FOCUS Training…. In Winnipeg!

I won a free trip to Winnipeg! Oh wait…. Winnipeg

Landing Right Between the Bugs and the Cold

This weekend (extended out till Thursday) I’ll be out in Winnipeg teaching a FOCUS course with three fellow Rovers from Vancouver. We were invited over there through an on going working relationship with the Manitoba Council that started a few years back. Also, because we rock.

The ~20 youth coming to this weekend are not only getting our highly enthusiastic FOCUS training, but they are also learning about the Duke of Edinburgh and Scouts of the World Awards. Somewhere in the mix of all this we’ll be cramming in two hikes.

Now, the trick with all youth is to tire them out during the day so they don’t stay up all night. With Venturers, it just takes more work. Those poor kids have no idea what’s coming for them.

The Twist

We’re going to be trying a unique format for this course. As per usual, the youth are from a smattering of groups. However, the task before us as trainers is to hopefully create a sense of a group amongst these youth. The organizers plan is to have them tackle some sort of project (of their own decision) as a group after we leave. The spin is that we will help them come to some form of decision by lunch on Friday, and then spend the rest of our FOCUS time to start to work on the planning.

We have a list of teachable moments that we are going to cover as the need arises during their planning. This style will hopefully reinforce the importance of why we are teaching these elements, and in turn the youth will want to retain the lessons.

That’s not to say we won’t have any traditional skill learning sessions or games. We have a list an arm long. The core will be the teachable moment intervention just before or just after they need it. (I enjoy being cruel sometimes. Makes the moment stick longer.)

This style is best summed up as mentoring or coaching. It is time consuming, leaving us very limited on the number of topics we can properly cover. We aim to get around this hurdle by focusing on the topics the youth will get the greatest benefit from us teaching. Some topics (email etiquette, learning to listen for example) can be learned just as well from other sources. Others require the setting this camp provides.

One is the loneliest Number

Here’s the second twist to our course. While the youth are diligently (HA!) working away, the advisors are also getting some time with us. It is always good professional practice to share success stories and challenges with others in your field. The plan is create a dialog with the advisors and bring up our concerns for where Venturers tend to derail on projects. We have to remind the advisors that they’re job is to always prod the youth to do. Our job maybe done when we get on that plane Sunday evening headed home, but the job of developing those youth falls back onto the shoulders of the advisors. If the advisors want to see their youth succeed, we can’t make that happen from Vancouver.

The youth may be exhausted and their mental sponges full by the end of the weekend, but I can guarantee they will go home with smiles on their faces. That’s what Scouting does to you. It pushes you in ways you can never imagine, and you learn to take it with a smile in your heart. Then you ask for more.

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