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mrkstvns

Methods in Scouting

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In the Advancement forum, someone made a comment that Advancement is only one of the 8 methods in scouting --- and not necessarily the most important.

That got me thinking.  Are all the methods equal?  Or are some more important than others??

Just to remind folks, these are the eight methods:

  1. The Ideals
  2. The patrol method
  3. The outdoors
  4. Advancement
  5. Association with adults
  6. Personal growth
  7. Leadership development
  8. The uniform

What are your thoughts?

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In my opinion, Personal Growth and Leadership Development are both expected outcomes more than they are "methods". So even though doctrine says there are 8 methods, I think it really boils down to 6 methods.

Of those 6, I think the top 3 are the 3 most important, and when we get caught up in squabbles over the minutia of the bottom 3, we lose sight of what's most important. 

Just an opinion...

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True, there are eight methods, but I agree that all eight are not equal. 

Take uniforms for example. There are plenty of units that do not require complete uniforms. There are entire units that come to summer camp where only 2 or 3 members have even a class A shirt, let alone shorts and socks. 

I'm not saying that the uniform is unimportant - but we allow plenty of lee-way here in regard to uniforming. Part of that is due to the cost. A complete uniform, including all of the patches that are required, costs more than $100. Scouting ain't cheep folks. 

So yes, there are eight methods - but not all are equal.

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Just my two cents:

Leadership is part of personal growth in scouts. It was never an aim, until recently.

Maybe responsibility rather than leadership. That too could be part of personal growth.

An important method that's missing is fun. No calendar works without it.

In all honesty, reducing the entire program to 8 or 9 bullets is tough. What could really help would be a better way to explain them and how they are used in day to day scenarios.

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Wise thoughts, all.

i agree the top three are the base for scout growth and discipline development.

But I don’t discount the others so much as I see them as tools during different phases of a scouts maturity growth. For example the uniform; for me the uniform is how a scout views himself among his peers, as well as how he wants to be seen by his peers. Whether in how he dresses or how he works to be part of the team, he is practicing uniformity with group. As their biological body changes, the importance of how others see them changes a lot. And they reflect those changes how they were the uniform, and how they want to fit in. How they fit in and when to fit in is some of the hardest decisions they make in context of right and wrong. The uniform is a wonderful tool to help a scout find acceptance of his inner self as much as his outer self.

Most adults see leadership as an outcome. But I find leadership the most challenging and stressful experience for practicing the Scout Law (ideals). Nothing else in the program requires the scout to hold his friends to expectations and and accountability like leadership. How often does a PL resort to yelling and threatening to motivate his buddy to perform an action. Learning the skills of  serving others requires much practice of humility. Every scout should have some levels of leadership experience so they find their limits of humility, and develop skill of being a servant. And just as challenging are the skills of fellowship. Like uniformity, working as a team when not in the mood or pride says “no” requires practice of the scout law to make the right decisions.

Good discussion, I look forward to more thoughts

Barry

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1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

In my opinion, Personal Growth and Leadership Development are both expected outcomes more than they are "methods". So even though doctrine says there are 8 methods, I think it really boils down to 6 methods....

I'll push back on that ... Leadership Development (through responsibility, service projects) is a method. Actual leadership (e.g., scout gets his friends to pick up litter, leads a school assembly in the national anthem, calls a buddy out on pushing drugs, etc ...) is the expected outcome.

Personal growth as a method is embodied in the Scoutmaster Conference. In fact GBB's handbooks calls it a personal growth conference. The outcome is a young adult who can take is place among other noble adults in the wide world.

Most of us would agree that providing the scouts opportunity for responsibility, service, and conferences with caring adults is a linchpin of the program. Other groups have outdoor components, high-minded ideals, uniforms, awards, teams, etc ... But few really strive for leadership and personal growth in the rounded fashion that troop life offers.

That said, I see these methods as overlapping (e.g., to advance, you must attend to leadership and personal growth) and can't imagine one outweighing the other.

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2 minutes ago, qwazse said:

I'll push back on that ... Leadership Development (through responsibility, service projects) is a method. Actual leadership (e.g., scout gets his friends to pick up litter, leads a school assembly in the national anthem, calls a buddy out on pushing drugs, etc ...) is the expected outcome.

Personal growth as a method is embodied in the Scoutmaster Conference. In fact GBB's handbooks calls it a personal growth conference. The outcome is a young adult who can take is place among other noble adults in the wide world.

Most of us would agree that providing the scouts opportunity for responsibility, service, and conferences with caring adults is a linchpin of the program. Other groups have outdoor components, high-minded ideals, uniforms, awards, teams, etc ... But few really strive for leadership and personal growth in the rounded fashion that troop life offers.

That said, I see these methods as overlapping (e.g., to advance, you must attend to leadership and personal growth) and can't imagine one outweighing the other.

Hmmm.  You make a valid point.  I agree particularly with regard to positions of responsibility.  BSA events like NYLT or NAYLE also exemplify "leadership development" --- even though not all scouts do these "optional" activities.

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43 minutes ago, MattR said:

Just my two cents:

Leadership is part of personal growth in scouts. It was never an aim, until recently.

Maybe responsibility rather than leadership. That too could be part of personal growth.

An important method that's missing is fun. No calendar works without it.

In all honesty, reducing the entire program to 8 or 9 bullets is tough. What could really help would be a better way to explain them and how they are used in day to day scenarios.

Most of us involved think that the outdoors is fun.  

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Just now, perdidochas said:

Most of us involved think that the outdoors is fun.  

WHAT?!?!?!

Are you implying that boys would have more fun out in the woods than they would in a classroom ignoring a tedious merit badge workshop led by a boring adult reading to the boys all their requirements that say "tell", "show", "explain" or "describe"???  

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3 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

In my opinion, Personal Growth and Leadership Development are both expected outcomes more than they are "methods". So even though doctrine says there are 8 methods, I think it really boils down to 6 methods.

My view is ....

  • Personal growth  ---> Introducing new experiences.  Stretching comfort zones.  Opening eyes to broader, more challenging experiences. 
    • Made up example --> Last year, we canoed for an afternoon on mild calm river water.  This year we are taking a two day overnight river trip.  Next year, we are spending a week canoeing the Lewis and Clark path.  Our goal is two years from now to do a white water Colorado river experience.  
  • Leadership Development --> We structure the program for the scouts to experiment with leadership and for the adult scouters to back off into the shadows.  

I absolutely view those as equal to the other six.  I guess comes from one's perspective.  

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3 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

Are all the methods equal?  Or are some more important than others??

Just to remind folks, these are the eight methods:

  1. The Ideals
  2. The patrol method
  3. The outdoors
  4. Advancement
  5. Association with adults
  6. Personal growth
  7. Leadership development
  8. The uniform

What are your thoughts?

I would venture that for different kids, the methods differ in importance.

Adult association?  For the outgoing kid who is already comfortable going up to unfamiliar adults and talking with them -- this method is not so important.  For the timid kid, the chance to interact with friendly encouraging adults is invaluable -- to prepare them for when they need to talk to the department head at the high school, or the college interviewer, or . . .

The uniform?  For some kids, it is no big deal.  For the kid (and this may especially important for some girls) who is extremely self-conscious about clothing and worried about not fitting in,  having a uniform gives the confidence that she is indeed wearing the right thing and does not need to worry about clothes.

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2 hours ago, qwazse said:

Most of us would agree that providing the scouts opportunity for responsibility, service, and conferences with caring adults is a linchpin of the program. Other groups have outdoor components, high-minded ideals, uniforms, awards, teams, etc ... But few really strive for leadership and personal growth in the rounded fashion that troop life offers.

Locally, looking at programs with a large outdoors component, I see two separate differences in outcomes.

For our local Loppet program, they have XC skiing, trail running, orienteering, and MTB as focuses. They vastly outperform the Scouts on skill development but are weak on leadership. Though Jesse Diggins' work with the XC ski folks on climate change is positive sign. Scouts is clearly better at leadership. Personal growth will depend.

On the other hand our 2 local high adventure Y camps, Menogyn and Widji,  both do a great job on leadership and growth. They are on par with NOLS and Outward Bound. The Widji progression exceeds anything Northern Tier offers( https://www.ymcamn.org/camps/camp_widjiwagan/parents/the_widji_progression ). This a huge personal growth and leadership opportunity.

The huge benefit Scouts offers is the patrol method. I truly believe that our kids planning their own trips and working the details is more worthwhile regardless of any lesser scope. This same philosophy is why I prefer troop trips to BSA packaged HA. You can get the forming/storming/norming/performing on either type of trip but the patrol method "laboratory of democracy" benefits only in patrols.

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29 minutes ago, oldbuzzard said:

The huge benefit Scouts offers is the patrol method. I truly believe that our kids planning their own trips and working the details is more worthwhile regardless of any lesser scope. This same philosophy is why I prefer troop trips to BSA packaged HA. You can get the forming/storming/norming/performing on either type of trip but the patrol method "laboratory of democracy" benefits only in patrols.

I would like to hear more about troop HA trips.

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.

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9 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

 

Just to remind folks, these are the eight methods:

  1. The Ideals
  2. The patrol method
  3. The outdoors
  4. Advancement
  5. Association with adults
  6. Personal growth
  7. Leadership development
  8. The uniform

What are your thoughts?

This is MY rank order...

  1. The Ideals
  2. The patrol method
  3. The outdoors
  4. Leadership development 
  5. Personal growth
  6. Association with adults
  7. Advancement
  8. The uniform

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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.

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