DELTA - An Ethics in Action Program For Boy Scouts.
Part Three: DELTA Activities-Resources & Problem
Designing Processing Questions to Meet Specific
By Clifford E. Knapp
Dr. Knapp is an Associate Professor of Curriculum and
Instruction at the Lorado Taft Field Campus - Northern Illinois University.
The ultimate goal for experiential educators is to assist
participants in learning from their experiences. Participants should be taught how to
apply the skills, concepts and attitudes they have learned to future life situations.
Experiential educators can improve their ability to
process or debrief experiences by being clear about their objectives and then by planning
strategies to meet them. Processing is a method for helping people reflect on experiences
and for facilitating specific personal changes in their lives. The skill of processing
primarily involves observing individuals, making assessments about what is happening, and
then asking appropriate questions.
There are many personal and group growth objectives that
can be achieved through adventure and other types of experiential programming. Among the
more important objectives are: communicating effectively, expressing appropriate feelings,
listening, appreciating self and others, decision making, cooperating, and trusting the
group. If the leader has one or more of these objectives in mind, the observations,
assessments, and processing questions may be better directed toward achieving these ends.
The underlying assumption of this article is that if the leader and participants know
where to go and how to get there, the participant is more likely to arrive. The following
questions, organized by specific program objectives, are designed to assist leaders in
more effectively processing experiential activities for personal and group growth.
- Can anyone give an example of when you thought you
communicated effectively with someone else in the group? (consider verbal and non-verbal
- How did you know that what you communicated was
understood? (consider different types of feedback)
- Who didn't understand someone's attempt to communicate?
- What went wrong in the communication attempt?
- What could the communicator do differently next time to
give a clearer message?
- What could the message receiver do differently next time
to understand the message?
- How many different ways were used to communicate messages?
- Which ways were most effective? Why?
- Did you learn something about communication that will be
helpful later? If so, what?
Expressing Appropriate Feelings
- Can you name a feeling you had at any point in completing
the activity? (consider - mad, glad, sad, or scared) Where in your body did you feel it
- What personal beliefs were responsible for generating that
feeling? (What was the main thought behind the feeling?)
- Is that feeling a common one in your life?
- Did you express that feeling to others? If not, what did
you do with the feeling?
- Do you usually express feelings or suppress them?
- Would you like to feel differently in a similar situation?
If so, how would you like to feel?
- What beliefs would you need to have in order to feel
differently in a similar situation? Could you believe them?
- How do you feel about the conflict that may result from
expressing certain feelings?
- How do you imagine others felt toward you at various times
during the activity? Were these feelings expressed?
- What types of feelings are easiest to express?... most
- Do you find it difficult to be aware of some feelings at
times? If so, which ones?
- Are some feelings not appropriate to express to the group
at times? If so, which ones?
- What feelings were expressed non-verbally in the group?
- Does expressing appropriate feelings help or hinder
completing the initiative?
Deferring Judgment of Others
- Is it difficult for you to avoid judging others? Explain.
- Can you think of examples of when you judged others in the
group today? ... when you didn't judge others?
- What were some advantages to you by not judging others?
- What were some advantages to others by you not judging
- How does judging and not judging others affect the
completion of the activity?
- Were some behaviors of others easy not to judge and other
- Would deferring judgment be of some value in other
- Can you think of any disadvantages of not judging others
in this situation?
- Who made suggestions for completing the activity?
- Were all of these suggestions heard? Explain.
- Which suggestions were acted upon?
- Why were the other suggestions ignored?
- How did it feel to be heard when you made a suggestion?
- What interfered with your ability to listen to others?
- How can this interference be overcome?
- Did you prevent yourself from listening well? How?
- Did you listen in the same way today as you generally do?
If not, what was different about today?
- Who assumed leadership roles during the activity?
- What were the behaviors which you described as showing
- Can everyone agree that these behaviors are traits of
- How did the group respond to these leadership behaviors?
- Who followed the leader even if you weren't sure that the
idea would work? Why?
- Did the leadership role shift to other people during the
activity? Who thought they were taking the leadership role? How did you do it?
- Was it difficult to assume a leadership role with this
- Why didn't some of you take a leadership role?
- Is it easier to take a leadership role in other situations
or with different group members? Explain.
- Did anyone try to lead the group, but felt they were
unsuccessful? What were some possible reasons for this? How did it feel to be disregarded?
- Who assumed a follower role at times throughout the
activity? How did it feel?
- How did it feel to follow different leaders?
- Do you consider yourself a good follower? Was this an
important role in the group today? Explain.
- How does refusal to follow affect the leadership role?
- What are the traits of a good follower?
- How can you improve your ability to follow in the future?
Making Group Decisions
- How were group decisions made in completing the activity?
- Were you satisfied with the ways decisions were made?
- Did the group arrive at any decisions through group
consensus? (some didn't get their first choice, but they could "live" with the
- Were some decisions made by one or several individuals?
- Did everyone in the group express an opinion when a choice
was available? If not, why not?
- What is the best way for this group to make decisions?
- Do you respond in similar ways in other groups?
- What did you like about how the group made decisions? What
didn't you like?
- Can you think of specific examples of when the group
cooperated in completing the activity? Explain.
- How did it feel to cooperate?
- Do you cooperate in most things you do?
- How did you learn to cooperate?
- What are the rewards of cooperating?
- Are there any problems associated with cooperation?
- How did cooperative behavior lead to successfully
completing the activity?
- How can you cooperate in other areas of your life?
- Did you think anyone was blocking the group from
Respecting Human Differences
- How are you different from some of the others in the
- How do these differences strengthen the group as a whole?
- When do difference in people in a group prevent reaching
- What would this group be like if there were very few
differences in people? How would you feel if this were so?
- In what instances did being different help and hinder the
group members from reaching their objectives?
Respecting Human Commonalties
- How are you like some of the others in the group?
- Were these commonalties a help to the group in completing
their task? Explain.
- Were these commonalties a hindrance to the group in
completing their task? Explain.
- Do you think you have other things in common with
some of the group members that you haven't found yet?
- How did this setting help you discover how you are similar
Trusting the Group
- Can you give examples of when you trusted someone in the
- Is it easier to trust some people and not others? Explain.
- Can you think of examples when trusting someone could not
have been a good idea?
- How do you increase your level of trust for someone?
- On a scale of 1-10, rate how much trust you have in the
group as a whole. Can you explain your rating?
- What did you do today that deserves the trust of others?
- How does the amount of fear you feel affect your trust of
- What did you learn about yourself?
- What did you learn about others?
- How do you feel about yourself and others?
- What new questions do you have about yourself and others?
- What did you do today of which you are particularly proud?
- What skill are you working to improve?
- Was you behavior today typical of the way you usually act
in groups? Explain.
- How can you use what you learned in other life situations.
- What beliefs about yourself and others were reinforced
- Would you do anything differently if you were starting the
activity again with this group.
- What would you like to say to the group members?
Problem Solving For Scouts
Daily we are make choices about lots of things. Some are
easy and others very difficult. The difficult ones often are in relation to another person
or persons. For adolescents, these relationship choices are very powerful and often
painful. DELTA has designed some ways to help Scouts think about relationship problems and
to then consider how to resolve these problems in an ethical way.
These are skills not unlike the ones developed in the
games and are done within the same context that you use in reflecting.
To help you understand the problem solving strategy that
DELTA is suggesting, you will first want to view the video 'The Foxes and Hounds."
This is a "stop and do" video that uses a fable to teach a strategy
to solve problems. At two points in the video you are asked to turn off the TV and discuss
the issue that's been presented. (In Chapter 4, there is an extensive guide to using this
film). After you are clear about how this strategy works, you may wish to then use the
video with your scouts.
There is another 'program help' for problem solving and
that is Right , Wrong, or What? a book of stories. The first section, 'With
Family and Friends" explores a number of dilemmas that many adolescents
experience. Part two, "Inside Scouting," is specific to those conflicts
that can and do arise in most troops. Although the stories are written from a young
person's perspective, the situations involving loyalty, honesty, and the like, extend into
adult life. Thinking and talking about these stories are good ways for boys to check out
what they might do in similar situations.
With some practice this activity then can be conducted by
older boy leaders. In the back cover of the story book is a card that describes the
problem solving strategy. It was designed to be a quick reference guide for you and is an
abbreviated form of the following.
DELTA's problem solving model
These 3 concepts are sequential steps a boy can take to
frame a problem and help him see it in a larger context. It's a way for a boy to organize
his thoughts and weigh alternatives. These steps are defined as:
- Empathy. Putting yourself in the other
- Invention. Inventing as many solutions to a
problem as you can.
- Selection. Deciding which solution is the
best for the most people. Remember that the caring perspective is as important as justice.
Here are some things for you to think about as you
prepare to help Scouts think about problems.
- Identify problems and conflicts. There are
no right nor wrong problems. Every problem is worth discussing, even if it seems silly.
Once the silliness is out of the way, the group can get down to business.
- Find several perspectives. Ask your Scouts
to put themselves into the story as different characters. How would they feel if they were
the boy smoking pot? Or the Scout who found him?
- Consider several alternative solutions. Brainstorm,
and be flexible. Try to help the Scouts find three ways to end each story. How could they
avoid the problem in the first place? Ask "what if" questions for "it
- Choose a solution that helps or takes care of the
most people. There may not be an obvious answer. Sometimes the answer isn't one
YOU would choose. Maybe, in some cases, nobody can win. Or maybe the boys will learn that
sometimes it's O.K. not to be loyal.
- Use the teachable moment. Apply this
thinking whenever you can in your Scouting setting. After four or five stories, your boys
should be able to generate their own problem-solving discussions. Hopefully, they can
begin to use these skills in real-life situations.
Here are examples of questions that lead boys to consider
these steps and are taken from "Right, Wrong or What?"
How would you feel if you were Harry?
Why do you think Dan denied being friends with Rick?
What made him think he would win?
What ways could Peter work things out with Sharon?
What are three ways to solve this problem?
How could Doug have avoided shoplifting in the first
Should Paul's parents find out about the cheating?
How could John be friends with both groups?
Where should Tom's loyalty lie?
The stories give you a good place to begin to try this
strategy out. Like other DELTA skills, these problem-solving skills let Scouts take charge
of a problem, instead of a problem taking charge of the boy.
Of course these skills require some work to learn. If
Scouts are given the opportunity to practice them first in non-threatening situations,
they hopefully will be able to think clearly when they face real-life problems.
The DELTA Good Turn
All ethics so far evolved rest on a single premise:
that the individual is a member of a community of independent parts... It implies a
respect for his fellow members and also a respect for the community as such.
Aldo Leopold, "Sand County Almanac"
Doing a "good turn" is doing service and
is one of Scouting's oldest values. The DELTA Good Turn asks boys to become involved in
their community in ways or with people they may have considered different, weird or of no
consequence. When you, the leader help boys reflect on their experience of giving service,
you are helping them learn what it means to truly be a citizen in this country. They will
understand that difference is not good or bad, just different. They will come to
experience the power which lies in joint action on a common concern. They experience how
they "make a difference" in the lives of others. When done with justice and
caring, this power is democracy in action. Democracy, in our system, is the right and
obligations of citizenship individual and joint action. The experience of giving service
and learning from the experience is one of the most powerful ways we can encourage ethical
development of youth in America. It is also an essential ingredient for protecting and
preserving our political democracy.
The following leader's guide walks you through a four
week planning calendar. The various worksheets that are described are available in a DELTA
Program Materials Supplement.
Leader's Guide for the DELTA Good Turn
The following is a Week-by-week planning for conducting
the DELTA Good Turn (D.G.T.).
In the first week of the D.G.T., Scouts learn about the
project and focus on community needs.
- Begin by showing the video "Make a Difference",
discuss it with the Scouts, and give each boy the Scouts Overview. Both of these
program aids will help you explain what the D.G.T. is about and why it's important. They
contain information he can share with his parents and others about the project.
- After this discussion, distribute the worksheets entitled "Things
You Are Concerned About in Your Community." Lead a brain storming session,
reinforcing the rules about brainstorming that are on the worksheets. You may wish to use
big sheets of paper, flip charts, or blackboards for this activity.
Note: It is important that you emphasize the idea that concerns and needs are based
on the people of the community and not the community as a place. For instance, if a Scout
suggests that his community has only one playground, you should might ask him to look at
the people this problem affects. In this case, children don't have a place to play. The
positive impact of doing community service lies in the direct connection that a boy has
with the people being served. He will come to see that he can make a difference.
- Distribute the "Community Concerns List." Ask
the Scouts to take one home and complete it for the next meeting. Encourage them to talk
with their parents, teachers, clergy, and others who can help complete the list. Those
conversations might also yield ideas and unexpected resources for the D.G.T. The troop's
collection of these ideas will form the basis for deciding and planning its D.G.T.
This help sheet asks the Scout to focus on a few areas of
interest, and to be creative about what the troop might be able to do. It could also start
him thinking about those who could help him help others.
This week, Scouts collect and narrow the areas of concern
and begin to consider project possibilities.
- Distribute the help sheet entitled "Things You Can Do
About Community Concerns." Using a flipchart or blackboard, record the suggestions
that Scouts share from the "Community Concerns List" they completed during the
week. You might want to put the following headings on the board.
- Lead a brainstorming session in which the boys
complete the first two categories. Remember to steer the ideas in the right direction -
toward service to people - without slowing the exchange.
- Distribute the "Persons or Groups that Can Help
Others" help sheet. In this critical step, help the boys consider what agencies or
groups are advocates for or represent the people you want to help. Contact your local
United Way for assistance. The Minneapolis chapter, for instance, helps groups by
distributing a booklet called "Youth Makes A Difference," and will act as
a clearing house for scout's ideas with agencies.
DELTA's "Developing Volunteer Contacts" handout, your troop's charter
partner, and state and local offices of volunteer services can all provide you with
agencies or programs who are ready to have Scouts volunteer.
- Have the Scouts vote or otherwise reach a consensus on one
of two areas or concern for the final project.
Note: Community service providers are willing to
do much of the work needed to put a project together. They are also accustomed to
coordinating volunteers. When the Scouts have decided which group they would like to work
with, it is your job as leaders to find a contact person at an agency who will act as a
D.G.T. has been a big part of your troop program for two
weeks. It's time for a week off. During this week, however, troop leadership will have two
- Contact community service providers who work in the
Scouts' areas of concern. Recruit the person who will act as coordinator and establish
lines of communication with that person for the Scouts.
This coordinator can also help identify specific projects for the boys. While the final
project may not be exactly what the Scouts had in mind, it must be close enough to allow
Scouts to know they had a major voice in the final outcome.
- Draw up a tentative service schedule for scouts. (The
coordinator can help with this.) Scouts should volunteer from two to three hours a month.
At this meeting, you will describe the project to the
Scouts. Tell them the project goals, who they will be working for, who will supervise
them, and anything e1se they need to know.
Distribute the last help sheet, "D.G.T. Project
Report." Help Scouts complete this form, which reflects on the process they have
just completed. Here's a good place for the troop committee to help with the scheduling
and with the Scout's reports. Send these reports home to parents, to ensure that they know
about the project and the schedules.
Some Additional Thoughts ...
Motivation: In order for this project to
work, the boys must be motivated about the project. As a leader, refer to the positive
opportunities this project offers. If the boys seem discouraged about the effort that must
go into helping others, remind them about the canoe trip in the video "Make A
Difference." Sometimes you won't know what there is to "get" out of
something until it's over.
Leadership: Older boys, like those in
Leadership Corps or Senior Patrols should be directly involved in planning for D.G.T. They
will get as much or more out of this as the younger boys. It's good experience for them to
contact agencies, figure out schedules, and arrange transportation. Adult leaders may
consider volunteering too!
Transportation: This can be a real
detriment to a successful project. The troop committee and leadership corps should work
transportation problems out so that no Scout is denied the opportunity to be involved for
lack of a ride. Parents should be heavily solicited for this part of the project.
Once your Scouts are well under way with their project(s)
you will want to periodically meet with them in small groups to reflect on their
experiences. In the video "Out of the Woods," Andy and his Scoutmaster
take a few minutes in the meeting to talk about his friend at the nursing home. Andy
understands that Mrs. Johnson has come to depend on his visits and that she smiles a lot
when he's there. He is able to tell his Scoutmaster "I feel like I'm really making
a difference in her life." The other side to this is that Mrs. Johnson is making
a difference in Andy's life too!
The time you take with your Scouts to talk about these
experiences guarantees that they will get the maximum benefit from the DELTA Good Turn.
Program Settings For DELTA
DELTA activities are designed for traditional Scouting
settings. To be most effective, troops would integrate DELTA activities into their year
long planning. A sample guide is included in the appendix and 11"xl7" planning
forms are also available in the Program Supplements packet. Most troops who have worked
with the DELTA materials agree that it takes about a full year for leaders to get really
used to these activities and to build them into their year plans. It takes effort but the
overwhelming response is that it's well worth the effort. The best place to begin DELTA is
at camp. The following suggests a way to implement DELTA at a resident camp.
DELTA At Camp
Troops sign up for DELTA as a program option that is
staffed by camp personnel. It would involve four hours in the program schedule for a troop
with additional time (approximately 2 hours) for training adult leaders early in the week.
The two troop activities should be scheduled so they do not interfere with merit badge
Problem solving activity. This can be an
ethical journey, a role play, or a campfire session using DELTA stories. This activity
gives Scouts a chance to focus on their responsibilities for others, and a chance to learn
DELTA's problem solving strategy.
Cooperative activities at the C.O.P.E.
course. (Challenging Outdoor Physical Encounter). The entire troop is actively
involved in low course activities and initiative games. Leaders observe the staff role
modeling the way to conduct the games that are in this book, especially the reflection
One other activity of your choice. This
gives you a chance to try out one of the activities in this book. It might be a DELTA Good
Turn for some person(s) in your camp, i.e. a mentally handicapped troop or dining hall
staff. Or, you might want to try leading a game and reflection. A teachable moment may
occur and DELTA skills can help you help your scouts make sense of the event.
Scouts may earn a DELTA segment for their camp patch
after completing these activities.
DELTA Flavored Events.
Camporees are a great place to insert the initiative
games and Scout Skills that are outlined in this book. A number of camp staff have woven
some of these activities into their camp-wide events or program areas (conservation area
or waterfront). Counselor-In-Training and Senior Patrol Leader orientation programs have
used these activities as a part of their course structure as have junior Leader Training
DELTA Program Materials
The following program materials are available to help you
get started with DELTA.
- This Leader Handbook is a resource and a tool to get you
- 5 Videos for Scouters and parents as well as Scouts.
Chapter four gives a quick synopsis of each and the appropriate audience. These are the
most powerful tools for you to get into DELTA. View each of them several times. You'll see
something new each time!
- "Right, Wrong, Or What?" problem solving stories
- A program supplement package that contains camera ready
handouts for use with Scouts. A planning calendar is also included in this packet.
- Awards, recognition and incentives. These are detailed in
Some Considerations When Working With Youth
Be aware of the range of developmental levels within the
This is the message in Chapter Two. DELTA's video "Ages
and Stages" illustrates some of those differences and highlights some of the most
common mistakes we can make with kids, like 'bigger is more mature'. It comes down
to looking at each boy individually and not making assumptions about him based on other
boys his age.
Practice Effective Communication patterns
Adults tend to talk at children and not with them.
There are some ways to think about communication with your children or the Scouts in your
- Qualify your opinions to avoid making judgment
statements. Practice saying "I think" when you are leading your Scouts in an
activity. This leads them to reflect on their own reaction to an event.
- Exchange information with your Scouts rather than
lecturing them. When we lecture, we seldom give children any new information, and we don't
learn what it is that they know. Remember that communication is a two-way process, and the
feedback is half of the process. Ask your Scouts "What do you think is the purpose of
- Suggest rather than tell. If one solution stands
out, point out its pros and cons, then step back and let the Scouts discover for
themselves whether it's the best one. A suggestion should always be framed in the form of
a question, such as "Don't you think this game showed you some ideas about learning
- Listen to your Scouts just as much as you talk to
them. To be a good listener, practice these three habits: Focus on the speaker, accept
what he says, and try to draw out more information. "I think that's a good idea.
Where else do you think it would work?"
- Summarize your understanding of the situation or
the solution for your Scouts to avoid misunderstandings. "Read back' their ideas to
them, so that they can see if they've said what they wanted to say.. In the video, the
Scout leader says "So you're telling me that Peter became the leader because he had a
- Respect your Scout's point of view. Treat them as
fairly as you would treat adults in similar situations. If you use respect in
communications with your Scouts, nearly all of the habits listed here will fall into place
naturally. Respect breeds good communication.
Table of Contents
Chapter Three/part II
April 14, 1996