SCGS Campfire, Venture Activity and Alternate Batch Theory

Amazingly, we got “most enthusiastic” for the SCGS campfire yesterday. Don’t think we worked that hard for it (considering that we had people going for the campfire in school uniform) but we still managed to get it somewhat (thanks to everyone who took the effort to make it). Nothing much to be proud of anyway… especially if we presented such a poor image of ourselves. Made a few observations here and there (both before and during the campfire) and will talk about it later. Why did Argentina lose

Venture Activity today. WOOHOO got past survival!!! Didn’t think our trigger mechanism for the trap might have made it, but again the usage of the trigger is very subjective and theoretical. (The chicken ZHEN DE HUI smart enough to walk through the runway!) I’m just quite delighted at the reality that we passed when I was doing the trap (with Tok’s help mostly and a little more here and there from Qin Sheng and Cheng Liang, good job guys!). Pitfall was a relative success too. Anyway one left to Venture Standard (VLC, just a matter of time). Then all of us would earn our well-earned auxiliary-ship (and first time we can grasp some real authority apart from wushi/band, I think we’ve been waiting long enough for it after witnessing what’s been happening with the juniors… at least Melvin and I have had enough).

Anyway would like to talk a little more about the “theory” that people have about alternate batches in our troop (and elsewhere, but mostly the troop cos I am more experienced with it). I’d like to proffer an alternative method of looking at this issue… that we cannot blame the juniors too much for anything wrong that they’re doing not like anyone would really read this (of course they have some part to play in it but let me explain).

Firstly, sometimes when I look at the Sec 3s now, I am reminded of our own behaviour when we were their age. An example being during wushi…. we used to slack around (supposedly lian4 shi1), hit the drum with our bare hands (and in front of the juniors), sit down on benches and take water breaks without time limits. Now that’s exactly what’s happening with the Secondary 3s, just that they are doing it earlier than we started doing so (we only started this after Zhen Yang took over). How can we blame them for something that we used to do? Before we start putting the blame on our juniors, I think we need to reflect on how we have taught them. Sometimes I think that our year in the PLC was a little idealistic. We expected to have a perfect everything (perfect activities, perfect camps, perfect structures) so much that we became more indecisive than effective at times. I’d raise the example of recruit camp where punishment was only laid out near the end of the camp, and without much explanation. So in the end, the Sec 1-2s only managed to follow without understanding the “perfect rationale” behind doing anything. We never got to show them the successful aspects of our PLC (in terms of program planning, documents etc.), so as a result they take the exact same attitude that they have towards things like wushi and replicate it everywhere.

Secondly, in our reign as PLC (of course I was a non-member but I think I observed enough to say this) we never had someone who was able to impart his enthusiasm down to the juniors. Yes, we were enthusiastic all right. But we only revealed this enthusiasm among ourselves (in uniform, in behaviour and in deed). The juniors never really learnt of the importance of the uniform and behaviour for example. They only received occasional reminders that they should reply with enthusiasm/ wear their uniform with pride/ so on. I noted that even though we had some good talkers (as in able to communicate) in the PLC who sometimes stepped up to lead, but we never really said the right things to them. They always understood the concept, but they never got to know why the concept was formed. I suspect that our juniors never knew the logic behind what we were trying to do (about attendance, uniform mistakes etc). Thus many of them lost interest quickly. I think every PLC needs someone who can communicate such enthusiasm around. While we were Secondary 1, we could learn very much from Kee Guan and Dennis’ (along with the others’) enthusiasm cos they were able to show why exactly they put in so much effort into Scouts. In Secondary 2, though it was at a point of time just pure dislike, we developed respect for Shi Yang’s batch as one which has persevered together, one for all, all for one. In Secondary 3, we admired Kar Yin for his dedication to the troop. Right now, I believe many of us are inspired by Kelvin/Edward/Shao Yong’s style of leadership. We always had someone to enthuse… some source of inspiration… some spark that would kindle the fire in us. I think our juniors never really got this source.

Thirdly (pardon me for the firstly secondly thirdly lastly but in no mood to change) while we were PLC we taught them something very wrong: that bonding within batches is very much more important than bonding between batches. While we were Secondary 3, we used to go for PT alone, do activities alone, not caring for the Secondary 2’s progress (we never got them to do KYD for example). By doing so, we mistakenly showed the then-Secondary 2s that scouts is a batch thing and not about the entire troop. If a Secondary 2 makes a mistake, it is their batch’s fault and not ours. No matter how much we can ask them “whose fault is it” and expect an answer “everyone’s fault” they still had this mentality implanted in them, a mentality which is rather fatal when it comes to leadership in Scouts. I could see this general feeling in the Secondary 3s yesterday. Besides Victor blaming Dominic for not posting a response box to ascertain attendance for the SCGS campfire, they also put a majority of the blame on the Secondary 2s for not being enthusiastic enough (to come for the campfire). Of course under the premises that they had too few people in their batch (but seriously speaking that is a lousy reason). They never, however, saw an underlying problem that they as leaders might have been unable to inspire their own juniors to come for the campfire. EMB messages might not be enough.

Lastly, I think we’re portraying an image that we as Secondary 4s are only over-critical observers and not helpers. I mean, we criticize so much (and whisper even more among ourselves) but do they know of what we’re thinking? Perhaps only 60% of what we whisper among ourselves get to them. And even so, would they see us as helpful seniors, or just seniors who love to scold, love to punish or to complain? Yesterday when I was being rather niao and saying to Dominic that we should ask those who wore school uniforms to the campfire to walk in front and “show it off”… especially as a reply to his “request” that we Ventures stand in front I could visibly notice he was rather angered. What I was trying to tell him was that you should not expect us to stand in front and cover those who are wearing school uniform when it is your duty to ensure that they wear scout uniform in the first place. Of course he might have thought that he was doing his best… maybe even faulting the Sec 1/2s for showing up and thus taken offence. Are we actually telling them why we are saying such stuff to them? Or are we just leaving them to continue in their current state?

What I did in Wushi on Friday was to try to alleviate this problem that we ourselves had a hand in creating. It’s not only our juniors’ fault… and I hope every Venture/ Scout who reads this somehow can help in bringing our troop back to where it used to stand. We need a real attitude shift in our troop… (and we shouldn’t wait till Shi Yang comes back to start HAHAHA)

Think about it… comments welcome, for any personal attacks please use MSN instead. (Actually this is what I’ve been thinking for quite long… might have more points to add but can’t think of them now)

Well. Everyone likes to play the blame game… but its always better to be efficient than overly retrospective (though I am myself being rather hypocritical by posting such stuff).

One for all, All for one. Venturez’ 06 (survivors!)

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