How Much Is Car Insurance For A 21-Year-Old A Month Developing Boy Scouts in the 21st Century: Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

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Developing Boy Scouts in the 21st Century: Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

A few years ago, I joined a group of Boy Scouts for a Fourth of July parade in West Jordan, Utah. I was impressed by a group of Scouts walking excitedly for miles on a scorching day holding the Scout Program banner aloft. Scouts love to walk shoulder to shoulder with their Scout Leader. The parades were great—thousands of people lined the streets, clapping and sometimes saluting the Scouts as they walked by. The scouts had a wonderful experience. I imagine many of these Scouts will be future leaders in their communities, states, and countries.

John Gardner has spent his life studying American leadership. In a publication on leadership, Gardner asks the following question: Where are the leaders today? The United States today has more than 300 million people. America should develop more leaders. I believe the Scouting program is the source of great future leaders in America. Having been a part of the scouting program for over forty years, I would like to offer seven strategies for developing our future leaders.

First, realize that we have lost too many boys.

The number of boys who drop out of school is alarming. The number of young boys who go on to university is dwindling rapidly. Many young boys are more attracted to gangs, pornography and violent video games. Our prison population is growing while the number of men in the workplace is falling. To reverse these trends, Scout leaders need to be creative, innovative and find additional resources to improve the quality of their programs.

Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts of America, observed: “There is this spirit in every boy; it needs to be discovered and manifested. Today’s Scouts need to be dynamic leaders who provide them with the tools they need to achieve their potential.”

Second, develop a strategic plan that includes specific goals for each scout.

Taking time to plan is taking time to succeed. A few years ago, I visited a Boy Scout camp in Albany, Georgia. A Scout leader is a busy doctor. Despite his busy schedule, this doctor finds time to plan fun activities for the Boy Scouts. It’s clear that he spends a lot of time on his laptop using software to develop the program’s strategic plan. The leader has a spreadsheet detailing each scout’s progress toward earning badges.

Scouts in the program are highly motivated and look forward to participating each week. Powell observes: “Be prepared… the motto means that the scout must be prepared by thinking ahead and practicing how to act in any accident or emergency, so that he is not caught off guard.” Scout The same is true for leaders—if they are prepared, plans will succeed.

Third, update your activities and resources.

To motivate and inspire today’s scouts need up-to-date information. There are many online resources and training activities available to every Scout leader. Albert Einstein said, “The true genius is access to information. The genius behind successful programs is that the leader is a life-long learner and is motivated to learn the latest programs or activities available to his scouts. Know things One way that change is happening is by taking a look at Boy’s Life magazine from twenty years ago and today’s magazine.

The latest magazine focuses on new technologies, interesting scouting topics and innovative projects. Powell urges leaders: “Look at things from the boys’ point of view.” Investigate your scouts and find audience-focused activities that will increase their motivation and enthusiasm.

Fourth, reach for that.

Successful leaders take the time to investigate Scouts and work with them on Scout-centered activities. Successful leaders conduct one-on-one interviews with each scout to assess their individual needs and interests. Successful leaders keep an eye out for scouts who don’t engage or don’t seem to fit in. Sir Robert Baden Powell said, “If you make it your profession to listen and observe, you will gain more than you can talk.”

Fifth, manage your meetings, don’t let the meetings manage you.

Too many meeting agendas are lost in reviewing upcoming events. Carefully worded activity handouts reduce the number of questions asked. Today’s session should focus on how to improve retention. Too many boys find other activities more appealing. Use meeting time to brainstorm and develop strategic plans for the future. Powell observed: “We never fail when we try to do our duty, and we always fail when we neglect to do it.”

Sixth, be the most advanced.

Leaders need to read the latest issue of Boys’ Life on a regular basis. The magazine is a paragon of “state-of-the-art” articles, humor and games. For example, a recent month included articles on automotive innovation, GPS technology, and paper airplanes. I attended a meeting of Scouts in DeLand, Florida, where each Scout built their own rocket. The game is fair. The state-of-the-art competition encourages Scouts (not parents) to build projects, earn badges, and get work done. State-of-the-art programs encourage scouts to attend college and become lifelong learners. State-of-the-art programs include the latest technologies and inventions. The most advanced program teaches scouts effective interpersonal communication and leadership skills. Powell observed: “I’ve always believed: With the right spirit, we can kick the ‘me’ out of the ‘impossible.'”

Seventh, promote a forward-looking strategic vision.

The twenty-first century presents many challenges to Scout leaders. How do you deal with the distractions boys face—video games, local team sports, the Internet? Gone are the old days of scouting. A new day, a new challenge. In an increasingly negative world, scouts can be taught to be optimistic, proactive role models. Tomorrow’s leaders need to understand complex technology, possess strong communication skills, and recognize the value of working together to bring success to our families, our communities, our country, and the world.

Baden-Powell was a great optimist. He recognizes that the future is bright. To ensure a bright future for our Young Scouts, adult leaders need to be state-of-the-art, great role models, and develop an exciting strategic plan for their Scouts in innovative and flexible ways. Baden-Powell concluded: “The most valuable thing is to bring joy into the lives of others.” The opportunity to bring joy into the lives of Scouts has never been greater.

Reed Markham

Eagle Scout

Former U.S. Supreme Court Speechwriter

Faculty, Daytona State University

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