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John-in-KC

Positions of Responsibility

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We currently have a glut of boys working on Star or Life, so service projects are a viable option. However, lining them up is not always easy.

 

I needed a scout to run point for our district flag placement that our troop and crew holds. My usual venturers who run this weren't available. The SM said he had just the boy (introverted, does web stuff, ideal for a behind-the-scenes support project like this), so I asked around for him at the next meeting. He wasn't there, time was running short, so I fell back to one of the older boys who already had a POR, didn't care much about advancement, but did want to get more involved with the crew.

 

The next week I apologized to the SM for passing over his guy. He replied "the first step in being responsible is showing up at meetings to get your assignment!" If the kid was present even that next week, I would have divide up some duties for him to still make a significant contribution to the event (and make a new friend by working with my venturer in the process). But, it didn't happen.

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So if the Patrol is the basic operating structure of scouting, why is the Assistant Patrol Leader not a position of responsibility?  As for that, why aren't any patrol leadership positions other that Patrol Leader positions of responsibility?

 

This leads to the silliness of having our Assistant Patrol Leaders being designated as Troop Guides and our Patrol Quartermasters being designated as Troop Quartmasters.  

 

We should just get over the idea of the title ("serve" in a "position of responsibility") and reward scouts by changing the requirement to "Show leadership and/or responsibiity as a member of your Patrol."  

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APLs are like vice presidents...you never know they are there until you look on a roster. ;)

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APLs are like vice presidents...you never know they are there until you look on a roster. ;)

 

 

Well, for two of our APLs they are pretty much doing all the work... the other two, well, I had to ask my son who they are.  Additionally, your criticism could similarly be applied to the ASPL.

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Probably because most people have no idea what an APL is supposed to do. Most of the time they sit around doing nothing until the PL doesn't show up. They are a total waste of time. But if they function as an assistant to the PL they should get credit for it. Same with the ASPL, that POR is the same waste of time in most units I have seen. In troops of 8 or less, the patrol QM is the Troop QM. Sometimes the patrol QM does more work than the troop QM. When it comes to the BSA sometimes the rules don't make sense....in case one didn't notice.

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"So if the Patrol is the basic operating structure of scouting, why is the Assistant Patrol Leader not a position of responsibility?  As for that, why aren't any patrol leadership positions other that Patrol Leader positions of rsponsibility?"

 

"APLs are like vice presidents...you never know they are there until you look on a roster."

 

Same explanation, some folks have misplaced the Patrol Method.

 

Or, putting it another way, "Probably because most people have no idea what an APL is supposed to do."

 

The APL is assistant leader of the basic unit of Scouting - far more important to real Scouting than most official PORs, which make sense in the Troop Method world.

Edited by TAHAWK
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It seems to me that the responsibilities that can be applied to advancement come at a time when we expect a boy to think more widely than the eight boys with whom they've been hiking and camping over the past year or two.

 

That's true of the PL. He's not to just qualify to take his patrol hiking and camping, he's to coordinate activities with the other patrols. That is definitely not the expectation of the APL (although we all expect him to grow into that outward-looking attitude).

 

Same for the troop QM ... especially the one with highly functioning patrols and their respective QMs. He has to navigate the waters of multiple patrols. Maybe the Wolves have the best camp box, but the Bears have urgently need such gear. No longer is this a matter of checking out equipment from some troop storehouse, but enabling "haves" to help "have nots" with an appropriate level of accountability. And so it goes with the other responsibilities.

Edited by qwazse

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Well, for two of our APLs they are pretty much doing all the work... the other two, well, I had to ask my son who they are.  Additionally, your criticism could similarly be applied to the ASPL.

 

Sure. I can be applied any time you have "assistants" stepping up to take over for absent primaries. But that is a totally different issue then giving APLs credit for a POR. I would argue if I have an APL being PL most of the time, then the PL is not getting POR credit and the APL will get de facto PL credit for fulfilling the role.

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Our Troop typically has two ASPL's--typically one who is the manager of the other Troop POR's and the other who is more of a leader type that often steps in when the SPL cannot be there or the Troop gets split up. I'd say 70% of our ASPL's have done a pretty good job.

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We believe that "ALL" positions from the least responsible like the Cheer Master to highest perceived responsibility of the SPL should have understood expectations that the scout can easily quote. The positions also have a hierarchical order to show their expectation of maturity for the position so the scout understands the difficulty of the position and can plan how to grow in maturity with each position. If a scouts plans to be an SPL one day, he can look at the order of responsibilities toward reaching the position.

 

Of course nothing is in stone and some scouts are smarter than others, but those understandings give the adults and scouts a general idea of where are in the order and where they can go for continued maturity and growth. If your troop doesn't have expectations for positions, create them so scouts understand what is expected of them and how to plan for their future. 

 

Barry

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In my troops the APL's are not just a patch wearing opportunity for no advancement. 

 

While I do not actively promote an SPL, the boys did place them when they needed one once they reached 4 patrols.  Of course, none of the boys wanted to give up their PL positions because in the units I serve as SM, the PL's are the highest ranking position.  So who got picked as SPL?  Well the qualification list consisted of who has the best track record of supporting the PL's already?  Instead of a boy assisting the PL with members of a patrol, this person would simply assist the PL's with the adults.  The SPL that was selected was the consensus of the PL's best APL.  It was interesting to note that when a PL was replaced the first person the patrol would look to was the SPL to be their PL.  Only once was a SPL selected by the PL's who wasn't an APL.

 

I have, at the request of the PL's, given POR credit to their exceptional APL's as a SM's special leadership project.  All my POR's are functional, including GrubMasters and ActvityMasters.

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In my troops the APL's are not just a patch wearing opportunity for no advancement. 

 

 

@@Stosh, so you give POR credit for APL?

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@@Stosh, so you give POR credit for APL?

 

As a general rule, No.  But at the request of the PL, I have given POR credit to a scout having done a SM-approved special leadership project.

 

While a First Class Scout, serve actively in your troop for four months in
one or more of the following positions of responsibility (or carry out a
Scoutmaster-approved leadership project to help the troop):
 
4
Assistant patrol leader is not an approved position of responsibility for the Star rank.
 

So, NO, I do not give POR credit for APL.  I give credit for SM-approved leadership projects.

 

I do tend to feel that by using the patrol method, that whatever leadership development one provides on the patrol level will eventually benefit the troop.  As I have noted in other comments with the exception of one time, the SPL's have been PL selected from the position of APL.   

 

@@Krampus There are two exceptions to this. 1) Being APL does not mean it is automatically approved for POR, only if the recommending PL feels the APL has functioned at a level worthy of a leadership project and with the support demonstrated in assisting the PL in working with the patrol would be capable of doing the same support by assisting the PL as SPL if called upon to do so.  And 2) It would not apply to the Eagle rank because the special leadership project  option is not available.

 

While it sounds like a real bending of the rules, it is not as easy as one thinks, but on a couple of occasions the PL's have gone to bat for their exceptional APL's who they thought deserved the credit for the work they did.  Keep it in mind that when the POR is checked off on advancement by the PL, the SM-Approved part must be addressed with the SM.  The PL always has a compelling case for such a request.

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So, NO, I do not give POR credit for APL.  I give credit for SM-approved leadership projects.

 

I do tend to feel that by using the patrol method, that whatever leadership development one provides on the patrol level will eventually benefit the troop.  As I have noted in other comments with the exception of one time, the SPL's have been PL selected from the position of APL.   

 

@@Krampus There are two exceptions to this. 1) Being APL does not mean it is automatically approved for POR, only if the recommending PL feels the APL has functioned at a level worthy of a leadership project and with the support demonstrated in assisting the PL in working with the patrol would be capable of doing the same support by assisting the PL as SPL if called upon to do so.  And 2) It would not apply to the Eagle rank because the special leadership project  option is not available.

 

While it sounds like a real bending of the rules, it is not as easy as one thinks, but on a couple of occasions the PL's have gone to bat for their exceptional APL's who they thought deserved the credit for the work they did.  Keep it in mind that when the POR is checked off on advancement by the PL, the SM-Approved part must be addressed with the SM.  The PL always has a compelling case for such a request.

That's a pretty liberal reading of the leadership project's intent. I'm pretty certain they meant to award POR credit for an actual project with a defined role, objective and deliverable...and not give it to a kid exercising the patrol method.

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