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Cambridgeskip

An unexpected little bit of magic

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Last night at scouts was an odd one. It's a night that crops up every year.

 

Basically the secondary school (11-16 year olds) that the vast majority of our scouts go to had it's open evening for those at primary school moving to secondary next september. As usual it meant the majority of our younger scouts were there as prospective students. The majority of our older ones were there helping run it. Happens every year. It means that as an evening it's not really worth planning anything as we get so few through the door. And indeed we had just 14 out of 35 tun up, with one patrol of 7 scouts down to just one scout!

 

So how we ran it was simply said to those that turned up, what do you want to do? You have the run of the building, the field outside, all the kit, the knowledge of 5 adult leaders who are here. Go for your life! So they drifted off and did a variety of things.

 

But it was two of the girls that really made me smile. One of them is one of our oldest scouts. She's 14 and a couple of months, chose to stay with us past 14 (which is standard move to explorers age) and is closing in on 14 and 6 months when we have to boot them out the door to explorers. She can be a bit of a grumpy, hormone fuelled slightly sulky teenager. Also there was our newest recruit. Who is 10 and 3 weeks old and only been with us 3 weeks and barely old enough to be a scout. Bright eyed, bushy tailed and full of the joys of not having hit adolescence yet! 4 school years apart so in child terms they may as well live in different universes!

 

Older grumpy scout (who is an APL of a different patrol) quite simply took younger one, who's PL was missing for the night, under her wing. She proceeded to teach younger one CPR on a resus doll before taking her outside to where some of the older ones had lit a fire and were practising with fire steels and got her properly introduced with the senior members of the troop. All without any prompting from adults who got to sit back and chew the fat.

 

Scouting doesn't always work as smoothly as it's meant to in the text book. Sometimes though, quite unexpectedly, you get to watch the magic happen.

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hey, you know.... I think that is great!
It's my opinion that nearly every meeting should run EXACTLY just like that.

    "what do you want to do? You have the run of the building, the field outside, all the kit, the knowledge of 5 adult leaders who are here. Go for your life! "

Perfection!

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I have seen this a couple times and it does a heart good. Once on a canoeing trip a young guy, 11, was left behind at camp because he was too sick and an older boy, 16, took 90 minutes to show him to build a perfect tee-pee fire twig by twig. Another time see a young guy frustrated with using a flint and steel and a older scout quietly shows him the right angle and pressure by putting his hands over the lads.

 

The older boys who are really good with the young ones are few and far between (it is hard for a 16 or 17 year old to want to hang with 11 year olds) but the ones that do are treated like rock stars and are long remembered long after they are gone.

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It is experiences like this that totally reinforces my premise of boy-led.  Nothing worse than a bunch of adults stepping in with some overly planned activities that bore the kids to death.  There is nothing so bad in any scout unit that the adults can't step in and make it worse.

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Or in Skip's case, girl-led. :)

 

Thanks for sharing, Skip.

I'll stick with scout led! Although in this case yes it was one of my girls.

 

In toe curling HQ speak it would be "youth shaped". Every time I see that phrase it makes me want to stick rusty pins in my eyeballs. 

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** I think I know a few older folks who wish THEY were "youth shaped"   :laugh:

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