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 […]
Developing Youth Leadership
Where Scout Leadership Begins
Can you define Scout leadership without using the words “lead”, “leader”, or “leadership”? The Scout oath and law does a great job of defining leadership without any of those words. Look at the simple promise “to help other people at all times”. That’s where Scout leadership begins: helping other people at all times, by serving […]
Scoutmaster Podcast 349 – Scout Contracts?
Should we ask Scouts to sign “leadership contracts”? A couple of decades ago I tried Scout contracts, it was a mistake. I guess at the time that I would teach my Scouts a thing or two and demand that that sign a Scout contract before they took on a role of responsibility. Of course they signed […]
What is a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster?
I’ve struggled to understand the role of a junior assistant Scoutmaster. It’s right there on the organizational chart, it has a (kind of fuzzy) job description, but (like many of you) I never found a way to apply this role to my complete satisfaction. When our older Scouts became junior assistant Scoutmasters they seemed to enter some kind of limbo and […]
Scoutmaster Podcast 341 – Leadership, Asking, and Telling
Telling has limited usefulness in developing youth leadership … … asking is what really gets things moving along. This week I’ll explain how to ask questions in exchange for offering advice or telling Scouts how to do things. This is a powerful tool to get them doing the kind of thinking that fosters leadership development. If you are looking […]
Scoutmaster Podcast 332 – Shared Expectations
It is our responsibility to assure there’s a shared expectation… … and our Scouts understand them. Scout aged children are not going to interpret gentle reminders, they’d prefer to have to have things clearly spelled out. They are literalists, they don’t take hints. You can be direct without being unpleasant. There has to be continual engagement and […]
Scoutmaster Podcast 328 – Carts and Horses
If things aren’t moving along the problem may be obvious… .. like our understanding of the relationship between the program, advancement, and positions of responsibility. The Scouting program is there, ready to go, but it can’t go on it’s own can it? It’s all words in books, it does not have muscles or lungs, or a […]
Podcast 326 – Advice for the Senior Patrol Leader
My son was frustrated, decided to change troops, and was elected senior patrol leader in his new troop. The Scoutmaster is a man of good intentions but with a commanding presence. Over time he has taken to leading himself because it’s easier and less messy. The Scouts in this troop would like to have more say, and implement the patrol method […]
Scoutmaster Podcast 322 – Youth Engagement
Scouting is something Scouts do for themselves … … rather than a program of activities presented for them. This week I’ll discuss the way Scouts should be engaged in leading one another, in making decisions affecting what they do and how it is done. Our ideal responsive leadership role as a barely perceptible influence empowering […]
Podcast 316 – Scouting is Discovery
What has a Mesoamerican Step Pyramid got to do with this? Today I want to talk about leadership, but I want to see if I can get you to come along with me and really examine what this means in Scouting. Leadership in Scouting is based on discovery. I have (what I hope is a great) analogy […]
Ten Ways to Frustrate a Youth Leader
How do I know what frustrates a youth leader? I have been guilty of each of these ten things at one time or another. People who volunteer to work with Scouts are generally good-hearted, well-meaning folks who want to do their best to guide Scouts towards growing into useful, good hearted people themselves. But this goodwill is not enough, we have to strive to […]
Scoutmaster Podcast 307 – How Scouts Do What No One Else Does
I am not thinking about the nature of Scouting activities… When Scouting is happening, when it’s really popping and sizzling along, Scouts are doing things that few, if any of their peers are doing. I am not thinking about the nature of their activities, that’s something we’ve discussed many times before, what I am thinking about […]
Scoutmaster Podcast 303 – Patrols
How do you decide who ends up in what patrol? Patrols are not about managing Scouts, they are not an artificial construct. If you look at patrols from the perspective of your Scouts there’s the only thing that’s actually important – and that’s what we’ll talk about on this podcast. The real secret is that you don’t […]
What is a “Youth-Led Troop”?
Many Scouters claim; “We have a youth-led Troop,” but what does that really mean? Official literature mentions this sort of thing often, but how is do we really define “youth-led”? We’d like to think what the Scouts do and how they do it defines “youth-led”, but it doesn’t. Young people lead themselves all the time, it comes quite naturally to them. […]
Every Scout is a Leader
We tend to focus only on directive leadership roles when we are thinking about engaging our Scouts in leadership, but every Scout can (and ought to) be a leader. Here’s some thoughts you can use to encourage all of your Scouts to engage in leadership. Leadership is much more than standing in front of the group […]
Youth Leader Training
Like most three-year-olds my granddaughter is a expert learner – she soaks up everything around her like a sponge. There’s a new discovery every hour of the day, it’s a challenge keeping up. How do three-year-olds learn? Through a process of discovery. They get curious, they watch other people, get their hands on things; what is it for, […]
Podcast 286 – Positions of Responsibility
What are the basic principles behind Scouts taking on positions of responsibility in Scouting? Our procedures are based on something more than policy or practice they have to have a basis in principles, in what makes Scouting what it is. If you understand the basic principles the procedures explain themselves. When we discuss positions of […]
Developing Youth Leaders – Ready, Fire, Aim
I want to encourage you to stop training youth leaders and start developing their leadership skills – two very different things. Scouts learn best experimentally, “ready, fire, aim” is an apt description of the process. Directing the archery and rifle range at our camp many years ago I learned some important lessons about how to help Scouts develop skills. Most Scouts that […]
Scoutmaster Podcast 271
What does learning to ride a bike have to do with Scouting? Listen to my answer to an email question from a new Scoutmaster to find out, I answer several other questions on this podcast about records, troop size and youth leader accountability. LINKS IN THIS PODCAST Sponsored By ScoutmasterCG.com Backers Get The SCOUTMASTERCG APP Podcast Archive […]
Can You See What Scouts See?
If your perspective of developing leadership is limited to what you believe needs to happen rather than observing what is actually happening you’ll miss opportunities, Let’s imagine we’re sitting around a table with the patrol leader’s council before a troop meeting. There’s a lot of chatting and dithering around, you turn to the senior patrol leader, and he reigns the council in. […]
Scouts Canada has created a clear, uncluttered, engaging process in the “Plan-Do-Review” component of the Canadian Path. Scouting is made up of intuitive principles that are intended to be taken at face value. Simplicity can be elusive; we tend to prefer complications. At first blush there’s nothing groundbreaking or new about this approach. It’s so intuitive and simple I think most […]
Scoutmaster Podcast 260 Paperwork!
Scouts and paperwork can be like oil and water! In this week’s podcast an update on our 2016 trip to Kandersteg, I’ll answer email questions about handling permission slips (get in touch and tell me how you handle paperwork and deadlines), youth leaders, and avoiding homesickness. LINKS Working with Homesick Scouts Homesickness on podcast 76 Helping Homesick Scouts […]
Training or Developing Youth Leaders?
I taught my step-son to drive from the passenger seat of a beat-up, old, standard transmission Honda Civic. I am pretty sure the best way to learn how to start from a stop with a clutch is sitting behind the wheel, feeling the clutch engage, pressing the gas pedal, and stalling the car a couple of times. “Push the clutch in all the […]
Podcast 258 – Scouting’s Most Important Volunteers
Is it the Council President, commissioner, or Scoutmaster? Nope, listen to find out which volunteers Scouting can’t do without, and to answers to email questions about a new Scoutmaster, Scouts who won’t lead, and new Scout patrols. LINKS Bedwetting and Scouts Kandersteg 2016 MUSIC in this podcast By a Campfire on the Trail Sponsored By […]