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Scouting is not an Organization

Posted on March 7th, 2017 by admin
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It is a movement, because it moves forward. As soon as it stops moving, it becomes an Organisation, and is no longer Scouting.

– Baden-Powell

Organizations serve the Scouting movement, but they are not Scouting itself.

There’s a tense relationship between the creative, visionary force behind great ideas like Scouting and the formal organizational framework that facilitates their application.

Movements have an emotional heart. Movements require leaders energized by an idea, a vision. Movements are very hard to stop and are more likely to bring change to the world.

A movement survives events that kill an organization. A movement can skip a generation or two, break into autonomous groups, morph, split and then reunite.

Our first loyalty is the movement not the organizations that contain it. Organizations are vulnerable to error and weakness, they have a lifespan; they are not eternal. Organizations need to be challenged, it’s the only way they can remain faithful to their underlying philosophy.

During the occupation of Poland in WWII the Polish Scouting Organization was outlawed. The Poles didn’t miss a beat. They carried the Scouting movement into the ghettos, the concentration camps, and finally into the diaspora of Poles all over the world. Polish Scouting stayed alive through six decades of Nazi and communist governments.

When Poland was freed from communism the Scouting movement grew into several competing organizations all vying for official recognition; but the movement had survived.

When we keep ourselves centered on Scouting, when we remain faithful to the movement, the troubles and trials of the organization are less unsettling.

If Scouting is valuable it will remain so – there’s really no way to kill it. The organizations formed around it may come and go but the movement at it’s heart will remain strong.

No organization cares about you. Organizations aren’t capable of this …
People, on the other hand, are perfectly capable of caring. It’s part of being a human. It’s only when organizational demands and regulations get in the way that the caring fades.

– Seth Godin

Organizational demands and regulations are rarely flexible enough to answer individual needs without losing organizational identity or purpose.

Most of the tensions and conflicts in any organization spring from bringing the program to the individual; in our case a Scout.

Scouters individualize Scouting by delivering the promises of Scouting to individual Scouts; that is the process of caring.

If organizational demands and regulations become our focus the caring fades.

We cannot comprehend the vision of Scouting by knowing the policies; it is quite the other way around. We first have to catch the vision for the policies to make sense.

All too often our training focuses on adherence to policy and misses the vast, inspiring vision that they frame.

We need organization, we need definition, we need guidance – but they are dead without the vision and inspiration of a movement.

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