Recently, a scouting friend reminded me of something I wrote to our troop last year at the end of summer camp. I wrote it after a week in 100 plus temperatures, sleeping on a cot, and serving a group of scouts. I loved every bit of summer camp. It was a therapeutic week for me in which I got away from the busyness that I create in my own life. I wrote the email to try and provide perspective to our first year parents who had just sent their boy away for maybe the first time. For a group of parents that were watching a new SPL begin to find his way. I think it was one of the more “clear” things I have written. I was immersed for a week and could see the scouting process first hand.
Summer Camp is fast approaching for many of us again. As adult leaders, we often have strong ideas about how things should be. Sometimes to the point of interjecting our own wisdom on a situation versus allowing a scout to learn from their own “doing”. Scouting is a real, live, hands on incubator for leadership, accountability and personal responsibility….. provided that the adults don’t screw it up. Hey, I have screwed it up before. But, I want to challenge our adult community, including myself, to let the scouts learn it from their own perspective.
Here is what I wrote. Please let me know your thoughts…..
Scouting is a process. When perfected, it centers on the young men in the troop. They make decisions, they lead, they plan their own events and what they want to complete or do at camp.
Therefore, when viewed in short periods or snap shots, Scouting can be a weird thing to watch.
It is kind of like making sausage. The ingredients by themselves are not appetizing, the process by which the ingredients are combined and stuffed is messy (some might even refer to it as gross), but the end result is a savory piece of meat that is part of one of the most popular meals in our state and country.
That is precisely what occurs in our young men as they progress in Scouting. That is also why it was such a joy to be with the scouts at camp this week. You get to view a larger picture. See the group struggle. See the individual struggle. See the group work together and have success. You get to see growth. You see young men who will be first class citizens and leaders when adults.
So, next time you are around a meeting and you see what looks like chaos, disorganization, poor planning, etc, pause for a moment. Then go find the Scoutmaster or an Asst. Scoutmaster and ask them what they see. They may not tell you “we are making sausage at the moment”, but they might give you some insight as to what we are looking at or the benefits of a breakdown for a particular scout or group as a whole.Scouting puts young men in situations that prepare them for the adult world better than any youth organization in the country. Making a plan, presenting a plan, executing a plan with a team. Speaking in front of a group, interviewing, initiating important conversations. There are very few if any other organizations that teach those life skills. And! You get to have knives and fire and camping and high adventure.
Remember to enjoy the process of scouting. Next time you are viewing what appears to be craziness, wait for a minute. Usually, at least one of the scouts will figure things out and make changes. That is more satisfying that fixing things yourself.