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  • How to motivate a PL to provide leadership and communication...

    OK, so need some input as to how to mentor a young PL (13 y/o). A couple issues are coming up in his tenure.

    Frist - a great number of conflicts has resulted in the PL missing a few campouts and twice has cancelled (on short notice) patrol meetings. Both times, not all of the patrol members got the message, so have scouts showing up to meeting location with no meeting and a no show PL.

    Second (ties into the 1st issue) - We are a 100% boy led troop. Patrol is a new boys patrol. Absence of PL at both campouts and cancelled patrol meetings means no work on scout skills with the "new" boys and hence many in patrol that need / want to get things signed off for Scout / Tenderfoot / 2nd Class... but alas - no PL to TEACH or sign off the scout skills. This is leading to animosity by the scouts in the patrol. I fear it may lead to some of them loosing interest in scouts, as they are not progressing at a steady rate.

    Bottom line - lots of fun when the patrol DOES have a meeting and with ad hoc patrols on campouts. But, very slow progression on advancement requirements because of above issues. Couple that with the fact that new boys are notorious for not bringing their book / seeking sign off from PL, ASPL, SPL, or ASM and it equals a patrol of boys who have been active in the troop for 8 months now and less than 50% have gotten to the rank of Tenderfoot yet!

    How (as a newly minted ASM), do I mentor and encourage this PL (and subsequent PLs) to step up to their duty and LEAD ?!?!? At the very least, be good about communicating late changes in schedules so all in patrol have the info needed? or get the APL to step in and take on the task at hand?

    Thanks in advance,

    Dean

  • #2
    Good that you have a boy led program! Just keep in mind that boy led doesn't mean boy led off the rails. Failure is a learning experience, constant failure means a failure to mentor from the adults and older boys.

    I'll start with the easier questions and proceed as I go. Here I go:

    With your boys only halfway thru Tenderfoot, are they having fun? If they are, and don't mind the slow pace of advancement, then I wouldn't be concerned, if they are frustrated with the slow pace of advancement, then I would be concerned. Are there other factors to the slow advancement besides what you mentioned?

    Does your Troop have Troop Instructors and Guides? What is their job description? Are they older boys? Are they reliable?

    The Patrol Leader is young. He needs to understand that his actions are having negative consequences on his patrol buddies. That's not fair. Have you had a one on one chat with this Patrol Leader. Sometimes that's all that is really necessary?

    Is the APL pretty good? Is his attendence good? How old is he? What rank is he?

    Sorry if I answered your questions with more questions. Trying to get a total picture of the scenario.

    Comment


    • #3
      Sentinel-

      We have Troop guides / trainers, but they are fairly uninvolved with the younger boys... something the SM and I both hope to change. The APL is a newly minted Star (same as the PL). Both made it to that rank with little over a year in the program. Both are very fine scouts and I believe want to do a good job. However, both are very young (age 13).

      There seems to be a theme throughout the troop where the older scouts (15+) want to have little to do with the newbies (under 13), unless it is required for credit on their POR.

      I have already spoken to this fact both directly and indirectly when asked to provide a Scoutmaster's minute at meetings and on campouts. I have asked scouts to consider WHY they seek a leadership position. I ask them to think about the motivation behind the leadership position. Is it to pay-it-forward to those coming up behind them, or is it to check a box on the POR requirement for the next rank? If its the second, then they are in it for the wrong reasons and do everyone (including themselves) a disservice.

      I knowe a lot of it is the chaos that is "boy led". However, I feel we need to rain it in, as I've already had one parent take me aside and avocate to move away from boy-led because of the issues it can cause. I'm not a big fan of that idea, so hopefully can improve the leadership / communication within the youth via mentorship to avoid what I would view as a 'parental takeover' of the program.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Dean

      Comment


      • #4
        Lets clear the air of "Boy Led" for a moment.

        The question is one of adult interaction with the kids. Some Scouts require more guidance from an adult or older boy mentor. Some don't. As long as the Boys are deciding the program details and carrying em out, then it's Boy led. If the boys are participating in their meetings, their PLC's and going on trips they planned and wanted to go on, it's Boy Led. If the only time the Scoutmaster addresses the Troop during the meeting is for Scoutmasters Minute, you got yourself a Boy Led Troop.

        "We have Troop guides / trainers, but they are fairly uninvolved with the younger boys... something the SM and I both hope to change. The APL is a newly minted Star (same as the PL). Both made it to that rank with little over a year in the program. Both are very fine scouts and I believe want to do a good job. However, both are very young (age 13).

        There seems to be a theme throughout the troop where the older scouts (15+) want to have little to do with the newbies (under 13), unless it is required for credit on their POR."

        This is where I think your problems truly lie. A 13 year old PL is going to make some mistakes, they are going to struggle. I see the struggles of your young Pl quite frequently. In their other activities this kind of organization and leadership has never been asked of them. It's not usual for them to fail the first couple times.

        I would explain to him about the problems you have mentioned and try to have him come up with a plan to correct those issues next time.

        What I think is more problematic is your Guides/Instructors/Older Boys are not mentoring your younger leaders. This is unacceptable in my personal opinion. This is a Troop Culture problem. Luckily there is a solution to this issue. You need just one older boy to step up to the plate and start working with the younger kids, get positive peer pressure working for you.

        Once the older boys are helping out, and the kids get advancing the parents issues will cease.

        I think you and the SM are on the right path.

        Comment


        • #5
          You might want to take a look at what is happening at the PLC meetings?
          If the SM can work on the SPL, these meetings can be made so as they become the great sales pitch for what happens next. Working on ensuring that the P/L's not only don't want to miss the next activity but will return to their Patrols and sell it to the Patrol.
          Maybe finding ways of tying this into inter-patrol competition which the PLC can work on, might also help.
          I found that having an annual plan with themes for each month meant that at our PLC meetings we could work with the P/L's ensuring that they had the skills needed to be able to pass these on to their Patrol members.
          This also meant that we had the opportunity to not always be doing the same old same old. (P/L's covering skills with younger Scouts time and time again).
          Each and every Camp-Out should be a new adventure for each and every Scout, younger Lads and older Lads.
          Tell them not to bring their books.
          Advancement will happen over time with a well balanced plan.
          The communication starts at the PLC meeting and at the annual planning meeting and flows down from there.
          Ea.

          Comment


          • #6
            It's amazing how we take the boys who work well with younger scouts for granted until you have a bunch who don't!
            Our troop has gone through a period where the older scouts were just not into mentoring. (No offense to him, but son #1 was part of that.) The younger scouts had fun, but they didn't start advancing until much later. 50% tenderfoot by 8 months sounds about our speed. Yes, we lost a few parents in this process. On the flip side, our next generation of leaders (son #2 being one of them) sincerely care for our younger scouts. I just sat with them last week, and we went over the rules and responsibilities regrading signing off on trail to first class. (One hint, we let any PL sign off on any boy's requirements. They are still pretty strict. Thus the complete abandoning of 1st class in 1st year.)

            13 is not too young for a PL, but he needs the coaching to know that when he's in a jam he should call for back-up. Some boys simply don't know how to do this. Teach him some key phrases. "Mr. APL, could you cover tomorrow's meeting." or "Mr. Dean, I'm a little weak on this skill, could you help me present it?" When he fails to do that kindly let him know he dropped the ball. If he starts doing that, recognize him for his improvement. Then, you can start talking about making more solid plans.

            Finally, to the frustrated boys, point out that elections will be in just a few months.

            Comment


            • #7
              Have you asked him what is going on???? or even speak privately with his parents???

              There maybe some very legitimate things going happening in his life outside of scouting.

              Comment


              • #8
                A training session on servant leadership for the PL would be in order. Obviously leading for the sake of others is not on the horizon for this young lad. It would also apply to the older boys who haven't the time or desire to help out the younger lads as well.

                The "R" in POR is Responsibility. If these leaders are unable to respond to the needs of their followers, then they are UN-RESPONCE-ABLE and need to be replaced by those who are.

                Stosh

                Comment


                • #9
                  There seems to be a theme throughout the troop where the older scouts (15+) want to have little to do with the newbies (under 13), unless it is required for credit on their POR.

                  Well, at the very least, the SPL and ASPL - as part of earning credit for their POR - need to intereact with the 13 yo PL to help him learn his job. Then the 13 yo works with the 11 yo's to help them learn their Scout skills. I'd sit down with the older Scouts and ask them to provide leadership for the PL. Also, he should have an APL right? That's the guy who should fill in when he's gone. If the APL is one of the new Scouts who needs to learn, well, there's another argument for ditching NSPs. What's the deal with the APL? Can he lead the patrol in the PLs absence?

                  Bottom line - lots of fun when the patrol DOES have a meeting and with ad hoc patrols on campouts. But, very slow progression on advancement...

                  If they're having fun, then it's not an emergency. 8 months and haven't reached Tenderfoot? Meh, not a biggie. Sure, encourage the PL to do better, but if the Scouts are still having fun, then there's no reason to worry about them losing interest in Scouting because they haven't gotten a rank yet. Unless the adults are making it an extra-big deal to the Scouts. If they're learning the skill and doing the things that will get them signed off, then whenever they do remember to bring their books, they can get a boatload of requirements signed off very quickly. Remember that T-2-1 requirements can be worked on simultaneously, they don't need to be Tenderfoot to get 2nd Class reqs signed off on.

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