Sometimes the goals of youth leaders and adult leaders diverge to the point that we may be duplicating efforts or working at odds with one another. In the interest of aligning forces these goals should be examined periodically.
Maintaining the integrity of youth leadership means they have the opportunity to plan and act independent of adult micromanagement and coercion. This exercise will help define the roles of adult and youth leaders while balancing the oversight and involvement of adults.
1. Ask everyone in a leadership position to write down three personal Scouting goals for themselves and three goals they have for the Troop. Writing the goals down is a crucial step in the process. Writing
requires more thought and commitment to an idea than other methods. In a group setting Scouts will often latch on to someone’s idea to the exclusion of their own so the goal setting exercise should be done individually.
2. Adult Leaders meet to share and discuss their goals. Identify shared personal goals and work on the next immediate steps to achieve them. Discuss the Troop goals and identify those aspects of them that should be worked on by the adult leadership and which to suggest to the Scouts for action.
3. Interview each youth leader individually and discuss their goals.
– Help them identify the immediate next step to achieve their personal goals.
– Discuss their goals for the Troop. What they see, hear or experience in their leadership role is often very revealing.
It is important to interview youth leaders individually because they may have a perspective on things that they would not express as fully when they are in a group of their peers. This process has revealed several things that may have never come to light otherwise. Scouts are at an age where they are very sensitive to the censure of their peers.
These individual interviews are casual discussions with myself and my Assistant Scoutmasters. If the Scout in question has a father serving as a ASM his dad is not a part of the interview.
4. Meet as a group and identify the shared goals and those that may represent new ideas or directions for the Troop.
– Develop a prioritized list of shared goals. Identify the next immediate steps to reach them.
In all probability the group will have common goals for the Troop; some will be new – all deserve discussion and consideration. Understand that there may be a youth leader or two who comes up with a goal that is simply unattainable or irrelevant. They may do this to show how very witty they can be. Do not simply gloss them over – give each serious and sober consideration without being censorious or dismissive. If, indeed, someone is just joking around they will understand that their ideas are being taken seriously and may decide not to make light of the situation in future.
At the end of the process both youth and adult leadership will be on the same track, have a common set of goals with associated tasks to achieve them. As an added benefit differences of opinion may be resolved, rivalries quashed and those on the fringes brought into the mix.