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Scoutmaster- Senior Patrol Leader Relationship

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  • Scoutmaster- Senior Patrol Leader Relationship

    What do you guys think about it? What kind of working relationship does your Scoutmasters and SPL have in your troop?

    How active a role does your Scoutmaster have in dealing with the SPL? Does he wait for the SPL to come to him for help, or does he jump in and give advice?

    What kind of style is appropriate for working with the Senior Leaders? Does the Scoutmaster treat the SPL like his worker? Or is more of a coaching, mentoring deal?

    What role does ASM's have to play with working with the (A)SPL's?

    What methods do we have if we disagree with how the (A)SPL's are being coached?

    Thanks in advance,

  • #2
    The Scoutmaster should be a coach and guide for the SPL, not a puppet master. Of course there should be pre meeting coordination and conversation.

    I think it starts before the PLC, with coaching and mentoring. The PLC determines the program with the input of the SM. The SPL and his patrol leaders execute the program, with the SM. and ASM's helping where needed.

    The style needed is different for each boy leader and where they are in their development as a leader. Some require more hands on, directive guiding, others may only need a "have you considered this?" type of guidance.

    What issues do you have with the method of coaching? I would hope you could have an open and honest conversation about it. It could be as simple as the SM or ASM being asked to be less hands on.

    In my mind, it should be the goal of a SM to never get at the podium at a meeting, except for the Scoutmaster's minute.


    • #3
      The SAs (assistant scoutmasters) should perform the duties assigned to them by the Scoutmaster - not act as independent "vice-scoutmasters." The scoutmaster senior patrol leader relationship should be tuned by the scoutmaster to the appropriate level of interaction, oversight, etc. based on the skill level of the SPL.

      The SPL should be feel free to impart two-way communication - not just be on the receiving end but keep in mind that the scoutmaster - SPL relationship is much like a coach - player and/or teacher - student relationship. They are not peers.


      • #4
        I learned early on that the best interaction a scoutmaster with scouts and especially the SPL is thru questions. What's the plan? Where's the duty roster and schedule? When is the next event? Why did you assign ### to ###? How did that work for you? Is there anything you need? And my favorite question of all time ... Where's the coffee and cribbage board?


        • #5
          Our scoutmaster dislikes our current SPL and has decided to not attend meetings, PLC or even respond to messages from the SPL. The last face-to-face interaction between the 2 of them (a month ago) was the scoutmaster telling the SPL he would not last long in that position.

          I'd actually like suggestions to handle the situation (couldn't figure out how to start a thread, sorry). Truth to be told, the scouts don't seem to miss the scoutmaster, but it is annoying the assistant scoutmasters who are having to act as go-betweens.


          • Sentinel947
            Sentinel947 commented
            Editing a comment
            That Scoutmaster needs to grow up. That is completely unacceptable behavior.


        • #6
          wow thats unreal someone needs to make him stepdown.the comitty or parents dont have any say on this.


          • pdl6796
            pdl6796 commented
            Editing a comment
            I know the committee and parents don't have any say on removing him, but if I have their support I'll have a stronger case for the Charter Rep. to remove him.

            The problems between the two of them has been ongoing for 7 years now. It's cultural differences and this particular boy's willingness to jump in and argue against perceived injustices. Although this was his first time as either SPL or ASPL, there was no training. The SPL has expressed a willingness to attend a meeting to go over the working relationship between the scoutmaster and the senior patrol leader, but he's not even gotten a response.

          • Krampus
            Krampus commented
            Editing a comment
            PDL...does your Troop Committee not have operating rules outlining that the Scoutmaster is appointed by, and responsible to the TC?

            I always say I serve at the pleasure of our TC, the Chair and the CO. I know that it only takes a vote at the TC or a request from the CO that I "step down". I have great relationships with them all, but they can remove me whenever they like. You guys don't have such a process?

        • #7
          Yah, it just depends, eh?

          Depends on da needs of the lad, mostly. Some lads need a lot of independence, and tend to shut down or become rebellious if there's too much adult presence. Other lads need some supportive affirmation at the start and along the way.

          If yeh have a younger troop, then a young SPL may need some more support, coaching, and direction. A wise Scoutmaster will take some of the load so as to allow the boy to be successful and build experience, and then shift the load back to the SPL as he is ready for it.

          There's no one right answer. It just depends on the needs and experience of the boy and of all the boys.

          A good way to think about it is safety, eh? A strong and experienced older scout SPL can be trusted to handle planning and running safety without adults doin' anything more than watchin' from a distance. The boy may be a better lifeguard and stronger swimmer than any of the adults, in fact. A younger SPL without as much experience, da SM is goin' to support and backstop more. If the lad is gettin' overwhelmed just handlin' reservations and basic communication for the outing, the SM is goin' to handle the safety side on his own with the other adults. Same with other things, like communication or budgeting. If a lad is buildin' a buildin', we provide the scaffolding so that he can work at da proper level. As more of his building gets built, we take down the scaffolding because he no longer needs it. We should never be afraid to offer scaffolding, but we should always be lookin' to take it down.



          • #8
            pdl - this is really messed up. I've known of teachers who had pure dislikes for a particular boy. Never knew of an SM. To the scout's credit, he's stuck around.

            I've heard of cultural differences slowing things down, but never chasing someone out of the room. Sounds like you'll never get to the bottom of that well. The idiocy has to stop. Was the boy elected? If so, this guy is giving all of the boys a slap-in-the-face for their decision.

            Get the boy some training. Get the SM to talk to someone you both trust on how to get over this.