This is part 4 in a series on posts from my experience being part of the planning team for European Guide and Scout Centre Managers Conference (ECMC) 2017.
When you travel the world (Europe at least), when you meet scouts from different places or perhaps change country yourself, you get exposed to different kinds of scouting and so you get to think about what is it in scouting, at the core, that we all agree upon.
To me, this is no small question. I believe that the common core that we share in scouting is the one place where I look for answers on how to improv any scouting endeavour. The core is what really works in scouting.
My current understanding I have come to is based on a very simple observation: what we have in common is: the law (and in addition, the belief in positive examples, not rules), the scarf, the promise and the will to make the world a better place. We have non-formal learning as one of our most important tools. Actually, I have observed that the toolkit in our non-formal learning system like the patrol system, learning by doing, symbols and ceremonies etc. tend to be deployed differently in different places, and if I ever hear about challenges in a local scout community, I always see that there is a weakness in the application and understanding of the toolkit.
Safe from Harm
I really wanted a session on Safe from Harm at this ECMC, so since I couldn’t find anyone to host it, I decided to make it myself. I don’t consider my self qualified for it, but both my will and request for it was there, so I decided to do it anyway.
I should make a special mention of the training session template that Felipe introduced, it helped a lot with the planning of the Safe from Harm workshop.
Most things I learned by running this workshop came out of a few exercises we did based on something called Photo Jolts. Basically, I asked two questions related to a lot of Photo Jolts photos I had spread out through the room (Northern Hall):
- What three aspects of Safe from Harm do you think is most important at your centre?
- Which five most important things in the ‘fictive’ Safe from Harm policy document (that I had handed out as part of the session) do you think is missing?
The discussion that followed was very interesting. Taking a look at what was being said, it basically came down to a list of items and that list of items was not new to me. I had seen similar lists throughout my scout career in various context. It just wasn’t called Safe from Harm. When we talked about what could be done, we essentially reformulated old scout values and principles. Things like uniform and scarf to show inclusiveness or methods.
The toolkit is indeed important.
As an end note, I would say a specific method to handle bullying would do our movement well. It came up a lot. On second place we had loneliness.