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Treflienne

APL with "scoutmaster-approved leadership project" for Star/Life Ranks?

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As you all know,  Assistant Patrol Leader is not one of the listed positions of responsibility for the Star or Life rank requirement.   Yet an assistant patrol leader done well is a valuable position of service in the troop -- especially for a troop striving to well-utilize the patrol method and develop strong patrols.  Do any of you have experience with a scout who desired to serve as an Assistant Patrol leader doing a "scoutmaster-approved leadership project" relevant to his role as APL?  (The motivation, as I see it,  would be so that prospective APL's feel that they can serve in that position.)   Was that a positive or a negative experience for the scout and troop?

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We didn't have that situation with APL, but our SM did at one point use the role of Assistant Quartermaster and counted it as a leadership position.  Part of the reason was that he knew the elected Quartermaster would miss a number of meetings and campouts.  The assistant ended up doing more than the Quartermaster.  For the "project" he asked the assistant to do a full review of all of the gear, remove damaged goods, and put together a spreadsheet of what was in good shape.  It's something the Quartermaster should probably do anyhow.

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That is not really the purpose of Scoutmaster Approved Leadership Project. That should be saved for something out of the ordinary and special. I used it once to create a leadership project for a severally mental retarded scout that did not have the skills to lead in a normal troop program.

Leadership is managing a team for working together toward a agreed objective. Theoretically that kind of leadership requires development and experience. In fact, I believe scouts shouldn't even be a Patrol Leader until age 14 because they lack the instinctive motivation to learn from the experience. But, scouting has changed over the years and most troop don't have the older scouts to be patrol leaders.

Anyway, your responsibility for developing leadership skills is finding opportunities for scouts to practice, mentor, and learn from those skills. That's easier if you follow the Patrol Hierarchy. New scouts can learn the skills of organization and communication in the simple task of the Grub Master and Cheer Master. As the scout matures in those tasks, he can continue his growth in the experience of Quarter Master where they are responsible for equipment and the leading the patrol members in the transportation of the equipment to and from the patrol camping site. That can as simple or as complicated as you want. Or Troop Quarter Master has the keys to the gear storage and the trailer. NOBODY uses those keys without the Quartermaster's knowing and permission. 

But, even at the Patrol level, the Quarter Master should have advanced expectations from previous responsibilities. The next level of responsibilities, are the expectations of running the Patrol. True, the Patrol leader is the leader, but APL should be doing the grunt work. If the other positions in the Patrol are designed correctly, the APL isn't doing anything new. But, they are now doing a lot more of it with higher expectations. 

Patrol Leadership should be a reward for the hard work of being a APL. Patrol leaders in our troop spend A LOT more time at PLC meetings, training and planning the troop programs, so they aren't as involved at the patrol level as the APL. The PL has to rely on the hard working APL for the program to perform successfully. They should be a close team, almost best friends. The Patrol Leader is a mentor to the APL and the APL should view it that way, just like the other Patrol Members view the APL as their mentor. 

The objective of Patrol Method is the practice of skills to gain confidence. If the patrol is functioning correctly, the APL is reaching a level of maturity where the challenge of tasks are more demanding and complicated because that is how they get to be adults. You might be having compassion for the APL because you are new to that level of jump in maturity. But I assure they can handle it. OR, maybe you are comparing the APL task against and the other task of the Cheer, Grub, and Quarter Master duties and don't feel they aren't balanced. But, that is a red flag to you that your expectations for those other responsibilities aren't mature enough to develop growth required for the APL responsibilities. We all struggle with balancing growth with responsibilities. Like the scouts, we have to initiate, observe and correct our responsibilities of developing the program as we grow. If we are to keep up with the scouts, we adults have to learn more faster to keep the program fun and interesting. Hope this helps. .

Barry

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Posted (edited)

I'd not overthink this. But, be intentional. There's something in your troop to needs to get done because it's falling through the cracks of the other responsibilities. Maybe the scout house needs a sharp-looking bulletin board, or your CO's flower beds could use some serious weeding. Assign the scout to complete that project. When she's done, sign off. I assure you, you could give the simplest task, and some scouts would rather wait to win an election or get an appointment.

 

Edited to add ... nearly any service project can be made relevant to nearly any PoR. It will depend on the scout. For example, a scout might be a good APL because she like making people's (especially their PLs') lives easier. A particular project  -- like making a portable buddy board for boating/swimming -- might make life easier for the BSA guards in a troop. So, both PoR and project tap mutual talents/passions. I think that's what an SM should aim for with assigning projects. Don't focus on what might suit their PoR, but what might suit the talents that came to the fore while the scout held her PoR.

Edited by qwazse

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Generally speaking, I think it would be better to find other ways to recognize and encourage APLs to serve.  While the leadership project that helps the unit is an option, I would be cautious about using it for reasons that @Eagledad mentioned.  The leadership project should provide lessons similar to the listed PORs.

Instead, there are some troop PORs that can be held by more than one Scout.  The position of Instructor, for example, can be held by more than one Scout, and the Scout can specialize in particular areas such as first aid, knot tying, etc.
 

 

Quote

 

4.2.3.4 Positions of Responsibility

“Serve actively in your unit for a period of … months in one or more … positions of responsibility” is an accomplishment every candidate for Star, Life, or Eagle must achieve. The following will help to determine whether a Scout has fulfilled the requirement.

4.2.3.4.1 Positions Must Be Chosen From Among Those Listed. The position must be listed in the position of responsibility requirement shown in the most current edition of Scouts BSA Requirements. Since more than one member may hold some positions—“instructor,” for example—it is expected that even very large units are able to provide sufficient opportunities within the list. The only exception involves Lone Scouts, who may use positions in school, in their religious organization, in a club, or elsewhere in the community. Units do not have authority to require specific positions of responsibility for a rank. For example, they must not require a Scout to be senior patrol leader to obtain the Eagle rank.

Service in positions of responsibility in provisional units, such as a jamboree troop or Philmont trek crew, do not count toward this requirement.

For Star and Life ranks only, a unit leader may assign, as a substitute for the position of responsibility, a leadership project that helps the unit. If this is done, the unit leader should consult the unit committee and unit advancement coordinator to arrive at suitable standards. The experience should provide lessons similar to those of the listed positions, but it must not be confused with, or compared to, the scope of an Eagle Scout service project. It may be productive in many cases for the Scout to propose a leadership project that is discussed with the unit leader and then “assigned.”

 

 

 

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I agree with @Thunderbird that assigning multiples of the same PoR is a good idea in a large troop. This is especially true for a troop that has lots of 1st year scouts and their summer camp has closed. You may need multiple instructors or JASMs to provide the skeleton for events while the PLC manages schedules and takes direct care of their scouts.

In a smaller troop, those Instructors/JASMs can be irrelevant make-work positions. Sometimes, some drywall just needs to be hung. A scout doesn't need a patch to start sizing and nailing. He/she just needs guidance from competent scouts or adults. (Guess what I learned to do at age 12 in my scout-house?)

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If the scout does a great job as APL then give him credit for it. It's up to the SM. There's nothing that says an apl can't get credit. That said, it's the pl that should give the apl a job to do. The pl might need guidance on how to do that, but that's okay. There's plenty of work to be done as pl. Good leadership is about working oneself out if a job.

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26 minutes ago, MattR said:

If the scout does a great job as APL then give him credit for it. It's up to the SM. There's nothing that says an apl can't get credit. That said, it's the pl that should give the apl a job to do. The pl might need guidance on how to do that, but that's okay. There's plenty of work to be done as pl. Good leadership is about working oneself out if a job.


I guess I'm not following you, because the rank requirements specifically say that Assistant Patrol Leader is not an approved position of responsibility for the Star, Life, or Eagle rank.  :confused:  The leadership project is an alternative way to fulfill this requirement, as long as it is Scoutmaster-approved and helps the troop.

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I have always looked at this alternative as a way to accomplish two things: 1. Provide the Scout with an opportunity to show leadership in a different position of responsibility than listed. 2. Help the adults step out of the way to have a scout do what the adults have been doing for them.

Two examples come to mind:

a. High Adventure trips (like Philmont) often are completely planned and coordinated by an adult with input from the scouts. A scout could take on that responsibility. As a senior scout he should already have planned multiple campouts, and dealt with the logistics so this is a natural step in the progression.

b. Unit fundraiser. Many troops do popcorn sales, the "kernel" is almost always an adult. Have a scout be the "popcorn kernel", of course the troop treasurer should be involved very closely. Even if the troop does a different fundraiser like "christmas tree sales", have a scout in charge.

Both of these are limited in scope which define the "project". Both involve significant responsibility in leadership, coordination, decision making which put them on par with other named PORs. It may not mean the scout does everything the adults usually do, as per the GTA, the SM and committee should develop the standards the scout must assume.

I do not see service type projects as fitting within this alternative.  

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1 hour ago, Thunderbird said:


I guess I'm not following you, because the rank requirements specifically say that Assistant Patrol Leader is not an approved position of responsibility for the Star, Life, or Eagle rank.  :confused:  The leadership project is an alternative way to fulfill this requirement, as long as it is Scoutmaster-approved and helps the troop.

Looks like you're right. Once upon a time I thought it was.

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12 minutes ago, MattR said:

Looks like you're right. Once upon a time I thought it was.

Additionally, a leadership project shall not be used in lieu of the listed PoRs for Eagle (it is only valid for Star and Life).

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Posted (edited)

Thanks @SteveMM I appreciate hearing your experience with a leadership project related to a POR.

And @Eagledad,  thank you for overview of the development of leadership skills through using the patrol heirarchy.

And thanks @DuctTapefor your examples of good use of leadership projects.

I really appreciate being able to ask questions here  and learn from y'all's experience.

It's better to ask a crazy question here, first, and get reactions from experienced people,  than to bring up the question first in the troop.

 

Edited by Treflienne
typo

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16 minutes ago, Treflienne said:

... It's better to ask a crazy question here, first, and get reactions from experienced people,  than to bring up the question first in the troop.

Because your committee won't think you're at all crazy for acting on suggestions from strangers on the internet !!!

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