The Vanishing Resources of Scout Skills
by James A. Thielen
"I collected a variety of Scouting information over the years and couldn't find things when I wanted too. While attending Lord Baden Powell University in my previous Council, I decided to organize what I created into a living electronic document. I submitted this project for my Doctoral Thesis in 2001 and was approved. I received my Doctorate for this body of work in spring of 2002. As mentioned, this is a living document which is updated frequently as I come across interesting articles or information that may assist a Scouter in delivering the program to the youth. The original project consisted of a CD and now has out grown a 4 GB DVD.
Per my abstract of this project, over the recent years the level of Scout skills has been quickly declining. There are several reasons for this decline of experience:
◦ Senior Scout leaders (Scouters) are stepping down or taking a less active role with youth.
◦ New Scouters were not involved in the Scouting movement as young adults.
◦ Eagle Scouts are not returning as adult leaders to teach and pass on the skills they learned.People are migrating from the rural areas into the urban cities hence no longer needing the skills that are taught in Boy Scouts in their daily lives.
◦ People are less dependant on the basic skills that are taught in Scouting as a part of Scout crafts in their daily lives.
◦ Scout leaders are unable to attend the many B.S.A. training sessions.
◦ A lack of a single source of materials for the leader to reference for skill instruction.
Why are Scout craft skills so vital to the youth and Scouting? Scout crafts are a vital tool that is used to help the young Scouts mature and grow into young adults in our society. These skills help the young Scouts gain confidence and a sense of achievement as they learn to tie the simple knots needed for Tenderfoot. This self-confidence grows as they become more skilled in their Scout crafts and they start seeing how to apply their new gained knowledge in their daily lives. This newfound confidence and self-esteem then create the basis for the youth to grow in leadership, social responsibilities, and independence.
As you can see, the Scout crafts are the basic building block to the whole Scouting program for the youth. Without these skills, the youth will not develop their confidence, leadership skills, and independence. Most important, the youth will most likely drop from the program. The main goal of any Scouting program is to retain the youth.While basic Scout craft skills are taught at training sessions like Essential Leaders Training, Wood Badge and Scouting Universities, not everyone is able to attend. Also, many of the courses do not always make the materials taught available for the students. Thus leaving the leaders ill prepared to instruct their Scouts in Scouting crafts and skills.This will be a living program that can be expanded by the author, Lord Baden-Powell University, or anyone else, as they feel is necessary. It is an attempt to achieve the following:
▪ Provide information concerning skill instruction to those who cannot attend the formal classes provided by their local council.
▪ Be a source of materials for the troop leadership to help deliver a quality skill instruction to their youth.
▪ Catalog and preserve materials that can be used in teaching skills to youth and adults before the materials are lost forever.
I hope all can find useful information. If anyone has items they would like to be added, please forward them onto me. If it is not in electronic format, I would be willing to scan the materials and return the originals."
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