In yesterday’s article, Maria went through the specific parts of the new program feature and gave some examples of how you could implement them in your troop, both at weekly activities and in church meetings. I want to take you through a specific weekly meeting for Varsity Scouts to show how you can relate the new program features to Sunday lessons for Teacher-age (14-15 years) youth. These Varsity Scouts will often be ready for more challenging activities and concepts, so I hope to show how you can tailor your meetings to meet their needs and help them grow.
Use the Come, Follow Me steps of teaching
In order to successfully make connections between Scout activities and Sunday meetings, we need to understand the basics of the Come, Follow Me curriculum instruction method, which includes these steps for Young Men/Young Women and Sunday School classes:
Notice that YM/YW and Sunday School lessons share the sections “Learning Together” and “Invite the Youth to Act.” The difference though, is that Sunday School gets to “help the youth make connections between what they are learning at home, in church, in seminary, and in the experiences of their everyday lives.” That means instructors of 14–15 year-old youth need to know what is happening in the Varsity Scout Team and in the MIA Maid Class, as well as in Seminary and in their homes.
To explore how this works, let’s take a look at an outline from the February theme, “The Plan of Salvation.” The first listed study is: “Why is learning an important part of Heavenly Father’s plan?” and opens with this: “One of the main reasons Heavenly Father sent us to earth was to give us experiences that would help us learn and become more like Him. If we are obedient and teachable, He will help us learn what we need to know, line upon line, throughout our lives. Heavenly Father expects us to use the knowledge we gain to bless others and build His kingdom.”
Use Scouting’s weekly meeting plan
Now lets look at the outline and compare it to the BSA First Aid Program Feature which starts out with:
First aid—caring for injured or ill persons until they can receive professional medical care—is an important skill for every Scout. With some knowledge of first aid, a Scout can provide immediate care and assistance to someone who is hurt or who becomes ill. First aid can help prevent infection and serious loss of blood. It could even save a limb or a life.
In many ways, the Plan of Salvation relates well to First Aid. As a teacher and/or Scout leader, you can help the youth make these connections in both settings. In teaching the Plan of Salvation on Sunday, you could use the symbolism of injury and healing for injured souls. You can also use similar activities to those done at the Team Meeting. Let’s take a look at an actual Team Meeting plan. The first part of a Team Meeting is the Warm-up (now called Pre-opening). The first week of this program feature shows:
If you opened your meeting this way during the week, you could continue the lesson on Sunday. Remind the Varsity Scouts of how they prioritized First Aid cases; ask them if they can imagine a time when anyone would have to sort souls for healing and offer spiritual First Aid. Then ask them about what they are discussing in Teacher’s Quorum, Seminary and Mutual and ask them to assign symbols from First Aid to those discussions. Using “Comparisons” from Teaching, No Greater Call, you could pass around a First Aid Kit, asking each Team member to take an item and assign a spiritual First Aid meaning to it. You will be surprised at the ideas this will bring out—I certainly have been amazed by the things our Varsity Scouts can come up with.
This activity will not only help the youth review important first-aid skills, it will also help them be creative and lead discussions. At this age, these youth are more willing to teach each other and offer input, so take advantage of this. Help them practice these skills so they can apply them in other areas of their lives, like in school and with their families.
You can continue to practice these skills at each Team Meeting. Following the Pre-opening, you will have an Opening Ceremony, followed by Group Instruction:
As they move to group instruction, let the Varsity Scouts teach each other first. They will know more about First Aid than you might think. Then move to the Skills Instruction, probably focusing on the intermediate (blue square) activity list.
Use the EDGE Method of teaching
Whether youth or adult guests teach, it will be important to include the EDGE method combined with the three parts of the Come, Follow Me learning steps listed above (Connections, Learning Together, Acting). Learning together is crucial, because it allows the Scouts to take ownership of their own education. Once they have grasped the concepts, help them act.
After the instruction, break into smaller groups to practice the skills and start getting ready for the Main Event (described later in this article). From that point the meeting plan moves to a game or competition that reinforces the learning. (Not all the games listed will work equally well with this age group so be sure to make it challenging).
After the game, things start to wind down with a closing. This is another great opportunity to make connections. The Coach or the Captain could lead a reflection on the spiritual symbols related to shock and CPR; what it would be like to try to connect to Heaven with communication lines down; and how the Plan of Salvation is not like the decision to not render aid, for the rescuers safety sake.
With the exception of the Coach’s Corner during the closing of each meeting, the Team Meeting is the responsibility of the Varsity Scouts themselves (see LDS Varsity Play Book). With the guidance of the Coach, Team Meetings are planned well in advance by the captain, the program managers, and squad leaders, which means they will need access to Program Features for Troops, Teams and Crews and they need to be encouraged to keep up on the Come, Follow Me study outlines online. Work toward having them be the ones who find and encourage connections between the two programs.
Use a “Main Event” once a month
Each week there is an outline in Program Features for Troops, Teams and Crews that moves the group forward toward the main event, which for Varsity Scouts is at the Challenging (blue intermediate) Level.
This could be the suggested First-Aid Championship, which consists of a series of simulated first-aid problems. Teams go from one scenario to the next, spending 20 to 30 minutes at each station. Mock emergencies should be set up based on the first-aid training Varsity Scouts have received during the month. The emergencies should reinforce what they have learned and give them confidence in their ability to provide appropriate emergency care.
For each problem, there should be a knowledgeable adult or older Venturer on hand who is qualified to assess each team’s performance and to reinforce their knowledge. As Varsity Scouts complete their treatment of an accident victim, the resource person can help them understand what they did right and provide guidance on ways they can improve. Award points based on proper first-aid skills and procedures.
Here are some sample emergencies taken from the First Aid Program Feature:
- Emergency 1. A Scout who has been working on a conservation project on a hot, humid afternoon returns to camp to help with supper. Near the cooking fire, he suddenly becomes dizzy and nauseous, loses his balance, and falls. As he falls, his hand goes into a pan of hot grease. His face is pale and clammy, and he is barely conscious.
- Emergency 2. A hiker has tumbled down a steep ridge. Scouts find him with one leg bent under him and the ankle apparently deformed. A cut on his left wrist is spurting blood.
- Emergency 3. Scouts find a fisherman along the shore of a stream. He is having trouble breathing, is sweating heavily, and feels nauseous. He complains of an uncomfortable pressure in the center of his chest.
- Emergency 4. A boy is found unconscious near a large fallen tree branch. His right lower leg is bleeding and is turned at an abnormal angle. There is blood on his chest and face.
- Emergency 5. The victim is found sitting at the foot of a tree. He is holding his leg and says, “I’ve been bitten by a snake!” On his calf are two small puncture wounds about three-fourths of an inch apart.
- Emergency 6. A young boy is found wandering near a stream, mumbling to himself. His clothing is wet and he is shivering uncontrollably. Blood is oozing slowly from a wound on his head.
- Emergency 7. You come around a corner, and there is a young woman lying next to her bicycle. A power line is draped over the back tire.
How will you use the new Program Features in your Team?
The Sunday after a First Aid Championship event should be a great time to make connections. As you do, Gospel lessons become more meaningful and youth should see that practical Scouting skills are connected to gospel truths.
A few parting thoughs:
As a life-long learner, an interest in First Aid for me was first sparked in 1961, when my Guide Patrol (New Scout) Leader taught me the basics of First Class First Aid. A year or so later in my troop experience, I earned the First Aid Merit Badge. All of this set me on a career interest as I trained to be an Army Reserve Medic and eventually led to work in a civilian hospital in respiratory care. The first time I saved a life, and each time since, I have seen God’s hand in my preparation.
Naturally, that will not happen to every one of your Varsity Scouts, but it might start one on a career path like mine. Yet the main idea here is to use BSA’s First Aid Program Feature to make connections to why learning is important and to use the theme of First Aid which is rich with metaphors for those connections, to drive the lessons of life long learning home.
Author: Darryl Alder | Strategic Initiatives Director, Utah National Parks Council, BSA. We invite you to get social with this article with links to the left or below: