Re: Leadership CorpS
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM)
Thu, 2 Nov 1995 19:19:26 -0500
On Nov 02, 1995 13:53:17, '"Jeff L. Glaze" <jglaze@SUBASIC.SCIATL.COM>'
>Too Late!! BSA has already removed the Leadership Corps from its program
>offering. Therefore, any Chartered Organization still permitting its Boy
Scout Troop to
>run a Leadership Corps, is not offering the BSA program as it agrees to in
>Chartered Partner Agreement.
That's an awfully strong statement. I am not aware of any program police
out there to insure that ALL chartered organizations offer the program
exactly the way this week's pronouncements from national seem to require.
In fact, went the Troop Operations Plan was rolled out a few years back the
question was specifically asked about what happens if a troop does not feel
that this latest new revision would work for them. The answer received, at
least in my council, was that there are no Scouting police and that you
will do what works for your own unit, organizationally, as long as the aims
and purposes are not subverted and the requirements for recognition are not
Personally, I believe that if you removed the charters from all of the
units that are not following the latest structure you would probably find
that there were not enough troops left to even have a program. IMHO the
organization chart under the TOP does not work, especially when you
consider that the size of the average troop in the US, I believe, is
somewhere between 15 and 20 boys (recollection, no hard data, so this may
As I understand Venture a Scout who is of the proper age joins the Venture
Crew for a particular activity. If he does not choose to participate in
that activity he is not in Venture for that period. Okay, then, where is
he? Where is this 15, 16, 17 year old who doesn't happen to want to work
on the whitewater venture activity? In a patrol? As their patrol leader?
If so, then where is the opportunity for the 13-14 year old to be the
patrol leader? If just as a member, then how easy is it for the 13 year
old patrol leader to control the 15/16/17 year olds? Without separating
the older Scouts from the traditional patrols you risk retarding the
leadership development of the younger leaders or putting them in
I also believe that the new scout patrol defeats what was traditionally one
of Scouting's strongest methods of teaching and learning - that of each
patrol functioning like a family. Under the TOP a troop structure now
looks very much like a pack - 6th graders are in the new Scout patrol, 7th
and maybe 8th graders are in traditional patrols, and 9th-12th graders are
in Venture Crews (maybe, for part of the time). I don't think it works
even for a large troop, but it certainly isn't possible to get that kind of
stratification in a troop of 15 boys.
The bottom line is that as long as you are delivering the program to
provide the kind of skills and training that the program demands you do
what works for your own unit. Whether you call them the Leadership Corps,
a Venture Crew (even if they don't do Venture things), a Senior Patrol, or
a Troop Staff (as we do), as long as you are successful in retaining the
older boys in the program so the younger boys can benefit from their
training and experience then you are doing better than the vast majority of
the troops in the program.
The current Venture program is just the last in a long list of failed
programs offered by national to retain this age group in the program. The
fact that they have had to change it every few years is direct evidence
that they have not yet found something that works. In my association with
BSA we have gone through (not necessarily in order) the Senior Patrol,
in-troop Exploring, external Exploring, Leadership Corps, stand alone
Varsity, and now Venture.
What they haven't yet figured out is that keeping older boys in the program
has virtually nothing to do with how you structure the program or what you
call it, but has everything to do with making the older boys feel useful
and giving them things to do that the younger boys can't. And all of that
must happen at a unit level and can not be handed down from above.
We've been around for 85+ years and continue to have the enviable problem
of having too many of our Scouts stay until they are 18 so that we are top
heavy. We have refused to institute a new Scout patrol and maintain a
Troop Staff which consists of essentially what used to be the Leadership
Corps. I am fully aware that we don't follow the organization chart in the
material, but never saw anything that says that the organization chart is
mandatory. And, frankly, I do not appreciate being lectured about how what
we are doing is wrong with the implied threat that our sponsoring
organization should have its charter lifted.
Bruce E. Cobern
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City