Let them Lead!

Do you want to have fun as a Scoutmaster?
Here is a passage from the 1953 Scoutmaster Handbook that my be of help.  The beauty of this is that from 1953 to today..  This has not changed, except in the minds of some overbearing Scoutmasters.
“Again and again we come back to the important point that you can’t expect a gang of boys to build a good Patrol without a boy leader who has been trained to lead.  And, as Baden Powell says, ‘To get the best results you must give the leader real free handed responsibility.  If you only give partial responsibility, you will only get partial results’.
Let the Patrol leaders take over in practically everything.  Let them work out their own problems, with the boys in their Patrols.  Interfere as little as possible- but always be there to give guidance when they ask for it.  Mistakes are bound to be made- therefore, be ready in a friendly spirit to urge the boy leader and his gang to try again.
Train ’em, Trust’em, and let’em lead!  That is the formula for success in using Patrol Leaders and for building strong Patrols.”
I guess I could end this blog post right there, but let me add this.  Training your youth leaders is the key here.  When do you train them?  All the time, but it starts on day one.  Patrol Leaders get the advantage of a little OJT as well as formal training.  There is no substitute for good practical hands on leading though, complete with plenty of mistakes.
I have talked before about the importance of learning from mistakes, take the time each meeting, after each event, and during different phases of a camp out to find those learning/teaching  moments.  Coach the leaders through a round of Start, Stop, and Continue and allow them to see with a critical eye the mistakes and success’s they have made.
Keep in mind that a burnt meal, a missed trail crossing, or rocky night sleep will only strengthen skills and confidence in the long run.
Scoutmasters… don’t hover, get out of their way and let them lead.
I love the saying from the handbook –
Train’em, Trust’em, and let’em lead!
Have confidence in your training of the leader, trust that they will do the right thing, and watch the growth.
If you want to have fun as Scoutmaster!… Well there’s the answer.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Sketch by Baden Powell
Quote from the Handbook for Scoutmasters, Boy Scouts of America, Fourth Edition, Seventh Printing (1953)

One comment

  1. In the 3rd Edition of the "Handbook for Scoutmasters" – the first one William Hillcourt wrote (aka Green Bar Bill) it says …"An old experienced Scoutmaster said once: 'The test of the Patrol Method is in the easy chair!' His audience looked nonplussed, so he elaborated his statement: 'Get an easy chair and place it in a corner of the Troop meeting room. If you can sink into it just after the opening ceremony and just sit through the meeting, without a worry for its success, without lifting a finger or moving a foot until time comes for the closing—well, then your Troop is run on the Patrol Method—your boy leaders are actually leading.'"


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