Each year when we plan for our program, the Scouts and I discuss what we want the Troop to look like the following year.
Stuff like, more members, better skills, certain awards, Scouts achieving a higher level of advancement. We set measurable goals to achieve our picture of the Troop.
This year, starting with Summer Camp and heading into 2009. We set some goals. Namely, focus on Patrols and the Patrol method. Our measure of Success is simple. Are we having fun!
Let me give you an example from Summer camp.
Our total focus at summer camp was fun. I told the boys right up front that it did not matter if they earned any merit badges or advanced a rank. I did not even care if they attended any classes. If they wanted to hang out in a row boat and fish all day, that was fine with me… as long as they had fun.
Every Scout took advantage of this new found freedom to choose their path to fun. As Patrols they made choices as to what Patrol activities they would do, and worked their duty rosters around the activities that members of the Patrol would be participating in. The Scouts soon realized that they had no pressure and could relax and have a great summer camp experience.
The result was that our measure of success became a reality. It became a specific unit of measure for each Patrol and individual Scout. Every one had fun.. bar none.
Since we established this goal, we have had 4 Scouts advance in rank, 3 Scouts earn the mile Swim award, 3 Scouts earn the Snorkel BSA award, 1 Scout earn the World Conservation award, and 67 merit badges have been completed. The Patrols are having fun.
This year at camp, entire Patrols worked on merit badges together. During one session the whole Troop, minus a few, were in the Canoeing merit badge class together.
The measure of success… FUN.
Giving the Scouts ownership in achieving the measure proved to be the right approach and proved once again that with Boy led leadership and allowing Boys to set their coarse, they will in fact find the way and accomplish their goal. Especially when that goal is to have fun.
Have a Great Scouting Day!