Lord Baden Powell, the founder of Scouting, said “The sport in Scouting is to find the good in every [Scout] and develop it.” To that end, Aquia District’s Troop 26 (“26 KICKS!”) held its semi-annual Introduction to Leadership for Troops (ILST) training on September 12, 2020. As you can see from the pictures, Scouts observed COVID-19 safety protocols and had fun with a purpose!
ILST introduces Scouts, from ages twelve to seventeen, to leadership skills required to effectively lead other Scouts – leadership skills that can easily be applied to all aspects of their lives including school, sports, their religious communities and other activities outside of Scouting. ILST is the first of several formal leadership courses Scouts may attend throughout their Scouting careers.
The ILST curriculum is a diverse combination of lecture, open-ended dialogue, team-building exercises, video presentations, pizza and fun with a purpose! ILST focuses on Troop organization and the conduct of Scout activities using the Patrol Method – after all, Troops are meant to be Scout-led! As Baden-Powell said: “The best progress is made in those Troops where power and responsibility are really put into the hands of the Patrol Leaders.” And as B-P taught Scoutmasters: “Don’t do too much of what should be done by the [Scouts] themselves; see that they do it. ‘When you want a thing done don’t do it yourself’ is the right motto.”
ILST includes discussion and training on roles and responsibilities, vision, servant leadership, as well as leadership tools such as communication, planning and teaching. ILST also delves into the power of teamwork, including stages of team development, inclusion, and leadership ethics and values. The value that Scouts receive from their own Youth and Adult Leaders’ instruction and the open-ended dialogue is important to understanding that every Scout has value. A powerful lesson that, regardless of age or capabilities, diversity of thought and experiences actually make for a stronger Troop.
Team building exercises such as juggling balloons demonstrates the importance of delegation and role definition – no one can do it all themselves – not even the great Lord Baden Powell! Other team building activities such as flag plucking, adopt-a-rock and the telephone game (I know you all remember that one!) demonstrate stages of team development, embracing diversity and principles of communication. And of course, pizza and fun illustrate that leadership, although hard and serious work, should be fun too!
Developing leadership (and followership) in young and maturing Scouts is a critical element to achieving Scouting’s vision to prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Law. Eleven Scouts from Troop 26 (“26 KICKS!”) are now poised to be stronger leaders not only in their Troop but also in their respective communities. We are proud to call them our leaders of tomorrow!