This article is part of the Undisrupted series, a series of articles detailing our Troop's response to the current COVID-19 situation, allowing training to continue even when physical CCA sessions have been postponed showing that our Troop is truly prepared and unwavered even in the face of the pandemic.
By Lucas Loh
Updated: 2 January 2022
Challenge is one of the most important drivers of personal growth. In Scouts, these challenges are often characterised by a new pioneering project, competition the Troop undertakes or even our yearly Best Patrol competition.
Amidst this COVID situation, the Troop has undertaken the #scoutingFromHome Contest – E-Submission of Proficiency Badge Reports during COVID-19 Circuit Breaker. The competition is designed to encourage Scouts to continue to pursue scouting through the individual attainment of Proficiency badges, coming up with creative and better alternatives to the current Proficiency badge requirements.
Over the course of the next few weeks, the Scouts will be given opportunities to sign up for Proficiency badges under the mentorship and guidance of Ventures, while maintaining the basic level of TCP training.
Only with this guidance from the Ventures and motivation of the Scouts to put the Troop in this competition, will the Scouts be able to maximise their learning independently. The Ventures provided necessary guidance and mentorship as the Scouts progressed on their journey of writing this report.
Scouts are provided not only with the basic technical knowledge, in which our Ventures are specialists in but also with the intellectual challenge Scouts need to deepen their analysis and understanding. This mentorship and guidance differentiate our Scouts' reports from the rest, transforming them from mere compilations of online materials to a deep intellectual exercise and inquiry.
For example, the original Naturalist badge requires Scouts to study a landform over a period of 3 months minimally and document these changes over time. However, the requirement our Ventures have come up with is to use Google Earth to study historical imagery over the course of 15, 20 years. This new challenge is much more relevant as compared to the previous one as geographical landforms require such long periods of time to show significant and complex changes.
Furthermore, the original Naturalist badge requirements demand that Scouts need to link how human activities are affecting the landscape. However, for the mentorship program, Scouts are further challenged to explain how these anthropogenic activities affect landforms and nature which in turn affect humans, giving Scouts a true geographical understanding of the interconnectedness of Nature which the Naturalist badge attempts to bring out.
By provoking a Scout's curiosity and challenging their perception of the world, Scouts learn to be critical thinkers that understand not only the superficial and direct actors and causes of the world, but also the underlying and insidious drivers that shape what we see.
Through this exercise of putting the Troop at the top and well-channelled motivation of the Scouts, our Scouts benefit the most as our Ventures provide the elite training and mentorship, not replicable elsewhere. Our Ventures act like a sturdy tree guiding tenacious and fast-growing creeper plants upward to the sunlight, showing them higher levels of understanding.
Without such guidance and strong frameworks, it will be very difficult for the Scouts to grow and benefit, like aimless creeper plants spreading out rapidly, but forever on the ground, never truly reaching higher ideals.
This excellence spirit of "Lift the bottom, not cap the top", a quote from our Education Minister Mr Ong Ye Kung, is exemplified in our training as we challenge our best Scouts to undergo the rigorous pursuit of these badges in the COVID situation, while the remaining Scouts are not left behind and have a proper training program to follow. Only our Troop with such a strong foundation and backbone of Ventures and Leaders is able to operate at such a high capacity to ensure our training is elite and undisrupted.