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"Light Responsibility" Positions

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This brings up the huge question which has always bothered me, and that is why the POR for Life or Eagle includes things like Scribe and Librarian. In most troops I've seen, these are very "light responsiblity" jobs.


Yah, Herms, I think we've all seen that. Havin' a few positions with less responsibility than PL is an OK thing, but they shouldn't be that much less. I'd just as soon seem them drop some of those lightweight positions and add a more general "or another position of similar workload assigned by your SPL and approved by your SM."


But it might be a good topic. How many of us here drop the Scribe/Librarian/Historian/Chaplain's Aide positions in our troops (just don't use 'em)?


For those that do use these positions, can you give us your troop's job description to show how you make those positions "real"?




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Troop Librarian is assigned to maintain MB books, print MB worksheets as needed, maintain troop ppw files and is also assigned as jr asst webmaster.

Troop Historian is assigned to take and collect pictures post some on board provided by C.O. come up with pictures when needed for web site and maintain scrapbook.

Scribe is assigned to take notes where needed and be in charge of weekly dues collection. Also makes up duty rosters.

Chaplains aide is assigned to have graces for meals in charge of camp worship services and coordinates with adult chaplain on scouts that want to pursue religious knots

As a group they are the SPL and ASPL leadership team and most are members of the JLC patrol available to pinch hit when leadership holes occur. It does not happen often but what do you do if neither SPL or Aspl is at a meeting. Just like adults hanging too many jobs on a youth leader is counterproductive. Many hands mean light work for all.

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I have a problem with this notion of a "light responsibility" position. I think any position can be "light responsibility" or heavy responsibility, depending on what you (and the scout who holds them) make of it.

I have served both as a PL and a Troop scribe, and could honestly say I did more work as a Scribe than I did as PL.

This was probably do to the fact that our troop operated on more of a "troop method" (if such a thing can be said to exist), than it did use the patrol method. PL's were expected to come to PLC meetings, and occasionally plan a game for the meeting or teach a scout-skill. As scribe, I too came to PLC meetings, and actually took minutes at them, and then typed up and sent out copies of those minutes to each member of the PLC. I also (tried) to organize the taking of attendance at troop meetings, and I am sure that their are some troop scribes who are responsible for some aspect of money collection.

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I guess it goes to the core of "What is Leadership?" Are Leadership and Management the same thing? In this broad view I would look at Leadership as how an individual would influence people to accomplish tasks, versus Management being control of a program.


I would totally agree (and have seen it often) that Patrol Leaders can perform badly and in cases like this we SM's/ASM's HAVE let the boys down. But positions like Scribe and Librarian manage programs. There can be times when it crosses over to leadership, etc. teaching the other scouts the correct MB book check-out or maybe talking to the other scouts about correct advancement recording.


We have had boys do an excellent job as Scribe (advancement was entered and given, PLC minutes taken and distributed etc), and never truely lead (influenced others). Is there any way that that could ever be said of a Patrol Leader, that he did a good job and never really influenced others?


I do understand what you are saying, that the way the system SHOULD work is that the Scribe/Librarian/Historian positions should be active leadership positions, the boys should be getting involved with talking to the troop about the various positional responsiblities. But no matter how much you work with these guys (25 years worth now) the view is (and has been in every troop I have observed) that these are "light duty" jobs and that is how the boys perform. PL/ASPL\SPL are viewed by the boys as "heavy" leadership roles and some tend to avoid it (one boy was only a Den Chief for 4 years through Life). My point is if we required them to do one of these positions (which THEY view as leadership positions) at least once on there way to Eagle we could attempt to instill in them the confidence that they can be leaders and not just managers.(This message has been edited by Herms)

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IMHO it is not the position that is "light" it is the expectations we have of the Scout performing that position. Not every Scout will make a great SPL, PL ... that is why there is a large selection to choose from.


In an old war movie they make a point: it doesn't matter if you are the lowly private peeling the potatoes and taking out the trash, a lonely Sargent, or the general - everyone has an important role and every job needs to be done.


Just my wacky 2 cents....


Scott Robertson


Helping leaders one resource at a time....


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I may be wrong, but I think Scouting aims more to responsibility that to leadership. In fact, "leadership" isn't mentioned at all in the vision, mission, or aims of Scouting. It's relegated to only 1 of 8 methods used to achieve the aims and fulfill the mission. Maybe that's what the positions are called "positions of responsibility".

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Should one 6 month term (held before I was SM) as Librarian with little or no responsibility count as the POR for Eagle? Technically I think so, but should it? What if the same Scout was asked to hold another term in a more responsible possition such as ASPL because there was no one else available and his response was "I'm not good at that leadership stuff"? Would you address this under the Scout Spirit requirement?

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I think "Light Responsibility" Positions only occur in "Light" Troops to being with...


Yah, that can be true.


I think it also happens with less experienced leaders who are just readin' the materials and feel like they have to use all of the positions listed, whether or not they really have a responsible job for 'em.


That's why I'm hopin' a few more people will chime in with examples of how they make these positions truly something responsible that a boy has to work hard at and learn from. If they see it "in action" so to speak, they might either up their expectations for a position, or say "hey, we don't do/need that" and drop the position in favor of somethin' else.




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For one troop I know, "Troop Historian" is really "Troop Photographer and Media Guy." The lad holding the position is charged with photo (and video) recording of significant events and outings. Gets to train and manage a couple of assistant photographers. They've gone digital, so the Troop Photographer has to collect and catalog all da photos/videos in iPhoto or something like that, by name and activity. He's responsible for puttin' together Court of Honor, Recruiting, and "leaving for college" media shows and CD/DVD's.


A nice position for a lad who is involved but might not be an "up front" leader-type.


OTOH, I've never seen anyone use da Librarian position for real responsibility. Sortin' Merit Badge pamphlets in a box just doesn't do it for me. ;)


Da most common responsibilities these days for Scribe seem to be as Webmaster or Newsletter Publisher. Gathering information and putting out a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter (mail or email these days), or keepin' a unit website up to date. Can be a lot of work, and real responsibility for being the primary means of communication in a unit.


I also knew one troop who used Scribe as the equivalent of Boy Treasurer. Handled the budgeting and expenses and such, collected dues, made deposits, wrote checks (with a $ limit per check).


OTOH, I've never seen anyone use da Chaplain's Aide for real responsibility, even among troops with religious sponsors.




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We keep these, as some have called, "light duty" positions. We expect them to fulfill minimum requirements in order to earn the position.



1. Keep minutes at the PLC meetings and email them to troop members

2. Record attendance at all troop functions and provide them to the Troop Advancement Coordinator

3. Collect money before Troop Campouts from those Scouts attending the outing



1. Check MB Books in and out

2. Maintain MB Books

3. Update MB Library as BSA updates MB Books

4. Prepare MB Books for Merit Badge Days and Summer Camp




1. Write an article about recent campouts and activities for the Troop Newsletter

2. Maintain a troop photo album

3. Maintain a troop scrapbook

4. Take photos at troop activities



1. Check equipment in and out

2. Check tents out after campouts to those scouts that use them and check them back in

3. Follow up on all returns

4. Keep the trailer and equipment room clean and organized

5. Help the Equipment Coordinator maintain equipment


Chaplain's Aide

1. Work with the Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmaster in charge of the campout to establish a Saturday night Church Service

2. Help coordinate Scout Sunday within the troop


Order of the Arrow Troop Rep.

1. Promote Camping within the troop by posting signup sheets and making announcements at the troop meetings

2. Promote attendance to OA Functions by making announcements at troop meetings

3. Help coordinate Troop Elections for OA Membership


Conducting Church Services and strongly encouragin attendance to Scout Sunday is very important. Our 12th point of the Scout Law tells us that a Scout is Reverant.


In an essay titled Out of 100 Scouts it mentions that """"Twelve of that one hundred will be brought into contact with church and continue to be active members."""" For those twelve out of the 100 the Chaplian's Aide position may have made an influence on their lives.


Another note, as some have already mentioned, delegating the responsibilties of troop leadership is important. For those troops that do not use the Scribe, Historian, or Librarian positions who takes attendance, maintains troop history, or checks books in and out? If it's adult than we are doing something that a scout can do. If it's an Assistant Senior Patrol Leader or another scout with a leadership position why are we adding to their job, which should already be challenging enough.

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