Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Scout thoughts

At Scouts last night, I couldn't find the flag that usually is in our classroom. So finally I opened the Wolf book to the achievement about the flag and we said the pledge to a picture of the flag.

Then the kids learned how to fold the flag. I'm not sure they really got it (or could do it again), but the flag did get folded by each of my 2 Wolves.

Each week I seem to have 2 kids, A and one other. Only problem - the other kid is a different kid each week. A is almost done with his Wolf badge - he has 3 more things to do, only one of them difficult - he has to raise an outdoor flag. That's not so difficult in and of itself, its the finding an outdoor flagpole we can use. The church where we meet doesn't have one. I wonder if I can stop by the fire station and use theirs - or do it at the school, after hours.

We also have to go pick up litter somewhere - the only problem there is finding someplace safe. Usually safe places don't have much litter, unsafe (side of busy roads) have plenty.

I'm struggling with how much I should do about the fact that the rest of my den isn't on track to get their Wolf badge. I have given several moms a list of which achievements they need to work on with their son. In one case it was a rather long list, but that's because he's missed a lot of meetings (or been late and missed a lot of the achievement work). I guess I'll just email the parents and ask them to let me know what they have completed. If they don't earn the badge, its not going to stop them from going on next year... I feel like I've failed them if they don't earn it, but I've been told that its not my job - and besides we've done almost everything in the weekly den meetings. If they came regularly, they would be almost done.



Blogger Carol P. said...

You've heard about bringing a horse to water, right???

I've had to deal with this with Girl Scouts. The Girl Scout program is a bit different, in that it's very much a leadership program for girls so they're supposed to be setting the direction and learning how to make things happen. There's no set program or order and the idea of progression is more loose than with boy scouts. In fact some leaders who work with both programs complain about this because it's more intimidating if you can't tell the girls, 'This is what we'll be working on.'

As the girls move along, they're supposed to be making more decisions and making things happen themself. J's troop plans their activities, figures the costs, plans and leads activities for younger girls, etc., but they're in 5th grade. Younger kids obviously do less, and at E's level it is closer to "show up and do the activity du jour."

In that environment, choosing not to do a badge is also an expression of what a girl (or, in some cases, her grownups) values. And since Girl Scouts is about clarifying values, choosing not to complete something is actually a fine choice, so long as the Girl Scout owns it.

My job is to provide opportunities for the girls to learn confidence, clarify their own values (not mine!), and to develop the skills to find their place with their peers and their community, guided by the Girl Scout Promise and the Girl Scout Law. We do that by trying badge work and leading activities and doing values clarification, and teaching them how to teach things to others and how to brainstorm and how to continue when the going gets tough, and how to evaluate how things went and what we'd do differently the next time.

The goal is to teach them how to make their ideas and dreams become real. And that includes the flexibility and acceptance to recognize that they're doing something that isn't in the direction of their ideas and dreams, and to be able to know that they will accept themselves if they have the courage to say, "Not for me." Especially as we close in on adolescence.

But I'm working with girls, and they have different issues and a different program than boys.

That was an epic description of Girl Scouts, but also, I hope, a bit of a pep talk. Not everyone will do everything. So long as that's for the right reason, it's fine. You're providing the opportunity for a group of boys to grow in different ways. And your sons are benefitting, as are the other boys. Whether or not they complete the requirements for this level.

So hang in there, you're doing a great job!

9:39 PM  

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