I can see leadership and advancement are very important to you stosh and that is the big difference between our two styles. See, what you describe as SM approved duties (is approved a fair word?) are normal expected actions in our troop. Our scouts aren’t expected to have the maturity of PORs for couple years. But they are expected to develop habits of a servant heart, or living by the scout oath and law from day one. I call it a servant lifestyle. Leadership in our troop is just way of expressing a servant heart, or what is normally called servant leadership. Where you and I differ a lot is how we develop the leadership skills. Not good or bad, just different. My philosophy for leadership development is developing leadership skills during normal troop activities while the scouts are young. Positions of responsibilities (POR) in my mind are only opportunities to practice the skills the scout has already learned, not where scouts go to learn leadership skills. The scouts in PORs are encouraged to reflect on their experience to understand their performance and change some of their habits to improve or grow. We expect them to naturally be servant leaders because they are using servant skills they practiced in their everyday scouting activities. On average, our scouts won’t be on the PLC until they are around 13 years old, and I really prefer PLs be at least 14 because that is the age where I’ve learned they get the most from their leadership experience. That is the age were they really grow. And it’s not that we adults hold them back, (our scouts have full control of their destiny in the program) but the patrol leader’s responsibility in our troop demands that level of maturity and the scouts know it. Of course we have our 12 year old natural leaders who by their nature accel faster. I really enjoy watching them in action, they are special. I’ve worked with hundreds of scouts, I’ve only had three or four natural leaders. You know what I’ve learned about natural leaders, they don’t care much about advancement. Rank is boring to them. Isn’t that interesting? I believe scouts between the age of 10 and 13 should focus more on adventure and less concerned with POR’s and advancement. Both those will come naturally at the pace of the scout’s personality. You are focused on scouts advancing and making sure your scouts progress isn’t held by lacking a POR. We are different in that I could care less about the scout’s long term goals in advancement, leadership or anything really. My obsession with scouting is developing the skills of a moral decision maker. I also obsess for a program that doesn’t get in the way of a scouts farthest ambition, and in the short term develops his confidence to go the distance. We have 14 year old Eagles, but the average of our scouts going to their EBOR is around between 16 and 17. If you were to ask them why they took so long, they will tell you they were busy. If an 11 year old scout has some ambition for leadership responsibility, the SPL will look for something that he can handle at his maturity like leading our monthly road side trash pickup or planning and leading a COH. There are many opportunities to practice being a team leader, so it’s not a barrier. But personally, I would really rather the 11 year old lead a hike in the woods or even go fishing. I know how boys dream and the dream of an 11 year old is different from the dreams of a 16 year old. The program can handle both, so I don’t like to hurry the one at risk of sacrificing the other. We have almost as many scout between the ages of 14 to 17 as we have 10 to 13 years old. It’s interesting while I know we are very much the same, it’s our differences that give us very different perspectives of scouting. Not good or bad, just different. Barry
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