5 Courses for Youth Leadership Development

Ideas, approaches, material, etc. to develop our senior youth into leaders of the movement.
Post Reply
User avatar
John Simpson
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2009 2:23 pm

5 Courses for Youth Leadership Development

Post by John Simpson » Wed Apr 01, 2009 2:31 pm

Hello Everyone,

The overall plan that some of us in Northern Lights Council are working from is to have a progression of five training events to help build and promote youth leadership. The long term goals we hope to achieve with this program are increased youth involvement in program direction, increased retention of membership, and an increased rate at which youth members become adult leaders.

The programs and planned progression is as follows:

1. Silver Star - This is a Sixer & Second training weekend. This will be a modified version of the Sixer & Second Training Day that is currently run in Northern Lights Council by Ray Dunn. It will be run for the first time during the last weekend of September.

2. Golden Arrow - This is a Patrol Leader & APL training weekend. Having been run many times, including once in Thunder Bay by a leader who simply used the program from the manual that has been assembled, this is the most established of the training events.

3. IMPACT! - This is training event for inspiring leadership in teams. It is intended for Venturer Companies or their executives. We ran a trial version of the event in Fall 2008. The response was very positive. The challenge we faced at the end of the course: both the attendees and their leaders want more training like this. The problem: we don't yet have the human resources to give it to them.

4. HEROES - This is a new visioning of the old SIT courses. It is meant for senior Venturers and young Rovers. We ran the first one last summer (2008) and will run another this summer. Past participants have already taken on leadership roles within Golden Arrow. I also have confirmation that five of the participants were going to leave Scouting but changed their mind after attending. While not as refined as Golden Arrow this is also a course that has been proven in the field. You can read the report from the first version of the course at http://www.chiefscout.info/files/SIT200 ... LOCKED.pdf.

5. Call of the Kudu - This is one of our answers to the challenge that came out of running the demo version of IMPACT! It is an adult training course specifically designed to give the participants the inspiration and skills to help run the other four youth leadership development events AND improve the quality of youth leadership development back in their own groups. This will be run for the first time during the last weekend of September.

We also have a big event planned. It's so big that we're calling it "THE BIG EVENT". It will happen during the last weekend of September at a local Scout Camp. This event will involve simultaneously running Silver Star, Golden Arrow, and Call of the Kudu. Heavy staffing support will be provided by the 30+ trained SITs we'll have by then. The reason for this conjunction of events and people is to induce synergies and showcase youth leadership and youth leadership development in action. Planning for this event is already underway but it will not really take off until Scouting University is out of the way (Mid April).

If anyone has any questions about these events, including borrowing materials, ideas, talking about implementation strategies, bits of advice to share, or general comments please do not hesitate to respond to this post or to contact me directly.

-John
jsympson@gmail.com
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." ~Aristotle

Chris Dougherty
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:03 pm
anti_spambot: 0
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Contact:

Re: 5 Courses for Youth Leadership Development

Post by Chris Dougherty » Sun Apr 05, 2009 1:32 am

Would it make more sense for youth to be training youth, instead of using adults?

User avatar
John Simpson
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2009 2:23 pm

Re: 5 Courses for Youth Leadership Development

Post by John Simpson » Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:06 pm

Great question, Chris.

My answer: Absolutely... with caveats.

What are these caveats? Youth should be training youth whenever:

1. The youth who will deliver the training have the skills, competencies, and self-esteem necessary to do so successfully (Nobody should be thrown to the wolves and we have an obligation to ensure that the training people receive is top quality);

2. The youth who will deliver the training receive the appropriate support during planning, delivery, and evaluation (Everyone needs a little help and coaching their first few times out of the gate);

3. Having youth deliver the training is good for both the youth doing the training and the youth receiving the training (There are some topics and situations where having youth doing the training for other youth is simply a bad call, particularly when #1 and #2 have not been met).


Part of what we hope to accomplish with the five part training program outlined above is to make it the case that these conditions are satisfied across the council on a more frequent basis so that more youth on youth training can take place. Skill development and building support networks takes time though. All told, we expect to have a significant portion of the training on these courses delivered by youth within the next two years. Within five years I would expect that each of the training teams involved in these courses will have half its membership made up of youth members, on average.

We've already started this process and we've learned a lot from what we've tried.

The first thing we did was bring back previous Golden Arrow graduates to help train the next batch of Golden Arrow candidates. It became quickly apparent that this was not an ideal scenario. It was simply too difficult for these Patrol Counsellors to carry out their role because it was simply too hard for them to establish the necessary level of respect with their patrols over the course of the weekend. This is partially because the Patrol Counsellors had not yet fully developed the skills necessary to be the leaders we hoped they would be. More than this the problem was that the participants on the course simply weren't ready to accept a leader from within their peer group. This is unfortunate and it said a lot about where most of the leadership within the Scout program was actually coming from within our sections at the time (adults). The end result was that the Patrol Counsellors did the best they could but ultimately ended up either frustrated or the equivalent of a participant taking the course for a second time. Back to the drawing board.

The next time around we had a group of SITs come to act as Patrol Counsellors. This worked out really well. The age gap was large enough that the participants were willing to respect the SITs as leaders and the SITs had the core skills to perform their roles (It certainly helped that in the eyes of any 11-14 year-old an older teenager who actually takes an interest in them is just about the coolest thing in the world). The SITs have even been given the opportunity to lead sessions at Golden Arrow and this has proven extremely valuable as well, especially for these SITs. Four of them will be leading or co-leading courses at the upcoming Scouting University event here in the council and that will further help them continue their development. More importantly it will continue to drive home the message that when given the necessary support and skills it is a profound insult to the youth in our older sections to be referred to as "Beavers with drivers licenses."

We want to repeat this success with the other courses. In the short term this will involve having Golden Arrow graduates (or other appropriately skilled Scouts) coming to help with Silver Star as "Sixers". In the longer term it will mean having youth that are familiar with these courses and who have had the opportunity to develop their skill set through experiences outside these courses taking on full leadership roles on the team. A personal goal of mine: to have a past participant ask me to step aside because it is now their turn to lead.

Another thing we've learned is that you can train the youth all you want, but if you don't train the adults who support them as well then you are wasting your time. To help make this happen we do things like invite the Troop Scouters of the Golden Arrow participants out on the Sunday morning to receive a briefing on what they can expect from their PLs when they return and how they can support them. It has become clear that this is a good start but that more needs to be done in this regard because we are continually asked by leaders, Wood Badge II equipped and otherwise, for more training. This is what led to the decision to put together Call of the Kudu.

So, does it make sense for youth to be training youth? Absolutely, we're just not at a point yet where we can embrace this as fully as we would like. These courses are about getting us there quickly and in a way that will become self-sustaining.
Last edited by John Simpson on Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." ~Aristotle

User avatar
Karl Wagner
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 10:20 am
anti_spambot: 7
Location: Kanata, ON

Re: 5 Courses for Youth Leadership Development

Post by Karl Wagner » Sun Apr 05, 2009 5:34 pm

Chris Dougherty wrote:Would it make more sense for youth to be training youth, instead of using adults?
Have you had a look at the latest BP&P amendments published in March? Somebody has decided to put in age restrictions on section leaders!!! What were they thinking?
I'm an INTP. What are you?

User avatar
John Simpson
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2009 2:23 pm

Re: 5 Courses for Youth Leadership Development

Post by John Simpson » Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:42 pm

No, but now that I am looking I see changes to sections 4008.2, 4008.3, and all the section leadership team descriptions (with the exception of Rovers).

Perhaps this is done to clarify the distinction between Activity Leaders (4008.4) and SITs (4008.5)?
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." ~Aristotle

scoutleader101
Posts: 174
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:08 am

Re: 5 Courses for Youth Leadership Development

Post by scoutleader101 » Sun Apr 05, 2009 10:45 pm

First of all...I don`t understand the problem with age restrictions for section leaders. Secondly, there have been age restrictions for a long time. I`ve checked as far back as my Sept. 2006 version and it specified age restrictions.

Chris Dougherty
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:03 pm
anti_spambot: 0
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Contact:

Re: 5 Courses for Youth Leadership Development

Post by Chris Dougherty » Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:54 am

Karl Wagner wrote: Have you had a look at the latest BP&P amendments published in March? Somebody has decided to put in age restrictions on section leaders!!! What were they thinking?
You're right - the age restrictions were changed in July of 2008. For junior sections, the minimum age for the section contact leader was lowered from 21 to 18 for Beavers, Cubs, and Scouts.

User avatar
Karl Wagner
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 10:20 am
anti_spambot: 7
Location: Kanata, ON

Re: 5 Courses for Youth Leadership Development

Post by Karl Wagner » Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:13 am

Chris Dougherty wrote:You're right - the age restrictions were changed in July of 2008. For junior sections, the minimum age for the section contact leader was lowered from 21 to 18 for Beavers, Cubs, and Scouts.
:oops:Thanks for clearing that up. I don't remember seeing age restrictions before. So I guess the answer to my question is "they were thinking the right things".:oops:
I'm an INTP. What are you?

User avatar
Mark Milan
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:26 am
anti_spambot: 0
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Re: 5 Courses for Youth Leadership Development

Post by Mark Milan » Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:31 am

With regards to Youth training Youth - why stop there? This Winter/Spring I was training on a WB II (Senior Section) for Venturer & Rover Advisors. I had the honour of having a Venturer and a Rover training with me. The insights that they offered into "Understanding Youth" were truly awesome. I think all the participants agreed that this was the best session.

Mark.

User avatar
John Simpson
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2009 2:23 pm

Re: 5 Courses for Youth Leadership Development

Post by John Simpson » Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:38 pm

Oh, there's no stopping at youth training youth.

That's just the beginning.

=)
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." ~Aristotle

Steve in Thunder Bay
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:39 pm

Re: 5 Courses for Youth Leadership Development

Post by Steve in Thunder Bay » Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:14 pm

Just reading back through the posts, came to John's comment about the Golden Arrow we ran in Thunder Bay.

Without a doubt, running this course was in my top five list of things I've done in my 19 years in the Movement. Seeing the Scouts change before your eyes from a group of youngsters who mostly didn't know one another and were dubious about being there, into two cohesive patrols of young leaders who were excited about bringing positive change to their respective Troops, all in the space of a weekend, was really awe inspiring.

However, I do have to point out to John that I didn't "just pick up the manual" and run the course. While I certainly couldn't have pulled this together without all the good work that Northern Lights had done previously, and which they quite graciously shared with me, I had to do a ton of work to tailor the Alberta materials to suit the resources I had available, the time of year that I was running the course, the limited budget I had, and the smaller number of participants in my course. Scouter Garth was an immense help in being a sounding board for the ideas that I had (big thanks Garth!), but I wouldn't want anyone to be under the impression that it's as easy as picking up the manual and off you go.

That being said, in my follow-up conversations with Garth, after my course was done, we had discussed the idea of a Golden Arrow resource manual for general distribution; rather than being a rigid curricullum of specific activities, it would consist of pick-lists. The individual session objectives would remain universal, but for each session the course organizer would have two or three choices for activities, which they could choose to meet the needs of their locale. I haven't talked to Garth for a few months; I don't know if he ever took the idea forward.

At any rate, we're hoping to hold another Golden Arrow in fall 2009, somewhere west of Thunder Bay. Second time around promises to be a lot less work!

User avatar
John Simpson
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2009 2:23 pm

Re: 5 Courses for Youth Leadership Development

Post by John Simpson » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:11 pm

I meant "pick up the manual" in the sense of "use the framework". Looking back I certainly could have been clearer on that. I get excited some times.

Thanks for keeping me honest.

We've run four (has it been four? why does it seem like five?) Golden Arrow Camps and they are still a lot of work. There are always new team members, new participants, different weather considerations, things we didn't like, things we'd like to try, someone homesick, someone hurt, missing activity pieces, new ideas, something spontaneous, etc. The framework is solid though or, to be more appropriately cautious, it has been solid given the experiences that we have had so far.

:)
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." ~Aristotle

scoutleader101
Posts: 174
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:08 am

Re: 5 Courses for Youth Leadership Development

Post by scoutleader101 » Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:46 pm

Oh I would say that the framework, the pattern if you like, is very solid. I think the four we've done (yes, it is four) have gotten better and we are quite close to a "cookie cutter" version. Steve's comments are good in that I do want to get to a point where there is a menu of various activities and a group can just select what works best at their site. However, I also feel that some things should be standardized across the curriculum.

Post Reply