On the weekend I spent a very long and exhausting, but thoroughly enjoyable, day with our cub scout pack. Reflecting on the day, I thought about all of the amazing things we get to do with our cubs that most kids will never get to experience these days.
Remember when we were kids and we’d just run because we loved it. We took responsibility for ourselves and our friends and learnt what was and wasn’t safe. We’d take risks and if we fell…well that’s what being a kid is all about, scrapped knees and scars that you can tell your kids and grand kids about. These days, however, kids are mostly stuck on screen, sitting at a desk or chair. They have limited opportunities to engage in activities that were natural to us parents. Unfortunately, the implications of this can be a lack of gross motor refinement, poor core stability, decreased hand dexterity and strength for fine motor activities and even their ability to be resilient.
So what does this all have to do with the kids I see for therapy?
Well scouting is very inclusive, everyone is made to feel welcome and part of the whole. Kids get the chance to interact with their peers in a non threatening, non competitive way. They get a chance to practice self regulation when on parade. Through fun and engaging games they learn how to be fair and take turns. They also learn to be part of a pack and therefore they have a responsibility not only to themselves but to the whole group.
The leaders in scouting know well that children need to move first, listen/do second. So children are often running, jumping, climbing – getting lots of sensory input (which releases those happy hormones). This weekend the children practiced self care skills such as tying knots and shoelaces, basic first aid, cooking, washing up, packing away and taking turns…and that was just in one day!
Most importantly however, the activities they participate in, the skills they learn and badges they earn, all build confidence and self esteem.
THIS is why I love scouting for every child….