Rocking another late blog post this week, though for a better reason than laziness. It’s also longer than normal for the exact same reason. Last weekend, I helped at my town’s Cub pack holiday.
This holiday doesn’t take the two packs from my town away at separate times. Since they all know each other at least by sight, the leaders run the holiday with both packs combined. It’s assumed that we’ll get roughly 11 or so Cubs from each pack, which is more or less the numberings of last weekend.
It was a little bit difficult to keep them interested. It’s awkward in some respects since we had Cubs who are visiting Scouts ready to move up after the Easter holidays, so they’ve become used to running with the big kids. With these older Cubs, we had the ones who were comfortably at Cub age as well as ones who were new or very young. The ones at Scout age struggle with keeping focused simply because they want something more challenging while the younger ones struggle since they aren’t up to running on full steam for so many days in a row.
We stayed in a Guide hall which had beds so it was a lot more comfortable than the normal camps. It did mean I had to share a room with my fellow leaders for the first time ever (I usually rock whatever cheap little tent I can get my hands on). Being in a hall meant that we had somewhere nice and warm to dry off in after we’d been running around in the mud. I was pretty grateful since it rained throughout the first night and on and off on our last day. Having the option to run indoor activities meant that we could reign in their excitement a little bit better than if we’re outside. When we’re properly camping, it’s nearly impossible to keep them in the mess tent, especially if the weather’s good.
This weekend was doubly good, not only because it meant that I got a reminder of residential trips but also because I finally realised how solid my position within the Scouting community was. One of my Scouts, who’s moving up to Explorers soon, was there to help. Not being the youngest of the team made me realise that I had a much better handle of the Cubs’ behavior than I’d ever imagined and they were keen to get my attention when they actually needed it as well as when they wanted it. My Scout/Explorer talked to me about this at great length after the older leaders had gone to bed. He wants to be a Cub leader but he’s mostly seen as the big brother. On the first day he rejected the opportunity to take on one of the leader’s names, which was a mistake. In a club like Cubs, leaders need to be named to help single them out. All the while you don’t have a Jungle Book name, you will always be the big brother or so-and-so’s mum/dad. Talking to the Scout/Explorer meant that I suddenly saw what youngsters saw in me. He saw me as someone who was fair, who knew where to draw the line, who knew how to have fun, who had no favourites. I’d always tried to encompass all of those things in how I treat young people, but until he started asking my advice, I’d never once thought I’d ever been successful in juggling those traits. It was certainly a confidence boost for me, if nothing else.
Knowing that I was able to encourage someone else to work on how they interacted with young people means that I feel like I ought to become more dominant within my youth group. I often feel like a loose end there: much younger than the older leaders and older than the younger ones. Even the little things like them not arranging meetings for times I’m available makes me feel separated from the team. I still have no idea how I’m going to make my mark within the youth group, but I’m sure going to try.
This might be something that has to wait for my cold to shift though.