By Boy Scouts of America
Apr 08, 2015

The Survey Says …

Last March, the National Advancement Committee surveyed Advancement NewsTroopLeadershipPatches1 subscribers on the subject of Boy Scout positions of responsibility. Thank you, readers! Almost 1,300 of you responded, and here is what they said:

The responses to whether qualifying positions of responsibility should be identical for the Star, Life, and Eagle ranks showed a split of opinion, but the comments revealed the amount of thought that went into the answers .

Respondents who tended to agree with identical qualifying positions of responsibility expressed concern that a troop’s size or structure might limit Scout opportunities if the same positions of responsibility are not available across all three ranks.

Those who disagreed with identical qualifying positions of responsibility suggested there should be a progression of increased responsibility as a Scout matures and advances in rank, including positions of responsibility involving direct leadership of others for Eagle and possibly Life ranks.

Team Badges of OfficeThe data and comments indicate that many leaders view positions of responsibility as escalating from general “support” roles to more advanced “leadership” roles. While this is certainly a noble idea and applicable to growing young men, the stated aims of Scouting — character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness — do not necessarily require direct leadership of others.

Most adults, regardless of profession, have observed that some in the workplace are excellent organizers and record keepers, and some are excellent people managers and team builders, but few possess both of these qualities. In his book The Peter Principle , Lawrence Peter observed that top salespeople promoted to manager roles often fail because the talents required for sales do not match those needed to manage that sales force.

While qualifying positions of responsibility are currently identical for Star and Life ranks, there are two differences for the Eagle rank: Bugler is not a qualifying position of responsibility for Eagle and Eagle does not have the option of a unit – leader assigned leadership project to help the unit.

Crew  Badge of OfficeScouts vary widely in maturity, age, capability, and personality. Diverse options for positions of responsibility allow leaders to best leverage each Scout’s abilities while presenting challenges to develop new skills, which may include instruction, organization, leadership, or other important traits. This diversity is embodied in Scouting’s use of the term “position of responsibility” rather than “position of leadership.”

In that context, the Scoutmaster’s role is three – fold: train elected Scouts in their roles; ensure the senior patrol leader, with the Scoutmaster’s guidance, selects the very best talent for the appointed positions; and provide mentoring to every junior leader so he can do his very best, whether leading or facilitating, within the troop.

The same applies to the Team and Crew.  So how do you plan to share leadership with your youth? We’d love to read your comments below

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Author: Boy Scouts of America | Advancement News


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