Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
gshafer

Troop Elections

Recommended Posts

I have an interesting situation, last week I had the scouts fill out a form for what position they would like to be considered for and why. I will then use this info to have them hold their election. My situation is this. I have a former SPL, (not the current SPL) who would like to be SPL again. There are a few others who want to run for the position also. I'd like opinions as to 1) have you had this experience before. 2) how did you handle, offer a different spot, let him run and see how the vote goes? This scout has strong leadership qualities and also the respect of the rest of the troop and could very well win an election again. I just don't know if i should put him in the mix or just leave it open to scouts who haven't had the opportunity before. Comments please!

 

YIS

Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it were me, I'd let him run again.

 

Probelm is, it's not me, and not you. It's the boys' program. Let them decide at a PLC.

 

We did have that situation, almost exactly. A great SPL who dropped the position because of scholastic requirments. When those waned, he wanted the position again. PLC voted, allowed him to run, two of the three who were running dropped out because he was so good at it. He won the election, all three others were voted to positions in which they flourished, and so far two of the three have been elected SPL and been successful (actually, one of them was just elected in Sept. He's struggling, but it's the same struggle that all our SPLs go through at first. But he's working at it, and shows real promise).

There are no advantages to either allowing or not allowing him to run again, but there is a real disadvantage to not letting the boys make the decision.

Good luck!

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with mk9750.

 

Bring it up before the PLC. Explore the full ramifications-- pros and cons. Let them decide. If it turns out to be a bad decision later, let them change their mind.

 

Most of the troops I have been in, consecutive terms in the same office were not allowed to permit more opportunity for more boys. This may not be best for others. In the circumstances you describe, the once (and future?) SPL is not being elected consecutively, so others have been and are having a chance at the job. Why shouldn't the boys elect who they think is the most capable?

 

Or, is there another reason why it is not desirable for this boy to run and win again?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your replys, good suggestions. The thing that complicates this one is that the "former" SPL is also the my son and I am scoutmaster. Several of the scouts on the PLC are also interested in the position. I just don't want it to appear that I was influential in "allowing" him to run again. The PLC decision would be a good one in that it would assure the troop and the parents that it was the troops decision and not the leaders decision as to how they wanted the troop to run. I've been having a little struggle getting this group to take responsibility for their program (former scout leaders planned and ran everything) and this would help support how important it is for them to run their own program. Again, thanks for the input, I'll let you know how it goes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

gshafer, I understand your concern about appearances when you are SM and your son is running for SPL. My father went through that when became SM, at which time I was an experienced PL, getting ready for a larger role. And at that time, for whatever reason, my troop had no elections. The troop committee picked the SPL and ASPL, and he influenced them to pick the other natural candidate as SPL, leaving me as ASPL. Then he told me that if I was ever going to be the SPL, there were going to have to be elections. I took the hint, wrote up a procedure for the elections, eligibility requirements, term limits, etc., presented it to what was then called the TLC (now PLC), it was adopted and guess who won the first election? But the important thing was, nobody could accuse my father of giving me anything.

 

And nobody can accuse you, either. Unless there is a written rule stating that a former SPL cannot run again, he can run. It is not you "allowing" him to run, it is the rules allowing him to run, even through their silence. If your son wins, you didn't elect him, the boys did.

 

Now, if I were you, and if your son wins, I might make a subtle suggestion that he might want to make this his last term in order to give the other boys a chance. But that's just me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It should be up to the PLC to decide eligibility rules. Most units do have rules that allow sufficient rotation of the senior positions. If your PLC is to deliberate this, then your son and you ought to leave the room while that is discussed and decided. You may wish to ask one of your disinterested ASMs to sit in on that discussion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

gshafer,

 

Don't worry so much. Do the things as suggested here. Play fair. Make sure others know you are playing fair. Make sure the PLC is very much involved in these decisions. Include other adults in the process whose sons are also potential candidates. Remove yourself from undue influence.

 

Every Scoutmaster who has a son in the troop has to be careful about fairness (including me with my son). Just don't be unfair to your son. Your son is probably experiencing some sacrifice already with his loss of your time and devotion that would have otherwise been given to him. He needs you to treat him like any other Scout in the troop. Don't hurt him to please others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with everyone here. I think most troops go through this. Let's face it: The active adults' boys are usually the most active in the troop (I know that is a generalaztion that isn't always true, but more often than not, it is). That means that the Scoutmaster's son often is the guy that takes on the toughest, biggest jobs. Many times, this is SPL, and even once in a while for multiple terms. Keep in mind however, that often it is Quartermaster, or Troop guide for that patrol that just doesn't run on it's own, or any number of jobs that he gets stuck with because the Scoutmaster can persuade him during the ride home.

My point is that active leaders' sons get treated differently, and this treatment goes both ways: They get some benefit from being the son of a Scoutmaster, or ASM, but they often get the shaft, too. But it all evens out.

I do agree, though, that extra precaution has to be taken to show evidence that your son is not getting any help from you on this one. Our Scoutmaster actually made it more difficult for his son to win elections by noting during "campaigning" the negatives that come with electing his boy. When he won, it was the best man for the job, not everyone voting for him because it appeared that's what the Scoutmaster wanted.

If you give your troop the chance, they'll do whats best for themselves - eventually. And the "failure" in between isn't disasterous, it's an oppurtunity to learn.

Best of luck!

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks all for the comments/suggestions! Well here is how it all shook out. Last night was to be our troop elections. Prior to the election, I had the present SPL call for a PLC. All of us went into the meeting, myself and my son included. I stayed only long enough to present the following. It was my suggestion that before the election they come up with what they wanted as to term limits, election rules, qualifications for positions etc. I told them in light of everyone filling out what positions they would like a former SPL wanted to run for the position again. I also told them it was their responsibility as the leaders of the troop to decide how they wanted to handle this. Then I left. My son stayed in the meeting while they discussed the above, because he is still a voting member of PLC. In the process they decided to allow someone to run for a position a second time but could not serve the same office consecutively. When they were about to take this vote and when they were discussing this portion, my son excused himself from the meeting because he wanted the rest of the PLC to be able to talk and vote without feeling any pressure. It ended up that the PLC voted to allow. During the meeting the scouts held there election and my son was voted back in as SPL. All of the scouts in the troop with the exception of one had no problem with it. The one that did, was very dissappointed because he really wanted to be SPL but didn't have enough votes. I think he had a problem with the fact that my son ran again and felt he didn't really have a chance. This scout also had a vote in the PLC and I was told that during their discussions, there was no one opposed to allowing someone to run again including this scout. I did tell my son on the way home he's going to have to work had with this scout to make sure he feels he's an escential part of the troop.

 

Sorry about the long post, but wanted to let you all know how it ended up. And I'm glad I'm not the only scoutmaster with a very active son in the program who has had to deal with this. You are right, sometimes being the son of the SM is both a blessing and a curse. It is usually harder on the son, because they generally have to work harder for all ranks, because we (SM's) want to make sure the rest of the troop knows we don't play favorites. Also, most of the other scouts can go home and the meeting ends, for a SM's son the meeting can continue for the rest of the evening.

 

Thanks again for your support. Once again, it proved that leaving the program to the ones that are to run it works. Isn't scouting great!

 

Yours In Scouting

Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like things came out for the best...

As an afterthought, your highly qualified Scouts without positions are assets going unused (you'll find that they're sensitive about it!) Consider finding a special place for these Scouts as Guides, Instructors, or even Jr ASMs if that's appropriate. Maybe ask the PLC and the Scout himself what he thinks the Troop could really use. Or make something up! You'll find more opportunities within the program than limitations...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your problems are almost exactly opposite of our troops.

 

My son will be running for SPL again in a couple of weeks (also not consecutive). However, the main reason is because of a sense of obligation. Our troop has a terrible time getting boys to sign up for positions, especially SPL. If another boy steps up wanting to run then I know my son would gladly take another position.

 

I wish our troop had the problem of multiple boys wanting positions. This is a long term problem that hasn't seemed to improve much despite the efforts to follow patrol method and boy-led.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How old is the Scout? If he's 16, offer him a job as Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. I had the issue, had a boy repeat as SPL after a year break from his first tour, and then instead of a 3d tour, I suggested there was a job to challenge him available.

 

yis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The scout is 16 and my situation will play out as you mentioned. In our troop, we reserve the JASM position to active scouts who have obtained the eagle rank. He should be finished his Eagle in the spring. When the next election comes up he will become a JASM with the SPL spot opening to a different scout.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×