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Getting youth to take leadership roles

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I received an email from one of the leaders of a Sea Scout Ship that I am the UC for.


The goal of the CO is to teach sailing and go to sailboat racing competitions.


They also have an issue where the youth are showing no initiative or willingness to assume leadership roles in the ship and just want to show up and sail once a week and have fun.


The lack of Venturing training is an issue so my first suggestion will be to get the adult leadership trained.


My second bit of advice will be to train and work with the youth on the leadership positions in the Ship.


I think the issue goes deeper than training and is an attitude problem with the youth members


What other suggestions can I give them and work with them on?






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Well if adults tell kids, the group goal is to teach sailing and race, what does leadership have to do with it?


Sounds like most think this group is an adult-run sailing club.


If it is to be a Venture crew, the scouts need to be setting the goals. Training needed, start over.


My $0.02

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Is this my old ship youa re talkign about? :)


Training is a key. The leaders need to understand the program, specifically that the youth run the program.


Then the youth have to be empowered to actually run the program with minimal interference from the adults. I say minimal b/c there are some additional safety issue on the open water.


Then I would let the youth take over, constantly reminding them that they need to create a program. if they want to sail and have fun, by all means let them. BUT they have to plan and organize.


There's an old patch I picked up in the UK that I would need to be modified over here inteh States. The patch shows a SM in uniform with hands in pockets, shrugging, and saying "Don't ask me, I'm only a leader."

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Youth run programs are NOT a normal part of the youth in American culture. They are told what to do by their parents, their teachers, their pastors, their coaches, etc. and when they show up at Venturing or Boy Scout programs, they are totally unaware and clueless what to do with running anything.


I use the analogy of the youth standing at a buffet feast, starving to death.


Until they are convinced that they really own the program, they are going to stand around with their hands in their pockets. Why? Because they know that if they do it long enough, some adult will jump in and make it work for them. This is how the system works in their world, that's what they are comfortable with and youth leadership is a foreign concept for them. Couple that with the fact that no one is going to venture forth anything with the tremendous peer pressure that these people live under and the qualification of win/lose, success/failure always lurking in the background.


These people are not prepared to lead themselves. If it wasn't for frozen pizza and an oven, I'm thinking many of them would actually starve to death right in their own homes.


Teach leadership before setting down program, otherwise the only program you're going to have is the one prescribed by adults. One cannot have the cart before the horse.



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Back when I was a very young SM, the District had a lot of District competitions.

I really wanted the Troop to win as many of these as we could.

I used the PLC almost like a radio.

I told them what we were going to do and they relayed the message back to the members of their Patrols.

We did well at winning.

Winning helped us attract new members.

The Troop grew.

It took me a long time to work out what I was doing (Or maybe that should be what I wasn't doing?) Was not really Scouting it was just my ego at work.

For now as a UC I'd be happy that there is a unit, happy that they are doing something and that there is people interested in what is going on.

Maybe you could bring up some of the events that are open to Ships?

Having the adult leadership just sit and talk with some of the old timers at maybe the winter training weekend? Or attend the Regatta?

Will in time open their eyes to what being a Ship is really all about?

Take it really slow, don't push or make waves! (Sorry! It was too easy!)


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