a straight line, and it is seldom always in
the right direction. Our job, as Scout leaders, is to guide each Scout
along that line, providing whatever guidance is needed at any given time,
without over-doing it. As we know, each boy is going to progress at
different rates, so it is hard to set firm guideposts for any stage.
Observation of the Scout, his behavior, and a familiarity with a boy's
developemental stages is about all we have to go on.
I have had SPL's ranging from 13 to 17 years old, and did not expect as
much from the 13 year-old as the older scout. While the job requirements
didn't change, the amount of help and guidance each required to do the
job varied greatly. And none of them stepped into the job at 'full speed.'
I guess if they could step in and run an active troop flawlessly they
wouldn't need us :^) They all required some 'coming up to speed' time and
assistance. Each was allowed to fail, and learn from it, as well as
succeed. I can say that each of them learned, grew, and improved a lot
during his tenure as SPL, even though some may not have performed up to
the ideal standards for a SPL.
You don't say how old your new SPL is, but one would tend to expect a
certain level of capability from an Eagle Scout. Apparently, though, he
isn't up to the task yet. Especially seeing as he hasn't even had his
orientation yet. Also, he may be somewhat overwhelmed and hesitant,
especially if he wasn't expecting the job to be given to him and isn't
used to the idea. I would suggest pushing to get your first
orientation meeting with him, and lay out the responsibilities and
expectations of the position. Discuss his near-term course and pending
activities. Set some immediate goals and tasks with him that he can
accomplish and gain some confidance. He may need some reminding and
tracking if he isn't used to being 'in charge' of getting things done on
time, but this kind of thing should drop off quickly.
He should pick up the reins quickly once he gets started. If he doesn't...
well that's another message :^) and I'm out of time. Good luck.
Steve Tobin, Troop Committee, Troop 39, Cannon Falls, MN
Wakpaota District Roundtable Commissioner, Gamehaven Council
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