Monday, 22 December 2008

The Game of Scouting- Part Two

It's How You Play The Game

Imagine what football would be like if all of the effort involved in the game was focused solely on the aims of the game, with no regard to how the rules expect the game to be played, or what is allowed or not allowed. Some would point to Australian Rules football, or Rugby. Both of these sports, however, still have rules that must be followed. No, football would resemble warfare if the only focus was on scoring points and keeping your opponent from scoring them. Now imagine what Scouting would be like if all of our focus was on building character, fostering citizenship, and promoting fitness - with no regard for how that's done. It sounds impossible, but there are folks in Scouting who's sole focus is on the aims of Scouting. They don't care how Scouting is done as long as it achieves the three aims. It's what I call anarchy.

Imagine what football would be like if all of the effort involved in the game was focused completely on the excitement of the game. They don't care what the goal of the game is, or how it's played, as long as it's fun. Imagine what it would be like watching a game where any rule is seen to take away from the fun and excitement. Well, the first thing you'd notice is that it would be pretty hard to score any points. On the offensive side each player would be trying to do whatever he thought was fun instead of working together to move the ball down the field and score points. On the defensive side you'd have chaos. Assuming the quarterback managed to throw the ball, chances are pretty good the receivers would have been knocked unconscious shortly after the ball was snapped. Suffice it to say, there'd be a lot of turnovers. Now, imagine what Scouting would be like if all of our focus was on having fun. Aside from the chaos, you'd see a lot of kids running around doing whatever they like to do, and all of the things that need to be done wouldn't get done.

My point is that everything that goes into this game we call Scouting is there for a reason. The Boy Scouts of America is charged with the task of making sure the aims of the movement are met, but at the same time, it has to make sure Scouting is fun and exciting. Despite what some may think, every rule and requirement is strictly analyzed to ensure that it promotes the aims of Scouting, follows the established rules for how the game of Scouting is played, and keeps Scouting fun and exciting for those who play it. When the requirements for a merit badge are reviewed, every proposed change is weighed very carefully to maintain the balance between the aims, the methods, and the game itself. We as Scouters should do no less in running our units.

Yours in Scouting Service
Mark W
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1616

1 comment:

  1. I'd have to modify your note to say that the national office also has to make sweeping generalizations in order to get leaders to adhere to the program. Some Scouts and leaders might be able to handle activities or situations that others can't. However, the rules are made for the broadest group. Because some rules are overprotective in the view of many leaders I know they are not respected and sometimes not followed. Safe Swim Defense at the beach is one example. Marking safe areas in surf, especially with other members of the public present, is very difficult. I get tired of being viewed as the guy standing in the way of reasonable activities just because BSA had to make rules to reduce risk to nearly zero.


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