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  • Attendance Requirement

    Got a question for ya. We have a ASPL who got elected back in August and while he has come to all but 2 or 3 of the meetings, he hasn't come on any of the camp-outs because of school/job. Because of that, he isn't really doing his job as ASPL, since meetings are mainly just for preparations for campouts(for us anyway). The real activities, where the leadership is actually needed, are on the camp-outs. Should an attendance requirement be established to keep this from happening again? Do any of your troops have an attendance requirement of some sort?

  • #2
    If the patrol leaders are doing their job, why do you even have an ASPL? That has to be the most useless job in the troop. The bugler has more responsibility. On an outing, the SPL is the second most useless person. If the patrols are 300' apart, how does the SPL keep track of everything? If the troop is looking to the SPL and ASPL for leadership on the campouts, they are barking up the wrong tree. The PL's should be running the show in their patrols. What are the PL's in your troop doing when the SPL and ASPL are running the show? Nothing? Taking orders from the SPL and ASPL? That's gotta be confusing for everyone.

    Basically if the ASPL is attending regularly but has trouble on the weekend with job and school, I don't see this as any real problem. Same for the SPL, especially in a small troop. Have a PL pull that stunt, then there's reason for the fur to fly. For me the highest ranking POR in my troops were the PL's. Everyone else down to the CC SUPPORTED the PL's in their jobs. That's where the real leadership needs to be.

    Stosh

    Comment


    • Tampa Turtle
      Tampa Turtle commented
      Editing a comment
      We have 5 patrols and our SPL is pretty key at campouts on keeping the program running in an constructive way. We have two ASPL's --one kinda runs herd on the minor POR's and the other is a "Sergeant of Arms". However I like this thread we have had AWOL Patrol Leaders, POR's and Troop Guide. The attendance hammer is coming down.

    • Basementdweller
      Basementdweller commented
      Editing a comment
      For a one Patrol troop, you have no need of an SPL, ASPL . Do away with the positions.

    • EagleScout441
      EagleScout441 commented
      Editing a comment
      Technically it is two patrols of 6-8, although the last two outings have been only one patrol.

  • #3
    Meanwhile back at the ranch. Is the scout performing to his promises of performance. Your job is to guide scout to make right decisions. You can keep adding policies and rules to force the scout against his will, or you can appeal to him by asking him to be honest with his performance. You are too focused on him performing to your expectations. Instead you could guide him on making correct decisions, one of which may be handing his responsibilities over to someone else until he has the time to live up to the to the expectations the other scouts expect of him. Leadership is only a tool for help you build character. The values of law are serving others before yourself, and helping this scout to make choices that benefit the troop instead himself is your noble task at hand. I handle these kinds of situations by speaking with scout one on one and asking him to reflect on his performance. Sometimes I was the one who grew from the experience, but careful questions can get him to see himself more clear. He may need to set new goals. He may need to understand is options better. But your main objective is for him to want to make good decisions. Does this make sense? What I'm trying to say is focus on the higher goal of character, not leadership performance. Once he understands the life value of making good decisions, good leadership will follow. Good luck, this is challenging for all of us. Barry

    Comment


    • Tampa Turtle
      Tampa Turtle commented
      Editing a comment
      I agree. I was pretty steamed at one boy and a talk to a friend at another Troop helped me see the big picture. One boy came up for his sign up and was pretty absent as PL. We gave him the list of the requirements (attend campouts, etc) and asked him to reflect on how he did the job and come back to us. My job was to coach the boy as Patrol Leader but it is hard to observe, much less coach a boy who is not there a lot. I think he is likely to get partial credit and some suggested work on his leadership with his guys. We will see if he is game. I strongly suspect his dad will try to go over our head and go straight to "his buddy" at council.

      One problem with helping a scout make the right decisions is his lack of doing his job hurt the patrol.

    • Eagledad
      Eagledad commented
      Editing a comment
      A true boy run program is challenging to adults for two reasons; one is each scout requires individual one on one guidance (“Bob, I noticed you choose not to wear your uniform today, is everything all right”) compared to (“Everyone is required to wear full uniform or they don’t go camping”). Second is boy run requires space between the adults and scouts (300 ft) to give the scout true independence of making decisions without intimidation. For a scout to understand the responsibility of making good choices, he HAS to feel the true impact of his decisions on those around him, and he needs to be challenged on those decisions at the time, not six months later. That is a hard responsibility for adults who are 300 ft away. It can be done and adults don’t have to stand in the patrol campsite to see if the patrols members are starving to death because they can’t get together on menus and cooking. We need to be responsive in a timely manner. It’s not real productive to hold a scout accountable six months after the act because it is difficult for him to feel the impact of his decision. Instead he will likely feel resentment for being held accountilbe for something he barely remembers. You don't punish a dog for something it did wrong last week. That’s not to say the scout won’t understand and make some choices that make you proud, but it still makes our job much much harder. Also, the program itself needs to show the scout the the result of his right and wrong choices. Are scouts hungry? Is their camp site trashy and dishes not getting cleaned? Is the patrol late to assembly? How does the troop suffer when the SPL isn’t there? How does the patrol function without the PL? The answer is they shouldn’t perform well if you want them to feel responsible for the expectations. A patrol is a team and members of the team need to be stressed to build into a true functioning team. If one member of the team is slouching, he needs to be held accountable by the other members. The team building model of forming, storming, norming and performing works very well when used properly. I remember when our troop was about 50 scouts and in about a years time they had improved breaking camp from two hours to 35 minutes. That is pretty darn good and I remember the ASM next to me saying, “Wow, we need to find a wrench to throw in that machine ”. As adults, you can use the program to stress the scouts and force them to see how their choices affect the team. And then you can guide them one on one if they still don’t see the light. Campsite inspections are a great way to force teams to storm and norm. Agendas are another. But the main point here is you don’t want a scout getting away with making bad decisions for six months before being confronted. Barry

  • #4
    I created campout attendance requirements. It makes it so much easier to have the discussion Eagledad mentions. What I'm learning is the clearer the expectations the easier it is for the boys to grasp them and harder for them to fudge them. The SPL or ASPL has to be on every campout baring an act of God. Same for PL and APL of each patrol. The PL is expected to go on most of the campouts (yes, that's fuzzy for a reason).

    My PLC just had to deal with a PL that hasn't been on a campout with his patrol since he became a patrol leader 4 months ago. The expectations above triggered a discussion with the boy and the PLC that was good. Turns out he's in over his head with all sorts of activities. They finally agreed that it would be good for the PL to swap with his APL until he can get things under control. The participation requirements made it easier to start this conversation. It's a tool, I try to use it wisely.

    Comment


    • perdidochas
      perdidochas commented
      Editing a comment
      I'm with you Fred, with the exception of PORs. A scout with a POR should be there most of the time. That is what responsibility means. My oldest belongs to a youth orchestra. They practiced at the same time as our Troop meeting. He didn't sign up for a POR because of that. That went about 6 weeks.

    • jblake47
      jblake47 commented
      Editing a comment
      For me, it would depend on the POR. SPL and ASPL, Scribe, etc. would all be involved with pre-activity responsibilities. QM, may need to be on-hand during the activity, obviously the Bugler would need to be there, Chaplain Aide should be there. PL and/or APL HAVE to be there.

      If the Scribe does all the registration work, financial collection, and paperwork for an activity, in my book, the only necessity he would have on an outing would be to have fun. If the SPL/ASPL haven't done their prep work of assisting the PL's getting ready, they would be along only for an occasional need here and there, but the SPL and ASPL could easily tag-team that process.

      Part of teamwork is getting the boys to either be there to fulfill a responsibility of train someone (leadership) and assign (management) to get the job done.

      There's nothing in my "book" that requires rules for attendance. One can fulfill their responsibilities and miss an occasional event due to scheduling conflicts. Like I said before family, school, church all have a higher priority than scouting and I never seem to have a problem with the boys' attendance.

      Stosh

    • MattR
      MattR commented
      Editing a comment
      Fred says: "Personally, I'm glad my troop does not have your attendance requirement. It's forces the older boys choose between scouting and other activities. I'm afraid at 14 / 15 years old, many will choose the other activities and it's the beginning of the end of their scouting career. It also puts the focus on the wrong place. Scouting is about character and advancement is not gate keeping."

      A lot of adults said we'd have a bunch of scouts quit if I put in an attendance requirement, but nobody else wanted to be SM so I got my way. A very small number of scouts did quit but most of them decided that scouts was important and they needed to put more time into it. There was something else going on as well. I used to spend a lot of time talking to scouts that were wavering on whether they wanted to stick it out. I tried to find ways to help them out. I finally said forget it, I was going to spend the time with the scouts that wanted to be there to make it the best program I could for them. That's when I came up with the requirements. I told scouts they needed to decide, and that scouting is a team sport. Patrol leaders can't learn to lead if they can't get older scouts to help them out. I made those decisions to help the PLs. The result is the patrols are forming identities, they don't want to be broken up, they want to go out on their own, and now scouts want to be patrol leader whereas it used to be a "nose goes" kind of thing. The older scouts are much more active and help out a lot more since I put in that requirement. Most scouts are unaware of the requirement because they just show up.

      One other thing, fulfilling the requirement is necessary for a POR, but not sufficient. They still need to do everything expected of them.

  • #5
    Good question. This hinges around another question, which Stosh hinted at: is your SPL/ASPL an instructor or an administrator? Ours are mainly administrators. Which means attendance at meetings is most important because that's when they make sure our plans for the weekend are reasonable, based on their experience. Then, they can delegate responsibilities to other scouts. Now, if your troop really needs an instructor in the field, and your ASPL is the guy, then you're gonna be hurting until he can take off work to be at camp. Regardless, accountability is what I look for in these situations. Who was it that said "Hey, Roy, can you assist the SPL for this weekend?" If it was the ASPL a meeting or two in advance,u I'd chalk it up to successful delegation. If it was the SM Saturday morning, I'd have a problem.

    Comment


    • Tampa Turtle
      Tampa Turtle commented
      Editing a comment
      We expect the SPL to be an instructor and to leave as much Administration to the Troop Scribe. The ASPL's are expected to step in when the SPL cannot cover something. We have had several SPL's who had 2 ASPL's to split functions--typically one is managing the "minor" POR's and the other working on teaching the PL's leadership skills.

    • jblake47
      jblake47 commented
      Editing a comment
      Keep it in the back of your mind, there is a difference between management and leadership. A good manager will get the job/task done. A good leader will get the job/task done, but everyone involved will find valid value in being involved in the process.

      A good manager will say, "The 5 gallon water bucket needs filling. According to the roster, John is supposed to be doing it. John, take care of it!" A good leader will say, "The water bucket is empty. Hey, John, you're on the roster, how about you and I go and knock it out." Either way the job will get done, but John is going to remember how he felt with the approach taken by the leader, and when it is his time to lead will help and support rather than just delegate as a manager would have done.

      I had one boy complain once that I was picking on him when all the tough jobs came around. He called me on it. I told him, it's a crappy job, and I always put my best scout on it because I know it will get done correctly. From that point on, he always smiled and got right on it when I asked him to do something. I often wonder if he would have been disappointed if I didn't ask him. Surprisingly he eventually was one of the first to volunteer for the crap jobs before I even asked. I think he knew he was my best scout.

      Good leaders always seem to "show up". Attendance was never a problem. I never asked my boys why they missed an activity. I simply assumed it was for a good reason. If they told me they weren't going to make it to an activity, I never questioned why, but I never heard later on of a boy missing because he just didn't want to go. Family, Church, job and school always took a higher priority than Scouting. And yet, attendance was never a problem.

      Stosh

    • qwazse
      qwazse commented
      Editing a comment
      TT, by administration, I mean leading PL's in establishing program. For example, in the troop I grew up in, SPL lead campfires. It was just part of the unwritten job description. In Sons' troop, the SPL finds out if the boy needs to be MoC for communications MB, or appoints a really charismatic scout, gets a rough outline ahead of time, and let's the campfire run itself. SPL chills (this summer, that meant sitting back and playing his guitar for background). ASPL (who was Son #2 at camp this year) did not need to do much but be a member of his patrol until SPL had to leave a day early).

      The past two summers both SPL/ASPL had already racked up enough POR hours for their next rank. So their was no "lording" advancement over them. SM told them what needed to be done. They made it happen ... cheerfully.

      This fall there was a breakdown because of commitments to sports and academics, so Son #2 suggested the troop elect two boys who've never held the position and will turn 18 early next year. They did. Again, neither boy needs the position for the next rank, yet SM and I have every reason to expect the best of them.

  • #6
    First thing, the ASPL is not an elected position it is an appointed position by the SPL.



    We have an attendance policy it is 75% for normal membership and 90% for Leadership and the only thing it applies to is requesting a BOR. The CC will not see a lad if he does not meet those requirements.


    I would discuss with the SPL what he would like to do. I would try to guide the SPL into asking the lad to do the right thing, which in my opinion is stepping down in my opinion.

    Second under no circumstance does he meet the requirement of 5. While a First Class Scout, serve actively in your unit for four months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility.
    Life happens. Lad prefers work and money to scouting no problem

    Comment


    • fred johnson
      fred johnson commented
      Editing a comment
      "The CC will not see a lad if he does not meet those requirements." ... BSA says a BOR shall not be denied if requested.

    • Basementdweller
      Basementdweller commented
      Editing a comment
      The key here is in our unit this will never come up.

      A lad who attends and grows into the job won't have an issue.

      A boy who has poor attendance and fails to do the job will be removed well before he fulfills the POR requirement, making the GTA and all the Bull pucky it spews irrelevant. So go ahead and find another unit if you like, you still have not fulfilled the requirements.


      GTA is for weak leaders or guys like KDD who don't have the stones to remove a lad who is PL who doesn't show up for campouts or meetings. An SMC with the lad exploring his attendance with him and his obligation to the troop, hopefully the lad will do the right thing.

      I get sports and band. The boys can complete POR's during their off season. If they are too busy for that then they too busy for scouting.

      Sure my SPL is terrible, but he is growing into the position and has good attendance. I can work with both.

    • fred johnson
      fred johnson commented
      Editing a comment
      Basementdweller wrote: "GTA is for weak leaders or guys like KDD who don't have the stones ..." ... That's funny. I always thought the leaders who had trouble with the GTA were too busy on a power trip to avoid playing abusive head games with their scouts. But, I guess it's a tomAto / tomahto thing.

      The funny thing is that you recommend exactly what the GTA says should happen ... removing the scout. If a scout isn't doing the job, remove him. That's even what the GTA says. And that's the type of stones the GTA expects leaders to have. But the GTA exists to protect scouts from abusive leaders.

  • #7
    If a guy is missing but he still get's his guys organized and ready than we are open to an argument. And we allow them to count the time during a "summer lull". I think the whole thing is kinda messed up by BSA's over-emphasis on building leadership to validate the program. Some POR's are more management than leader as has been discussed on this site ad infinitum. The world needs good staff officers too. The air traffic controller might not be a natural leader of men (I acknowledge he needs to be assertive) but it sure as hell important.

    Comment


    • fred johnson
      fred johnson commented
      Editing a comment
      Well said.

    • Basementdweller
      Basementdweller commented
      Editing a comment
      so you guys don't meet during the summer?

      We scout year round.

      Our attendance requirement will not penalize a lad for missing one campout or a meeting or two. But a kid who has football for 4 months should not be a PL or SPL.

  • #8
    Lots of opinions exist on this and many many many are wrong. Period. Read what BSA says in the Guide To Advancement. You can't go wrong if you do your best to implement the program you signed your name to running on your BSA application.

    Read GTA section 4.2.3.1 ... "impact" ... "making a difference" .... "reasonable" ... "a lesser level of activity is explained"

    http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33088.pdf


    Want clarifications? Read the advancement news.
    http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/...ment_News.aspx

    Comment


    • EagleScout441
      EagleScout441 commented
      Editing a comment
      "1) Show up for X% of the meetings, activities and outings.

      That's the one "measurement" that can be used for any POR's. Other rules would be position specific. But simply showing up is not doing the job. Why is it even there in the first place? And every adult will say, "Because!" "


      Because showing up is the first piece of actually serving in a POR. If they don't "simply show up" they aren't in a POR at all, are they? Much less doing the job.

    • scoutergipper
      scoutergipper commented
      Editing a comment
      As I note in our "Advancement after First Class" document - "A Scout cannot show leadership on a campout he does not attend." He may show leadership before or after.

    • Tampa Turtle
      Tampa Turtle commented
      Editing a comment
      Scoutergipper, I agree a guy could show leadership before and after if he thought hard about it. But usually the ones who don't show up don't so that either. I have seem exceptions.

  • #9
    I enjoyed reading Turtle's post on the BSA over-emphasizing the leadership part of the program. I agree that is a problem, but I don't agree the the BSA is the source of over-emphasizing. It's the unit adults that struggle with the leadership method. And personally I don't care about the difference between leadership and management. We are really talking about responsibility in the bigger picture, aren't we? I find that idividual personality will lead a scout to a style of manager or leader. However, the reason unit leaders struggle with the leadership Method is the same reason they struggle with the Advancement Method, they are looking at the wrong goals of growth. The goal is Character Growth, not leadership growth, or advancement growth, or camping growth and so on. Oh of course we want the scout to become a better leader because that is a great life skill and frankly easy to measure. But if a scout finds that he is not capable of living up to expectations and decides to step down to help his team perform better; is that not character growth? When adults shift the focus to the higher mission of character growth, they usually find themselves changing the way they guide and judge each scout's performance of the "methods". Then as Turtleman said, we appreciate each scout better for their differences of performing and customize the expectations on each method. It's more challenging for the adults, but much more rewarding. Barry

    Comment


    • #10
      Ok remove the POL and just focus on the POR

      So if a lad misses 80% of the meetings, how is he fulfilling his responsibilities? be it SPL, PL, Quatermaster, scribe or patrol member.

      The is NO BECAUSE. Do it or ya don't. A lad growing into the position is the expectation.


      While a First Class Scout, serve actively in your unit for four months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility

      Comment


      • EagleScout441
        EagleScout441 commented
        Editing a comment
        Or, how is he fulfilling his responsibilities if he doesn't attend any outings?

      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        Video games, SPL called off on a camp out when Black Ops 2 came out last fall spent the weekend getting double XP.

        Band
        Religious training, Latino Catholic thing
        Football
        Wrestling
        Sick
        Moves

        We lose some because of lack of interest......I would be kidding myself if it isn't the case.

      • qwazse
        qwazse commented
        Editing a comment
        E441, depends on the troop. Like Stosh mentioned, his troop operates in the field pretty much independent of the SPL/ASPL. Our troop is like that too most months. (This term, the SPL has disabilities that limit his participation, so the ASPL is "the guy" for outdoor activities.) Other troops, if the ASPL is absent -- especially if the SPL does not arrange for someone to fill in for the SPL, things start to fall apart.

        Like BD, the issue is more one of Loyalty. And this applies to every first class scout. How are you showing your loyalty to the troop? My SM and I ask that of every scout in the troop. We really don't care about the patch you have on your sleeve.

    • #11
      Ah heck half our POR patches are wrong. Dang patch magic. I am pushing for:
      (1) POR starts about time you sew on correct POR patch.
      (2) If you have your old POR patch and dont take it off I'm gonna make you do that job if I need to (that might get rid of the lazy ones)
      (3) No SMC will be scheduled with wong patches.

      Comment


      • Horizon
        Horizon commented
        Editing a comment
        I had a boy put a tan velcro patch on his uniform, and he kept a stash of PORs that he had held, each with the other side of the velcro. He would just attach whatever job he is currently doing.

        Quite funny really.

      • FrankScout
        FrankScout commented
        Editing a comment
        The US military now uses Velcro for all of their patches.

      • FrankScout
        FrankScout commented
        Editing a comment
        The US military now uses Velcro for all of their patches. (On BDU uniforms)

    • #12
      I did the velcro thing when I was an ASM one day and a Webelos DL the next. The boys loved it. One used to peel it off and turn it upside down when I had a big fail.

      Comment


      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        The worst scouter I ever met did the velcro patch thing. Met him at round table. Before he would speak with you on another subject he would dig thru his shirt pocket and with great ceremony strip off the incorrect patch for the subject being spoken, replace it with the more relevent patch and then he would say "I understand you had a question or feedback for blah blah blah".

        He did this all night every night I saw him at roundtable......Just an FYI he was a bead wearing card carrying member of the coffee circle.


        Not sure if it was a really bad attempt at recruiting or an ego trip.

      • FrankScout
        FrankScout commented
        Editing a comment
        Definitely an ego trip.

    • #13
      I always thought it was funny. I guess it is better than the roundtable guy changing shirts!

      Comment


      • #14
        "Changing hats" is a lot easier than changing patches or shirts.

        Stosh

        Comment


        • Horizon
          Horizon commented
          Editing a comment
          When my son was elected SPL, we made a pact that if I addressed him as SPL I was speaking as Scoutmaster. If I used his name, I was talking to him as his father.

        • Eagledad
          Eagledad commented
          Editing a comment
          I eventually addressed all my SPLs as "Senior" for the same reason. In fact address all SPLs as Senior because they seem to like it. I guess it rings as much authority as Scoutmaster.

        • jblake47
          jblake47 commented
          Editing a comment
          I refer to all my scouts as Mr. _____. It really cuts down on the respect issues.

          Stosh

      • #15
        What issues have you had Stosh?

        Comment


        • jblake47
          jblake47 commented
          Editing a comment
          Boys will always try and push the envelop when it comes to being boys. While in a sense this is not such a bad thing, but it sometimes needs to be channeled/tweaked into something positive.

          When I started out working with youth, it was in an institutional setting as a tutor. The only thing they told me was always sit with the back of your chair against a wall. I also worked with the NYPUM program for at risk youth. Once you learn how to deal with the institutionalize and at-risk kids, working with the scouts is a piece of cake. I basically have a pretty good idea what young minds are looking for at that age.

          Haven't we all yelled in frustration, at our parents, "When are you going to start treating me like an adult?!!" And the parents, yell back, "When you start acting like it!!!"

          Well, duh, who's teaching these kids to act like it? It isn't the schools, it isn't the parents, it isn't their peers. So who is it? Respect received is always after respect is given. Not many adults start out relationships with "kids" with respect for them. In schools, I'm the teacher and I'm here to teach you because you aren't as smart as me yet, etc.

          This message is very clear to the 11-13 year olds.

          So, do I get down on their level and become cool on their level? Nope, I raise them up to the adult level where I am. In my book they don't have to act like an adult before I treat them as such. This message is also very clear to the 11-13 year olds.

          Do I have issues? Sure, the boys screw up on occasion, but my "discipline" would be the same for them as it would be if it were there parent that did it. The boys know that if they screw up, own up to it and work to correct the situation as an adult would do, I won't discipline the boy. Why should I, if it were his parent, I wouldn't even consider disciplining them.

          In all the years of working with youth (a bit over 40 years) I haven't had a whole lot of issues with the kids, but I have had a ton of issues over the years with their parents who don't act like adults. I have even had a few of the boys apologize to me for the way their parents acted, which when it comes to the maturity of those kids, I know I'm on the right track.

          I spend a lot of time getting out ahead of issues doing my best to ward them off before they really do become an "issue" that I have to deal with .

          Stosh
          Last edited by jblake47; 11-09-2013, 01:24 PM.

        • Eagledad
          Eagledad commented
          Editing a comment
          Hmm, I have not had those issues. Different styles I guess. Thanks. Barry
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