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Adamcp

Patrol leader election questions

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Oh, and I have not even BEGUN to process all that you have written about election cycles!  That's next. :)

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Don't let this stuff overwhelm you. Going by the book actually frees you and your ASMs to focus on important things ... Like finding stuff for your boys to read to help them pick their next adventure.

 

When I was a kid, I read Boy's Life cover to cover -- especially Green Bar Bill's columns. It seems that boys gloss over that stuff these days. So creativity can be stifled. Part of my job is leaving maps and brochures of state and national parks spread out on a table for patrols to "stumble upon."

Edited by qwazse

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One of the problems with the boys not making their own choice on scout activities is because at age 11 they have never really had the option to learn that lesson.  Home doesn't teach it, schools don't teach it, churches don't teach it, community sports programs don't teach it.  All the boys are ever taught was to follow along.

 

To think that these boys are all of a sudden going to miraculously start choosing activities and doing things on their own in this day and age is folly. 

 

1) Boys have never had to make decisions for themselves.

2) Boys have never had to make decisions for others.

3) Boys are trained to win, to succeed and to achieve, they have never been taught to fail.

4) Boys have had their self esteem stroked until the fur has worn off and they are special.  They have a trophy or two to prove it.

5) Boys are not in the program to make the decisions they are there only to get the entertainment value of having fun out of it.

 

Teaching boys knots is not the ultimate goal of scouting, It is developing boys into young men of moral character and leadership in the world around them.  One can stand by and complain that boys don't have any of these skills we might have assumed they were exposed to over the years and didn't pick up, or we can recognize they have never been taught in the first place and it is our job to do so.  Now's just as good a time to start as any other.

 

Need an acronym to start out?  Try FAIL - (First Attempt in Learning)  Gotta start someplace.  Remember the boys can't lose, either they win or they learn, but from the moment they show up at the door of the troop meeting place until they age out, is the only chance you have to help them.  Better make the most of the time one has.

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Gotta agree with Stosh's comment about boys never making decisions. I see it all the time, even with the college age, and in a few cases graduate school age, kids.

 

IF you do decide to use New Scout Patrols, NSPs, make sure you do not have a "dictator" as a Troop Guide. I think ne of the reasons why the NSP in my troop is so far behind  is that they had a "dictator" first as TG, then as PL when they elected him. Instead of building consensus, working as a team, etc he arbitarily came up with menus, duty rosters, assigned shopping, etc. He never let them work it out. The when my son becomes their NSP, they are OK initially when he "suggests" things, but when he put responsibility on the PL, total failure.

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A legitimate role of the Scouter is to be a resource for the leaders (Scouts).  

 

"Have you considered X ?"  

 

So long as thew Scouts decide, giving them options is one of the reasons adults are there.

 

My Scoutmaster observed that Troop 43 would play British Bulldog every Monday unless they were shown alternatives. "Conservative like cats."  (Probably not an issue today as tackle football without officials or safety gear [except for stretchers and first aid kits] is doubtless frowned upon.)

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Gotta agree with Stosh's comment about boys never making decisions. I see it all the time, even with the college age, and in a few cases graduate school age, kids.

 

IF you do decide to use New Scout Patrols, NSPs, make sure you do not have a "dictator" as a Troop Guide. I think ne of the reasons why the NSP in my troop is so far behind  is that they had a "dictator" first as TG, then as PL when they elected him. Instead of building consensus, working as a team, etc he arbitarily came up with menus, duty rosters, assigned shopping, etc. He never let them work it out. The when my son becomes their NSP, they are OK initially when he "suggests" things, but when he put responsibility on the PL, total failure.

 

Since when is being a dictator the way to take care of your boys?  The first suggestion I would have for the NSP would be dump the TG.  NO TG is better than a bad one.  When the TG came for his SMC there would be no check off for POR or for Scout Spirit on my watch.

 

In all seriousness, I don't think any of my boys would dare to be dictator around their patrol members.  Not with getting voted out in a heart beat being held over their head.  :)

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... British Bulldog every Monday ... (Probably not an issue today as tackle football without officials or safety gear [except for stretchers and first aid kits] is doubtless frowned upon.)

No football was ever harmed in a game of British Bulldog!

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Adult election cycles are adult driven.

 

What, new crossovers join the troop thinking that they are going to try something completely new? All election cycles are adult driven because the adults give the scouts a structure to start from. That's what what Beavah was trying to say about Stoshes first troop he Scoutmastered. Not giving a 10 year old enough structure to feel safe, much less confident in the program scares them.

 

The problem with using obscure far fetched analogies to justify personal theories is that they distract the discussion from real ideas. There is nothing wrong with letting patrols makes the choices for selecting their leaders, but suggesting that that new ideas come natural to boys without any experience to base their choices doesn't make sense. I know of several troops where the patrols pick their leaders on their time (like Stosh suggested), but it took a lot of coaching from the SM to develop that style because it is not natural to American boys. It requires a whole different way of thinking. A lot more coaching than a SM just saying "do it by the book or every six months". Which is fine if the SM supports the style, but let's not suggest that patrols picking their leaders when ever they want is less intrusive than 6 month election cycles because once the scouts get used to a style (any style), they use it without adult interference.

 

blw2, if the patrols picking their leaders on their time is what you want, you (the adult) will have to give them the idea, teach them how to do it, and then coach them as they try it. Then once they get it, you can sit back and relax as the perpetual machine takes over.

 

The discussion should be more about what kind of structure gives the young scouts the most advantage for making independent choices. What can adults do to give scouts the confidence and the will to be creative and make independent choices. Face it, adults are part of the program structure. Lets not demonize them, but instead put forward experiences and ideas that give the scouts the best program.

 

Barry

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" When the TG came for his SMC there would be no check off for POR or for Scout Spirit on my watch."  

 

Seriously?  Being appointed TG means he is IPOs facto not meeting the expectations for that post ?  Then why did you appoint him TG?  And what does being TG have to do with Scout Spirit?  Stosh, get some sleep.  You are obviously not an Owl.

 

"No football was ever harmed in a game of British Bulldog!"

 

Well, yes.   :D 

 

"All election cycles are adult driven because the adults give the scouts a structure to start from."

 

All "alls" are never correct.  :rolleyes: 

​

I was with one troop for 25 years where the PLC decided the election cycles and position qualifications.  Sometimes they liked six months.  Mostly, they liked a year on the theory that six months barely have a new PL time to get settled in.

 

​Having noted those facts, the leader is whoever is leading, regardless of titles.  The SPL and SM have to watch for that factor and try to shape a rational result.  Always.  :laugh: 

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@@Adamcp, I can attest to everything everyone here is saying. It's not just the scouts that get stuck in a rut. A few years ago my plc was based on a 6 month rotation, I decided who was in what patrol, scouts essentially played nose-goes to figure out who the next PL was, and you know, they just didn't really act like patrols. That's the troop I got and I figured it was the way was. But I did realize I wanted change. I had and still have no grand plan but I see the goal. I make small changes. The first was to get the best scouts as PL. Rather than me deciding who would be PL I did something similar to an OA election. The only scouts that could be PL were those nominated by the troop with at least half the votes. It was then up to the scout on whether he wanted to run. All this did was convince the scouts that this is an important job. We haven't had to do that since because now everyone realizes the PL is important. Soon after that, at the next cycle of new webelos I told the PLC to figure out the new patrols as I knew I sure can't do it. I did ask them to look out for the young scouts. The patrols broke out by personality. That was great for the well behaved personalities but there was some rough parts with the, shall we say, biker gang/mean girls patrol (loud scouts with drama included). Summer camp was a bitch with this patrol, I had a meeting with all the scouts and the parents and we talked about the Oath and Law, some scouts were crying, parents were incensed that I wasn't going to break up the patrol and spread them out among the "good" patrols, one parent took his kid away in a huff (my son would never take a dump in the woods!). Anyway, we went and collected garbage for a few hours one day just to develop some teamwork, and you know, it all worked out. They are a tight group now. I believed in these kids and a lot of parents didn't. The last thing any of my patrols want now is to split up their patrols.

 

Rule #1 about getting the patrol method working: it takes time and patience. You gotta believe in these scouts and give them the support they need, whatever that might look like. One PL begged for help with some scouts that just wouldn't help clean. I put together a teamwork training session that lasted an hour. This may sound insane, but at the end a couple of the scouts in that patrol said "huh, I guess we do have to help out. It makes things better." Hello! You're absolutely right that they have no experience and haven't seen it before. They have to learn, slowly. You can't just dump everything on them at once.

 

The next issue I have is getting them to want to do something without the adults around. You'd think they'd want to but they don't trust themselves. I trust them, but they've never done it. A hundred yards is fine, they've done that, five miles is not. So, I created a challenge for them. The next campout involves a hike and each patrol will go on the route they want, and there will be no adults around. They would not have chosen this on their own. I have tried but no luck. It's time to take the binky away. One PL is really hesitant about this. He's worried about a couple of immature scouts in his patrol. Another scout said he has to review his map skills. The really cool thing is the scouts are taking this seriously.

 

Rule #2, they need some prodding and a whole lot of support. I regularly call scouts and ask what they need help with. I know, the SPL should be doing this but we just aren't there yet.

 

Rule #3, trust is huge. There needs to be mutual respect and it takes time to develop. The adults and scouts need to trust each other, and it has to be earned. If the scouts trust you then they will listen to you. The same goes the other way.

 

You can help them make decisions by limiting their number of choices. As they grow they'll need less of this.

 

Rule #4, I don't think there's a goal line. It's not like one day I'll say we made it, we're boy led, this is it and there's nothing more to do. We talk about growth for boys but I'm starting to think troops grow as well. Troops that have been doing this for a long time are way ahead of my troop. I'm hoping that once my PLs get good at leadership one of them will make a fine SPL. But we are miles ahead of where we were back when it was "I don't want to be PL, it's your turn."

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Since when is being a dictator the way to take care of your boys?  The first suggestion I would have for the NSP would be dump the TG.  NO TG is better than a bad one.  When the TG came for his SMC there would be no check off for POR or for Scout Spirit on my watch.

 

In all seriousness, I don't think any of my boys would dare to be dictator around their patrol members.  Not with getting voted out in a heart beat being held over their head.  :)

 

That's the funny thing. The TG was essentially appointed by adults, and had a good performance in front of us. Since the new Scouts have always been dictated to by parents, teachers, coaches, den leaders, ad nauseum, when the TG started telling them what to do, they did it unquestionably. And when it came time for elections, they voted him PL without opposition. THE KIDS THESE DAYS HAVE NOT BEEN TRAINED TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES! (Caps for emphasis, OK maybe a little bit of raising my hands and screaming in frustration at today's youth. ;) )

 

Problems were not discovered until NSP members started having BORs. When I started talking to the older Scouts about the situation, they elaborated some of the challenges they had with him. They were not happy to have him rejoin their patrol, but they "can handle him, no problem."

 

And agree no TG is better than a bad TG. My son's NSP had an absentee TG, and they learned fast. The bad TG caused problems even after his term as TG and PL with the NSP.

 

All,

 

Regarding believing in the Scouts, this is very important. You got to have faith in them to do things. Will they mess up on occasion? Yes because for some this is their first time taking charge. Will they come up with different ways to do things? Yep you can learn a thing or two as well. But most importantly IF YOU TRUST THEM AND GIVE THEM A HIGH LEVEL OF EXPECTATION, THEY WILL PERFORM!

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" When the TG came for his SMC there would be no check off for POR or for Scout Spirit on my watch."  

 

Seriously?  Being appointed TG means he is IPOs facto not meeting the expectations for that post ?  

 

Seriously? With everything I have said about boy-led, one concludes that the TG is appointed?  By whom?  Only for a brief time did either of my troops have an SPL to appoint, so I'm assuming that others are assuming the SM appoints?  Nope, not gonna take the fall for someone else's decision. 

 

My "structure" that everyone raves needs to be established by adult directive is not necessary.  I simply go back to the basic patrol-method concept and the patrols and their structure are automatically established by the boys.  6 to 8 boys one of them the "leader" i.e. PL.  From there they expand as needed and as training suggests might be helpful in the operation of the patrol, leadership expands as does teamwork.

 

Little overwhelming being alone as PL, maybe working with an APL would help?  Got too much paperwork?  Maybe a Scribe would help.  Don't know where to find things easily?  Maybe a QM would help. 

 

Don't know what those POR's are?, maybe some TLT or GBB leadership training would help, let me know if you're interested"  The structure builds itself by the needs identified by the boys.

 

There's a lot of talk about troop elections, my troops have never had a "troop" election.  Everything is decided on at the patrol level.  Lots of talk about PLC's. Briefly at the time of the SPL, the boys started one, do the PL's gather to share notes.  Up until then, the  "PLC" issues are handled with a phone call or quick  discussion among the PL's.  That happened only after there were 4 PL's  and  they felt the need to have any structure to their meeting and tried an SPL.

 

So lets look and see where the TG comes from.  He volunteers.  He isn't appointed, elected, or selected.  He just starts doing the job.  As long as he does his job of taking care of the new boys he's fulfilling his POR requirement.  If he is being a "dictator" as the conversation was referring to earlier then he may think he's taking care of his boys, but do the boys think that?

 

Whereas the PL signs off on patrol member's advancement, who signs off on the PL's?  :)  The other PL's do.  How about the TG?, QM?, Scribe?, etc.?  Generally those receiving the leadership of those people have their opportunity for input.  Generally the PL's defer the Scout Spirit and POR fulfillment to the SM.  They have never felt comfortable with that and at their directive, I as SM support their decision.    In the case of a dictatorial TG, the first person(s) I would inquire information from would be the people he is leading.  I'm not going to not do what the PL's have asked me to do. 

 

At a patrol gathering:

 

SM:  Boys, your PL has asked me to talk to you about Johnny, your TG.  How's he been doing?

 

Boys: He's bossy and demanding.

 

SM:  Mr. PL is that true?

 

PL:  Yes, I'm supposed to be leading the patrol but he kept making decisions without me and running the show.

 

SM:  Why didn't anyone say something to me?

 

Boys:  We were afraid.

 

SM:  Mr. PL, why didn't you say something?

 

PL:  I was afraid, too.

 

SM:  But you're the PL.  A Scout is Brave, and as a leader maybe it would be necessary to do brave thinks in order to take care of your boys.  If the boys want you as PL, maybe some thinking about those things in that area might be helpful.

 

Then at the SMC:

 

SM:  I visited with the patrol you were helping and they weren't all that happy.

 

TG:  They wouldn't listen to me.

 

SM:  Why would they, they're supposed to be listening to their PL.

 

TG:  But I outrank him.

 

SM:  Really?  We all know that in this troop the PL's are the highest rank.  The TG is there to help the new PL's, not run the show.  Did you help or did you take over?

 

TG: I guess I took over.

 

SM:   Well,  then, do you think you did the job of TG for these guys?

 

TG:  I guess not.

 

SM:  And how about this part of the Scout Oath where it says "help other people at all times?"  How's that working with you and the patrol?

 

TG:  That's not good either.

 

SM:  So, how are we going to sign off on these requirements then?  Maybe more time to try it differently?  Maybe try something other than TG? What do you think?.....

 

One either wins or they learn.

 

Not only is the PL under the spotlight for not speaking up earlier, but also the TG for not taking care of the boys and to a certain extent the members of the patrol for not speaking up.  They had a problem, no one took leadership in dealing with it.  It's not just the TG's fault, but the PL had a part in the problem as did all the boys.

 

So, is not signing off at this point on the Scout Spirit and POR for the TG a punishment or a learning opportunity?

 

In reality, as SM I would have noticed the demanding TG long before this and would have worked with him at his directive.  If he didn't think he needed help or wouldn't pick up on the suggestions offered, then he's on his own.  He's made a decision and I'll let him run with it.  We're talking 12-15 year olds here.  They have plenty of time to make Eagle.  A little slip in timing to learn is not a big deal.

 

Then why did you appoint him TG?  And what does being TG have to do with Scout Spirit?  Stosh, get some sleep.  You are obviously not an Owl.

 

No, I'm a Beaver, and I do what it takes to get the dam job done.

 

"All election cycles are adult driven because the adults give the scouts a structure to start from."

 

All "alls" are never correct.  :rolleyes: 

​

I was with one troop for 25 years where the PLC decided the election cycles and position qualifications.  Sometimes they liked six months.  Mostly, they liked a year on the theory that six months barely have a new PL time to get settled in.

 

​Having noted those facts, the leader is whoever is leading, regardless of titles. or ages  The SPL and SM have to watch for that factor and try to shape a rational result.  Always.  :laugh: 

 

In my troops the SPL and SM are both in the supporting role to the PL who's directing the patrol-method in the troop.  They don't shape anything, they take their cues from the PL's.

Edited by Stosh

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"Rule #2, they need some prodding and a whole lot of support. I regularly call scouts and ask what they need help with. I know, the SPL should be doing this but we just aren't there yet."

 

They sure do.  But under the Patrol Method is this not primarily a responsibility of the PLs? PLs, in turn, might delegate this duty, in some aspects, to the Patrol Scribe or ASPL.

 

If the PL discovers some need that he wants help with, he can communicate with the SPL  who can go to the SM as needed.  Maybe a training session on a particular problem is required, Mr. Head Trainer.

 

A regular part of PLCs I have seen is the SPL going around the table asking each PL how "things are going" in his respective patrol.

 

The SPL, in turn, should be watching for signs of problems in the patrols and identifying situations where a PL needs support..

 

If we are talking about advancement, that activity is primarily to be going on in the patrols.  

 

"[Patrols are] ... small groups of Scouts who camp together, cook together, play together, and learn together."    B.S.A. , Orientation for New Scout Parents (2016).

 

"[The patrol members] interact in a small group outside the larger troop context, working  together as a team and sharing the responsibility of making their patrol a success."   B.S.A., Scouting.org (2016)

[emphasis added]

 

"[The patrol is] the place where boys learn skills together, take on leadership responsibilities, perhaps for the first time."  B.S.A., Scouting.org (2014)

 

"Patrols will sometimes join with other patrols to learn skills and complete advancement requirements. [emphasis added] . . . At other times they will compete against those same patrols in Scout skills and athletic competitions.  B.S.A., Scouting.org (2016)

 

 

Helpful adults do not instinctively do things this way.  When they see the pancake burning, their instinct is to be "helpful."

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"With everything I have said about boy-led,"

 

Stosh, I have tremendous respect for you as a Scouter, but none of us is the final arbiter of what is, or is not, Boy Scouting, though many seem to think so.

 

No one abandons BSA Boy Scouting without thinking their personal way is better,   

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@@TAHAWK

 

The only difference I see between what have said and what you are saying is the flow of leadership.  In your model the leadership flow is from the SM to the SPL to the PL's.  In my troops the flow is the opposite.  The PL give directive to the SPL as to where he can support the work of interpatrol activities.  The SPL never has sway over the autonomy of the patrol.  Two patrols want to go to the same summer camp, the SPL helps with the logistics of getting them there.  Two other patrols want to go to a different camp, the SPL works to make that happen for them.  Never does the SPL tell the 4 patrols they all have to go to the same camp.  If he does, he runs the risk of having half his boys "find other things to do" at camp time and one is immediately dealing with an attendance issue, and the SPL instead of being helpful has thrown into jeopardy the advancement of boys in half the troop.  But because they didn't go to camp it's their own fault, but it's based on a decision of the SPL.

 

I see this all the time in troops.

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