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doakley

Does the SPL Always Lead on a Campout?

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I've seen it too where each camp out has a new effective SPL.  I don't mind the service patrol / program patrol approach.  It can work.  But the PLC is always the PLC and the SPL is always the SPL.  IMHO, rotating camp leadership or picking the next scout leader just messes things up the same way rotating the scoutmaster each month would mess up the scoutmaster position.

 

IMHO, do simple things that promote patrol method and let the SPL oversee the PLs and the other positions.

 

What few simple things ?  

 

Never combine patrols. ... or as never as possible 

  • I cringe agreeing with Stosh and Beavah but it's one of the key points.  "Once a ####, always a ####."  
  • It's the only way to promote patrol loyalty and spirit.  Forming patrols on the fly for a camp-out subverts the patrol method big time.  
  • If one scout is on a camp out, he gets to bring his own food.  If he doesn't like that or if it happens too often, he can choose to switch patrols because his patrol mates are not supporting him and he can choose to be a different patrol.  It's a learning lesson for everyone.  It also promotes having that scout encourage his patrol mates to go on the camp out.

Always have the SPL lead the big group.

  • Switching or taking over just subverts the SPL and will frustrate the SPL.
  • The SPL needs to be in-charge continually to become used to standing up in front of everyone.

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Adults and older scouts are the most resistant to change. Have you spoken to the adults?

 

In general, not always, but in general change comes from the youngest to the older scouts, not the other way around. 

 

Have you developed an explanation for the reason you want to change the present program? "Because I say so" never comes off well to the scouts or adults. You should rehearse your reasoning over and over in your mind until you can say a simple one or two sentence explanation that is as coherent to the 11 year old as it is to the adult leaders. It doesn't hurt to be able to reference BSA material as well so that you don't appear as some narcissist trying to prove your new mouse trap ideas of scouting. Your troop is doing it wrong, be able to show them why.

 

You say you have read everything, but have you read the PL and SPL handbooks? Instead of the SM trying to explain how patrols should work, let the books explain it for you with you working along with the boys as a student. As much as possible, don't push, follow along. In fact, make those handbooks required reading for all the adults working with the scouts so that everyone understands the direction YOU are going. 

 

You have our support and I'm excited to watch your troop progress.

 

Barry

 

Barry,

 

Yes I have read the SPL and PL's handbook and freely give them out to all. You're right though, not all the adults are onboard yet and I'm still not the acting SM. It's true that the only ones that can affect change in a troop is the SM, COR and CC. I have to be patient while trying to steer this aircraft carrier. I'm dealing with years of "this is how we've always done it." I expected push back from adults, but I was really surprised when I spoke to the PLC about Scouts choosing their own patrols. They looked at me like people who were just released from a gulag after 50 years. No one has ever tried that before-it can not be done. 

 

Since the patrol method is probably the most important method, I thought that was sufficient justification. But you're right--I have to sell it to the Scouters and Scouts to whom the patrol method is completely foreign. I must practice patience.

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I have worked oh probably about 10 troops that decided to make the same change you are making and not one of them had their older scouts (14 and older) fully sold on the idea. I guess we develop our minds believing that our program is THE program for scouting, even if we don't like it. Anyway, every troop included the older scouts into the change plan, but all of them eventually split their program where the young scouts made the troop change and the older scouts were allowed to do their thing, whatever pleased them. And I guess the joke is on them because that is kind of the patrol method anyway.

 

NOW I'm not saying to expect doom and gloom with the older scouts, I know someone will figure out a way to get older scouts on board.  I'm hoping you are that person and will teach us so that we can spread the word. Give a try for a while, but if the older scouts become a hindrance to progress, give them their program they want. Funny thing, the older scouts don't leave, they just do their thing until they age out, most earn their Eagle. 

 

Just a heads up. Not trying to suggest a course of action.

 

Barry

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Oh yes, and about that patience thing; there is a reason why it is the first trait to describe "Love" in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

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... Since the patrol method is probably the most important method, I thought that was sufficient justification. But you're right--I have to sell it to the Scouters and Scouts to whom the patrol method is completely foreign. I must practice patience.

Try not to think of one method as more important than the others.

 

Usually the most important one at any given time is the one they're not good at. If a patrol is going out every weekend and deftly robbing liquor stores to buy drugs under the association of some adult thugs ... ideals is the most important method. (Sounds extreme, but if you read some of the early press releases about scouting, the notion that boys would organized into groups of friends is taken for granted, but the purpose for peace and good in the world is highlighted.)

 

Regarding ILST, I would suggest you have the SPLs (incoming and outgoing) lead it. And have them think of the most entertaining way to deliver it. (Some troops like a campout, others an afternoon before a bowling night, others as part of consecutive meetings, etc ...)

Edited by qwazse

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Why would the older scouts want to change from having the adult do all the work to a system where they would be expected to work.  It's kinda like getting dumped off welfare, of course they aren't going to like the change.

 

Going from not being expected to grow up to all of a sudden now make the announcement that I have to mature?  Not in the cards for most of the older boys.

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Welcome to the virtual cracker barrel, Doakley. 

It will be hard to change an "easy" Troop.  Easy, as in it's "easy" to let the adults do it.

Check with your Council and District folks. Commissioners, etc.   Is there a NAYLT  course available for your boys?   You can ask about that in your WB course, too. 

! What a ticket....

When you are the SM, Officially,   get together with your CC and COR and talk to them about your vision of what a Scout Troop should be.   Get their support. 

Then, talk to the Council and District Training folks (assuming you have some. You did take SLS and IOLS, yes? ) and ask about the Troop Boy Leader Training course that YOU can give your PLs and SPL.   It should be available to you thru the Council.   That is how you make the boys BELIEVE that they can do what you are asking, allowing them to do.  

One of my favorite anecdotes concerns the PLC I sat in on one time.  The newby SPL was mulling over the calendar the SM had suggested and the PLs were looking at.  The SM kept asking "what do YOU think?"  Finally, the SPL said, incredulously, "you mean, I can make THAT decision?"  The SM said "DUH...." and the meeting progressed .  It was a good troop for the next year.  

So:    Take your training, train your Scouts,  lead by example,  go to Round Table,   ignore your own Scoutson (as appropriate) and  gently remind your other adult leaders that "No Adult should Do What A Scout Can Do."

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Our Troop functions similarly with ad hoc patrols for campouts.  Typically, the patrol leaders or assistant patrol leaders end up leading the patrols, but their members are shuffled.  We have around 50 guys but pull around 20 for campouts.  Before I arrived, the troop was very much adult led and troop method.  Started by having each patrol cook for itself.  Then having them pack their own gear.  Then having them decide on their own activities on outings.  At the same time, we took the adults and put them in the next campsite.  That's taken three years.

 

What folks have said about the older scouts and parents is absolutely correct.  Start change with the bottom up.  Preach boy-led to the younger boys and their parents.  In the three years I've been there, the SM and I have it so that there is pretty much no institutional reccolection of not being boy-led on campouts.  The adults have been taught to just stand around when the boys are packing the gear.  The SPL communicates with the PLs making sure everything is done.  The APLs help the PLs thereby learning what needs to be done.

 

My next goal is permanent patrols with the boys picking their patrols.  It is like Galleo saying the earth revolves around the sun.  The SMs have always assigned the patrols on an annual basis.  Probably why the patrol names are always "A Patrol", "B Patrol" etc.  I had a major victory when a second year scout asked if they could form their own patrols for a campout... as the ASM in charge of the outdoor program I said "give it a try!"  They formed two perfect patrols.  Trying to get that to happen for summer camp.  Maybe I can sell it as, "let's give it a try... the adults can always rearrange the patrols if necessary..." :D

 

As for the permanent patrols, I'm going to give it a shot next year, but it may not catch hold until I become SM the following year and have the help of a thoroughly indoctrinated SPL.

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I have an interesting problem. We elected a new SPL in March. Unfortunately he's moving this summer with 3 months left in his term. My ASPLs are all chomping at the bit to be SPL.

 

At the PLC I left them to decide how to resolve the issue. I was expecting them to come up with a contrived rotation allowing each one to take a chance at leading. Why? They are close friends and likely didn't want to step on one another. I figured they'd construct a method to share power until the election in September.

 

Instead, after about a 5 minute discussion of several ideas, they rested on having a new election. They figured that, despite what they might individually want....or want as a leadership group, ultimately the power resided with the troop to elect the SPL. They went further to recommend that the SPL leaving be given a leadership project while he's finding a new troop so he doesn't lose any time toward his POR.  :eek:

 

I love the feeling you get when you realize you weren't even needed in a meeting. :D

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