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swissknife

New Leader.

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I've been an active CC for cub scouts and have started to get involved with boy scouts. One thing I like about cubs is that it is very straight forward and simple to run - almost like putting round pegs into round holes and squares into squares. The whole program is laid out very completely and if you run your pack like the rules suggest, you are almost guaranteed success.

 

Boy scouts on the other hand I have found to be very fluid. Interpretations on responsibility and accountablility are very broad. How is it that one troop might have its PL and SPL appointed by a SM/CC and other troop will follow the rules and allow voting. Is there anything to say that the boys should always be allowed to vote for their leaders as the manual suggests. Or is this all optional?

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Welcome to the forum Swissknife. Great question and observation.

 

There are variations in Cub Scout packs, but they tend to be less noticable. I think there are a variety of reasons. One is that Cubs are usually afilliated with a school, church or geography, (at least in my experiences), so there is less "shopping around". Second, because the boys are younger, they tend to follow the adults lead. Therefore it's much easier to have a checklist of how you do it. You're not going to get any pushback from them.

 

Boy Scouts is different for a variety of reasons. One is that there is much more "shopping around" for troops. So troops develop personalities that meet the needs of their boys. Over time, these become engrained into their culture. This is okay, because it shouldn't be seen as "one size fits all". Beyond that, on the negative side, is that you get leaders who get engrained into their methodologies. My dad, a scouter of nearly 40 years, still swears by the "SM appoints the SPL" approach. He and I don't see eye to eye on that, but that's okay. He's still a good leader, and has a great troop, but we just do some things different. As long as the boys are learning and growing according to the aims and methods, and it's not because of a power-trip of the SM, I don't think it's a major deal.

 

The bottom line is, yes they are different and that's okay. However, it would be "best" if all scouters followed the program as closely as possible. That's one of the ongoing discussions you'll find in this forum.

 

Good luck.

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Let me continue with what EagleinKY said about shopping troops. Thumb through the SM's Handbook about troop organzation and mechanics. Your scout shop will have one on the shelf. Find a troop that best follows the program and put them at the top of the list. Then follow your heart and your gut feelings. One that follows the program most closely will probably have the fewest problems.

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Having been both a CM and a SM, I think the biggest difference between packs and troops is the constant turnover of leadership.

 

In a Cub Scout pack, the leaders (CM, DLs, etc.) are generally around for several years so there is a strong continuity. In troops however, the leadership turns over every 6 months (some units do 12 months) as the troop elects new officers (SPL, PLs, etc.). Adults in the troop provide a certain level of underlying stability, but each new crop of youth leaders tends to make the same mistakes and go through the same learning curve, over and over. It can be very frustrating for an adult leader who would like to see "continual process improvement" in the troop.

 

In the midst of continual chaos, the troop is constantly "reinventing itself", with fine young men emerging as leaders.

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