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#21 ItsBrian

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 04:51 PM

Qwazse, what are your thoughts on the POR that require a lot less work and leadership like (Webmaster, Librarian, Historian, Bugler)?   I know they qualify for ranks but how do you get them to do work that really shows leadership for Star, Life


They don’t. I never had any requirement signed off for any of those no Leadership less work positions. I wouldn’t allow the troop to do that.
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#22 TAHAWK

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 07:02 PM

We have a volunteer who is upset because the same people appear to get elected SPL and PLs. He wants to appoint all positions.  IT DOES NOT WORK! (emphasis).  Some Scouts who are appointed have no interest in the POR and could care less. Some Scouts who are interested, but do not have the knowledge, skills or abilities to do it. Other Scouts, seeing this then act indifferent or with disrespect towards them. Long story short, the troop slowly dies.

 

 

 


He needs to find some other way to spend his time.  He is not interested in Boy Scouting.  


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#23 TAHAWK

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 07:07 PM

"They don’t. I never had any requirement signed off for any of those no Leadership less work positions. I wouldn’t allow the troop to do that. "

 

IF I understand what you are trying to say, no single person has such authority - Scout or adult.  The CO is agrees to supply Boy Scouting to youth as defined by BSA.  BSA defines which positions are PORs.

 

It is the SPL's job, coached by the SM, to insure that all positions are meaningful.  IF the incumbent refuses to do meaningful work as assigned, he needs to be replaced.  If the leadership fails to give him meaningful work, they need training.


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#24 qwazse

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 09:15 PM

Qwazse, what are your thoughts on the POR that require a lot less work and leadership like (Webmaster, Librarian, Historian, Bugler)?   I know they qualify for ranks but how do you get them to do work that really shows leadership for Star, Life

Truth? When I was a scout, librarian was harder than SPL. Lots of boys earning MBs, needing books, req changes left and right, plus volumes of Boys Life to bind, scouts forgetting to check-in and check-out ...SPL was a cake-walk.

 

I like @Eagledad's summary. One of the fundamental problems that I see in many schools as well as in troops, people expect less.

 

One thing that I constantly remind scouts and parents is that PoR's aren't about leadership -- even though some happen to have "lead" in the title. They are about responsibility. There are jobs to do to make a troop great, and someone has to do them. When someone does each job (patch or no patch), the troop thrives.

 

So, back to my example, in terms of hours, the librarian should take as much time as SPL in a larger troop. If not, you might want to consider vacating that position until you all figure out what to expect from it.

 

I posted some other ideas on Bryan's forums:

https://blog.scoutin...eading-buglers/

https://blog.scoutin...quartermasters/

 

Finally, the method in boy scouting is called "leadership development" for a reason ... boys should start with barely getting a job done themselves and end up getting his buddies involved in helping him do a bang-up job. I was just discussing tonight with the SM and CC about how some SPLs start with more disadvantages than others.


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#25 Eagledad

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 08:32 AM

I don't mean to be quoting quazse so much, but he has been having his moments.

 

I like @Eagledad's summary. One of the fundamental problems that I see in many schools as well as in troops, people expect less.

 

 

It's funny you say that, my son and his wife are both 10th grade English teachers at two different high risk schools. My daughter in-law's school is being recognized a lot lately for the high rate of graduates continuing to collage. When I asked him why some schools perform better than others, he said it is "expectation" set by the school staff.

 

 

One thing that I constantly remind scouts and parents is that PoR's aren't about leadership -- even though some happen to have "lead" in the title. They are about responsibility. There are jobs to do to make a troop great, and someone has to do them. When someone does each job (patch or no patch), the troop thrives.

 

 

My older son liked leadership because he likes to change the status quo toward his vision. My younger, more introverted, son hates the idea of others waiting on him for direction. Yet, he enjoyed responsibility because he likes making things neat and tidy. It wasn't until my older some gained some wisdom that he started looking for workers like my younger son because they always reached his vision. Much like me, my older son found that he is an idea guy that doesn't get much done unless he has a good crew of doers like my younger son. Troop leaders need to understand the difference so that they can help scouts find where they fit in that big picture of life and nurture them to continue to grow.

 

Finally, the method in boy scouting is called "leadership development" for a reason ... boys should start with barely getting a job done themselves and end up getting his buddies involved in helping him do a bang-up job. I was just discussing tonight with the SM and CC about how some SPLs start with more disadvantages than others.

 

I have found this to be a common characteristic of successful patrol method boy run programs.

 

As our troop matured, our Eagle rate also started to grow with the membership. It was noticeable enough that when the DE visited a meeting watch our program, he asked my opinion. I basically gave him the same quote as qwazse. Our scouts are given small responsibilities when they join the troop (Grub Master and Cheer Master). As small as the expectations are, they are still challenging for the age and maturity of the new scouts. We mentored them to used the whole patrol to reach the goals of their responsibilities. Scouts are encouraged to reach out to their buddies for help in all their PORs. Eventually it's just a habit used in all their activities, not just PORs. And without realizing it, they are all of a sudden Life Scouts needing only a service project to finish Eagle.

 

I'm not bragging about our Eagles, I am not an Eagle driven person. But the right habits of character make the path of life easier. For example, one of the results of using the many-hands is discipline. Over time our scouts developed the habit of when a scout was behaving badly, everyone around the scout was held responsible for his actions. Every scout was held accountable for the behavior (good and bad) of the scouts around them.

 

As the PLC matured, they took pride that leaders didn't need to yell to motivate other scouts (they saw drill sergeant type troops at summer camp), they just simply spoke in a normal tone because they knew they were supported by the other scouts around them. We adults didn't drive that to happen, it was just the result of quazse's point of using many buddies.

 

That is a big deal because the hardest action for a boy is to confront his friends while not hurting their feelings. But when character of the troop expects the best friend to confront the behavior with support from of all the other scouts, bad behavior gets nipped in the bud. Of course scouts of this age still have their moments of mischief, but reports of bad behavior to the adults drop off considerably. I remember standing in the shadows watching the troop play capture the flag. Nobody knew any adults were around. A 14 year old scout who just transferred into our troop said a few four letter words as he was playing. One of the other scouts said just matter-of-factly, "we don't talk like that here". The transfer responded just as matter-of-factly "gotcha". And that was that, nipped in the bud. 

 

Sorry to step on your post qwazse, but you have great insight.

 

Barry


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#26 mashmaster

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 10:30 AM

Yeah I agree on these points.  Our SPL, ASPL, QM, and PL's do a lot of work and there are clear expectations for them.  The Troop Guides as well.  The Librarian, Historian, and Webmaster is much more of a grey area and we are a small troop.  The book calls out the position as a POR for rank, but they are much less work that the other roles.  Being new and small our Librarian is less about books than being the file cabinet for all the duty rosters, attendance forms, recipies, so he just carries the library with him.  It is necessary but not involved.  The webmaster role is even lighter of a role.  I think these are great jobs for younger scouts that want to step up but aren't ready for the bigger leadership roles.  When a Life scout comes to me to get signed off for being OA rep and he went to a meeting a month, it says to me that he doesn't really get it.  

 

<Rant on>

I have been accused by a few parents lately of being mean because I question the boys on their commitment and attempt to hold them to a standard of scout spirit that means something.  The parents of course come at me with books and the guide to advancement which is written very vague and more about not being sued than in the scouts interest.  I want them to succeed.  If I didn't think they could do it, I wouldn't push them.  But, that is a totally different topic.

<Rant off>


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#27 Col. Flagg

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 10:44 AM

My issue with PORs is that there are no measurements (or directions on how to establish quantitative measurements) for evaluating success or failure to meet POR objectives.

Our unit has put them in place so that they know what quantitative things they need to do to get credit. We meet with the Scouts during their tenure who may not be meeting expectations and put them back on the path to accomplish their outlines documented goals.

How can anyone strive to meet leadership expectations and get credit without these things?
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#28 mashmaster

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 10:51 AM

My issue with PORs is that there are no measurements (or directions on how to establish quantitative measurements) for evaluating success or failure to meet POR objectives.

Our unit has put them in place so that they know what quantitative things they need to do to get credit. We meet with the Scouts during their tenure who may not be meeting expectations and put them back on the path to accomplish their outlines documented goals.

How can anyone strive to meet leadership expectations and get credit without these things?

I totally agree, I have put together a requirements contract for each position that the scout signs.  I admit it is hard to come up with quantitative things for some of the positions.


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#29 qwazse

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 11:59 AM

I totally agree, I have put together a requirements contract for each position that the scout signs.  I admit it is hard to come up with quantitative things for some of the positions.

Some positions are indeed more "short-stop" than others. You only notice them when a line drive skips to left field.

 

This is why I prefer SMs and SPLs to be vision oriented. How do they want the library to look? How should dues be collected? What events should have a bugler/honor guard? What should our quarters look like? What should the paperwork look like for each event? What needs to be on our website? When?

 

Then, the follow-up question: Who's gonna make it look that way?

Or, if there's a boy in mind: Mr. __ can you make __ look better?

 

If they picture where things need to be, once they own a task, the SPL can hold them to that vision. E.g., "Mr. __ there's a book out of place. What will your mamma think?"

 

The SPL and ASPL's job then eventually becomes leading after action review. Depending on the boy doing the review and the boys needing to reflect on their work, you may need to coach him on style.

 

It's no longer a question of "Did you do it?" But "Is it better?"

 

This isn't much different than what we ask the PLs to get from their boys (or presidents from their crews): Where do we see ourselves camping? How can we get there? What do we want to eat? What's our klondike sled gonna look like?

 

With a patrol it's not a question of "Where did you go?" But "Did you go there better than you went before?"


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#30 MattR

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 04:15 PM

The problem with positions like Webmaster, librarian, historian and bugler is that many units have very few expectations for those positions to hold scouts accountable. Without accountability, there is little growth or learning.
 
For a position to have value in the big picture of the whole program, it needs to have value in contributing to the whole program. If scouts don't see themselves contributing to the big picture, then likely the position isn't really required in the program. Our PLC voted to end the bugler position. It was a sad day for the traditional side of me, but the practical side of me agreed.

 
I removed several PORs because I didn't see any responsibility. One scout asked me one time if he could be bugler and I told him I'd give him credit if he could figure out what the responsibility was and how it helped the troop. I suggested he find an adult to help define it. I did the same for librarian. I'm not against those positions but I don't see the need anymore.
 

I like @Eagledad's summary. One of the fundamental problems that I see in many schools as well as in troops, people expect less.

<Rant on>
I have been accused by a few parents lately of being mean because I question the boys on their commitment and attempt to hold them to a standard of scout spirit that means something. The parents of course come at me with books and the guide to advancement which is written very vague and more about not being sued than in the scouts interest. I want them to succeed. If I didn't think they could do it, I wouldn't push them. But, that is a totally different topic.
<Rant off>

 
<Anti Rant on>
It's nice to know someone else sees the same thing.
<Anti Rang off>
 

Our scouts are given small responsibilities when they join the troop (Grub Master and Cheer Master). As small as the expectations are, they are still challenging for the age and maturity of the new scouts. We mentored them to used the whole patrol to reach the goals of their responsibilities. Scouts are encouraged to reach out to their buddies for help in all their PORs. Eventually it's just a habit used in all their activities, not just PORs. And without realizing it, they are all of a sudden Life Scouts needing only a service project to finish Eagle.

 
This point right here needs to be written large in the SM handbook. It's much easier to teach a different way of doing things to the youngest scouts and just keeping it going until they become the older scouts. For years I tried working with the older scouts to change the culture in my troop. I finally decided that working with the younger scouts was the way to go. That was the best move I made. Unfortunately I asked for adults to focus on the new scouts and all I got was having advancement requirements signed off. It didn't matter how much we talked about leadership, teamwork, or character.
 
Now that I'm no longer responsible for the entire troop I can focus on what I want and so last week I took the new scouts on a campout. They planned the whole thing and I drilled into them responsibility and teamwork. I wanted a duty roster and I wanted them to follow it. They could fill in the details. It was some of the best teamwork I've seen. The adults that went along were real happy with the results and were also sold on the idea. Previously I could tell adults that responsibility was key to teamwork but they just didn't believe me. Once they saw how the patrol worked together they started to see it. Anyway, it would do the BSA a world of good if they would write some training on how to turn a troop around.
 

For example, one of the results of using the many-hands is discipline. Over time our scouts developed the habit of when a scout was behaving badly, everyone around the scout was held responsible for his actions. Every scout was held accountable for the behavior (good and bad) of the scouts around them.


A few years ago I had a patrol that ran off the rails and I held them all responsible. In all honesty they were all guilty. Some may have been worse than others but none of them stood up for what was right. Anyway, the adult response to this was rather instructive. I had two families quit over that one and the rest were absolutely behind me. The families that left couldn't see that their children did anything wrong. It was the other scouts that caused their children to misbehave. Their kids were perfect after all.


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#31 HelpfulTracks

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:45 PM

My troop has many scouts of first class or higher.  

 

what POR do other units double up on besides PL and APL?

 

I would ask your scouts what the troop needs.

 

As troops grow and their program becomes more involved (hopefully the scouts are developing more involved programs) then the needs for PoR grows.

 

Some troops have more than one ASPL. If you have more than one NSP then you will need more Troop Guides. Multiple instructors can be handy for busy troops. Multiple Den Chiefs is almost always a good idea, remember that the Scout is attending meetings for Troop and Pack. Packs may have 2 or more Webelos/AoL dens. IF you are working with multiple packs that also comes into play.

 

I have seen larger troops that have more than one outing a month have 2 QM's (one for each outing) or they may have 2 QM's with different responsibilities. I have also seen troops with 2 Historians, one that is more of a creator (photographer and writer and the other is a collector and organizer). Depending on the troops Website and Library size, both of those could have 2 or more PoR involved. Scribes are another option. IF Scribes are really doing what all is expected of them for an active troop, that is a load of work. THey work with Treasurer to track dues and expenditures, keep attendance, PLC and meeting notes, and work with Advancement Chair to track advancement.

 

We have a volunteer who is upset because the same people appear to get elected SPL and PLs. He wants to appoint all positions.  IT DOES NOT WORK! (emphasis).  Some Scouts who are appointed have no interest in the POR and could care less. Some Scouts who are interested, but do not have the knowledge, skills or abilities to do it. Other Scouts, seeing this then act indifferent or with disrespect towards them. Long story short, the troop slowly dies.

 

 

I've seen one troop do just that. As soon as the new SM started appointing PLs and the SPL so that "everyone gets a chance,"

 the troop started losing members to other troops, or outright quitting.

 

He needs to pump the breaks, everyone is getting a chance unless someone is telling some scouts they cannot run. The Scouts will choose who they feel are the best leaders. You could encourage the SPL to challenge some of those that are routinely being elected to PL positions by assigning them to Troop Guide, Instructor or some other position.

 

But outside of that or the SM asking a multi-term SPL to be a JASM then the adults needs to stay out of it.

 

They don’t. I never had any requirement signed off for any of those no Leadership less work positions. I wouldn’t allow the troop to do that.

 

I have to disagree with you on this ItsBrian.

 

First, BSA defines it as Position of Responsibility, not Leadership Role. Some PoR's do have direct leadership roles, but not all and that is why BSA defines it that way.

 

Second, when you say you would not allow a troop to do that. I assume that means if you where the SM. But the SM does not have the authority to change requirements. If BSA says a PoR meets the requirements for rank, the SM cannot say otherwise. HE could say we will not have that role, but that is drifting away from boy led.

 

Third, depending on how a troop functions a Webmaster, Historian and Librarian can have their hands full. IF you don't expect much from them and set the bar low, then you won't get much from them usually, because they may not know or understand what they can and should be doing. But if set the bar high, then those are worthy jobs.  For example:

  1. A full library can have a huge number of resources, MB pamphlets, Leadership Guide (SPL, PL) and possibly troop developed leader guides. There are the 3 program books, which some troops check out by chapter for Patrols/Scouts to plan meetings and outings. There are troop forms (Meal planning, duty roster etc), non-scouting books that supplement skills (cookbooks, knots, first aid, pioneering edible plants etc.) As well as other Scouting guides like Guide to Safe Scouting, Advancement Guide, Uniform and Insignia, Scout Leader and Committee Guides. Some troops keep issues of Boy's Life and Scouters Magazine. A well stocked library could have hundred of books in it and take a great deal of effort to maintain.
  2. Websites can take a great deal of effort to collect and write articles, take photos and manipulate them, upload and maintain content and calendars.
  3. The same is true for historians that do research, take photos, collect newspaper articles, interview former scouts from the troop, create displays, catalog and maintain records of activities and individual/troop awards and write and create newsletters.

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#32 HelpfulTracks

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:59 PM

Oh, I forgot Bugler. A good Bugler is priceless and entertaining.

 

I have not seen an active Bugler since I was a Scout, but there was one troop that really had a great one and used him. In fact that young man held the Bugler Position for 4 or 5 years. He even maintained that position when he held other PoR.

 

He played trumpet for a local high school band. We would see them at Camporee or Summer Camp. He played Reveille and Taps twice each day. He also called Assembly, Mess and a few other calls. My favorite was each morning at Summer camp his troop would assemble after breakfast, the SPL would talk and then send them out to whatever activities they had planed. HE normally played assembly to call everyone together but in this event he would play First Call to gather them (that is what you hear at horse races) and to send them off he would play charge. It was awesome.

 

You could hear his calls echoing all over Summer camp. A few adults and scouts grumbled at Reveille each morning but that troop always seemed so well organized as far as being where they should be and on time. We got to the point when we heard him play mess we would head back to our own camp for meals, we would start settling down for the night when he played Tatoo and shut out the lights when he played Taps. 

 

He could also play the harmonica like nobodies business. Like a said, a good Bugler is priceless and entertaining.


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#33 blw2

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 07:32 AM

There many positions in scouting. Here are a few.

Linked to descriptions of each.

 

Den Chiefs - If you have a Pack that is with your Troop you can easily have them take a training, and place a scout in each den. I was a den chief for a few years, it's not difficult, it's just like being an instructor or guide.

 

Asst. Senior Patrol Leaders - My troop doesn't personally do this, but an idea I've had, having the ASPLs have a certain job, such as one for training, fundraising, meetings, etc. Not sure if that's allowed, would check with your local council. 

 

Instructors, Guides, Historians, Webmasters, JASMS - You can easily have at least two-three each for these positions if you have a big troop. 

I'll have to admit to not really reading the whole thread thoroughly

The issue I see is 

Many of these "positions" really aren't positions.  We have a historian, and a librarian, and many of the others....but these guys really don't do much of anything if at all.  They are empty jobs, the scouts know it, so what good does that do anyone?

 

I really think it's bad to try to have every scout in a position just becasue

I think it would be better to let the scouts work it out and the PLC could help scouts that need a POR by helping them to find actual positions that need to be filled.....or to make sure the guys that need and want it are first in line the next time a position opens


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#34 Col. Flagg

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 07:55 AM

I'll have to admit to not really reading the whole thread thoroughly
The issue I see is 
Many of these "positions" really aren't positions.  We have a historian, and a librarian, and many of the others....but these guys really don't do much of anything if at all.  They are empty jobs, the scouts know it, so what good does that do anyone?
 
I really think it's bad to try to have every scout in a position just becasue
I think it would be better to let the scouts work it out and the PLC could help scouts that need a POR by helping them to find actual positions that need to be filled.....or to make sure the guys that need and want it are first in line the next time a position opens


I agree with your argument that some positions lack real substance. As @mashmaster and I have quipped once already, I think the REAL problem is how BSA defines the roles AND setting up substantive, quantitative criteria for the Scouts to follow in order to ascertain if they are fulfilling the role. Units share in this failure too on not setting up such criteria whereby the Scout can track and measure their progress during their POR.

For example, the Historian has a job description but it is pretty antiquated and in some units may not be even relevant or practical to implement. It's then that the unit has to step in and customize the position and develop that measurable criteria the Scout can follow.

Same with PL. Sure we have the PL Handbook but it lacks sample processes the PL can follow to successfully execute his job. Okay, some will argue this is done on purpose to get the PL to think. Okay, I agree. HOWEVER, then the TLT (or ILST) training needs to be more focused on process for EACH position (as well as conflict resolution, goal setting and such) in order to arm the new leaders with the tools they need to be successful. Lastly you need adult leaders who can mentor and offer timely advice, not "Well Johnny you suck at SPL so we're replacing you."
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#35 qwazse

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 09:07 AM

.... Units share in this failure too on not setting up such criteria whereby the Scout can track and measure their progress during their POR....

Share? It is entirely the unit's fault. (I'm including mine here.)

 

For example, I can't possibly give you the benchmark for your Librarian. I don't know what your space is like, how much literature you purchase, what the hand-me-down culture is of your scouts, your proximity to the scout-shop, you budget for a half-dozen electronic tablets, if you're all about the paper, if you need to build shelves, or lockers, or mobile storage with solar panels for recharging. Maybe you need a bevy of pamphlets. Maybe you need sheet music for your buglers and musicians. Maybe your honor guard needs a collection of historic flag pamphlets. I don't know. If I don't know any of that, how is National gonna possibly know? Figure out your own stinking benchmarks. Set them.

 

I've said the SPL's job isn't hard, really the only tough thing is asking others to do what you think is their job, and reviewing with them afterward in an affirming way. For example, based on discussions with the PLC and JASMs who've "been there, done that," the SPL should want the library to look a certain way. If it doesn't after a couple weeks, he asks the Librarian "Would you like to discuss it with the SM? Or, can I team you up with a JASM who had your job once? Just for this month?"

 

Oh, that's right, folks don't hand out JASM patches any more because, they bad-mouth older boys who sit around and don't do much but reminisce about "good old days" and "here's how it was done in my time." Then SM's complain that they can't keep track of all of the expectations on these dozens of PoR's.

 

Bottom line: expect more of your PoR's. Read the words on the patch. Ask the boys how the troop would look and feel if someone was living up to those words by putting in an hour of work every week. Go there.


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#36 TAHAWK

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 10:02 AM

Benchmarks?!  Benchmarks?!!   We don' need no stinking benchmarks.   :p


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#37 thrifty

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 10:11 AM

Expectations for certain roles should be higher.  Each scout should be asking themselves how can I make the position better or help improve the troop.

 

The most recent librarian was a no-show for most meetings.  We do elections once a year and my son is already thinking about the librarian role.  He's been PL twice and APL once.  He won't be able to go on some of the campouts so this position works better for him.  Yes, it will be less work than a PL position but that doesn't mean it is a lazy position.  He's already got ideas to promote his being given that position.  Making an inventory of all scout books, making pdf files of scout books (because we never have enough), maybe buying new books (because many of ours are old), etc...  And he's actually at the meetings so he can pass out books and create a log to keep track of them.

 

We previously had a scribe that didn't take notes.  Our most recent scribe, an older scout, does a fantastic job taking meeting notes and tracking attendance and then emails it to an adult for posting on our website.  The last scribe was just too young and I don't think he had anyone helping him.

 

I was told that our most recent historian was volun-told to do the position. (ASM's son)  He didn't want it and was very vocal about it.  He didn't even own a camera.  Not a single picture of a campout was taken.  The historian prior to him took pictures on every campout.  These were then posted to the troop website for parents to see and really help to keep the parents engaged. 

 

Just because a scout position doesn't require a direct leadership role, the position can still require responsibility and help the scout and troop grow.


Edited by thrifty, 14 September 2017 - 10:12 AM.

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#38 Col. Flagg

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 10:54 AM

Share? It is entirely the unit's fault. (I'm including mine here.)

 

Fair points, @qwazse. The reasons I said "share" in the fault is because BSA's training on how to do things -- whether at the Scout or Scouter level -- is woefully inadequate. Some folks may not have an idea of how to set performance benchmarks, establishing quantitative evaluation factors, etc. I think that if BSA is not going to adequately train the Scouters and Scouts to do such things, then they should, at very least, have examples in their literature (handbooks, position descriptions, etc.) on how to do just that.

 

Other than that, totally agree with your great points!


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#39 mashmaster

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 11:18 AM

I have the position contracts that we have made, I am willing to share them if people are interested.  


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#40 Col. Flagg

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 11:35 AM

I have the position contracts that we have made, I am willing to share them if people are interested.  

 

Yup we have the same. Great tools!


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