Put on Your Air Force Gloves



I learned a new term at the Philmont Training Center last week: “Air Force gloves.” That’s what members of the other armed services call the pockets on Air Force uniforms, the implication being that airmen do little but stand around with their hands in their pockets. (That must make flying fighter jets challenging, but I digress….)

So why were we talking about Air Force gloves? Because I’d introduced the concept of HIP, a leadership term that stands for “hands in pockets.” Here’s the idea: if you as a troop leader or parent approach your youth leaders with your hands in your pockets, you’re much less likely to interfere with what they’re doing.

Imagine, for example, that your troop instructor is having trouble teaching the sheet bend. If you approach him with your hands free, you might be tempted to take the rope from him–and take over his responsibility. With your hands in your pockets, however, you’re limited to less invasive verbal coaching.

So the next time you arrive at a troop meeting, put your hands in your Air Force gloves and leave the leading to your youth leaders.

How do you make youth leadership work in your troop? Post your ideas below.


3 thoughts on “Put on Your Air Force Gloves

  1. Great pointer, thanks. Would be the one to jump in with both hands especially when its related to knots.

    But what if it is the youth leader wearing the “air force gloves”? Any tips to manage that?

    • Good question, Charlie. You could challenge your PLC to see how far into the meeting they can get before the first adult takes hands out of pockets (or opens his or her mouth). If they make it to the Scoutmaster minute, they win a pizza party at the next PLC meeting.

  2. ASM Dave

    I was taught that all Scoutmasters (ASMs etc) need to make a staff as this gives them somewhere to put their hands besides where the Scouts should have their hands.

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