Jump to content

Recommended Posts

OK, I am a new assistant scoutmaster, and we have two other new assistant scoutmasters. In addtion, the kids in our troop trend younger.

We do not have a strong command of scout skills.

However, the bright side is that the kids are having fun at the meetings. At our last one, scouts made an activity to play dodgeball and when you're out, you have to answer a question about hiking / outdoor safety to get back in. 

This was a good idea and they had lots of fun but they did not have a ton of questions prepared. But it was a good effort.

At our recent Zombie outing, the kids first task was to lash a Zombie fence before they could advance to other challenges. The kids struggled but that is OK. 

But as a troop, the kids are going to need more skills so they can safely pursue more adventures. We don't want them to get bored with the basics.

Any suggestions appeciated! Thanks! 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, WisconsinMomma said:

At our last one, scouts made an activity to play dodgeball

Just a heads up, and I don't want to get into the 437th debate about whether this was a good/bad decision on the part of BSA, but BSA banned dodgeball a few years ago.

BSA now claims that they ALWAYS banned dodgeball, and yet there is a ton of evidence to the contrary from BSA's own documents and a subject debated in this forum since 2003. https://www.scouter.com/search/?q=dodgeball&updated_after=any&sortby=newest

Link to post
Share on other sites

Based on your post I am assuming it is a new or relatively new troop. 

You have some options. 

1. Ask a nearby troop or crew to come and teach your troop skills. Older, more established units routinely do this. It helps their scouts meet requirements and it helps your troop out as well.

2. Ask the OA if they have some youth that would be willing to visits and teach skills. 

3. Adults can teach with youth assistance. I see you are a Wood Badger, so you should have access to a number of adults that can come and train your scouts until they are ready to take on the training themselves.

4. There are also usually staff at stores like REI or other outdoor stores that will send people over to train, just ask around and see what they offer

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

BSA now claims that they ALWAYS banned dodgeball, and yet there is a ton of evidence to the contrary from BSA's own documents and a subject debated in this forum since 2003. https://www.scouter.com/search/?q=dodgeball&updated_after=any&sortby=newest

Yes, BSA is LYING about Dodgeball. The Ban went into effect in 2018, and even after the Dodgeball ban, you could still find Dodgeball and several variants on scouting.org website as recommended games.

  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

In general, quiz games have limited education value. But, building fun into the process is always good.

Zombie fences, first aid meets, water rescue drills, land navigation to dead-drops of dinner/dessert ... these are the things that build scout skills.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

OK, I am a new assistant scoutmaster, and we have two other new assistant scoutmasters. In addtion, the kids in our troop trend younger.

We do not have a strong command of scout skills.

Lots of good suggestions here about teaching skills. My advice is use as much everyday useful activities as possible so the scouts are learning how to apply their newly learned skills in their activities. Each knot is designed for a specfic purpose. Learn the purpose and use it for camping. Using a small tarp as a tent can require at least 3 knots. Have the scouts race to set up that tarp using only the materials of tarp, rope and a couple of sticks. Look at all your skills that way.

2 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

However, the bright side is that the kids are having fun at the meetings. At our last one, scouts made an activity to play dodgeball and when you're out, you have to answer a question about hiking / outdoor safety to get back in. 

 

Well done. Yes, dodge ball in not an authorized scouting activity, but the approach and planning by the scouts and the hanging in the shadows by the adults letting the scouts do was great practice. Keep practicing.

2 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

This was a good idea and they had lots of fun but they did not have a ton of questions prepared. But it was a good effort.

Questions? Not every action should be a growth review. Let the scouts have fun and learn from the fun. You will know when to push it for growth and when to let the scouts go home remembering how much fun they had. It's very OK for adults to be passive with scout growth so long as they are active in giving the scouts a place and process for the growth. Finding ways to learn scout skills is a place and process.

 

2 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

But as a troop, the kids are going to need more skills so they can safely pursue more adventures. We don't want them to get bored with the basics.

 

A new SM called me to ask how to keep his campouts from getting boring. His campouts for the first six months of his new troop were scout skills for advancement all day long. My first suggestion was give them at least 2 hours of free time. His response was the scouts would get into to much trouble without controlled structured activities.

Scouts cannot develop the skills of self control and self discipline until the are given the freedom to practice. The troop needs to be a place where scouts feel safe making the wrong decisions because wrong decisions are the teachers.

Our troop never does advancement at troop meetings or campouts unless those skills are required for the theme. We save two hours on Sunday after breakfast and Scouts own service for the scouts wanting to learn skills. Skillls are for making scout activities more fun, not for advancement. One complements the other, but your scouts will get bored if you go in the wrong order.

Good luck. Remember, adults have to learn more faster to keep up in a mature scout run program. If the adults aren't learning and changing, they are likely taking to much control from the scouts.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, HelpfulTracks said:

1. Ask a nearby troop or crew to come and teach your troop skills. Older, more established units routinely do this. It helps their scouts meet requirements and it helps your troop out as well.

2. Ask the OA if they have some youth that would be willing to visits and teach skills. 

I strongly second this approach! Whenever possible create situations for youth to teach youth, with adults in the background. Failing that, use a train-the -trainer approach to establish a cadre of instructors confident in their abilities. Once you've started that ball rolling the youth should start to become more self-sufficient and successful. The same applies for the adults - challenge each other to learn the skills, and have throw downs with the youth to see who is learning the fastest; competition is a great motivator!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there are some good ideas. Games that need some of those skills, rather than artificially wedged in are better.

I would encourage the scouts have time to both practice those skills and working with younger scouts to ensure they know the skills.  You might call it teaching the skills but they'll call it a competitive advantage. 

Finally, please call the youth "scouts" and not kids. I don't know of any 15 to 17 year old scouts that will take kindly to being called a kid.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Many of the skills can also be taught and practiced in actual usage on campouts. Tying the correct knots when pitching tents and tarps for example. 

I agree with Barry about not doing skills and advancement on campouts EXCEPT when those skills are inherent to the campout. In fact almost all advancement and skills practice should be done "in the wild". Meaning not as isolated stand-alone items to be checked off, but as demonstrating competence in using them where they are useful. First aid notwithstanding (hopefully), although a creative PL could set-up a mock scenario.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, DuctTape said:

… Tying the correct knots when pitching tents and tarps for example. …

Modern tents are almost knot free. Teaching scouts to make a shelter with tarp and ropes gives them a life skill.

  • Upvote 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree that Scout Skills are best "taught" in the context of doing real Scouting activities on campouts not so much in isolation. Often a little friendly competition helps.

Cooking - have a patrol cooking competition. Define one meal as having to be cooked on the open fire (also teaches firecraft)

Knots & Lashings - have a patrol competition for the best campsite gadget - maybe a pot holder for the cooking competition above? Or who can build the biggest tower that will support a Scout. Or can fire a tennis ball the furthest? (Assuming BSA hasn't banned catapults and trebuchets)

Navigation - have a little orienteering competition.

 

  • Upvote 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Goodness, you can have so much fun! Many good ideas above: getting help from many sources. Remember get the training for your scouts since they lead. Perhaps use the field book - chapter by chapter. Get ideas from round table and ask your unit commissioner. enjoy

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/21/2021 at 10:25 PM, qwazse said:

Modern tents are almost knot free. Teaching scouts to make a shelter with tarp and ropes gives them a life skill.

 Good points.  And so the leaders (i.e. Scouts elected to lead) decided to remove the "sliders" from each tent rope and scheduled tent-pitching amd tarp-pitching contests as "gathering time activities."  

  • Upvote 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...