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Webelos /elect Patrol Leader

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Our Troop is having a problem with scouts not respecting or following orders from the Junior Leaders. From SPL on down, they aren't getting the respect they deserve, and are getting frustrated in their positions.


Since I am also a Webelos leader, we were thinking of having the Webelos Den elect a Patrol Leader and Assistant Patrol Leader. They would have some responsibilities in making decisions regarding activities and events, and would report back to the Patrol.


Hopefully this will give the boys a preview of what is expected when they join the troop. Does anyone have experience with this sort of an arrangement? What other duties might they have?

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When I was a Webelos den leader I ran my 2nd year den as a patrol. We had a patrol leader, assistant, scribe and treasurer. We rotated every month or so. The patrol leader was in charge and led our den openings. The scribe kept any important notes, and the treasurer collected dues and paid any bills. There was a lot of guidance on my part, as I didn't want to overwelm them and their term was short. This seemed to work well as our den went into the Troop as a new patrol.

On your Junior Leaders, have they had any Junior Leader Training? There are some great training courses for boys to teach them different ways of leading. If you can pinpoint the problem, age, style,etc.,you may be able to effect a change in attitude.

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Thanks for your reply. Yes the Junior Troop Leaders have had Junior Leader Training. I am trying to get the Troop Committee to agree to a "scholarship" for Silver Stag Training."

I like your ideas regarding other positions like Scribe and Treasurer for the Second year Webelos Den.

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In regard to such topics, I am no more an expert than anyone else. I know a multitude of folks with many, many years of experience post to these web pages. Personally, I have about 15 years experience with BSA. I've served as an Assistant Den Leader, Den Leader, Webelos Leader, Assistant Cubmaster, Cubmaster, and ASM. Next year will be my 10th year in a BSA Summer camp.


My point...I have a strong opinion about this topic, based on a lot of experience. However, others probably differ with me and have just as much or more experience.


Okay...Here's my view. This is a three-prong problem.


Prong Number ONE - Troop discipline starts with the SM and his corps. They set the tone for the SPL. The SPL needs to know that HE is the man in charge of the boys. He not only needs to know it, he needs to accept it and not run from it. If he neglects his post, the whole thing falls apart. It is the SM's responsibility (and his corps) to instill this point in the SPL and ensure that he does NOT neglect his post. If the SPL refuses to accept the responsibility, he has no business being in the position. The SM should seek a replacement.


Likewise, it is the SPL's job to ensure all Patrol Leaders take their jobs seriously and the PL's job to ensure their assistants are on board. Again, if someone is not taking the job seriously, the SPL should seek a replacement.


Prong Number TWO - The SM, his Corps, and the PLC need to seek ways to educate and discipline the Troop. If there is no consequence for bad behavior, the behavior will continue. This is where I see Troops failing. They talk the talk, but rarely walk it. Most notably, they fail to provide a real punishment...And if they do, they fail to follow-up to see if the boy did what he was suppose to. Or, if they follow-up, they fail to provide a punishment for the boy who fails to follow through. In short, few boys, and probably almost just as many men (SM's and ASM's), want to be the "bad" guy. To these folks I say, "Sorry, if you want to be in charge, and run a Troop properly, then sometimes you have to be unpopular." Unfortunately, I am finding this problem to be way too common.



Prong Number THREE - All boys and their leaders need to understand that there is a chain of command. If you have a boy who is not behaving, the PL or APL should be handling it. If the PL or APL is not being respected, then they should seek assistance from the ASPL or SPL. Finally, if the ASPL or SPL is not being respected, the SM should become involved. Should it get this far, there should be serve consequences for the offender.


Just my thoughts...


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Webelos is supposed to prepare boys to become Boy Scouts. As far as helping them to understand leadership and the patrol method I have not seen a system better than what EagleWB has described.


As far as discipline in a Troop I follow the same system that Rooster7 does. It worked for us and has continued to work for years.


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EagleWB's suggestions are great. Exppsing the Webelos to a little responsibility at a time, and not overwhelming them, all the while letting them get a taste of how it is with others who might not listen real well, is a positive thing.


When they get to the troop setting, then they've got at least a little understanding of the system, how and when it works, and how and when it doesn't.


As a Scoutmaster, I only lost my temper at the lack of respect issue once. After that, I made it my business treat the issue differently. I would teach my SPL's to do likewise.


More often than not, the issue came into play at opening and closing ceremony, any time where the sign went up and silence was the order of the moment. I would instruct the SPL to just stand in his place, with the sign raised. All the ASPL's were to do the same, as were the Patrol Leaders. Just stand there. Signs up. I figured that the time being wasted was the Scouts time, not mine, so they could waste it if they so desired. And the longer it took, the less time would be available for the games, and preparation necessary to do what "they" wanted. Little by little, the SPL and I would begin to see where the trouble makers were. (Our troop was 74 boys.) Gradually, more and more scouts would get the hint. More and more would hustle each other into place and "whisper" to each other something along the lines of......"shut up, OK?" Silence and attention came quicker and quicker. In the beginning, I would set the example by just standing there, sign up. I would always address the Scouts as "Gentlemen"...calmly and softly, but sternly enough that they got the hint. My SPL's did the same. And they got the respect they needed, in time. And, in time, the older boys learned how to get the younger and newer scouts to do the same. No yelling. No screaming. No marching orders or close order drill. And the Scouts came to realize that it was their own time that was being wasted...because we would tell them that. And it would be done calmly and respectfully, setting the example.


I did the same when out and out disrespect was the issue...especially towards adults. It got to the point where discipline for these infractions was handled in a very calm, respectful, orderly, and non-threatening environment, with the SPL doing most of the talking, but the entire PLC and many of the adult leaders in the background. It really made a point to the problem child. The very fact the so many who held office were in attendance made an impact. And if the infraction was truly bad, the parents would be required to come, but they would not be part of the process. It was their being there that made the point.


Amazingly, almost all the parents who had to participate in these little "sessions" entered with apprehension, knowing they couldn't say anything, and left with admiration for the system and the cool collected minds of the Scouts in charge. Only one or two Scouts never changed, but their tenure was very short lived.



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