It’s probably the most daunting, and potentially divisive, question adults in youth-led Scouts BSA troops have to ask themselves: When do we interfere with the job our youth leaders are doing?
Ask 100 veteran leaders this question, and you’ll probably get 100 different answers. That’s because–aside from issues of health and safety–it can be really hard to tell whether your interference will be helpful or harmful.
A Scouter I taught with at the Philmont Training Center several years ago had a great approach. Adults in his troop used the mnemonic device CFD to ask themselves–and each other–whether adult involvement was warranted in any given situation:
Danger is obvious, of course, but confusion and frustration hint at the gray area where adults dither over whether to get involved. But if you think about a time you’ve taught a child of any age any skill that’s a stretch for them, you’ll realize that confusion and frustration often lead to dysfunction, not accomplishment.
My friend said the adult leaders in his troop had all bought into the CFD concept. In fact, if they saw a leader beginning to overstep his boundaries, they would quietly ask “CFD?” as a gentle reminder.
Another good question is “Good chaos?” There’s no doubt that Scout-led troops tend to be chaotic, especially in the early days of transitioning from adult-led. If that chaos is productive, you should let it continue. If not, it’s time to briefly get off the sidelines and onto the playing field.
Need more great troop program ideas? Check out The Scoutmaster’s Other Handbook, which is available in both print and e-book formats at https://www.eaglebook.com/products.htm#scoutmasters.
Would you like to win a free copy of The Eagle Court of Honor Book or The Scoutmaster’s Other Handbook? Read on to learn how.
A few months ago, I stumbled across a fun book (at least for English majors like me) called The Story of English in 100 Words by David Crystal. As the name indicates, the book traces the history of our language through 100 representative words. Number 35 on the list is “gaggle,” as in “a gaggle of geese.” In the entry for that word, Crystal explains that such colorful collective nouns date to the 15th century. The 1486 book The Book of St. Albans contains about 200 of them, including “an unkindness of ravens” and “a prudence of vicars.”
Crystal points out that the game of creating collective nouns continues to this day. He mentions, for example, “an absence of waiters,” “a rash of dermatologists,” and “a clutch of car mechanics.”
Crystal’s book got me to thinking about Scouting. We have terms for lots of groups: Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Venturing crews, etc. But we could always use more! Hence the contest.
Here’s how the contest works: Invent your own Scouting-related collective noun and post it in the comments section for this post (or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org). I’ll pick the top 10 and publish them here–and you’ll win a free book for your trouble.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- An aroma of Philmont hikers
- A procrastination of Eagle Scout candidates
- A cobbler of Dutch oven chefs
It’s World Cancer Day, and I’m remembering one of the most inspiring stories I’ve been able to share with readers. Ten years ago this fall, Life Scout Derek Slinger was battling cancer and rushing to finish his Eagle Scout service project before his 18th birthday. Just when his dream of becoming an Eagle Scout seemed to be slipping out of reach, a team of friends, family, elves, and cartoonists came together to create a Christmas miracle.
You can read the whole article here (text only) and here (with graphics).
Derek passed away on August 31, 2006 after a three-year battle with osteosarcoma. It’s time to stand strong against cancer.