After 7 years of having pathfinders in our group, I’ve realized that there are some issues that old school scout leaders may have with doing a “scouts led” program. I want to tell you that it’s okay for your group to be actually scouts led. Here’s a list of things I want to put your mind at ease about.
1. It’s okay if they choose a patrol animal that is not on the “traditional” list. My group has had a “TARDIS patrol” other groups have had mythical animals and even things they made up. The important part is that the kids have found a group identity. If their group identity is weird- all the better- it makes them feel they belong.
2. When asked to come up with their own skits and songs for campfire- it is okay if you don’t know what is going on. It is okay if they act out a weird YouTube video or song they like. The important part is that they did it together- not that it gave you nightmares.
3. When they ask to earn a badge- realize that you just need to go ask YouTube and google how to tie that weird knot or do this bizarre thing in the Pathfinder book. An REI video just taught me how to make a butterfly knot to do with my scout working on First Class. We didn’t need to be old school and hunt down someone- we just needed to look it up the way that modern scouts look things up.
4. They may hate cobbler. It will be okay. Our scouts now prefer a cobbler like food made of brownie mix and canned cherry pie filling.
5. If they melt the Hershey bars and turn them into fondu with their graham crackers- it will still be okay. Scout led DOES mean they can eat that for breakfast- but preferably on the last morning right before they go home.
6. If you think you know what scooting is supposed to look like- you need to realize that the important part of scouting isn’t in the details. It is in the memories they make, the skills they learn and the fun they have. Scout with the scouts you have, not some mythical ones in your head that do things “normal”. Normal is overrated.