Scout spirit – what is it?
Recognise the spirit
I don’t know about you but I’m happy if a Scout leaving to move on to Explorers is kind and courteous, has learned some skills and smiles more often than not. An armful of badges is a great bonus but I believe Scout spirit is the true measure of our Movement’s success and luckily I work with a team of leaders who think along similar lines. The difficulty is defining what exactly Scout spirit is. Our colleagues across the pond in the Boy Scouts of America may have it. In fact, advancing through their rank badges requires a boy to demonstrate it. They even have a checklist to help leaders decide, and it’s pretty good. For example: • Do you participate in lots of Troop activities regularly? • Do you try not to complain or put other people down, even when you feel bad or you have to do a task like cleaning up? • Do you keep an eye on others in the Troop and help them out? • Are you a good, patient teacher and example to younger Scouts?
When commenting on Scouts who have shown great bravery, our Chief Scout often highlights their ‘Scouting spirit’. I think it’s fantastic that he recognises there are qualities we should all aim for which can be called this. I’d like to think we know it when we see it. I learned it from the service team at our local campsite who made me feel so welcome when I joined and are still my friends today. I learned it from the Patrol Leader who looked after a new and very nervous Scout last week. I learned it from the people who rejoined because they said they missed something they couldn’t quite describe. I’ve learned it from my mate Steve who is an older leader than I am and I know he learned it from his Scout leader who is sadly no longer with us. But, after all this I still can’t tell you what it is, so you’ll probably have to decide for yourself. I can however, tell you that it’s an amazing and intangible thing, and I really hope I’ve got it. Julian Morgans 44th Swansea
• Are you always ready to assist and be helpful when you see something that needs doing?
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