Enoch is an active 17-year-old Scout and blogger at Scouting Rediscovered I asked Enoch to write about his experiences with adult volunteers in Scouting:
When I first joined my Troop, I really didn’t know what to expect; I was never a Cub or Webelos, and my family had not really been involved in Scouting. All I knew about Scouting came from one short camping trip with a family friend and Scouter who gave me a used Scout handbook.
He was the first adult who inspired me in Scouting. Looking back I see how much I appreciated this older and wiser man taking time to show me the ropes and teach me about Scouting. The small flames of that first campfire kindled a fire in me. His gift of time and words revealed broad, new horizons of an unexplored frontier.
I’d have to say that the most important Scouter in my life now is my father. He didn’t have any experience in Scouting other than a few months as a Webelos when he was a kid. Yet he supported me wholeheartedly, went on many Troop camping trips, helped the other Scouters during the meetings; and eventually completed Scoutmaster training.
I can’t imagine how different my Scouting experience would be if my father hadn’t been involved. To fathers of Scouts reading this: I can’t over-emphasize how important a father’s involvement is to his son.
I wish I could only say good things about Scouters but unfortunately I can’t. As I rose in rank and position in the Troop I read more about the patrol leader’s council and how a very large part of Scouting is the placing real, concrete responsibility on patrol leaders and boy leadership of the Troop. Some Scouters I knew agreed with the theory but not the practice. I say nothing against them personally; they are well-intentioned people. As I became involved in leadership the more I had to respectfully disagree with them about the meaning of the Patrol Method and a boy-led Troop.
When they felt that something needed changing they would step in and change things. I wish something could have been worked out but they were the adults, I was the Scout, and that was the end of the matter. Even so I respect the time and resources they have given and I am very grateful to them for helping me.
If I could presume to give advice to other Scoutmasters it would be this: if a boy leader in your Troop disagrees with you I know first hand he would appreciate it if you would work with him. There are obvious situations where an adult should step in but the boy leader’s responsibility is still a real responsibility. I know personally that this responsibility means a lot to Scouts. Scouts will be very grateful if you respect their real responsibility and not treat them as leaders ‘in-name-only’.
In his Aids to Scoutmastership Baden-Powell said that Scoutmasters, especially the good ones, will be emulated to the smallest detail by his Scouts. From personal experience I know this to be true. You will probably never fully see the extent of your influence in your Scouts, but it is there.
The Scoutmaster has to be neither schoolmaster nor commanding officer, nor pastor, nor instructor. All that is needed is the capacity to enjoy the out of-doors, to enter into the boys ambitions … He has got to put himself on the level of the older brother, that is, to see things from the boy’s point of view, and to lead and guide and give enthusiasm in the right direction. …
… The credit for the Organization and the spread of the Scout Movement is due to this army of voluntary workers. … These men give up their time and energies, and in many cases their money as well, to the work of organizing the training of boys, without any idea of reward or praise for what they are doing, They do it for the love of their country and their kind.
From me personally and from all other Scouts: Thank you!