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Simple Versus Complicated Scouting

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The steps in training have become so absorbing and important that in many cases the aim has come to be lost sight of. -B.P

Take a moment and step back from all of your roles and responsibilities and observe how simple Scouting is.

The aim is simple: Providing opportunities for the development of character, fitness, and citizenship.

The method is simple: We share ideals,  express our unity by wearing uniforms, organize using the patrol method based on youth leadership in the outdoors, and recognize the resulting personal growth using an advancement system. All of this happens as our Scouts form useful association with caring adults.

The organization is simple: Individual Scouts form patrols and patrols form larger groups.*

I think Scouts innately embrace the simple excitement and challenges of Scouting, but we adults often stand in their way by complicating things.

How do we adults complicate Scouting?

We clothe Scouting in far too many layers of bureaucratic administration.

We seek recognition, fulfillment, or aggrandizement for ourselves rather than focusing on our Scouts.

We build structures where Scouts become decorations rather than vital participants.

We demand or coerce things from Scouts that they would do freely for themselves given opportunity and encouragement.

Rather than cooperating with sometimes mysterious, chaotic processes of development; we grow impatient and rush to institute artificial results.

Scouting works as intended when we honor its simplicity.

*Regardless of the many names for ‘patrol’ used in the world of Scouting the scale of Scouting is the smaller group of Scouts rather than the larger group.