Scouts-L Mail Archive for November of 1998: Re: Scouting is a Game, Not a Science
Re: Scouting is a Game, Not a Science
Fri, 27 Nov 1998 14:00:33 -0500
Three cheers for Ray! Enjoyed seeing that again.
If you watch a Troop closely the boys will find some way to amuse themselves
and this seems to be what they gravitate towards - finding something to do
that seems to be fun, an adventure, or interesting. At the same meeting you
may well find adults discussing how things are going, watching, and
coaching. Outside of the meeting you may see parents arguing about one
thing or another, committees that are tired of trying to explain why one
thing or another is better, and so forth. The easy way out often appears to
be to make a rule, stamp down a firm policy, etc. And that is where the
trouble begins and it goes right up the tree. In our own discussions we
often times find ourselves trying to find a rule to answer the question
because it would be easy if there was a single right answer and we see
frustration when BSA has been vague on purpose.
The idea about Scouting is to help individuals grow in a great out-of-doors
experience where they can have fun in the process, learn skills (and
self-confidence), and come away with a sense of accomplishment. This is
always best done with individuals and not through herd management rules.
Rules may make things seem equitable and fair, but the never can address all
situations in advance or take into account the differences in boys.
Each boy has different needs, works at a different speed, and learns in
different ways. Some require a lot of coaching. Some are self-motivating
and just need a bit of approval and encouragement. We need to do our best
to give each one what he needs to move ahead even if just a little farther
down the trail.
It might be good to read the passage Ray contributed and to evaluate in a
unit how things are and to make changes if the joy of the experience is
being swallowed up by the board room. So the question is how do you get
away from overdoing it with rules, policy statements, procedures, and the
like and move towards a boy led Troop that gets out into the great outdoors
and does great Scouting? A lot of the answer will depend on having a
Scoutmaster who can be patient and coach instead of directing. Some of the
answer will have to do with helping parents, especially those new from Cub
Scouts, to understand that a Troop may look like controlled chaos and that
this is okay - the boys are learning how to run things and adults don't do
everything for them or decide everything for them for that matter.
It is good to hear those words again and good to be nudged again into
thinking about how to focus on keeping the joy in Scouting.
Mike Bowman a/k/a Professor Beaver (email@example.com)
Webmastering in the Scouting Spirit from Alexandria, VA