This big ole gorilla of youth leader accountability continues to rear it's ugly head so I seek the wisdom of the board on a situation I will guarantee is not unique to our humble troop. Thanks for your patience in reading, assuming you actually make it to the end. To set the stage: New SM comes from an HR background and is trying to implement criteria/standards to assure scouts are aware of their leadership roles and what is expected of them. So far, responses come from two ASM having different opinions and a former SM.
The new Scoutmaster is asking the SPL and ASPL to work together with ASMs and the SM to make certain that scouts have accomplished their leadership requirements before scheduling them for scoutmaster conferences. We need to make sure these scouts have made meaningful contributions before they are signed off. So SM is asking our SPL and ASPLs to ask a candidate for Star or Life what they have done as a leader before scheduling them for a scoutmaster conference. If there are any questions, please ask the scout to talk to any ASM or to the SM. If a scout has not done anything meaningful they are not ready for a scoutmaster conference and should be coached on what to do.
One ASM responded: We have to be careful that we are not unintentionally adding additional requirements to the various ranks for advancement. The only "leadership" requirement is that of holding a leadership position for a specific period of time. The requirement does not say that they have to do anything "meaningful" while they hold that position NOR does it require that a scout
do any other kind of "meaningful" leadership activities. If a scout has held a leadership position for the required amount of time (regardless of what they have done or not done) they have fulfilled the requirement. This has been upheld at the various scout levels beyond a troop.
If a scout is not performing in their leadership position - it is up to the scoutmaster to have a scoutmaster conference with them and counsel them regarding their performance. It is not the responsibility of the SPL or Assistant SPL to check on the whether a scout is performing in their leadership position.
The former SM responded that he also struggled significantly with this issue as Scoutmaster and felt he failed due to overwhelming & constant complaining and opposition by certain parents. The parents were the problem, not the scouts. The scouts were (and are) willing to do what is required in a leadership position with a little direction; it is the parents inserting what THEY think they can get away with and have their son get the rank advancement anyway. The aims and spirit of scouting continue to be distorted. If a scout is not expected to demonstrate leadership in a leadership role/position then why have them? The only recourse is for the Scoutmaster to remove the scout from the position . . . try it . . . and see what kind of threats, acusations and action you get from the parents, even when the reason is very clear!
Unfortunately, leadership in a scout position is inherently subjective and some parents use this as an excuse to have their son do as little as possible and still obtain the rank advancement.
Another ASM responded-- The implementation of the requirements is very subjective, but the subjectivity works both ways, from the scouts perspective as well as the scoutmasters.
The scouts and scoutmasters all have different capabilities, attitudes, goals and expectations of what they want from the program.
Humans are subjective, we can't change that, but if a troop (or a society)is to function, there must be accountability. The different parts of the troop must function together, individuals can't do as they please when it comes to the collective group, or we everyone suffer.
If a particular scout is perceived as not performing his leadership role, I suggest obtaining a consenus from other scoutmasters and possibly scout leaders and scouts. That can reduce the subjectivity and allow appropriate measures to be implemented.
Setling for mediocraty provides a dis-service to all.
Meaningful is good, doing time is useless.
So, if you read through this whole post, what's your view on the matter?