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Programs That Build Character

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  • #16
    Example.... Instruction.... working as a team.... learning that my goof off affects others.... mom won't be there to pick up my pieces when I'm grown.... taking pride in my own accomplishments, no matter how mundane or small they may be.... pushing myself a little bit farther (a LOT farther?)....

    I sub taught a PE class today... The first four periods were fun and the kids were cooperative. First three periods, they played table tennis in a tournament set up and the last two periods , we played a neat game called "blind volleyball".
    Problems began in the last period of the day. The boys did not want to cooperate or play by the rules. Girls (yes, it's coed, middle school) just followed along, so 15 minutes into the class I had to say "that's it! Boys to the lockerroom! Girls to your lockerroom!" I sat the boys down on the lockerroom floor and laid into them about everything from respect for themselves to mom and dad's taxes to why folks laugh at things to irrelevant comments to paying your way when you are grown and why are you HERE? (three possibilities)? And why are you so interested in Ted's footwear? Is it important for everyone to pay attention to YOU and not the teacher?
    I could see all of them were really surprised by my reaction to their "youthful exhuberance". Meanwhile, one of the regular PE teachers listened in the next door glassed in office.
    I could see some of them took in my diatribe with some seriousness, some kept giggling about it. "Hey , we get your message, can we go back in and play some ball?" What do you think?
    To some of them, this was truly a new thing. A sub teacher with an attitude and expectations? Detention? Hearing instructions? Following them? Doing what was asked AND expected? Me? Yes, you.
    I found I actually felt good when I was done. By done, I mean the end of the school day. I quit when they had 5 minutes left to street dress and get ready to depart school.
    The regular teacher told me I did good. He said, yeah, some of them "got it" and some never would, but I did the right thing here.
    PE class? A taught subject? Learn teamwork, handeye coordination, following instructions, having fun doing it, language arts, responsibility for one's actions, self control, helping others along the way, ...
    almost sounds like Scouting....without the camping.(This message has been edited by SSScout)

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    • #17
      I don't think it has to be scouting, but scouting has distilled a lot of things that bring success to building character over the last 100 years...

      1) The opportunity to lead, fail and learn from it. Not many places in life you get to try your hand at being a leader and if it doesn't go quite as planned you don't get fired, or cost yourself or your company lots of $$, or in the case of the military or law enforcement, get someone killed.

      2) Adults and youth leaders who take a pledge to LIVE the values all day every day. This is modelling the behavoir or leading by example (my web II son is SICK of hearing me say this, however he is finally starting to understand that how HE acts influences other cubs, just by virture of being the 'older' boy). He told me earlier in the year, "I don't WANT to be the example." Now he understands he IS the example whether he wants to be or not... just like a parent is an example to the child whether they want to be or not.

      3) Program structure that pushes the youth, yet allows for enough safety measures to allow heli-parents to "let go" & let the child develop. Lots of posts debate the merits of these ranges with BSA on these boards, eh? Youth must be challenged to do something more than they've done in the past, go farther, go harder, take a risk, etc... otherwise there is no progress. Yet, it is incrimental and step-wise so that small successes build upon themselves.

      4) The art of learning, then mastering, then teaching to another. This is EDGE method in a nutshell. Its been used for years and years by Armies to train soldiers, by med schools to teach doctors, etc... its a strong and proven method that BSA is smart to embrace (when done correctly).

      5) A program that requires TEAMWORK to accomplish major goals. Can a scout make rank by themself? Maybe, up to about Star. But for the senoir ranks, one must LEAD group activities and your success is dependent upon the GROUP's success. An Eagle poject is the capstone of a leader influencing a team to accomplish a goal.

      6) A sense of higher purpose. Why do scouts do service projects and community service (aside from it being the right thing to do)? Because it builds a sense of doing something or being something bigger than yourself and bigger than the sum of its parts. Scouts learn via service that there are things far more important than themselves, their accomplishments, their goals. Leaving the world a better place for those who come along after is a powerful seed to plant in a youth.

      7) Discipline. I tell my boys, discipline is just being a parent to yourself. You know right from wrong, discipline is making the correct choice when faced with an option. How do you prioritize tasks? Does work get done 1st and then you goof off, or the other way around?

      8) A hook. What keeps the youth interested and coming back for more? The adventure, the esprit de corps?

      Those are all traits BSA does well to build character. Can a kid this from a coach? from band, from other activities? probably with perhaps the exception being a sense of higher purpose, unless their is a service component to the activity. Winning the state championship in football is great, it teaches teamwork, leadership, discipline, sportsmanship, etc... but it does little to teach a youth to leave the world better than you found it.

      BSA has a great model buil over 100 years on a framework of outdoor adeventure... thats the hook. Its also why I think there is a LOT of justified handwringing around these boards about changes to policy and program that are seen to dilute the framework of outdoor adventure. No matter how well intentioned in the name of safety, fairness, or some other reason. If it gets diluted too much - youth will seek the adventure elsewhere, no matter how good of a program you might bring to the table.

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      • #18
        DeanRx writes:

        "1) The opportunity to lead, fail and learn from it. Not many places in life you get to try your hand at being a leader and if it doesn't go quite as planned you don't get fired, or cost yourself or your company lots of $$, or in the case of the military or law enforcement, get someone killed."

        Or in the case of Scouting, replace Patrol Adventure with "Controlled Failure," and lose two million (2,000,000) Boy Scouts.

        Rotating "The Opportunity to Lead" every six months is just as much of a disaster for the Patrol Method as it would be for your company, the military and law enforcement.

        DeanRx writes:

        "4) The art of learning, then mastering, then teaching to another. This is EDGE method in a nutshell. Its been used for years and years by Armies to train soldiers, by med schools to teach doctors, etc... its a strong and proven method that BSA is smart to embrace (when done correctly)."

        "EDGE" and "when done correctly" is a contradiction in terms.

        Like all Leadership Development techniques, EDGE replaces the Patrol Method with a word game.

        For instance, the Patrol Method presentation of Scoutmaster Training: Our Wood Badge experts removed the Patrol Leader and any description of a working Patrol, and replaced them with EDGE.

        Replacing the Patrol Leader with a word game is not a trivial matter, DeanRx.

        It is a cult.

        A cult that dilutes the framework of outdoor Patrol Adventure, to give every boy a "turn" at Patrol Leadership. That is why Boy Scout membership is now limited to Cub Scout Survivors, and the great majority of red-blooded American boys seek adventure elsewhere.

        In a perfect world al-Qaeda would use EDGE to train its leaders, soldiers, and doctors.

        Yours at 300 feet,

        Kudu(This message has been edited by Kudu)

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        • #19
          Kudu-

          You and I are closer to the same page than you might think. Thats why I put the qualifier of (if done correctly), on the EDGE method.

          If done correctly, it means a scout first shown a skill, then they practice until they have mastered said skill. Then to prove they have a mastery of it, they then TEACH said skill to another scout(s). In my time in the military and in college, this was distilled to see one, do one, teach one. Its an extremely effective way of teach multiple skills, the premise being that if you've mastered it well enough to explain and teach it to a peer, then you likely will not forget it.

          However, from what I see most of EDGE in BSA its the ADULTS doing the "demonstrate and guide" portion. This, I would agree with you are better served if the youth is allowed to do it. Too many "managers" get hung up on the semantics of the acronym, instead of employing the INTENT correctly. Its not a bad concept, its just not done correctly a lot of the time.

          As for the opportunity to lead, without severe consequences... I don't see where that is a bad thing. We live in a zero-tolerance society. Every little mis-step is automatically pounced upon as proof of someone's unfit to lead. Well, how do you TEACH leadership without having an environment to screw up? What are all the boys supposed to not be PL or SPL for their 1st 3 years in scouts, then hang around until just before their 18th birthday to get their leadership position? Not sure what your ideal concept is Kudu?

          That to me is the very basis of why Troops that employ the Patrol Method and do it well, often look like a chaotic mess. Its boys learning to lead boys, its not going to be perfect, because you have novice leaders in leadership roles!! I agree changing every 6 months is not ideal, but if every boy needs a LP to advance in rank and it is a larger sized Troop, how else do you make it work? Troops that are run as well oiled machines look to me to be older boy cub scouts, with adults doing most of the directing and decision making.

          To me, the decline and loss of interest is due to the dilution of the "outdoor adventure" into a stroll through a museum. Between LNT, G2SS, and heli-parents, we have a become a 'go into the outdoors and look at it, but God forbid, don't touch, move, or change anything....you might get hurt or upset the environment so badly that it will never recover !!!' organization. That's where the loss of kids is from.

          I can take a group of kids camping in the Anza dessert. We can hike, we can climb (to a certain extent until G2SS says its bouldering). But when they see other kids their age across the highway zipping past on 4-wheelers in the OHV area, suddenly scouting starts to loose its luster. They want to jump a sand dune and make a Red Bull commercial out of their weekend.

          Yours, in the trenches with the troops....
          DeanRx

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          • #20
            "Between LNT, G2SS, and heli-parents" you are on to something there.

            Comment


            • #21
              DeanRx writes:

              "Thats why I put the qualifier of (if done correctly), on the EDGE method. If done correctly...employing the INTENT correctly. Its not a bad concept, its just not done correctly a lot of the time."

              EDGE can not be done correctly, because it is a bad concept.

              If it could be done, then who exactly would do EDGE "correctly"?

              How about the world's top EDGE experts?

              They removed the Patrol Leader and any description of a working Patrol from the Patrol Method presentation of Scoutmaster Training and replaced them with EDGE.

              To remove the Patrol and the Patrol Leader from a Patrol Method presentation is not trivial.

              If the goal of reenacting and wrestling is "Character and Leadership," then why not take the reenactors out of reenactor training, and the wrestlers out of wrestler training, and teach them EDGE instead?

              Even the world's foremost EDGE experts can not "Explain" or "Demonstrate" what a Patrol Leader does, let alone "Guide" a Scoutmaster to "Enable" a Patrol Leader to go out on Patrol without helicopter supervision.

              As was the goal of position-specific "Patrol Leader Training" BEFORE the invention of office "leadership skills" theory.

              As for INTENT, that is hard to prove, but all Leadership Development is a fad word game. The goal of word games has ALWAYS been to take position-specific training away from the Patrol Leaders:

              "In general, Patrol Leader training should concentrate on leadership skills rather than on Scoutcraft Skills. The Patrol will not rise and fall on the Patrol Leader's ability to cook, follow a map, or do first aid, but it very definitely depends on his leadership skill."

              http://inquiry.net/leadership/index.htm

              In "21st Century Scouting" we remove the Patrol Leaders themselves. "Trained" Staffers never notice.

              DeanRx writes:

              "Not sure what your ideal concept is Kudu?"

              According to Baden-Powell and Green Bar Bill, the purpose of a Patrol is to go out on Patrol.

              Without helicopter supervision.

              DeanRx writes:

              As for the opportunity to lead, without severe consequences... I don't see where that is a bad thing.

              That is the point, isn't it? The goal of all word games is provide the opportunity to play word games without severe consequences.

              Obviously then you must keep Patrols from going out on Patrol.

              Without helicopter supervision.

              DeanRx writes:

              "Well, how do you TEACH leadership without having an environment to screw up?"

              Since when is "teaching leadership" the goal of Scouting?

              Since two million Boy Scouts left the BSA, that's when.

              Since Patrol Leaders stopped LEADING Patrols out on Patrol.

              All in the name of "Character and Leadership."

              DeanRx writes:

              What are all the boys supposed to not be PL or SPL for their 1st 3 years in scouts, then hang around until just before their 18th birthday to get their leadership position?

              Not everybody "needs" to be a leader.

              It is a fake "need" caused by "Position Of Responsibilty" credit for Advancement, introduced the year that Green Bar Bill retired, leaving Scouting in the hands of indoor office experts.

              Why not apply their office "leadership" logic to the only remaining real "Position of Responsibility" in Scouting?

              Why should non-swimmers hang around until just before their 18th birthday to get their rightful leadership position as a BSA Lifeguard?

              "That to me is the very basis of why waterfronts that employ Leadership Development and do it well, often look like a chaotic mess! Chaos is a good thing. It's boys learning to save drowning boys. It's not going to be perfect, because you have novice leaders in leadership roles!! I agree changing lifeguards every 6 months is not ideal, but if every boy needs a POR to advance in rank and it is a larger sized Troop, how else do you make it work?"

              Yours at 300 feet,

              Kudu

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