Toys and Heroes
Managing conflict without violence: Under 11
Identifying the problems:
Your project should respond to a specific need in your community. It is important to involve Cub Scouts in this part of the project using participative and dynamic methods. Here are some creative ways of exploring 'Toys and Heroes' with Scouts under 11 years of age.
Activity 1: Who is your hero?
Ask the Cub Scouts to think about who their heroes are, and bring along to a meeting something which will show others who their hero is and what they represent. It does not matter if their hero is a real or fictional character and if they are 'good' guys or 'bad' guys. Ask each Cub Scout to talk for up to one minute to tell the others about their hero. If there are a lot of Scouts one six could do this each week or each six could do it together with a leader allocated to each six.
Each Six should then choose one hero and identify the qualities that they possess, particularly those which make them heroes. This could be done by putting a picture of them on a large piece of paper and writing on the qualities. Then identify whether they are real or fictional characters. Each six should share their results.
The leader should explain that some heroes are fictional characters and some are real people, some people do 'good' things and help other people and others do not do good things. Explain to the Cub Scouts that over the following weeks you are going to look at their heroes.
Activity 2: My favourite toys
Ask the Cub Scouts to bring along their favourite toys and use the toys to play some games. After each game consider how this might be for real e.g.
• Happy Families - families would be together
• Video games - people could do superhuman things
• Video games - people would be killed
Developing awareness and empathy:
After actively participating in identifying the problem, Scouts need to be helped to develop their response to the topic.
Here are some activities which will help Scouts to explore the issue of toys and heroes and develop skills and empathy. These activities use the Scout method of active participation and exploration. The project should help the Cub Scouts use the skills that they have developed.
Activity 1: Our Cub Scout Heroes
Choose some real heroes which are positive role models for Cubs, preferably people who have contributed to making the world a more peaceful place. Ask them to find out what they have done and again list their achievements and characteristics. Ask them to consider these actions and characteristics against their Promise and Law i.e. doing their best, helping others, believing in God, contributing to their country.
Make a frieze or poster which show others the heroes and why they are good heroes for Cub Scouts. Display the results in public e.g. at your meeting place, in the local school or library.
Activity 2: Let's play together
Introduce some new games into the Cub Pack and make sure that they are all co-operative games i.e. Non-competitive games in which everyone can participate. Ask each six to develop their own co-operative game and play it with the Pack.
Activity 3: I'm a hero!
Using the artwork provided, draw pictures of heroes or ask the Cub Scouts to bring a picture of themselves and stick it in on the paper with an appropriate heading e.g. Cub Scout Hero.
Ask them to imagine the sort of hero they would like to become and the actions that they need to take to achieve this. They should draw a cartoon which shows the steps that they have to take and the results should be shared with others.
Your project should make a difference in the community. Actions need to be developed which are appropriate to the community and are challenging and fun for the Cub Scouts involved. Here are some projects which may be appropriate for Cub Scouts to respond to the subject of Toys and Heroes in your community.
Project 1: Co-operating with others
Meet with other young people of the same age and ask the older Cub Scouts to run some of the co-operative games with the group. If this is not possible ask the Cub Scouts to introduce some of the games at school, either formally to the whole class or informally to their friends in the breaks.
Project 2: What's influencing us?
Work with the Cub Scouts to undertake a survey to determine what is influencing their lives and if it is good or bad. The survey could be on TV programmes - those directed at children and general programmes which are also watched by children, films and videos, comics, books in the libraries, posters and adverts - see Questionnaires in the Activity Treasure Chest. Invite the Cub Scouts to respond to what they find out and share their thoughts, feelings, concerns with others in an appropriate way.
Project 3: Our resources
Using the Cub Scout's favourite co-operative games, ask them to produce a kit so that the games and ideas can be shared with others. The resource could be in paper form, or electronic e.g. on a CD-ROM or web-site. Resources to support the games could be generated and co-operative games boxes given to other groups in the community.
Project 4: Local heroes
Invite some community leaders along to talk to the Cub Scouts about 'local heroes', people in the community who are working for others, making a difference and creating a more peaceful community. The Cub Scouts could ask these people to a meeting and interview them or go and visit them to see the work they are doing locally - see Interviews in the Activity Treasure Chest.
The Cub Scouts could produce a newsletter describing their 'local heroes'.
The project is designed to help young people to develop their capabilities, attitudes and values in response to situations where there is conflict, and then apply these to a project in their community. Scouts can make a difference in their communities and develop capabilities and empathies related to peace education. Two dimensions of change should be measured - change in the communities and change in the Scouts themselves. Measuring change should be built into the design of the project in a fun, participative way.
Here are some activities which will help to measure change.
Activity 1: Evaluate!
Contact the groups who received the co-operative games kit and find out what games they played and the response that they received. The Cub Scouts should prepare the questions, interview the leaders and young people and then compile a report.
Activity 2: A Scout's Own
Have a short service of worship, based on a hero who has contributed to making the world a more peaceful place to live. The Cub Scouts could act out the story, write prayers - see Balloon Prayers in the Activity Treasure Chest - and write their own 'pledge for peace' at the end of the service.
Activity 3: Our favourite toys and heroes
A few months after the programme, re-run the activities which ask the Cub Scouts to identify their favourite heroes and toys. Assess whether there are different results from the first time the activity was undertaken.
Case study: A story from Uganda
While much of Uganda has enjoyed relative peace in recent years: guns and killing remain a reality for many children in the north of the country. Children and young people are regularly abducted by a group of rebels called the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Twenty-thousand children have been abducted - often forced to kill their own parents so they have no way back. They are used as expendable troops - frequently not even given guns to fight with.
Scouts in Northern Uganda have been very concerned about this situation and in Lira District they have supported the internally displaced children in the following ways: