“The Movement has already, in the comparatively short period of its existence, established itself onto a wide and so strong a footing as to show most encouraging promise of what may be possible to it in the coming years. Its aim is to produce healthy, happy, helpful citizens, of both sexes, to eradicate the prevailing narrow self-interest; personal, political, sectarian and national, and to substitute for it a broader spirit of self-sacrifice and service in the cause of humanity; and thus to develop mutual goodwill and cooperation not only within our own country but abroad, between all countries. Experience shows that this consummation is no idle or fantastic dream, but is a practicable possibility – if we work for it; and it means, when attained, peace, prosperity and happiness for all. The “encouraging promise” lies in the fact that the hundreds of thousands of boys and girls who are learning our ideals today will be the fathers and mothers of millions in the near future, in whom they will in turn inculcate the same ideals – provided that these are really and unmistakably impressed upon them by the leaders of today.” – Baden Powell in his farewell address to Scout Leaders.
Here is what I know for sure. Scouting works.
IN MY OPINION
So the problem then is why is it that the world has not changed? Scouting is currently in 161 Nations around the world. Think about the current hot spots in the world, Libya? They have Scouts. Pakistan? They have Scouts. Palestine and Israel? Syria? Yemen? The United States? Yep, they all have Scouting and are members of the World Organization of Scouting Movement.
Common ground. The Scout Oath (Promise) and Law. In these two pledges Scouts from all 161 countries maintain a common set of values. The Promise and Law are based on the principles of Scouting. “Duty to God” – a person’s relationship with the spiritual values of life, the fundamental belief in a force above mankind. “Duty to others” – a person’s relationship with, and responsibility within, society in the broadest sense of the term: his or her family, local community, country and the world at large, as well as respect for others and for the natural world. “Duty to self” – a person’s responsibility to develop his or her own potential, to the best of that person’s ability.
Yes, no matter where you are the original Promise and Law from the founder can still be heard. So why can’t Palestine and Israel get along. I submit that the spirit of Scouting’s values and ideals have not embraced by the host countries. Politicians that failed to get the message when Baden Powell spoke to us Scout leaders. They fail to understand the vision and the reality of what can be. And so it is within Scouting today. It comes down to Why? Why is Scouting important? Why is Scouting relevant? Why should Scouting exist?
I have been giving these questions much thought lately and it comes down to this, when we know why we do what we do, not just what we do and how we do it the picture becomes more clear and the dream of Scouting can be fully realized.
Now, this seems like a bunch of hooey.. to those that don’t buy it. They are also the same people that don’t get Scouting and what it is all about. They are the Scouters that measure success by an Eagle plaque. They don’t wear the uniform and find little use for training. The problem is not just a political issue. The problem is we in Scouting have forgotten why we do Scouting. We have focused on being popular and not practical. We have done a terrible job of telling Scouting’s story and promoting why we need Scouting.
We preach to the choir. But when we preach we tell them how Scouting should be. When we train our Scouters we focus on what Scouting does and how to do it. But we miss they key component. Why?
I firmly believe that when we understand why we stay focused on the movement. We are not just another youth club. We are Scouting. So what is Scouting and Why is it needed?
Scouting started because of the youth in England when Baden Powell returned from his service in the Army. Boys were lacking discipline and were in need of adventure. The post Victorian era and the loss of many men the eight wars fought by Great Britain from 1880 to 1902. This made a large impact on the British society that left women and children at home. Young boys looking for adventure embraced Scouting for Boys written by Baden Powell.
So where is the Why? Why Scouting. We know the history of how Scouting was founded but what was Baden Powell thinking when he took the boys to Brownsea island? What was the message? Why was all of this important for our world. Scouting was started as a peace movement. Powell had enough of war and understood that the skills he could pass on, yes skills adapted from military service. Tracking, map reading, bush craft and discipline all helped make a young man self reliant. These skills coupled with lessons in values and character began to shape the next generation of young men. It was this commitment to changing boys into men that Powell centered his new program for boys.
Baden Powell introduced the promise and the law to the new Scouts. These values and promises were to lay the foundation of why we do Scouting. Citizenship, Character, and Fitness. The same aims we strive for in Scouting today.
So why? Because we want to change the world,
We can do this by making young men (and women) into productive members of society. They will have character, they will be good citizens, and they will be fit. Why we do Scouting in America can be found in our mission statement; The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. Again we see the values and promises of the Oath and Law that drive what we believe and why we exist.
But is this what we really believe? Is this why we actually do Scouting? It is for me, but when I look at the state of Scouting I think that we may have lost some of the vision. I think that we have forgotten why we do Scouting. I think that the vision of Baden Powell has become negotiable and the values and promises of Scouting have become less important than Delivering the a neat club for our youth.
We do a terrible job of telling our Scouts, their parents, and the public why Scouting is important. And why is that? I don;t think we know why we have Scouting. Scouting has become a youth organization that competes with sports, school, and other youth activities. Scouting had chosen to match program for program, activity for activity. But it has not made the gains it could because what people want is know why. Why should a young man be a Scout. Why is Scouting better than other groups. Why are the values important to change the world? Why can Scouting make a difference.
We need not look much further than then Oath and Law and the mission of the Boy Scouts. They explain why.
Until we buy that, we are just another club.
In case we miss the point with the mission of the Boy Scouts of America, lets take a larger view of how we change the world. The mission of the World Scouting Movement is “... to contribute to the education of young people, through a value system based on the Scout Promise and Law, to help build a better world where people are self-fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in society.”
Clearly a mandate to change the world. So why did we have two world wars? Why do we have hunger in the world? Why can there not be peace? Politics.
But lets bring back to our local area. Why can’t we grow units? Why can’t we fund our programs? Why is it that we struggle with our message? The answer, we don’t believe it.
We don’t think we can actually change the world. We don’t believe that a young man can earn his way. We don’t believe in the values of being helpful and kind. Society won’t let us they say. Scouting was for another time they proclaim. The world we live in is to grown up for Scouting. The question is… do you believe?
Do you run your program the way it is supposed to be run or do you make it up as you go?
Do you live the values or just say them on meeting nights?
Do you know why we need Scouting or is this just a club for you and your son?
Do you know how the methods of Scouting get us to the aims or they Why of Scouting?
These are important questions for you to answer. If we don’t know we can not deliver Scouting as intended.
All much to do about nothing though if we choose not to believe that we can make a difference, that we can make a change in our world.
First. We embrace the why. What are our values and where do find them. Next, how do we put those values into action? How do we show the world why we need Scouting?
Then, we learn about how Scouting should be and get our units that way.
Boys want to belong. Parents want their sons to belong to something with meaning and values. We need to give that to them.
When we a tell the world why and show them we are going to do the things that will get us us there they will flock to Scouting and we will make a difference.
So you want to change the world? You want Scouting to be a part of that change? Then know why.
Scouting works. We will make a difference, its up to each of us.
Have a Great Scouting Day!