One of the presentations I get to give discusses the Game of Scouting.
Robert Baden-Powell is often quoted as saying that "Scouting is a game with a purpose." (For a more in-depth look at where that phrase really comes from, click here.)
It is important, as leaders, to ask: What is the purpose of Scouting?
The purpose could be summarized in the "aims" of the BSA, which are: to build character, develop citizenship, and foster personal fitness. That's why we do what we do. That is the purpose of Scouting.
So what is the Game? Well, that's the part that makes boys want to be involved. To them it's a game. It's fun. It involves activities and camps, uniforms and advancement, service projects and ceremonies. In short, the Game part of Scouting are the "methods" of each program.
For Boy Scouts they are:
- The Ideals
- Patrol method
- Association with adults
- Outdoor activities
- Personal growth
- Leadership development
- The uniform
- The Ideals
- Group activities
- Adult association
- High adventure
- Teaching others
Another thing Baden-Powell said was that "the Scoutmaster teaches boys to play the game by doing so himself." Too often we get scout leaders who won't play the game themselves. I've seen too many who won't wear a uniform. Most of their boys don't either. Too many don't participate in skits and silly songs around the campfire. How does that encourage a boy? I've even seen a few who will not raise their hand in the scout sign and repeat the scout oath and law. That just baffles me.
How is a leader supposed to lead, except by example? Scout leaders, PLAY THE GAME!