What makes Scouting Unique
There are a large number of youth organizations – there’s no shortage of options of ways to enrich a youth’s life. When it comes to Scouting, we have a rich history of creating a youth program that focuses on developing leadership skills, gets kids outdoors, and is frankly a ton of fun. But, that’s not really anything special today. What makes Scouting unique? The Scout Method.
It took me several years to figure this out. Once I became a trainer with Scouts Canada, it clicked for me (this is almost a decade after becoming a Scouter). We use the Scout Method in delivering age-appropriate, non-formal educational programs for young people ages 5-26. This is accomplished by using:
The Scout Law and Promise
Learning by doing
The Team System (or Patrol System)
A symbolic framework
When to combine these, you get the essence of Scouting. This method was developed by WOSM (World Organization of the Scouting Movement). A few points from their document on the Scouting Movement about who our membership is:
A movement for young people, especially suited for adolescents
A movement of young people, supported by adults
Open to all
Complementary to other forms of education
Everyone learns a little differently – and by using our method we help educate and give experiences that help develop well-rounded individuals. This also includes our volunteers. I know that from Scouting I have had the pleasure of learning a lot about the world, myself, and how to contribute to others.
The Scout Method is a system focused on progressive self-education. The intent is to help each of our young members develop their capacities and interested, building on what has already been gained; to find constructive ways of meeting needs at different stages of development; and to open doors to further stages of personal development at their own pace.
The Scout Method provides a way for how we develop naturally. It’s an environment that responds to their needs for action, challenge, and adventure. It’s a system to encourage exploration, experimentation, and discover exciting things offered in society. It’s a way to nurture our natural capacity for inventiveness and resourcefulness. It’s a way to let someone feel acknowledged, respected and appreciated as individuals. It’s a way to fill our need for close and supportive relationships. It’s a way to make sense of the world.
At the same time, the Scout Method offers a framework of life that channels our energy in a way that enables us to experience being autonomous, supportive, and responsible. It gets us to help each other to progressively develop our capacities in these directions in a holistic, balanced and attractive way.
The Scout Method offers a lot to our membership – no matter their walk in life. It’s a place where we are all equal and treated the same. That means your income doesn’t hinder your ability to participate, being of a different faith doesn’t exclude you, and if you have a disability or challenge in your life – you are still welcome and given a chance to grow.
That is the Scout Method and how Scouting is a unique organization that frankly should be experienced by everyone – no matter their age.
It’s also quite possible that the only part I think WOSM gets wrong is that it’s not just something for the youth to experience – it’s also for our volunteers. Without our volunteers learning, experiencing and embracing the Scout Method, they are unable to pass it onto the youth and encourage them to get the full experience of Scouting.
WOSM – Scouting – An Education System http://wiki.scouts.ca/English/images/e/e3/Scouting_An_Educational_System.pdf