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  • Troop and Crew leadership conflict

    A friend of mine was recently at a big camporee. His son's troop had about 20 boys there, the oldest was an 8th grade Star Scout. Several of the troop's senior boy leaders, to include the new SPL, an Eagle Scout, and a 16 year old Life Scout, chose to attend the camporee with our local Crew instead of their troop. Granted, our local crew is pretty colorful and fun. There was a bit of grumbling that the older boys had left the younger ones in the lurch, fending for themselves, and not exhibiting leadership or loyalty.

    While SPL/PL should a Scout's priority be to the troop/patrol, and should he not be attending events as part of the Crew instead? If an SPL/PL doesn't attend campouts, can he still say he fulfilled his POR?

    What do y'all think of this type of situation, and how would you deal with it or not, with the youth and the adults?

    (I don't have a dog in this fight, but I was somewhat disappointed in the older boys, who I do know, but not surprised.)

  • #2
    I gather that both the crew and the the troop were at the same camporee. So it wasn't a matter of choosing between a camping trip and a band trip, or a rare opportunity to do something special (as examples).
    I agree with your disappointment.. A man to man, heart to heart chat between SM and SPL about what it means to have responsibilities, How he would have felt if the older guys in the crew ditched him and went off with other friends.

    If the crew adult leaders knew that one of the boys was an SPL, the crew adviser should have had the same type of chat. We're all in this scouting thing together, and we should be looking out for both growth in individual scouts and avoid unthinkingly weakening each other units.

    Same with the Eagle and Life scouts, though they don't have as explicit a responsibility to the troop, More of an implicit one. If you the boys and talk to them once in a while, it would be appropriate for you to have a short chat with them as well. It helps them to self reflect and develop character.

    Comment


    • #3
      I routinely take it upon myself, in these kinds of events, to herd SPLs back to their troop. But do keep in mind that even without venturing, SPLs and senior scouts often will find chances to stand off from the troop. Keep in mind that sometimes the SM finds opportunities for older boys to serve elsewhere so the younger ones begin to rely on themselves. That star scout, if he did well, now has something he can campaign on for the next SPL election. When my crew and troop plan joint activities, I ask them to think about their various leadership responsibilities and determine how their time will be divided. I would encourage the parent to ask the SM if he understood what was going on ahead of time, and what he inks about it.

      Comment


      • #4
        As one who has experience in both troop and crew activities, the first question that popped into my mind is: What is the crew doing at a camporee? Seriously, don't they have something more exciting to be focusing their time on? I ran a crew for over 10 years and only once attended a camporee and that was because the crew was the program for the event. The rest of the time the crew focused on their area of interest. As a matter of fact they never attended even Venturing activities supported by the council/district.

        If the only reason a "crew" exists is because they are a glorified venture patrol, then one is going to find themselves on this predicament more often than not. Typically a troop/crew combo with the same chartering organization is a recipe for disaster. The boys will constantly be drawn to choose one over the other both in time and in resources. A venture patrol on the other hand simplifies the process a lot better and keeps the troop intact.

        I have had experience with such SPL/ASPL going off leaving the other boys to fend for themselves. To me that is a breech of responsibility that was quickly remedied by a replacement of more responsible boys. There was no such thing as a elected term in my troop. If you get elected and have no real interest in fulfilling your responsibilities, you are replaced in a heartbeat. More than once the boys held an ad hoc election in the absence of senior leadership who's only intent was to get POR credit for advancement without having to do any of the work. One can't expect boys to follow a non-existent "leader". A lot of political/popularity elections get corrected in this manner. I have often wondered if many of the boys would do better on their POR's if they knew there was always a specter of a recall in the wings. It's always worked well for me. I had one PL complain to me that he missed an event and someone else stepped into the role for the event. After the event, the patrol told him they liked the other guy better and he was going to be the new PL. I only suggested that he spend the next few months making the new PL be successful. Instead of being angry, he took the advice and did so well he was elected SPL so he could help all the PL's be successful. And who says servant leadership isn't the best route to take.

        The name of the game is getting the boys to work together, a divided troop/crew is not the answer. If one sets up the structure to be competitive, it only means one side or the other is going to lose.

        Stosh


        Stosh

        Comment


        • Nike
          Nike commented
          Editing a comment
          Explanatory comment: It was an international camporee for ages 11-21. And, our crew draws from the four troops in our community. It is not associated with any one troop/CO, however the troop I posted about meets on the same kaserne as the crew with a lot of overlap in the adult leadership of both units as well.

        • jblake47
          jblake47 commented
          Editing a comment
          Makes sense, but it does not solve the problem of competition for loyalty for not only the boys but for many of the adults as well. If this is a one-time deal, I wouldn't worry about it, after all, I'm a firm believer in the highest rank of leadership in a troop is the patrol leader. If the SPL is unavailable to support them for an event, it's no big deal. Each patrol should have been able to do business as usual and if an SPL was needed to gather up some info at a meeting, the PL's get together and draw straws to see who gets stuck going and takes notes. The older boys should not be running roughshod over the younger boys, they should be mentoring and assisting them. A lot of people chastise me on promoting the highest rank of the troop is PL, but the "senior" PL is there to help develop, support, and train new PL's not run the troop in my book! If that person cannot attend an event, then the PL's should be able to get by with their responsibilities for that time. If the crew boys had a venture-like patrol in the troop, they could leave for the event and no one is going to even bat an eye.

          Stosh

      • #5
        I agree with Stosh. In fact my troop has as little interest in camporees as the crew does, so these big events where lots of adults are around to see how we operate when we're at the same place at the same time are few. But even before we had the crew, the older scouts, including SPL, were off doing their own thing (e.g., conditioning for Philmont, with our approval) during the day. We might see them at camp in the evening, then they'd break camp and be gone before daybreak! Only difference now, is folks who don't like it have green shirts to blame it on! But, I see it as a good thing. It makes the crew officers plan ahead and not only think about how they will have their own kind of fun, but how they will serve and support the younger units.

        Comment


        • #6
          Our troop policy is that the Scout's troop responsibility comes before any other scouting activity. Most of the members of our PLC are typically are members of a Troop Tempary Trk Crew, Venturing Crew and OA and we have yet to have any real problem. The understanding is the troop comes first.

          Barry

          Comment


          • jblake47
            jblake47 commented
            Editing a comment
            Sounds more like you have a venture patrol in the troop that has extra adults, paperwork and restrictions that has nothing really to do with a regular Venturing Crew. That's like saying this Venture Crew can do anything it wants but only if it doesn't interfere with some other organization, i.e. the troop. One could set up a venture patrol with far less hassle and accomplish the same thing in the troop.

          • Eagledad
            Eagledad commented
            Editing a comment
            Not sure what you are saying, extra adults? We don't have a Venturing Crew associated with the troop and we don't have any permanant venture patrols. A scout of any age in the troop can start a temporary crew anytime he wants for any kind of outside troop activity. Even our Philmont Crews are temporary crews that go away when the trek is over. We've had as many as six temporary crews organizing at the same time because treks can be planned out as far as 18 months in advance. Many of our scouts are also active with OA and that can take up a lot of their time as well. So to not disrupt the troop program, we encourage all other scout activities be done outside the troops activities. As I said, it's an expectation. We certainly don't set limits on scouts ability to manage time, I had an SPL once who was also a member of a Venturing Crew. He took full responsibility for planning a Montana Backpacking trip. He was special kid and his SPL duties didn't suffer at all, including going to summercamp before his backpacking trek.

            Barry

          • jblake47
            jblake47 commented
            Editing a comment
            My mistake. The thread was oriented towards the problems between troops and crew and the problem of getting too close together. Your option of not having any crew and/or venture patrols, it falls under the oversight of the troop. It's good your older scouts can feel comfortable with planning their own HA and fit it into their regular scouting activities. Not all troops really use this option very well.

        • #7
          What is a "venture Patrol"?
          I thought Venturing was some sort of explorer outfit separate form Boy Scouts that has a different focus or interest, such as aviation explorers....

          Seems like all together to much overlap and competition between the same interest. Like a company selling a product against itself.....

          Comment


          • jblake47
            jblake47 commented
            Editing a comment
            Venturing Crews are like the old Explorer Posts. It's a separate program of BSA like Scouting and Cubbing. On the other hand Varsity and Venture patrols are sub-groups in a troop made up of older boys that want to focus on high adventure (venture patrol) or sports (varsity). Venture patrols do not need any special set up to get going. They fall under the scope of the troop's committee. Venturing Crews are set up with it's own committee, leadership, etc. like a Troop but their age is high school through college (14-20) They are coed and have separate rules that are less restrictive than BSA troops. Ships fall somewhat under the Venturing program and operate as such.

          • ScoutNut
            ScoutNut commented
            Editing a comment
            Just to correct the comment by jbblake47 - There is no such thing as a "Varsity Patrol". Per BSA, there are three types of patrols within a Boy Scout Troop - new Scout, regular, and Venture. A Venture Patrol is defined by BSA as -

            "an optional patrol within the troop made up of Scouts age 13 and older. These troop members have the maturity and experience to take part in more challenging high-adventure outings. The Venture patrol elects a patrol leader, who works with an assistant Scoutmaster to put the patrol's plans into action."

            A Varsity Scout Team, on the other hand, is a separately chartered BSA unit. Like a Cub Scout Pack, a Boy Scout Troop, or a Venturing Crew (Sea Scout Ships are units that fall in the Venturing Crew category). The adult unit leader is the Varsity Scout Coach. The top youth leader is the Team Captain. The Scouts are formed into squads, within the Team. Varsity Scouting is for boys only, ages 14 - 18 years of age. The program involves five "fields of emphasis" which are Advancement, High Adventure/Sports, Personal Development, Service, and Special Programs/Events.

            Varsity Scout Teams are mainly chartered by LDS churches for their Young Men ages 14 - 15.

        • #8
          I don't see this as a conflict of interest. It's no different than if the boys were missing because they choose to go to a soccer tournament or other event. Just appoint someone to take over the SPL and PL duties. You can choose the scouts with the next highest ranks or Scouts elected to other leadership positions. If the boys routinely skip events that will show up in a Scoutmaster conference and may result in a board of review being pushed back. Or they could face the ultimate from of rejection and have the peer vote them out of the position; nothing sweeter than mutiny in the ranks!

          Comment


          • Khaliela
            Khaliela commented
            Editing a comment
            I did not mean to appoint them permanently; just for the outing. We had an SPL who was routinely absent. When the younger scouts started grumbling and stating that THEY needed to replace the SPL with someone else; the SPL got the message and started to take his duties seriously. You need to let the boys lead. That means giving them all the tools they need to succeed AND providing opportunities to fail. They need to work out the pecking order on their own and if you give them enough time and space, they will do just that.

          • jblake47
            jblake47 commented
            Editing a comment
            Sometimes failure entails being recalled rather than merely warned over and over again. Boy shouldn't have to suffer under poor leadership for a full 6 months until the next election. Boys are smart enough to follow good leadership, but they should be given the opportunity to shuffle around until they get it.

          • Eagledad
            Eagledad commented
            Editing a comment
            Even being recalled should be the scout's choice from the council of his mentor. Adults tend to loose patience and pull the trigger too fast if they have the power of deciding who is a good leader. Much better to practice mentoring skills.

        • #9
          Originally posted by Nike View Post
          While SPL/PL should a Scout's priority be to the troop/patrol, and should he not be attending events as part of the Crew instead? If an SPL/PL doesn't attend campouts, can he still say he fulfilled his POR?
          A Troop (or any other BSA unit) can not dictate what it's member's can, or can not, do outside of that unit. A Troop can not (or should not) tell it's members that the "Troop always comes first". That is wrong.

          However - if a youth has a leadership position in a specific group and an activity with that group conflicts with an activity in another group (where he/she holds no leadership position), it is better form for the youth to attend the activity that they are expected to give leadership to. This holds for ALL types of groups, Scouting, and non-Scouting.

          This is yet another way for a youth to learn, and grow. If a commitment has been made to serve as a leader on an activity,and a youth, for whatever reason, can not fulfill that commitment, then he is/should be held responsible to find a replacement, and/or make alternate arrangements so that the rest of the members are not left in the lurch. Failure to do that will bring consequences. The youth learn thru those consequences.

          Comment


          • ScoutNut
            ScoutNut commented
            Editing a comment
            And just to be clear - Those consequences should not be things like adults withholding rank advancement, or otherwise penalizing the youth for not putting the Troop as #1 at all times. They should be more along the lines of - The rest of the youth deciding at the next election cycle that they want a leader who actually does his job. Or the rest of the youth picking a different leader for the next activity. Or the leadership position be terminated because of non-performance (expectations of performance should be CLEARLY spelled out at the beginning of the leadership term).

            A "natural" consequence. You show that you can not be trusted to hold up your end of things, you lose the confidence, trust, and backing, of the rest of the group.

          • Venividi
            Venividi commented
            Editing a comment
            Scoutnut,

            Whether a scout advances or not is dependent on the outcome of the conversation between the SM and the scout. If scout is otherwise a good leader, POR and scout spirit requirements are signed off. If scout continues not to do his job, then in good conscience, the POR and scout spirit requirements should not be signed off until the scout has met the requirements. Your adding " #1 at all times" loads the deck - there has been nothing here that said that a scout must put the troop first at all times; rather the discussion is about fulfilling responsibilities and making choices towards that end. It is not "withholding rank advancement", it is scout meeting or not meeting the requirements.

            If a scout is advanced even when "The rest of the youth deciding at the next election cycle that they want a leader who actually does his job.", then obviously, the scout did not meet the requirements of the POR. And the rest of the scouts see that the adult leaders may talk about the importance of the scout oath and law, but by actions show that they don't really mean it; i.e., they talk the talk but don't walk the walk.
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