Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why I am an Awesome Scout Leader

Back when I had just one little baby, under a year old, I was asked to work for my church with the children in Primary (for my LDS readers who know what Primary means.)   At this time, one of my assignments was to make sure that Cub Scouts was running smoothly, that we had good Cub Scout leaders and the boys were progressing up the Cub Scout ranks.  (I was the 1st Counselor in the Primary presidency.)  We lived in a strange area and while we had parents who wanted their boys to participate, none of them were willing to be the leader, so I ended up being a Bear and Wolf leader for several months until we found someone who could do it.

Before I do anything, I read everything I can get my hands on before I start.  When I cook a new recipe, I read the whole recipe, often get out other cookbooks and compare recipes, and then cook.  If the recipe uses a term I am unfamiliar with, I learn the term and read more than one example on how to do it.  I often call fellow cooks and ask them how to do things.  The same applied to my Cub Scout assignment.  I read the whole Bear and Wolf book.  I called various friends who had worked in Cub Scouts.  I went to the Scout store and asked questions.  I scanned the shelves and asked more questions.  By the time I was done, I understood what the objective of Cub Scouts was and how to best help the boys progress up the ranks of Cub Scouts.  I wanted the boys to feel like they had accomplished something good and worthwhile.  Since that time, I have worked at various times as a Cub Scout leader and been very impressed when it was run correctly, what an amazing organization the Cub scout and Scout program is.  (I know, I shouldn't end the sentence with a verb.  I am too tired to rework it.)

Anyway, recently, I was called to work with the 11 year old Scouts.  This is easy for me because I have a son who is an 11 year old scout and I had read the whole book when he got put in.  Our group is currently quite small, just four boys and they are good boys and come from families who want their boys to do scouts.  Three of these boys, need just one more thing to become 1st Class Scouts and that is to complete an orienteering course.  Do any of you know what that is?  I didn't until I read the term and then set out to learn about it.   Here is what Wikipedia says: Orienteering is a family of sports that requires navigational skills using a map and compass to navigate from point to point in diverse and usually unfamiliar terrain, and normally moving at speed. Participants are given a topographical map, usually a specially prepared orienteering map, which they use to find control points.[1]

So, it was up to me, to come up with an orienteering course for these three boys--me, stay at home mother of four kids, who uses a GPS to get everywhere.  I was up for the challenge but truth be known, I did grumble a little at first.  

I first had to relearn how to use a compass.  I then bought a book on how to set up a fun, worthwhile beginner orienteering course.  I read other books about orienteering to make sure I really understood what the objective of the activity was.  I then ordered compasses for all of the boys as Christmas presents.  I then had to actually make the course.  Then, my four year old got the stomach flu and put me a day behind and many hours of no sleep behind as well.  So, today, was the big day.  I spent about an hour and 1/2 hiding flags around our neighborhood, calling friends asking their permission to walk through their yards, recording compass readings, counting my steps between flags and other such "orienteering" activities.  I was stopped by various friends asking me what in the world I was doing.  I then discovered about 1/2 way through, that I was holding flags with metal in them next to the compass, which messed up their readings and I had to start over, but again, this had to be done for these boys and I wanted it to be worthwhile and fun.  So, I did it.  And, I am dang proud of myself.  I have learned a ton (which is one of the reasons why I love being a Mormon, being asked to do things I didn't know about and I learn them) and I am hoping the boys learn and remember them as well.  And maybe just maybe, if any of them get lost, (which I DON'T ever want have happen) but if they do, I hope they will remember their compass skills, taught to them by me and they can help themselves, if they indeed have a compass on them.  But more likely they will just use their GPS on their cell phones if their cell phone doesn't have service where they are. . .
But, I must say, that this is what I love about Scouts because I get to be part of teaching the boys new things and important things that add to their self-confidence.  Any new skill teaches self confidence and self-confidence is the GREATEST skill to have.  Whenever I associate with any person, man, woman or child, I hope to help in their self esteem (let's help build up not bring down people) and Scouts is a great place to do it.   And, there you have it, that is why I am an awesome scout leader.


Mark and Heather said...

You are seriously awesome.

Gabriela said...

You are my scout idol.

I am loving my calling. :) 8 and 9 year old boys are the best. We went ice skating last week and had a blast.

Not sure I want to advance to 11 year old scouts though...

Alissa said...

We are glad to have you. (I resisted the ! just for you, although I do think it deserves one.)

Kari said...

OK, this one is so worth a comment, too. I have had the best 15 minutes just now, reading your December posts! (I have been a little behind, although trying to do the "most important" things, for a couple of weeks...avoiding your 10-hour-puke-fest, I hope...) Anyway that is TOTALLY the way to do a calling, and those boys will be all the greater for your work.

(Now that I read your experience, I can try to grumble a little less, not knowing squat this week about Nehemiah and Ezra, and having to TEACH it the day after Christmas. poor me, right--??!?)