I know from experience that bored Scouts cause chaos.
About a month into my term as Patrol Leader I still hadn’t figured out how to run a meeting with my Patrol. Some other Patrol Leaders in my Troop would give up, let chaos reign, and the whole meeting would go by without accomplishing anything productive.
I wasn’t that type of Patrol Leader; I wanted to make progress with my Patrol. Since I didn’t know what else to do I defaulted to ‘lecturing’ like a school teacher. You could pick any rank requirement, and I could talk about it non-stop for fifteen minutes straight! I would demonstrate the skill, let them try it, and talk even more.
Although some Scouts learned this way the meetings were incredibly boring. It was a challenge to keep my Scouts focused and stop them from goofing off! I had earned their respect and that kept things from devolving into a total mess, but they were obviously bored.
Fortunately for my patrol it wasn’t long before I realized that I was all wrong! Patrol meetings should have lots of action and fun! A patrol meeting isn’t a classroom with the patrol leader as teacher. Scouts should be active! Scouts learn by doing, have fun by doing, and serve others by doing; not sitting and listening.
In part one of this series I talked about unfocused energy as a cause of chaos. If meetings are boring all the energy Scouts bring with them has no place to go.
Here’s a checklist to see if your program is lacking in action:
1. Do your activities require physical action? – If you don’t break a sweat during the meeting, then something is missing.
2. Does your Patrol have to overcome challenges? – Nothing is quite as satisfying as facing a difficult challenge and beating it.
3. Are your activities interesting and engaging? – You should constantly be learning new things through your Patrol activities, not just doing the same old thing. Otherwise, you’ll get stuck in a rut.
Make your Patrol a Patrol of Action! Build active, challenging, interesting, engaging activities when planning your Patrol meetings. The old adage “If you’re standing still, you’re losing ground” is very true when it comes to Scouting.
Active Scouting makes all the energy your Scouts bring to a meeting cease to be a ‘problem’. In fact, that energetic chaos will be an advantage! Active Scouts don’t have time for deliberate mischief either!
How active is your Patrol on a scale of one to ten (ten being the most active). Leave the rating in the comment box below or join in the discussion at the GreenBar Life forum.
In the part three I’ll give you some ideas on how to turn your Patrol into a Patrol of action and become a Master of Chaos!