It is a beautiful day at Camp One Clap on One Clap Speech and Debate, where we are sliding into day 17, passing the halfway point of Camp. Today Camp Counselors Bailey Patterson, Marcus Viney, and Junebug return with part three of their four part series - Troop Leader Talk. Today’s episode, Reaching the Summit, is all about the adventure of setting goals! 🏕️👏🌳
Thanks to Camp Counselors Bailey Patterson, Marcus Viney, and Junebug for part three of their helpful series - Troop Leader Talk - with lots of smart ideas about goal setting.
Here is a transcript of Troop Leader Talk, episode 3:
Let's set off on another adventure into the exciting wilderness of coaching. Today, on Troop Leader Talks we're going to chart our course through the challenging, but rewarding, landscape of goal setting.
Picture this: we're at the base of a rugged mountain range, the peaks are clouded in mystery. Each one of us is in charge of leading our troops up the mountain. Somewhere on one of those peaks, my fellow leaders, is our goal, the aim we strive to reach. But where do we go and how do we get there? Research tells us the primary reason most people don't summit their mountain isn't lack of ability or enthusiasm, but because they've not clearly defined their destination. We don’t want our students to be eager hikers without a compass, wandering aimlessly in the wilderness. That's why it's essential we help them plot their path with precision and clarity.
Enter the SMART Goal framework, our trusty compass in this goal-setting expedition. This is a helpful activity to do with your troop so they don’t get lost in the woods. Let's break it down.
"S" stands for Specific. A goal like "I want to be better at debate" is as vague as saying "I want to hike somewhere in the forest". We need to nail down the specifics, like "I want to improve my questioning in cross-examination.” If a goal is too vague, you won’t know where to start, but the clearer we can be about our intentions, the easier it will be to follow the path in front of us.
"M" stands for Measurable. Saying "I want to hike a lot" won't cut it. We need a measurable metric, like "I want to hike five miles.” Unless we set goals with clear parameters, we will have no idea whether we have achieved our goal or not. It’s the difference between saying “I want to be good at oratory” and “I want to win the novice tournament in oratory.” Only the second statement has a recognizable outcome. You either did or didn’t win the tournament.
"A" stands for Achievable. "I want to reach the peak in an hour" or “I want to win my first varsity tournament” might be too lofty if you're new to hiking or a novice transitioning into varsity. Be realistic, maybe start with "I aim to hike to the first campsite today" or “I want to win a round at my first varsity tournament.” Here we are balancing what a troop wants with what’s achievable for them at this step in their adventure.
"R" is for Rigorous. If you're a hiker, setting a goal to make it past the next hill might not serve you. Ensure your goals challenge you in line with your passion and potential. The R in SMART is meant to counterbalance the A. Thinking about what’s achievable keeps us grounded, but considering what would be most rigorous pulls us in the direction of our own undiscovered potential. Go ahead! Encourage students to set at least one goal they feel embarrassed to write down. Sometimes the act of setting an intention is the first step toward making the impossible possible.
Lastly, "T" stands for Time-bound. Having a deadline, like "I will complete this hike by sunset", keeps us motivated and on track. Similarly, “I will have my intro memorized by the end of the week” sets clear expectations for you and your troop. If you don’t have a limit on when you should reach the peak, how do you know if you need to speed up or slow down? Don’t miss your opportunity for growth simply because you don’t have a clear plan.
Now, it’s important to keep a couple things in mind about goal-setting. First, the point of goal setting isn’t necessarily to reach the goal. Of course, it’s magnificent when that happens. But in those times when we set our sights on that elusive peak and don't quite reach the summit, that doesn't mean we've failed. It doesn’t? Nope it doesn’t. Just by virtue of aiming higher and pushing ourselves further, we've already achieved more than if we'd never embarked in the first place. Second, it’s important to remember that goal-setting is not a one-time activity, something we set and forget, but rather something we should return to and revive throughout the season.
But mapping our route via SMART goal-setting is nothing without the right mindset and habits to reach our destination. Here's where James Clear's popular book "Atomic Habits" comes to the rescue. James argues that goal-setting is never enough by itself. Instead, we need to think and reason about the person behind the goal. Picture the seasoned hiker who frequently makes it to the peak. What habits do they have? Perhaps they train regularly, keep their nutrition in check, and have a disciplined schedule. If a student wants to be a state champion, have them consider the behaviors of a state champion. What is this competitor like? What do they do? They likely practice multiple times a week, seek regular advice from coaches, and are always on their best behavior at tournaments. Now that we know what actions lead to achievements, how can we adapt those actions into our lives?
We need a bridge between this ideal person and our humble troop. For this, James says we can encourage them to ask: what systems can I put in place to help me practice these behaviors and actions? If I’m the kind of person who has trouble staying organized, I need to strategize around the people who find this easy. Maybe it’s as simple as keeping all of your debate materials, cases, blocks, flows, questions, in one single location. Helping to stretch the imaginations of our students in this way can help them build systems that will create the right space for students to actively pursue their SMART goals from before. A good hiker knows exactly where they want to go and what they need to do in order to get there.
One last reminder, Troop Leaders: we're not just setting our sights on competitive goals and striving toward them exclusively. Just like the various terrains we encounter on our hikes, our students are all wonderfully unique. They'll have personal goals, too. A student who has had no prior experience memorizing a speech might aim to recite five minutes without looking at their script, another might want to conquer their fear of making eye contact with a judge in LD. These personal milestones are as significant as winning trophies. We're coaching people, not just events, so let's help our students navigate the terrain that's most meaningful to them.
So the next time you find yourself at the base of a rugged mountain range, be sure to rally your troops around clear destinations and thoughtful strategies for how to get up there. Until next time, happy trails Troop Leaders!
Troop Leader Talk: Camp Counselor Bios
Marcus Viney is the head coach of speech and debate at Cheyenne East High School where he has been coaching for nearly a decade. He has Master’s degrees in Philosophy and English from Colorado State University. He currently serves as the District Chair of the Hole-in-the-Wall District for the National Speech and Debate Association, as well as the President of the Wyoming Speech and Debate Association. Marcus has celebrated multiple state and national championships with the East High team. Most recently he was inducted into the Wyoming High School Speech and Debate Hall of Fame. However, he is perhaps best known for his local celebrity pug, Junebug.
Bailey Patterson is full time communication faculty at Laramie County Community College where she teaches public speaking. She has an MA in Communication from the University of Wyoming and will graduate with her MFA in Theatre Performance and Pedagogy from Texas Tech University this December. Recently, Bailey won the National Kennedy Center Irene Ryan Acting Award and the 2022 Jane Alexander Emerging Artist Award from the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. Back in her day, she was a Wyoming state champion in DI, Duo, and Poetry and was the first ever Wyoming automatic qualifier to the National Tournament in dramatic interpretation. However, she is perhaps best known for being best friends with local celebrity pug, Junebug.
Junebug is a widely beloved and celebrated pug in the Wyoming speech and debate community and beyond. She charms everyone she meets with her calming demeanor and cheerful snorts. Small but mighty, Junebug is one of the most talented and experienced coaches given her dedication to after school practices and in-town tournaments. While she’s known for disrupting duo blocking sessions, she’s unmatched for her empathy and ability to care for people facing obstacles or hard times. When she’s not leading the troops, she loves to percolate while sunbathing on the back deck. Her favorite food is ham and she’s a world-class napper. Discover your chance to connect with this total cutie @junebugpug on Instagram and Threads.
Thanks so much to Counselors Bailey Patterson, Marcus Viney, and Junebug for another great episode of Troop Leader Talk! The final episode of their four part series - Flashlight Focus - will drop next Thursday at Camp One Clap!
Tomorrow, there’s lots to look forward to at camp: episode three of Croc Hiking with EZ Platform starring Ella “E” Goodman and Zcherina “Z” Villegas will drop even more Oratory and Informative tips, tricks, and hacks. Professor Graham and Kevin will be back with yet another fantabulous ABCs of Debate video on youtube too!
In case you missed it, here is Professor Graham and Kevin's poppin' episode for today:
Camp One Clap Social Media Challenge for Day 17 of Camp:
Tip Thursday, part 2! Offer up another public speaking, debating, or performance tip! Share your tips with our Speech and Debate community to help others improve their skills.
I'll be posting my answers on the One Clap Speech and Debate TikTok channel! Be sure to tag our social media accounts or use the hashtag #CampOneClap23 when you post. I’m shifting the reward structure a bit for challenges to include One Clap prizes for more people! If you interact with a monthly challenge 10 times you can receive a holographic Camp One Clap sticker. If you interact 25 times you can receive several stickers, a One Clap coaster, and a Camp One Clap magnet!
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Check out the 2023 August Wyoming Speech and Debate Newsletter from One Clap: