Every year we challenge some of our older Cubs in a Leadership Course; this year we held a two-day event at Ingleside Scout Camp. It’s an opportunity to enable our Patrol Leaders (PLs) and Assistant Patrol Leaders (APLs) to become more effective youth leaders, and to impart some more advanced bushcraft and camping skills.
The weekend’s focus was a mix of soft skills & hard skills. Soft skills included communication, self-assertion, decision making and trust to name a few. We started with some interactive activities around how to communicate effectively and work as a team.
We ran some mock “Unit Leader” elections, where the Cubs presented on why they would make a great leader – and then we asked them to talk about someone else and why they would be a great leader! They all agreed it was easier to talk about the positive attributes of someone else!
After lunch, we challenged them with a navigation course (using a compass to follow a trail), and they finished putting up their tents. For our Leadership Camp we very much follow the approach of “Youth Led, Adult Supported” – so the Cubs set-up their own tents unassisted. It’s the same with dinner – we give the Cubs some basic ingredients, and (agyer lighting a camping fire) they decide how they are going to cook!
After dinner, it’s up the hill to the Camp Fire Circle, where have a Campfire Opening Ceremony in traditional scouting tradtion.
This is a time to share stories, tell some jokes and learn some new songs by the roaring fire!
Despite our best efforts to exhaust the Cubs, they are up bright (and early) the following day, cooking themselves bacon and eggs for breakfast (again, over a fire).
After breakfast we were fortunate to be invited by Gordon from Bushcraft Survival Australia, who trains Australia’s defence forces in surviving in the outdoors, to join his “class”. The Cubs spent almost two hours watching Gordon teach the art of fire, and it was the highlight of our camp! (Even more impressive was that the following day, the Cubs were able to light their cooking camp fires using only a flint, cotton wool and some vaseline) – not one match stick or fire starter was used!
Then it’s back to work, with the Cubs working as a team to develop the Term 4 program.
The last – but very important – task is to review the Leadership Camp. What went well? What could be improved? What did we enjoy? The Scout philosophy of ‘Plan > Do > Review’ is an important part of our approach and something we build into all our activities. The Plan>Do>Review> Ball is thrown around, with its 31 helping us to reflect on the last two day’s activities!
Thanks to the Cubs for being active and engaged participants – and a huge thanks to Javier (Cub Leader) for putting together an ambitious but very effective leadeship program!