Tailoring the Scout Method to Your Youth Section
The Scouting Life is what makes Scouting attractive to young people. This atmosphere is so powerful that anyone coming into the section immediately realises that they are in a different environment that it is worth making the most of. The fact that they perceive this is what makes them stay. The richness of pack life leads them to prefer Scouting to any other option.
If the Scouting Life is rewarding, the Patrol System will unfold all its potential, the young people will come to identify powerfully with it and it will never cross their minds to leave.
Adapting the Elements of the Scout Method to Each Age Range
The section methods are merely an adaptation of the elements of the Scout method to the characteristics of each age range.
In each age section, from Joey Scouts to Rovers, the same methodological elements are present: Scout Law and Promise, team system, learning by doing, symbolic framework, life in nature, personal progression etc.; however they take a form adapted to the characteristics, aspiration and capacities of each age group.
All the elements of the Scout Method have to appear, in an adapted form, in the method for each section. They will be adjusted according to the characteristics of each age range, such as the capacity for autonomy, degree of demand for responsibility, need form emotional security, methods of expression, capacity for cooperation with the group, etc.
Consequently, the role of the adults in the group will also vary according to the age range in question.
One can describe the changes taking place from the Joey Scouts to the Rovers in the following way.
|A — Widening the Frameworks
At first limited to the immediate family and environment, the living and playing environments widen. The same evolution takes place in Scouting.
Activities and camps are organized in an increasingly vast field of action and offer the opportunity for increasingly varied contact and discovery. At the level of Joey Scouts, activities are short and take place in the immediate environment. At the Rover age, international gatherings and service or solidarity activities enable young people to become aware of the intercultural dimension.
|B — From the Imaginary to the Reality
A small child's imagination is fired by the magic of legends. At the end of childhood and beginning of adolescence, girls and boys easily identify with mainly imaginary heroes whose qualities and success they want to emulate.
In adolescence, the characters with which a teenager identifies come from real life: champions, contemporary stars, and scientists etc. "Play" takes a foothold in reality. The young person no longer plays "Cowboys and Indians", but prepares for a mountain-bike trip.
|C — From the Small Group to Society
The activities and life of the group form part of an increasingly vast network of relationships, in which the young people themselves take on greater responsibility. Gradually, the activities put the young people in direct contact with real social life, and allow them to experience true adult roles through social service or community development projects.
|D — From the Rules of the Game to Universal Values
Through life in the mob or pack, Joey & Cub Scouts discover the Scout Law as the rule of the game. The Scout Law helps young adolescents to discover living values: loyalty, trustworthiness, etc. Through their projects, Rovers gain direct experience of the meaning of universal values such as democracy, the right to be different, tolerance, etc.