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Preparing for my first one of "those" SM Conferences

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  • #16
    Yeah I think if this is a newly formed patrol, it's a bit much to jump to "you aren't showing scout spirit ad you can't advance." I see the mention that the scout "wanted to change the Patrol Name, something the PL had already said wasn't going to happen and to drop it."

    Now that looks like it went on from there with at least 2 scouts still wanting to change the name of the patrol, maybe the PL or APL and their leadership skills is the issue? Just cause your leader says "drop it we aren't goin to change the patrol name" doesn't mean the subject is dropped, eh? 12-13 year olds can be like a dog with a bone, they want to know why, and if we can't change it now, when can we change it, can we just sort of change it so we aren't just the panthers we are the black panthers?

    And that is a valid discussion that needs to take place with the whole patrol, not just the PL making the decision. So before jumping to this kid didn't listen to his PL or APL, maybe it's time to question the PL and APL about their leadership plan, how was the choosing of the patrol name done? was it done fairly and equitably or by PL dictate? How can they help the whole patrol buy into the patrol leadership team, and get everyone on the same team?

    so were the scouts put into the patrols by adults, by the spl, or did each scout get to choose their patrol? While it is a great test of a PL and APL to have to get everyone working together, if there are scouts placed in their patrol who don't want to be in that patrol, it puts the PL and the APL at a disadvantage. what can you do to fix that issue and help the PL and SPL be better leaders?

    Then go work on how the other scouts can be a better follower. how to address politely their issues with the patrol leader, and some hints on how to follow the patrol leader and apl directions and what to do when they are frustrated with a situation.

    also a question, did the boys elect their pl and apl, were they chosen by the spl, or do you think the pl and apl were the boys who announced, "I'm pl, I'm apl," and when anyone else said anything they said "I called it first."


    • #17
      "And anyone seen Kudu lately?"

      I've switched from analytical writing for adults ("telling"), to allegorical Patrol Adventure stories for boys ("showing"). I'm happy to comment when invited, but I don't check in here every week.

      As for short term "practical" advice: rdclements, fred8033, and Twocubdad nailed it.

      But the big picture here is that both Baden-Powell's "Patrol System" and Green Bar Bill's "Real" Patrol Method are designed to work with your Troop's most mature Scouts as the Patrol Leaders.

      Would you need to engage "adult-association" Scout Spirit requirements, a SM Conference, and BOR to cure "disrespect" if this typical 13 year-old was in a Patrol led by a seasoned 16 year-old Patrol Leader who has staffed summer camp waterfronts for a couple of years?

      Yours at 300 feet,

      (This message has been edited by Kudu)


      • #18
        A few more answers to questions:

        The PL was elected, APL appointed by PL.

        The Patrol Name was a group decision. My opinion was the boys involved saw the Webelos den of our C.O.'s new pack give themselves a Den "Patrol" Name and just got a wild hair. There never really was any other discussion to change the name before then.

        Kudu, I agree a 16 y.o. PL would be great, but you work with what you've got.

        After reading, I think I may be coming around to not necessarily holding back advancement provided the SMC is productive, and I have no reason to believe it is not. Fred, you did nail it when you said I shouldn't ambush a kid with harsh discipline during an SMC, and to not wait. The fact that we haven't met since then is a poor excuse on my part. I'm still learning here, and some of the advice I have received here has been invaluable.

        And oh yeah, Seattle? The adults are talking here. Kindly excuse yourself.


        • #19
          If your troop involves boys in O/A, the other reality to point out is that in O/A elections, this stuff can be a deciding factor. At least in our troop, the obnoxious do not garner votes.

          Just one more thing to politely advise the boy.


          • #20
            Side note ... I don't think that you need an older scout to be an effective PL. Older PLs have an advantage because they are older, but I also think it's a hinderance to them and their patrol mates because they don't experience leading their piers. IMHO, the PL's that learn the most and the patrols that grow the most are the same-age patrols. But that's me. I know others have other opinions.


            • #21

              "Kudu, I agree a 16 y.o. PL would be great, but you work with what you've got."

              So your oldest Scouts are 13? At one time you had a 16 year-old trainer.

              Still, the goal of Traditional Scouting is to have the Troop's most mature Scouts serve as Patrol Leaders for as long as they are the best natural leaders. In this version of the Patrol Method, the Patrol Leader's primary role is to hike and camp his Patrol away from the other Patrols. That you can do with thirteen-year-olds, scaling the actual physical distance to each Patrol's maturity.

              One trick you can start now is: Never end a Scoutmaster Conference (including this one) without finding an on-going role for the Scout that matches his unique talents. Simply stand up and march him over to your PLC (or SPL if you have one) and work something out before you sign off the SMC.

              That way a Patrol elects a new Patrol Leader only when it needs to, rather than submitting to regular Troop-wide popularity contests based on Leadership Development's quid pro quo POR advancement requirements.

              Yours at 300 feet,



              • #22
                I apologize. I did not mean to start a debate on how to structure patrols. We've been there and done that.

                With that said ...

                Kudu wrote: "Still, the goal of Traditional Scouting is to have the Troop's most mature Scouts serve as Patrol Leaders for as long as they are the best natural leaders."

                I always fear when people talk of "tradition". Usually, "tradition" reflects unit or individual traditions that are not defendable by what BSA currently publishes and often not even what BSA published in the past. "Tradition" often means what some units do but not all units. "Tradition" almost never means official or documented. Most importantly, "tradition" often means what was done in the past and is no longer done.

                I recognize there are multiple ways to structure patrols. BUT, it's misleading to say "Traditional Scouting" says to use senior scouts as patrol leaders.

                BSA identifies new scout and regular patrols. BSA identifies troop guides as "senior scouts" who mentor the new scout patrol and the new scout patrol leader.

                BSA says "An older, experienced Scout often is assigned as a troop guide to help the new-Scout patrol through the challenges of troop membership. An assistant Scoutmaster should also assist the new-Scout patrol to ensure that each Scout has every opportunity to succeed right from the start."

                The thing that I try to remember is that leadership roles exist to practice leadership.

                BSA says in "Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops", page 21: "Just as adult leaders must step back and enable Scout leaders to lead the troop, senior Scout leaders must work with, train, and encourage less-senior Scout leaders in the troop to fulfill their roles and practice their own leadership skills."
                (Google "BSA PDF Introduction to leadership skills for troops")


                I've never found anything from BSA that says to use senior scouts as patrol leaders.

                Seriously, I'd really like to find something published by BSA now ... (or in the past) ... that says to use senior scouts as patrol leaders for less experienced scouts.(This message has been edited by fred8033)


                • #23

                  In a nutshell, "Traditional Scouting" is Baden-Powell's Patrol System: 300 feet between Patrols, and (in common with Green Bar Bill's definition of a "Real" Patrol) unsupervised Patrol Hikes at least once a month.

                  If lrsap agrees that the long-term solution to his current problem is Patrol Leaders with the maturity to move Patrols through the backwoods, then he knows he can scan through my last 1,968 posts for "documentation," or visit my Traditional Scouting Website.

                  Yours at 300 feet,



                  • #24
                    Kudu... Thanks. Your site and links are very interesting. I will definitely use them as a reference to think and learn.

                    "Traditional Scouting" is misleading. It is not "BSA" scouting and it is seems defined by the whim of those talking about it. But then again, I forget that everyone on this site does not necessarily promote BSA scouting. "Experts" on this site are often promoting another scouting program or vision. When I hear "Traditional Scouting", I think Cubs, Boy Scouts and Venturing without Learning For LIfe. Others hear something different.

                    The problem I have is that "Traditional Scouting" advice often reflects mixed materials and conflicting sources.

                    A good example is how to select a patrol leader. I can't find BP's answer. Green Bar Bill (who I never met and have only read tangentially), encouraged the ideal that patrols elect their patrol leader ... (but then you don't necessarily have the best leader or most skilled.) ... BUT Green Bar Bill allowed the SM to appoint if it's a really new patrol. But that conflicts with BSA promoting Troop Guides to mentor new scouts and new patrols. .. so in the end ... As I only have a fully document BSA program, I promote use of troop guides and let the scouts elect their patrol leader immediately. As I don't have a fully documented Green Bar Bill scouting program, I only use his writings for reflection.

                    It might be different if I could find a "current" set of "Traditional Scouting" program materials to use. But they don't exist. Correct me if I'm wrong ... please ... But even if they did exist, I signed up to represent the BSA program, not something different that I can't find documented.


                    This reminds me of the UK scouting situation. The UK has 17+ scouting groups which are members of six or more different "world" scouting organizations.

                    And "Traditional Scouting" (started in 1970) refers to Baden-Powell Scouting / Pathfinder scouting. Which is not the main scouting organizations in the UK. And not the main scouting org in US.


                    I can fully appreciate the views and goals of "Traditional Scouting". I like alot of it. I just have trouble implementing it as it's not documented and it's not the program I'm signed up to present.


                    • #25
                      Yah, lrsap, this is why we get paid da big bucks, eh?

                      First, I'd suggest your ASM needs a bit of coachin'. The ASM should have backed da APL up earlier and just pulled one of the boys out of da patrol for a sidebar conversation. Remove da problem, and reprimand in private.

                      Aside from that...

                      Getting a patch for First Class is somethin' that doesn't need to be on a timetable. It can happen tomorrow, three months from now, or six months from now. The lad is only 13. What's important is that he be recognized by you, by your ASM, by his PL and APL and da other boys in his patrol as a First Class Scout.

                      Right now, from what yeh say, neither you nor they recognize him as a First Class Scout. None of yeh believe he has, as yet, demonstrated the character and Scout Spirit a First Class scout should have.

                      Your job as a Scoutmaster is to convey that message in a way that the boy is most likely to learn from. How yeh do that just depends on the lad and your relationship with him. There are all kinds of ways.

                      When yeh have an older boy Patrol Leader, as Kudu suggests, a great way is to have the PL and APL participate in that conversation. Each givin' what they are seeing, and you backin' 'em up. Not a Scoutmaster Conference, a conference with his Patrol Leader and APL about Scout Spirit. You're only there to make it clear that demonstratin' Scout Spirit to da satisfaction of the youth and adult leadership is one of the requirements.

                      When yeh have a peer as a PL, it just depends, eh? Some are ready for that sort of thing, others aren't - both in terms of the PL being ready for it and the boy bein' able to hear it from a peer.

                      I think Eagledad is right in that da proper tone is one of disappointment or of just acknowledging that the boy is not yet ready. Advancement in the BSA is aspirational, eh? It's somethin' that yeh get recognized for when yeh reach a certain stage of positive behavior. It loses much of its value if yeh make it into a punishment - somethin' yeh withhold for negative actions. That's an important aspect of da tone of the thing. In that way I agree with fred8033; true punishment for behavior should be kept separate from advancement. Yeh may choose to punish him for his behavior (though I think yeh need to do that closer to the behavior), and in that case advancement should almost always be off the table until that's run its course. Even if yeh don't, though, da tone of the advancement conversation should not be "you've been bad" it should be "you haven't yet shown us that you are as good a person as you can be."

                      So I reckon you've got this. Don't be too circumspect. Young male teens don't "get" subtle. Know that this, right here, doin' the hard stuff, is what really matters in teachin' character.

                      Scout Salute.



                      • #26
                        Thank you all for the replies and knowledge sharing.

                        Kudu, I do still have the 16 (almost 17 year old) with us, but his schedule as he has grown older leaves him in a position that he wouldn't be around as much as I would like to effectively serve as PL. He is very dependable and is there every time he says he will. But work and other obligations make him just not there enough.

                        Beav, love the comment about young teenage boys not understanding subtle. You are so right about that one.

                        I had a great conversation with him last night. He agrees that he should have handled himself better during the meeting and we both seem on the same page. He will also be working together with his friend, the other one disrupting the meeting, in training the newest Scouts in menu planning and duty roster responsibility. The young man has yet to hold a leadership position, so other than the time he served as patrol cook a while ago he has never had to be responsible for the training of others. If I failed to mention, this young man just entered our troop so most of his FC Req came signed off before he got here. I had a nice chat with him when he joined and I don't have any questions about his accumulation of skills.

                        While a little disappointed he did not receive his BOR last night, he left the conversation on a positive note. I'm happy to say so did I, and I will be shocked if he does not have his FC sewn on by the beginning of November.

                        One more thing. Do I get bonus points for getting Kudu, fred and Beavah to agree on something? :-)