iProj 2017: Mentoring & Youth Development at the ‘Scouts Fun Taiwan!’ Open Forum

By Brian Asin

During the last leg of our trip in Taipei, we were hosted at the National Taiwanese Scout Headquarters. Our presenters, Eli Chan, Victor Chan, Kevin Heung, Dylan Book, and Scouter David Yuan once again shared our Rover Crew’s youth development strategy, our accomplishments and our future aspirations at a second open forum called, “Scouts Fun Taiwan”. It was a night full of Scouting Exchange between friends, and dialogue between partners in youth development.

Given that it was one of our last events in Taiwan, we were very touched to see so many familiar faces come out to the open forum. We were again greeted by Dr. Lian, who has helped us tremendously since the early stages of planning this international service project. We would not have been able have such a successful time in Taiwan without his help, so we were very happy that Dr. Lian could be a part of our dialogue with the local Taiwanese Scouts. Others present included some of the Rovers and Scouters who attended the May 6th Open Forum at the National Changhua University. Finally, we were also joined by friends of Scouting we had met along our journey, including Scouter Pencil from Hua Guang school in Hualien. He traveled hours from his hometown to visit us in Taipei, and we were grateful for his presence.

One of the main points of the discussion at both of the open forums during our trip was the retention and membership growth in Scouting, specifically in the Rover section. Our mentorship program is our best effort to contribute to this. A Rover is aged anywhere between 18 and 26 years old. This is considered the busiest time in a youth’s social life with school, career, and relationships at their peak. We want our program to help each and every one of our Rovers reach their fullest potential while meeting their own personal goals.This time around, at the Taipei open forum, the local Rovers and Scouters had plenty of questions about our Rover Crew’s mentoring program.

As a Rover Crew focused on leadership and management development, we view mentoring as an important tool to help each Rover reach his or her individual potential. Every Rover in our crew is strategically paired with a Scouter or senior Rover as their mentor. Though there are no specific age requirements, a mentor must have adequate experience in either life, or the mentee’s educational or professional field, in order to better understand their mentee, and give relevant insights and reflections.

The concept of mentorship isn’t unique to our Scout group. In fact, Baden-Powell described the following as the role of Scouters in youth development:

“The business of a Scouter is to draw out each boy and find out what is in him, and then to catch hold of the good and develop it to the exclusion of the bad.”

Dylan, in his presentation, goes on to share his understanding of this quote. That is, the role of a Scouter is to be someone like a mentor, helping the Scouts reach their full potential. Our Rover crew believes in the impact of mentorship on our members; mentorship is a core aspect of our Scout Group.

As part of our presentations, we also provided a brief overview of our Rover Crew’s programs and activities, in addition to mentoring. Attendees were curious about our focus on mentoring, leadership, and management development activities, rather than other Scouting aspects such as survival skills and pioneering. This is a question that we frequently hear from others, even locally. We explained that our Rover Crew’s framework aims to develop academic and professional skills, in addition to other Scouting skills, as youths between the ages of 18 and 26 are expected to demonstrate and practice wide range of skills transitioning from post-secondary education to full-time employment.

To guide Rovers in identifying the best areas of development to leverage, based on their goals, we use concepts like the ‘Sweet Spot’—the balanced centre between their goals in Scouting, in their personal life, and in their career/academics. In general, we focus on a holistic approach to mentoring, meaning that we look at not only one aspect of a person’s life, but all facets that influence a person’s development, including opportunities to learn-by-doing within the Scouting program.

We ended the night, going almost an hour overtime with questions. Personally, the most meaningful part of “Scouts Fun Taiwan” was that we were able to spend more time together with Rovers and Scouters sharing ideas and strengthening friendships. The night was rewarding, and served as a platform for us to share with Taiwanese Scouters and Rovers what our Rover Crew does, and why. As Dylan pointedly summarized, “The point of it all is to foster a conversation about the things that matter to us”.

 

To learn more about mentoring, and the mentoring program in our Rover Crew, take a look at our mentoring blog series beautifully written by Clarice Fu, a Crew alumni.

Also, make sure to visit www.pccrovers.com/taiwan to follow our two week journey to Taiwan!

 

Brian Asin

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