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EXACTLY! The Scouts know who do the jobs and who don't better than the adults do.  Me personally, I wish the troop my boys are in would allow reelections.  After 6 months, they have to step down and either A) run for a different position or B) wait until the next election to get back in.

Really?? 6 months is not a long term to gain experience or make a difference in the troop. My troop has them yearly, and it’s usually suggested don’t run again after two terms, not a rule though just kinda so others step up.

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Thanks everyone!  I was just named the new Scout Master and I'm looking to do a course correction on some of our units past actions.

 

I do in fact mean every first class up having a job, not a scout holding multiple jobs.

 

I appreciate the advice, I'll put it to good use. 

Congratulations! Some simple-minded pointers ...

  • The SPL assigns positions (except PL's) with your advice ... so keep him in the loop. If he so much as makes an ugly face at a name you bring up, ask why he's hesitant, respect his opinion, and see if you all can figure out a better way to work with that boy.
  • Ignore rank patches. He who does the work holds the PoR patch. E.g., if nobody is actually organizing MB pamphlets, and nobody else cares, don't assign a librarian. But, if there is one second class scout always sweeping out the trailer or demanding that cook kits come back polished. Support the SPL by not forcing him to pick a Librarian, but encourage him to recruit that sweeper for QM.
  • A scout is allowed to ask for help if a job is too hard for him. But if he doesn't ask, and the job doesn't get done, then you need to ask him to reconsider holding his PoR until his ready to do the work.
  • Try to get 1st Class Scouts to choose the position they think they will do best. If one doesn't think he'll do anything well say, "Okay, let's talk about it a couple months."
  • Don't forget the option of assigning service projects. Some boys just do better if they have one big task to work on over the course of a few weeks, rather than the laundry list of tasks that come with PoRs.

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Qwazse, what are your thoughts on the POR that require a lot less work and leadership like (Webmaster, Librarian, Historian, Bugler)?   I know they qualify for ranks but how do you get them to do work that really shows leadership for Star, Life

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Qwazse, what are your thoughts on the POR that require a lot less work and leadership like (Webmaster, Librarian, Historian, Bugler)?   I know they qualify for ranks but how do you get them to do work that really shows leadership for Star, Life

They don’t. I never had any requirement signed off for any of those no Leadership less work positions. I wouldn’t allow the troop to do that.

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Qwazse, what are your thoughts on the POR that require a lot less work and leadership like (Webmaster, Librarian, Historian, Bugler)?   I know they qualify for ranks but how do you get them to do work that really shows leadership for Star, Life

I know this is for qwazse, and I look forward to his opinion.

 

The problem with positions like Webmaster, librarian, historian and bugler is that many units have very few expectations for those positions to hold scouts accountable. Without accountability, there is little growth or learning.

 

For a position to have value in the big picture of the whole program, it needs to have value in contributing to the whole program. If scouts don't see themselves contributing to the big picture, then likely the position isn't really required in the program. Our PLC voted to end the bugler position. It was a sad day for the traditional side of me, but the practical side of me agreed.

 

So, for any position to have values (expectations) in the troop, the SM needs to arrange a concept of skills and habits that develops growth in the scouts behavior (character, fitness, and citizenship). Then those expectations can be given to the scout when he gets the new position so that he and the mentor are on the same page. The mentor doesn't have to be the SM, or even and adult. I developed our JASMs to mentor first year scouts in the Grub Master and Cheer Master position. A good PL is also a good mentor as well. We used those positions to start new scouts in the habits of communication with the patrol to develop menus and skits for the monthly campouts. The mentors guided the scouts in how to communication, and researching for new ideas.

 

The BSA doesn't do a good job of teaching adults that PORs are more about developing character than advancing stature. But if the SM can focus on the character part, the stature part naturally follows.

 

By the way, like quazse, I pushed service projects as a great way to get leadership experience. I didn't give them POR credit, but it was a great way to get noticed by the older scouts for future leadership. 

 

Barry

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Qwazse, what are your thoughts on the POR that require a lot less work and leadership like (Webmaster, Librarian, Historian, Bugler)?   I know they qualify for ranks but how do you get them to do work that really shows leadership for Star, Life

They don’t. I never had any requirement signed off for any of those no Leadership less work positions. I wouldn’t allow the troop to do that.

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We have a volunteer who is upset because the same people appear to get elected SPL and PLs. He wants to appoint all positions.  IT DOES NOT WORK! (emphasis).  Some Scouts who are appointed have no interest in the POR and could care less. Some Scouts who are interested, but do not have the knowledge, skills or abilities to do it. Other Scouts, seeing this then act indifferent or with disrespect towards them. Long story short, the troop slowly dies.

 

 

 

He needs to find some other way to spend his time.  He is not interested in Boy Scouting.  

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"They don’t. I never had any requirement signed off for any of those no Leadership less work positions. I wouldn’t allow the troop to do that. "

 

IF I understand what you are trying to say, no single person has such authority - Scout or adult.  The CO is agrees to supply Boy Scouting to youth as defined by BSA.  BSA defines which positions are PORs.

 

It is the SPL's job, coached by the SM, to insure that all positions are meaningful.  IF the incumbent refuses to do meaningful work as assigned, he needs to be replaced.  If the leadership fails to give him meaningful work, they need training.

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Qwazse, what are your thoughts on the POR that require a lot less work and leadership like (Webmaster, Librarian, Historian, Bugler)?   I know they qualify for ranks but how do you get them to do work that really shows leadership for Star, Life

Truth? When I was a scout, librarian was harder than SPL. Lots of boys earning MBs, needing books, req changes left and right, plus volumes of Boys Life to bind, scouts forgetting to check-in and check-out ...SPL was a cake-walk.

 

I like @@Eagledad's summary. One of the fundamental problems that I see in many schools as well as in troops, people expect less.

 

One thing that I constantly remind scouts and parents is that PoR's aren't about leadership -- even though some happen to have "lead" in the title. They are about responsibility. There are jobs to do to make a troop great, and someone has to do them. When someone does each job (patch or no patch), the troop thrives.

 

So, back to my example, in terms of hours, the librarian should take as much time as SPL in a larger troop. If not, you might want to consider vacating that position until you all figure out what to expect from it.

 

I posted some other ideas on Bryan's forums:

https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/forums/topic/leading-buglers/

https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/forums/topic/leading-quartermasters/

 

Finally, the method in boy scouting is called "leadership development" for a reason ... boys should start with barely getting a job done themselves and end up getting his buddies involved in helping him do a bang-up job. I was just discussing tonight with the SM and CC about how some SPLs start with more disadvantages than others.

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I don't mean to be quoting quazse so much, but he has been having his moments.

 

I like @@Eagledad's summary. One of the fundamental problems that I see in many schools as well as in troops, people expect less.

 

 

It's funny you say that, my son and his wife are both 10th grade English teachers at two different high risk schools. My daughter in-law's school is being recognized a lot lately for the high rate of graduates continuing to collage. When I asked him why some schools perform better than others, he said it is "expectation" set by the school staff.

 

 

One thing that I constantly remind scouts and parents is that PoR's aren't about leadership -- even though some happen to have "lead" in the title. They are about responsibility. There are jobs to do to make a troop great, and someone has to do them. When someone does each job (patch or no patch), the troop thrives.

 

 

My older son liked leadership because he likes to change the status quo toward his vision. My younger, more introverted, son hates the idea of others waiting on him for direction. Yet, he enjoyed responsibility because he likes making things neat and tidy. It wasn't until my older some gained some wisdom that he started looking for workers like my younger son because they always reached his vision. Much like me, my older son found that he is an idea guy that doesn't get much done unless he has a good crew of doers like my younger son. Troop leaders need to understand the difference so that they can help scouts find where they fit in that big picture of life and nurture them to continue to grow.

 

Finally, the method in boy scouting is called "leadership development" for a reason ... boys should start with barely getting a job done themselves and end up getting his buddies involved in helping him do a bang-up job. I was just discussing tonight with the SM and CC about how some SPLs start with more disadvantages than others.

 

I have found this to be a common characteristic of successful patrol method boy run programs.

 

As our troop matured, our Eagle rate also started to grow with the membership. It was noticeable enough that when the DE visited a meeting watch our program, he asked my opinion. I basically gave him the same quote as qwazse. Our scouts are given small responsibilities when they join the troop (Grub Master and Cheer Master). As small as the expectations are, they are still challenging for the age and maturity of the new scouts. We mentored them to used the whole patrol to reach the goals of their responsibilities. Scouts are encouraged to reach out to their buddies for help in all their PORs. Eventually it's just a habit used in all their activities, not just PORs. And without realizing it, they are all of a sudden Life Scouts needing only a service project to finish Eagle.

 

I'm not bragging about our Eagles, I am not an Eagle driven person. But the right habits of character make the path of life easier. For example, one of the results of using the many-hands is discipline. Over time our scouts developed the habit of when a scout was behaving badly, everyone around the scout was held responsible for his actions. Every scout was held accountable for the behavior (good and bad) of the scouts around them.

 

As the PLC matured, they took pride that leaders didn't need to yell to motivate other scouts (they saw drill sergeant type troops at summer camp), they just simply spoke in a normal tone because they knew they were supported by the other scouts around them. We adults didn't drive that to happen, it was just the result of quazse's point of using many buddies.

 

That is a big deal because the hardest action for a boy is to confront his friends while not hurting their feelings. But when character of the troop expects the best friend to confront the behavior with support from of all the other scouts, bad behavior gets nipped in the bud. Of course scouts of this age still have their moments of mischief, but reports of bad behavior to the adults drop off considerably. I remember standing in the shadows watching the troop play capture the flag. Nobody knew any adults were around. A 14 year old scout who just transferred into our troop said a few four letter words as he was playing. One of the other scouts said just matter-of-factly, "we don't talk like that here". The transfer responded just as matter-of-factly "gotcha". And that was that, nipped in the bud. 

 

Sorry to step on your post qwazse, but you have great insight.

 

Barry

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Yeah I agree on these points.  Our SPL, ASPL, QM, and PL's do a lot of work and there are clear expectations for them.  The Troop Guides as well.  The Librarian, Historian, and Webmaster is much more of a grey area and we are a small troop.  The book calls out the position as a POR for rank, but they are much less work that the other roles.  Being new and small our Librarian is less about books than being the file cabinet for all the duty rosters, attendance forms, recipies, so he just carries the library with him.  It is necessary but not involved.  The webmaster role is even lighter of a role.  I think these are great jobs for younger scouts that want to step up but aren't ready for the bigger leadership roles.  When a Life scout comes to me to get signed off for being OA rep and he went to a meeting a month, it says to me that he doesn't really get it.  

 

<Rant on>

I have been accused by a few parents lately of being mean because I question the boys on their commitment and attempt to hold them to a standard of scout spirit that means something.  The parents of course come at me with books and the guide to advancement which is written very vague and more about not being sued than in the scouts interest.  I want them to succeed.  If I didn't think they could do it, I wouldn't push them.  But, that is a totally different topic.

<Rant off>

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My issue with PORs is that there are no measurements (or directions on how to establish quantitative measurements) for evaluating success or failure to meet POR objectives.

 

Our unit has put them in place so that they know what quantitative things they need to do to get credit. We meet with the Scouts during their tenure who may not be meeting expectations and put them back on the path to accomplish their outlines documented goals.

 

How can anyone strive to meet leadership expectations and get credit without these things?

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My issue with PORs is that there are no measurements (or directions on how to establish quantitative measurements) for evaluating success or failure to meet POR objectives.

 

Our unit has put them in place so that they know what quantitative things they need to do to get credit. We meet with the Scouts during their tenure who may not be meeting expectations and put them back on the path to accomplish their outlines documented goals.

 

How can anyone strive to meet leadership expectations and get credit without these things?

I totally agree, I have put together a requirements contract for each position that the scout signs.  I admit it is hard to come up with quantitative things for some of the positions.

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I totally agree, I have put together a requirements contract for each position that the scout signs.  I admit it is hard to come up with quantitative things for some of the positions.

Some positions are indeed more "short-stop" than others. You only notice them when a line drive skips to left field.

 

This is why I prefer SMs and SPLs to be vision oriented. How do they want the library to look? How should dues be collected? What events should have a bugler/honor guard? What should our quarters look like? What should the paperwork look like for each event? What needs to be on our website? When?

 

Then, the follow-up question: Who's gonna make it look that way?

Or, if there's a boy in mind: Mr. __ can you make __ look better?

 

If they picture where things need to be, once they own a task, the SPL can hold them to that vision. E.g., "Mr. __ there's a book out of place. What will your mamma think?"

 

The SPL and ASPL's job then eventually becomes leading after action review. Depending on the boy doing the review and the boys needing to reflect on their work, you may need to coach him on style.

 

It's no longer a question of "Did you do it?" But "Is it better?"

 

This isn't much different than what we ask the PLs to get from their boys (or presidents from their crews): Where do we see ourselves camping? How can we get there? What do we want to eat? What's our klondike sled gonna look like?

 

With a patrol it's not a question of "Where did you go?" But "Did you go there better than you went before?"

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The problem with positions like Webmaster, librarian, historian and bugler is that many units have very few expectations for those positions to hold scouts accountable. Without accountability, there is little growth or learning.

 

For a position to have value in the big picture of the whole program, it needs to have value in contributing to the whole program. If scouts don't see themselves contributing to the big picture, then likely the position isn't really required in the program. Our PLC voted to end the bugler position. It was a sad day for the traditional side of me, but the practical side of me agreed.

 

I removed several PORs because I didn't see any responsibility. One scout asked me one time if he could be bugler and I told him I'd give him credit if he could figure out what the responsibility was and how it helped the troop. I suggested he find an adult to help define it. I did the same for librarian. I'm not against those positions but I don't see the need anymore.

 

I like @@Eagledad's summary. One of the fundamental problems that I see in many schools as well as in troops, people expect less.

<Rant on>

I have been accused by a few parents lately of being mean because I question the boys on their commitment and attempt to hold them to a standard of scout spirit that means something. The parents of course come at me with books and the guide to advancement which is written very vague and more about not being sued than in the scouts interest. I want them to succeed. If I didn't think they could do it, I wouldn't push them. But, that is a totally different topic.

<Rant off>

 

<Anti Rant on>

It's nice to know someone else sees the same thing.

<Anti Rang off>

 

Our scouts are given small responsibilities when they join the troop (Grub Master and Cheer Master). As small as the expectations are, they are still challenging for the age and maturity of the new scouts. We mentored them to used the whole patrol to reach the goals of their responsibilities. Scouts are encouraged to reach out to their buddies for help in all their PORs. Eventually it's just a habit used in all their activities, not just PORs. And without realizing it, they are all of a sudden Life Scouts needing only a service project to finish Eagle.

 

This point right here needs to be written large in the SM handbook. It's much easier to teach a different way of doing things to the youngest scouts and just keeping it going until they become the older scouts. For years I tried working with the older scouts to change the culture in my troop. I finally decided that working with the younger scouts was the way to go. That was the best move I made. Unfortunately I asked for adults to focus on the new scouts and all I got was having advancement requirements signed off. It didn't matter how much we talked about leadership, teamwork, or character.

 

Now that I'm no longer responsible for the entire troop I can focus on what I want and so last week I took the new scouts on a campout. They planned the whole thing and I drilled into them responsibility and teamwork. I wanted a duty roster and I wanted them to follow it. They could fill in the details. It was some of the best teamwork I've seen. The adults that went along were real happy with the results and were also sold on the idea. Previously I could tell adults that responsibility was key to teamwork but they just didn't believe me. Once they saw how the patrol worked together they started to see it. Anyway, it would do the BSA a world of good if they would write some training on how to turn a troop around.

 

For example, one of the results of using the many-hands is discipline. Over time our scouts developed the habit of when a scout was behaving badly, everyone around the scout was held responsible for his actions. Every scout was held accountable for the behavior (good and bad) of the scouts around them.

A few years ago I had a patrol that ran off the rails and I held them all responsible. In all honesty they were all guilty. Some may have been worse than others but none of them stood up for what was right. Anyway, the adult response to this was rather instructive. I had two families quit over that one and the rest were absolutely behind me. The families that left couldn't see that their children did anything wrong. It was the other scouts that caused their children to misbehave. Their kids were perfect after all.

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