The Slogan of the Boy Scouts is simply, DO A GOOD TURN DAILY.
What does that ask of us? Well it does not mean to do one good turn a day, but to always look for chances to help throughout the day.
You never have to look for good turns, they find you…but only if you have your eyes open and your mind ready to see them.
Every day opportunities to help confront you, and then you have to make a choice, do I do a good turn, or let it go?
A good Scout does the good turn, no matter how small, no matter how large. It can be as simple as carrying a load of groceries or as big as saving a life. The point is the opportunity is there and the choice is yours.
Every day I try to do a good turn, they surround me. Notice I said try. The Scout Oath tells us to “DO OUR BEST” Sometimes you find yourself in a position that you can not help. And that is OK, as long as you are aware and see the next opportunity.
Remember always that a good turn is an extra act of kindness. It is not just something you do because it is good manners. To answer a question of a driver about reaching a location is not a good turn, it is common courtesy, drawing him a map for him that will show him how to get there- now that is a good turn. (Boy Scout Handbook 9th Edition)
There are many examples of good turns, just remember that they are all around you. Opportunity is always knocking…do you hear it?
Do a Good Turn Daily!
I had an interesting conversation this weekend with a very good friend of mine. She is a great Scouter and is an asset to the Boy Scouts of America. She shared with me some apprehensions when her boys were beginning to show interest in Scouting.. They centered around joining an organization that “taught discrimination”. I thought this was interesting and the discussion could go many ways. Which got me thinking…The word discrimination conjures up negative images, especially when we are discussing race and gender. But I can argue that we discriminate every day.
Now before you get your feathers ruffled, lets talk about the difference in hateful discrimination and non hateful. Hateful is the easiest to identify. It is when discrimination is centered on race, creed, or gender. Its purpose is to withhold or deny something to someone or a group based on what they believe or where they come from. And I will say that sexual orientation is neither a race or religion and therefore not in my book for those that qualify to feel discriminated against in the sense listed above. That is not to say that those groups do not feel the ugly effects of discrimination. The Boy Scouts of America is clear in its policy regarding diversity;
“More than 90 years ago, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was founded on the premise of teaching boys moral and ethical values through an outdoor program that challenges them and teaches them respect for nature, one another, and themselves. Scouting has always represented the best in community, leadership, and service.
The Boy Scouts of America has selected its leaders using the highest standards because strong leaders and positive role models are so important to the healthy development of youth. Today, the organization still stands firm that their leaders exemplify the values outlined in the Scout Oath and Law.
On June 28, 2000, the United States Supreme Court reaffirmed the Boy Scouts of America’s standing as a private organization with the right to set its own membership and leadership standards.
The BSA respects the rights of people and groups who hold values that differ from those encompassed in the Scout Oath and Law, and the BSA makes no effort to deny the rights of those whose views differ to hold their attitudes or opinions.
Scouts come from all walks of life and are exposed to diversity in Scouting that they may not otherwise experience. The Boy Scouts of America aims to allow youth to live and learn as children and enjoy Scouting without immersing them in the politics of the day.
We hope that our supporters will continue to value the Boy Scouts of America’s respect for diversity and the positive impact Scouting has on young people’s lives. We realize that not every individual nor organization subscribes to the same beliefs that the BSA does, but we hope that all Americans can be as respectful of our beliefs as we are of theirs and support the overall good Scouting does in American communities.” from the BSA Website position statement on Diversity.
The BSA clearly honors a diverse environment that is consistent with the values of Scouting outlined in the Scout Oath and Law.
The intent to discriminate against homosexual adults applying as leaders is not hateful, it is not consistent with the promise we make to “To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight”. But more importantly to keep our Scouts in a safe environment.
So who’s morality? Well for almost 100 years.. The Boy Scouts of America and the Chartered Partners that maintain the units within the organization.
The BSA, being a PRIVATE organization has the right to set it’s rules and standards. It also has the obligation to maintain consistency within those guidelines. The BSA is obligated to its membership first. In turn the membership is consistant throughout the Nation and Communities in which they live.
So back to discrimination. We do it daily.. We make discriminating choices all the time, that is not to say they are hateful in anyway. Homosexuality is a good example and an extremely divisive topic. I am not going to go into it here, but it too is a discriminator. I have friends that are Homosexual. I do not condone their life style nor do I support it. I don’t even accept it. I tolerate it, not hateful and never will I treat them less than anyone else, but when I have to make a choice to accept it or tolerate it.. I do… and that is a form of discrimination.
I discriminate between Mcdonalds and Burger King, solely based on the french fries. I discriminate on camping gear and the places I shop. REI over Joes.. I like the service and the products. I discriminate over clothing and shoes, some fit better, some come from companies I feel are helping the community etc.
So non- hateful discrimination exists daily and is not a bad thing.
Hateful discrimination on the other hand is absolutely not tolerated, not in my house, not in the Boy Scouts of America.
So the discussion went. So does the BSA teach discrimination, sure.. it teaches Scouts to make ethical and moral decisions and that forces discrimination (non hateful).
It asks that Scouts and their leaders live the values of Scouting found in the Scout Oath and Law. It wants the Scouts to find or enhance their individual religious beliefs.
Every meeting we make a promise to ourselves and to everyone that is listening to do my duty to God and Country and to OBEY the Scout law, to help other people at all times and then the three to ourselves, to keep myself physically Strong, Mentally awake, and Morally straight.
What kind of promise are we making if we do not really believe we are too live up to it?
We discriminate in the very words of the Scout Law, we say that we will not tolerate those that are not Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.
This is the kind of Discrimination we need in America. It holds all of us accountable. It tells us that we need to be the very best we can be. None of which is hurtful or hateful.
This awesome Scouter that had apprehension at first is now one of the finest Scout leaders I know. She lives the Values of Scouting and is a great example. That and she is a good teacher of those values, so I asked do we teach it? Yep! In a positive, non hateful way teaching good values that no one can argue hurts America.
The LEADING EDGE is a tool to assist you in providing Purpose, Direction, and Motivation to your Troop or Patrol.
These are methods in working with you Patrol where they are, or at what level they are functioning.
Explaining is used when your Scouts are learning a new skill or doing a task for the first time. It is a very hands on method to ensure that everyone clearly understands what is expected. Very little is left to interpretation.
Here is an example; Jim, you and Brad will need to go to the dining hall at exactly 4:00 PM to pick up your food for dinner. Do you understand?
Demonstrating is used once the group understands the task or skill, but still needs help in doing it correctly or are unsure. Many times a lack of confidence is present and Demonstrating can help move the group forward.
Here is an example; “Let’s hold up on the hike for a minute. I’d recommend that we all take a moment to drink some water. No one wants to get dehydrated (TAKE A DRINK YOURSELF). I notices a while back that some of you were pulling leaves off the branches as you pushed the branch out of the way. We’re a Leave No Trace kind of Troop. That means no one should be able to tell we’ been here.”
This leader took the time to teach, no criticize, and SHOW that he too needed water. He is modeling the behaviors consistent with our Scouting values and looking out for his fellow Scouts.
Guiding is used when you have confidence that the group can do the task or skill, but still needs a watchful eye.
“Jack, the patrol set up camp as group on our last trip. I noticed that you did a nice job. I think you can pitch your tent by yourself this time. Pick out a good site and pitch your tent, if you need help, I will be right over here with the new guys.”
This example allows the Scout to demonstrate he knows the skills. The leader show he can trust the Scout to do it and it in turn builds confidence. The leader maintains a watchful eye and is ready to help if needed.
Finally, there is Enabling. This leadership style allows the leader to demonstrate confidence in the Patrol. It is used when the Patrol is functioning as a High performance team. The leader supervises the skill and pitches in when needed, but he allows the group to show that they can do it.
It is important to remember that when using the EDGE you may need to use multiple styles within your unit. One Scout may be fully capable of Enabling while another may need more Explaining. Others still may need demonstration and Guiding. It is the leaders job to figure that out. Knowing your people and their skill level and learning styles are critical to good leadership.
If you use the EDGE… you will have the LEADING EDGE.
The Example’s I used came directly from the NYLT Course book.
Last time we discussed some leadership basics and we defined leadership as a process in which you influence people to do something by providing them with Purpose, Direction, and Motivation.
That essentially is Leadership. But as Lee Corso from ESPN College Game Day says “Not so fast My friend”.
Each person that you lead needs an individual Purpose, Motivation, and Direction.
You can provide Purpose and Direction to your Patrol by having them “buy in” to the goals you have set for the year. The Patrol Leaders Council (PLC) should establish a set of goals for the Troop annually.
Lets say that the PLC sets a Goal that 90% of the Troop will advance to First Class within the year. That gives them Purpose and direction.
Goal setting (which is a whole topic unto itself) is critical in establish Purpose and Direction.
Remember that your goals need to answer the following questions using the SMART tool:
Is the goal Specific?
Is the goal Measurable?
Is the goal Attainable?
Is the goal Relevant?
Is the goal Timely?
We will go into these in detail another time, but keep those questions at the fore front when providing Purpose and Direction.
As adult leaders we have a clear purpose outlined by the Boy Scouts of America. These are the goals of the BSA program. They should guide us in developing our individual unit programs.
Youth leaders establish their goals and then execute them throughout the year. The challenge is getting their peers to do the task.
Motivation is where it gets tricky. All of us are motivated differently. Some guys are motivated by free time, some are motivated by food, some are motivated by doing a job well and being satisfied with accomplishment… whatever the motivator is the leader needs to find it in his unit.
Motivation gives individuals the will to do everything they can to accomplish a task. It results in their acting on their own initiative when they see something needs to be done.
To motivate your people, give them tasks that challenges them. After all, they did not join the Boy Scouts to be bored. Get to know the guys in your Patrol and Troop and their capabilities; that way you can tell just how far to push each one. Give them as much responsibility as they can handle; then let them do the work without looking over their shoulders and nagging them. When they succeed, praise them. When they fall short, give them credit for what they have done and coach or counsel them on how to do better next time. Remember to use the Start, Stop, and Continue format.
But leaders motivate their people by more than words. The example you set is at least as important as what you say and how well you manage the task or the accomplishment of a goal. Never ask someone in your Patrol to do something you wont do. If your Patrol is setting up camp.. than the leader should be pitching in and doing it with a cheerful spirit.
This example will get you far in motivating your Patrol or Troop.
Providing Purpose, a reason to do something, Direction, how to do something, and Motivation, why and how we do something, you can lead and have success no matter what the task.
And as those you are leading see your leadership in action, you will have a high performance team ready to accomplish anything!
This year my goal is to develop Patrol Leaders and the Senior Patrol leader.
All of them will attend their New Youth Leader Training, formerly JLT and they will attend the OA’s Leadership Development Conference. But it is the hands on training that will prove to be valuable in the long run and we will be sitting down for LEADERSHIP 101 classes periodically.
Leadership 101 is my way of developing those young men. We start with the basics.
#1. What is leadership?
Leadership is a process in which you influence people to do something by providing Purpose, Direction, and Motivation to them. If you provide those three things, than you can lead.
#2. What are some basic’s in Leadership?
Well first we revisit what we learned in JLT. That leaders must BE, KNOW, and DO.
When we talk about BE we need to talk about CHARACTER.
Character describes a person’s inner strength, the BE of BE, KNOW, DO. Your character helps you know what is right; more than that, it links that knowledge to action. Character gives you the courage to do what is right regardless of the circumstances or the consequences. [a Scout is Brave]
You demonstrate character through your behavior. One of your key responsibilities as a leader is to teach Scoutings values, found in the Oath and Law to your Patrol members. The old saying that actions speak louder than words has never been more true than here. Leaders who talk about Trustworthy, Loyal, and Helpful but do not live these values—both in and out of Scouting—send the wrong message, that this “values stuff” is all just talk.
Understanding Scoutings Values and what it takes to be a leader is only the first step. You also must embrace those values and develop leadership skills, living them until they become habit. You must teach the Scouting Values through action and example and help your Patrol members develop leadership skills in themselves.
KNOW- You must be a master at Scoutings Skills. The way you do this is by applying yourself and teaching. The more you practice a skill the better you will be. This takes commitment. You must commit to being a master of Scout craft.
DO- Leaders do three things—
Influencing: making decisions, communicating those decisions, and motivating people.
Operating: the things you do to accomplish your Troops goals and complete tasks.
Improving: the things you do to make the Troop better.
It all comes down to your Character and how you set an example. Leaders lead by doing what is right. They motivate and create an environment of trust and confidence within the Troop and Patrols by actions. It was said before; Actions speak louder than words.
A good place to get more information of being a Patrol Leader is: http://www.scouting.org/boyscouts/resources/18-800/ Check it out!