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  • SPL issues

    Well my SPL has been in his position for nearly 4 months now and has asked for an Smc for advancement. Let's just say his performance has been really weak. Missed plc's and failure to plan upcoming outings...... less than prepared for the meetings......heck he can't even tell you what the next out is going to be..... He is aware thoughts on his performance and has a improvement plan......He has yet to implement anything we have talked about.

    I have tried to train the lad....met with him weekly to plan next weeks meeting......still nothing. Let's just say I am not happy with the performance and much less happy regarding his request for a smc.

    I don't see any option. other than meet with him and pass him on to the bor and give the cc a heads up on my thought..... To me he has not fulfilled the por in a reasonable manner So to the group......whether it is laziness.....lack of Interest or parent driven......what have you done with this scout??????
    Last edited by Basementdweller; 06-16-2013, 02:39 PM. Reason: Corrected Paragraph spacing from phone post

  • #2
    Basement, assuming the youth understood his duties, was trained, and supported, and his performance has been that egregious, he should not be given credit for his office time. The experience should be used as a growth opportunity, and he should work with his scoutmaster on understanding his failings, and how to overcome them. Personally, I’d assign a project to help him learn the lessons he’s being coached on, and if successful, give him credit toward advancement.


    • #3
      since he hasnt done the work he should not get credit for it. if despite your best teaching he still isnt up to the task of being the spl which can be an essential role depending on the experience and drive of the pl's you troop is going to need a new spl or the experience of all of the scouts will continue to suffer.


      • #4
        Is extending his term an option? With a very specific list of markers he has to hit?


        • #5
          Every new SM has the same experience. I onced asked the forum the same question and a wise SM asked me to ask the SLP how he felt he was doing. I did and was amazed at learned. So i ask you, has he grown at all in the position? Ask him what he thinks of his performance. I've had scouts who in this discussion choose to not advance until they felt they improved. Most all of us Scoutmasters start out by judging how scouts perform in "our" minds. But Our job isn't to shape boys into our image of a scout, it's to guide them into wanting to make good decisions. You can't make them do it, you need to figure out how to get them to voluntarily change. It means nothing if only do it for you. Barry


          • #6
            Let me see.....

            Simple meeting.....He some times starts on time, He can lead the pledge, oath, law and outdoor code and thats it. He cannot make announcements for upcoming events, he cannot conduct or guide the PL's to do the sign ups. His contribution to the troop meeting is british bull dog.

            I asked how he thought he was doing my weekly meetings with the SPL.....He thinks he is doing fine....We review the meeting and I ask....How did your portion of the meeting go?? he says great.....I follow up with what did you teach tonight???? silence.

            Been trying to get him to plan our august outing, the date is set....that is it..... Might just have to miss August I guess.....


            • #7
              BD, I'll take the Devil's Advocate in this. How many patrols does the troop have? Is the SPL in charge of the PL's or the "whole troop"? I would think that if one has 3 patrols all with functional PL's doing a great job, the SPL is pretty much useless and will spend a lot of time "doing nothing". Once a month, the SPL get's the PL's together and says, "How's it going guys?" and they all say, things couldn't be better, then the SPL is pretty much going to sit back and wait for some problem that may arise for at least a month until the next PLC meeting where he's ask the question, "How's it going guys?". However, if the SPL is in charge of the "whole troop", then he'll need to be interfering in the work of all the PL's, over ruling their decisions for their patrol and pretty much trying to be SUPER Patrol Leader of a patrol equivalent of the whole troop. Good luck, this boy will never be a success and will struggle and fight for authority throughout his tenure. If things go awry, he'll be blamed and he won't have the where-with-all to handle situations that most adults struggle with. This is why the really good leaders avoid the SPL position. They know a losing proposition and will put in some young scout based on some false sense of ego, just so he'll stay out of the way and take the inevitable heat from things going wrong.

              In my troop I had fairly good PL's and whenever a SPL was needed for an activity, they drew straws as to who got/had to be SPL. the "loser" was always the one who had to be SPL. I asked one of my better PL's why this was that way and he basically summed it up as the SPL stuff was pretty much a waste of time and would prefer to be with his friends leading the patrol.

              As you can see I'm a big fan of true patrol-method with strong PL's and an SPL that supports PL's being better rather than trying to run the "whole troop". Heck, some adult SM's can't even do that themselves, how would they ever expect some poor scout to pull it off?

              Is my bias against SPL's showing?



              • Basementdweller
                Basementdweller commented
                Editing a comment
                And weren't you removed as an adult leader from that troop??????

              • jblake47
                jblake47 commented
                Editing a comment
                Yep, because I expected too much leadership from the boys. Everyone had positions and when a few boys who didn't like to have to do anything complained to their parents, I was asked to leave and the troop reverted back to adult led. The only people upset with the process were the boys who were really liking the boy led thingy, picking their own activities, camps and being involved. A number of boys walked away and joined another troop in town that was also intensely adult-led, but had far more activities planned by the adults. They said as long as the adults were going to run the show, they might as well join a troop noted for it's Eagle-mill, high intensity advancement and little or no work on the part of the boys. The troop I had was too small to pull off the nice events. The other troop had been to BWCA, Philmont, Jamboree and Sea Base all within the previous 5 years. That was the troop I was in competition with and winning. I went from 5 boys to 29 in 3 years. Now they are about 12, four of them the new SM's sons, the other eight, their friends. A small adult-led program cannot compete effectively against a large adult-led program. One has to offer a true alternative to attract boys.
                Last edited by jblake47; 06-17-2013, 09:41 AM.

            • #8
              Currently 3 patrols....My troop is very young and there lies part of the problem.


              • jblake47
                jblake47 commented
                Editing a comment
                Being young is not the problem. One effective older boy teaching leadership will raise the bar on the leadership corps very quickly. If the only emphasis being promoted is personal advancement and not group leadership, the young problem will persist for quite some time. I have personally witnessed 11-12 year-olds doing what in other troops were being done by adults. Teach your boys real leadership and let them go. Age determined problems are generally an adult perspective. The boys all know who's really running the show, and more often than not, it ain't them.

            • #9
              "Is my bias against SPL's showing?" Yep, and so is your EGO. Really good leaders have no bias or pride. Humiliy gives them unlimted vision to build men of character in every situation, every program style with every personality. Barry


              • jblake47
                jblake47 commented
                Editing a comment
                Ego/pride vs. dedication/sticking with the program outlined by BSA? Yep, kinda hard to tell at times, especially when one looks at it from only one point of view. By the way, good leaders do have bias and pride in the program they lead and inspire others with. And as far as EGO is concerned, show me a effective historical leader someplace that wasn't affected by a huge ego. It goes hand-in-hand.


            • #10
              BD has he performed badly enough for you to remove him from his POR? If so, replace him and mark time served.
              Pages 22-24 of the 2011 GTA cover this. It says, "only in rare cases - if ever- should troop leaders inform a Scout that time, once served, will not count."

              If it is for Star (assuming since you mentioned 4 months), remove him, give him the POR credit and let him know the standard he will be held to for Life. Hold him to his POR standard early on...


              • #11
                It is more my growing frustration with the lad.......The return on my time spent with him, is next to zero...I just don't see any growth or interest in the position.

                His failure to consistently provide leadership in the troop.....Unless I call him to make sure he has a program scheduled he won't do it.


                • King Ding Dong
                  King Ding Dong commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Sure once they are 18 they make all their own choices but there are no scouts 18. Up that point some decisions have to made for them, albeit as little as possible.

                  No one can control their success in life but we can sure as hell make sure the deck is stacked against them by following The Lord of the Flies style of parenting and not setting expectations and consequences. The problem with many Natural consequences is they child will not experience them until latter in life.

                  BTW SEVEN CHILDREN!!! Better man than me. There are days I feel like checking myself into the psych ward with just two.

                • jblake47
                  jblake47 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I'm in no way promoting Lord of the Flies approach to the program. There requires a ton of mentoring, suggesting, assisting, and training in making sure the boys have a chance to be successful, but be successful on their own terms, not mine, not the SM's, not the SPL, and not the parents.

                  While I spend very little, if any, time directing youth, I do spend 99.9% of my time offering suggestions for them, kinda guiding them along, and also setting a good example. I am a debt-free freak in my personal life. My youngest son just graduated Carnegie-Mellon College and has no student loans. He's starting this summer at his first job, $80,000+/yr. and no debt. Some people listen to the wisdom of their elders, others don't. One doesn't have much control over the choices they make, but one can lay down a good foundation for them and then hope for the best.

                • RememberSchiff
                  RememberSchiff commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Gradauted CMU, new job, no debt - OUTSTANDING. Congrats.

              • #12
                So, you have a scout that you're getting frustrated with at trying to get him to do his best? Welcome to being a SM

                Jblake could be right, no point in kicking a dead horse. However, it could also be other things. How old is this boy? Personally, I think it is a rare scout that can lead at the age of 12. 13? Maybe, 14. Also, has this boy seen it done right? Simple example is how to clean dishes. We told the scouts hot soapy water, scrape the food out, scrub, etc, but it still took 6 months before they got those ideas. Now it's no longer an issue. Scouts see how it's done and when it's their turn to lead they know what we mean my cleaning. Words don't have nearly the impact as seeing it done.

                It gets down to figuring out whether the boy is trying and wants to do it right, but for whatever reason is failing, vs a boy that just can't be bothered. Many boys, if they don't know how to do something, will end up looking like they don't care when they care a lot. So I certainly can't give you any advice on how to deal with this boy.


                • sailingpj
                  sailingpj commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Hear it, See it, Do it, Teach it.

              • #13
                I guess that is the issue....

                Is he completely lost and comes a crossed uninterested.....Or doesn't he care?????? that is the million dollar question.

                Well tonight I sat down with the spl duties out of the book and asked him if he honestly did the duties one at a time......HIs answer was no to most.......I suggested we wait on the smc and bor till those answers were yes's.


                • #14

                  The dead horse here is "Leadership Development," which began to replace Hillcourt's Real Patrol Method in 1965 with the imposition of position of responsibility requirements.
                  Leadership Development kills twice: First by forcing into PORs, boys who have no interest in being a "leader," and second by encouraging your natural leaders to make room for others once their six months are up.
                  The solution is obvious.
                  1. Purchase 26 Troop Librarian patches.
                  2. Ask your SPL to appoint one Troop Librarian for every letter of the alphabet. Especially valuable are letters for which you have no book titles. They teach the very highest form of leadership: Innovation (the ability to package nothing as something).
                  3. Announce that everyone in the Troop now has a "POR" for advancement.
                  4. As it becomes obvious that certain jobs need to be done, your natural leaders will step up.
                  Baden-Powell called that "Practical Christianity."

                  Teaching boys to extract compensation for stepping up is like paying them to love Jesus.
                  Yours at 300 feet,


                  • jblake47
                    jblake47 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I would think that "troop method" is dependent on one's definition of what that means.
                    1) the SPL runs the troop and the PL's fall into line on what the "higher ups" decide. That means all the patrols go to the same summer camp if that's what the SPL and the PLC decide.
                    2) each patrol is autonomous from the rest and it is run by the PL who is SUPPORTED in those efforts by the SPL. This means that the NSP's all go to summer camp, but the older boy patrols go on HA and whatever activity they feel is more important than "yet another wasted year at the council's summer camp."

                    If one has 3 patrols, two NSP's and an older boy patrol, then the NSP's always outvote the older boys who will eventually quit out of boredom. If mixed patrols, only the older boys who have "been there, done that" will quit leaving patrol remnants to pick up the pieces and/or merge.

                    Assume for a moment patrol #1 (NSP) wants to go to camp for the first time; patrol #2 (2nd/3rd year scouts) want to try out a new camp across the state, and patrol #3 wants to do high adventure (BWCA, Philmont, or whatever). Is the SPL prepared to assist each patrol accomplish their goals or out of a sense of troop expediency boil it down to all three patrols getting one choice? To me that is what the troop-method is all about. Or does the SPL go to the SM and ASM's and say, we're going to need 6 adults for this summer's program because each patrol wants to do something different. That's what the patrol-method means to me.

                    From what I hear from the boys, maybe the "troop-method" is not taught, but neither is the "patrol-method."
                    Last edited by jblake47; 06-19-2013, 10:34 AM.

                  • Kudu
                    Kudu commented
                    Editing a comment
                    In Hillcourt's "Real" Patrol Method, the PATROL Leaders elect the SPL.

                    In Leadership Development's Troop Method, the TROOP elects the SPL.

                    In the Real Patrol Method, the PATROL Leaders always outnumber the SPL in the PATROL Leader's Council.

                    In the Troop Method the TROOP SPL's patronage positions, such as the TROOP ASPLs and the TROOP Guides, can vote against the Patrol Leaders.

                    Maybe the word "Troop" has been Program Neutered out of NYLT, like the Patrol Leaders were neutered out of the "Patrol Method" presentation of Scoutmaster-specific training?

                  • Twocubdad
                    Twocubdad commented
                    Editing a comment
                    And here I thought part of the beauty of the program is its flexibility to adapt to the needs, interests and abilities of the local boys, families and leaders.

                    Love how you guys find pejorative ways of describing the OTHER guy's program. You should apply for writing jobs at Fox News or MSNBC (it doesn't matter which).

                • #15
                  I think you did the right thing there Basement. What was his reaction to your suggestion? Did you offer to help come up with a plan to improve?


                  • Basementdweller
                    Basementdweller commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Accepting.....I believe he understands that he has not done the job.

                    Only time will tell

                  • MattR
                    MattR commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Actually, I think you've made great progress. Now you have his attention and he's likely to listen to you, so speak carefully. A little bit of success could go a long way now.