Rise to the Challenge

Hello Dear Reader

The other day I had a conversation where the phrase “that might be too hard for them to complete” was used.

It was with reference to an explorer event we are running this year. The event is a night exercise where explorers must complete 15km hike and arrive at a location for 7:00am for breakfast.
It is up to them to plan their route, decide what time to leave etc the closer to 7:00 you arrive the higher your points (that is the easy bit).
However as a further challenge while on route they must take photos, last year we gave them item e.g. A sigh with the letter Y on it, a phone box etc. this year I suggested that we should make them take photos which make up the word AvonScouts so A= Arch etc. and you are not allowed to us the same photo twice.

It was after suggesting this, I got the comment above.

My response was “well it separates the Men from the Boys” (yes  yes, I know there are girl in scouting but separate the People from the younger people does not really have the same ring.)

My point was why does everybody have to complete everything, this activity is about planning, your given the task, your given the destination, your given your time to complete. You need to

  1. Plan a route that covers the distance,
  2. Work out how long it will take you then work backwards to get your start time.
  3. Think about what you might need to complete the challenge why not bring an Addvarkk with you so you can take a photo. (there is nothing in the rules that says you can’t – remember rules should never be broken but sure as hell they can be bent)

It struck me that some people have an innate fear of letting young people fail, and I am not sure why that it. It was this persons belief that every group had to complete every part of the task.

Has Scouting and society gone so far along a politically correct route that every young person must never be allowed to fail. I have read stories of people not running competitive games because it means someone has to lose – well yes that is life.

‘Games without winners and games without losers are those games where no one can say at the end of the day: “I am the winner and you are the loser!” The best thing about games without winners or losers is that the group can simply have fun and can laugh about things together without success or failure playing a role.’

this is a quote from a website called Youthwork Practice

Quote like this depress me, we need to install the fight the hunger the need for a challenge into young people so that they go out there and grab life by the horns and live it. For god sake live it don’t sit on the couch and play it.

It is that hunger to go that one step more that inspires heroes I mean:-

  • Did Edmund Hillary say no its ok base camp is far enough lets not go on who really wants to reach the top.
  • Bear Grylls did not say mmmm I have been to the top of Everest that will do, no he said I want to powerglide 10,000ft higher than the summit.
  • Ranulph Fiennes had lost two fingers on one hand, suffered a heart attack and had a double bypass and at the age of 66 is still looking for adventure.

There is something inside these people that makes them what to go that extra mile to fight for that they want.

If everything is just given to young people, if they always think they will win. How can we possibly prepare them for things like their first job interview if they don’t understand competition, if they don’t understand that there are 10 other people who will do anything to get that job and they need to fight for it.
Ok don’t get me wrong I am not saying that every game we play should be british bulldogs (man that was a fight for your life at times) but I also shudder to think that we never give young people the change to lose the chance to fail.

Thomas Edison said when asked about failing to make the light bulb 700 times

I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.

It all sound really negative but think about it this way if you set young people a challenge, there is a chance that they will fail but there is as equal a chance that they will shine and exceed expectations. Maybe we don’t challenge the young people because it put us outside of our comfort zone and force us to rise to that challenge.

So how about in 2011 we try challenging Ourselves once in a while


Enhanced by Zemanta


  • Wholeheartedly agree! The program of Scouting provides a
    safe environment to fail. Not everyone will win in being the first
    to finish but pushing yourself further than you thought you could
    is an even better win in my opinion. When we push for instances
    where “there are no losers” we are deceptive of the realities of
    life. Set the bar high and let Scouts rise to the occasion. Usually
    they will surprise you in how much they can accomplish.

  • I love this post. and I totally agree. Today’s kids are just spoilt and it doesn’t do them any good. YP’s have to learn that life is all about losing and winning. This is one of the reason’s why society is becoming so soft, youngsters are being bought up to believe they have the right to everything they want. No, they have a right to have what they work for and achieve.

    It’s like your activity idea, it sounds brilliant. Play by the rules, do your best and someone will win and someone will lose. It’s similar to when people organise hikes, and make it shorter so that everyone has a chance to complete the distance. I’m sorry but as a scout I did various hikes including 40 mile mountain challenge. 20 miles into the mountains on day 1 and 20 miles back on day 2. Bloody hard, but the feeling when we finished was fantastic. We had achieved where we never thought we would.

  • Good article. I appreciate the wake up call. Sometimes I forget the simple lessons and need to be reminded. It’s not easy getting a job. We all need to help each other out. Thanks again.