Back to the Basics – Know

In our last post we talked about what a Scoutmaster must BE.  An easy enough concept to grasp that a Scoutmaster must be an example of what right looks like, whether that is wearing the uniform correctly or pitching a tent, the Scoutmaster is not a Master of Scouts, rather a Master of Scouting and he demonstrates that by being an example of the Scout Oath and Law.

We now transition to the meat and potatoes of Scoutmastership.. What a Scoutmaster must KNOW.
The first thing that a Scoutmaster must know is that the Boys run this program.. not him.  Boy Scouting is for the Scouts, by the Scouts.  It is through the Scout led troop that they learn, grow and develop in citizenship, character, and fitness.  It is not always pretty, and that is where you are tested as a Scoutmaster.  In those not so pretty times you need to let the course run… see how the Scout react and make decisions.  Now when it comes to safety.. by all means step in, but don’t be so quick to throw in the towel.
The Scoutmaster needs to understand the Patrol Method.  More to the point, he needs to let the Patrol method work. According to founder Sir Robert Baden Powell, the Scout method works naturally and unconsciously: naturally in the way that it follows the natural impulses of a Scout, unconsciously in the way that the Scout is not aware of the education.  He said, and I agree that The patrol system is not one method in which Scouting for boys can be carried on. It is the only method.”
More on the Patrol method in a future post.
The Scoutmaster must know the skills to deliver the promise. Ok.. hold on.. what the heck is “the Promise”.  Well I am certain that if you polled a group of Scouters exiting Round table you would get a multitude of answers, but according the Boy Scout Handbook in the 90’s the promise looks like this:
SCOUTING promises you the great outdoors.  As a Scout, you can learn how to camp and hike without leaving a trace and how to take care of the land.  You’ll study wildlife up close and learn about nature all around you.  There are plenty of skills for you to master, and you can teach others what you have learned.  Everyong helping everyone else – that’s part of Scouting, too.
SCOUTING promises you friendship.  Members of the troop you join might be boys you already know, and you will meet many other Scouts along the way.  Some could become lifelong friends.
SCOUTING promises you opprotunities to work toward the Eagle Scout rank.  You will set positive goals for yourself and then follow clear routes to achieve them.
SCOUTING promises you tools to help you make the most of your family, your community,and your nation.  The good deeds you perform every day will improve the lives of those around you.  You will be prepared to help others in time of need.
SCOUTING promises you experiences and duites that will help you mature into a strong, wise adult.  The Scout Oath and the Scout Law can guide you as a Scout and throughout your life.
The 1965 Scoutmaster Handbook would tell you that Scouting is fun, Scouting is Adventure, and Scouting is comradeship!
So put all that together and you get the reason why boys join Scouts!! That is the promise that we need to deliver.
So what are those skills that are needed to deliver the Promise?  You start with knowing what the promise is and how your troop is delivering it.
Skills in providing adventurous activities, camping, hiking, scuba diving, climbing and a list to long to mention in one post.  Never short change the opportunities that are sought after by your PLC.
And that brings us to the final thing a Scoutmaster must know, and that is the resources available.  The best thing you can do for a PLC is to offer guidance on the opportunities available to them.  In Scouting the sky is the limit.. never limit them.
In a Scout led troop, they get to pick and choose their adventure, they get to pick and choose their friends (patrols), and they get to pick and choose how they are going to achieve the goals they set.
Through Guided Discovery you will help them find success.. and that is what you, the Scoutmaster must know.  It is not about you.. it is about them.  They keep coming back to find the promise of Scouting.  Give it to them.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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