Illustrating Leadership in Scouting

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Although the Scout Oath and Law don’t refer explicitly to leadership, one of the things we try to do as Scoutmasters is teach our Scouts to be leaders. We do that by (let’s hope) setting a good example, but we also do it by pointing out other good leaders to our Scouts.

Here’s one way to do that: Show a video clip illustrating leadership at a PLC meeting or Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops session. Then, ask the Scouts to identify leadership traits they spotted and tell how they might implement that trait in their own leadership roles.

Here’s a great video from YouTube to get you started:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxB-k6Vw73E

The clip shows a teenager trying—and failing—to sing the National Anthem before an NBA game a decade or so ago. As she struggles with embarrassment and stage fright, Philadelphia 76ers coach Mo Cheeks quietly walks over, puts his arm on her shoulder to encourage her, and then sings along with her. By the end of the song, the entire arena has joined in. To me, Cheeks’ action is a great example of leadership and an embodiment of what William Arthur Ward once said: “Blessed is the person who sees the need, recognizes the responsibility, and actively becomes the answer.”

It’s also an example of what we as Scout leaders should do in working with our youth leaders. Too often, we think the youth leadership method means letting our patrol leaders and senior patrol leaders sink or swim without our help. But it’s really incumbent on us to help our youth leaders be successful, even if that means bailing them out from time to time as Cheeks did in that video.

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