By Lana M
I’ve been working with just over a dozen 7 – 10 year olds since the beginning of the year, and will be doing so for the next several years. Based on a scheduled program of games and activities, in a 90 minute session every week, we have been concentrating on a few simple basics:
1. Giving exact instructions, and making sure no words are misunderstood or not understood (Basic Study Manual and Exec Series)
2. Taking each activity from an exact start, through a cycle of action, to a full completion (Fundamentals of Thought)
3. Taking each activity and game to good indicators (an old Messenger TR that I love)
4. Working in a tone of enthusiasm and not dropping below 2.0 in handling and dealing with these often rowdy and gung-ho bunch of kids (Science of Survival).
5. Concentrating on games and each kid taking something to a win – learning new skills, conquering challenges, building on their abilities to be responsible for themselves and for others (Fundamentals of Thought, New Slant on Life)
This week I created a game where three teams were sent 150 metres away with an adult, and each was given a scenario of an accident with one of their team. The adult told the team of kids he/she would remain with the “injured” child and then sent the remainder of the children back to report in and get help. Each team was given a lengthy and detailed message including who was injured, what had happened, how the person was doing now, where they are located exactly, and what help is needed. Each team of kids (average age of 8 yrs old) worked together to make sure they remembered and then relayed every part of the long message and each team duplicated the message and relayed it successfully so that their team member could be ‘saved’. They took this job seriously and worked industriously to make sure that they did not forget to relay any part of the message.
Each team was given a very well done and the beams on their faces at their accomplishment said it all. They were so very proud of what they had achieved.
We also did a number of communication drills, including learning how to get someone’s attention before speaking, getting an intention across, duplication and understanding. These drills included throwing and catching a ball, making very loud and silly noises (and getting them understood and repeated by the group), as well as working out how to crack a secret code.
It is fulfilling to watch as the group of kids are coming together from a bunch of renegade individuals to a real team (a pack actually). I am seeing originated communication and team-work from kids who were earlier silent and non-participants. Basic manners, courtesy and etiquette has gone in without stiff discipline, and best of all, I am now seeing kids setting goals for themselves and working to learn new information and skills to improve their own capacity.
If anyone out there has the time to get involved in the Scouting movement, I highly recommend it.
Great fun and a very real opportunity to work in your local community to help young kids learn life skills and gain confidence in themselves and their own abilities.