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#1 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 04:30 AM

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Just though I’d share a thought on a couple of members of my troop.

 

It’s their last night tonight. They are 2 of a group of 4 who will be moving onto Explorers, and these 2 will live long in the memory. You try not to have favourites among the kids that come through the troop over the years but some….. well some just make you smile.

 

These two are the best of inseparable friends. It’s a boy and a girl. They’re not a couple, despite the ribbing they get off the rest of the troop. She’s PL, he’s APL of the same patrol. He could have made PL, he’s certainly got the gift of the gab to do it and is highly influential among the troop, but they didn’t want to be separated into different patrols so they stayed as a pair.

 

They are by no means angels. There’s plenty of mischief from the pair of them. There’s plenty of back chat, “banter” and occasional over stepping the mark, but none of it is meant to be nasty. It’s just teenagers pushing boundaries. Besides, scouts would be seriously dull if all we ever got through the door was angels. During a first aid refresher a couple of weeks ago she managed to tie his arms and legs together with bandages without him noticing. One of the funniest things I’d seen in ages!

 

They have some proper team spirit to them. Their patrol, while by no means the cleanest, tidiest (their patrol kitchen at summer camp…. Oh good grief!) or most smartly dressed in the troop (uniform can be shambolic) are clearly the most tight knit in the troop and properly look out for each other.

 

Without them the troop is going to be a calmer, tidier, more disciplined place. It’s going to be a lot less fun though.


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#2 qwazse

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 08:44 AM

Thanks for sharing.

 

Wouldn't it be lovely if those two eventually join this forum and tell us about the "real" 'skip?


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#3 Stosh

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 09:46 AM

@Cambridgeskip

 

I don't know if you realize it or not, but you just gave the perfect example of what servant leadership is all about!  Thank you!  Here you have two extremely powerful leaders in your group that regardless of what they did, they inspired, they stood out, they were powerful, their leadership gave a sense that anyone would want to emulate, and most importantly of all, when they are no longer leading they will be palpably missed.  Even you were caught up in the power of these two!

 

They have some proper team spirit to them. Their patrol, while by no means the cleanest, tidiest (their patrol kitchen at summer camp…. Oh good grief!) or most smartly dressed in the troop (uniform can be shambolic) are clearly the most tight knit in the troop and properly look out for each other.

 

Without them the troop is going to be a calmer, tidier, more disciplined place. It’s going to be a lot less fun though.

 

And this is why organizational management can never replace the true power of servant leadership!  From what you have experienced in these two, work hard at helping others see what you see.

 

If these two ever did "hook up as a couple" (I'd bet money that later in life they do.  :) ) they will be a powerful force to reckon with!


Edited by Stosh, 04 February 2016 - 09:52 AM.

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#4 Krampus

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 10:09 AM

I am losing a group of similar quality this year. I have "raised" them from Tenderfoot to Eagle. All were PLs, SPLs, JASMs and two ASMs. All are leaving for college this summer. Going to miss them.

 

My challenge is to turn out yet another group of such leaders.


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#5 Stosh

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 11:16 AM

I am losing a group of similar quality this year. I have "raised" them from Tenderfoot to Eagle. All were PLs, SPLs, JASMs and two ASMs. All are leaving for college this summer. Going to miss them.

 

My challenge is to turn out yet another group of such leaders.

 

No, your challenge is to turn all your boys into such leaders.   All the boys should get the same chance to be "raised" like this.  Every boy that comes into my unit gets the same opportunity to be greatly missed when they leave.  The "greatly missed" is the void one feels when true leadership is lost from the group.   The truly great leaders will be those that may not have served as PL's  SPL's JASM's or ASM and still produce a profound void in your troop when they leave.


Edited by Stosh, 04 February 2016 - 11:16 AM.

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#6 Krampus

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 12:06 PM

No, your challenge is to turn all your boys into such leaders.   All the boys should get the same chance to be "raised" like this.  Every boy that comes into my unit gets the same opportunity to be greatly missed when they leave.  The "greatly missed" is the void one feels when true leadership is lost from the group.   The truly great leaders will be those that may not have served as PL's  SPL's JASM's or ASM and still produce a profound void in your troop when they leave.

 

Implied in my response, but I agree.

 

We all know that different boys will be different types of leaders. My own Scout is not SPL material. He is a teacher. He is an instructor, guide, mentor and shower of "the how". He's poor at management and administration. He can deliver a kind teaching message but not when it comes to PL-based process things. He's patient when instructing, not so when advising a PL on why his patrol is not being properly managed.

 

The key, IMHO, is to find how each boy can be a good leader...then help him find the position where he can work on BOTH his strengths and weaknesses.


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#7 Stosh

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 12:24 PM

I have found with my working with youth, some of the best leaders tend to be terrible managers.  They are so into taking care of others, the administration duties just aren't important to them, they just focus on what it takes to make it happen.  If it isn't just perfect or it didn't follow instructions precisely, so what, it got the job done and it helped the other person.

 

Inverse this we have great managers that get the job done, but the people doing it are secondary to them.  They are just there to provide hands to accomplish the task.  Just imagine the duty roster.  The names are put on there not because of any skill the person may have for the task.  One doesn't need to worry about the people, just what they need do for the task at hand.

 

One needs to identify in their minds why these people are missed when they leave?  What was it that endeared people to them?  What was that dynamic that seemed to draw people in and want to be around them?  Why is it people genuinely like them?  What's missing when they are not around?  Tough questions, but once one gets a feel for the answers, some really neat things will begin to happen.  If one is able to instill those qualities into others, you too will be a great leader.  It's all part of taking care of your people.

 

The really interesting thing about the whole thing is once the leadership is developed, the management dynamics just seem to fall into place and thing get done, usually with far less effort.  Otherwise, one manager can be replaced with the next and as long as "the job" gets done no one really notices or even cares.  But they all but mourn when they lose a good leader.


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#8 Krampus

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 12:39 PM

@Stosh...very true. We have a recent SPL who came off like "Joe Manager". When he got in the role I had to stop the PLC from wanting to impeach him after two months. Nothing got done. Met with him, helped him plan, worked on objectives and how to reach them, provided the tools with examples, etc. Nada. Zip. No one home. Wanted the title, could not be bothered with the role.

 

The next two guys who took over have been TREMENDOUS!!! Still shaking my head at what else I could have done to help the kid. Just did not want to engage.


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#9 scoutldr

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 01:59 PM

"shambolic"...what a good word!


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#10 Stosh

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 04:21 PM

@Stosh...very true. We have a recent SPL who came off like "Joe Manager". When he got in the role I had to stop the PLC from wanting to impeach him after two months. Nothing got done. Met with him, helped him plan, worked on objectives and how to reach them, provided the tools with examples, etc. Nada. Zip. No one home. Wanted the title, could not be bothered with the role.

 

The next two guys who took over have been TREMENDOUS!!! Still shaking my head at what else I could have done to help the kid. Just did not want to engage.

 

I have run into PL's like that as well.  Don't use the SPL's unless I have a larger troop and the one boy that I did have as SPL was really great at it.

 

The secret I have found, and is the core of the servant leadership concept is the person has to genuinely want care about other people or it isn't going to work.  If all they care about is the job, it's not going to work (Joe Management).   And if all they care about is themselves it's not going to work either (Johnny Narcissism).  

 

Give me a person who cares and I can open up his world to servant leadership and I can even help with some basic management lessons to help get him more effective with getting things done, too.  But they'll figure those things out on their own as they help others with their needs.

 

Give me a person who only worries about the job.  I can help them get the job done, but when they complain no one listens to their directions, no one wants to help out, etc. then I can suggest to them servant leadership, but until they care it never works.

 

Give me a person who only worries about himself, I just introduce him to an Eagle Mill troop and suggest maybe he'd be happier there.

 

The "natural born" leader is one who has quickly matured beyond his/her age level and capitalizes on it from an early age.  I once had someone explain "maturity" to me once.  When a person is born it is totally selfish.  I'm wet, I'm hungry, I'm tired, take care of me!  Now!  :)  For those who have ever had a newborn in their house, they will know what I mean.  As they get older they begin to give up their selfishness and start thinking about the world beyond themselves and how they fit in.  Eventually they become a mature person who is focused on helping out others, like parents taking care of their children and eventually in return, their parents when they become elderly and can no longer care for themselves.

 

This cycle is the life of a person here on earth.  Those that don't grow up and can't take care of themselves in society end up institutionalized either in a medical or penal setting. 

 

We happen to catch the age group on the final years of development before the child enters "full maturity" of adulthood.  What we do with those final years is what scouting is all about.  We see the transition from budding maturity to full maturity and the final stages of taking care of no one but themselves to "helping other people at all times."  How quickly we assist these boys in developing maturity, caring and subsequent leadership varies from one person to the next.  BSA offers very little specific training in this area.

 

This is why it is important to be able to teach true leadership to these boys.  It means one meets some fantastic young people that are constantly leaving huge voids in one's life, but it's worth it.  Even to the point where one travels half-way across the country to attend a wedding of a young man that wasn't YOUR son, but he's important anyway.  It's an emotionally "painful" process, but it does keep one from burning out along the way.  :)


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#11 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 01:25 PM

After all that..... it seems I'm going slightly senile. Next week is their last week. Oops! Good thing too. He was off sick, we were missing a few last night, some kind of winter vomiting bug going round the school most of them go to.


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#12 SSScout

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 04:07 PM

Attached File  IMG_28071.JPG   148.44KB   1 downloads


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#13 Stosh

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 09:22 PM

Two kids in the ax yard at the same time?!

 

Teaching the younger boy to sharpen an ax without securing it first?

 

He's going to sharpen that unsecured ax in his lap with a file and no protective gloves?

 

Boy am I glad that the boys in that picture are not scouts!  :)


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#14 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 04:00 PM

Well that was it. They're gone!

 

They went out with a bit of style. As is often the case they brought a load of chocolate in to dish out. These two though stood one of the hall, turned their back on the rest of the troop and through them over their shoulder for the others to catch. Pure theater to the last.

 

I'll miss them.

 

No scouts next week as it's school holidays, week after we've got 3 new ones coming through the door. New bonds to form, new adventures to have.


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#15 Stosh

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 04:12 PM

Well that was it. They're gone!

 

They went out with a bit of style. As is often the case they brought a load of chocolate in to dish out. These two though stood one of the hall, turned their back on the rest of the troop and through them over their shoulder for the others to catch. Pure theater to the last.

 

I'll miss them.

 

No scouts next week as it's school holidays, week after we've got 3 new ones coming through the door. New bonds to form, new adventures to have.

 

Just think of all the friends out there just waiting, that you haven't met yet.


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Stosh

 

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#16 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 01 March 2016 - 07:03 AM

Interesting follow up to this..... The good the bad and the ugly.

 

Yesterday was a busy evening. First I went to our feeder cub pack to talk to the next batch of cubs due to move up at Easter. With that cub pack they currently have one of my former scouts there as a "Young Leader" (YL). The YL scheme is for explorer scouts aged 14-17 who want to effectively be apprentice adult leader. I hadn't seen that explorer for well over a year but I got a big smile off of her and she came and sat with me while I talked the cubs through the process of moving up and what scouts was like. She had plenty of really good things to say about what she'd done there (we got her when she jumped ship from Girl Guides!) and how scouts get so much more freedom to do their own thing than at cubs. I almost blushed!

 

From there it was a quick cycle across town where I was stand in Explorer Leader with a unit who's leaders were all out of town for some reason but has plenty of my former scouts in it. Again really nice to catch up with some old faces including one who has had the growth spurt to end all growth spurts since leaving scouts. He has grown something like 2 feet in the last 18 months. Extraordinary. Especially good as he was never a PL in scouts, never quite had it in him. In explorers though he is one of the leading figures in terms of pushing the whole unit forward. Great to see :)

 

Bit of a sad note though. Some of them told me about a lad who had been a cub with me in my cub leader days. He quit before moving up to scouts. He's now 18. Apparently on bail awaiting trial on multiple pretty serious charges and looking like a stretch in prison is on the cards. I won't do the detail as it's not appropriate in public (especially when heard 2nd or 3rd hand from teenagers!) Sad times though.


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