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Right way to initiate Troop/Patrol Service Projects

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When I was scoutmaster, I got several requests a month from organizations needing service help from my troop. If I found it worthy, I put it on the scoutbook  calendar, announce it for a few meetings, send a few emails, however, it got poor response from the troop. 

This got me thinking, however, that the process I used was adult led and not scout led. Anybody out there whose troop let scouts take service requests and decide if they will do them (with scoutmaster approval, of course)? Anyone have a troop, where scouts come up with service projects (outside of eagle projects) to do as opposed to having a Service Project Chair on the Troop Committee feeding the scouts service projects to do? I would be curious what process these troops use to make this work.

Thanks in advance for any ideas provided.

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Decisions like these start at our PLC. For example, the flag placement project that I do with our district starts with me asking the PLs three months beforehand if the still want to do it, and if they have anyone who would want to take on coordinating it as a special project.

If we don't have a youth willing to coordinate it, it's less likely that we take it on.

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Depends on the scope of the projects.  If a project was about the size of an Eagle project, I'd poll my friendly Life scouts and see if any of them were on the hunt for a possible project they could lead for Eagle. 

Other projects, yeah, discuss with PLC and see if they're on board and willing to do it.

In another thread, somebody mentioned having more scouts who wanted PORs than jobs to be filled. If I were in this situation, I might take one or two of those project requests and see if the project lent itself to a scout leading the project as a "Scoutmaster approved leadership project".  (Note: the requirements allow this only for Star and Life --- not for Eagle).  I don't know many scouts or troops that do this --- most older scouts fulfill their leadership requirements via the listed PORs.

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I bring all service requests to the PLC and get their vote, regardless of my person opinion first. 

 

We have enough leaders that we don't have the adult coverage issue.

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On 8/16/2019 at 7:39 AM, mrkstvns said:

Depends on the scope of the projects.  If a project was about the size of an Eagle project, I'd poll my friendly Life scouts and see if any of them were on the hunt for a possible project they could lead for Eagle. 

Other projects, yeah, discuss with PLC and see if they're on board and willing to do it.

In another thread, somebody mentioned having more scouts who wanted PORs than jobs to be filled. If I were in this situation, I might take one or two of those project requests and see if the project lent itself to a scout leading the project as a "Scoutmaster approved leadership project".  (Note: the requirements allow this only for Star and Life --- not for Eagle).  I don't know many scouts or troops that do this --- most older scouts fulfill their leadership requirements via the listed PORs.

We give all request to the PLC, but we also use project request as opportunities for leadership and planning experience. In fact, I used them to train adults on how to support scouts in a boy run troop. For example, our troop was expected to pick up trash on mile section of road. That is a fairly easy project to plan and lead. So the SPL usually finds a young scout looking for leadership opportunities. The SPL approached me and ask me to find an adult to support his scout. Once the PLC gets used to it, they run it pretty much themselves. 

Barry

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A few days after i posted this, a parent wanted two service opportunities added to the calendar if scoutmaster approved. Basically serving at her church carnival like events that is not our chartering church. No mention of getting PLC involved. 

Documentation talks about a service project coordinator as a committee position, which can be confusing.  Set up service projects to do or support service projects that the PLC wants to do? 

I am leaning toward scout led in this area, but to counter those that want this aspect adult led, i need some BSA documentation to reference. Any good reading i can do?

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Posted (edited)

I can't give you any advice on the right way, but I can unequivocally tell you the wrong way.

In my troop, if the scoutmaster has a service project that he is personally in favor of, he will just schedule it, without consulting the SPL or PLC.  He then will "require" everyone to be there by threatening to not advance them in rank if they don't show up.  Also the service project will be on a day that already has another troop activity scheduled, and that activity was planned by the PLC and has been on the troop calendar for the past 6 months.

Yeah...my Troop is a 9 on the 1 to 8 ladder of youth leadership!

leaderladder-473x1024.png

 

Edited by desertrat77
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Guide to Advancement (2012, need to look at newer version) talks about a scout discussing with the scoutmaster if the service project proposal qualifies for advancement. From this discussion, the scoutmaster approves or disapproves the project. 

 I am thinking that this is a topic I should bring up in scoutmaster conferences. "Says here that you need 6 service hours to earn your star rank. What do you have in mind? Should the scouts identify service projects or should the committee?"

@Tatung42 Just wow. 

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This is from the current Guide to Advancement:
 

Quote

4.2.3.3 Service Projects
Basic to the lessons in Scouting, especially regarding citizenship, service projects are a key element in the Journey to Excellence recognition program for councils, districts, and units. They should be a regular and critical part of the program in every pack, troop, crew, and ship.

Service projects required for ranks other than Eagle must be approved according to what is written in the requirements and may be conducted individually or through participation in patrol or troop efforts. They also may be approved for those assisting on Eagle Scout service projects. Service project work for ranks other than Eagle clearly calls for participation only. Planning, development, or leadership must not be required.

Time that Scouts spend assisting on Eagle service projects should be allowed in meeting these requirements. Note that Eagle projects do not have a minimum time requirement, but call for planning and development, and leadership of others, and must be preapproved by the council or district. (See “The Eagle Scout Service Project,” 9.0.2.0.)

The National Health and Safety Committee has issued two documents that work together to assist youth and adult leaders in planning and safely conducting service projects: Service Project Planning Guidelines, and its companion, Age Guidelines for Tool Use and Work at Elevations or Excavations. Unit leadership should be familiar with both documents.

 


So I think Scouts can come up with service projects in different ways.  A patrol might come up with some ideas on their own.  The PLC might come up with some.  The Scoutmaster or other adults might come up with some ideas (but those ideas should go through the SPL, PLC, or Patrol Leader, as applicable).  An adult service project coordinator (committee member) could help coordinate or mentor / coach, and the level of involvement could vary depending on circumstances and the maturity level of the Scout(s).

And there is some guidance for leadership projects done in lieu of the POR requirement for Star or Life in section 4.2.3.4.1 Positions Must Be Chosen From Among Those Listed.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 8/15/2019 at 1:42 PM, Owls_are_cool said:

When I was scoutmaster, I got several requests a month from organizations needing service help from my troop. If I found it worthy, I put it on the scoutbook  calendar, announce it for a few meetings, send a few emails, however, it got poor response from the troop. 

Unsolicited requests for help from outside organizations go to the Chartered Organization.  If the CO wants us to look at it, we will.  If the CO wants some other branch of our organization to look at it, they will.  Otherwise, the CO responds to the outside organization with a polite refusal letter.

It's better if the outside organizations feel like they were turned down by the Chartered Organization rather than the boy scouts.

Edited by David CO
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Troop Leader Guide vol 1 ch 10 and vol 2 ch 12 and 13 has good stuff on service projects. Lots written on scouts leading this program with adults supporting. 

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