Scoutmaster Musings - Cooperative Competition

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Scoutmaster Musings

Cooperative Competition
Regarding competing scouts, I wanted to expand on what I posted about having recognition for winners and also a group goal for everyone. The point being that if a lot of your troop activities are competitive and there is a winner with many losers, then incentive to really try or even participate goes down.

There was a show on TV a couple years ago called "Kid Nation". The 40 child participants were divided into 4 teams for the duration of the series and they competed against each other. The show was kind of weird, but I found their challenges very interesting. Each challenge had a winner, but every challenge also had a second part - if ALL teams completed the challenge within a set time, everyone would receive a second reward. This second reward meant that every team still had incentive to do their best, even after the first team finished and they knew they couldn't win.

This is similar to a cross-country running team. We all run to be the best and win a race but the top 5 or so runners on each team gain points for their team. I may not be the fastest person on our team, but the better I run, the better our team places. I may be the 7th best on our team in one race, but the next race I might be 4th - there's always incentive to run my best.
Our team may not have an individual runner win a race, but our cumulative team score could still win. I know I'll never outrun the top guy on our team, and he has a jacket covered in medals, but I still contribute to the success of the team and I try to improve my own skills.

How would adding a 'group goal' to competitive Scouting activities change the dynamics?

Before January's PLC meeting, I'll be talking with the SPL about this style of activity for troop meetings. If he agrees with me to give it a try, I'll ask him to promote it to the PLC. Whatever race, relay, or game the PLC comes up with that sounds competitive for the next three months, he'll have them add a 'cooperative' goal to it. I think this secondary reward needs to be instant, affected only those in attendance, such as sharing a box of Oreos - something fun and immediate. I'lll let you know how it goes.

Scout On
Posted: 11:12 12-26-2010 550
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