Scoutmaster Minute-The Goose Story

April 20, 2009

Last weekend on Lake Shetek, I saw a lot of Canadian Geese heading north for spring.  When you see geese flying along in a V formation, you might consider that science has discovered why they fly that way:

As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following.  By flying in V formation, the whole flock creates at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going faster and easier because they are traveling on the trust of one another.

When a goose falls out of formation it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power from the bird in front.  It’s like riding the draft in NASCAR.  If we had as much sense as a goose we would stay in formation with those who are headed in the same direction that we are.

When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back and another goose flies point.  Tonight we have recognized Scouts selected to serve in Troop Positions of Responsibility.  It makes sense to take turns doing demanding jobs whether it’s with people or with geese flying north.  No matter if you’re the head goose or one in formation, we’re all going for True North* together.


(Adapted from BSA Troop Program Resources)

* Ask Andy says: Our primary responsibility, as volunteer role-models and mentors, is to help those youth whom we serve to see the path ahead that points to True North and then help them make the personal decision to aim at it to the exclusion of ethical distractions. We started doing this a hundred years ago; our goal is no different today. But it may be more important today—it may be, in fact, the most important thing we can do with our time, talents, and treasure.


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