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Twocubdad

Creative PORs

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How far do you go accommodating everyone who wants a Position of Responsibility? I've got probably 15 guys -- almost half the troop -- who either just got First Class or likely will before summer camp. Of course they're all full of spice and vinegar to make Star. I can handle only so many librarians and historians. I already divide those two positions into separate jobs.

 

This is in addition to the older guys who also need the positions and are certainly better qualified for the more senior jobs.

 

Philosophically, I don't want to turn this into "everyone wins a trophy." Trying to create 12 or 15 PoRs seems silly. But I hate to throw a wet blanket on the younger guys enthusiasm either.

 

Yes, Stosh, the SPL is the one who appoints the the junior leaders and the PLs are elected by their patrols. But the SPL appointments are with the guidance and approval of the Scoutmaster. So what guidance do I give him?

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I don't know if this will help, but I suggested to the troop committee having what I called an "eScribe" to take care of the troop website. I had grand designs on this kid also assisting the "feeder pack" with developing their own website, and also adding us to the CO website, but that part hasn't happened yet.

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Remember your main goal is building men of character.

 

I think you should shift your thinking that PORs are for developing better decision makers through the practice of using leadership skills. They are not to advance a scout's stature. Yes, I know they need it for advancement, but once you start down that trail, its hard to get back, especially with the parents. Scouts should have to earn the respect of leadership so they are chosen to lead, not given it to get another badge.

 

I also think you are risking becoming a trophie kind of program. Create PORs when they are needed and get rid of them when they aren't. I find that SPLs are actually better at that than adults because they like to manage as small as team as they can, where as adults tend to think advancement.

 

Here is what I did, I would ask the SPL to assign small temporary duties to the younger scouts to give them experience in leadership responsibilities, and exposure so that they may get elected or picked for a POR. These duties were something like a leader for the Scouting For Food drive. I assigned an adult to assist them in planning the event, presenting it to the PLC at a PLC meeting, making announcements at a troop meeting and then leading the activity. That is a good one because it isn't really a demanding position and we dont really change the way we did it the year before, so the other scouts kind of already know what is going on. So while it is challenging practice in planning and leading for a newer scout, it isnt overwhelming. Typically, I also try to assign a fairly new adult to the adult position so that I can guide them to how adults work in a boy run program. I also think scouts need to prove themselves in patrol duties like cheer master or grub master.

 

I think you will find there are plenty of opportunities for scouts to build a reputation so that they can get a POR and move on. And, doing it that way, you will find those scouts who really want to advance as apposed to the ones just kind of riding along. They need to earn the right to lead.

 

In the long run, your youth leadership team will be much better because they will be respected as leaders, not as the next guy in line needing a sign off a requirement.

 

Good luck, these are fun times for a troop.

 

Barry

 

 

 

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Agreed. That's what I meant when I wrote that I don't want it to become a "everyone gets a trophy" kind of thing. Help clarifying my thought process is exactly what I'm looking for.

 

So what do you say the the parents -- who are still operating under delusions of being in Cub Scouts -- that their Dear Sweet One won't have the opportunity to advance at the precise second four months clicks off the calendar. How do you decide who gets to be Librarian (and credit for a POR) and who gets a "leadership opportunity". Answering my own question, it seems reasonable for a newly-minted First Class Scout who just graduated from the New Scout Patrol to take a turn at APL or other patrol-level job before taking on POR-qualifying roles. Again, the SPL can make the call, but he needs guidance.

 

Regarding Webmaster -- I pushed that string for three years. Even paid for a domain name, but no one ever ran with it. You would think one of the guys with the surgically-implanted I-pods would jump at the chance.

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I would council the SPL to build the best team possible and then help advise him on what he comes up with from that. Rank and advancement should not be of any concern to him because that doesn't help him or his team.

 

As to a Web Master, I only suggest getting your needs taken care of. If you need a good Web Master, go for it, our troop 90 scouts had two. But they worked hard and were better leaders after the experience.

 

My objective with and kind of leadership responsibility was that the scout grew from the experience. I feel that every leadership opportunity should be a stepping stone toward eventually becoming a SPL, or even a SM. Most of our SPLs were really good leaders by the time they got that job. For me, SPL was the next step in learning how to delegate resposibilities and manage new ideas into the whole troop program. You need scouts who have a lot of experience at quality leadership responsibilities to do that.

 

This is really good stuff and a great learning experience for you. I hope you are enjoying it.

 

Barry

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First thing, a boy does not need a POR to advance.

 

"5. While a First Class Scout, serve actively for four months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility (or carry out a Scoutmaster-assigned leadership project to help the troop):

Boy Scout troop. Patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, �senior patrol leader, troop guide, Order of the Arrow troop representative, den chief, scribe, librarian, historian, quartermaster, bugler, junior assistant Scoutmaster, chaplain aide, or instructor."

 

Then there's the possibility for patrol scribe and quartermasters who not only fulfill a valid POR but make great training ground for troop scribe and quartermaster. There's nothing in the requirement that states that the POR has to be at troop level with scribe, librarian, historian, quartermaster, etc. It does specifically state for some POR's but not all.

 

If the SPL is responsible for the PL's, a good ASPL or two would go well to keep track of and train the troop officer corps. If the troop is large enough an ASPL would be helpful to the SPL dealing with the PL's. If there are multiple NSP's multiple TG's would open that area up. And we haven't even begun to talk about DC's at this point. A small feeder pack of 4 dens means four DC's.

 

No one gets a POR without some functional responsibility and still there's plenty of work to pass around amongst the boys. If the SPL is tending to the "troop", he'll never have enough time to allow for the development of the boys he is responsible for. There's enough responsibility and work in most troops if it is put to effective use instead of trying to consolidate all the work into a few of the high level scouts while having the rest sit around with patches on their shirts. If they have a job to do, give them the responsibility AND AUTHORITY to do the job without interference from others, both boy and adult.

 

Do the math: 15 boys need POR of a troop of 30. 4 PL's, 4 patrol scribes, 4 patrol QM, 1 troop QM, 1 troop Scribe, 1 TG, 1 SPL, 1 ASPL. Ok, that's 18 boys. Add in a Chaplain Aide and Instructor. That leave the SPL to work with 4 PL's, an ASPL to work with the QM, TG, Scribe, Instructor and Chaplain Aide, and 4 PL's to work with their patrols. Where's the problem? Everyone of these positions have a specific duty to deal with specific functions and responsibilities. If everyone focuses in on their own part of the world, and are left to the fulfillment of their responsibilities, the operation of the troop as a whole would improve quite a bit overall, as well as each Patrol with functional officers within their ranks.

 

If everyone would actually DO their jobs, there's plenty of POR's to go around in any troop.

 

Stosh

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>>There's nothing in the requirement that states that the POR has to be at troop level with scribe, librarian, historian, quartermaster, etc. It does specifically state for some POR's but not all.

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Yeah that's a new intrepretation to me too. We don't count APL or patrol scribe or QM. I suppose you could read it that way, but why would patrol scribe or QM be acceptable buy APL left off the list?

 

I understand the "SM approved leadership project," but I don't want to "invent" positions just to accommodate advancement.

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Doing a special project is not an invented position. One doesn't have a position to do a project, they just do a project.

 

Of all the EBOR's I've attended and all the records that have been reviewed, no one has ever asked if the fulfillment of Quartermaster was at a troop or patrol level. As a matter of fact, I've never seen where it has even been questioned. Hmmm, that must be the part where retesting and reviewing requirements is brought into play.

 

And the boys that I have up for Eagle pretty much have held POR for a lot more than the 6 months in question for each rank. I don't think I know of any "previous" DC's that haven't earned the National DC Award. That means a minimum of 12 months for that. Kinda hard to argue that the boy has his bases covered. There are no 6-month terms in the troop. One holds the position for as long as the boys feel they are doing a good job. There are some of the boys that have held POR's for well over a year and it's never been discussed among the boys to have something different be adopted.

 

I guess walking in cold on a troop officer position with no experience and little opportunity is better than serving as a patrol officer first. That on-the-job 6 month learning curve must look good on the EBOR paperwork. I guess I believe in the philosophy, if they do the job, they get the credit. I guess I would feel better about having a boy actually function on a patrol level than sitting around doing nothing but wear a patch for 6 months at the troop level.

 

Stosh

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Here is my suggestion. Just from a general pov

 

JASM (if you still use them)

 

SPL

ASPL

ASPL (Even a good leader needs a couple of assistants)

Troop Quartermaster

Troop Chaplains Aide

 

 

You said you have 15 boys in need of POR and that is about half the troop

 

You can have 3 patrols of 10. Each patrol has:

 

PL

APL

Scribe

Quartermaster

Den Chief (encourage your scouts to help the Cub Scouts)

 

That should be everyone that needs a position. Have them show their interest. and then let the boys vote.

 

Don't forget about OA Troop Rep.

 

Also maybe you can develope about 2 or 3 instructors to help out the New Scout Patrol.

 

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That Patrol Scribe, Patrol Quartermaster, Patrol Librarian, etc. are advancement-qualifying positions of responsibility is a new concept to me. So I've done a little research.

 

Boy Scout Handbook (pg 172)

 

"The Longer you are in Scouting the more your troop will recognize your experience and knowledge by offering you positions of leadership. Being a good leader is a skill that can be learned only by doing it. TROOP LEADERSHIP opportunities will allow you to speak in front of people, guide discussions, make decisions and encourage others toward greater achievements.

"The badges of office shown here represent the leadership positions in a Boy Scout TROOP. In addition, your Scoutmaster might offer you leadership positions for special projects of events."

 

Added emphasis is mine. The last line is interesting in that it suggests (to me, at least) that the Scout should lead others in the project, such as Scouting for Food or leading the Scout Sunday service, as has been suggested earlier. Washing my truck doesn't count.

 

 

 

Senior Patrol Leader's Handbook (pages 108-110)

 

"Quartermaster -- The quartermaster is the TROOP'S supply boss. He keeps an inventory of TROOP gear.... He works with patrol quartermasters...."

 

"Scribe -- The scribe is the TROOP'S secretary. ... He cooperates with the patrol scribes ...."

 

"Historian -- The historian collects and preserves TROOP photographs, news stories...."

 

"Librarian -- The TROOP librarian...."

 

Not only does this specify the "Quartermaster", for example, is the troop quartermaster, but I distinquishes the position from the equivalent patrol function.

 

 

 

Scoutmaster Handbook (pgs 14-21)

 

Without re-typing everything, Chapter 3, "The Boy Led Troop" the SM handbook repeats the same job descriptions from the Senior Patrol Leader Handbook. In Chapter 4, "The Boy-Led Patrol," the handbook lists the patrol-level jobs as "Patrol Scribe" or "Patrol Quartmaster". In otherwords, the conventions seem to be that "Quartermaster" means troop quartermaster. In they mean patrol quartermaster the say "Patrol Quartermaster." I'll also note that under patrol positions Patrol Cheermaster and Patrol Grubmaster are listed which are certainly not advancement-qualifing PORs.

 

I've also thumbbed through the Advancement Policy book and don't see anything pertinent. And I can't put my hands on a Patrol Leader's handbook. I hope all my PLs are using them.

 

I realize BSA publications aren't necessarily crossed referenced to this level of precision. I doubt, however you will find a reference which answers the question directly and definitively. But my conclusion remains that Star, Life and Eagle require Postions of Responsibility at the troop level, not patrol (except Patrol Leader, of course).

 

Others are free to disagree.

 

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Kinda makes one wonder what a small troop does when it has only one patrol and calls itself a troop. Obviously the actuality of work is just a matter of symantics and wearing a patch.

 

Stosh

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I'm guessing that's a rhetorical question, but I don't really understand your point. Honestly, I've don't understand much of what you've posted on this thread. Clearly, with a small, single-patrol troop this isn't an issue as the patrol QM is effectively the troop QM.

 

Patrol officers (scribe, QM, etc.) obviously serve a function and do, as you note, serve as a training ground for troop-level positions. I've not said otherwise here and our troop uses those positions in the way. But I've never heard of giving advancement credit for those patrol jobs.

 

 

 

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My apologies for not making myself clear to everyone, but I was addressing the thread's original intent.

 

"How far do you go accommodating everyone who wants a Position of Responsibility?"

 

My comments addressed the issue of accommodation vs. actually functioning in the positions. Surely if all one needs to be a TG is a patch for 6 months, then one as accommodated that scout for his requirement. If a person is expected to actually function in that position to get accommodating credit for it, then that's a different issue.

 

My emphasis was on the fact that a small troop QM who gets functional credit does as much as a large troop patrol QM who doesn't get credit for it. I find that approach to such inequality unacceptable in an arena of scout fairness. If the boy does the responsibility of the position, he ought to get credit for it regardless of the size of the troop, a factor he has no control over.

 

Try this on for size. The patrol QM works with the Grubmaster to organize the stove, the cooking equipment, the dining fly, coolers, etc. and assures him the patrol chuck box is inventoried and ready for the next outing. He then works with the Hikemaster to determine the type of activity they're doing to insure proper ax, saw, camp equipment necessary for an outing, for example. He then works with the PL to make sure he has a tally of the boys from the patrol who will be attending and makes all the appropriate adjustments for that. Then he arranges to meet with the troop QM to get any and all equipment from storage. The troop QM meets him at the storage bin and hands out the necessary equipment requested.

 

Why wouldn't the patrol QM not get credit for a position of responsibility, when he may in fact be doing as much if not more work than the troop QM?

 

Or how about the patrol Scribe who works with the patrol Instructor keeping track of the advancement of the patrol members, whether or not they've paid for an outing, attendance, storage of Grubmaster's, Hikemaster's records of activities, consolidating all reports and turning them into the troop Scribe on a regular basis.

 

Or the patrol Instructor who has to maintain an accounting for the patrol Scribe of the advancement of each patrol member, prepare lessons to be taught, make arrangements with the patrol QM for any supplies such as rope and poles for lashing, maybe some first aid training equipment, and coordinate the lessons and opportunities for the patrol members on an activity and get those accomplishments to the patrol Scribe to record.

 

From the way most people approach these POR's it is obvious that functionality isn't necessarily a part of the program. A troop POR counts and maybe a PL who sits on the PLC get credit for actually doing any work. This heirarchy of political appointments doesn't play well in a servant leadership style of organization, where patrols tend to be independent of the structure of "who's running the show". The patrols run their own show and every member of the patrol has a job to do.

 

Boys who don't want to be PL or APL because they don't want to do any work, don't last long in a troop that expects everyone to carry their fair share of the work and are assigned a responsibility right down to every member in a patrol. Each patrol is a mini-troop, functions as a mini-troop and is as independent as a mini-troop. The patrols communicate with each other through the PLC organized by the SPL and whatever documentation the patrol produces that gets passed down to the support staff of the Troop Officer Corps for fulfillment.

 

Every boy who hones his skills on the patrol level is eventually considered for a challenge on an expanded level of the TOC.

 

This "requirement" for advancement has always offered me quite a chuckle and I basically don't take it very seriously when it comes to having it signed off. First of all the message to the boys is that only SOME boys have a "position of responsibility" and the rest do not. They don't have responsibilities? This is not the message I want my boys to hear.

 

The PL gets credit, but the grubmaster who makes the menues, organizes the lists, does the shopping, coordinates equipment need with the QM, plans the right number of menues with the Hikemaster, maintains records of what and how much for the Scribe, coordinates the food at an activity, prepares it, serves it, monitors the clean up and puts everything away for the evening and gets no POR responsibility credit?

 

I guess I view the requirement more like everyone else views the "Scout Spirit" requirement. If the Scout Spirit is more subjective, then within the wording of the requirement, I do the same thing. Does a boy who wears the troop QM patch and doesn't do the work vs. a patrol QM who does, get an automatic walk-over for advancement?

 

Sorry, if one does the work at any level, they get the credit. A "troop" Instructor in every patrol, works for me because multiple Instructors is acceptable. Same for all the other positions except PL and APL. Multiple TG's are acceptable, same for QM, Librarian, Chaplain Aide, Historian, Instructors, ....

 

Who's to say the Grubmaster who prays before every meal with the patrol doesn't fulfill the requirements of Chaplain Aide in most troops? If one does the job, they get the credit.

 

Stosh

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I think you may have missed the original intent of my question. I'm trying to AVOID creating positions where the Scouts simply wear a badge and hang out for four or six months. I DON'T WANT advancement-only PORs, but neither do I want to place an artificial barrier to a boy's advancement.

 

If, in your troop, the Scouts in patrol positions are putting in sufficient time/effort such that you, as Scoutmaster, count patrol-level postions toward advancement, that's great. It's a flexible program.

 

Our troop doesn't work that way. Take quartermasters, for example: Each patrol has it's own locker and plastic bin in which they keep all their gear which is permanently assigned to each patrol -- tents, cook gear, stove, lantern, water jug, fly. The PQM is responsible for inventorying the gear twice a year (at patrol election time) and maintenance in between (replacing lost tent stakes and broken lantern mantles, restocking consumable supplies, and an occasional clean up as needed. The patrol members generally take turns serving as grubmaster who is also responsible for taking home the pots and pans for a thorough cleaning after campouts. If tents need to be dried, one of the two boys sleeping in the tent takes it home and airs it out (we don't have room at the hut to hang tents). Consequently, PQM ends up being about a 30 minute per month job.

 

Troop QM, on the other hand, is responsible for supervising the five PQMs and making sure they keep their lockers neat. He is responsible for the semi-annual inventories. He is responsible for purchasing and stocking all consumables (matches, fuel, cleaning supplies). He is responsible for inventorying all troop equipment and recommending to the committee what needs to be replaced. A year ago the QM had the added responsibility of researching new tents for the troop. Most significantly, the QM is responsible for all program materials -- rope, staves, maps and compasses, first aid training materials, games, etc., etc. Every week he works with the ASPL-Programs to gather the materials needed for the troop meeting and activities. He serves as load master when we go camping, supervising the loading of the trailer, making sure it's balanced and packed in the proper order (chuck boxes first, groceries last).

 

Bottom line is that in our troop, there is a significant difference in the responsibilities of the troop and patrol quartermasters. I don't feel -- and I believe I am backed up by the literature -- that service as PQM doesn't qualify for a POR. Your troop may differ. You may not like the POR requirement to begin with. Viva la differance!

 

As far as very small troops go, I can't help the fact that the troop QM of a six-Scout troop doesn't have as much to do at the QM in a larger one. My troop QM doesn't have as much to do as the QM in the troop down the road with 90+ boys, three assistant QMs and 10 or 12 patrol QMs to look after. That's just the nature of things.

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