Scoutmaster Musings - Serve Actively

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Scoutmaster Musings

Serve Actively
For Star, Life, and Eagle advancement, scouts need to demonstrate leadership. The requirements in the Scout Handbook say to "serve actively" in a position of leadership, but there is no official definition of what that means. This is a cause of concern for lots of troops and I received an email yesterday asking about it.

How do you know if a scout is serving actively or just wearing the patch? How does a Scoutmaster decide to give him advancement credit or not?

Lots of troops have developed a list of expectations for each leadership position. Here's an Example PDF file. Many of these lists can be viewed on troop web sites. All of them are similar, but not identical.

Having a list of expectations is a fine idea because it makes it more clear to the scout and scoutmaster what a scout should accomplish. As long as the scoutmaster can remain flexible and use it as a set of expectations and not absolute requirements, it should work.

Every scout has a different level of experience and ability when he takes on a job. I might expect a Life scout who used to be the ASPL and SPL and is now Librarian to accomplish much more than a 1st Class scout fulfilling his first troop role as Librarian. If a scout is doing his best and demonstrating leadership, but still not fulfilling all the expectations, then he is serving actively.

I believe the best way to ensure a scout is serving actively is to check his accomplishments against his goals every month. To do this, he first needs to set some goals and that is where the list of expectations is helpful. Either the SPL or ASPL should be checking on his accomplishments, not the Scoutmaster. Then, the SPL and ASPL can discuss the status of each position with the Scoutmaster, including their own status.

By having a quick SPL/ASPL/Scoutmaster status check every month, like before or after the Patrol Leader Council meeting, scouts not serving actively can be identified before its too late and they can be encouraged to step up and get their job done.

Scout On
Posted: 9:23 05-16-2007 143
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