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Patrol leader election questions

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My boys don't do any speechifying at all.  As a matter of fact they normally don't say anything when it comes to leadership selection.  They just get put into the job because the boys in the patrol recognize what the boy is already doing.  They get put into PL positions and stay their as long as they function as one who takes care of the patrol.  As long as that happens they are more than happy to follow him.

 

Initially some of the boys get selected based on popularity, but that last only a week or two before they replaced by the scout who's really doing the job anyway.

 

This applies to any and all POR's   If you ain't doing the job, someone who will do it will replace you.

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Hi, everyone. Thought I would join this most interesting debate. I am a scout leader in Brazil, not part of the BSA, but part of WOSM nonetheless, but the issues faced in the application of the Patrol System are often the same. Rest assured you guys seem to be much better at being boy-led. Here I sometimes feel that the Patrol System is just for show, at the end of the day scout masters are doing all the work, just providing an opportunity for boys to have fun. (By the way, here we are co-educational, so most troops are mixed, in my group we have separate girl troop and a boy troop). I have recently been battling with the idea of PL elections every 6 months, as opposed to none at all; our troop has been old fashioned in this matter, and PLs are appointed by the PLC and SM, which sometimes means pulling a scout out of another patrol. I would like to adopt PL elections, my concern was always that a PL who is not reelected could somehow feel demoted and lose motivation. Does that happen? In other aspects, our troop is pretty good at using the PLC in comparison to other Brazilian troops, who guide the SM in what the program is to be; but weekly meetings are Troop meetings prepared by the Scout Masters. Patrol meetings occur maybe once a month and generally are some form of outing. Patrols camp on their own (with an adult present for security) about twice yearly, and the troop holds two 3-night camps and one long July camp every year.

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Fear not, Thomas, most troops here only know the Patrol method as a rumor.

Edited by TAHAWK
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Yeah, what you are describing @ is the majority of troops in the BSA.  It seems to be difficult to actually trust the boys to do what is right and so parents and scout leaders seem to tether the boys to make sure no one gets sued.

 

I find as a result a lot of frustration and rebellion (which is normal for this age group) to make life a lot more difficult for the adults than it has to be.

 

If done right, the patrol method is far easier to teach and maintain over the years.  I really don't want to do that much work on my own, it's a recipe for burnout.

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Stosh, fortunately in Brazil (at least in my group) we have much less "tethering", less concern on getting sued. Our activities are pretty wild, we camp in places with zero infrastructure, and are able to make use of the Patrol Method in other ways. At camp, patrols are very independent in building their campsite, all games are per patrol.

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Fear not, Thomas, most troop here only know the Patrol method as a rumor.

.

Wow. Sounds worse than here, when you put it that way. The issue here is more an inability of the adult leaders to fully grasp that the Patrol Method is more than just a prolonged being a team for playing games at a meeting.

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But for my question - does a PL who is not reelected feel demoted, and lose motivation?

 

Sure. That is only natural. It is up to the SM to work with that Scout to motivate them and help them find another troop level position.

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Stosh, fortunately in Brazil (at least in my group) we have much less "tethering", less concern on getting sued. Our activities are pretty wild, we camp in places with zero infrastructure, and are able to make use of the Patrol Method in other ways. At camp, patrols are very independent in building their campsite, all games are per patrol.

 

Do I have to learn Portuguese to move to Brazil?  Sounds like the kind of scouting we can only dream about here in the states.

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Stosh, come visit our upcoming July Camp. It will be 8 days long, in the middle of nowhere. Cold stream for bathing. Latrines dug by scouts. Each patrol builds their own patrol kitchen and cooks own meal, on fire. Both the girl troop and boy troop will be camping jointly on this occasion.

Edited by ThomasG-from-Brazil

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It's reminiscent of BSA scouting of 50 years ago.  We haven't progressed since then, we have digressed.

 

I have done similar things with my church youth groups.  They are co-ed as well and with less restrictions have a great time as you well know.

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But for my question - does a PL who is not reelected feel demoted, and lose motivation?

It shouldn't.  Being selected to be PL isn't a "promotion", its a task assignment, and all tasks come to an end (eventually).

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But for my question - does a PL who is not reelected feel demoted, and lose motivation?

 

In my troops, the answer is honestly a YES.  My boys know that there are no terms or limits to being a PL or any other officer in the troop/patrol.  If they are selected, they can stay as long as they wish.  If they are not doing their job, they are replaced by someone who will, so it is a demotion.  However, a lot of the scouts use that as a wake-up call and start tending to business and eventually will be reselected into that position if not in their patrol, in another patrol watching out for a good PL candidate to pick.  It's a bit of a competition kind of dynamic working in the troop.  Boys working to be good leaders generally get put into the leadership positions. 

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But for my question - does a PL who is not reelected feel demoted, and lose motivation?

Which would you prefer: counseling one youth to take it as an opportunity to serve in different ways, or having all of your youth rely on an entitlement system?

 

One of our scouts was put out that he was not elected SPL. As a troop instructor, he thought he had built relationships with more scouts in the troop, and he thought the boy who did get elected wasn't the most active or organized. Both observations were true, and lately he has found himself having to coach the troop more, so I have started to give him "coaching tips" so he can refine his leadership style for the next week.

He initially said, "This isn't my position."

To which I replied, "I don't look at patches on sleeves, I look at results."

Last meeting he started to apply some of those tips. At the end of the meeting, I suggested he look into an activity that he would like to plan for the summer ... Something older scouts might enjoy. Next week, I plan on teaching him about "after action review."

 

I think if he persists, he'll command more respect by the time the next election roles around.

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Which would you prefer: counseling one youth to take it as an opportunity to serve in different ways, or having all of your youth rely on an entitlement system?

 

One of our scouts was put out that he was not elected SPL.

 

In my troop that isn't a big deal.  :)  The way BSA has it set up and under the management dynamic, it becomes THE prestigious job in the troop.  After the oooh's and aaah's grow wearisome, they really don't have much to actually do when it comes to leadership.  Management yes, leadership, no.  My PL's ask a boy to be the SPL because they know that scout will support them in their patrol emphasized activities.  It's a job, and a difficult one at times.  Not something that promotes prestige.  

 

As a troop instructor, he thought he had built relationships with more scouts in the troop, and he thought the boy who did get elected wasn't the most active or organized. Both observations were true,

 

"Building relationships"?  What's with that?  Political schmoozing?  This is why the SPL election becomes a popularity contest and not really a selection process for legitimate support of the program.  Besides just making observations it might do him well to understand WHY a less active and less organized scout would win the election.  One either wins or they learn!

 

and lately he has found himself having to coach the troop more, so I have started to give him "coaching tips" so he can refine his leadership style for the next week.

 

Perfect!  He is now decided on serving others.  The first and only valid step in true leadership!

He initially said, "This isn't my position."

 

:)  If one is taking leadership seriously, ALL positions are theirs! 

To which I replied, "I don't look at patches on sleeves, I look at results."

 

Yep!  A patch doesn't make one a leader.

Last meeting he started to apply some of those tips. At the end of the meeting, I suggested he look into an activity that he would like to plan for the summer ... Something older scouts might enjoy.

 

 Doing something nice for someone else is just one of the many facets of taking care of your boys.  Nothing wrong with having a good time doing it. 

 

Next week, I plan on teaching him about "after action review." 

 

And keep records of what worked and what didn't so as to better serve next time.

 

I think if he persists, he'll command more respect by the time the next election roles around.

 

No, he'll be recognized as someone who can be trusted to get the work done, who cares about those who he is working with.  The only respect needed is self-respect for knowing that one is going the job well and it's to help others at all times.  Those are the eggs in one's basket worth having.

 

While I'm not a strong advocate for SPL's in troops of less than 4-5 patrols, boys like this are the key to having an excellent boy-led, patrol-method program.  5 boys like this as PL's of the 5 patrols?  Oh to live in a perfect world!

 

Well done! 

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