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Sentinel947

New Scouts, Patrols, A thought experiment.

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There is no BSA standard operative procedure for the boys selecting their leaders other than "elect."  "Elect" can mean different things to different people.  If one boys says, "Jim, why don;t you take it," and every one else goes along, including Jim, that seems like an election to me.

 

There is no term of office mandated by B.S.A. for leaders (Scouts) or troop Scouters.  B.S.A used to suggest six months or a year but seems to have settled on suggesting six months, but B.S.A. has never opined on leaders (Scouts) succeeding themselves in office. 

 

 

There is lots of wiggle room.  If B.S.A. literally meant what it writes about the supposed three "Types of Patrols,": there would be no place In B.S.A. Scouting for a 12-year-old who has not completed First Class requirements.  (Read it.  He's no longer 11; he's not First Class; he's not 13.)  Based on others things B.S.A. says about "bringing Scouting to youth," the Types of Patrols language is simply another mistake by B.S.A.. staff   It so clearly a mistake that few likely comprehend what the words literally say.  We see what we expect to see - what rationality requires.

 

If the method to achieve leadership ability (part of citizenship) includes experience as a leader, experience as a follower, and experience with different leaders, there is something to be said for turnover in office for PLs and SPLs..

 

If the objective is the well-oiled machine, a leader should stay in place as long as possible once he proves to be good at it.

 

I still like one-year terms of office.  I think the leader should be given an opportunity to lead after he has had a chance to figure out what he doing.

 

I think a Scout becomes a leader becasue it's good for his leadership development and personal growth and good (enough) for those he would lead --  not because he "needs" a POR to advance.  The latter would only be true if advancement is a goal.  And I think B.S.A. agrees with my opinion - at least in some of its pronouncements ("Leadership Development")

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Don't know where the rules came from. I've only been attending meetings on a regular basis since June. This November was the first election I saw first hand. Next elections will be May. Actually I suggested to the SPL to do the elections the last week in April, then do a formal "change of command" at a court of honor the first meeting in May. One thing that the troop is missing IMHO is Ceremonies. With the exception of Cross Overs, there are no ceremonies, including COHs. Went to one, and it was over and done with in under15 minutes. R%est of the time was socializing. Going to start a thread on  ceremonies in a minute.


 

In regards to the NSP when my son joined, it was an adult driven idea. He knew some folks from the other pack, but was close friends with only 1 person. Eventually he had 2 friends transfer from another troop, and because they were not First Class, were automatically placed in the NSP.

 

Current NSP is also adult driven. The SM picked two Scouts from the true NSP  to be moved in orignal NSP with no consideration as to who wanted to stay and who wanted to go.  One Scout, the Frustrated one from another post, is focused on getting First Class ASAP, so he can get out of his patrol and move to the older Scout patrol. That's if he doesn't leave the troop first.

 

EDITED: for clarification purposes If you go by official BSA literature, our 'Older Scout patrol" is technically a "Mixed Aged" patrol since they are 13-14 year olds with one 15 year old. Two folks in that patrol are not First Class yet, (but should be). All but one in the patrol is going to Philmont. Our Frustrated Scout was told get First Class he moves up to that patrol when he joined the troop. In fact Everyone was told get First Class and they move up to that patrol. I think the only reason they kept those not First Class in the patrol is because they were the original troop members when my son joined.

Edited by Eagle94-A1

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I still like one-year terms of office.  I think the leader should be given an opportunity to lead after he has had a chance to figure out what he doing.

 

 

I agree. Just when our guys are really starting to click, we have an election. But because they have worked so hard, they think they need a break. More often than not, the scouts came back a couple weeks later and tell me they wished they had run again.

 

Because of that and because I visited a couple of boy run troops with one year elections of the SPL, I proposed our PLC consider the idea of a one year term. They turned down the idea.

 

I encouraged and did have a few SPLs and Patrol Leaders go a 2nd term and man-oh-man where they good. They brought a lot of changes to their program.

 

I also proposed the idea of PLs being elected when the patrol needed or wanted a change. That didn't go over well either. I guess once a routine starts running on autopilot, it's hard to change course when the advantages aren't obvious. 

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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Our PLs and SPLs are usually close friends. They tend to work out who will run and when. For example, my current SPL is good friends with two of his ASPLs who aspire to the top slot. Rather than run for a second term, the current SPL will ask to become an ASPL (or will be appointed JASM) so as to assist his friend. This is not always the case but happens more often than not. Usually the strongest leaders are elected. Have had a few guys (not many) who were popular, but miserable leaders (despite frequent training, guidance and counseling). We had one SPL who the PLC nearly voted to impeach. ;)

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.....Our scouts decide the length of their PORs. Since I'm always preaching developing their replacement I haven't seen anyone go much longer than the 6 month period anyway. One benefit is we don't see a new group of PLs all at once......

 

That does seem like a bugger.... if all PL's are elected on the same cycle, along with other PORs, the troop gets rattled pretty heavily on that same frequency.

Having only a few of the PORs shift at any given time seems like a pretty good idea!

Now I have one more reason that might justify my intuition that keeps telling me this rigid election cycle, & or rigid patrol shuffle cycles, just don't seem right.

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Our PLs and SPLs are usually close friends. They tend to work out who will run and when. For example, my current SPL is good friends with two of his ASPLs who aspire to the top slot. Rather than run for a second term, the current SPL will ask to become an ASPL (or will be appointed JASM) so as to assist his friend. This is not always the case but happens more often than not. Usually the strongest leaders are elected. Have had a few guys (not many) who were popular, but miserable leaders (despite frequent training, guidance and counseling). We had one SPL who the PLC nearly voted to impeach. ;)

Kind of the same here. Like your troop, our Senior PORs like SPL, ASPL, and Quartermaster are usually given to the strong leaders. So it is a given those positions work closely together and become good friends.

 

The best boy run troop I have ever watched (SM was my mentor) ran SPL elections every year, but ASPL elections were every six months with the PLs. That encourage a larger pool of SPL candidates. And their system worked well, that troop had about 80 scouts and I have never seen a closer group. They all took very good care of each other. The older scouts were very mature big brother types and the younger scouts worshiped them. 

 

Barry

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One of the reasons I believe the six month election cycle is popular is because of the introduction of the NSP. Before the NSP, there was not specific time of year for crossovers. In fact,crossover wasn't even a term. And if the den did send their scouts over at a specific time of year, it was usually around May. So troops were used to scouts joining all through the year and the patrols were more responsible for teaching scout skills because each patrol had scouts at different levels of skill.

 

The NSP introduce a tradition of sending all Webelos over to the troops at about the same time just after new year to get them up to speed before summer camp. As a result, Troops found themselves wrapping their annual planning around the NSP cycle. Elections cycles shifted to just before of just after the NSP cycle. And, what was really annoying to me was that the skills training for new scouts started running on a standard annual cycle, which makes it easy to sluff off on the Troop instead of the Patrols. I don't remember the Instructor POR when I was a scout because the patrol taught us most of our skills. But the Instructor is a popular position now.  

 

Interesting to observe the indirect unexpected consequences of program changes.

 

Oh  I forgot to add that because the NSP started around Jan/Feb, that made elections after summer camp and before school started almost intuitive. Six month election cycle. 

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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With all this chatter about how these cycles work and don't work, and terms, and reelections, and possible impeachments, and popularity contests. it makes me thankful I'm not involved with any of it and I have PL's, APL's, TG's, QM's, Scribes, all doing their thing and I get no hassle from anyone about who's running what.  

 

It sure is nice not to have long standing traditions to fight in order to facilitate change in a unit. 

 

Just keep it in mind.  The boys never have to worry about problem solving when all problems can be dealt with by the system of rules in place.

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With all this chatter about how these cycles work and don't work, and terms, and reelections, and possible impeachments, and popularity contests. it makes me thankful I'm not involved with any of it and I have PL's, APL's, TG's, QM's, Scribes, all doing their thing and I get no hassle from anyone about who's running what.  

 

It sure is nice not to have long standing traditions to fight in order to facilitate change in a unit. 

 

Just keep it in mind.  The boys never have to worry about problem solving when all problems can be dealt with by the system of rules in place.

 

You say that, but if the systems are not perfect, they will fail. (And the systems are never perfect.)

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You say that, but if the systems are not perfect, they will fail. (And the systems are never perfect.)

Yes, I agree, that was my point and that's why it's nice not to have a system in place.  It allows an opportunity for the boys to problem solve their situation and come up with a solution without the restrictions of any system.

 

One of the biggest issues I have with the way BSA does business is the short-comings associated with the rank advancement system.  Here we have the minimum necessary knowledge necessary to meet a certain basic understanding of skills necessary for the outdoors environment.  They are the absolute very minimum and there is no incentive to go beyond that.  You get the rank, you move on to the next set of hoops.  MB's go beyond that, but they too have a minimum set of requirement to be fulfilled in order to wear the patch. 

 

6 months POR and then the next guy takes over.  They have met the minimum requirements and get the credit.  To do a full year?, 2 years? 3 years? in the same POR and get good at it?  Can't accommodate that because the next kid needs his chance at getting the minimum in.  Ever wonder why boy-led programs aren't well-oiled machines?  Because none of the leadership ever stays long enough to get beyond the first grade education in the process.

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Totally agree, by the time a boy has 2-3 years in at one POR, he's running smoother than most adults.  I had one boy assist 3 new patrols as TG.  When he got his Eagle at age 16, I asked him if he wanted to do something else.  His answer was a simple, "No".  He was TG for 2 more years before he aged out.  I'm thinking he is the sole reason why I like the NSP for incoming newbies, he showed me how it can work.  I'm thinking any ASM assigned to the NSP to "mentor" it like a Webelos III den could learn a lot from this Scout.  I would think any scout going into his 2nd year as PL knows what he's doing, especially in my units because if he doesn't know what he's doing, he can be replaced at any moment.  A scout with that kind of longevity under those circumstances has to be doing a great job.

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Well that's not what I mean, but I agree with you. For me, Patrol Method next to any other method is like night and day. True Patrol Method even on the worst day is beautiful.

 

Barry

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A "well run" boy-led, patrol-method unit means the adults are there to meet G2SS 2-deep leadership and drink coffee.  :)  I used to think I was there to enforce safety, etc. but even that has been taken over by the boys.  Not so much in my new troop yet, but it's coming along a little bit at a time. 

 

About the only time I focus on my experience in an adult-led, troop-method program is to remind myself what NOT to do.

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In my troop, once we built up, we had five patrols of 7-9 Scouts each. When I left two years ago, we had one patrol with 9-12 grade, one patrol with 9th grade, one patrol with 8th grade, one patrol with 7th grade, and one NSP.

 

Instead of a Troop Guide, we would have a 13 or 14 year old Scout act as patrol leader for the NSP for the first year (after which a couple of Scouts from the NSP would have reach First Class and they were ready to lead the patrol). This PL would act like a TG, but we gave him the title of PL as well as the vote like the other patrol leaders.

 

We like have the age-based patrols, as they tended to be closer than when we had mixed age. The only challenge was to get the older guys to interact more with the younger Scouts. When that happened, the same age patrols worked great.

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