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Just when you think everything is going well, and you pat yourself on the back for being such an effective Scouter, you are confronted with a behavior problem.
Oh for Pete’s sake! Not again!
Yes, again… and again, and again.
We get disappointed, then angry, then sad. There are times it all feels like we are pushing water uphill.
You probably know what I am going to say next (and may find it as frustrating to hear as I often do); behavior problems are an opportunity, and a very important one at that.
In the posts and podcasts below I emphasize calming yourself down, shifting your perspective, and getting to work. Behavior problems are not uncommon, nor even unwelcome, in Scouting because we are uniquely equipped to resolve them into an opportunity for growth.
Yeah, I know, behavior problems are not anyone’s favorite part of being a Scouter, but they present us with a moment of great potential to make a difference.
Hope this helps!
A weekend trip in 2006 to Baltimore. We stayed aboard the John W. Brown, a WWII Liberty Ship. This was a great bunch of Scouts, although twelve years later I can tell you some of the faces in this picture would be the source of some behavior “opportunities” for us.
Scoutmasters don’t punish Scouts who can’t or won’t follow the Scout Oath and Law, it’s not our responsibility, it is the responsibility of the Scout’s parents.
Every young person wants to belong to something larger than themselves, to gain acceptance, to be identified as a full member of the group. This desire is so strong, so instinctual, that it blurs the lines between good and bad. Young people are desperate to fill this void whether the group coerces them to negative, destructive behavior like a street gang, or positive, constructive activities like Scouting,
We don’t deal in negative reinforcement. The only tools in our toolbox are positive reinforcement and constructive discipline. We can inspire, encourage, inform, exhort and support our Scouts. It’s the right tool for the job, and it works every time for any young person who wants to be a Scout.
It’s surprising to learn that teenagers often over estimate risk. They sometimes choose poorly because they tend to weight benefits more heavily than risks.
Describe what is expected, not what is prohibited. Negative reinforcement is a weak method, and it’s not consistent with Scouting values.
A rational approach; a more empathetic, compassionate and useful approach, is first learning about the way they are looking at the world, (why they decide poorly) applying that understanding to helping them manage risky situations and reacting rationally rather than emotionally when they make bad choices of action.
Failures are not unusual or unexpected – in fact we expect them, we almost welcome them – because recovering and learning from them is at the heart of Scouting. Behaviors themselves are not our target; our target is developing a sense of responsibility, self esteem and esprit de corps that negates bad behavior.
In 30+ years as a Scouter I have been through difficult situations. Some still cause me discomfort when I think about them and I wonder if I could have handled them better. In this podcast I’ll answer an email about the decision making process in a bad situation.
Behavior problems can be challenging, but understanding the basic principles behind addressing difficult behavior helps us resolve them in the best interest of the Scout.
While serious misbehavior, at least in my experience, is thankfully rare – we do have to be prepared to resolve it when it occurs. In this podcast I offer my best advice to Scouters who contacted me with about resolving two incidents involving serious misbehavior.
Essential Everlasting Gear
Over the years I’ve sorted through tons of jingle-jangle, gimmicky camping gear to find stuff that stands the test of time. My choices may not be the newest or cheapest, but they are essential everlasting gear I’ve relied on for years.
We replaced our old propane gas lanterns five or more years ago with Coleman Pack-Away LED Lanterns. Like any Scout gear they’ve been battered, bruised and broken and we’ve decided it’s time they were replaced.
Overall the Rayovac Sportsman seems to be built more solidly than the Coleman Pack-Away.The telescoping feature of the Coleman Pack-Away turned out to be a weakness, as did the battery compartment cover; they simply didn’t stand up to regular (Scout) use.
After some research and testing we have decided on the Rayovac Sportsman LED lantern. It’s smaller, tougher, uses three rather than four D batteries, has higher brightness and longer battery life.
|Rayovac Sportsman||3 D||40 hours (high), 90 hours (low)||High – 240, Low 90||$26|
|Coleman Pack-Away||4 D||18 hours (high), 40 hours (low)||High – 145||$28|
Comparing the cost of running a propane lantern to an LED lantern:
Average cost $1.50 each, 3 = $4.50. Lasts 40 hours on high setting = .11 per hour
1 LB Propane cylinder
Average cost $3.50. Lasts 5 1/2 hours on high setting = .63 per hour
I think it’s safe to say that propane lanterns cost at least six or seven times as much to run as an LED lantern when considering the cost of mantles.
To run a propane lantern for 40 hours you’d use at least 7 disposable cylinders, with an LED lantern you’d use three D sized batteries – the LED lantern creates far less waste.
The Rayovac Sportsman does have one minor problem (I hesitate to call it a flaw) and that’s closing the battery compartment. Two arrows must be aligned perfectly and it’s not quite so simple as it sounds, but you’ll get it with a little practice.
We’ve purchased six for our Scout troop. We’ll see how well the Rayovac Sportsman fairs over the next few years. Their solid build, value for cost and functionality look promising.
2019 Update This review was written in 2013, and after six years of heavy use in the hands of Scouts later these Rayovac lanterns are still going strong, just about indestructible.
Rayovac Sportsman LED Lantern at Amazon
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