When we teach the Scouts about task organization and what right looks like, it is important to teach initiative.
What I have seen and learned over the last few years is that most of our Scouts, or young men in general lack initiative. You can give them a list of things to do or ask that they complete a certain task and that is where it stops. They do task A.. they do task B… but won’t look for “C”.
So how do we develop in our Scouts, our young men initiative?
Well first of all you need to let them know that in no uncertain terms that they have the power to make decisions. They also need to know and understand that the decisions that they make need to be owned and the consequences that come with them are permanent. They can be fixed, but need to be learned from if they result in the wrong out come.
They need to know and understand that there are more tasks beyond what they know up front. You can help them with this by coaching and asking the “What now” questions. Guide them to the answer without giving them the answer.
For example, when it comes to what we expect of our Junior leaders or “older Scouts”. Now I know that all Scoutmasters expect the older Scouts to help the younger Scouts, to teach the younger Scouts basic skills and to set a good example… but how many times on a camp out have we seen the older Scouts get their gear set up and then just sit around or goof off?
Initiative would call for them to “see the need” to help the younger Scouts, but it is often over looked.
So as Scoutmasters we need to inspect what we expect. Here is were coaching comes in. During the PLC meeting prior to the camp out how about having the Patrol leaders come up with a basic list of tasks that typically need to be done in camp. After the camp set up, ask the SPL if he sees the list as complete? He will no doubt take action if he sees holes in the result.
Make sure that your reflections or Start, Stop, and Continue processes are meaningful and targeted toward the learning goal. You can direct that without stepping on the leadership of the Senior Patrol Leader.
Teaching initiative in our young men has got to be a priority, if you do not teach it, expect it, and inspect that it is being used then it will not happen.
Initiative is necessary for leadership, seizing it takes practice, but once it is recognized and made a habit your youth leaders will find it rewarding.
Have a Great Scouting Day!