scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: Delivering The Promise
Anthony Mako (ajmako@NLS.NET
Sun Mar 05 2000 - 16:37:57 CST
<Bobby J. Maynard wrote>
What do the words we read on page 1 really mean all fun and no work? Can the
boys accuse us of misleading them when we introduce such things as service
projects, advancement, and skills development? Are we really deceiving them
by giving them an education in values, but disguising it as fun?
I would counsel against reading too much into the words on page 1. It's
simple. It the boys are having fun it doesn't matter if what they are doing
is work or anything else. No one ever said a service project couldn't be
fun. Learning new skills and meeting advancement challenges is supposed to
be fun. We are only deceiving them if we promise that Scouting will be loads
of fun, and then make them sit through lectures.
Is this phrase "Delivering the Promise" applicable only to troops or is it
generic to all three programs (packs, troops, crews)? If not, do we have a
promise to the Cubs and Venturing what is it? Is this (Delivering the
promise) in conflict with our Aims? How do we balance the promise of nothing
but fun (as implied on page 1 of the BSHB) with our role as teachers of the
values associated with character development, citizenship training, and
personal fitness growth?
Each phase of the BSA program has its own promise. The promise is clearly
stated on the first page of whichever handbook that phase uses. For
instance, the Webelos Handbook promises "great new adventures." That means
the Webelos program is supposed to be DIFFERENT than the Bear program - but
Delivering the promise isn't in conflict with the Aims of Scouting. From day
one Scouting was meant to be fun! Baden-Powell intended the program to
accomplish its aims subtley, while the Scouts were having fun. As far as
balancing "nothing but fun" with teaching values, I submit that the values
we are supposed to be teaching CAN be taught in a fun way. Try this, sit
eight Scouts down and explain to them how democracy works. Was it fun?
Probably not for them. Now ask them to elect their own leaders, learn to
live together, and make compromises so that everyone gets pretty much what
he wants. They've learned the same thing, one one way is much more fun than
What are some of the tools we can use to measure how well we are delivering
the promise? What could be considered the norm or the standard in the
delivery? Is there a weakness on our part in delivering the promise? If so,
what kind of training program do we need to fix it?
Observation is the primary tool. If the Scouts aren't having fun, you'll
know it! If attendance at meetings drops, you can guess that meetings aren't
that much fun. If no one wants to go camping, your problem is in that part
of the program. If adults seem to be doing all of the work, running the
meetings, and making sure things get done on campouts, the problem may be
that the adults aren't giving the Scouts a chance to lead. If the Scouts are
doing most of the work, but no one is happy, it could be the youth leaders
need some training.
I would be interested in some philosophical thoughts on this subject as well
as some plain old Scout thoughts. I would be particularly interested in
thoughts held by some of our younger (in age) leaders as well as from those
who have many, many years serving and influencing our youth. Mike Walton, I
specifically request your thoughts on this subject because I really respect
the things you say.
It's important to remember that "Delivering the Promise" is simply a way for
adult leaders to remind themselves what Scouting is all about. The words on
that first page of the handbook are basically what we promise every boy who
joins Scouting. It's up to us to make sure we deliver on that promise. If we
don't, a boy will have been lost to Scouting, and it will be very difficult
to get him back.
Interestingly enough, "Delivering the Promise" is actually a question, not a
program element. Each Scouter should be asking himself or herself "Am I
delivering the promise?" If the answer is "no" then why not? Scouting is
supposed to be fun for the adults too. If it's not fun for the Scouts, it
won't be much fun for the adults. My only suggestion for you class is that
you find a way to make it fun!
AJ Mako, Scoutmaster, Troop 381 http://www.scouts381.org/
Great Trail Council, Old Portage District