Information educates the mind, experience develops skill. Too much information can be paralyzing.
We live in the information age. Our Scouts get plenty of information, much more than they can do anything with. What they really need is experience.
Scouting is an educational movement, but it’s not educational in the traditional sense. Scouting is a journey through experiences that develop skill.
Sometimes we get a little mixed up, we think our Scouts need a lot of information to develop skills. They don’t. What they really need is experience. This is true of almost everything we do in Scouting.
If we wanted to teach someone to ride a bike we’d show them the bike, put them in the seat, give them a couple of pointers and tell them to try. As they figured things out we’d coach them, encourage them , and work with them until they developed enough skill to go ahead on their own.
We usually apply this method when we are instructing Scouts on building a campfire, safely handling woods tools, or flipping a flapjack. How can we apply it to training youth leaders?
Much of our training, both for youth and adults, is aimed at sharing information. More often than not we plop folks down in front of a PowerPoint presentation or a video, fill their hands with handouts, and consider that they have been trained.
Measuring the information we share is important. I can sit a new senior patrol leader down and overload him with information to the point that he’s not to sure where to turn. Things go better if I give him the most pertinent information he needs right now and let him gain some experience from applying it.
Scouts learning how to handle a pocketknife need short informational statements, lots of practice, and a little coaching.
Scouts learning to lead need the same thing; short informational statements, lots of practice, and a little coaching.