Why is Scouting designed around youth leadership?
Most Scouters think a youth led troop is the brass ring of Scouting. What exactly do we mean when we talk about youth leadership?
There’s much confusion and misunderstanding of this than nearly any other aspect of Scouting. Our perspective is often narrowly focused on things that aren’t all that important.
If you’ve been following this series you won’t be surprised when I say engaging youth in leadership is a very simple, direct and uncomplicated thing to describe, and it’s actually very simple to do. Like most simple things it is also endless complex when you start to work with it. Somewhere I mentioned Scouting is like a game of golf or fly fishing. You can learn how to do either in a few hours, and spend the rest of your life perfecting your technique.
Our main goal as Scouters is not creating leaders. The main aim is developing character by applying the patrol method. If we focus on building leaders we miss the point. If we build character we can’t help but build leaders.
Youth leadership is not simply a cadre of Scouts sitting around a paper-filled table making plans. Young people lead themselves all the time, it comes quite naturally to them. You may not see this leadership if you don’t look for it, but it’s there.
We need to learn to recognize that leadership, and build on it, so Scouts have the satisfaction and character building experience of leading their own troop.
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