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thrifty

elections?

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Looking for some insight with regards to troop elections. 

 

I've never had the opportunity to witness the process and only know what I was told about last year.  Last year, if someone wanted to run for a position, they stood up and explained why they felt they were best for it and that process was repeated for anyone interested in any position.  The troop voted by ballot. end of story.  The troop was smaller last year.

 

This year, I'm told that SPL will be voted on but SPL basically selects APL.  The patrols can vote for a PLC only within the patrol.  My concern here is that a boy only has one opportunity within his patrol to be voted PLC instead of several opportunities to be voted a PLC depending on how many patrols there are.  For instance, we have three small patrols.  So instead of three positions that a boy may be voted for, it is only one.  A Patrol can keep the same PLC they already have.  A patrol is approx five to seven boys.

 

SPL decides and appoints who will be quartermaster, scribe, etc...  Same with OA.  Why is this not voted on or if it is voted on, seems to be just a formality?

 

Most positions must be at least 2nd year, SPL must be at least 3rd year.

Scouts may be nominated for a position even if they don't want it.

Scoutmaster is involved throughout the process.

 

I may be missing or misunderstanding something but this has got to be one of the biggest complaints I have about BSA so far.  Why are people appointed versus being voted for?  This is not what I expected and does not seem to be much of an election process.  Please fill me in because this surprises me and I do not like it. 

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:)  This is why I avoid the whole process altogether.  I have a selection process in place that works just fine for the boys.  They never seem to mind and I have no problem with the work not getting done.

 

All PL's are selected by the member of the patrol.  He selects his APL to work with him.

 

If there becomes a need for an SPL (4-5 patrols) then that person is selected by the PL's and the ASPL is selected by the SPL to work with him.  If the troop is big enough and the demand strong enough, multiple ASPL's could be selected to cover the workload.

 

All other positions are simply covered by the scout wanting to do them.  A boy needs a POR and didn't get selected as a PL so he goes to the PL's and asks if he can do the QM position for 6 months (for example).  The PL/PLC says okay, knock yourself out.  If he does a nice job his PL signs off on that requirement.  Otherwise if no POR for rank is required, the job is done within the patrols under the leadership of the PL.  One needs equipment inventoried, the QM from Patrol A does it.  If there is a Patrol B, then the two QM's work it out.  If three, then it can start to get a bit spicy, and maybe a "designated QM" to watch over things might be selected from the QM's by the PLC to keep the fur from flying too much.

 

Somehow the work gets done, everyone's happy and there's very little popularity politicin' going on.  No one "runs" for office so they can wear a patch.  For the most, other than the PL's (for ID purposes) no one really gets all that worked up about wearing POR patches.

 

I also need to mention that the "term" of office is for however long the boy does the job.  If the patrol members are happy with the PL he can stay in that position for as long as he wishes.  If the boy isn't doing a good job, he could be replaced in a heartbeat.

Edited by Stosh

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Only based on observations of my troop....

 

I like Stosh's method.

 

Our troop is bogged down in adult derived policy and procedure.... well I assume it's adult derived....

 

elections happen on a 6 month cycle

 

scouts that are interested in running for a position have to fill out and sign a form.  Said form describes the position, stipulates requirements and perquisites (many of which are troop policy and not what I would call "real" for the lack of a better term, such as minimum rank, attendance requirements, etc..).  The form also includes signature of scout's parent, pledging that we will support him in this job by getting him to mtgs, etc....

 

Scouts in patrols vote for their PL

 

all scouts vote for SPL

 

APL appointed by PL's and ASPL are appointed by SPL

 

The new SPL and SM work together to appoint other troop level POR's (scribe, QM, instructor, chaplain, etc...).  Adults have a heavy hand in steering scouts that need a POR for rank into jobs, and steering scouts that don't need it away....

 

Things we do that I don't like

set 6 month cycle  (I'd prefer scouts to decide if/when they need a change)

and the heavy hand in steering (I think a lighter steering hand in this would be better, leaving it to the scouts to figure out)

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Generally, the way @@thrifty's troop does it is pretty much the documented standard. Every SM will vary that based on the facts on the ground. Some variations are more productive than others.

 

...

SPL decides and appoints who will be quartermaster, scribe, etc...  Same with OA.  Why is this not voted on or if it is voted on, seems to be just a formality?

...

Well, it's kind of like why we don't have a say in the president elect's cabinet. If he/she winds up surrounded by idiots, it's his on him. If every officer were elected by popular or representative voting, well then it would be the electorate's fault for crippling the presiding officer.

 

And OA ... it seems like a formality until your "borderline" kid steps forward for election. Maybe you don't have that 1st class scout who got it in his head that he can be all high-and-mighty to the crossovers. But, when you do, and he gets voted down ... three years consecutively ... its a beauty to watch his behavior change once he dries up his tears.

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First let me just say that a lot of adults get really wound up about elections when they are just a smiple leadership selection process. There are some Scoutmasters who claim the difference between a success and failure of their program starts with the elections. I believe that if the youth leader selection process is a make or break in any troop program, the adults need additional training in youth leadership development. Selecting leaders is such a small part of the leadership development part of program that it has almost NO impact to the performance of growth scouts gain from their leadership experience. It really doesn't matter how your scouts select each other so long as they are truly selecting the leaders instead of the adults. THE REAL WORK of developing boys into real leaders starts after the selection process, so just get it over with.  Whether little Bobby got elected ASPL or appointed by the SPL won't matter two weeks later if he doesn't take the responsibility seriously. 

 

Every troop has a different process for selecting leaders and in the end the real meat of what the scouts get out of the leadership depends on the approach and guidance of the developing part of the program.

 

I believe the adults should not waste their time or energy in the scouts' leadership selection process. I instead suggest to the scouts that they refer to their SPL and PL Handbooks for guidance. Honestly boys have been electing leaders for one thing or another since the first grade. They can handle it pretty easily when the adults stay out of it. For some reason adults make the process much harder. As I said, the real work for adults is developing growth in those scouts, so save your energy for that part of their program. 

 

Barry

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Personally I think it's helpful to first look at what the BSA says and then look at how some troops do it differently.  Then you can decide whether you want to do things the way the BSA suggests or the way some person who you don't know on the Internet says they do it.   Which is not to say my troop does everything 100% by the book, but I think you should at least know what the book says first before deciding to do it a different way.

 

The only elected positions (according to the BSA) are SPL and Patrol Leader.  (You mention PLC, but that is the Patrol Leaders' Council, the Patrol Leader is PL.)  Each then appoints their "staff", with the SPL appointing the ASPL and the troop Scribe, Quartermaster, Librarian, etc. and the PL appointing the APL and any patrol positions.  I can think of several reasons why the BSA might make this distinction between elected and appointed positions.  For one thing, it gives a newly elected "leader" experience in trying to select the best person for each job.  I think it also makes sense in light of the fact that the appointed positions are "staff" positions.

 

thrifty, I am not sure what your issue is in selecting the Patrol Leaders.  I have seen troops where the troop elects PL's and the patrols are (if necessary) re-formed around these PL's, but that is really not the patrol method.  The patrols are supposed to be continuing "units" that continue along from year to year and elect a PL from among themselves.  

 

The BSA does not impose a minimum number of patrols before an SPL is selected.  Obviously there is no need for an SPL if there is one patrol.  It is up to the troop whether there should be an SPL with two patrols, and there have been a lot of discussions in this forum about that.  I think most people would say there should be an SPL if there are 3 or more patrols, but some people disagree with that.

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For the last few years (against my opinion) our Troop does this:

 

SPL is elected and serves 1 year term. Needs to be 1st class. Almost always Star or Life. Boys stand up and state their case. Some political wheeling and dealing involved.

SPL selects one ASPL and SM appoints one ASPL. (this creates a triangle which does not always work our well). 

PL's are elected by patrols, they serve 6 months.

SPL announces people interested in POR to submit paperwork (basically why, and rank, etc)

SPL makes his POR selections, they serve 6 months

PL leaders flesh out APL, P-QM

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thanks for the responses.  NJCubScouter, it just caught me off guard because that was not what was explained to me in the past.  I was under the impression that any boy that met rank/age requirements had an opportunity to run for a position.  This does not seem to be the case and in fact, could exclude boys from the chance depending on their popularity in the troop.  Much like our nation, it doesn't seem like it would foster collaborative thinking between different people either.  I typed PLC in a rush and meant PL.

 

My son has previously been PL for one group and is currently APL and Den Chief.  I'm not concerned about him.  But his patrol is only 5 boys.  Only the PL and my son are qualified to lead based on the requirements.  I expect the current PL to be assigned (oops I mean appointed) to a higher position that will be vacant.  If PLs and APLs can only come from within their specific patrol, that means that only my son can be PL.  That would also leave a PL and someone to be APL with two scouts in the patrol.  I guess I don't understand the reason patrols are set in stone and other boys don't have an opportunity to lead even though they have the qualifications but might have more competition in their patrols.  Also, re-organizing patrols to be more even seems logical to me but that's not my concern here. 

 

What is the point in having a QM that never goes on campouts or a ASPL that has a job and can never make it to meetings?  We've had that problem, so again, it seems logical to have boys that want the position and are "hungry" for it.

 

I was in scouts but never a boy scout.  I was in 4H.  Don't know how it works now but all positions were elected.  Every group or organization I've ever been affiliated with has had elected positions except for my job.  As stated, this comes as a real surprise and contradicts my previous understanding.

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IMHO the QM is a key position and if the boy is not into it then the Troop will suffer. We have that happen now. I think the best talent needed is (1) Patrol Leaders (2) A Good Quartermaster (3) SPL in that order.

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@@thrifty

 

You bring up a good point in that by the time one adds into the mix, mega-amounts of prerequisites designed by the adults, and the popularity/politics of the boys, it is a recipe for problems down the road.

 

I have had Scout ranked boys in the NSP do very well their first year when mentored by a skilled TG.  I have had Scout ranked boy in the first year of the troop (i.e. NSP with no older boys to help out), do very well their first year even when not mentored by a skilled TG. 

 

I have had TF scouts function very well as SPL at summer camp.

 

I have had Life scouts that weren't worth a nickel on the open market.

 

That's why I stay out of it.  If something goes wrong, I'm off the hook and the boys have the responsibility AND AUTHORITY to make it right.  If that means if Star Scout Joey isn't doing the job, TF Mikey can be put in his place if that's what the others think best.  If Star Scout Joey wants to keep his position, he'd better do the work!

 

After all the years I have been SM I have never had to referee any leadership problems in the troop.  Either a patrol puts in good leadership or it falls apart and gets dissolved into other patrols and NO adults are ever involved in the "process/problem".

 

The really nice thing about boy led, patrol method is the fact that the adults never take the heat for anything going wrong.  If they do, it's probably because they were meddling where they weren't supposed to be in the first place.

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My son has previously been PL for one group and is currently APL and Den Chief.  I'm not concerned about him.  But his patrol is only 5 boys.  Only the PL and my son are qualified to lead based on the requirements.  I expect the current PL to be assigned (oops I mean appointed) to a higher position that will be vacant.  If PLs and APLs can only come from within their specific patrol, that means that only my son can be PL.  That would also leave a PL and someone to be APL with two scouts in the patrol.  I guess I don't understand the reason patrols are set in stone and other boys don't have an opportunity to lead even though they have the qualifications but might have more competition in their patrols.  Also, re-organizing patrols to be more even seems logical to me but that's not my concern here. 

 

What is the point in having a QM that never goes on campouts or a ASPL that has a job and can never make it to meetings?  We've had that problem, so again, it seems logical to have boys that want the position and are "hungry" for it.

 

I kind of sounds like your concern originated with your son. Do you feel like he is stuck or his ambitions are being held back? I'm not saying I agree with one way or another because I don't have both sides of the story. But I will say that I have had many many conversations with parents who felt their son wasn't getting what he deserved. My vision for their son was different from their vision for their son and I just had to get better at explaining my vision. I will also say I can think of two families I know of who quit our troop because they (parents) didn't agree with my vision. I am not assuming you are that parent, but only showing you often Scoutmasters have these discussions.

 

I also admit that it is difficult to understand a process that isn't explained well. I assume you have already talked to your son about it; have you talked to the manager of the process? I am assuming that's either the SPL or the SM. But be careful in how you ask the question because your question might come off as being more personal and less inquisitive of the process as  a whole.

 

And stosh is right about that a process that isn't working well is as much a teacher, if not more, than a process that functions efficiently.

 

Barry

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SPL selects onse ASPL and SM appoints one ASPL. (this creates a triangle which does not always work our well). 

 

I'm sure it doesn't always work out well.  It seems to be intentionally creating a political situation right out of the starting gate.  It's like a coalition government, with representatives of different "parties" included in the "cabinet."  But there aren't supposed to be parties.  In fact, the SM and SPL are supposed to be working with each other, with the SM guiding the SPL.  Here it sounds like they are set up to work against each other.

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I was under the impression that any boy that met rank/age requirements had an opportunity to run for a position.  This does not seem to be the case and in fact, could exclude boys from the chance depending on their popularity in the troop.  

 

Well, they do, it's just that the only positions they can run for are SPL and PL.  :)

 

And yes, the system of appointing "staff" positions COULD result in unfairness or exclusion, but it does not have to.  It depends on the SPL and the SM, who is supposed to train and guide the SPL.   There also is some flexibility designed into the system in terms of which positions the troop is going to have.  If a Scout wants or "needs" a position and one is not currently open, the Scout can look at the list of possible positions in his Handbook, look around the troop and identify a need and volunteer to do that job.  A troop can have multiple Instructors, more than one Troop Guide, and for that matter, more than one ASPL, depending on the size of the troop.  (That is basically what my son did; the troop had not previously had an "Instructor", at least not while he had been in the troop, and he was not interested in being SPL or ASPL, so that is what he volunteered to do, and that was his POR for Life and Eagle.)  Maybe the troop has never had a Historian or Webmaster, but that doesn't mean it can't have one now if someone wants to do it and volunteers.

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... What is the point in having a QM that never goes on campouts or a ASPL that has a job and can never make it to meetings?  We've had that problem, so again, it seems logical to have boys that want the position and are "hungry" for it. ...

This is where the SPL should be able to talk to the SM in a couple months and ask the SM if he can replace his QM or ASPL or any position in which the boy holding it is marking time.

 

I do have a problem with rank determining position. In your son's case, he either has to help one of his patrol mates make rank, recruit a scout from another patrol, or hold a second PoR. If neither of those options is apparent, when that time comes he should discuss options with the SM. If he can point to a perfectly good tenderfoot scout in his patrol, he should encourage the SM to bend the troop rules. In fact, he should ask the SM which page in the handbook says his patrol's preferred leader has to make rank before earning his position.

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Scouts may be nominated for a position even if they don't want it.

Scoutmaster is involved throughout the process.

 

I may be missing or misunderstanding something but this has got to be one of the biggest complaints I have about BSA so far.  Why are people appointed versus being voted for?  This is not what I expected and does not seem to be much of an election process.  Please fill me in because this surprises me and I do not like it. 

 

The crux of the problem seems to be buried in the bottom of this post.

 

My troop does not appoint anyone that doesn't want a position. I would never suggest a scout take on a POR that he doesn't want. There are lots of reasons why a scout might not want to do it and most are legit, so we trust the scouts on that. There are not so many positions that everyone that wants one gets one. So they are coveted and there's never an issue of telling someone they have to do something. I may encourage a scout to try something, but it's his decision. At the same time, only the SPL and PL positions are voted on. The SPL appoints a lot of positions based on scouts that want a POR. If there isn't anyone that is both capable and wants the job, then there's some encouragement going on.

 

So, if your son wants to be QM and the SPL thinks he'd do a good job, then he's assigned that position.

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