For several years, our battalion has had two major goals.
- Get dads involved
- To instill a focus on achievement
I sat down with our Captain two years ago because we had been struggling to meet these goals. The result of that meeting was a simple strategy that we believed would help us finally accomplish them.
The first step was to create a new position in our Battalion. We called this the achievement coordinator. I took on that position for the first year because I saw how achievement could significantly benefit the discipleship of the young men.
The second step was to make personal achievement a part of squad time so that everyone in the battalion was working on essentially the same action steps at the same time. We did this for one ministry year.
The third step was to encourage the boys to choose their father as their mentor for Adventure Trails. Mentors do not need to be men involved in the weekly ministry.
As the achievement coordinator I followed up with each dad, or another mentor if a dad was not present in the Brigadier’s life, and I explained how the achievement program works and provided any resources or guidance that each man needed to help him move through the material with the young man.
As soon as a brigadier told me who they had chosen as their mentor, I gave the Adventure Trails book to the mentor rather than the Brigadier. There were two reasons for this.
First, I wanted to make sure I had a chance (and a reason) to talk to the mentor; something tangible.
The second, and the more practical reason, was to make sure the Brigadier did not lose their book before it found its way to the mentor for review.
Once the mentor was on-board I texted, called, or emailed once every couple of weeks for a status update and to ask if there was anything I could do to help. I also mentioned specific Action Steps that might coincide with something we were doing in Brigade over the next couple of weeks. An example of this is the Action Step in Explorer that requires the brigadier to go on a camping trip. I gave the mentors a heads up that we are going on a trip and explained that this would fulfill Action Step 2. This allowed me to keep good contact with the mentor and also kept reminding them that the Brigadier had work to do.
One of the greatest rewards as I worked with the mentors was hearing about their conversations with their boys. Mentors begin to open up about conversations they had with their brigadier about spiritual things. I heard about how young men were coming to really understand parts of scripture as well as areas of concern in each aspect of the Brigadier’s spiritual walk. This really helped us as leaders to gain insight into the boys in our group that we might not gain any other way.
For squad times I prepared Action Step guides for our Corporals. I gave them a printout of the specific Action Step we were working on as a group that week along with bullet points on how to complete the Action Step. During the actual squad meeting, the Corporal went over the Action Step with the squad and talked about various ways they could accomplish the tasks. Then they reminded the young men in their squad that once they completed the Action Step their mentor must contact me so that I could update their information. Personally, I liked to talk to the mentor directly instead of just seeing a signature on the sheet. This allowed me to gain those insights and asks the questions about how the Brigadier was doing.
I found the whole experience truly satisfying and the result for achievement was that in that first year we had numerous brigadiers advance in a rank, but more importantly he grew in his relationship with God and with his mentor … which is the whole point of achievement!
This process has been rewarding and has gotten dads and close friends involved in the discipleship process with their boys. If you would like more information on how we do achievement, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org