We’ve been having difficulty in the troop with the older scouts. The attitude seems to be a sense of complacency and self centeredness when it comes to the program. This attitude has pervaded to a certain degree to all of the scouts in the troop, but it is getting better. Don’t get me wrong, they are good scouts, good kids and their hearts are in the right place. They aren’t bullying or drifting, it’s just a kind of been there / done that attitude, where they forget that this is a program about service. For the most part, they participate when asked, they serve when needed on projects, assignments, etc. The challenge has been to get them to go above and beyond what is minimal, to create opportunity, to be leaders. I saw a little of that this weekend.
The older scouts were challenged with providing a night program for the younger scouts. I provided some parameters and suggestions, but then handed it off to them. I checked in with them on a regular basis to see what help they may need, but was told “We got it!” … and they did. They called it Operation Cobalt 13. They gave me a list of supplies to help with their event and that was pretty much it.
Some of the older scouts came out for the weekend, some just for the night, some were just there for the planning, but almost all of them took part in the operation and they did a great job!
The story line was that there was an alien crash landing in the field beyond our campsite (one of the older scouts put flashing christmas lights all over his cars). “Injured” scouts were laying around the site.
One of the older scouts came rushing into camp, herding the younger scouts together. He told them what happened and had them collect their first aid gear. He led them to the crash site, where they located the victims. As they assessed the scene, they moved the injured from the site to avoid radiation… and treated their wounds
Cell service was down of course, probably the aliens! So they loaded up the injured in an adults vehicle, and sent them off to the hospital.
Not long after they left, I guess cell service was restored, because the older scout received a call. It was hard for him to hear, but what he did hear was something about the aliens attacking and that they had to get the trunk and the key was in the orb.
So off the scouts went… to help out, to find the trunk and the orb with the key. Their were aliens with silly string, ambushes and craziness and a trunk, when opened, that was filled with candy.
This was not a polished effort. It wasn’t what the older scouts dreamed up, and it didn’t go off without a hitch. But it was a roaring success. The younger scouts had a ball running all over the camp and maybe, possible learned something. The Older Scouts planned, developed and led. They fostered creativity and team work. They put forth effort. They took ownership. They were leaders.
I don’t think they were the only ones to learn something this weekend either. My take away from this is that these scouts need a challenge and maybe I haven’t framed things in a way that is meaningful to them. So my mission now is to make sure that their program requirements are given in the form of a challenge. Give them parameters, set the tone for excitement and allow them to run with itm, give them ownership. They are already talking about an after midnight capture the flag session / night ops with Super Soakers, etc. Let’s see where this goes!