Tuesday, 6 March 2012

trusting Our Youth

Trust its such a interesting and complex word that takes years to develop a true level of trust with another individual but can also be completely or at the very least partially lost in a matter of seconds. Its so short that you probably wouldn't even finish this word:
Super-Cali-Frag-gulious-itschy-alli-do-schous (Ok I can spell it but you get the idea its from the really long word in the Mary Popkins movie.
Ok well maybe not that fast because that would be pretty impressive but the idea is that it usually happens a lot quicker than most would like to think. But it instead it develops quickly and tends to have a large impact. So really what do we mean by "Trusting Our Youth" and why is this important especially Boy Scouts in order for the Troop to have the highest quality of program possible? Its important because it helps to form and nurture development of the character and leadership ability of our youth members. In addition it demonstrates how well or not so well your Troop utilizes the Patrol Method. As always just a reminder that the only way to have a true Boy Scout Troop program is through the use of the Patrol Method.

Many would believe that their isn't a lack of trust from the adult leaders in the Troop but when carefully examined many would see that trust is a huge problem between youth leaders and adult leaders. This problem comes down to two major points but that isn't to say that theres a lot more reasons than the 2 reasons I will be covering in this post. In this post the two points I will be covering is level of motivation and also the leadership style used with the adult to youth and vice versa leadership relationship.

Motivation as many have seen in this day and age is a huge problem with our youth with many not having the motivation to step up and provide actual leadership to their peers. Youth in regards to lacking motivation have this attitude because of the demand for instant results and the adults portraying a view of are youth being just flat out lazy. Demanding instant results in leadership is only effective if you choose only to show a boss persona but this persona isn't at all effective it instead makes the followers want to disrespect you more because you aren't respecting them. Yes its important to have the expectation of producing results quickly but demanding something too quickly leads to the destruction of a team. Finally we come to how the adults behavior of portraying the youth as lazy and incompetent just further pushes the idea that you as a youth do not have the ability to produce fantastic results due to a lack of confidence.

So we have now covered the motivation the next point we come to is the style of leadership that the adults use to develop confidence and leadership skills, which is a style of leadership that doesn't allow youth to fail or really give the youth a chance to solve the problems with each other before having to have the need for a adult to intervene. Failing even though it hurts so much is more than likely in the end to teach a person a lesson than any lesson that can come from a book or a person. I'm not saying that books and people are horrible resources but the learning of these skills take on a deeper meaning when the Scout experiences the teaching and learning opportunities given to him by himself. For you adults out there remember back to when you were a young kid in your primary school just learning about what conflict resolution is and how to go about doing it in a way that doesn't cause a lot more damage to the relationship than the person needs to experience. What I trying to say is that effective conflict resolution is a skill that can only be learned using a direct hands-on method. Hands-on learning requires the learner aka the youth member to try things out on their own without the adult leaders jumping in and trying to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. Really people, when has a third-party person that has jumped into the conflict and tells you what to do to work it out. Yeah in the short run it may improve the situation but because of the lack of connection to the resolution since it isn't their own can eventually cause the problem to become worse than it already was. Even though I'm saying in the sentence above that third-parties are not always the best solution, I should probably clarify this by saying that many people try to serve this mediator role without experience and education in regards to this role is the part of the role that I was referring to above. But in reality mediator's with proper training and execution can effectively have the two parties reach a resolution that the parties involved can share ownership in. The problem is that a lot including myself don't always have the recognition to or patience to properly use mediation even though I already have some of the skills and have practiced these skills I need to be a good motivator.

Yours in Scouting Service
Mark West
Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1316, Troop 1616(aka 669), Troop 125
Tustumena District/ Denali District/ Eklutna District, Great Alaska Council
NSJ '05 Youth Participant NSJ '10 Subcamp 7 Youth Staff NSJ '13 Subcamp Staff
WSJ '07 Youth Participant WSJ '11 International Service Team(IST)
Eagle Scout OA Brotherhood Honor Big Horn Denver Area Council NYLT QM Philmont AA '08

If you are paid to do Scouting, you are called a professional. If you are not paid to do Scouting, you are called a Volunteer. If you pay to do Scouting, then you are called a Scouter.

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