Monday, 22 December 2008

The Game of Scouting- Part One

It's Not Winning Or Losing

Scouting is a game. At least that's what it's supposed to be. Some would even say it's supposed to be a game with a purpose, but it seems to me that there are an awful lot of people out there who tend to go to extremes. There are those who put all of their emphasis on the game, and there are those who put all of their emphasis on the purpose. One thing we should all remember is that Scouting is supposed to be a game for the youth who are Scouts. That means for them it should be fun, exciting, and with relatively few rules. It should appear to them to be just a fun activity. Sure, we've got the Scout Oath and Law, which constitute the rules of the game. Some would say that these two elements make Scouting an impossible game. No other game requires a player to follow the rules even when he's not playing! While that's generally true with games like football, or chess, it's not true of Scouting simply because the game never ends. It starts when a boy first promises that he "understands and intends to live by the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout Motto, Scout Slogan, and the Outdoor Code;" or he first promises "to do my best to do my duty to God and my country, to help other people, and to obey the Law of the Pack." If the game is played properly, it lasts forever regardless of whether the individual still puts on a Scouting uniform. Like most games, Scouting has an ultimate goal, a set of rules, and a well-defined playing field. Over the years many have developed strategies for playing the game; ways to make the game more exciting, but the overall goal of the game hasn't changed. For example, the goal of football is to score as many points as possible in 60 minutes while preventing your opponent from scoring. This has been a goal of the game from the moment it was first developed. Over the years many improvements have been made to football to make it safer, more exciting to play, or more exciting to watch. That's much like Scouting. The basic rules of football - the rules that define how football is played, scored, etc. haven't changed just like the Scout Oath and Law haven't changed. The other rules that protect the players, define what is allowed and what isn't, and such have changed to make the game safer and discourage cheating. Scouting has the same thing in the Guide To Safe Scouting, Youth Protection, Leave No Trace, Climb On Safely, as well as the rank requirements and merit badges.

Yours in Scouting
Mark W
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1616

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