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Scouts training, testing, passing on Scouting

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  • Scouts training, testing, passing on Scouting

    A boy joins Scouts for one of three main reasons: His parents insist on it, he wants to (because of the Scouting or Troop or Pack reputation) or because his buddy invites him.
    He stays in Scouting because of one (or more) of the same three reasons: his parents insist on it (and will reward him: driver license, new car(!), Wii box, vacation trip, I've heard a lot of things) or because it is fun and he "gets something out of it" or because he is in with his buds.

    His time in Scouts can be a chore, or a pleasure .

    The Patrol Method can be a lesson, an "aha!" moment, if it is guided by the adults as such.

    One of the means to that end can be the way Scouts learn and earn. I taught my Scoutson his axe and knife, both thru example and lesson. He, in turn, taught the boys in his Troop as an Instructor (shoulder patch!) for Totin Chip. Those boys, in turn, taught other boys. The same way is appropriate for any rank requirement. Fire safety and building? Knife and axe? Camp hygiene? Cooking? If the older Scouts won't teach and test the younger boys (with adult overview) , then what other encouragement is there for the younger ones to stay and pass on the traditions (make their own!) of the Troop? How do we show them we TRUST them to make decisions and LEAD (and follow?) if they are not allowed to pass on what they have (alledgedly ?) learned themselves?
    And what greater encouragement for the older Scout than to have a "little brother" look up to him for instruction and advice? It can be a self fulfilling , self perpetuating system, if allowed and encouraged. I seem to remember something like that in my callow youth, but then, I am an old and forgetful fellow. Maybe that was a myth, or a legend I am imbuing with undeserved reality.

  • #2

    What I'm reading here is a fantastic example of scouting working as intended. Your guide is doing exactly what he should be, as are you. This exact process is exactly what so many units are lacking.


    • #3
      If a scout knows a skill they are required to teach it to those who do not. Otherwise it takes away from my kindle time.


      • #4
        I teach my boys to teach when they demonstrate to me they know the skill. That way they can at the drop of a hat, teach others.

        It does not add to the requirement one bit. I just tell the boys, I don't know one thing about what you are going to show me so start from scratch and educate me. If they balk at the comment, I just ask them if they would prefer teaching their mother. Usually they stick with me. They have a prescribed routine that I taught them which somewhat parallels the EDGE method. If they can teach me the square knot, I know they fully understand it.

        I also make sure that if someone is doing something, i.e. lighting the fire, he always has an "assistant" that doesn't know so that he can teach as he does the work around camp. Our "buddy system" is not BFF's getting together, but one older scout with a younger scout so that the younger one has an opportunity to learn and the older scout has an opportunity to teach.

        There are no requirements in the troop to teach anyone anything, but through a couple of these techniques, it happens anyway.



        • #5
          Is there a PC way to get leaders to only teach one boy and not every boy they can possibly get their hands on? Because I am seeing leaders asked (by other leaders) to teach a skill to boys one night... even though it is a semi annual thing going over the same lessons. I'm not trying to bash these leaders. I just think we owe it to the boys who joined this program to give them the program and not an adult-run boy's club. As a young ASM, I feel as if my opinion is not taken as seriously since I don't have "experience." But the experienced ones enjoy teaching the boys a little too much. I messed up 4-5 years ago when I joined this troop as a boy. I was told I couldn't do the leading because I was too old and the younger ones should have a chance...little did I know this was probably a method of keeping me "occupied" with other tasks so I would steer clear of changing this "good" program. The chance I messed up on is not passing my knowledge on as a boy to other boys, or I wouldn't be in the situation I am now as a leader. Sure I can still teach them like I should've back then, but it's not the same coming from someone who doesn't goof off with the rest of them. I'm actually proud as my SPL (he's sort of the troop PL right now, work in progress) took most of the boys aside at a meeting and taught lashings. Though, my pride probably won't recover after hearing him say "lashings suck, you just have to know this to advance." Oh the irony...I finally see them doing what they should be doing and I'm dead wrong. But on the bright side....those first year scouts tied some pretty impressive lashings. Though there are plenty of problems, there's always that spark you see in a boy's eye after he learns from an older boy and is able to "master" a skill and can be proud of it. This is how it should always be. It reminds me why I stuck around this program and troop instead of "Eagle-ing out." I'm glad to hear so many of you having success with this boy-to-boy tradition of passing down scout skills and responsibilities. I know my troop will get there at some point, but it is very encouraging and uplifting to know it all really works.


          • #6
            With my young boys, new troop, boy-led, patrol-method I have basically let the boys do as they wish, no adult interaction unless asked by the boys for help or if we see an opportunity to offer up a non-binding suggestion, we toss it in. ASM and I sit and evaluate every move the boys struggle with. It has given us an idea of the boys' personalities and how they function as a group. One boy excels and is a natural leader. Of course no one complained when he put on the PL POR patch. The others seem to be a bit stressed out that things aren't progressing as quickly as they should.

            The PL struggles with getting up to speed and still lacks confidence to step it up to the next level. Heck, he's only 11 years-old. So he was gone last week and I was sitting at a table or two away from the boys and they got to talking about the lack of teamwork at summer camp. The APL asked what could be done and they didn't have much to offer. Whereas the PL doesn't ask for help much, the APL does and invited me into the discussion. We talked about a number of things and they decided it would be good to get some leadership training so the could get things done better and asked what would be good. I said, I didn't know if it was good, but it would be fun was the GBB training I had as a kid. I give them Kudu's web link and said to check it out and let me know.

            I realize the first time around it's going to be adult led instruction, but still boy organized sessions. It's easy enough that the adults have to teach it only once. From then on, the boys will have to pass it on with annual training for all the new guys coming in.

            The PL doesn't feel confident signing off on the boy's advancement so they come to me to demonstrate their skill accomplishments. They have a teaching routine as I mentioned in previous posts that when they talk about the skill under consideration it is always in the context of a youth teacher teaching someone else. They become so accustomed to the routine it becomes second nature. A boy came to me and said he was ready to demonstrate his square knot. I said, "Okay." and sat down at the table. Instead of sitting there and simply tying the knot, he stood up, introduced himself, told me what he was going to demonstrate, did the knot tying, offered me the rope and asked me to tie it too. I tied it wrong on purpose and handed it back to him. He spotted the ruse and explained what I had done, re-demonstrated it and had me try again. All this from an 11 year-old working on his Scouter requirements. I seriously doubt whether any of these boys could "demonstrate" any of the skill requirements without going through the whole teaching shebang.

            Whereas the SM did a little "playing dumb" in the beginning, the boys have now developed a tradition of teaching that the can pass on to the next generation of scouts coming into the program.

            Every rank skill demonstration has become a teaching opportunity for the boys. It's a nice tradition to start out a new troop with.