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Appointed Senior Patrol Leaders?

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I would never tell someone to stop learning. The best way, in my opinion, to learn in Scouting is by doing.


Where did you read I don't follow the methods of the program? Also, I do teach the 11 & 12 yr olds in my Troop to be leaders. I stress they must FIRST be good followers before they can be good leaders. By the time they are 13 or 14, they should be ready to be Patrol Leaders.



You are forgiven. A couple thing, though.

1. My ego isn't in question & very seldom get bruised. I admit I do make mistakes.


2. BobWhite might have more time in the program than I do, but that doesn't mean he is superior.


Ed Mori


Troop 1



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Reality and the documents often look at things from a far different vantage point. "The rules" can be used to manipulate just as much as any "controlling Scoutmaster." I know that from first hand experience.


I would caution against an attitude of "I have superior knowledge" in any online forum, or in life for that matter. While it may be true, it is very prideful, and pride comes before a fall. I also have found that many times being "right" is not so important as working with people - a key element of Scouting.


This doesn't mean we ignore the rules, but some things are truly more important than others, and almost always there will be a better troop out there for you if your current one does not fit for one reason or another.



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Nowhere in mommascout's post does she say I am a better leader than you. She says that we are vastly different leaders. I think even you have to agree with this. In my postings I have said the scout program, as it is written, works. It works in thousands of scout troops. Nowhere have I said my way is better, I have said the BSA program is better.


But as we all agree we are different. The Boy Scout Handbook promises scouts individual Patrol Activities.


Evmori says, that in all his years of training he has never heard of patrol activities.


The Scoutmaster Handbook and every Boy Scout Training program says that the SPL with guidance from the SM selects troop officers for a recommended 6 month term.


Evmori says, Positions like Quartermaster, Troop Guide, etc. are appointed by myself for a term of 1 year.



Just a couple of examples of the differences.

Why is it that expecting Boy Scout Leaders to use the Boy Scout program is met with such hostility?


Mommascout says we are different. If you translate that as I'm better, then I guess I will just have to bow to your expertise. All I was ever trying to do was follow the program as it is explained in the Boy Scout and Scoutmaster Handbooks.


Yours in scouting,

Bob White

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Well, since I kind of started this topic! I guess I need to respond!

I cannot come up with anytime a SPL should be appointed. And yes I have been thinking about it!

In my short time as a ASM, I have seen the patrol method not followed by new leaders and old er I mean experienced leaders.

Training helps but it is not the whole answer, reading the Scoutmaster handbook for me helped along with this forum. I have learned at great amount from this forum, but it has also made me get out the scoutmaster handbook to see if what is being stated is the BSA way.

(Bob White and I disagree if the policies are clear or not, I say no.

Bob White and I have not come to agreement if a uniform is required for scouting or not. The Scoutmaster Handbook says that a uniform is not required to join the BSA, I took this to mean to join and to be a Scout, Bob took this to mean you can join but you must get a uniform sometime while being a Scout. How long is a while?)


Bottom line is that, not everyone is cut out to be a Leader.

I believe that leaders that are not doing a good job, should be "fired". Of course all steps should be taken to help this leader to change.

I speak of leaders that I see in the troop I am in and have meet during district campouts.



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The only time I've ever "appointed" and SPL was when I was asked to serve as SM for a troop other than my own to try to help save the troop from an oncoming demise. Circumstances, that I will not go into, left a troop in a nearby town with little but first and second year Scouts, and their parents. Some of the parents had gone to training, but none were ready to "jump-in" and follow the trail alone. I was asked to help. So, along with two other volunteer adult leaders from my own troop, and two older Scouts from our troop, we jumped in feet first to get them back on their feet. At the first meeting we went to, there were 15 Scouts in the troop, we surveyed the talent and level of experience for the troop, and I made a decision to provide the example the Scouts needed by "appointing" one of my own Scouts as SPL, and the other as ASPL. Then, we went to work. Each meeting was spent teaching by example, and by the end of three months, my own adult leaders and Scouts, and the adults from the other troop met and decided that some of the young second year Scouts were now ready to take the reigns. We held elections and my Scouts ceremoniously returned control to the Scouts who would now lead their own troop. I only served with that troop for another 6 months, by which time there were two adults there who felt confident enough to take the SM and CC positions. They've been just fine ever since.


Point was, and is, in an extreme situation where no experience or example exists, a temporary appointment of a Scout with good experience to the SPL position can provide the example to follow.

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I am not too close to the leader election and appointment process so I can't speak to whether or not the SPL does the appointing. In our troop I do know that we have, as a matter of policy, limited the boys to one term as SPL. We have 80 boys and lots who would like to and deserve to be given a chance at the coveted SPL position. We've had good ones and bad ones depending on their popularity. We have in the past during the election and with the support of the boys present allowed the election of the SPL and then the next 2 down in number of votes become the ASPL's. Hey it works for us, and they boys have supported it. Probably not kosher, but.........


Also the Scoutmaster always asks after the election, who needs or wants an office. I presume, although I am not sure, that the SPL appoints these with the advice of the SM. Don't know though.

I know my boy has requested offices and always gotten them.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I think that every adult leader is in Scouting for the same reason...to watch these young men grow, learn, have fun, and become better citizens. Let's face it...not every troop is going to be perfect, not every troop is going to follow every rule to every letter. I am not saying that they shouldn't. Situations arise where the adults do have to step in. As far as the SPL topic, there was a situation where I had to appoint an SPL. My SPL at the time resigned, leaving me with no one that was qualified to run. (Our troop has qualifications for SPL, such as age, rank). I had to ask one of my Venture Patrol members to serve as SPL until we had an a qualified candidate. (Which was about a month) As a Scoutmaster, I had to make a decision in the best interest of the troop. We follow the rules of Scouting, but situations arise where we have to do something different to make it work. Our boys are committed to the program, and do a great job carrying out the troop program. Let's not criticize one another over such trivial topics. Instead, find our weaknesses and strive to improve them.

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I had a very interesting troop meeting last night and the things that happened pertain quite a bit to what has been discussed on this thread.


First, on the appointed SPL. Right now, my troop has a Scout who is on the verge of Eagle and has been our SPL/PL (we've only had one patrol for the most part of that time). Our next most senior Scout just turned 13 and is second class. Our SPL was initially elected, but has stayed in the position since because we've had no one else qualified. By the end of the year, a couple of the 13 year olds will probably be qualified to be SPL and our current one will gladly step aside and help out as a JASM.


Second, we split the Scouts last night into two patrols and elected patrol leaders. Both are thirteen and second class. Both have held staff positions before (we started handing those out last fall for the first time in a few years), but this is the first time either will be the "top guy" for a group. It will be a good learning experience for both of them. Our SPL, after we did the election, immediately (and excitedly) brought up the idea of having PLC meetings, which made me almost jump in excitement. The burden of planning has been on myself and the SPL for quite some time, and I think he's very happy to have help with it.


Finally, my troop is going backpacking the weekend after next. We've done "backpacking" a couple of times before where the Scouts set up camp and spent a majority of the day hiking with daypacks. The Scouts specifically requested in January that they get to actually backpack this year (meaning caring equipment on their backs). A group of adults in the troop discussed this last night and some of them felt the kids still "weren't ready" to handle backpacking (they are for the most part average size kids) and wanted to just camp and hike. I was able to get them to compromise so that the kids who want to carry their equipment will, but the others who don't feel they're ready (or their parents don't feel are ready). My biggest challenge seems to be getting the parents to believe their kids are capable of doing more than they have in the past.


I don't always agree with the kids in the troop and if I really want something, I will try to influence them. However, there have been times where they wanted to do something that was different than me but still within BSA guidelines, so I let it go because ultimately, it is their program.

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Our Troop bylaws has a provision that the SM can override the normal rank requirement and time in other jobs for the position of SPL. When we wrote our bylaws, we recognized there might be times this would be necessary.


IMHO, the SPL is an elected postion and shouldn't be appointed unless there is no way to have an election. The election process teaches the Scouts a lesson in how in the real world leaders are selected to lead our society. One the aims of Scouting is Citizenship Devolpment. By modeling that in the Troop's leadership, we help the Scouts to understand the process.

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Roy, it sounds like what you did was appoint an "interim" SPL for about a month until a proper election with at least one qualified candidate could be held. Others may disagree, but I don't see anything wrong with that. It seems to me that what you did was consistent with the idea of a boy-run troop. Assuming that the age and rank requirements were adopted by the PLC, if there was no qualified candidate, you either had to temporarily modify the rules, or have a "caretaker" for a fairly brief period until someone satisfied the rules. Either would probably be acceptable, but what you did sounds like the better option to me.

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Backpacking is carring all your gear, anything less is hiking.


Size of the scout is irrelevant, it's the size of the pack ON the Scout that matters. Every single Scout is able to backpack if he can pack a pack and walk regardless of what the parents think the Scout can do. This has been proven to me time and time again.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Man, if it's anything I enjoy, it's seeing all of the different experiences and the different learning results.


I just thought I'd toss this in-


We are a 40-year old Troop with about 60 Scouts. Until I became SM 4 years ago, it was completely adult-run, including putting boys into Patrols, selecting PL's, the SPL and the rest of the positions. The adults even chose the meals, did the cooking, built the fires, EVERYTHING.


Right after I got selected SM, my ASM and I went to Wood Badge (paid for it ourselves, as the Committee refused to believe it had any value!), and we then began the long process of converting to a boy-run (though I prefer 'youth-led') Troop.


Here's where we are today, and the Scouts don't want us to change ANYTHING:


1) Not only are the SPL and PL's elected by the Scouts every year, so are the rest of the leadership positions. We start with SPL, and the nominees prepare a brief speech telling the Troop what they would do as SPL and what would make them a good SPL. We do the same with the other positions (except ASPL and APL's, which are chosen by the SPL and PL's, respectively). This was done to overcome a gripe that the Scouts had about the SPL being a popularity contest, and if he selected the rest of the leadership positions, too, then it went too far. So, the PLC adopted a policy of electing every position. Works GREAT, and every SPL since has agreed with this method.


2) The ONLY position that I get involved with is Jr. ASM, and I usually tell the Troop that I am looking for more experienced and mature assistants who really want to help at that level. Then they nominate candidates who get voted on (and almost always, I get the kind of help I need).


3) We do 4 required MB's a year, and we do them 2 at a time. The PLC makes these MB selections on the basis of the greatest number of 1st-Class or higher Scouts that need them. We have MB work time set aside at every weekly Troop meeting, along with Patrol Meeting time.


4) The SCOUTS teach the MB's. We have registered MB Counselors who stop by and check progress, help organize outings (like town hall meetings, etc.), provide materials (maps, reference materials, etc.) and then meet with each Scout to sign off on the requirements that they have completed, plus the Blue Card at the end. But they are NOT the teachers.


5) Every month at the PLC, PL's 'sign-up' their Patrol to be responsible for running the upcoming MB work. That Patrol (a Patrol member or the PL) then uses the MB handbook and other materials and leads the discussion or activity for the next requirement. Honestly, I almost never stop by to check on this activity, it works THAT WELL. Since I am also the MB counselor for a number of required MB's, I can vouch that these boys are really learning the material without a classroom-style approach that nobody likes.


6) While most Scouts are working on MB's, the Scouts who are 1st Class or higher and don't need the MB's we are working on, lead the work on pre-selected Advancement Requirements for the Scouts who need Tenderfoot, 2nd or 1st Class requirements. Again, the Patrols sign up for this responsibility at the PLC's (we usually plan the weekly work a month in advance). I have 2 ASM's that help guide the selection of requirements and provide the materials like rope, etc.


7) Every week, we have an Inter-Patrol Competition (IPC, or 'game'). Again, the responsibility for selecting the game belongs to the Patrol who signed up to do it at the PLC. The only restriction I place on this activity is that it must be competed in by Patrols -not two large groups against each other- (and it must be safe). They come up with some wierd games involving potatoes...


8) I don't even run the Courts of Honor anymore. The SPL and ASPL do, and the Advancement Coordinator calls the Scouts up to receive their advancement or MB, but it's the SPL and ASPL that perform the advancement ceremony and presents the advancement or MB to the parent/Scout. I stand by and congratulate the Scouts once they get their award. Pretty much all I get to do anymore is announcements (it was a little tough to get used to, but the boys do a GREAT job at this).


9) Food- The Scouts do their meal plans in Patrols before every campout, and I critique them (primarily because they feed the adults, and I hate hot dogs), but they do the shopping, cooking and clean-up. The Troop Guides and Instructors help the younger Scouts with their meal plans, or one of the adult leaders lends a hand.


So, I guess we are 'extremists' at the boy-run 'thing'. I agree with Bob White, that you simply must read the SM handbook and work your Wood Badge ticket, then just train them, trust them, let them lead.


We have 40 Scouts and 8 adults going to summer camp this year (a Troop record). Without the Patrol Method and a boy-run Troop, it would be total chaos. We do a full duty roster at camp, with daily Patrol assignments and nightly PLC's to rate the success of each assignment. I never attend those PLC's, I just remind them to do them for the first few days.


The best thing about our Troop is the pride that these young men exude when they compare our Troop to others at summer camp or at camporees, and how well we are run, how much we get done, how much the Scouts are in charge, and how BIG we have grown. It's a pleasure that is beyond description to watch them do this stuff.




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If it's OK with you, I'd rather have those discussions in this Forum. I got some feedback from Bob White about what I posted here, but in another Forum where I had posted a request for help.


It seems that the way we do Merit Badges and elect positions of responsibility are not permissable. I need to get more info on this, because these two program components have yielded excellent results (Scouts come to meetings, take responsibility, actually LEARN something from doing MB's, but most of all they LIKE this structure. They also feel that the elections of positions is far more fair). I need to do more research before I simply tell the PLC that we must change. Maybe I didn't explain everything well enough, but I can look into it more.


For those reasons, I'd rather field questions about our Troop in the Forum, where I can't give incorrect advice without someone who knows ALL of the rules around to jump in as needed.


I'd be happy to answer any questions about our Troop in this Forum.




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