A sequential approach to program planning is one where gaining specific skills, and then putting them into action, pave the way towards a larger experience that is memorable and rewarding. This larger experience is ordinarily featured during a “main event” like an outing or special trip.
During the meetings leading up to the special event, the skills and their related activities are presented in a stepwise progression and can be likened to building blocks. The ultimate goal of this sequential approach is to use these building blocks to enable the Scouts to enjoy and appreciate the larger experience. This larger experience is a culmination of the preceding meetings with their periods of skills instruction and activities. In order to contribute an optimum level of fun to the meetings, the activities connected to each building block should not only reinforce the skills, but also be challenging and fun!
Here’s an illustration: For the initial meeting in this sequence, the square lashing is presented during a period of skills instruction. Following this, the Scout skill challenge is a Ladder Building activity. For the next meeting during a period of skills instruction, the tripod lashing is presented. The Scout skill challenge following this is Everyone on the Tripod, which incorporates both the tripod and square lashings. The third meeting in this sequence includes a period of skills instruction for the floor lashing. To put this skill into action in a fun way illustrating how it can be used, troop leaders orchestrate a Lift Seat Procession. The troop now has all the skills required to construct a Double Tripod Chippewa Kitchen, the building of which can be scheduled for the coming outing. For a fourth meeting, leading up to the outing, during a period of group instruction, the Chippewa Kitchen video can be projected, and during patrol meetings, various recipes can be reviewed. During their outing, the Scouts will necessarily have to rely upon the skills they learned to construct their Chippewa Kitchen, and then enjoy what they built as they cook up and devour their outdoor feasts.
To recap the sequential approach to programming: after presenting information, a skill, or a technique, (building blocks), whatever’s been presented will be brought to life in a fun and/or challenging way. Eventually, each building block will be combined with others, contributing to that larger experience that is especially memorable and rewarding.
Unlike most programs, where it seems students often learn something just to get tested on it, Scouting can provide opportunities to learn something and then have fun with it. What’s even better, is when what’s learned is combined with other learnings, to experience something bigger—something outstanding. This kind of sequential programming approach is an effective way to deliver the promise of Scouting!