This past weekend we had a leadership lock-in and Intro to Leadership Skills – Troop training. The original goal was to work with the troop that we split from and kind of get the family back together, but that didn’t work out so well. Somewhere along the line, I must have dropped the ball in communicating and they had just completed ILST on their own.
Talking to another troop in the area about it, I found out that they didn’t have a regular ILST, and that we had planned on working with another troop already, so we invited them. Then, we invited some more troops.
Turned out, we had about 20 scouts turn up and that actually worked out to be a good sized, manageable group.
The scouts in our troop like to camp, but for they really like lock-ins. With TVs and Xboxes, so by popular demand, we held the lockin at my work, where we have a large meeting space, smaller conference rooms and most importantly, we have open wi-fi and 5 large flat panel HD TVs on the wall to hook up game consoles. I’m also fortunate enough to work at one of the largest and best Sports Complexes in the country with plenty of stuff to do when they weren’t plugged into the TVs.
We began our training on Saturday at 10 am. I conducted SPL /ASPL Position Specific training, going over the SPL handbook and we talked about application and challenges. It was a good group and it was interesting once we started dialoging to see where each troop was and how we handled different things differently. We went over the Patrol Method and Youth Led concepts in great detail as some of the leaders acted as if they had never heard these concepts before and they seemed very interested in the “Ideals” of those concepts as presented in the videos in the power point. This was the first time that I was able to go over the SPL training, and was concerned that it would be too intensive and would be too much, but these Scouts were very engaged and we completed the training around 11:45, so with minor adjustments, I’ll probably pull this out again the next time we train the leaders.
At 12:30 we began the main class, modules 2 & 3 of ILST. It is always hard to keep the interest of a large group of scouts for any extended period of time, but we pushed through all of the information in about 2 hours, with breaks and games. The SPLs were very helpful in this class and seemed to take some of the info that we went over in the previous class and were actively trying to apply the leadership concepts. A couple of the younger, junior leaders effectively checked out here or there, but they weren’t disruptive and were actively engaged in the games.
At 3pm we separated the groups, the SPLs, Patrol Leaders and Assistant Patrol Leaders met in one room and some of the Senior Youth Leaders from our troop took the rest of the scouts back to the main meeting room to go over module 1. While they went over the module and went around the horn on position visions and expectations for all of the leader positions from all of the attending troops, I went over the Patrol Leader Handbook and overlapping Module 1 concepts.
The Patrol Leader training went much like the SPL training, maybe because all of the SPLs were there? Some of the Patrol Leaders were equally puzzled by Patrol Method and Youth Led, and were extremely interested in the National Honor Patrol. Our SPL went over some of our troop’s plans and methods for adventure and encouraged the other troops to find ways to make things interesting.
We broke from training around 4 pm and the real fun began. They were unleashed upon the Sportsplex with full autonomy. They were on their own for food, entertainment… whatever. Some Scouts played tennis, some Walleyball, a few played racquetball. Most played basketball or swam for a while and a very few spent the whole time back at the office playing video games. At 9 they had to check in for the lockin, and we went down to one of the ice rinks on property. The staff there had setup a broom ball competition for us. Now, we are from Florida, so most of these Scouts have never seen an ice rink before, much less played Broom Ball, but it was fun. No major injuries, lots of pictures and everyone participated.
The lock-in itself seemed rather mild in comparison. Groups of scouts playing each other on large tvs or online for the most part. There was an all-night RISK marathon in one of the rooms and lots of pizza was ordered and consumed.
At 7am, those that actually had fallen asleep were awakened, there was a quick scramble to put stuff right and within an hour, you couldn’t tell we were ever there.
I couldn’t have asked for a better event. It always amazes me, when working with Scouts, how well they handle themselves and conduct themselves. I can’t imagine myself being so disciplined at the age of 13 or 14, with my friends, with such minimal supervision and such great opportunity for mischief. I’m proud to be a part of this program.