Category Archives: Youth Leadership

Concepts for youth leadership. What you can do to be a better leader.

A boy helping carry wood

A Strong Mission Equals Strong Youth

A boy washing the carI don’t think that this news will surprise any of us. A recent study conducted at Tufts University found that Scouting had a significantly positive impact on character of the youth. In the three year study of 2,200 youth, researchers found that there were significant increases in trustworthiness, helpfulness, kindness, obedience, and cheerfulness among the 1,800 boys in scouting versus the 400 non-scouts. That is 5 of the 12 points in the scout law. Not bad when you consider that all the scouts in the study were 12 years old or younger and only in cub scouts.

IBoy at drinking fountainn addition the study found that the scouts also expressed a more positive future hope. Of course. When you have character attributes such as helpfulness, kindness, and cheerfulness and you know that you can make a difference, why would you not think that the difference you make will be positive?

The study went on to share that the more time that a child spent in scouting, the greater benefit they received.

http://www.keyc.com/story/30318003/tufts-university-study-finds-boy-scouts-builds-positive-character

A helping handI have to confess that I do not necessarily think that Scouting is alone in the ability to have a positive influence on our youth. Many organizations, with a strong mission for their youth program will achieve similar results. There are many good programs that focus on character, rather than win at all costs, that we need to make sure we are encouraging our children to participate in the right program. The program that is going to benefit them in the long run.

If your child is in scouts, Well Done!

A Born Leader

The Do’s and Don’ts of Recruiting Volunteers

A Born LeaderWe have all been there. That fateful day when a key leader in the group announces that they are stepping down from the position, and a new person needs to be found to take over. Often this results in panic among the group, and a dramatic search for a new person to fill the role begins. Unfortunately, this is the wrong time to be looking for a person. Finding the replacement for this position should have happened months before. Even before you knew you were going to need to recruit a new volunteer.

Recruiting adult leadership is often one of the hardest activities for a youth organization. There are many reasons for this, but often the approach to seeking and nurturing volunteers is at the heart of the difficulty. To help groups over their recruiting problems I have developed a list of Do’s and Don’ts.

DO – Start Early

Look for recruits for a position before they are needed. Having someone already prepared to take over a position when it is not needed is a blessing for those times when the leadership transition occurs. Identify potential candidates early and get them trained and ready to take over before the need arises.

I read a story recently about a leader who made her pregnant daughters promise to be volunteer leaders once their children were old enough to join the group. While this might be extreme, you do want to plant the seed of leadership in all of the adults in the group early on.

DO – Start Small

Game coordinatorAsking someone to take on a major role in the group when their child has first joined can be intimidating to a new member. Instead, ask the new adults to assist someone else in their duties. Start small, perhaps assisting with a single event. Allowing someone to participate without the fear of responsibility provides a venue for success. A true leader can grow out of these small roles.

DON’T – Broadcast Your Need

Standing up in front of a large crowd and asking for ‘someone to do something’ is never very effective. Occasionally you will find a volunteer who will step forward, but often human nature leads us all to believe that there is someone else in the room more qualified or more enthusiastic about a role than us. So we let them step up rather than volunteer ourselves.

I have done this enough times to know that it is not very effective. Me: “Can someone with financial experience please help us out by being our group treasurer?” Group: [Sound of crickets chirping in the still night.] Sigh.

 DO – Identify the Right Roles for the Right People

Get to know the adults who participate at the meetings. Talk to them about their interests, hobbies, and skills. Discover the characteristics of each person and begin thinking about how they would best contribute to the group. Some people thrive on public exposure; others are better suited for behind-the-scenes work. Understanding who will fit where can help you build your volunteer team recruiting list.

Big KidLooking for the right spark in people can often be a challenge. I had one dad in our group who was very reluctant to participate. Especially in anything that involved getting out in front of people. But this person had a great sense of humor and an ability to laugh at himself. Even though he could not see it, I knew that this person would be great working with the children. Eventually he agreed, starting with small supporting tasks and adding additional capabilities as he went along. Now, he is a key leader in two different groups and they are benefiting from his enthusiasm and skills. I found out much later that he was terrified of anything where he had to speak out in front of people, but he was not only able to overcome this through his role in the group, it also helped him in his personal and professional lives.
The success of another leader I know was summed up by what his wife said. “I raise four children in my home. Three of them are my sons and the other one is my husband who is really just an 8-year-old in a bigger body.”

DO – Ask Privately

The most effective method of recruiting volunteers that I have found is to approach them along with one other leader. Before approaching the recruit, discuss with your colleague which role would be a good fit for the person and what skills they possess that validate your decision. Sit down with the recruit in a neutral, quiet place and share what you know about their skills and how those would help them be successful at the role. Don’t stop asking until you get agreement to participate or a satisfying answer why they are not actually right for the job. If you do get a satisfying denial, ask what job that they think they can do to help the group move forward.

  Don’t – Stick with the Conventional Choices

Look beyond the obvious leadership recruits. Besides parents, you could look for volunteers from other groups of people like grandparents, college-aged adults, and people already engaged in the community.

Leaders are EverywhereOne of the best leaders I have ever met was a reluctant grandmother volunteer of two boys. Her daughter had volunteered to be the adult leader for her son’s group and then abruptly broke both her arms in an accident. While she was out of commission the group floundered for a while until the leader’s mother stepped in to help out. At first she was going to participate for 6 months and turn the reins back over to her daughter. When the end of the 6 months approached, she decided that she would continue to the end of the year. Before the next session started, she agreed to be the leader for the group for another year. “But, you will need to find a new leader for the next year,” she said. Before that year’s session ended, she was already planning what she would be doing with the group for the following year. After that, leaders were expected to camp with the group. She was not up for that activity and started looking for a replacement leader. I had recommended several potential candidates, but she was not sure if any of them could do the job to her satisfaction. Finally she came to me and asked, “How much camping is required?” I explained that two weekend campouts were expected. Her response: “Okay, I can do that.” She ended up following those boys all the way through their time in the group, becoming the fundraising chairperson, and promising to start again with a new group of children the next year even though she wouldn’t have any more grandchildren participating. Full of ideas and enthusiasm, she was a great asset to our team.

Do – Support and Encourage

Your job as a recruiter is not done once you find someone willing to take on the role. Make sure that you continue to support them in their new role so that they can be successful. Be sure to publicly acknowledge their contribution to the group and privately congratulate them on their successes, no matter how small. Remember, just stepping forward to lend a hand is a success. A kind word and some genuine encouragement can go a long way in converting a reluctant assistant into a confident leader.

DO – Look for Your Replacement Right Away

children playingAsk each leader, once they are comfortable with their position, to begin to find the next person who could take over for them. Identifying the next recruit and sharing the job responsibilities with others establishes a precedent for an ongoing leadership transition.

As a leader I often tried to identify whether I was doing a good job. Although the size of the group, whether the group is achieving its mission, and if every one is enjoying participating are the obvious examples of success, I realized that there is another very important criterion. Will the group continue to work well together if I am no longer part of the equation? Building a team and knowing that your role will be taken care of going forward even if you are not there is very rewarding. It provides a degree of continuity that helps you to know that you are leaving a legacy.

DON’T – Toss Out A Title and Leave

Once you get a volunteer, make sure that they are successful. Give them the proper training and support needed in order to help them be great at the role. Too often we forget how difficult it was when we first started in a role and neglect to help others with the learning curve. If there is no formal training available for your group, create some. Make a list of things that a leader should know and provide information for each of those.

 DO – Consider Alternative Solutions

Leading from BehindWhen my son first joined one group in mid-year they had not found someone who was willing to lead the group. Instead, all the parents of that particular group of children decided to share in the responsibility. Every month a different parent would be the host for the group meetings. It worked. They coordinated the different activities for the year in advance and the children did not notice any difference from the other groups. When it came my turn to host the meetings, I had so much fun doing it that I offered to take over the entire responsibility for the next year. Sometimes letting everyone have a taste of what the role entails is enough to allow one person to step forward and accept the job.

 

I hope you and your group are helped by these tactics that have enabled the recruitment of great leadership teams. Bringing on adults who know nothing about the program but have a willingness to learn on the job can be a rewarding experience. Be sure to acknowledge and encourage their successes, no matter how small, and look for the next incremental opportunity to increase their involvement.

 

The Million Dollar Recruiting Activity

Every year, youth organizations have recruiting events to help bolster the membership. For groups that work with the younger crowd, this means dividing time between informing parents about the organization and making sure the children are having fun. One of the best ways to allow for a good discussion with parents and provide fun for the children is to have a youth activity.

The activity needs to be simple enough for the child to be able to accomplish it, but not so simple that they become bored right away. Also, in many cases, the activity needs to span a wide range of ages. In my case we often had to find things that would please children from ages 6 to 11 plus any other siblings that came along for the visit. The best activity that I have ever found are Stick Blasters.

Stick Blasters

Also known as stick grenades or stick bombs, stick blasters are a simple, fun toy that are easy to make. In my youth I can still remember summers where we could play outside until the streetlights came on and flagging down the ice cream truck as it trolled down the street. If you had some forethought as a kid, you would save the stick from the ice cream until you had enough to make your own stick blaster. Then you would go outside and play with them all day.

The stick blaster in these instructions uses five sticks. I have seen designs that use four sticks and six sticks. I think the five-stick design is the easiest to make.

I like this as a recruiting activity because:

  • Children as young as six can learn to make the toy and then spend the next 30 minutes happily playing with it while you talk to the parent.
  • The older children in your group who have made a stick blaster before can actually teach the younger ones how to make them, freeing up adults to supervise or talk with new parents.
  • Sticks are inexpensive and everyone can take a set home. This provides a memento of the fun times they had at their first youth meeting, encouraging them to return.

Stick Blaster

You can buy craft sticks just about anywhere. This package of 60 sticks was purchased at a local dime store. You can buy them for less in larger quantities. The cost to send five sticks home is about 25 cents for each child. I find that the thicker sticks work best even though they are a little harder to assemble. Most of the sticks that I have seen say that they are approved for play by children 3+ years old. This particular package says they are safe for 8+ years. It is a good idea to check the package to make sure you have sticks appropriate for the age group. It is also highly recommended that at least one adult in the group is supervising the youth activity to make sure that it is safe.

StickBlaster1As mentioned, we start with 5 sticks to make the toy. If you have colored sticks like these shown you can give them out in any color combination that you want. If you have natural wood sticks (not colored) you could also provide markers for the children to decorate their sticks as part of the activity.

StickBlaster2

Constructing the stick blaster starts with a single stick. Pick a stick and lay it down on the table as shown. Once you get good at building these you can build them in your hand.

StickBlaster3

The next stick is added on top of the fist stick and angled to the left.

StickBlaster4

The third stick is added on top of the other two. This time the stick is angled to the right. Note that all three sticks meet together at one point. The stick in the middle is at the bottom of the pile. This is important to the successful construction of this toy.

StickBlaster5

Take a fourth stick and add it so that it is over the two outer sticks but under the middle stick.

StickBlaster7

The fifth stick is installed in two parts. Part one is to put it under one outer stick and over the middle stick. It is a good idea while you do this, to press on the point at the bottom where the first three sticks meet to keep them from coming apart. If you are doing this in your hand then you would be pinching the first three sticks together where they meet at this point.

StickBlaster8

The final step is to bend the fifth stick down and then slide it over and behind the other outside stick. Once this is done, the sticks will hold each other in place. You may adjust your sticks so that the ends are just barely meeting, making this a more fragile toy.

The fun part now is when you throw the sticks in the air and they fall to the floor. We usually held our meetings in a school gym, so there was plenty room to let them fly. Once they hit the floor the sticks will disconnect (especially if you adjusted them so they were only meeting at the very edges) and the release of the spring tension causes them to explode into a pile of individual sticks again ready for reassembly and another throw.

At one meeting, I was talking with a new child who came to see what were were all about. I asked if he wanted to lean how to make a stick blaster. He said yes, so I showed him how to put it together. When we were done I could see the look on his face that said ‘Big Deal.’ I said, “Now, watch this,” and threw the toy up into the air about 10 feet high. When it hit the ground and exploded into a bunch of pieces, his reaction was “Wow!” and he rushed over to get his sticks and make his own stick blaster to throw again.

This is a great way to break the ice with children and give them something fun to remember about your group. Try it and let us know what you think of our recruiting activity.

 

WAS

 

The Secret to Joining the Best Youth Organization

The key to a successful Scout unit (or any other youth organization) is strong, creative, and caring leadership. I often hear adults whose children belong to units say ‘Our Scoutmaster is great, the things he teaches my son are amazing.” Or, “Our Group Leader is the best. She is so funny and wacky that all the girls and boys just love her.”

It is true that a good unit leader can go a long way to ensure a unit’s success. But there is another leader in the organization who is even more important.

The parent leader.

Parent involvement and parent leadership are crucial to an organization’s success.

Let me draw an illustration for you and see if it resonates.

Tiger cub ready for a first pack meeting. Parent leadership and involvement can make a big difference.Imagine that you suggest to your wife or husband that you would like to go out for a nice dinner. Your wife or husband agrees to this idea and you set a time and place.

During the time leading up to this event you imagine what it will be like. The conversations you will have. How you will talk about the experience afterward. Will there be mutual friends you might meet? All of this builds your excitement and anticipation.

Finally, the day of the event is here and your spouse drives you to the restaurant. However, when you arrive your spouse says, “Okay, go in and enjoy yourself and I will pick you up in an hour.”

All of your anticipation, excitement, and enjoyment fade, leaving you with the dread of going in by yourself and not being able to share any of the experience. How would you feel? How much would you think your spouse cares about you? Even if you enjoyed yourself, would being alone diminish your experience?

Many of our youth face this situation when they go away to meetings. Events that can be great bonding experiences for them and their parents are missed because the parent does not participate.

Many families have circumstances that don’t allow the parents to participate 100% in each child’s activities. Sometimes the parents work multiple jobs to cover the bills, sometimes a single parent is raising the family. We can appreciate these circumstances and understand that those parents may not always be around, but I have seen parents make their involvement a priority even in difficult situations. One parent I know just brought the whole gang to meetings. She could participate in a limited fashion while still watching after the younger ones. Two other families shared participation by trading jobs. The parent from one family brought the two boys to the meeting while the other worked. The other parent would bring the boys on the weekend events. In both situations, the parents were able to stay involved enough to share some of the experiences with their boys.

Parent leadership can make or break the success of a unit. The most important leadership comes from the parents’ participation.

Joining with your child in the youth organization can provide you with great benefits:

  • Spend valuable one-on-one time with your child. There is an old visual description of this. Imagine that you were to take a 10-foot length of paper from a receipt printer and stretch it out to represent the lifetime of your child. Mark the tape evenly to show every decade of your child’s expected life. Now, at the beginning of the paper tear off the section that is prior to when you can first remember doing things with your parents. For most of us this is about age 5 or 6. Next, at the other end of the tape tear off everything after the date when you might no longer be around to share in your child’s life experience. Continue tearing off sections of paper for every major life event:
    • When children become busy with children of their own.
    • When they get married.
    • When they go off to college.
    • When they discover love and independence.

Soon you will see that all you have left of the piece of paper is a small section that ranges from about 5 years old to age 15. 10 years. 10 years of your child’s life where you can make the memories and the bonds to build those lasting relationships.

Doing things together on a regular basis and sharing adventures is a great way to build those bonds.

A quick father daughter picture then off to our activities. Parent leadership has its perks.Some of the best memories I have with my children involve youth outings. I remember vividly one very busy weekend at camp with my daughter when we were in the YMCA program. I was serving in a leadership role to help organize the event as my daughter was enjoying all the activities that were available. Early on we shared meals and games and sporting events, but on Saturday afternoon I had some errands to complete for the upcoming campfire that night and she had more activities to attend. There was a scheduled time during the day when we were to have a father/daughter picture taken. At the right time, we both reconnected to take the picture and shared a little bit about what we were doing, and then it was off again in separate directions. I can remember this so clearly because we both made an effort to break away from our own personal activities and come together and connect.

  • Make friends with other adults. You are going to find other parents who are sharing the same experiences. I have seen many instances where these casual acquaintances turn into lifelong friendships and help each other support their children’s growing.
  • Learn new things. There are many fun and interesting things that most organizations get to do and learn. You will learn some of these alongside your child, and others you will be able to lead and share your knowledge. For me, this is one of the best features of getting involved. I learned a bunch of fun things right alongside the youth. The best was that I learned how to teach a skill in a way that younger people could understand. From carving to fancy knots to starting a fire with sticks, the things I learned were both fun and surprisingly helpful.
  • Visit new and exciting places. Trips to unusual locations are a part of most youth programs and because you participate, you will get to visit many places where you would normally not have access. Adventures with your children become
  • Be a local hero. Your children will be amazed at what you can do and how you help them and their friends. The best thing about this is that it carries on beyond participation in a youth organization. My children and I have been able to enjoy adventures together even as they have gotten older and we have turned ordinary outings, like cross country trips to college, into adventures by incorporating additional activities.
  • Have fun. This is not brain surgery. Most of the activities are small, short, simple and a whole lot of fun.

So don’t miss out. Get yourself in gear and participate in what is going on. This is really the secret to finding the best youth activities for your children. They are the same ones where you can participate. Show off your parent leadership skills, no matter how few. Don’t worry, your skills will get better. You won’t be sorry.

WAS

Generic Expensive Awards

The Ten Cent Zipper Pull Youth Award

As a youth leader I like to find ways to encourage children when they do things that align with the values of the youth organization. If a teacher tells me that one of the girls in my group was very helpful in her class, or if a boy participates in a community cleanup drive, I like to acknowledge these things publicly. It helps reinforce the values that you may be trying to instill, and encourages others to emulate the same activity.

For a long time I would just bring the child forward and announce what they had done and why it was a good thing. Then we would all cheer wildly (we never clap politely in any youth meetings I run). I realized after a while that I could do better. One night I was making some keychain fobs from paracord and had some leftover pieces. I turned these scrap pieces into zipper pulls and thought, “You know, I can make these very quickly with hardly any expense. I wonder if they would be good as encouragement youth awards?” At the next meeting I experimented with not only cheering for the child, but also giving them a zipper pull to wear on their coat, backpack, sleeping bag, or anything else. These were a big hit. Everyone wanted the zipper pull youth award. It became a status symbol in the group. Several of the children, who received more than one pull, started wearing then on the same zipper to show off their awards as a collection.

Zipper pulls can be made in a number of ways. I will show you a simple technique that will you to make zipper pulls for less than 10 cents each. They cost even less if you buy your materials in bulk or use leftover scraps as I have done.

Things you will need to make these zipper pulls: scissors, lanyard hooks, lighter (or matches), 6-8" length of cord or string.

Scissors, lanyard hooks, lighter (or matches), 6-8″ length of cord or string.

To get started you will need:

  • Inexpensive lanyard hooks. I get a package of 45 of these at Michael’s.
  • Scissors.
  • 6-8 inches of cord.
  • A lighter or matches to fuse the nylon paracord, or some glue to keep the ends of the cord from fraying.

You may want to start with a longer piece of cord for your first few pulls until you become comfortable with the tying steps.

Start by forming the cord into a U shape.

Start by forming the cord into a U shape.

Start by forming your cord into a U shape. Hold two ends together and find the middle of the cord with your other hand and pull to create the U.

First loop.

Create the first loop by moving the end of the cord to the left, down, and back over the rest of the cord.

We start tying the zipper pull by taking the end of the cord on the left side of the U and moving it left, then down, then back to the right until it lays on top of the rest of the cord, leaving a loop to the left of the U.

Making the second loop by reversing the process with the first loop.

Create the second loop moving the right-side cord to the right, down, and behind the rest of the cord, then up through the first loop.

Next we take the cord on the right side and move it right, then down over the cord from the left, then behind what is left of the U, and finally through the loop we created on the left-hand side. When you have done these two loops your cord should look like the picture, with a small U at the bottom, left and right loops with the cord ends going through them in opposite directions, one from above and one from behind.

Cinch the first knot tightly.

Pull the loop and cord ends to cinch the first knot somewhat tight.

Now hold the U shape in one hand and and pull each cord end a little at a time to cinch up the first knot. The new loop, formed by the U and the knot, determines the length of our zipper pull. If it is too short you can pull on the loop to tighten the knot as well, giving you a little more room to work. A good length is about an inch.

First sinnet knot

Tie the first pass for the sinnet.

You now begin to form the series of knots that will define your zipper pull. We will actually be tying a series of square knots around the two strands of the loop. The result is a nice flat braid that is strong and easy to grip. This braid has various names; Cobra Stitch, Solomon Bar, and Portuguese Sinnet are the ones that I know about.

There is a very important concept in order to get this correctly:

The cord that passes in front of the loop in the last knot tied is the cord that passes in front of the loop again for the next knot.

If you remember this, then this project is easy. The picture shows the first cord for the new knot passing over the top of the loop from the right and going to the left. On your knot it may pass from the left and go to the right depending on how you started. In any case, the startng direction will alternate from side to side as you tie each knot. Just remember to keep the cord that starts in front always passing in front and you will be okay.

I teach this process to youth so that they can make their own survival bracelets. The fact that the knots start from an opposite side each time is difficult for the younger ones to grasp. It is an interesting view into how the brain matures. In my experience, youth who are 9 years and older seem to grasp the concept easier and get less frustrated with the process.

Back to our zipper pull. Look at your last knot that you tied and identify which part crosses over the top of the loop. Find the end of that cord that crossed over the top and pull it down and back over the top of the loop, again leaving a side loop . Pinch this cord in place.

Take the other end of the cord and pull it down and over the cord you are pinching then behind the loop and up through the side loop that you created with the cord you are pinching. It should look like the picture above (it may be reversed depending on which side of knot you started at). Tighten the knot.

More knots for the zipper pull.

Continue adding knots to your zipper pull

Keep adding knots and tightening them as you go. You can also pull down on the loop to compress the knots closer together for a nicer look.

Add knots as long as you have cord or a loop left.

Keep adding knots until you run out of cord or loop.

Continue adding knots until your either run out of enough cord length or you have come down so far on your loop that you cannot add another knot to it.

Clip off the ends of the cord.

Clip off the ends of the cord.

Now remove the excess cord end to a point near your zipper pull. You may use scissors, a knife, or my favorite, some small wire cutters.

Fuse the ends of the cord by melting them with a lighter or a match.

Fuse the ends of the cord by melting them with a lighter or a match. Use some glue for cord that does not melt.

Now melt the ends of the cords close to the zipper pull to keep them from unraveling. If you are using a cord that does not melt, like cotton or hemp, apply a little glue to the ends. Cyanoacrylate (CA) glue, also known as super glue, works well for this step.

Add the lanyard hook to the loop and your zipper pull is done.

Add the lanyard hook to the loop, and your zipper pull is done.

Take one of your lanyard hooks and connect it to the loop of your zipper pull.

Your Zipper Pull is done and ready to be given away.

Your Zipper Pull is done and ready to be given away.

There it is, your zipper pull is done and ready to give away. Once you get the idea down, these zipper pulls are easy to make, cost very little, and really help make a child’s day.

Keep Zipper Pulls on a keychain for each access.

Keep Zipper Pulls on a keychain for easy access.

I keep several zipper pulls on a key ring and toss them into my Cub Master bag. So when I want to hand one out I can just grab the collection, disconnect one pull, and make a spontaneous award.

I do not call these the Zipper Pull award. I give them a name aligned with the organization. It might be the “Bright Y Award,” or the “Cub Master Award,” or the “Way to Go Award.” The name helps define that these little awards are meant to highlight someone who has reflected the values of the organization.

It is funny, but the simple things really do go a long way to building trust and encouraging the youth.

WAS

Welcome to Wild About Scouting

Wild About Scouting is a site focused on youth leadership related activities. The primary theme of information in this site will be derived from my experience with scouting both as a youth and an adult, leading a middle school church youth group, involvement in YMCA youth groups, and other opportunities to serve as a youth leader in the community. Although my experience is limited to more traditional male oriented activities, I believe that most of the information on these posts will apply to females as well. We live in an age where gender limitations are rapidly diminishing and learning about outdoor activities should be open to all. So if I should write something about a den activity, for example, please feel free to substitute. Rather than den it might be a Brownie meeting, an Adventure Guides gathering, or any other organization that fosters confidence, character, and fun education for youth.

I should point out here that this site is not affiliated with any organization and the views expressed on this site are solely those of the site owner. I have had some involvement in several youth organizations and I think they are all excellent learning experiences for both old and young.

My experience includes being a scout as a youth from age 7 (long before the introduction of Tiger Clubs when you can join at age 6) until I earned the rank of Eagle Scout at age 15. For the next 15 years I would not be affiliated with a youth organization. I did apply and hone the skills that I learned as a scout almost every day. Once my children became of age I found myself back in the midst of youth organizations and found I enjoyed them even more. My daughter and I were in the YMCA Indian Guides and Princesses (now Adventure Guides) program for many years and my son and I enjoyed a few years in that same program before rejoining scouting. I served several years as a middle school church youth leader as well as a senior high school youth leader on call.

As an adult scout leader I held positions of den leader, cub master, scoutmaster, and district trainer. I found that I learned more in scouting as an adult than I did when I was a youth. I made so many good friends and found that I could help youth in my community. When my son eventually aged out of scouting (as an Eagle Scout too!), I continued on in my volunteer role. During this period I continued to train and encourage adult leaders and helped build character boys in the program. I received the District Award of Merit and the Silver Beaver Award for my involvement thanks to the great people that were so willing to let me help them.

Eventually it became time for us to move from our town and my regular affiliation with scouting came to an end. Over the years I amassed various youth leadership materials, many that were cobbled together from a number of sources and rewritten in order to make a clearer presentation of the ideas. Rather than just join another local organization and share this information on a limited basis, I thought that a blog available on the internet might be a way to help a broader group of people.

If you are a scout, a scout leader, an Adventure Guide leader, church youth leader, or part of Camp Fire or another group that focuses on building character, enjoying the outdoors, and learning new skills, I hope you will find some useful information among these pages.