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John-in-KC

Positions of Responsibility

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In general, it seems that the positions that count are troop-oriented. (PL is really accountable to the troop for the activities of his boys.) So, it makes sense that the service project have a "for the troop" objective.

 

Interesting phrase: "PL is really accountable to the troop for the activities of his boys."  @@qwazse and then we have:

 

" It's as if the troop was the fundamental unit of Scouting, whereas BSA says expressly that the patrol is the fundamental unit of Scouting." @@TAHAWK.

 

So which is it?  is the patrol or the troop primary?  With patrol method, I am leaning heavily with TAHAWK and going with the patrol controls the flow of activity in the troop, it is not just a sub-set section of a troop and the troop is the impetus behind the activities.  To me that is troop method.

 

I would find it very difficult to operate a patrol method program if everything is accountable to the troop.  If that be the case, just go with the troop method where everything IS ACCOUNTABLE to the troop. 

 

With POR's then, I would drop PL as a POR along with APL because it is the only patrol level position and would be useless in a troop method program where everything is run from a troop level.  Don't get me wrong, as UC I see this happening all the time especially in a micro-managing SM or SPL.  I wouldn't however, define such an operation as patrol method scouting.

 

The phrase just kinda struck me odd in that with my boys the PL is accountable to his boys, not the troop.  The phrase I use is PL's take care of your boys, not your troop.

Edited by Stosh

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Not according to the BSA.  APL is nothing more than sitting around waiting for the PL to now show up.  So what does the SPL handbook and PL handbook say about the APL's duties?  NOTHING!!  So if they are doing nothing they are doing their job!

 

So if the APL does anything they are doing something outside the role of an APL, and the only ones the PL bring to me are those that have done something substantially outside the role of an APL, like being a real asset to the PL and his work with his patrol. 

 

The SPL is supposed to be elected by all members of the troop by secret ballot... that's never happened in my troops.

 

The SPL is the top leader in the troop, that has never happened because the boys in the patrol method view their PL as the top leader.

 

My PL's generally are not elected by their patrols.  They can do rock, paper, scissors as far as I'm concerned and yes, I have seen them doing that occasionally.

 

The SPL is selected by the PL's.

 

So there are a lot of things I do that help maintain the patrol method in my troop and none of it is dictated by the adults, this is how the boys like it and it's my position that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.    Or as I have said before, there's nothing so bad in the patrol method of operation that can't be made worse by adults messing with it.

"Assistant Patrol Leader The assistant patrol leader takes charge of the patrol whenever the patrol leader is not available.

 

The duties of the assistant patrol leader include:

• Assist the patrol leader in planning and chairing patrol meetings.

• Lend a hand in leading patrol activities and building patrol spirit.

• Help the patrol prepare for troop activities.

• Assist the scribe in keeping current the advancement records of patrol members.

• Monitor the advancement progress of patrol members.

• Represent the patrol at patrol leaders’ council meetings when the patrol leader cannot attend.

• Set a good example.

• Wear the uniform correctly.

• Live by the Scout Oath and Law.

• Show Scout spirit.

 

In addition, the assistant patrol leader may be given special assignments such as working on a patrol service project or assisting certain patrol members with their advancement."

 

Boy Scouts of America, http://www.bsahandbook.org/PDFs/patrol.pdf[incorrect capitalization as in the original]

 

The SPL in the Petrol Method  is elected by all the Scouts in the patrols,  leads troop-level activities, chairs the PLC, and has one vote in the PLC deliberations, and represents the troop to the Troop Committee and staffs of camps and events.

 

In the Dale Olsen method, the SPL, line a PL,  does what SM Dale tells him to do  ("Line the boys up.")

 

And we have learned about the Stosh method.

Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.  It's what we do that counts.  

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It's what we allow the boy to do that counts.  :)

 

None of my boys "take charge" of anything.  They might "take the lead" on a project, or they might "Take care" of the boys, but never "take charge" of anything.  How they go about doing that depends on their particular style of leadership, some boys copy the style of their predecessor and others develop their own style.  Either way works for me.

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I've lost where this conversation came from now....but I'll comment on the APL thing.

 

 

That would be me ranting about the APL not being a position of responsibility.

 

 

 he really hasn't done much of anything as APL, but he has done every bit as much as the PL has....

 

In my son's case, he has been more of the patrol leader than than the PL.  Also had served as a PL on outings more than anyone in the troop.

 

he end, I can say confidently that he got little to almost nothing out of the PPt slide show (by his own admission and by my observation)

but what he has received is a great lesson in a contest of popularity vs resume.  I think he was just a tiny bit disappointed initially, but really not all that much.  It truly was one of those shoulder shrugg moments.....ehhh.....oh look, can I have one of those cookies?

 

 

I'm working on our training program  The first step is doing a leadership campout.  The second step was to decide to have the materials printed on 5 x 7 cardboard cards that are connected by two round binder rings (so they can flip through them or tear them out as needed).  It will cover the ILST materials PLUS teach real leadership.  I'll post the card deck when it is done for comments and feedback.

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It's what we allow the boy to do that counts.  :)

Sure.  So long as what we are talking about is the extent to which we allow the boys to "do" Boy Scouting as defined - or at least arguably defined - by the B.S.A.

 

We had a troop whose boys decided to wear only Army surplus camo duds and "patrol" around the camporee site at night, cutting tent ropes, setting trip-ropes on the trails to the toilets, and jumping out tpo BUGGA !!! isolated Scouts.  Now it was true that the inspiration for "Montgomery's Raiders" came from SM Montgomery, but equally no Scout decided the SPL is not the leader of the troop for troop-level stuff without inspiration.  They are expressly told what the SPL's role is in the Handbook and the PL Handbook.  

 

There are limits.  There are rules.  If you elect to ignore those limits and rules, you are running your own program.   

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Interesting phrase: "PL is really accountable to the troop for the activities of his boys."  @@qwazse and then we have:

 

" It's as if the troop was the fundamental unit of Scouting, whereas BSA says expressly that the patrol is the fundamental unit of Scouting." @@TAHAWK.

 

So which is it?  is the patrol or the troop primary? 

The answer is yes.

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Let's cut to the chase.

 

blw2's son is APL doing the PL's job because PL got elected and he's sitting back not doing training, basically taking up a leadership opportunity for another scout for the next 6 months.  The boys ask why, and all the adults do is recite back, "Because that's what the book says."  The situation festers for 6 months and if they haven't already checked out, they get a chance to correct the problem.  In the meantime the PL takes the slings and arrows from the adults who spend an inordinate amount of scout time trying to budge this boy off this butt.  To no avail!  So the boy doesn't get credit for being PL for 6 months.  In the meantime blw2's son had to postpone his leadership opportunity credit for 6 months and that too is a total waste of time for him as well.  Well, the PL needed his chance at a POR, well, so did blw2's son and in my book he and his fellow patrol members, once they realized their mistake needed a chance to correct things and were denied by the adults that are reciting "the book!"

 

And who's in complete control of this whole fiasco?  It ain't the scouts, that's for sure!

 

As SM I am there to create opportunities for the boys.  NOT ALL BOYS WANT THEM!  NOT ALL THE BOYS ARE READY FOR THEM!  And I really don't want to waste my scouting time teaching boys how to tolerate poor leadership for 6 months,  I would rather have them exposed to great leadership so they have a chance to learn something useful.

 

I'm not about to have to deal with the hassle of 6 months worth of dysfunctional patrol method just because the adults with the book forbid it.  I don't have the discipline problems that will naturally arise because of this entrenchment.  Attendance will be down, morale will be poor, the boys will argue and the campouts, if planned at all will be miserable for the boys.  The adults will need to constantly referee the situation.

 

I HAVE SEEN IT DONE MANY TIMES OVER THE YEARS!  I don't want to hassle with it.  I simply say, "It's your problem, you fix it."  99% of the time they dump the worthless PL and put in another one that will do the job.  The fix takes about a half hour.

 

On the other hand if the PL is doing a great job at the end of 6 months, he just stays on as long as he and the boys want him to stay on.  If that locks up a POR for other boys needing POR credit for advancement, it's the PL's job to find him a POR he can do.  It's all part of taking care of your boys.

 

Sorry, I just can't justify to my boys waiting for six months to pass before they can have a functional patrol that the adult leaders aren't yelling at their PL to get his act together.

 

The reason my leaders mature faster than a lot of others is because they don't need to wait 6 months for some slug to get out of their way.... just because some book said that's the way it needs to be done. 

 

So what about the slug PL's?  eventually they mature and get their opportunities as well.  My boys learn from their failures and failing is not a negative thing in the troop.  It's just a temporary setback. 

 

My POR leaders are either functional or they are history.  The boys simply have the authority to run the program effectively and if that isn't happening, they can fix it on the spot...and they do.

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The answer is yes.

 

Which is no answer at all.  It's not a yes/no question, it's a pick one or the other question.

 

One cannot be the servant to two masters.  Mt. 6:24

Edited by Stosh

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@@Stosh and @@TAHAWK, all you have to do is produce documentation that PL has no obligation to the the other patrols in his troop. Any wording that says, for example, he is not obliged to attend any PLC, so long as the APL is available?

 

But, I look at the PoR's for advancement, and the common thread is the time that should be devoted to more than your chosen/assigned fundamental unit in fulfilling that responsibility.

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When I had 4 patrols in the troop, the PL's did select an SPL to kinda coordinate things between patrols, attend SPL meetings, etc. kinds of things that assisted them in their duties in the patrols.  The patrol QM's however still continued to operate on a 4 patrol QM consensus without having to have a troop QM.  I suppose they could have created one if they really felt it necessary.  Maybe if they had gotten to 5-6 patrols it would be more of a necessity.

 

I kinda just left them alone with what they felt was necessary.  On the other hand we did have boys trying out the different POR's and journaling their activities for POR credit.  They might have 2 months worth of QM work, inventorying the troop and patrol inventories, repairing tents, recommending purchases, etc. then moving on to a couple of months as Chaplain Aide duties, did some classes for the NSP and marked down a month or two as Instructor, etc.  

 

While "the book" says these positions are to be assigned by the SPL, we didn't have an SPL so the boys kinda assigned themselves to the position.  Their journal documentation and evidence of the job being done and done well was enough for the PL to give POR credit under these conditions. 

 

Now that I am down to one patrol of all new boys (2 older boys) none of them are yet FC so they are in the process of trying out the different POR's and journaling their insights.  This is kind of a "on the job" training for the time when the POR will really count for advancement.  With no older boys, the new boys can pick and choose what they want to try out for leadership and not get in anyone's way of advancement while picking up valuable experience in the various positions.

 

Right now I am working with Web II boys who have grouped themselves into two "patrols" and have selected a "PL" for each.  My two boys in the troop are both functioning as TG's to this process.  So if asked, do I have PL's, my answer is "Kinda"  :)  Is it by the book?  Nope, one of the PL's was selected by rock, paper, scissors, the other by patrol consensus.  So what do the PL's do?  They organize the flag ceremonies (alternating) they take attendance, and keep their patrol members on task with what's going on with the AOL instruction.

 

Is any of this "by the book?"  Nope.  Are the boys learning things?  Yep,  Are they having fun?  Yep.  Are they excited about going camping this weekend?  Yep.  Are they going to be joining up with the troop the end of the month?  Yep.  Is the SM about to change the way he does things?  Nope.  :)

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Re: nonfunctional PL

If one has a Boy Scout Troop, the Scouts are most certainly in charge.  The SPL, as chair of the PLC, or any other member may raise the problem in the PLC.  A PLC member may suggest the solution of a new election in that patrol.  If the votes are there, there is a new election and the non-performing PL may be replaced by the performing former APL.  Or we can think its an adult problem and wring our hands or, worse, take over the Scouts' role in an effort to be "helpful."

 

Absolutely nothing in "the book" fixes unalterable terms of office for any leader or Scouter.  A suggestion of six months is made.  Thereafter, some talking head may act like it's a rule, but it's still a suggestion.

 

Absolutely nothing in "the book says a leader cannot be reelected. - over and over.  That might be limiting to that Scout and others, but it is not barred by any BSA rule .

 

If one is too busy ignoring "the book," one may miss these facts.

 

RE: "The answer is yes."  

The problem is the question,  If you ask, "Was the traffic light red, green, or amber," the answer by someone being precise is "yes."  The traffic light (normally) is red, green "or" amber (not purple or blue).

The SPL leads the troop level activities with the support of the PLs  (It's part of the PL job description to help lead the troop.) The PLs lead their patrols (and are free to ask for help form whomever).  So the better question is, "Is this a troop activity?"  If "yes," the SPL leads.  If "no," the PLs lead.

Edited by TAHAWK

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So if the patrol method is used, and there is no SPL, then there are no troop activities.  Works for me.  My boys seem to like the independence of the patrols and generally get along very nicely without the SPL and PLC. 

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Nothing said so far goes against the reasoning that the PORs that count for advancement are ones that call for boys interact as much with other patrols as their own.

PLs (It's part of the PL job description to help lead the troop.) The PLs lead their patrols (and are free to ask for help form whomever). So the better question is, "Is this a troop activity?" If "yes," the SPL leads. If "no," the PLs lead.

Before a meeting, PLs determine "wolfs are service, bears are program, crows are spirit" during a meeting, PLs sound off regarding the exploits of their respective patrols. They then have their break-out sessions. At which time a couple of PLs decide to team up and have a JASM teach them ultimate catapult design. They reconvene as a group for spirit patrol to lead closing. Service patrol cleans up.

 

At what point is this a troop activity? A patrol activity?

So if the patrol method is used, and there is no SPL, then there are no troop activities. Works for me. My boys seem to like the independence of the patrols and generally get along very nicely without the SPL and PLC.

 

Yeah sure. And your boys are hanging out with another troop for a weekend. Are they casting their independence aside?

When they double in size, and camp on opposite ends of the field and the PLs cross to the middle in the morning and say "hike at noon, meals at four, capture the flag at eight, taps at ten, got a bugler?" ... Are they performing a troop activity or patrol activity?

Edited by qwazse

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Stosh already stated that he tells his scouts to use his preference for selecting leaders because he doesn't want adult politics to get in the way. Who knows what he means by adult politics, but this whole discussion has made a bizarre turn because one Scoutmaster believes he is smarter than everyone else.

 

Bless his heart, Stosh has an agenda going on here, so he isn't listening to any other opinions. He is so deep into the theory of stosh scouts that he can't see the big picture. In a mature patrol method Troop, "Election cycles have very little influence on the performance of the overall program".

 

It keeps getting pointing out that if a scout is taking care of his boys as a Patrol leader (or even an Assistant Patrol Leader and Quarter Master), he isn't going to stop taking of his boys as the SPL. Take two identical scouts with the same experiences and ambitions; put one scout in a BSA Patrol Method  troop and the other in stosh scouts and the career path of those scouts will be close to the same.

 

How a scout gets into a position of responsibility doesn't change how he will take care of his boys. But stosh hasn't figured that out yet. I think because he hasn't been Scoutmaster in one troop long enough to see and understand the dynamics of scout growth during program growth and maturity. The forum had this very same discussion with Kudu. For stosh and Kudu, how a scout gets a position of responsibility is a make or break in the success of stosh and Kudu scouts. That's why they dictate how their scouts select their leaders. 

 

We just need to be patient. For me it is a test.

 

Barry

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Nothing said so far goes against the reasoning that the PORs that count for advancement are ones that call for boys interact as much with other patrols as their own.

Before a meeting, PLs determine "wolfs are service, bears are program, crows are spirit" during a meeting, PLs sound off regarding the exploits of their respective patrols. They then have their break-out sessions. At which time a couple of PLs decide to team up and have a JASM teach them ultimate catapult design. They reconvene as a group for spirit patrol to lead closing. Service patrol cleans up.

 

At what point is this a troop activity? A patrol activity?

Yeah sure. And your boys are hanging out with another troop for a weekend. Are they casting their independence aside?

When they double in size, and camp on opposite ends of the field and the PLs cross to the middle in the morning and say "hike at noon, meals at four, capture the flag at eight, taps at ten, got a bugler?" ... Are they performing a troop activity or patrol activity?

 

:)  The PL's don't "meet in the morning" to review the agenda, each patrol has their own agenda.  The only "troop" part of the process is that they both decided to go to the same event.  Troop A does not confer with Troop B at a camporee, ..Patrol A doesn't confer with Patrol B either.  Any interactivity with another group could mean a patrol within the same troop, a patrol outside the troop or maybe even a whole troop.  The POR doesn't change.  The PL is taking care of his boys.  If the boys don't want to do anything at that particular time but hang out at the campsite or take extra time for meal prep, or just go to open swim, the can do that too.  The only difference I have noticed is that the older boys tend to be more active and adventuresome than the New and Regular patrols.

 

And, yes, one summer I attended two different summer camps.... the older boys wanted a more primitive camp and the NSP wanted the local mess hall local camp.  the regular patrols split one one way (younger regular patrol) and the other the other way, (older regular patrol.  It kinda broke down between the age groupings.  It just meant I got to go to camp twice that year.

 

At that time they did have an SPL and he went with the older patrols and one of the PL's from the younger group was "acting SPL" for the week of camp when they wanted to have an SPL meeting of sorts.  It was the PL of the regular patrol and he did come back and fill in the New patrol PL of what was handed out at the meeting.  It was the same process used before they had an SPL.

 

I guess the case could be made that when they go to opening and closing flags and they are assigned a "troop" gathering area, it could be considered a "troop" activity even though they stand together as patrols of the troop.  :)

 

I guess the closest thing to a "troop" activity is our totally adult-led campfire in the evenings.  I have a campfire popcorn popper and the PL's know that when they smell popcorn they are invited required to attend the adult area campfire.  I use the time to take over the "program" and as I make buckets of popcorn, I chat with the boys about how their day went.  I totally control the conversation and insist on the boys having to raise their hands and stand when they answer.  I have in the past sent boys home and withheld Scout Spirit advancement for those that couldn't comply with the adult rules at these popcorn campfires.....

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