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Methods in Scouting

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I find the 8 methods are largely complimentary and go to building a diverse exerpience for Scouts.  For example, if you focus mostly on advancement - then eventually Scouts get bored.  If you focus mostly on outdoors - the same.  So, I don't think I'd rank them - but instead ask myself - what's the best I can do in each?

The strongest troops that I know seem to do well in all. Sure, not every one requires the same level of effort - but it doesn't mean it's any less important.  For example, an active outdoor program requires lots of time whereas uniforming does not.  Uniforming is more about setting the proper expectations early and simply reminding Scouts along the way.  Sure, with uniforming you can put some energy into things like uniform closets and "Class B" uniforms -  but even those don't require too much effort once they get going.

I'd also suggest that focusing on all 8 of them provides opportunities for more scouts & adults to get involved.  Scouts may get bored by high school with just patrol method, camping, and advancement.  That's where the focus on personal growth, leadership development, and adult association pays off.  Adult Assocation and outdoor program create opportunities for more adults to take on small rolls.

 

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I agree with Parkman that the methods are largely complementary. As far as the main discussion, what I think is we must remember these are the methods, not the aims. I think someone earlier mentioned it, but it bears repeating. For example, the goal is not leadership development even though it sounds like it. Leadership development is a means (a method) for a scout to become able to do things for others. Advancement is not the outcome, but a means to encourage a scout to plan, prioritize, make choices to do things for themselves. Adult association is not to provide safety, but for scouts to see first hand how ethical adults treat each other, and the scouts. The adults set the example of how to best make ethical choices and helping others. Etc...

When the methods get blurred with the purpose and aims; this begins the problems and a method or two slowly become the desired outcomes instead of the means to the end.

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On 2/23/2019 at 10:02 AM, ParkMan said:

I find the 8 methods are largely complimentary and go to building a diverse exerpience for Scouts.  For example, if you focus mostly on advancement - then eventually Scouts get bored.  If you focus mostly on outdoors - the same.  So, I don't think I'd rank them - but instead ask myself - what's the best I can do in each?

Like DuctTape, I too agree with your observation that the methods are largely complimentary.  However I subscribe to the notion there's one common denominator:  The Patrol Method.  Clarke Green over at scoutmastercg.com posits one can reasonably derive the others from this one method, but not necessarily vice versa.  If not the primary method, I would at least consider The Patrol Method the first among equals.  Clarke similarly finds "Character Development" as a common denominator among scouting's Aims.  Here's the link to his podcast where he says it much better than I: https://scoutmastercg.com/scoutmaster-podcast-297-one-aim-one-method/ 

Edited by AltadenaCraig

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Thanks for sharing the podcast @AltadenaCraig.  

While i fully appreciate his point - that Scouting starts with the patrol method, I've found that strongest troops I know of focus on more than just patrol method.  They have a great outdoor program, they develop youth leaders, they have a strong advancement programs, they build a strong adult team to mentor the Scouts, they continue to push for continual personal growth opportunities for the scouts, etc.

I'd simply suggest that it's important to focus on all eight of the methods.  Don't overlook adult association because you're focused on working in patrols.  Don't overlook leadership development because you're foused on advancement.  Don't overlook personal growth because you're focused on outdoor program. 

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On 2/22/2019 at 7:42 PM, dkurtenbach said:

Far too often these days, I see troops and adult leaders who are really only conscious of one method:  Advancement.  Advancement as one of the eight Methods is the concept of youth gaining skill and confidence by overcoming progressively more difficult challenges.  But for many, understanding the theoretical underpinnings for the Scouting program set out in the eight Methods is largely unnecessary because all the Methods are represented in specific rank and merit badge requirements and advancement procedures.  Advancement is now understood by many to be a single complete, practical checklist for achieving the Scouting outcomes of citizenship, character, and fitness.  

The problem is that the specific rank requirements, many of which are "one and done," merely offer examples of what the eight Methods seek to teach.  Advancement requirements do not provide the complete Scouting education, which only comes through the conscious week-by-week application of those Methods by leaders who understand the big picture.

It seems, at times, many people are more concerned with one and only method not listed here.  Their year and program revolve around Popcorn... it at least seems that way

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On 2/22/2019 at 3:10 PM, mrkstvns said:

In my son's troop, all of the HA trips I've seen done over the past 4 years have all been those ones you refer to as "BSA packaged HA".  I'd like to educate myself as to more exciting "out of the box" options.

It depends ….   On the Scouts, on the Scouters, on possibilities presented and possible.

The Troop of my yoooth had many folks with outdoor type careers,  ex-military (WW2),  farming, etc. experience.   Just as I joined, somebody's cousin's uncle owned some property that they would let the Troop camp  on.  Mixed with fields and old woods (American Chestnut dead grove) , I remember it well.  They were making plans for a more lengthy summer camp there, . One dad worked for the phone company, got used utility poles. Another dad had a tractor. More than one had chainsaws and tools. The poles were cut, drug a mile (!) into the woods where the Scouts helped build a three sided cabin, "Adarondack" style. Over the next years, We cleared camp sites, cleaned out and capped a spring with concrete and piping, dug and built a  privy, dammed up the creek so we would have about 5 feet of depth to splash in (not really swim. We went to a local place down the road for that). Our Troop would stay at "The Property"  for one or two weeks each summer, go there on the odd weekend, attend the Council summer camp, too. AND the older Scouts visited Philmont and Katahdin.  

It is up to the Scouts to be convinced such things can still be done. I know of local Venture Crews and Troops that design and do (!)  weeks on the AT,  thru the Allagash and  canoe for a week or more along the Shenandoah and Potomac.  No commercial outfitters involved, but yes, they do have some experienced people already .  

I believe the saying is that "Good Judgement comes from Experience and Experience comes from Poor Judgement."     Get your Scouts out and make some poor judgement. 

 

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One must define what is being requested as the most important. What is the point of view? Is the question about the most important methods in regards to youth development? If so, then the answer is defined by the 'Big Three' for Positive Youth Development (PYD):

Opportunities for skill building

Sustained youth-adult relationships 

Youth leadership where failures have consequences

that points to: Youth leadership, association with adults, and the things that you associate with skills building - arguably the outdoor program, advancement, and the patrol method.

 

In order to have sustained involvement to provide more time for PYD to occur, the program must be fun and rewarding so outdoor program and advancement. Some youth might like the patrol method (connects them with a 'gang' as B-P observed).

 

Research is pointing to the Oath and Law as being very important for the whole program and likely for PYD and personal development. 

 

Seems as though there are several important methods. Uniforms are essential to develop identity and a sense of belonging. All of these lead to personal growth.

 

For me, Personal growth and PYD is why we all do the program. Seems to me that while some of the methods might be more important than others, that they are all important. It is a well designed program.

 

 

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I think thee most important of the 8 is whichever one the unit is ignoring. Often this is Adult Association, which is probably the least understood of them. 

They all should be balanced for the unique needs of each scout. 

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I definitely believe they are equal in importance. There are times that some methods are more relevant to a situation.

To me Ideals and Personal Growth are always in play. The rest rise and fall according to the situation.

Take Uniform for example, as it seem be the lowest on most list.

I have seen units present the troop necker at crossovers and watch the pride in the eyes of he new Scouts as they put it on and became part of the troop. . I have seen troops where most or all of the Scouts couldn't afford their uniforms and the unit did things to allow the Scouts to earn their uniform, through fundraisers and service, those Scouts were proud to show of they uniform that they earned.

Even with my son, when he was a young Scout, if we stopped somewhere after a meeting or outing, he would remove his uniform shirt or cover it up. I could tell the reason was he felt it was a little bit "geeky". I never said anything, I just wore mine with pride. He saw how people reacted, telling us their own scouting stories or with compliments or just a simple thank you. After a time he stopped taking the shirt off in public. And all of those Scout t-shirts that only came out for Scouting events worked their way into his daily wardrobe to school and everywhere else. Today he is very proud to wear his uniform and show everyone he is a Scout.  The sense of belonging and pride is a powerful thing. 

 

 

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11 hours ago, HelpfulTracks said:

I definitely believe they are equal in importance. There are times that some methods are more relevant to a situation.

To me Ideals and Personal Growth are always in play. The rest rise and fall according to the situation.

Take Uniform for example, as it seem be the lowest on most list.............................................Today he is very proud to wear his uniform and show everyone he is a Scout.  The sense of belonging and pride is a powerful thing. 

My observation is that the "Uniform method" is the most challenging method for adults to use in Personal Growth because they are more concerned how it reflects on their performance. At the same time, the uniform can be the most challenging method for the youth at this age as they struggle with their identity among their piers. The emotional pressures to feel acceptance can push them to make wrong choices. For that reason, the "Uniform Method" is very powerful for scouts being confronted to Ideals and Personal Growth. If only the adults could just get around their egos of how their scouts look (both full uniform or minimal uniform) reflects on their adult performance.

As has been wisely said, using Methods correctly is all about applying them in balance for their needs at the moment. Each scout is different and each has a different required balance. Using Methods individually is very challenging for adults. That is why Boy Run requires more time, discipline and patience from the adults.

Barry

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

My observation is that the "Uniform method" is the most challenging method for adults to use in Personal Growth because they are more concerned how it reflects on their performance. At the same time, the uniform can be the most challenging method for the youth at this age as they struggle with their identity among their piers. The emotional pressures to feel acceptance can push them to make wrong choices. For that reason, the "Uniform Method" is very powerful for scouts being confronted to Ideals and Personal Growth. If only the adults could just get around their egos of how their scouts look (both full uniform or minimal uniform) reflects on their adult performance.

As has been wisely said, using Methods correctly is all about applying them in balance for their needs at the moment. Each scout is different and each has a different required balance. Using Methods individually is very challenging for adults. That is why Boy Run requires more time, discipline and patience from the adults.

Barry

Well said.

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