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Help! How do I get my "Scout Mojo" Back?


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@5thGenTexan I'm so terribly sorry to hear the emotional roller coaster that you are on. 

Scouting is a funny enterprise - we as volunteers come from all sorts of different backgrounds and styles.  It is very tough to know how to interpret the comments and suggestions from other volunteers.  At times, I've work with some of the absolutely friendliest, nicest Scouters.  Other times, I've worked with Scouters who lack a personal filter and have said things to me that drove my to lose my own mojo in Scouting.

The only suggestion that I can give you is to be honest with those that you volunteer with.  I've found that I've made plenty of mistakes as a volunteer - but by and large most volunteers I work with completely understand that.  When I was a Cubmaster, I felt a lot of stress to live up to certain standards.  But, in retrospect what I missed was that people wanted to help me.   They wanted to support me and my work.

So, do try not to be too hard on yourself.  I think you'll find that no-one in Scouting will ever be as critical of you as you are of yourself.  Most of the volunteers out there just want to see you be successful.

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Your Woodbadge thread was the reason I joined this forum as it exemplified the suffering that arises from our culture's lack of identification and resources for verbal adults with alexithymia--a super common language disorder affecting one's use of social and emotional language in one's own cognitive processes communicating with oneself. It's like dyslexia of social-emotional information. The lack of opportunities for social growth in a healthy community that this lack of language and knowledge creates brings maladaptive interpretations and coping strategies the person is left to figure out for him/herself, which is so very painful that I felt compelled to respond.

What you are experiencing is very normal. You got a sucky Woodbadge where they didn't know what to do with themselves, much less with you, and you're suffering for it. Of course you feel disconnected and unsupported and unseen. Who would want to participate in that? 

You left the place where you weren't getting the support you need and now you ask how you can get back into things. IF you can get back into things. The answer is YES, you absolutely can, and YOU can make it so much more fulfilling in the process with a little language and support from us. I'll put a roadmap, a ticket if you will, for what that looks like below. Imagine yourself climbing it like a ladder. The bulk of your work might be at one level while your feet steady you at a lower level and your hand reaches up to stretch for a higher level. We ALL work within that span of abilities, negotiating risk to reward, all the time. When the ladder feels unstable, we scramble down to safety. When it feels secure and supported, we stretch and grow again. What you're wanting to do is to expand your range and to move up the ladder and this is totally within your abilities and reach.

I would guess you were at a Level 4 before Woodbadge as you had healthy stable interaction and responsibility with problem solving and routines, which is why you went to Woodbadge in the first place. The kind of work they do at Woodbadge really needs a well-informed and Social-Emotional Level 9 instructor if it is going to work with those below a Level 5, which means when you got a bumbling disorganized instructor and a Level 4 student, it was bound to go poorly. It was salvageable at key points if they were recognized and addressed, but the stressors went unresolved as you climbed further and further down the ladder until the point you just got off. Of course you left and felt discouraged. I suspect that in protecting yourself and your disengagement, you've moved to an unsteady Level 1 right now when it comes to Scouts--you have interest and you're here reaching out for Level 2 Engagement, but if there's any stress or feelings of shame or blame or powerlessness then you'll protect yourself with Level 0 disengagement as it will just be too painful, too frustrating, and too much.

Great news: jumping back to Level 4 like you had before can be quick with a few tweaks and then you can work your ticket to move up to Level 5 which you were so longing for, with strong emotional connections through reciprocity and play with effective internal leadership skills in negotiating the complexities of that. And then you and the group you've become cohesive with could totally engage Woodbadge together and their presence would allow you to use it to move into Level 6+. This is completely within your reach! You just need to change your ticket.

Level 0 - Unengaged, Unregulated, Overwhelmed
Challenges:  Synchrony of body with emotions and self with others. Joy through community. Checking out/leaving such as through looking at a phone or daydreaming, turning away, changing the topic, walking out.)
Strengths: Coping strategies for self-preservation. Often appear as fight, flight, fawn, or feed or anger, avoidance, affection, or addiction.
Ticket items for growth: Work to create synchronous pleasure in healthy areas that the individual wants to pursue. So we wouldn't encourage tolerating frozen cheese enchiladas. LOL Maybe single-person low-coordination participation in seasonal service projects or STEM award counseling or showing up for pack meetings without leadership responsibilities. Wherever the person finds him/herself self-regulated and feeling like the energy is present in the moment and they're working in consistency with their values and goals, do more of that without allowing ANYTHING that taxes or detracts to be expected. 

Level 1 - Interest, Shared Attention, and Regulation (Lion/Tiger)
Challenges: Sense of filiation, experiences of inclusion, being supported and accepted, understood, and celebrated. 
Strengths: Can remain calm and regulated enough to share attention with people. Can sustain brief episodes of interaction.
Ticket items for growth: Physical interactions like smiling, shaking hands, marching or other synchronous sports, calling or emailing others, joining groups/teams that share one's joy and keep one regulated and energized when present.

Level 2 - Engagement and Relating (Wolf/Bear)
Challenges: Sense of reciprocity or effectiveness in social cohesion. Meaningful self-direction and sustaining engagement.
Strengths: Can be engaged (you call them and they look, respond, or show up) with meaningful effort that follows the individual's interests and lead.
Ticket items for growth: Maintain social filiation and physical interactions (targeting any obstacles such as time management, scheduling, etc). This stage is primarily the work of the community so having healthy community that understands social-emotional needs and engagement and has the ability to meet people where they are at the moment is essential. For example, discussing what to write on a ticket at this moment would be unproductive and stressful, which the person is likely to cope with through regressing to a lower and more stable level, such as by leaving. Healthfully guiding that by suggesting a break and synchronous physical activity, however, could re-regulate and allow a return to Level 2. 

Level 3 - Social Reciprocity (Webelos)
Challenges: Connecting the use of social scripts and routines to symbolic ideals.
Strengths: Begins to initiate interest and engagement. Emerging social-emotional cause and effect. 
Ticket items for growth: Develop routines. Develop a language of feelings, emotions, needs, wants as it relates to personal Scouting goals (just the language, having complete freedom to guess in the application of it, which is a form of honing language accuracy and self-regulation through experiential growth). Try out engagement. Interest might be unregulated and therefore frequent or infrequent, with the social community tasked with acceptance and waiting. 

Level 4 - Shared Social Problem Solving (Younger Scouts)
Challenges: Stressors in the process could easily lead to the person regressing into a previous more stable level. Quick and effective attention to stressors could help the person re-regulate and return to this state, making accessible communication about expectations and routines important. 
Strengths: Can identify as part of the group even when disengaged from the group. Able to learn, connect, communicate, adapt, and self-regulate within a group setting on the given topic.
Ticket items for growth: Further develop a broader scope of patterns and routines. Strengthen group cohesion. Develop curiosity for new topics. Learn and practice information through experiential community life, not in isolation. Label and begin to address Scouting disappointments, wants, and needs.

Level 5 - Creative Participation (Older Scouts)
Challenges: Open-ended broad questions such as what and why.
Strengths: Can share learned information. Emerging ability to play with an idea. Emerging ability to self-regulate through compliance. 
Ticket items for growth: Connect feelings and emotions to needs and begin to engage in shared creative problem-solving using agency and autonomy. Emotional investment. Develop a language of personal values and Scouting goals that align with those values--such as Woodbadge (just the language, using guessing in the application which is a form of honing through experiential growth).

Level 6 - Bridging Logic and Social-Emotional Action and Ideas (Scout Leaders)
Challenges: Multi-causal thinking, comparative thinking, meta-cognition, regulate through an integrated sense of self.
Strengths: Emerging ability to answer open-ended broad questions such as why. Think at a symbolic level. Theory of mind. Connect many emotionally-meaningful ideas together. Connect past, present, and future together.
Ticket items for growth: More intentional and self-regulated play in areas of interest, responsibility, enjoyment, and growth. Discernment of areas for responsibility and growth.

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On 2/22/2021 at 11:31 AM, 5thGenTexan said:

There is a definitive line that you can even see in my communication with other leaders in my Unit and District.

Pre WB and Post WB when I was told on a national level I wasn't worth a crap and I should quit and find other ways to volunteer my time.  The problem is, I believed them.  

Probably 85% of the problem right now.  Any confidence I had... they destroyed.

Hey! 5thGenTexan! How you doing out there? Haven't seen a post from you in awhile. Worried about you, bud. Post up on something. Hoping things are looking better. 

 

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1 minute ago, yknot said:

Hey! 5thGenTexan! How you doing out there? Haven't seen a post from you in awhile. Worried about you, bud. Post up on something. Hoping things are looking better. 

 

I came in to read about the new membership numbers tonight. :)

 

Sunday was our Scout Sunday.  Then we had a Pack Meeting in the afternoon.  Had a Webelos Den Meeting tonight.

I think if I can limit my time around the adults I will be ok. :)    Does that make sense?

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Just now, 5thGenTexan said:

I came in to read about the new membership numbers tonight. :)

 

Sunday was our Scout Sunday.  Then we had a Pack Meeting in the afternoon.  Had a Webelos Den Meeting tonight.

I think if I can limit my time around the adults I will be ok. :)    Does that make sense?

Completely. The kids are the best and the reason we put up with the parents. Glad to hear from you. 

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