A friend, lets call him Michael, has been suggesting that Scouting should be teaching skills more directly applicable to modern life, such as interview and CV techniques, and running small businesses. This to me goes against the spirit of Scouting.
We are not, anti-enterprise, we are just not directly educating the young people who come to us basically to have fun. Learning about CVs and interview skills is what Schools and Universities are for.
Recently, one of the other ASLs at my Scouts had the idea of a “Retail” badge. He told me that he submitted the badge to HQ and that he thought he was treated quite badly over it, but that’s another story. The idea was to get Scouts to study retail, as they would mostly be getting little jobs in shops anyway. George, I’m sad to say, misses the point of scouting here. Aside from the fact this duplicates the experience of the jobs they are bound to get anyway, the point of Scouting is not direct in the skills it teaches.
Another example is a Canadian Scouter, who got quite upset when I sought out silly cooking tricks like coathanger frying pans. According to this person, Scouting would be teaching real skills. In Canada where it is much easier to end up somewhere where you have to survive by your wits, it is also easier to loose sight of what you’re supposed to be achieving. Because if you think the main point of learning to cook on camp, is being able to cook on camp, you’re lost.
Scouting teaches young people how to interact, gives them experience of teamwork and leadership. It also, to allow myself to lapse into management speak, teaches them to be inventive, to think outside the box.
We don’t teach Scouts to read and write or indeed teach them how to swim? These are skills best taught elsewhere. From Scouting you get more than that. The ability to use and adapt skills in new circumstances and situations being just one of those things.