It seems that the positions I serve in grow more numerous as each month goes by but it really isn't adding more positions per-say but instead it is taking on the position in a more serious manner. Currently I volunteer at the Unit, District, and Council level and have developed a very close working relationship with most of the professional staff in my council. Like previously, I still live in Anchorage, Alaska which is in the Great Alaska Council Service Area. This coming summer I was going to go to the National Scout Jamboree at the Summit in Mount Hope, West Virginia, just outside of Charleston but due to personal reasons I made the decision to resign and not go. But it isn't all bad news because for the first time this Summer I will be serving in a paid leadership position. My position is serving as the Cheechako Trail Director for Camp Gorsuch. The Cheechako Trail Director which is considered First Year Camper Program .
At the unit level I am serving as an Assistant Scoutmaster for two different Troops with one being Troop 1316 (T1316) in Anchorage and the other being Troop 0669 (T0669) in Soldotna. Since I don't live in Soldotna the amount of interaction I have with Troop 0669 is limited but I do try to get down to Soldotna at least twice per year. While I still am regularly involved in T1316 my duties at the District and Council levels have caused me to step down from being a primary Assistant Scoutmaster (ASM) within the unit. In some ways this bothers me but deep down I know that I am still serving the unit through indirect service. For the first time in many years I will not be going to Scout Camp as a Unit Leader and instead will get to see the other side (Staff Side) of things.
I think before I get too long of a post that is all I am going to leave you with, so you will just have to wait for part 2 which will be published soon that will talk about the positions I serve in at the Council and District levels, along with brief explanations of what my focus is going to be on this year in those positions.
My Question of the Post is as Follows:
What role or position are you in and why are you in this position (For people with multiple roles I encourage you to list all of them and give a separate reason why you serve in that position)?
Tuesday, 4 June 2013
One of my biggest focus areas in Scouting has to do with Scouts with Special Needs. This is probably because I am on the Autism Spectrum on the fairly high functioning side of the spectrum. I believe that with practice and effort on the part of boy the boy, the boys parents, the Scout Leaders, and the youth leaders as well can work together to make Scouting a very inclusive environment for those with special needs. It always saddens me when I hear other leaders or parents say something like the follow:
- He can't participate in Scouting because he has special needs.
- He can't participate in Scouting because he just won't listen.
- He can't participate in Scouting because he will need special accommodations.
- He can't participate in Scouting because he will never be able to complete advancement requirements.
- He can't participate in Scouting because he will just cause problems.
- He can't participate in Scouting because he can't do activities like the others can.
- He can't participate in Scouting because he will never overcome his fears or issues.
- He can't participate in Scouting because he isn't capable of learning the skill.
- He can't participate in Scouting because the instructions methods used just aren't working.
- He can't participate in Scouting because there is no help available to my unit.
- He can't participate in Scouting because he will just destroy the unit.
- He can't participate in Scouting because the other Scouts aren't able to relate to him
- He can't participate in Scouting because the other Scouts aren't able to work with him.
- He can't participate in Scouting because the other Scouts aren't able to communicate with him.
- He can't participate in Scouting because the other Scouts aren't able to won't enjoy Scouting.
- He can't participate in Scouting because there are not resources available to my unit.
- He can't participate in Scouting because I don't have the time to work with him.
- He can't participate in Scouting because he is different.
- He can't participate in Scouting because he is just too weird.
- He can't participate in Scouting because the disabled won't like Scouting activities.
- He can't participate in Scouting because the leaders just can't deal with it.
- He can't participate in Scouting because this isn't what as a leader I signed up for.
- He can't participate in Scouting because this isn't what my kid signed up for.
- He can't participate in Scouting because he doesn't deserve to be a Scout.
- He can't participate in Scouting because Scouting just isn't designed for these Scouts.
While a list of 25 reasons of why Scouts with special needs can't participate in Scouting seems very long, it isn't over the four years of being an adult leader and being a youth member for 11 years I have come up with many more reasons than this, in fact I could probably list at least one hundred reasons. And it seems that the list is just growing and growing in exponential numbers, which quite frankly irritates me and in my humble opinion is causing Scouting to move away from its original intended purpose.
While the Scouting Movement began in 1907 by Baden-Powell and at first glance seems only to suited to serving the non-disabled population I believe this is not the case. And quite frankly based upon my understanding of how Baden Powell envisioned Scouting and its Methods to be used would most definitely agree with me. I realize that this may be in direct contradiction to what Baden-Powell envisioned and I could be wrong but for my sake and the sake of Scouting I hope my belief is in line with what Baden-Powell would've wanted Scouting to be in the 21st Century.
Before you go though I would like to ask you to comment on the following question:
If Baden-Powell was alive today in the 21st Century do you think that he would've agreed or not agreed with me? Also it would be nice to hear the reasons why.
Yours in Scouting Service
ASM Troop 1316/Troop 0669
UC/ADC Denali/Eklutna District
Council Aquatics/Outdoor Ethics
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.
This coming Saturday will be the first day of Staff Week for Camp Gorsuch and while I am looking forward to having the opportunity to serve on staff as the Cheechako Trail Director which is my councils First Year Camper Program with its focus on Tenderfoot to First Class Rank Requirements, I also have some reservations. My primary issue which from what I know seems pretty common is that we have NO Camp Spirit or Camp Pride, I realize Scout Camp for most is only a week long excursion but it shouldn't be this way. Camp Gorsuch belongs to me and all the other Scouts, Scouters, and Parents that are part of the Great Alaska Council but too many have seem to forgotten this fact and therefore it doesn't always match what Scouters and Scouts want from Camp Gorsuch. I have noticed that many complain about the facilities or programs or equipment but no one seems to want to do anything about it. Which means that changes won't happen because we are a volunteer organization and we desperately depend upon the service of both youth and adults to accomplish the work.
So why don't people that use Camp Gorsuch take responsibility and pitch in to get the work done? I don't think I could narrow it down to only reason or even list all the reasons people could come up with but anyway here is my attempt at identifying what I believe are the most common answers:
1) We don't have time: We are all busy and we all have lives. But is it really too much to ask for others to come and help one day to provide service for my camp?
2) We shouldn't have to do the manual labor: Hold on, a second, did you forget we are a VOLUNTEER organization? In case you did I will state it again...........we are a VOLUNTEER organization and it is the VOLUNTEERS that get things done. I don't see another reasonable option but if you could come up with one I would most certainly love to hear it.
3) Can't we just hire a contractor: Okay, so you want to hire a contractor, are you willing to pay for the contractor to do the work needed? I am pretty sure the answer is going to be a resounding NO! So unless you can make money just appear out of nowhere, I don't think that is an option.
Well for now those are the big three I can come up with! But if you have any reasons you would like to share please share them in the comments section below.
Ohh just one last thing, I hope to have a letter put together by the end of day that explains to members of my council why it would be a very good idea to STEP UP and do what is RIGHT!
Yours in Scouting Service
ASM Troop 1316/0669
UC Denali and Eklutna Districts
Council Camping Committee Member