January 2008 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue
| Volume 14, Issue
February 2008 Theme
Chinese New Year
Scholar & Engineer
PACK ADMIN HELPS
Character Connections, part 1
(Part 2 - next month)
Carol E. Little, CS RT Commissioner
American Elm District, Black Swamp Council
The Character Connection
information in this article and on
www.Cubroundtable.com , my website come from excerpts from friends
interested in helping other Scouters get needed information about the new
program. Jamie Dunn, Three Rivers District –Cub Training Chair; Blaine in Coon
Rapids, MN; Sean Scott, Council Vice President, Public Relations, California
Inland Empire Council and Sean’s Philmont Report with one of the authors of the
new Character Connections, Dr. Matt Davidson. Thanks, for the help.
Character Connections involves 12 core
character values, but the program does not assume there are only 12 values, if
we can succeed in creating a strong character foundation with our scouts they
will learn other values later. Also, although each achievement emphasizes one
particular CC it doesn't mean that it is the only character value that
can be focused on in that activity.
When the first Character Connections
achievements came out in the new Tiger books, leaders were not used to teaching
character building. The old BSA Ethics in Action program which attempted
to make character an optional element of the program did not succeed.
Character Connections, by being integrated into the books, achievements,
materials, and so forth, we are building on a child's developmental ability.
CC also involves three dimensions that
aren't separate or even separable-- to know, commit and practice. The boy needs
to know the CC (head), commit to it (heart) and practice it in his daily
life (hand). Character is both caught and
taught. We see someone exhibiting character and follow their example in our
community. We can also teach character by telling, discussion, experience and
modeling. This is where the discussion points in the books come into play.
The end goal of CC is to establish a
moral identity for our youth. Until a boy takes on Scouting's values as his or
her own, it isn't a violation of a child's personal morals to break those
values. Values are situational, too. In the context of a Scout meeting, a boy
may quite comfortable reciting the pledge or discussing the importance of not
littering. However, under pressure from his peers in a non-Scouting setting, the
boy needs to have a sense of greater conviction to those same values to stand
behind them as strongly when they may not be as popular for him or her to follow
CC can be integrated into achievements in
the following manner:
1. Say you're working on a conservation project
or hike. You're out in nature, and you come across a pile of rubbish left by
some campers or hikers. One of your boys makes a comment about how rude or
careless littering is. Ask the boys why they think
it's rude to litter. This is the KNOW
component. They've seen an example of littering, and now they realize that it's
not nice to toss your trash in the woods. Ask them how they felt when they came
across the pile of trash. Did it distract them from everything else that was
around them? Did it make them forget that they were looking for animal tracks,
or a certain type of plant?
2. This is the
where these boys realize that they don't want to be thought of in the same way
as they're thinking of whoever left the trash. Now that you've guided them to
discover how they feel, they establish a personal set of values about littering.
The important part here is that it is easy to break a rule we don't believe in
or hold as a personal value. People speed because they don't think it's too
wrong--they consider themselves good drivers and capable of handling a vehicle
at a higher speed than the posted limit, or because the importance of being
someplace sooner outweighs the importance of breaking the law. Speeding
just doesn't violate most people's core values or beliefs. Most people, though,
do have a value system that prevents them from shoplifting. Doing so would
violate their personal values.
3. Cultivation of a sense of community and the
impact that values have on the boy's place in that community.
we've helped the boys establish *for themselves* that littering is wrong, guided
them to understand how they feel about the person that left the trash, and
realize that they don't want to be thought of in the same way. Now we apply the
part of the program,
Practice. where the values are
broken into actual skills. Here it may help to script the steps toward the end
goal so that difficult concepts can be better understood..
Help them make the decision to pick up the
trash, and to not litter themselves. It's not until they have an opportunity to
actually do/avoid something that the three parts come together and a character
connection is made.
4. Cool down, where discussion of what went
well, what could have gone better, and what might come next can be discussed.
How to do a Character Connection activity:
1. Reserve judgment—let them give their ideas
2. Open ended questions—require scouts to think
and give personal ideas.
3. Feeling questions—what did they felt about
the experience—that makes it personal to the scouts.
4. Judgment questions— about their feelings
5. Ask guiding questions and stay on track.
6. Closing thoughts—Bring discussion to an end.
This isn't a classroom type of program. Rather,
it's a method by which we as leaders can have an informal discussion with our
youth and allow them to discover how they feel about something. As in all
Scouting activities, Make it simple, make it FUN! Examples found in the 2005
Character Connections Packet are collected from 2002 to present so that
future Leaders will have the resources we had from the beginning.
To learn more check out Character
Character Connections Chart #13-323A Chart explaining Character Connections
Character Connections Data Some history behind the program.
Character Connections Overview of all ranks on a chart.
C Connections Outdoor Grid Ideas for outdoor activities.
Character Connections Examples for this Theme
Sam Houston Area Council &
Cub Scout Program Helps
Know, Commit, Practice.
Cooperation – Boys learn to
cooperate as they plan their contribution to the pack meeting.
Compassion – The Blue and Gold
Banquet festivities and abundance of food reminds us to be aware of everything
we have and to show compassion for those who have less.
Materials found in Baloo's Bugle may be used by Scouters for Scouting activities provided that Baloo's Bugle and the original contributors are cited as the source of the material.