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NATURE OF BOYS Successfully Shy


Use the familiar to help new Scouts adapt to their environment.


AS PACK 44’S JOIN-SCOUTING NIGHT kicks off, Cubmaster Janet sends the prospective Cub Scouts outside to play games with a couple of den chiefs. They all go except for one boy—a fourth-grader—who refuses to leave his mother’s side. Janet tries to encourage the shy boy, without success, giving up only after embar- rassing him in front of the group. How could Janet have better


handled that situation? And, more important, how can you work with shy kids in your pack or troop? To learn the answers, we talked with Dr. Bernardo Carducci, director of the Shyness Research Institute at Indiana


University Southeast in New Albany, Ind. Carducci, who refers to himself as “successfully shy,” estimates that 40 percent of kids are shy—making shyness about as common as brown hair. Moreover, shy people aren’t introverts, he says. “Shy kids want to be with others. They just have dif- ficulty doing it.” Alert Scout leaders can help kids


overcome their shyness. Carducci offers four techniques:


The Factorial Approach Change exacerbates shyness, and a join-Scouting night is all about change: new faces, new activities.


“When you bring these kids in, you’re changing many, many factors at the same time,” Carducci says. Using a factorial approach,


though, you change just one factor at a time. “If they’re going to work with new people, that’s the factor that you’re going to change,” he says. “So you have them do something that’s old.” Meaning familiar. At a local join-Scouting night, play games the prospective Cub Scouts already know such as duck, duck, goose. Or when Webelos Scouts cross over into Boy Scouts, review the knots they learned for the Outdoorsman activ- ity badge instead of teaching them how to splice rope.


The Cohesive Cohort Carducci’s second technique advises that you keep boys who know one another together in what he calls a “cohesive cohort.” Rather than breaking them up with four or five different older guys, he advises, keep them together in that one group. “Then, it’s familiar people doing something new.” Of course, the cohesive cohort


already exists as a natural part of Scouting. In a Cub Scout pack, second-graders from the same home- room typically form a Wolf den. In a Boy Scout troop, boys who cross over from the same Webelos Scout den typically form a new-Scout patrol. Some leaders view these natural


groupings as cliques that they should break up. But though it’s important for Scouts to get to know boys beyond the den and patrol, that can happen only if they stay in Scouting long enough to get acclimated.


22 S COUTING ¿ SEPTEMBER•OCTOBER 2010


SEAN MCCABE


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