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A scout is Obedient....or should that be Responsible?

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In order to be a leader, you need to have followers.  Very few boys at school would accept the boy scouts as their leaders.  The scouts just don't have what it takes to pull it off.

 

That is why the scouting program is so important to them, and why we continue to charter a unit.  Scouting gives these boys an opportunity to experience leadership.  They would probably never get a chance to experience it otherwise.

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Posted (edited)

In order to be a leader, you need to have followers.  Very few boys at school would accept the boy scouts as their leaders.  The scouts just don't have what it takes to pull it off.

 

That is why the scouting program is so important to them, and why we continue to charter a unit.  Scouting gives these boys an opportunity to experience leadership.  They would probably never get a chance to experience it otherwise.

 

Not sure I understand that comment. 

 

Are you saying that, because school kids usually equate popularity with leadership -- and generalizing that Scouts are not cool enough to be popular -- that they (Scouts) are not equipped to lead their school mates?

Edited by Col. Flagg

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Posted (edited)

In order to be a leader, you need to have followers.  Very few boys at school would accept the boy scouts as their leaders.  The scouts just don't have what it takes to pull it off.

 

That is why the scouting program is so important to them, and why we continue to charter a unit.  Scouting gives these boys an opportunity to experience leadership.  They would probably never get a chance to experience it otherwise.

Our scouts come from three local high schools. The students each year at one of the schools votes for the top 8 students  who provide leadership qualities. The student body population of this school is 2800 students. One year 7 out of the 8 students selected for the leadership award were scouts in our troop. The eight was a girl.

 

That is an interest coincidence to me. Now imagine the odds that 7 scouts out of a troop of 80 scouts at the time being selected as the top student leaders from 2800 of their peirs. 

 

The power of the BSA program is only limited by the vision of it's adults.

 

Imagine, all eight of the students selected as leaders might have been in our troop is we were coed. Ah, different discussion. LOL

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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Like David CO, our scouts are not the popular, cool kids that win school elections, nor are they school politics savvy. Our scouts have lead robotics teams, chess clubs,...

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In order to be a leader, you need to have followers.  Very few boys at school would accept the boy scouts as their leaders.  The scouts just don't have what it takes to pull it off.

 

That is why the scouting program is so important to them, and why we continue to charter a unit.  Scouting gives these boys an opportunity to experience leadership.  They would probably never get a chance to experience it otherwise.

 

I'll turn this on its head.

 

Would your scouts want to be the leaders at their school?

 

The reason I ask..... in my days as a scout I didn't fit in well at school. In short I was the working class kid at the very middle class school. My dad got his hands dirty in a factory while most of my class mates had dads who were lawyers or doctors or something similar. And I was rarely allowed to forget it and I got a really hard time about it. My scout troop though was filled with kids more like me. And I fitted in there. I was PL of Bulldog* patrol. It was where I fitted in. Back at school where I didn't fit in I have to say that I don't think I would want to have been a leader. We had elections for Head Boy and Head Girl and their deputies (this may be a very British thing, apologies if you're not familiar with the concept!). It was inevitably a popularity contest and frankly not one I had any interest in winning. I was completely done with half of those I went to school with. I'd go so far as to say I actively didn't want to win it.

 

So out of curiosity, would your scouts want to be the leaders at their school? Is it something they aspire to but don't get the chance? Or do they avoid it?

 

*previously we'd been panthers. But the panther patrol badge looked more like a gerbil. So we changed to bulldogs. Turned out the bulldog badge looked more like a Scottish Terrier. Not quite the image we were looking for!

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Posted (edited)

In order to be a leader, you need to have followers.  Very few boys at school would accept the boy scouts as their leaders.  The scouts just don't have what it takes to pull it off.

 

That is why the scouting program is so important to them, and why we continue to charter a unit.  Scouting gives these boys an opportunity to experience leadership.  They would probably never get a chance to experience it otherwise.

 

Based on the responses to your post, and my experience, I think it varies from place to place and maybe from time to time.

 

I'm not sure why I remember this, but when I was somewhere around the fifth grade, the student council president (an eighth-grader, it was a K-8 school) was a Scout, and sometime during his eighth grade year he made Eagle.  Of course, this was about 50 years ago.  (!)

 

In high school I was elected student council treasurer (not sure where that stands in the pantheon of "leadership") and I was a Boy Scout.  Our student council presidents and class presidents were not Scouts as I recall.  In fact if I remember correctly our class president (all four years) was really not involved in any other activities of consequence, but he must have done something right along the way because he is now a state court judge (an appointed, not elected position.)

 

When my son was in high school, and on the robotics team, for all four years the overall student captain of the team was a Boy Scout - three different Scouts from two different troops, all of whom were either Eagle at the time of their election or made Eagle in their senior year.  (My son was a sub-team captain.)  And yes I realize that the robotics team is not necessarily a microcosm of the school, and not necessarily composed of the "most popular" kids anyway.

 

And then again, leadership ability and popularity are not necessarily the same thing.

Edited by NJCubScouter

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Yeah, I remember the popular kids from high school. Half of them are in 12 step recovery programs now. Most of the rest are in marketing. I'm not making this up. I went to my 40th year reunion and I was the only one that had a technical degree. It was a ton of fun though.

 

There certainly are scouts that are socially awkward. And a lot of them have been asked to lead projects in their school because, as many have told me, they just know how to get things done.

 

Popularity and leadership have a small overlap. Popularity is often about being selfish and confident. Leadership is often about being selfless and confident.

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Posted (edited)

I'll turn this on its head.

 

Would your scouts want to be the leaders at their school?

 

The reason I ask..... in my days as a scout I didn't fit in well at school. In short I was the working class kid at the very middle class school. My dad got his hands dirty in a factory while most of my class mates had dads who were lawyers or doctors or something similar. And I was rarely allowed to forget it and I got a really hard time about it. My scout troop though was filled with kids more like me. And I fitted in there. I was PL of Bulldog* patrol. It was where I fitted in. Back at school where I didn't fit in I have to say that I don't think I would want to have been a leader. We had elections for Head Boy and Head Girl and their deputies (this may be a very British thing, apologies if you're not familiar with the concept!). It was inevitably a popularity contest and frankly not one I had any interest in winning. I was completely done with half of those I went to school with. I'd go so far as to say I actively didn't want to win it.

 

So out of curiosity, would your scouts want to be the leaders at their school? Is it something they aspire to but don't get the chance? Or do they avoid it?

 

*previously we'd been panthers. But the panther patrol badge looked more like a gerbil. So we changed to bulldogs. Turned out the bulldog badge looked more like a Scottish Terrier. Not quite the image we were looking for!

 

Yes, I think so.  Most of my scouts would love to be a star athlete, popular student, and charismatic leader. 

Edited by David CO

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Yeah, I remember the popular kids from high school. Half of them are in 12 step recovery programs now. Most of the rest are in marketing. I'm not making this up. I went to my 40th year reunion and I was the only one that had a technical degree. It was a ton of fun though.

 

There certainly are scouts that are socially awkward. And a lot of them have been asked to lead projects in their school because, as many have told me, they just know how to get things done.

 

Popularity and leadership have a small overlap. Popularity is often about being selfish and confident. Leadership is often about being selfless and confident.

The school has 2800 students spread over four grades. I cant agree with your cynicism. Not one of those Scouts ever mentioned their honor to the SM. I Learned it from a freshman proud of his troop.

 

Kind of funny, we have dozens of discussions on this forum of the behavior benefits of the patrol method, but when someone gives proof, SMs here justify it away as adolescent selfseveringness. Why are you here? For those who are less skeptical, the program works because I witnessed it both as a youth and adult.

 

Barry

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Gee, when a scout looks around and sees that no one is actually following him, it must make it quite difficult to convince him he's a leader in a leadership program.  At least that's not the way it has always been, but it is what it has become.

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Posted (edited)

Not sure I understand that comment. 

 

Are you saying that, because school kids usually equate popularity with leadership -- and generalizing that Scouts are not cool enough to be popular -- that they (Scouts) are not equipped to lead their school mates?

 

Not exactly.

 

I think scouting prepares boys to be a big fish in a very small pond.  It doesn't take the next step of teaching boys to swim in the big pond.

 

Most of my scouts are afraid to swim in the big pond.  Their peers sense this.  I don't think boys scouts can lead their class mates if they are intimidated by them.

Edited by David CO

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Not exactly.

 

I think scouting prepares boys to be a big fish in a very small pond.  It doesn't take the next step of teaching boys to swim in the big pond.

 

Most of my scouts are afraid to swim in the big pond.  Their peers sense this.  I don't think boys scouts can lead their class mates if they are intimidated by them.

Speaking for my guys they have now issues leading outside of Scouts. Many are sports team leaders. Those not athletically inclined lead their debate or science teams or are first chair in their band. One is marching band leader leading 150 kids!!

 

All of these kids are great Scouts. Some Eagles and some not. All took our troop and district training. Many NYLT. A few NAYLE. The best kid I have is the quietest, mousiest Scout we have...best darn leader though.

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Not exactly.

 

I think scouting prepares boys to be a big fish in a very small pond.  It doesn't take the next step of teaching boys to swim in the big pond.

 

Most of my scouts are afraid to swim in the big pond.  Their peers sense this.  I don't think boys scouts can lead their class mates if they are intimidated by them.

 

I am not sure what you mean by "big pond."  Can you give some examples of other youth organizations that give their members a chance to swim in a "big pond", and maybe become a big(ger) fish in a big(ger) pond?  In Scouting, would you consider a patrol leader whose patrols wins the competition at a district camporee to be swimming in a "big pond"?  What about Jamboree?  Is that a big pond?  What about OA?  What about an OA Lodge Chief? National OA Chief?  What about a council Venturing President?  Regional Venturing President?  National Venturing President?  Or other officer at these levels? These are all youth positions, and admittedly there aren't very many of them, but the opportunity is there.  (We had one kid on what our council calls the Youth Executive Committee, and one member of our associated Venture Crew was (I believe) an officer at the Regional level.  I also know a guy who, in the 60's, was a national OA officer as a youth.)  What about NYLT staff?  What about NAYLE staff?  Big fish in a big pond?

 

I suppose an analogy would be a star athlete on a high school sports team that wins a state championship or is named to all-state in their sport, but there aren't many of those spots either.  Robotics has a national organization, and the kids can do great things and win international championships and awards (as a team) and individual scholarships and other good things, and they can be captain or president or whatever of their team, but as far as I know every leadership position at every higher level is held by an adult.  Unlike Scouting.

 

We also have had kids in our troop go on to Harvard, top engineering schools, great liberal arts colleges, the military, police training academies, etc. etc. and they seem to do pretty well in those "big ponds".  Their previous education, extracurricular activities obviously had important roles in their development, but I like to think Scouting helped them along as well.

Edited by NJCubScouter

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Yes, I think so.  Most of my scouts would love to be a star athlete, popular student, and charismatic leader. 

 

 

Now you see that is a different question! What I mean is would they want to be seen as any of those things among those particular individuals that they go to school with? Does acknowledgement by those individuals mean anything to them?

 

I can see it in a couple of the explorer scouts attached to my group. If you talk to them it actually matters to them that they are acknowledged as leaders in a scouting context. At school though? It simply doesn't matter. It's all about that teenage sense of belonging.

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Posted (edited)

Now you see that is a different question! What I mean is would they want to be seen as any of those things among those particular individuals that they go to school with? Does acknowledgement by those individuals mean anything to them?

 

I can see it in a couple of the explorer scouts attached to my group. If you talk to them it actually matters to them that they are acknowledged as leaders in a scouting context. At school though? It simply doesn't matter. It's all about that teenage sense of belonging.

 

I suppose that is a "Chicken or the Egg" type of question.  Which came first?

 

Scouting seems to attract the social outcasts.  In some places this may be based on economic status.  In other places, it may be for totally different reasons.

 

As a scout leader, I have discouraged my scouts from using the scout unit as an island refuge to further isolate themselves from their peers.  

 

I want scouts to take the confidence and skills that they develop in scouting, and use them to reengage with their schools and communities.  I think scouting should broaden a boy's world, not narrow it.

Edited by David CO

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