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  • SPL Refuse

    Just back from our winter campout.

    It was cold and a bit windy. Not terrible

    Sooooo, we had our morning program and returning to camp and eating lunch. Well afternoon program time rolls around......Half an hour goes by, an hour, scouts are milling around the campfire, no signs of SPL or any of the PL. hmmmmm, So make so inquiries and locate them. They are playing cards in his tent.

    I asked about the program, and received a " We don't feel like it". hmmmmm,

    OK then. I asked the PL's about the boys who were expecting to work on T-1 skills and a couple hoped for SMC today and BOR tomorrow after completing the program. Two of the four headed for the door, the other two PL, ASPL and SPL didn't budget.

    Ok maybe he is tired, sick, cold........The others are following his lead.

    I asked the other scouts to leave and let the SPL know I was disappointed with his decisions and leadership this weekend. I asked if he was sick, tired or cold, none of those.


    I asked him to think about his scout oath, law and his the oath he took as SPL and left. He avoided me the rest of the weekend and disappeared upon return to the CO.

    The other two PL's joined the program once out of the tent and all was well. the ASPL looked me up and I gave him the same talk as the SPL, he went back to the tent.

    I am wondering if I will see him at the meeting tomorrow night. If he fails to show, I am going to stop by his house on the way home to chat with him and mom.


    So SM's have you ever seen this???? Your solution?????

    While he is not a scouting all star, he is a solid kid and has been steadily growing into the position and I have been satisfied with his progress.


  • #2
    Male PMS. gotta love it. On the fly, I have overridden SPLs who planned a slacker's afternoon. "When you get home, go crying to your mamas that Mr. Q made you hike an additional 3 miles 'cause the first-years wanted to keep going. I'd love to hear what they say." I get that boys sometimes want to step back from responsibilities with the youngn's. Fine, there's always wood to chop. I've never hesitated to pull pegs and poles. Tents are for members only. Now my crew may have the afternoon nap, but they'll start hiking at midnight.

    Comment


    • qwazse
      qwazse commented
      Editing a comment
      When you get a chance, tell the kid no hard feelings. But mid-afternoon was not the time for cracker barrel activities. Keeping an eye on things is part of the responsibility that goes with the patch.

  • #3
    BD: I think you handled this the right way. I think your plan is spot on. If he shows up and does what he needs to all is well. If not something must be bothering him. Normally the kind of chat you had with the SPL solves any of those issues in my unit.

    Comment


    • #4
      Interesting! So what was the afternoon program? Barry

      Comment


      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        Patrol competitions. Fire building in the snow, Lashing, First aid and orienteering. 45 minutes each. SPL, ASPL and 2 ASM's running the stations.

        The ASM's shortened the station times to 30 minutes each.

    • #5
      I'm an information junky, I always want to know the why of something. Why did he do this? Why was his behavior different from other times? I'd have a talk with him him and try to get to the why, maybe it was something with scouts and you can help, maybe it wasn't scouts and maybe you can help? And maybe he was just having an off day and hasn't yet learned how to fight through that either by motivating himself or asking for help and his response is to shut down. Then you can help him with strategies for dealing with that challenge.

      Comment


      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        No idea what was in his craw.

        I mentioned his responsibility and left it at that. I wasn't going to nag him over it.

        He wasn't gonna budge.


        The bottom line for me was.......The program was going to happen despite his panties being in a wad. I just needed to find the boy leader who was going to do it.
        Last edited by Basementdweller; 01-27-2014, 07:55 AM.

    • #6
      I am posting this response in a separate box because it is a separate and tangential question. You mentioned that you had a morning program time and that afternoon program time was rolling around. Is your PLC allowed to decide they don't want that much programmed time on a campout, or is that a set expectation they need to fulfill? One of the things I found when I took over as SM was that the scouts sometimes, but not always, wanted bigger breaks from program and more free time, but they felt, rightly, that the adult leadership wanted their days fully programmed, like school. But for my scouts, their days, in contrast to mine as a kid, are always fully programmed: they go to school, they have after school and evening activities, they're assigned far more homework in terms of hours than I ever was, and even their free time is programmed, literally by programmers, because their electronic worlds are also parameters set by someone else. They have little or no time where they can just hang out and organize themselves into just having fun and goofing off. So now there are chunks of many of our campouts when the program says "running around in the woods having fun."

      Contrary to some of the fears of my fellow leaders this hasn't led to any fall off in advancement, and the boys don't just sit around saying "I'm bored." Some guys will seek out others to work on skills, most of them end up thinking of something that has them running around getting fresh air and exercise, lots of times they end up off exploring wherever we're camping doing the discovery for themselves rather than being "led" to it, and yeah sometimes some guys will hang out playing cards for a while, but ask them when was the last time they even had a chance to do that at home.

      So what are my fellow scouters expectations, can your PLC decide to program no program for an afternoon?
      Last edited by T2Eagle; 01-27-2014, 08:09 AM.

      Comment


      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        Honestly each of their own advancement is their own business.

        The PLC decides on the program and the morning program was cut short because of the weather. snow and hiking 6 miles just didn't work out.

        Every second of the camp out is not planned, we do not do a formal campfire program because the boys think it is stupid. There is plenty of time for magic, or pokemon cards.

        My issue is the entire PLC disappeared for an hour into a tent to play cards......


        so to your question could the PLC have canceled the afternoon program, minutes before hand......Short of severe weather, injury illness or other outside influence, NO.

        If the SPL was sick, then tell me so. If your boots are wet and feet are cold, ok tell me. Young man just copped an attitude and took the entire PLC with him.


        There is a time and place for a slacker campout. We scheduled a camp games campout for july.....They hang out and play volleyball, kickball, dodgeball....and capture the flag type games.....

        This campout was pitched to the boys with specific activities. The boys need to deliver on what was put on the camp flyer.

    • #7
      Well whatever reason the PLC came up with, there does appear to be some defiance. It's one thing to change the program in the middle of the agenda, it's something different to just ignore it. I personally would have a sitdown with the whole PLC and asked what was going on. Why and how does this behavior fit in the Scout Oath and Law. Personally I have no problem with program changes, we do it all the time. But usually the SPL comes to the SM to discuss the situation or even just brief the adults on what they have decided to do. The PLC is responsible for the program and when they don't take on that expecation, folks start to get concerned. Personally it sounds like a maturity issue and the SPL hasn't felt the consequences of not acting like a leader. As for the adults part, well you are responsible for the three aims. Did the PLC provide? Just because a troop is boy run doesn't mean there isn't consequences to actions, or inaction. The thing here is to find out why the PLC behaved the way they did and then how to change this behavior at their maturity in the context of the scout law. That is my take of the top of my head. I would be disapointed in the scouts and I would let them know that. Barry
      Last edited by Eagledad; 01-27-2014, 09:23 AM.

      Comment


      • #8
        When scout leaders will not talk (cop an atteeetood) to me (bad cop?), they will usually talk to another ASM or two (good cop?).

        Maybe at next meeting, say the PLC will be debriefed by ASM Mr. TooEasy and Mr.Softee, afterwards compare notes with those ASM's and go from there. Might be interesting to have the PLC take feedback from the scouts too.

        Sorry to hear about this nonsense.

        My $0.01

        Comment


        • #9
          Was the card game they were playing regular cards or 'Magic the Gathering'? 'Magic' is a very elaborate game with thousands of cards that had become very addictive. It's something like Dungeons and Dragons when we were young, that meets every Friday night at the local coin and card shop.

          Our troop has had to banned 'Magic'. It was a direct contributor to our SPL getting relieved/being asked to resign.

          Comment


          • #10
            Well he is sick....looks like the flu...He didn't make the meeting tonight.

            So the conversation was.....It happens, you should have spoke up and we would have got you home where you can rest and work through it.

            Mom was giving him the evil eye, I am guessing that was not what was said.

            Comment


            • qwazse
              qwazse commented
              Editing a comment
              It's been going around. Still if I was the boy, I wouldn't have told you. A day sick in the woods is better than a day recuperating any place else!

              Probably all the better that you didn't pull his tent pegs.

            • Basementdweller
              Basementdweller commented
              Editing a comment
              Ya, hanging with your buddies is better than home in bed.

              He still should have said I am not feeling good to day ASPL could you take these duties......

              With the way many of the boys home lives are there is no doubt they like being away on weekends.

          • #11
            Basement, kudos for how you dealt with this situation. The words that jump out at me: solid as SPL, growing. So while his decision and attitude were unsat, this may be a one-time incident for him. Especially since you gave him frank feedback, and mom isn't letting him off the hook.

            Comment


            • #12
              I get this a lot, although generally not from the SPL. The SPL usually figures he sought out the gig and doesn't have much of an argument. I must say, however, my guys are much better at it than your's.

              Comment


              • #13
                This is the reason I run a different structure than that set up by BSA when it comes to the optional SPL position.

                I view the SPL/ASPL team as the #1 supporting personnel for the PL/APL team. They are there to facilitate, mentor, support the PL's and their leadership of their individual patrols. If the SPL can't make the activity, the ASPL steps up in that support role. The autonomy of the patrol is not dependent on an SPL because he answers to the PL's who are leading their patrol. If the SPL/ASPL team is absent from an event, the supporting role falls to another scout on the troop support team, i.e. scribe, QM, or whoever has expertise in the problem facing the PL at the time. If all else fails, it falls to the SM to assist the PL.

                On the other hand, the structure of most troop led programs have the SPL coordinating and directing the activity of the troop and when absent, the PL's, who have not had responsibility except UNDER the SPL, have to take over and scramble to make things work. Not a good plan. They have not been active leaders until a critical situation and then it's time to toss them under the bus.

                I like the idea that PL's have full authority and responsibility for their patrols. If they need assistance, they can turn to the PLC and request ideas from other PL's who may have faced that particular problem previously. The SPL is the final stop-gap and should be the most experienced scout with PL experience. His support is critical in helping the PL in trouble.

                To me the SPL is the liaison between the adults and the PL's. He attends the roundtables, collects up information on behalf of the PL's who are in actuality running the show for their patrols. The SPL brings back information to the PLC and presents to the PL's who make the final decision whether or not their patrol participates in any particular activity. If a PL is faced with only one boy in his patrol that wishes to attend an event, he returns to the PLC and finds out if there is another patrol going that could pick him up on their roster for that particular event. All of this is coordinated and worked out amongst PL's, not dictated by the SPL. He is a facilitator, not a director.

                Just my opinion, but the system seems to produce a lot more actual leaders (PL's) in a troop than just developing a strong SPL. To me the SPL is the Senior most PL who's #1 job is training good PL's and "not running the troop".

                Stosh

                Comment


                • #14
                  His departure or absence would have not been missed. He effectively avoided me for more than 20 hours, the remains of the weekend.

                  The big issues was his holding court and distracting the other from the jobs at hand.

                  Comment


                  • qwazse
                    qwazse commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Hallmark male PMS. (An aside for PC types: I know this has nothing to do with cycles, and that youths' behavior is not as hormonally driven as folks make it out to be. But, in my crew some girls appreciate it when I call out the boys on this kind of thing, because ever since period one, folks have been blaming their "all about me" moments on things they can't control. It's nice to turn the tables. And, without pointing the finger at the females, teach that those "all about me" moments may have more to do with plain old selfishness than human biology.)

                    It's never about one kid and some personal problem. It's about making the world revolve around him/her vs. making sure the world will keep turning on it's on axis while he/she rests up to be ready to serve later.

                  • jblake47
                    jblake47 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    This is why for me the SPL is optional, and if used, is in a supporting role to the PL's. Instead of supporting the PL's, your SPL stepped in and messed with the authority and responsibility of the PL's. SPL's that feel they need to "lead" the troop, this dynamic is always present. For me, if the SPL went around to all the PL's and said he wasn't feeling up to snuff, but he'll be at his tent if needed, it would speak volumes of leadership on the part of the SPL. The message: "I'm still available to help if needed, let me know." To me this is the epitome of servant leadership.

                    Stosh
                    Last edited by jblake47; 01-29-2014, 09:29 AM.

                • #15
                  There are a lot of things in BDs post that would concern me about the big picture of his program if I stayed within the bounds of Barry's world, but without seeing his in person, it would all just be conjecture. I must admit the discussion of BD having to turn away recruits seems in conflict with the discussion of the SPL who doesn't want to participate in the program. Its better for me to just consider the SPLs behavior to be the real issue and not a symptom of bigger program issues.

                  I do admit that letting the scouts off the hook for discarding a campfire brings up all kinds of red flags for me. But again I've done this long enough to know walking in others shoes lights things up a lot. I'm a very different person than BD, so it's appropriate that I would run a program different to achieve the same results.

                  Barry

                  Comment


                  • Basementdweller
                    Basementdweller commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Ya know ED, it isn't my program it is theirs.

                    Not sure why a formal campfire program missing is a red flag. They would rather play ghost in the grave yard, man hunt, sniper or capture the flag. I am good with the PLC's decision.

                    The SPL was sick. just that simple. He maybe getting a bit burned out as well, he is at the end of his tenure. But he had the flu when I stopped by his house monday evening after the troop meeting.

                    Not sure what your reading into it.

                  • Basementdweller
                    Basementdweller commented
                    Editing a comment
                    for the record I have not turned away a boy interested in joining.

                  • T2Eagle
                    T2Eagle commented
                    Editing a comment
                    The only formal campfires my scouts ever do are when someone wants to organize a program to fulfill a Communications MB requirement or the yearly weekend we put on for our affiliated Cub Pack. Beyond that, like BD's guys they'd rather be out running around playing manhunt, capture the flag, spotlight tag, etc.
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