It had been a great journey. They had held up well, directing everything from morning assembly and flags to evening troop reflection and prayer. But any good leader doing his best feels the weight of responsibility. Concerned for the toll this load was taking, that night at troop closing reflection, we announced that on the morrow the current troop leadership corps would become members of patrols.
The four Patrol Leaders would assume the leadership corps positions. Assistant Patrol Leaders would become Patrol Leaders for the next day as well. This notion would give the well needed rest to the leadership corps and the newly assigned leaders a chance to grow their leadership experience.
In the dark at 5:30 the next morning, voices from the dining area awoke us. It was the newly assigned leadership corps, preparing for their roles that day. Dressed in full uniform and feeling the weight of their new duties, on their own they arose early to review how they would conduct themselves and lead the troop that day.
Realizing the significance of their new responsibilities, they had not slept much that night. They did a great job that day filling those important troop roles. As they concluded the day, overseeing troop reflection and prayer, they spoke of learning for themselves what it felt like to lead the troop; The challenges of leading they had not earlier understood; The load they felt and carried that day.
Those receiving the day off also recounted the extra freedom they felt—what it was like falling back into the patrol ranks. No book, teaching, or lecture could have taught those Scouts leadership as appropriately as that day. Hands on experience: it’s Scouting’s way to grow boys into leaders.
In the lives of these young men, there will be many future opportunities where they will hold and feel the weight of leadership. They will lead their peers, co-workers, communities, families, and faith. They will be able to draw upon these Scouting moments to help carry the weight of future leadership positions they will hold.
In 2017, the Utah National Parks Council will send 600 participants on the National Jamboree & Tour experience. Applications may be submitted at utahscouts.org/jamboree beginning January of 2015. You Gotta Go!