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PLC for a one-patrol troop?

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  • #16
    I agree that in this situation, one patrol is the way to go until your next group crosses over. If that point you find that you will have at least 12 boys who are going to stick around, then you can split into two patrols. I also think that having an SPL is something you can transition into. With one patrol, there is nothing for an SPL to do. It would either be a meaningless position, or the SPL would end up being the real PL, and the holder of the PL title would really be an APL. No point to that. Even with two patrols, you might not need a separate SPL; one of the PL's could be the acting SPL, as someone else suggested. When you have a third patrol, then it's definitely time for an SPL and maybe an ASPL.

    If you have one patrol, I see nothing wrong with them all doing the planning together. It will be good training for what hopefully will happen in 3 years or so: Your current 11-year-old Scouts, at least those who stick around, will be the 14-year-old SPL, ASPL, PL's etc. -- in other words, the PLC -- of your 25-35 Scout troop.

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    • #17

      Often when office leadership enthusiasts use the term "Patrol Method" they mean "Troop Method:" What the Patrols do together.

      They see the Troop as the primary unit in Scouting. They tell you that you need a PLC in a one-Patrol Troop because that is how a Troop works. And of course you need an SPL in a one-Patrol Troop because that is how a Troop is structured.

      William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt's definition of a "Real" Patrol was simple: A Patrol that makes its hike plans in a Patrol Meeting separate from the rest of the Troop; then acts on those plans and gets out on a Patrol Hike separate from the rest of the Troop at least once a month. For details see his "Intensive Training in the Green Bar Patrol:"

      http://inquiry.net/patrol/green_bar/index.htm

      If you read John Thurman's fly-on-the-wall transcript of "The Court of Honor in Session" you see how very different B-P's Patrol System is from the Troop Method. Note that the Court of Honor (PLC) does not even hear about the destination of a Patrol's Hike until the next PLC meeting:

      http://inquiry.net/patrol/court_honor/coh_session.htm

      If, contrary to the Troop Method, you start with the Patrol as the primary unit of Scouting, and live up to Baden-Powell's and Green Bar Bills' minimum standard of at least one Patrol Hike per month away from the other Patrols, the SPL, and the adult leaders, then you should want your Troop's best leaders as your Patrol Leaders, because they are the Scouts you must trust with the safety of your boys without adult supervision.

      If your SPL is your Troop's best leader, why leave him back at camp with the adults?

      Yours at 300 feet,

      Kudu

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      • #18
        >>If, contrary to the Troop Method, you start with the Patrol as the primary unit of Scouting, and live up to Baden-Powell's and Green Bar Bills' minimum standard of at least one Patrol Hike per month away from the other Patrols, the SPL, and the adult leaders, then you should want your Troop's best leaders as your Patrol Leaders, because they are the Scouts you must trust with the safety of your boys without adult supervision.
        If your SPL is your Troop's best leader, why leave him back at camp with the adults?

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        • #19
          Since we are talking about a new troop I say it depends on theneeds of the youth filling that troop. In the case of my troop we started with older boys that were not getting what they needed in other troops but nearly all needed POR for advancement so SPL was used and still is. With a SPL you then can have an ASPL which satisfies a rank requirement.

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          • #20

            Eagledad,

            Maybe you could be more specific and point out how "the adult or adults are actively making decisions for the boys on their leadership" in John Thurman's fly-on-the-wall transcript of "The Court of Honor in Session":

            http://inquiry.net/patrol/court_honor/coh_session.htm

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            • #21

              BrotherhoodWWW writes:

              "With a SPL you then can have an ASPL which satisfies a rank requirement."

              And with a SPL and nine ASPLs in a ten-Scout Troop, you could satisfy ten POR rank requirements and not cut any good leaders out of the one Patrol!

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              • #22
                Brotherhood, so does nearly every other POR...quartermaster, historian, instructor, JASM, etc, etc.

                The "need" for ASPL is (IMO) better based off the size of the troop, and the relative size/scope of the SPL's "staff". So, you could have an ASPL over "training" (TG, Instructors, etc) and one over "logistics" (QM, Historian, Librarian, etc). There's no absolute that you have only one ASPL, or have one at all. What I wouldn't do (again, IMO) is assign ASPLs over patrols.

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                • #23
                  Some great stuff in this discussion. But while some of you were waxing eloquent about our scouting predecessors, you were ignoring the real reason we do all of this. BOY LEADERSHIP TRAINING!

                  Of course a small troop needs a SPL. Ever been to a summer camp or Camporee that did not have a meeting of the SM's and SPL's? Somebody needs to wear the patch and take responsibility for the troop. And that, my friends, will do more to teach the boy leadership than anything any of us will be able to accomplish. The PLC is just a small part of the SPL job, and is an important interface for the adult leadership. If your troop is all young scouts, this will take a lot of coaching.

                  Want to take it a step further and watch this really flourish? Have your PL's elected by the boys and give the SPL patch to the kid who needs it most - the budding Eagle candidate - who needs the troop at his behest to do an Eagle Project and teach him how to truly lead others over whom he has no authority other than his badge of rank. If you have no current Life Scouts, pick the next likely one.

                  We give our Eagles a TG patch and expect adult judgement from them. Seldom disappointed. And you should see the knot competition when one of those Eagle TG's takes a patrol of Tenderfoot Scouts and challenges the Star Scouts!

                  The number of patrols in a small troop is unimportant. Roll with the flow - some kids need smaller groups, others get along in a bunch! Just make sure the patrols are boy led with a seasoned scouter close by to prevent "Lord of the Flies" from breaking out.

                  Am there - doing that for 10 years. It Works!

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                  • #24
                    SM, keep in mind the difference between a leadership position and a management position.

                    The reason some scouters are waxing eloquent here is the extent to which the troop uses the "true" (i.e., the GBB) patrol method will actually define which of those the SPL is. In a "GBB troop", leadership is at the PL level. The SPL is simply the "firewall" between the adults and the patrol leaders. He doesn't actually "lead" anything. He's a manager...he manages the adult involvement. The ASPL(s) don't "lead" anything, either. They are the "firewalls" between adults and the instructors, TG, QM, historian, etc.

                    Other troops have modified the "GBB patrol method", and while the troops are organized into patrols, the SPL is used a leader, up front just like a platoon leader leads squads in the military. The upside to this method is as you've stated...it increases leadership training opportunities. The downside is that it gives every adult in the troop a direct line to influence/meddle/etc in the affairs of patrols. How many times has Mr Smith said "hey SPL, what's the Peanut Patrol doing?" "looks like they're getting a class on preventing hot spots" "well, shouldn't they be doing XYZ?" "Okay, I'll go tell them". Since the SPL is the "senior leader", when he goes over there, the lashing class comes to an end and the patrol gets redirected onto whatever the Mr Smith wants them to do, rather than the PL saying "I'm teaching my patrol how to prevent hot spots before we take our patrol hike, how about you go back and enjoy your coffee with Mr Smith...we'll be back in 8 hours"

                    Remember, the positions are called positions of responsibility, not leadership positions. A scout can go all the way to Eagle and never have a "leadership" position. The BSA creates leaders by teaching responsibility and ethical/moral behavior...not by teaching "leadership" per se.

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                    • #25
                      The BSA creates leaders by teaching responsibility and ethical/moral behavior...not by teaching "leadership" per se.

                      jrush, I think you are reading too much (or maybe too little) into one word. I think the BSA does intend the SPL to be a "leadership" position, otherwise the word "leader" probably wouldn't be in the title. Also, the BSA teaches "leadership per se" all the time, e.g. Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops (it replaced Troop Leadership Training and admittedly I had to look up the name, see http://www.scouting.org/Training/Youth.aspx ), National Youth Leadership Training and National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience. Some people may not be happy with the BSA's emphasis on "leadership training" (not mentioning any names here), but it's pretty clear that the emphasis is there.

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                      • #26

                        smalltroopSM writes:

                        "Just make sure the patrols are boy led with a seasoned scouter close by to prevent "Lord of the Flies" from breaking out."

                        That, in a nutshell, is the downside of "leadership training."

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                        • #27
                          NJ, the point I was making was a) "leadership positions" and "leadership training" are offered, but not mandatory (or even encouraged in some troops), and b) the SPL isn't a leadership position in a troop which executes the "GBB Patrol Method", because he isn't actually "leading" anything...his job is to essentially seperate the adults and patrols from each other.

                          Think about it like this...can a scout go from cubs to Eagle, never have a "leadership" position in the troop, never do any formalized "leadership" training, and yet still become one of those "leaders of tomorrow"?

                          Next, in the classic "GBB patrol Method" troop, the patrols plan what they want to do, tell the SPL what they're going to do, and then go do it with no supervision from the SPL. What exactly is the SPL "leading"?



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