I want to take the time in this month’s Scoutmaster corner to talk about Leadership development. As I mentioned last month, there is a shift in the rank requirements when you reach First Class. You are no longer receiving Scouting, but you are now giving Scouting. A big part of this is leadership. The ranks of Star, Life and Eagle require Scouts to demonstrate leadership. This is usually done through a position of responsibility. Every position of responsibility is important to the Troop and an opportunity for Scouts to give back and to help truly make a boy-led Troop.
I want everyone to carefully consider their position of responsibility in the Troop and it’s true propose. Every position is an opportunity for service to the Troop and to your fellow Scouts. My grandfather used to tell me: “No matter what you do, even if you dig ditches, do your best”. Remember to give your best effort to every job you do in Scouts. Every position has
clearly defined responsibilities which are laid out in your JLT manual. If you need a copy, see me right away. Myself and the other ASMs are here to help you be successful in your job. Be sure to seek regular feedback on your position and make sure you are fulfilling the duties of the job.
When we have a Scoutmaster conference, I will ask you two questions about the position of responsibility you held. First, I will ask: “What did you do to make this job better, or to put your unique spin on it?”. I ask this because I think we need to have an attitude of constant improvement. Also, I want you to realize that there are no jobs that are simply titles with no action. If you are serving in a position, you need to fulfill the specified duties; if you cannot fulfill the duties for some reason, consider stepping down. If you have not fulfilled the responsibilities of the position, you will not get credit.
The second question I will ask is: “What position are you going to try next?” I want Scouts to be thinking about more and more challenging jobs. Notice that the jobs in Scouts are called “position of responsibility”. Oftentimes, they are mistakenly referred to as “position of leadership”. While the goal of every job is leadership development, some require more leadership than others. All the jobs are important and necessary, but think about how you can challenge yourself and contribute to the Troop by working jobs that require more and more responsibility, and / or require more and more leadership of a patrol or of the Troop. If you want to be SPL some day, try out Patrol Leader — it’s the same concept on a smaller scale.
Leadership Development is one of the Methods of Scouting. We exist to help develop tomorrow’s leaders. One of the key ways we do this is through the position of responsibility. Seek out a position that is a good fit for your personality and skills. Seek input from your peers or from the adult leaders when you need help. Ask for feedback along the way to make sure you
are fulfilling your duties. Think about your next position and how you want to grow yourself and impact the Troop.