Scouts-L Mail Archive for September of 1999: Re: What are Varsity Scouts? (2/2)
Re: What are Varsity Scouts? (2/2)
Mon, 6 Sep 1999 12:23:43 CDT
Richard continued to ask:
>7) What resources, books, video tapes, printed material and web sites are
there >available to learn more about this part of the BSA Scouting program?
Don't know about websites other than the BSA's official one, but there's a
wealth of materials related to Varsity Scouting which are available from
your local Council or from the BSA's Supply Division. The best book is the
Varsity Scout Handbook, which is dated and hasn't really been updated too much!
>8) Do you have a varsity group in your unit? If so could you tell me about it?
I served as a Varsity Scout Team Coach and organized one of the first
non-LDS Varsity Teams in a Council many years back. The Team was organized
basically as a dare by the local Council Scout Executive, whom thought that
I could in his words, "talk a great game but wasn't able to put stuff into
action." We had nine boys in the Team, and we concentrated on doing things
as a Team to enhance them working together as a Team. We competed as a Team
on a rotating basis with a local bowling league and came in fifth place; we
competed with several three-on-three basketball competitions with each squad
serving as a team; we competed against two other Varsity Teams in our
Council in swimming, running, and orienteering; and of course, we all earned
our Varsity Letters (adults can earn the Letter too, by completing the
training courses and participating in Roundtables and other adult training
and coaching programs) together.
I felt that the Team worked because I let pass me the idea that "it's a Boy
Scout program" and influnced my Team Captain into believing that "it is a
sports program managed by the Scouts."
Other than the Letter and jacket which I explained earlier, the program does
work if you have some direction in which to take it, and the insistance that
this isn't "Scouting as normally found". Many of my Team members didn't
understand that by learning how a map and compass worked and by competing
with adults many years older than they were, that they would be able to earn
a merit badge and credit toward a Boy Scout rank. Nor would the idea of
learning how to play frisbee golf, putt-putt golf and regular golf and being
able to play a round of each would help them toward earning a merit badge in
Sports. Or the idea of helping out at a sports clinic and helping to stock
and move around stuff at a local sporting goods store would help two of my
Team members to get a job there as well as to provide a service project for
another to earn Life through.
The key is that as it was explained to me during the kickoff for the
program, that "the traditional ways that we do Scouting is shelved and we
look for other ways to reach those Scouts that otherwise won't be Scouts."
A different activity shirt and matching pants. Less on the "tradition" and
more on the "activity". A demand to act like good sports and to give
positive examples of good and negative sports play and relate it to life.
Those are things that get and keep a good Team going. And not to rely on
being called "Team 8" but rather "The Fort Gordon Community Team" or the
"Signallers" (the colors blaze and white worked for us, because those are
the same colors of the Army Signal Corps and we met on post at either the
bowling alley or the rec center, again non-traditional places for "Team
>9) How do your start a Varsity Scout Program?
The same way you start a Boy Scout Troop, Richard. You have to get a
chartered partner organization, in our case, the installation's sports
program office, interested in the different approach to Scouting. While
emphasizing that it IS Scouting (there is some badge earning, ranks and
leadership/followship going on here after all), but it's a DIFFERENT way of
making the Scouting ideals work, you will find it much easier to "sell".
You still have to have a Team Committee of at least three adults (we used
all of the parents; one parent must serve on the Team Committee (we called
it the "Cheering section" to avoid the "BSA stigma" even though they chose
to keep the name "Team Commitee") and a Chartered Organizational
Representative (whom later took the Team over from me when I departed the
installation a year later for Kentucky), along with two other adults (a
Coach and at least one Assistant Coach).
You also need at least five registered youth (no problem there, because of
the way we approached it...."Join a new sports team....a team which will
prepare you for Life!" ) in your Team.
I enjoyed being called "Coach Walton" and yes, I did wear the khakitan
uniform with the blaze loops during our few formal "Award Presentations".
Other times, I wore the Varsity Polo shirt with the tan shorts and white
socks. No whistle. I used the Varsity Sign (the Scout Sign) to capture
their attention. And it worked.
Varsity Scouting, Richard, takes a different approach to what we would
consider is "Scouting." I've posted some of those things on our list from
time to time.....I think that Varsity Scouting should be tried by any "old
timer Scoutmaster" whom thinks that he or she don't have anything left to
contribute to the program with. With some imagination and remembering that
Scouting IS a Game with a Purpose, you'll have a great time at it if that's
what your Troop wants to do with its older boys.
Hope this helps out!
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
personal inquiries via firstname.lastname@example.org,
blackeagle@SCOUTER.net or email@example.com
professional inquiries via firstname.lastname@example.org
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