Re: Leadership Corps
Wed, 1 Nov 1995 01:46:27 -0600
At 12:24 AM 10/31/95 -0500, you wrote:
>I beg to differ with some of the points made by Mike Walton on the "failure"
>of the Leadership Corps.
Okay...I'm wearing the ol' Nomex!!
>As I have noted in recent postings, I am fairly new to scouting. So new, in
>fact, that I was unaware that the LC program had failed. It is even more
>surprising to me in my role as advisor to our troop's LC patrol. Whether you
>call the group of older boys with leadership qualities LC, Varsity, Senior
>Patrol, etc. is irrelevant -- what you do for these boys and what they do for
>the troop is what's important.
While I agree with you on the non-issue of the "title" of the program, the
*emphasis* of the program DOES make a difference. To put it bluntly, the LC
program is dead and over with, and there should be some transition to making
your LC group either a Venture Crew (with emphasis on outdoor ("high")
adventure and speciality events and trips) or a Varsity Squad or Team (with
either outdoor activities or leadership development).
>On the point of making these senior boys into a patrol, in our troop, it is
>the boys (not the scoutmaster) that want to have their own patrol.
The problem with this, is that you have the pool of senior boy leadership in
their own patrol and not scattered out amoung the other patrols in the Troop.
The Senior Patrol Leader and his Assistant SHOULD NOT belong to a Patrol.
Everyone else -- the Scribe, the Librarian, Quartermaster, Den Chiefs and
Instructors -- should either belong to the Varsity/Venture group or a member
of a Patrol. I think that a lot of Scoutmasters and others have this idea
that the Troop's officers are somehow "pulled from the Patrols" to perform
duties and therefore should be placed into a "senior patrol"-type setting.
This is NOT the way the program was geared then as now. Those jobs can be done
whether or not the Scout is a member of the Hawk Patrol or the "Senior Patrol".
There's nothing wrong with creating a new Patrol at the request of the youth
in the Troop....only that this Patrol, like the others, should consist of
youth that want to be a member and that as Scoutmaster, you should try to
"even the skill level" out in all except the "Kanewbie" (New Scout) Patrol.
> The LC
>Patrol not only gives these boys an identity, but also provides a basis for
>team work to meet the demands of leadership and guidance to younger scouts.
> The effectiveness of the LC was threatened when their activities were
>focused on helping other patrols without allowing them time to themselves.
> Operating as a separate patrol also gives them the chance to "lead by
Which is the idea behind the two new program options in the present Troop
Operations Plan that the BSA adopted.
>Membership in our LC comes from nominations by the current LC based on
>specific criteria (age, rank, participation, scout skills and demonstrated
>leadership). True, the boys in LC hold the highest leadership positions;
>however, these boys are in the LC because they are leaders, not the other way
So what happens when you have a Patrol Leader that wants to stay a Patrol
Leader but also wants to become a LC member? Does the present members
because he's not a Troop officer? Does that mean that if I as a member of
your Troop, desires to become a member of the LC that I have to get
appointed by the Senior Patrol Leader as a Troop officer....whoops! The
*same* guy that's going to appoint me to a Troop office is ALSO within the
Leadership Corps. This means that if he doesn't appoint me, I don't get to
serve in the LC.
Most importantly, how are you carrying those LC members without a Troop
position for the purpose of advancement, since "Leadership Corps member" is
not a valid
position for the purpose of the six month leadership position for Life and
Eagle? This is where the Varsity and Venture programs come in...those
leadership positions can be used as the basis for that leadership experience.
>As far as having suitable LC experiences, I wouldn't necessarily blame the
>national organization. You can find "suitable" experiences where you look
>for them. At our summer camp, the LC is given the opportunity for an
>out-of-camp trek for which other scouts are not eligible.
Put on by your unit or by the Council? When the Leadership Corps program was
planned out in the early 70s, the job of providing additional leadership and
special events for LC members was placed on the local Councils. Some did a
super job in providing special "Leadership camps" complete with special
historic, military and community locations and additional projects. Some did a
horrific job in providing that additional outlet, placing it back on the
backs of the Scoutmasters to do. And to be honest, there's a LOT of
Scoutmasters then as now that couldn't quite figure out what he (or now
she)'s supposed to do with those "extra kids" that deserve more than a week
of summer camp and perhaps another annual trek at Philmont or the Sea Base.
*That* was the reason the BSA shelved the Leadership Corps program, after
trying to prop it up several times during its ten year or so run. It just
wasn't doing what the previous Senior Scout program did...to identify and
recognize the older Scout, and to provide a distinctive "varsity level"
Scouting experience for him and his buddies to encourage retention and Troop
> Even in day-to-day
>activities for our LC boys, it is surprisingly simple to give them the
>"extra" treatment that makes them feel their efforts are appreciated. For
>example, we just held an "induction" weekend where four new boys were
>welcomed into the LC patrol. We stayed at a local transportation museum for
>one day and two nights. The working part included running get acqauinted
>exercises and doing service projects which helped forge a "new" LC our of the
>"old" and "new" boys. In exchange, the boys got free tours of the museum and
>a neighboring train museum, a train ride and the right to stay up late
>watching movies. This was no trip to Philmont, but, in the boys eyes, it was
>special (and affordable).
This sounds like a great trip....but this could have been done as a Venture
or Varsity group instead. I'm NOT saying to "dump your program for the
senior boys in your Troop"!!! I'm just saying that you can easily
incorporate what you see as a Troop need (and it's a GREAT need!) as a
Varsity Team or Venture Crew, both as parts of your Troop's operation.
I would however, dump the nominative process that appears to "narrow" your
senior boy program to those that the Senior Patrol Leader and other members
of the Troop Leaders' Council (via their dual membership as "LC" members)
*choose* to become members. This should not be a matter of "nomination".
ANY youth member of your unit that reaches a certain age or rank should be
membership (and should be members). I think that what I'm saying is that
when you eventually have half of your boys eligible for "LC" membership,
that there must be youth members to replace them in the Patrols.
As a former Scoutmaster, I established a Leadership Corps of all Scouts that
have reached the rank of Life (Star was what the book stated, but I had a
lot of Star Scouts) and the age of 15. The five boys in that Leadership
Corps could NOT serve as Troop Leaders (hence, I avoided the problem that
you may have whereby a Patrol Leader could be a LC member) and that they
elected their own "Corps Leader" (not a Patrol Leader, but he acted as such
anyways) whom would become one of the two Assistant Senior Patrol Leaders.
(The SPL appointed his primary Assistant.) In this way, there's always a
Senior Patrol Leader present for any Troop program or event. The hardest
thing that I and my Assistant Scoutmaster for Program had was "finding
things that the Leadership Corps could handle on their own without a lot of
financing or travel". When I left Germany for the States, our Troop
Committee was still trying to figure that problem out.
I'm not happy that the BSA did away with the Leadership Corps program...I'm
not a big fan of the present Varsity and Venture programs, and although
we've talked about it's successes or failures here (most here have had a
great deal of success with their implementation of either or both programs),
nationally there's a serious problem with how the program is being
used...there's a lot of "Varsity Patrols" (like "senior patrol", like I'm
recommending you try to convert your LC to *frown face*) out there, but it
works better than the "recommended program" which is heavy on sports with a
dash of leadership development in it.
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (Settummanque, the blackeagle) (
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