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Hedgehog

"You Guys Were Awesome!"

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Hedge, you indicated your son, the SPL was quite busy at camp..... how big is the troop, how many patrols, and how many troop officers did he have to help him?  You mentioned an ASPL was functioning as a QM when they were unloading the equipment.  Where was the QM? or isn't the troop big enough to justify a QM?  You see, it's not an issue of right vs. wrong, it's an issue of troop structure fitting the needs of the boys.  How can the structure take care of the boys or do we have a structure just because BSA makes patches for POR's so the boys can sit around and get advancement credit?  I"m not suggesting this is happening in troops, I'm only indicating I have seen many cases where this is happening and I don't think it's unique only to my neck of the woods.  Having a troop of 75-100 boys without an SPL would be stupid, without a QM, Scribe, etc. would be ridiculous.  Add on Bugler, Chaplain Aide, DC's and other staff positions it makes it mandatory to have troop staff to coordinate and take care of the PL's and their boys.

 

I use GBB's Patrol Method of making sure every boy in the unit has a leadership job to function at.  Whether he be a patrol QM or the troop QM it makes no difference.  The only difference between a patrol QM and a troop QM is the patrol QM is worried about his boys in his patrol getting the right equipment at the right time.  The troop QM makes sure he's successful at that.  Same for the SPL, the troop Scribe, etc.  All these troop level officers are there to insure the success of the PATROLS.  If that's happening, then I as SM am happy.

 

Stosh:

 

Troop is around 47 boys (were over 50, had a bunch of guys age out and a couple of guys join).  We had 25 boys at camp.

 

One of our issues is that we have ad hoc patrols on campouts because we see around 50% of the guys attending any particular campout.  Leadership on campouts is appointed by the SM or the  ASM in Charge of Outdoor Program (me) based on Elected Position, Appointed Position, Rank,  Grade and Experience  (we don't appoint an ad hoc SPL on campouts unless there are three or more patrols - the elected SPL or appointed ASPLs come on camp outs they are part of the adult patrol).  There are the guys (like my son) who have only missed one campout in three years and others that only attend one campout a year.  The other issue we have is that the patrols change each year and are assigned by the SM.  The next issue we have is that the PLs are elected by the entire Troop (i.e. you vote for 4 PLs and one of them will lead your patrol).  Those are the constraints that I'm working with.  When I become SM at the end of next year, I have a number of gradual changes planned (as well as a couple that I'm sneaking in this year).

 

So summer camp is no different.  Three of the four PLs that had just been elected were going to camp.  They were paired with the APLs that they will have for next year.  Their patrols were then asigned by the SM.  SM selected my son to be SPL for summer camp based on his rank and experience (as mentioned in the first post, I stayed out of that decision).  SM (with my advice) also appointed two ASPLs for summer camp.  My son will be the TG for next year.  One of the ASPLs is going to be the QM for next year.  As i've mentioned in other posts, we don't do a NSP (although next year I think we will have one from crossing over until the end of the School Year) and we don't have a Venture Patrol (I've advocated for both, but wasn't able to make those changes).  

 

So at camp, we had an SPL, two ASPLs and three PLs. With the exception of one of the ASPLs who just finished 9th grade, all of the other leaders had just finished 8th grade.  With the exception of my son and one of the new PLs, none of the leaders served as a leader last year (son and new PL were APLs at camp last year and during the year with the regular patrols), none had been trained (except son and one PL had TLT and son had NYLT) and with the exception of my son, none of the boy leaders had served as an ad hoc PL on an outing (son was PL or APL on every outing last year).  So we had an eager but very inexperienced team of leaders.  That would typically result in a Troop this size being very much adult led at camp.  Fortunately, that did not happen.  My son took the lead and was helping and guiding the PLs.  He truly viewed his job as making sure his PLs suceeded.  He consciously put as much responsibility as possible on the PLs and APLs.  He viewed his role as doing all the campwide SPL duties and coordinating the activities of the patrols.  He set the tone for the week by his servant leadership -- his biggest concern was that everyone felt that they were responsible for their boys.  Based on my coaching over the past year, he even quoted you, telling the PLs that their job was to take care of their boys.  All of the boys put in a tremendous amount of effort during the week, not just my son - hence the theme of my original post: they all were amazing.

Edited by Hedgehog

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Yep, when I was SPL I didn't touch QM stuff unless asked. (Airing out wet canvas after a rainy trip might be an example of when

I'd be asked.) Never had a new scout patrol, just a new patrol of me my APL and bunches of crossovers, who after after a couple of years, became mighty fine PLs in their own right. I guess that's why I never felt my job was an imposition.

 

Never talked to the SM about it, unless I was in over my head. Went to JLT after being SPL for a while. Only then did I realize that patrols sometimes need a little help, and some people needed trained in what I thought came naturally. (Turns out I probably was learning by example and just didn't notice.) I also learned that boys from my neck of the world made light of burdens and city scouts were wimps, but that's a different story.

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Wow, Hedge, your son did a heroic job and the other leaders really stepped up.  That's one heck of an uphill battle, but stop and think for a moment.....  If your son and a few of his buddies can pull off this dramatic of a change after 1 week of summer camp, can this be an example of what might happen of the SM stepped back and let the boys have at it at this level when they get back home?

 

A troop of 50 boys where only half are active carries a heavy dead wood component dragging down the active boys.  There is no way any long term continuity can be established when it's apple-cart-upside-down at every turn.  Building the kind of trust necessary to bond together in a patrol takes time.  All the boys are learning is that nothing stays the same.  I had my Webelos boys from WB Ticket stay together and go into the Troop where they stayed together all the way and were not satisfied until they all Eagled.  One boy moved out of the area, but the other 5 stick together and no one dared step in between any of them.

 

I have over time had patrols merge, but did so on a cooperative agreement, no adults were involved and it was totally the boy's decision because both patrols had gotten down to 3-4 boys in each one.  That is different or of the Venture patrol takes on new members of more experienced boys, that's also a boy-driven decision. 

 

I stay as far away as possible when it comes to the makeup of the patrols, including the patrol leadership. 

 

:) You may have quoted me when you said the leaderss should be taking care of their boys, but here's another one, "Mr. SM, with all due respect, I would like the chance to try out my leadership....on my own." 

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Wow, Hedge, your son did a heroic job and the other leaders really stepped up.  That's one heck of an uphill battle, but stop and think for a moment.....  If your son and a few of his buddies can pull off this dramatic of a change after 1 week of summer camp, can this be an example of what might happen of the SM stepped back and let the boys have at it at this level when they get back home?

 

We've made a lot of progress in being boy-led in the outdoors over the past three years.  Both the SM and I knew that summer camp was the last vestage of adult lead and we were able to break that this year.  I'm hopeful building on that for next year.   I think we have five guys (including my son) that are doing NYLT this summer -- including the incoming SPL and ASPL.  We haven't had anyone NYLT trained before.  I'm making it clear that they have my support to change what they see fit.  Also, I'm coordinating a weekend training for the rest of the boy leaders to build on what they did at camp (which of course was built on the efforts of the SM and myself over the past three years).  

 

A troop of 50 boys where only half are active carries a heavy dead wood component dragging down the active boys.  There is no way any long term continuity can be established when it's apple-cart-upside-down at every turn.  Building the kind of trust necessary to bond together in a patrol takes time.  All the boys are learning is that nothing stays the same.  I had my Webelos boys from WB Ticket stay together and go into the Troop where they stayed together all the way and were not satisfied until they all Eagled.  One boy moved out of the area, but the other 5 stick together and no one dared step in between any of them.

 

I have over time had patrols merge, but did so on a cooperative agreement, no adults were involved and it was totally the boy's decision because both patrols had gotten down to 3-4 boys in each one.  That is different or of the Venture patrol takes on new members of more experienced boys, that's also a boy-driven decision. 

 

I stay as far away as possible when it comes to the makeup of the patrols, including the patrol leadership. 

 

 

Agreed.  I'm pushing for this year's patrols to be very close to last year's patrols (knowing that the SM will still appoint patrols).  Then I"m hoping I can convince people to keep the same patrols for the following year but allow boys to switch patrols if they want to at the end of the school year.  Although I'd like to just throw it open and say form your own patrols, I'm not in the position to do that at this point.  The best I can do is have the appointed patrols become permanent and give the boys the ability to switch.

 

In the meantime, I'm working to strengthen patrols both in our weekly meetings and on outings.  Those types of small changes can shift the troop culture over time.

 

 

:) You may have quoted me when you said the leaderss should be taking care of their boys, but here's another one, "Mr. SM, with all due respect, I would like the chance to try out my leadership....on my own." 

 

 

The line i've told the boys to use is, "I've got this Mr. Hedgehog."  I spent the whole week at camp telling boys that approached me to ask their question to their PL.  Over the past three years, one of the main changes is training the adult leaders to respect and foster boy-led.  All of the folks at camp this year (except the Camp SM) have joined in the last three years and I've been able to impress on them what boy-led means.

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Gee, Hedge, you're gonna make a good Heretic really quick like if you're not careful.  :)  (By the way, the smiley face doesn't mean "Just kidding" it means I'm please you have made good progress!)  The boys will eventually see the value in your efforts and the results will come out at the Eagle COH speeches if not before.    If your SM sees the results be sure to share the credit as a team effort on the adult's part.  He'll appreciate it and eventually may have a "Come to Jesus" moment, too.

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For many troops, the SPL is busy because he attends all the meetings and responsibilities for the unit leaders. In most summer camps, camp policies and information for the patrols are given to the unit leaders to pass down to their scouts. The SPL is that unit leader in some troops.

 

Barry

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Reserve "leader" for youth.  We should be "Scouters" or "adults."

 

They call them Senior Patrol LEADER and Patrol LEADER and ScoutMASTER for obvious reasons....  If one doesn't have Leader as part of their title, then get out of the way of those who do.

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Sign facing Scouter's section of seating at planning meeting for Dorchester International Brotherhood Camporee: "If you absolutely, positively have to contribute to the planning discussion, have a cookie instead."

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Reserve "leader" for youth.  We should be "Scouters" or "adults."

 

I actually told the Camp Program Director that I was getting confused when they kept using the word "Leaders" to refer to the adults.  The camp pretty much told the adults the same thing at the "Leader" meetings that they told the SPLs at the "SPL" meeting (actually, the SPLs seemed to get more specific information).

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I usually go to the "leaders" meeting at summer camp to get coffee.  Sometimes they have treats, too.  Other than that, they're pretty much a waste of time.

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Our Panaderia here down the street will be open in a while.  What kind of pie do you want, Stosh?

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Don't even get me going.  There's a restaurant in a small town in the west central part of the state called the Norskenook.  They make pies to die for!  I mean they do the from scratch, gotta be 65+ and a Norwegian grandmother to work in the bakery.   On March 14, 2015 (3.1415 etc) my whole family including my brother and his whole family who drove up from Illinois to have pie.  I took off from work to be there!

 

About 10 years ago they opened another restaurant in the northern part of the state..... 6 miles from the Boy Scout Camp!!  It was the worst week of my pie life.  So close and yet so far!

Edited by Stosh

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