New Scout Orientations are meetings held by Scoutmasters or Cubmasters with their groups of new Scouts. The meetings let Scouts and parents know what the ins and outs of their new Scouting unit entail. During the orientation, the leadership may discuss the frequency of meetings, the intent of activities, the rank requirement sequences, the outing schedules and the dues and fees required. In addition to the group New Scout Orientation meeting, we encourage leaders to have a joining conference with each Scout family to learn about individual differences. In the next edition of Abilities Digest we will have an article about how to conduct Joining Conferences.
The New Scout Orientation meeting always prompts questions from parents who have specific concerns about their child. Continue the conversation! You could set up mini meetings during outings. You could have side conversations during unit meeting activities. Your Scout should be an active contributor to the discussion as well. Never underestimate what the Scout knows and can relay to you. Keep the conversations ongoing!
- You have a parent whose daughter recently joined your Scout unit. The daughter is fairly reserved, but she is willing to try it out as long as it doesn’t hurt. Say what? As long as it doesn’t hurt? What does that mean? The best way to find out is to ask! Ask Mom; ask the Scout!
- You have a new member who looks like a typical Scout, but when he is with his patrol he has a hard time keeping up and is very uncoordinated when playing games or doing something requiring eye-hand coordination. You discovered, through discussion with his dad, this young man is a whiz with electronics and sound systems. The next event that required this kind of set up you utilized his abilities. Best show on earth!
- You have recently been taken into the confidence of one of the Scout moms who has told you her son is intellectually challenged, yet he wants to be in Scouts because his brothers were in Scouts. Is there any way we can make this happen, so he is happy and included? You are able to get him situated into a patrol comfortably and all of his buddies have been a great help including him in games, activities and camping events. This Scout earned his Scout Rank with the help of a patrol buddy who prompted him while reciting the Scout Oath and Law. You never saw anyone so happy in your life!
- One of your Scouts really loves camping. He is becoming an enthusiastic expert outdoorsman. However, he consistently “forgets” to stop what he is doing to take his medication. His behavior is dangerously impacted when he doesn’t take it. This is threatening his privilege of attending campouts. After a discreet discussion with the Scout, you find that the Scout’s concept of time does not exist and his attention to his medication wearing off is spotty. You have a brief conversation with his parents, then two of you together develop a visual, tactile, and verbal system for when it is time to take his meds. The problem has not occurred since.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Have you yourself experienced something similar? Continued mini conferences can benefit the Scout and fuel his/her desire to stay in Scouts. This should become a natural way to lead and empower your units.
Know your Scout. Gather information on his or her strengths and weaknesses. Encourage and enjoy this new relationship. Educate the patrol, den or large group as long as the Scout and parents are okay with it. Figure out, with the help of the family, what is needed for smooth Scouting during all activities. You will find ongoing communication beyond that initial orientation meeting are well worth the effort. Keep up with your Scout and utilize the amazing resources you have in the families and friends who surround each one. These are the Scouts who need you most to do your best.
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