Power Of The Sign
The first lesson taught to our new scout leaders is to use the scout sign. By holding up the scout sign, you are taking control, you have the power. Do not try to yell, speak louder or compete with disruptive scouts, simply hold up the sign and do not speak until you have everyone’s undivided attention.
One example was our new scout patrols. We had two patrols of 10 new scouts, 20 scouts’ total, who recently crossed over from weblos in a room creating their patrol flags. As I come into the room to introduce myself as SM, I held up the scout sign. It took seven minutes for the scouts to come to silence and attention. A few minutes into my speaking to them, disruptions occurred. I held up the sign again. This time it was four minutes before silence occurred. As I continued for a longer period of time, disruptions eventually occurred again. The third time I held up the sign, it was 40 seconds to silence.
After the third time I asked one of the scouts’s what was happening, why was I acting this way? The scout responded; "we were being rude and talking, not paying attention." I thanked the scout and explained that when a scout or adult leader puts up the scout sign, they are to stop what they are doing, hold up the sign and focus on the leader. I further explained that the scout leader is not going to compete with them, not going to shout and is waiting until he has everyone’s full attention.
After my speech, I thanked them for their improving and pointed out they went from seven minutes to 40 seconds in just three attempts. That was really great! The new scout’s faces lit up with smiles, they were on their way to becoming boy scouts. At that moment I spoke to the senior scout in the room and stated, “Senior Scout, the room is now yours please continue.” By stating this out loud and clear, everyone in the room knew that the senior scout was now in charge and empowered by the SM.
After the meeting the senior scout came up to me with a big grin and said “Thanks!” I asked for what? The senior scout described that by transferring my power to him in front of the scouts, the rest of the meeting was a lot of fun. The senior scout had much better control and respect of the new scouts. Our new scouts had just learned and now understood “the power of the sign.”