Australia is in danger of raising a generation who won’t cope with life
Scouts Australia will launch its new slogan, “Be prepared…for new adventure”, on Sunday, September 12. The organisation is one of the oldest youth groups in the world but maintains its relevance because it continues to evolve and offers diverse activities for young Australians.
The new war cry encapsulates Scouts’ past and future. It not only harks back to the classic Scout pursuits of camping, abseiling, orienteering and mountain climbing but reaches out to more modern adventures like learning to fly an aeroplane, going geo-caching, putting on concerts and scuba diving.
It also explains why Scouts’ enrolments have continued to increase over the past few years.
Scouts Australia NSW Chief Commissioner Grant De Fries acknowledges that parents are concerned about protecting their children from the potential dangers of the world. Sadly this has severely restricted children’s growth and development needs for life.
“Children should be having fun, pushing their boundaries and learning in a new and exciting way, and mums and dads can be secure in the knowledge that it is all being carried out in a safe environment,” said Scouts Australia NSW Chief Commissioner Grant DeFries.
Amid all the excitement of Scouts, young people are also developing life skills, competencies, confidence and control that make them more resilient and self-sufficient.
These skills are vital as continuing research indicates that resilient children generally go on to be successful adults.
However, that same research suggests a decline of free play during childhood could be creating a generation of over-protected bubble-wrapped children that have not had the opportunity to develop resilience and learn responsible risk-taking.
It is becoming increasingly clear that without these skills children are more likely to grow into adults with mental and physical health problems.
Research also indicates that the decline of childhood free-play over the past three decades coincides with a dramatic increase in the rates of childhood obesity, rates which are expected to match those of adults in 30 years if current trends continue.
“Every minute of today’s children is organised and supervised because parents have become terrified by the world beyond their doors,” said Mr DeFries.
“This fear has led to the disappearance of “free range” children from our neighbourhoods, who explore their environment and their own limits. As a consequence, many of today’s children are losing the ability to assess risk, understand the results of their actions and some are even missing out on fundamental life skills as helicopter parents hover overhead and try to do everything for them.
“Children actually have the capacity to behave independently and care very well for themselves if given the right tools and opportunities, which is what we do at Scouts.”
Scouts Australia’s programs are designed to instil honour and build trust between peers and use supervised activities to push boundaries and teach life skills in a space that allows young people to learn from their mistakes and grow in ability.
An example of this can be seen at the NSW State Rally which was held on the weekend of August 7, at Cataract Park in Appin, NSW.
More than a thousand Scouts pitted their skills against each other in competitions they designed themselves.
“At the State Rally we saw the results of Scout training as Patrols worked on core Scouting skills and set each other difficult tasks in team environments over two days,” said Mr DeFries.
“At events like these and when ever we have significant gatherings of Scouts it is remarkable how every day the young people grow in confidence.”
“There is no doubt in my mind that as we prepare our young people for adventure in Scouts, we are also letting them take some control over their future and preparing them for adult life.”
For more information visit www.scouts.com.au or call 1800 SCOUTS (726 887)