Scouting Year 2016-17 is the official start for implementing the Canadian Path in all Sections and Groups throughout Scouts Canada. All of the pieces of the "Path" will be available in August 2016. The manuals, guides, maps and other resources will be available in online and print form and we should start seeing the new badges appear (albeit in limited quantities) this fall. In fact, you should take a close look at the "Starter Kits" that are currently available for order right now.
So the question is ... is this a revolution or an evolution?
That all depends on if your Section has been implementing parts of the "Path" as it became available, or if you were invited to test-bed the "Path" in 2015-16. If you don't fall into either scenario, then you might find implementing the Canadian Path more of a revolution, even though it is not meant to be.
From an implementation perspective, I would have to say that it has been an evolutionary experience.
As a Scouter I have had to learn to modify my role from being a "leader" to being a "coach". The youth have had to learn that the program has been theirs to define, plan and deliver. What we have found is that the engagement of our senior scouts is up and they always want to do more.
What about the program?
Thus far we decided to continue with the current badge system until the upcoming Scouting year. This summer, we will take a look at how we want to roll in the adoption of the new badges. The Outdoor Activity Skills (OAS) look like they will be a big hit. The Personal Achievement Badges (PABs) were just released so we haven't had time to take a serious look at those yet.
For Scouters, as your Section starts on the "Path" this is what you may discover:
One of the largest challenges you will face as a Scouter is to learn all of the "moving parts" of the Canadian Path. There are so many changes that I urge you to start reading in now so that you will have time to digest it all.
Not only will you have to figure out how you fit into the new program, you also have to figure out how to coach the senior youth in their role as the "Leader".
Why the change?
Quite simply, the youth asked for it.
OK -- so explain that please.
The Canadian Path is the result of a survey conducted where leaders and youth were asked about what they liked and didn't like and what kind of changes they wanted to see. Analysis of those results revealed a shifts that the youth wanted to see:
So what kinds of changes were made?
Simple ... we now offer the youth a program that is more challenging, more fun, and more satisfying than online games and social media, and allows them to decide what they want to do.
As Scouters our role shifts to coaching and mentoring the youth on how to plan and deliver their own program to themselves.
And that is what the Canadian Path is ... simply it is the evoution in how the program is experienced by the youth.
A Year of Changes
The testing has been completed, the "Path" as a system has been tweaked and now it is finally time to roll it out to everyone. Starting this September, the new badge system becomes available and we all get to challenge ourselves with adapting to change.
Guess what ... that is a GOOD THING. Without change, we cannot learn and we cannot grow.
So lets take a few minutes to discuss all of those changes ... brace yourself!
Changes for youth:
Changes for adults
What two years of experience has taught me
From a personal experience, I think the youth adapted to their leadership role a lot faster that it took me to switch over to my new coaching role.
It is still a struggle to not step in and take over sometimes. I have to stop and think about how I can influence the youth leadership to recognize that changes are required and think about how to correct things when the activity is getting way off track. Sometimes we even let it get off-track so that the youth can experience a learning moment.
Mostly, we watch and listen to the sounds of engagement, laughter, explanation and understanding as the youth lead other youth through their activities.
Am I worried about the badge system?
A B S O L U T E L Y N O T.
If the kids are having fun then they are engaged in something they find challenging and rewarding, and learning that real live friendship is more valuable than an online "like" or "share".
And that is how I see the Canadian Path -- as the journey to grow Scouting in Canada.
Welcome to "Join me on the Path" ... a series of Scouting University blog posts that will discuss implementing the Canadian Path in the 2016-17 Scouting year. I invite you to join me on this introspective look at the Canadian Path.
Idea behind the blog post series
Earlier this year I struggled with a theme for the Spring session of Scouting University. Suddenly it struck me (I think they call that an epiphany). Lets focus on implementing the Canadian Path at the Section and Group levels.
I keep an eye on the Canadian Path facebook discussion group (facebook.com/groups/name) and get the feeling that there is a wide set of opinions on what the "Path" is and how to implement it. So, I thought I would take some time to research the info that has been provided by Scouts Canada and add my personal reflections on the various topics.
You may be wondering who I am ... well, my name is Gord Welling and I have been an active Scouter since 2003 when I was handed a tan shirt and told it would only take one hour a week. In fact, it took me 2 years to discover that there was actually training available called "Wood Badge" ... hence I learned that some Scouts Canada information falls into the description of "best kept secrets".
What are we going to examine
Here is the category list of topics in this series. I will be expanding this list out as we sandwich articles into each category so I will be updating this article over time to expand this list.
Join me on the "path"
It's all about the core elements (mid May 2016)
Personal Progression puts it into a proper perspective (mid May 2016)
Planning is the key to success (late May 2016)
Letting the youth make it happen (late May 2016)
How to improve on the learning opportunity (early June 2016)
Getting your youth to transition to the "Path" (early June 2016)
Please Join Me
This is my invitation to you to join me on this journey. I am looking for a lot of personal thoughts and questions. The more that we all contribute, the better that we can be prepared. My first blog post in the series "Is this a revolution or an evolution" will be released tomorrow.
Feel free to sign-up for the email updates (http://scoutingu.weebly.com/subscribe.html) that way you will get an email reminder for each new article that get published to the Scouting University blog.
And ... if you want to write a blog post article about the Canadian Path, or some other related topic, just send an email to email@example.com and ask how to sign-up to write blog post articles.
Until Next Time
Next up ... "Is this a revolution or an evolution?"
As always join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/ScoutingU.NLC/
Back soon -- Scouter Gord
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