Now don’t let the word personal get you. Yes we want each and every Scout to grow, but we want them to find this growth within the context of Scouting’s values (found in the Oath and Law). Personal growth is a tricky method in that it will sneak up on you as the Scout develops. Each Scout will grow at his own pace and so we use tools and watch and guide his growth. First and foremost, his family. Stay in touch with his family, develop friendship and a relationship with the family. They should be able to seek your input and you should be able to offer your suggestions also. You see the Scout outside of the family context on camp outs and other events. When you see a behavior change, talk with the young man or ask the family if they are seeing something different. This is the tricky part. If you are not comfortable getting into their lives, well then, you can’t assist with this.
I recently got a call from one of my Scouts Dad’s. He was concerned about a change in behavior and wanted to know if I saw it. We ended up talking for about an hour about different parts of this young man’s life. It was a great opportunity for me to share some of the things that I see and he was even open to hearing what I thought on the matter.
The second tool we use is the Scoutmaster conference. I have said this before, but it is always worth saying again… the Scoutmaster conference is not all about rank advancement. You, Mister Scoutmaster are a mentor, a role model, a friend, use the Scoutmaster conference to get to know these young men and what makes them tick. You can assist in the personal growth of each and every Scout by talking and listening. When they know you care and want to listen, they will talk to you. Sometimes, you are a better set of ears than their parents or teachers. You are the guy that goes camping with them, plays games, and teaches them skills. They trust you. Don’t take advantage of this, but keep in mind that if you want these young men to grow into good men, you need to take an interest in their lives [outside of Scouting also].
And finally, the last tool set we will discuss are the various programs in Scouting. The religious emblems program, doing a good turn, and being helpful at all times. These programs/values will shape the young man and develop good habits in him that will last. You will see growth in the character of the Scout as he serves others and learns about his spiritual world. But there probably is no device so successful in developing a basis for personal growth as the daily Good Turn.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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