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One method of scouting is Leadership Development, the goal of the method is to help scouts learn to make good decisions. Each method of Scouting is intended to be used with each scout, in order for each scout to to reach the goal.


The Boy Scout Program is designed so that every scout in a unit can hold a position of responsibility. As long as every scout is given an opportunity to develop, which offices he holds is largely irrelevant. But if you want to keep a scout interested and involved you must give him new opportunities and new experiences, because that is the nature of boys.


A good Scoutmaster will know and understand the needs and characteristics of each scout and will guide him on a track that will help him to move from one challenge to the next in order to help him develop to his fullest. The goal of scouting is not to have a smooth running troop, the goal is to develop the boys.





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I am quite willing to come out very explicitly with what I think.


There is, in my opinion, a big difference between "wants" and "needs." Nobody in a Troop really "needs" anything. One can say "But he has to have a leadership position in order to advance." Fair enough, but who said that he has to advance. Nobody "needs" to advance.


Wants is another matter. If a boy wants to advance then he presumably wants to meet the requirements in order to advance. I believe that an opportunity for leadership should be made available for any boy who really wants to display and practice leadership and become a better leader. If a boy comes to me and says "I want to be a leader and help the Troop" I will do everything I can to make it happen. Leadership is a method of Scouting just like the uniform or camping or advancement.


And it should be possible too. There is no limit in the number of Troop Instructors that a Troop can have. There very rarely are enough Den Chiefs. And for advancment below Eagle Scout, there can be a Scoutmaster assigned project to meet the leadership requirement.


If there is a boy who truly wants to be a leader whom the SPL won't give the opportunity to because of a personality conflict or spat or something like that, then it may be time for some counseling of the SPL. Part of the training of the SPL is, in my opinion, getting along with all rather than just packing the leadership structure with your buddies.

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"There is no limit in the number of Troop Instructors that a Troop can have. There very rarely are enough Den Chiefs. And for advancment below Eagle Scout, there can be a Scoutmaster assigned project to meet the leadership requirement."


I have no ojection to being creative in finding a position of responsibility for a Scout. What I don't like is the rapid rotation of jobs "to give everyone a chance." The Scout never learns the job, usually an adult winds up doing the work, and no one is very happy. Another objection that I have is when a kid gets credit and all he does is wear the patch.

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>>If a boy comes to me and says "I want to be a leader and help the Troop" I will do everything I can to make it happen. Leadership is a method of Scouting just like the uniform or camping or advancement.

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My two cents:


1) POR should be assigned by the SPL with input from the SM.

2) The person the SPL thinks would benefit the most from the position, while fulfilling the needs of the Troop, should be assigned the job.

3) Rotating people through PORs is bad policy, except for the P/L and APL of new Scout Patrols.

4) If a boy wants to keep he position, and can convince the SPL and SM that he should, it should be allowed.

5) The SM's input is valuable because he should be the person who knows each Scout, and the needs of each Scout. If the SPL needs a Quartermaster, and the SM knows Joey needs the oppurtunity to develop a new skill, and will be committed to learning the job, then the SM should help guide the SPL toward that choice. This could sound similiar to placing a boy in a position just because he needs it. I disagree. It is trying to match the needs and the desires of a boy with the needs and desires of the job and the Troop. This match is how the leadership method works.

6)Credit toward advancement requirements should NEVER be given to someone who just wore the patch. NEVER. However, it is up to the SPL (or other youth leader) to train the Scout in his responsiblity. And it is up to the SM to assure this training occurs, and is accurate. If this training happens, and continues as a boy faces challenges, if he makes the effort, he should be given creit for the position. A Scout should not "fail" in his task if he tries. He has been sucessful if he learned something from the job. the only failure happens when he puts forth no effort.


OK, that was $0.85, but is anyone counting?



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Let me thank Barry for encouraging me to clarify what I mean, first to myself and then on the board.


If a boy wants to be a leader, I would help him to achieve that goal. That means that if he isn't elected to a position like SPL or PL, I would work with the SPL to find an appropriate appointive job. I would try to help identify what the boy's talents are and then guide the SPL toward appointing him to the position.


If, by some chance, that doesn't work and the boy is going for Star Scout or Life Scout, I would find an appropriate project for him to demonstrate leadership, meet the leadership requirement for advancement, and also show the Troop that he is a leader.


Having done this, I would hold a Troop level JLT for all the youth leaders in the Troop to ensure that they have the knowledge, skills and attitude to do their job. I would see that the top one or two Scouts get to go to Council JLT. Our council's OA holds a unit level JLT and I would get as many boys as possible to that JLT.


Finally, we talk about "successful failure." That means that a boy can have a leadership experience which, objectively, is a failure. I would ensure that this doesn't represent a scarlet letter for the boy. I would counsel with the boy about what happened and why and try to help him avoid those problems in the future. And I would try to create a culture in the Troop where risk taking is encouraged and failure doesn't mean recrimination and permanent ruining of one's reputation and of future opportunity.


Plus, I would try to ensure that there is all the difference in the world between doing one's best and not succeeding and not putting in the time and not doing one's best. I would try to create the attitude that it is much better to go to bat and take three good swings and strike out than to decline to go to bat.


I think and hope this makes sense, Barry. I have been disappointed that unit level JLT has not received more concentration at the National level. I hope that will be addressed soon.

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As I'm sure some are aware Ken Blanchard along with a couple of other pals have written a book titled "Leadership By The Book."

It looks at the leadership that Jesus Christ gave from a leadership point of view, not a religious one.


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We've drifted way off CW's original question, but good discussion!


CW: You have had some good advice. Talk to the guys privately and try to get them engaged. Maybe start by talking about the troop, where it's going, where they would like to see it go, and how you can work together to make that happen. If they are openly hostile or insubordinate, you'll have to get some adults to step in to explain the damage they are causing and to establish some expected behavior.


Now back to the discussion about how POR's are distributed:

Our previous SM made all assigned POR selections (not SPL or PLs) based on who he thought "needed" the position for rank advancement. This, of course, is not the way the program is supposed to work, but lots of guys advanced quickly - in many cases, too quickly, because there wasn't adequate training, coaching, or performance expectations.

New SM is going by the book - pretty much as described my Mark9750, except we also have some ASMs working with junior leaders to support the leadership training/coaching.


This change has brought up some interesting problems. Some of the older scouts who lack a POR for rank and didn't get a POR in this term, figure they don't have anything to do, so they can kick back - basically go inactive and wait (expect) to get a job next time. We've been having a series of SM Conferences with these guys to explain the program - there's lots of possible reasons they didn't get a formal POR this time. The SPL is expected to select the best available leaders for each job and he makes his assessment based on his perception of each scout's level of committment, interest, and dedication, etc. After finally getting the clue, we've had some of these temporarily inactive scouts become very active Asst PLs, etc., and they've had the chance to shine on campouts when the PL wasn't able to attend. We've also made the point that they don't have to wear an Instructor patch to instruct - when you see an opportunity to teach something to a less-experienced scout, go for it! Not all, but most are getting it.


As usual, most of the bellyaching comes from parents who want to know why Johnnie hasn't been given the job he needs for the next rank. The answer is the SM doesn't assign jobs and Johnnie hasn't convinced the scout leadership (or his patrol) that he's ready for his next job. His best bet to get a formal job in the future is to be an active, engaged, positive influence in the troop program today.

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When did I say, or suggest, that Scouts should be rotated as quickly as possible?


When did I say anything at all about the Scout's need/want for rank advancement?


The answer is never, at least not in this thread.



I did mention there is a need to create a balance between the desire to train and developed new leaders and the desire to have the most qualified person in a position at all times. That doesn't sound like some radical statement to me. I did go on to say that I would slightly favor developing a new leader over leaving the better qualified one in place.


Lets think about this another way. In some respects, a Scout troop is a school for leaders. Now lets look at other schools for examples. Schools don't leave the most capable students in the same classes forever. Instead, they move them on to new opportunities, and then other students get to experience the same challenges they have already faced. In schools, this doesn't happen every day. Time must be given to allow people to learn and practice the skills they are being taught. Sometimes an exceptionally capable student skips a grade. Other times, someone must repeat one. So it is with youth leadership in a Scout troop.


Having the same scout be QM for his entire tenure in the troop may get you a very well organized inventory. Unfortunately, it will not produce a capable, balanced leader. It won't give your other Scouts the opportunity to learn about inventory control, attention to detail, and the other skills and abilities that can be gained as a QM. Now if that QM isn't worried about being trained to be an all round good leader, and you aren't worried about exposing the most scouts to the most number of challenges that are practical, then there is nothing wrong with the same scout being QM for his entire tenure, or some other prolonged period of time.


Now the interesting thing is, no matter what I think the best combination of leaders would be for a given troop, my opinion doesn't really matter. Ultimately it is the boys who will have to figure that out by electing their PLs and the SPL (normally, see next paragraph for exception to that), and indirectly by the appointments made by their elected SPL. So it is really out of the hands of this particular ASM (which is true in the next paragraph as well).


Also, I must tell you, I know a few things about forcing people into leadership positions they are not ready for. The SM back home decided that one boy who had gone to JLTC, and is working in the direction of Eagle, would be the new SPL. His reasoning was the boy had expressed great interest, the current SPL was burned out after several terms, and no one else had really expressed much interest. So instead of an election, there was an executive appointment. Now the troop has der furher SPL who believes it is now his troop, that everything must be done his way, and that the only way to get anyone to do something is to command them as if they were his personal servants. He believes he is the commander, and the scouts are his troops. This is particularly unpleasant, because he seems to find the troops to be expendable. So giving this boy his opportunity and challenge has come at a great cost to the rest of the troop. Though this is as much of an example of why the boys should choose their own leaders as it is an example of why people shouldn't be pushed into new leadership positions.

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