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Stosh

The Senior Patrol Leader is in charge.

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Where I've read people going off the rails with this "in charge" notion:

The folks who think BSA has gone soft on rank advancement, when they aren't ranting about BORs not being allowed to retest, point to the panoply of PoRs in which a life scout may serve. Some go so far as to say only SPLs should apply for Eagle.

It makes sense if Eagle is about being "in charge" .... one figures only boys who've actually been in charge of a whole troop have proven themselves Eagle material. Sounds really clever, until you realize that the position would reduce to a six month rotation, with some boys marking time when they could be doing something really awesome for their troop.

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"In Charge" implies a management issue.  Leading a troop and leading people are two different animals that often get confused as the same thing when in fact they are not.

 

I have seen many times where PL's TG's DC's show more leadership than SPL's, and even authoritarian SM's.

 

Out of all the Eagle speeches at ECOH's I have heard over the course of the past 35+ years, only one Eagle ever thanked his fellow scouts for making it possible for him to lead.  We hear the thanks go to parents, SM's, ASM's, some particular mentor, or whatever, but never for the faithful followers that would do anything and everything to have participated in helping this boy be a Real Eagle.

 

DC's are not "in charge of" anything, but a good DC will lead his den in the cross-over into scouts.

 

TG's are not "in charge of" anything, but the new boys hang on their every word.

 

PL's are not "in charge of" anything, but when one of their patrol members is a bit bummed out about not being at home, will sit by the fire until the boy quiets down and heads for bed.

 

GrubMasters are not "in charge of" anything, don't even get POR credit, but spend a lot of extra time coming up with nice things to eat, learns new recipes, holds out the mushrooms for one boy who doesn't like them, watches labels for peanut oils, and does the shopping, teaching others how to put together menus for advancement, and a whole host of other duties.

 

I am super glad my boys never learn how to be "in charge of" anything.  They are too busy learning how to be great leaders.

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I have seen a half dozen really good SPL's in our Troop and the funny thing is they all had different personalities and approaches. Some are very support oriented, others inspiring but hands off, some very hands on, and others very laid back and patient. The others in the Troop re-calibrated to the leadership style. 

 

It is, as been said many times, that it is the adults who are concerned with management issues. 

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That's because adults focus on getting the task done and the chaos out of the way.  I have found over the years that much of the "discipline" problems facing units is the mandated rules of the adults to minimize chaos at the expense of the the boy's opportunity to lead and have ownership in their program.  The Rule: "Thou shalt not have chaos." was never a part of any boy led unit, only those run by adults. 

 

These are young men, trying out their leadership styles (as @@Tampa Turtle says) and they need to be supported in that process, not shoe-horned into some management regimen that will produce some sort of a smooth operation of tasks.  People are always more important than the tasks when it comes to leadership because it is the people who are being lead.  No amount of by-law, policy statements, traditions, listed expectations etc. is going to develop a creating, dynamic leader  the boys love to hang with or the sensitive scout that doesn't say much, but when one is bummed out about something at home, he's the one that the boys will always go to.

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This discussion might have more value if the Scoutmasters preaching about real leadership weren't also bragging in other discussions of coaching their same scouts through EBORs. They trust their scouts to lead through the chaos of patrol method, but they don't trust them enough to review their scouting experience to a board of strangers.

 

I know, I know, I'm a cranky old man. But shesh, our discussions are really getting bizarre. We are making scouting way too hard for the average adult volunteer.

 

Barry

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This discussion might have more value if the Scoutmasters preaching about real leadership weren't also bragging in other discussions of coaching their same scouts through EBORs. They trust their scouts to lead through the chaos of patrol method, but they don't trust them enough to review their scouting experience to a board of strangers.

 

I know, I know, I'm a cranky old man. But shesh, our discussions are really getting bizarre. We are making scouting way too hard for the average adult volunteer.

 

Barry

How does the discussion about patrol method have less value because someone disagrees with you on advancement?

 

Before my ice cream cone analogy, should I have posted a disclaimer that readers might disagree with me on troop-crew associations, the use of generic but uncommon terms for the opposing sexual ethics of the day, or my general belief in forced marches in bear country as a tonic for self-absorbed teens?

 

You're allowed your soap-box. But I'm not seeing the relevance. Most SPLs who I know are Star or Life scouts. Their EBoR is a ways off. And if an SM (or ASMs or even a district) thinks they should or shouldn't be prepped for it has little to do with what it means to be "in charge" of a troop. Except maybe that's one more to tell a boy to prepare for:

 

BoR member: "What did it mean for you to be in charge of your troop?"

Scout: "Well sir, I read on scouter.com that it meant ..."

Edited by qwazse
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... our discussions are really getting bizarre. We are making scouting way too hard for the average adult volunteer.

 

I fully agree.  Bizarre.  Simple concepts are over analyzed and misappropriated to push agendas.  The most negative and abused concept now is "boy led".  It's negative and abused because it's used to inject agendas and to usurp key roles.  IMHO, I'd like to not hear boy led again for five to ten years.  It's just too abused.  

 

Scouting is a simple program that gets way way too over engineered ... by the adults.  

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How does the discussion about patrol method have less value because someone disagrees with you on advancement?

 .."

Disagree? Hmmm, do I disagree?

 

My point all along in the other discussion has been the program is quite capable of getting a scout prepared for the EBOR. Ok fine, some units have to deal with hostile boards, I understand that. Still, the message for scouters watching the forum for ideas needs to be that the program works and dealing with the un ordinary situation requires an unusual approach. To often we are driving topics to solutions that aren't necessarily practical in normal situations.

 

But there are some adults who in one discussion brag about their personal hands on approach with scouts, and preach complete hands off in a another discussion. When the tone of the forum goes that direction, it looses integrity and those adults needing help move on.

 

I love the ice cream analogy. It's clear and to the point and I'm sure it will be used long into the future by the few who read this forum. But it risk getting lost in the tall grass when the discussion gets in the details of defining responsibility and the adults role in the process. I would love a discussion of contributions that leads to simple applications that clarify how to use the ice cream cone analogy. But we never seem to get there anymore because we run into the wall of "my way or the highway" responses. And another great discussion dies off into another confusing gray area.

 

I am asking for patience and respect of others contributions. Consider each suggestion as one of many to chose from, not only one.

 

There are so many good ideas here. We should feel encouraged to contribute, not intimidated.

 

Barry

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I think we are all more concerned with the actual behavior than what label is put on it.  

 

The only label issue I have is calling adults the "leaders" of the troop, and only then because it misleads as to the adult role.  So if the behavior is correct . . .

 

The best leader of youth I ever saw was Don Farmer, the ranger/camp director/program director of Camp Clendening.  He was called "Boss" by his loving staff - because he wasn't.   No dining hall.  No heated showers.  No shelters at campsites. Waterfront a mile up and down a rocky trail at the lake. Viewed with suspicion by the SEs who could not understand why people preferred his camp to the "facilities" of the closer, built-up camp.   And year after year the Scouts came to experience the program Don's staff presented.  That staff was his greatest creation - men from boys.  People came from four continents to the surprise party celebrating twenty-five years of his leadership.  

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The key to the whole patrol thingy is trusting the scouts and this is the sticking point for adults. Trusting boys amidst the chaos is something many can't handle. Enforcing management over enabling leadership is an adult solution and it takes far more energy than letting the boys take ownership of the program on their own.

 

Yah, hmmmm...

 

Is this Patrol Method or youth leadership?   Seems like trustin' boys to be capable and to run things through happy chaos is youth leadership.

 

Patrol Method is about breakin' up bigger troops into smaller independent functional groups, eh?  That can increase opportunities for leadership and such, but it does lots of other things like leveraging identity and competitive spirit, increasin' opportunities for followership and smaller contributions to da group, allow for a degree of specialization, etc.

 

I think we get confused sometimes.   I know this thread is confusin' me!  :blink:    Sometimes real-world examples work better than abstract stuff.

 

Beavah

 

Spun Thread: Patrol Method Made Simple (for the Real World)

Edited by Beavah

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Beav,  your observation has great value in an environment where some think elected youth leaders constitute the "method" and overlook "smaller independent functional groups."  We keep reading "troop," "troop," "troop."    

 

The Patrol Method provides that planning is by Scouts in patrols and their leader in that planning and in carrying out the planned activities is the PL they elect.

 

"The elected Patrol Leader leads his patrol in planning the patrol’s  separate activities and then leads those activities with the help of the rest of the patrol."

 

"[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."

 

"Scouting happens in the context of a patrol.â€

 

"The patrol is] the place where boys learn skills together, take on leadership responsibilities, perhaps for the first time . . . ."

 

(To anticipate, these words in 2016 do not come from God, but simply from those at B.S.A. trying to get things back to the way Bill envisioned them.)

Edited by TAHAWK
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Youth leadership is facilitated with the small group setting of the patrol method.  Expecting a boy to handle more than 6-8 buddies at one time effectively is asking way to much for this age level.  Just as you said, the opportunity to lead is lessened without the patrol method and the actual small group dynamic facilitates the opportunity.

 

I have never wanted to be part of a unit that has 50+ scouts in it.  I would not be able to keep track of everyone.  Same for a PL, he focuses in on 6-8 boys and doesn't worry about the other 42-44 scouts.  The SPL focuses in on his 6-8 PL's and lets the PL's worry about the rest.  That much fragmentation wouldn't allow me to get to know my boys, but if the unit grows that large, The patrol method will still work, but I'll just have to adjust.

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Youth leadership is facilitated with the small group setting of the patrol method.  Expecting a boy to handle more than 6-8 buddies at one time effectively is asking way to much for this age level.  Just as you said, the opportunity to lead is lessened without the patrol method and the actual small group dynamic facilitates the opportunity.

 

I have never wanted to be part of a unit that has 50+ scouts in it.  I would not be able to keep track of everyone.  Same for a PL, he focuses in on 6-8 boys and doesn't worry about the other 42-44 scouts.  The SPL focuses in on his 6-8 PL's and lets the PL's worry about the rest.  That much fragmentation wouldn't allow me to get to know my boys, but if the unit grows that large, The patrol method will still work, but I'll just have to adjust.

 

Try being a teacher, and getting 150 students each day.

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The problem IMHO is that adults either A) having never experienced Boy Scouts take the Cub Scout leader model and apply it to working with Boy Scouts and B) Adults who have Boy Scout experience either forget what it's suppose to be about, or need "deprogramming" from Cub Scout leader mode.

 

As stated earlier, some adults do not have the patience to handle the organized chaos of Patrol Method.

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