As a young Scouter, it’s not always easy to change the world of Scouting especially for youth, but occasionally, you make a breakthrough to a Beaver, Cub, Scout, Venturer or Rover. However, the lessons that we impart to the youth through volunteering is paramount to the mission of Scouts Canada and to the youth in our community.
What I’ve learned over the years of being a Scouter is that any of these youth will look up to you as being more experienced and having the knowledge, skills, and candor to teach them a thing or two about life. What’s even more amazing is that they will follow you and look up to you as an adult but also more like a peer.
The most important lesson that I can teach the youth on a daily, weekly or annual basis is that when I fail, I rebound, take a step back and correct course . It’s as easy as showing a Beaver that you stuck the glue to the wrong part of the craft or when you’re cooking bacon with the Cubs and you burn a piece but still eat it anyways. The importance of these life lessons and the small little failures that are managed are what sticks with the youth. What you do after the failure is even more important. Reviewing how you did against your plan and what you learned from that failure helps to achieve success next time.
If you ask a Scout what they like about the last season and what they’re looking forward to next season I’m sure you’ll get an “I don’t know….”, but if you ask her a specific question like “What part of the last camp was great?” or “What food did you not like?” you can begin to engage in a conversation to get direct feedback. The s’mores that didn’t have the right chocolate or the broccoli that wasn’t cooked right; these conversations open the dialogue between you and the youth. By demonstrating that you’re receptive to making changes and ensuring that the youth are having a good time, they’re more likely to continue and stick with it.
So what’s the moral of the story here? Make the plan, Execute the plan, and Review the plan. There are lots of tools and experience around our Council but the biggest piece I can suggest from my own development is to ask yourself how you are making sure the youth are engaged in decision making for the section. Are they breaking down to small teams and then bringing that feedback to a central point? How are you involved in getting the youth to be part of the plan, the execution and the review of each adventure their small teams take on?
Don’t forget that it’s not your adventure, it’s theirs, and you need to make sure you involve the youth at every step of the way. Remember, it’s their adventure, you’re just along for the ride!
Area Commissioner, Wellington Area
This article was first published in the CEC Spring Newsletter.
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