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Elections apathy

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  • #16
    When I was a SM of a small troop, no one wore POR patches. At different times for various occasions, each boy had an opportunity to step up and "give it a try". If no one stepped up, the activity was dropped. Eventually the boys figured out I wasn't kidding and eventually over the course of the year each boy pretty much had been there done it at one time or another. It created some very interesting and useful dynamics in the troop.

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    • #17
      Update: sorry for necro'ing the thread, but I thought a report was in order.

      We divided into two patrols last night, having hit 13 scouts. I asked the boys if they wanted to have an SPL this time or just let the PLs rotate troop duties. Most of the boys voted to have one, with only a couple (the current SPL and PL) voting that it wasn't needed. (Looks like everyone will have to learn from experience.) Two guys have stepped up to run for the position - one is the oldest boy in the troop, but he has a lot of sports and work commitments, and the other is a very popular Webelos cross-over(!) I'm resisting the urge to meddle, so I'm just going to explain the responsibilities (particularly attendance and outside work), get a verbal commitment, and then let them vote.

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      • #18
        I remember when we had to sum up an election to the committee: "It looks like the boys elected the most popular, not the most competent, SPL." Hopefully your boys will make a thoughtful decision. I would suggest you touch base with each candidate and have them prepare election speeches -- a few words discussing why they would like to be SPL and how they'd like to help the troop. Make it clear, that if they aren't committed to being at meetings every week and touching base with you before/after/outside meetings (every SM does it differently) they shouldn't run.

        I think if the older boy gets it, you won't have to make too many adjustments. Your patrol leaders will still have to work very hard. And everybody will have to be accountable for when they can't make it to meetings or can't prepare as well as they should. The PL's will find themselves taking up a little slack. They might resent the work load, but when they blow smoke, you or the ASM can just remind them that they can run for the office six months from now.

        If the younger boy gets it, he should still be assigned a patrol and answer to his PL for some things (like gaining 1st class skills). In his leadership role, he will be more of a coordinator and less of a mentor. (He may be able to clock more time than the older boy, so he may be able to call each PL during the week and he may show up with a completed duty roster or program plan, but he won't be able to guide some of the older scouts.)

        Regardless of who becomes "the man." Make sure for all his hard work, you have some kind of officer's privilege (our SPL rides shotgun in the vehicle of his choosing and I usually have a stash of candy-coated almonds -- his favorite -- reserved for him).

        Thanks for keeping us posted.

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        • #19
          When a group of us left (kicked out, whatever) the Catholic Troop we were in, we started again with just 4 boys. Now we've grown to 20.
          We didn't have a lot of elected positions because we didn't need a lot of positions. We have an SPL and 1 PL for each patrol. Small troops don't need as ASPL or assistant patrol leaders. If someone wants a position they are free to run for any position they want; there are no appointed positions. Currently we have: SPL, 2 PL's, a QM, and a Librarian. In yeas past we've had a scribe, an OA rep, and a webmaster.

          The boys should be perfectly comfortable with not having a designated position in the troop. Also, the boys should be encouraged to share duties. When our SPL is going to miss a meeting he appoints someone else to run the meeting that night. If he forgets to appoint someone it automatically goes to the highest ranking scout for the night; ditto for the patrols. If the boys are sharing duties they are less likely to feel overwhelmed.

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          • #20
            In all the time I was SM, I never had an SPL. Never needed one except to go to meetings at camp, camporees, etc. The highest ranking officer in the troop were the PL's and they took care of their patrols. If there was a "troop" issue the PL's would gather and come to a consensus and that was that. Usually took a few minutes. SPL was viewed as a do-nothing position. When an SPL was needed for a camp/camporee meeting, the PL's did rock/paper/scissors and the loser had to go.

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