Have you ever taken a long camping vacation with your family. I remember one outing in particular when my wife and I took our son and daughter on a week long journey to Yellowstone National Park in Montana. We prepared by grabbing a map and figured out our route based on all of the different adventures we wanted to experience.
This article has the same purpose: to build a roadmap that explains the components of the Canadian Path so you can help the youth decide what adventures they want to complete if their journey in a Scouting Year.
This is the start point for understanding the bits and pieces of Canadian Path. I will post follow-up articles that dive into most of these topics in greater depth.
So what is included in my Scouters Roadmap?
* What is the Canadian Path?
* How the Canadian Path fits into your Section
* How Group Committees contribute to the Canadian Path
What is the Canadian Path?
The Canadian Path is comprised of several components:
A Non-Formal Approach to Learning
We use a non-formal approach to learning which allows youth to develop a wide range of knowledge and skills by engaging in challenging activities.
Scouter Tip: Get away from the classroom / lecture approach as much as possible. Instead, use experiential learning focused on a specific skill or task, in small teams where the more experienced youth demonstrate, explain, and get everyone to try new skills.
The youth learn by doing. This is not limited to learning practical or manual skills. It also applies to responsibility, leadership skills, inter-personal skills and planning.
They also learn with and from each other, and by engaging in both new and familiar experiences. With non-formal learning, the point is for the youth to try a new skill or activity, and to eventually progress to more challenging activities.
It is experiential learning that should be fun, challenging and allow the youth to grow their personal satchel of skills to use in the future.
Safety permit training in scouts is a great example of this. The senior scouts should be able to teach the first year scouts the skills for the four safety permits and the patrol leaders should be able to test the youth. Our role as Scouters is to ensure that the senior scouts teach and test those skills.
Components of the Scout Method
Some wonder if we are dropping key Scouting models and structure that we have used for generations. Absolutely not. The Canadian Path makes use of those models and structures -- sometimes in slightly different ways than we are used to. The Scout Method is one such example.
The Canadian Path is rooted in the Scout Method —- the basis of all of the adventures that Scouts experience.
The Scout Method includes seven components:
Even though the Canadian Path is new, it still incorporates basic concepts that have been with us since ther beginning of Scouting. In our previous topic we examined how we use experiential learning based on learn by doing using small teams where more experienced youth teach younger youth. The youth have asked for more outdoor activities, hence the inclusion of nature as a setting for activities. As Scouters, the best support we can offer the youth is the opportunity to develop leadership and problem-solving skills that matches a personal progression plan; that is why the Canadian path includes personal progression as a key plan-do-review concept.
We will take a closer look at the Scout Method in a future blog post.
Four key Elements
The very foundation upon which the Canadian Path is built are the four elements. It is the guiding principle behind the design of youth program activities and adventures and provides the raison d'etre to how the program operates.
The four elements that make up the Canadian Path are:
A balanced program
The Canadian Path delivers a balanced program to all youth members. During their journey in Scouting, youth members will participate in adventures and activities from six Program Areas: Environment & Outdoors, Leadership, Active & Healthy Living, Citizenship, Creative Expression and Beliefs & Values.
Balance is also designed in the "badge" system that is focused on recognizing the accomplishments of youth. The new badge system allows youth to display their accomplishments on their uniform.
Many of the badges once earned can be transferred to the uniform shirts as youth progress to a more mature section. So youth that earn an outdoor activity skill level badge in Beavers will continue to wear that badge in Cubs, Scouts, Venturers and Rovers.
The linking badges, top section award badges, service bars, and most other awards can be transferred to new uniforms.
To keep the activities program balanced, the Program Quality Standards have been designed to require two adventures in each program area per year, a total of 12 adventures. Program Quality Standards ensure that we have a progression plan for teams and sections (lairs and packs as an example). We will be taking a closer look at Program Quality Standards in a future blog post.
A personal journey fo progression
The Scouts program is about personal progression; each member (youth and adults) develops on his or her own progression path. It normally starts with an individual review with a Scouter to figure out where the current SPICES levels are and what skills the individual wants to achieve.
Personal progression provides a tool for Scouters that helps to get and keep the youth focused on a set goals to accomplish for the coming year.
Some youth will be interested in personal achievement badges or completing the current program badges. Some youth will be more excited about OAS and personal projects. The objective is to help each youth define a starting point and a set of goals to achieve throughout the year.
Once done, we want to share those plans with other Scouters and parents (if we have the youth's permission to share that info). It might be worthwhile to upload a copy of the youth's personal plan to a secure online storage location and copy the link to the youth's ScoutsTracker user profile.
Partway through the year (maybe at the end of each cycle, take a few moments with each youth to review their personal progression plan to make sure everyone is on track and to make any adjustments if needed.
At year's end, the youth will do a review of their plan and then be recognized for their achievements.
We will be taking a closer look at personal progression planning in a future blog post.
How the Canadian Path fits into our youth section
Let's take a look at how each youth program will look like under the "Canadian Path".
Canadian Path with Beaver Scouts
Fun and friendship are the cornerstones of the Beaver Scouts program. Beaver Scouts opens the door for youth to discover the world. It is filled with a little bit of everything – outdoor activities, games, music and drama. Along the way, Beaver Scouts meet new friends, learn cooperation and teamwork, and develop self-confidence. A Beaver Section is called a “Colony”.
Canadian Path with Cub Scouts
Challenging hikes, weekend camps, and an introduction to water activities like canoeing or kayaking are just a few of the fun outdoor Adventures that Cub Scouts enjoy. With the Cub motto (“Do Your Best”) front and centre, Cub Scouts are encouraged to try new and challenging activities, including STEM projects and cultural experiences. A Cub Section is called a “Pack”.
Canadian Path with Scouts
Scouts is about having fun while gaining valuable leadership skills and self-confidence. Scouts enjoy outdoor Adventures like mountain biking, rock climbing and lots of camping while working together with other young people to accomplish thrilling challenges and contribute to their communities. A Scout Section is called a “Troop”.
Canadian Path with Venturers
The Venturer Scout program offers exciting, real life, hands-on experiences for youth. Venturer Scouts learn to nurture an active, healthy lifestyle; acquire the knowledge and skills for career development; and participate in thrilling outdoor adventures.
Weekend events, extended hikes, Leave No Trace camping, spiritual reflection, community service and more round out the Venturer Scout experience.
A Venturer Section is called a “Company”. Venturers can serve as part of adult leadership teams of younger programs (Beavers, Cubs and Scouts) and are allowed to complete Wood Badge One and other adult level training.
Canadian Path with Rovers
Rover Scout programs provide opportunities to practice new skills like mountain climbing or whitewater rafting. Rover Scouts gain additional leadership skills by helping in their communities. A Rover Section is called a “Crew”.
Rovers can focus on extreme adventures and providing service to their community where they gain additional leadership skills. Rovers wear the same red shirt that Scouters wear, they can serve as Scouters in other sections, and they can participate in all of the adult training offered.
Group Committees in the Canadian Path
Group Committees have an important role within the Canadian Path that includes:
Cool Reference: The Group Committee Role in Program Quality Strandards
Until next time
Join me on the Path
Scouting University ~ NLC
Thank a Volunteer!
Did you attend a fantastic training session or get outstanding assistance from a volunteer?
Please take 5 minutes and appreciate their efforts.
For those who have heard the "announcements lament" cheer ...
the second line is
Northern Lights Council