It’s his first time in charge of opening and I can see he is a little nervous. I smile and nod at him to go ahead. The meeting room is full of noise as he calls out “Pack”. Nothing. We exchange a look and I suggest he try again. A little louder this time does the trick and the noise dies as faces turn towards us. There is a more than a few confused looks as he barks out “Pack pack pack” but routine takes over and the Cubs race into the Pack circle. A few minutes later as he puts them into Pack squat and its done. He is beaming by now, the first time is always the hardest and now it’s past.
In 11 years I’ve done this little ritual quite a few times. First timers leading the opening for one section or another while I shadowed off to the left and a few steps back. That’s where my mentor stood for me, just out of sight but still close enough to offer a forgotten word. That first time leading the start of a meeting is both exciting and frightening at the same time as you bounce between the pride of being trusted and the fear of forgetting something.
But this time it was different because the person standing just ahead of me was a second year Cub that had no idea he was going to lead opening when he walked into the meeting hall tonight. He also conducted closing and was busting with pride as he told his mother what he had done during the meeting at pick up time. It was a good milestone for Pack as we started a new journey in Scouting.
So what was this new path we have tentatively started blazing? My Scouting Group has been chosen to be a “pilot” group for the new program revitalization for Scouts Canada as it makes the first significant changes since 1968 to the program. While we feel that it’s an honour to be accepted it does come with challenges too, but Scouting is a movement which needs to keep moving forward. So forward we go!
The first phase of the pilot involves changing how a group thinks and operates. Included are Adventure, Program elements, Plan Do and Review, and Youth Leadership. While we have always included the youth input in the program, we will now be challenging them to start taking over former Scouter roles as well as program planning. As you can expect, it’s a bit of shock for all parties involved.
Overall this was just a tiny first step on a path which we will be exploring for the next year and a bit. I plan to share our/my journey as we go along so keep watching for updates, but for now I have to say it was exciting to hear the new voice in the room. Interesting days ahead!
So how do you handle youth leadership opportunities in your section?
Until next time…
Be safe, be prepared, and keep Scouting!