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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. 

 

I have sometimes heard complaints from parents whose scouts were delayed in achieving rank advancement because they hadn't been elected to a Position of Responsibility.  These parents often felt that there should be a combination of elected and appointed POR's so that all boys can advance.

 

Yes, if a patrol continues to elects a popular PL to multiple terms, it could be a bit of a concern to other boys in the patrol.

Edited by David CO

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I have sometimes heard complaints from parents whose scouts were delayed in achieving rank advancement because they hadn't been elected to a Position of Responsibility.  These parents often felt that there should be a combination of elected and appointed POR's so that all boys can advance.

 

Yes, if a patrol continues to elects a popular PL to multiple terms, it could be a bit of a concern to other boys in the patrol.

 

If the PL's are doing their job of taking care of their boys, then it is the PL who decides on the POR's for advancement.  If the boy doesn't want an POR or isn't qualified, then the PL can put him in as Patrol QM to learn the ropes, same for Scribe, etc.  Instructors are always in demand.  If a boy want to be TG, a stint assigned to DC would do well for him and get a double POR in the process. 

 

Boys who can't progress in rank because a POR is holding them back isn't being very creative.

 

As far as PL's getting elected to multiple "terms", my PL's stay in that position until either they want out, age out or are forced out.  I don't promote terms.  If a NSP PL does a good job taking care of his boys, why not have him stay in that position until he ages out at 18?  If the adults don't agree with that, then by all means turn it into an adult led program so everyone has their fair shot at "trying" out a POR for rank advancement.  If things don't go well under this system, then be fair....blame the adults, not the boys.

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And, there are SM assigned leadership projects. It astounds me that so many of these "high speed, low drag" parents or youth aren't pounding down the SM's door begging to do one of these. Rally some scouts, do the job (paint the scout house, collect old gear, dry some venison for the next campout cracker barrel ...) , mark zero time, have a blast at the next MB pow-wow, count the days from e last BoR, schedule SMC+BoR to the day, advance one rank.

 

Nothing could be easier except, I don't know, maybe sewing on a pretty patch and making plans to do nothing for it. 8-)

  • Upvote 1

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I admit I liked how my troop growing up did it. No restrictions on being a PL. You could be reelected as many times as the patrol wanted you, or until you moved up to the Leadership Corps. SPL did have 2 restrictions: A. Must have been a PL and B. must be First Class or higher. rationale for those requirements was 1) you needed some experience as a PL to be able to mentor and work with them and 2) You really needed to have mastered all the basic Scout skills in order to teach them.

 

Yes, APLs were appointed by the PL. Troop level staff had a restriction: must be chosen from the Leadership Corps or be eligible to be in the Leadership Corps. And the "have been a PL and be First Class" was needed to be in the LC.

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It is interesting to see the differences in elections between units, but in the end, each unit needs to figure out the structure that works for them.

 

My son's troop, has elections, generally in May with terms that take effect generally in September.  The elect every position, although not every position is used.  For example, sometimes there is a bugler, or historian, etc, sometime not.  They even have the entire troop elect the patrol leaders.  Admittedly, the patrol method vs. troop method is lacking in this unit, and something the new SM is trying to build up.  Even the Den Chief position (if someone wants one) appears to go through the election process. :huh:   After the elections, the SM may appoint some unelected (or discouraged from running) older scouts as troop guides, etc.

 

In general, I'm not a fan of much of this methodology.  I find the leadership for most functions (as observed from a visitor to the Troop meetings and occasional campout) lacking and disorganized.  The SPL does not always get along well with some of the other leadership staff, and so there is a serious lack of integrated effort.  This is for a Troop of about 20+/- boys, organized into two or three patrols, 3/4 are 13 or under.  This unit has more parent/leader coordination on activities and events then I would like to see, but the unit may not have reached a critical age/mass to be more boy run - I don't know.

 

The troop I grew up in, 50-60 boys, Fairly even age distribution in 11-16 range, some in 17 range.  7-8 patrols including the "leadership corps" organized as their own patrol; had elections every six months. 

Week 1, Scouts wishing to run for SPL would announce themselves and describe their vision and qualifications to the troop. 

Week 2, the Troop votes and the SPL is elected.  The SPL then chose his own staff, which was typically 2 ASPLs (one in charge of the indoor program - troop meetings, one in charge of the outdoor program - campouts, etc.), The Scribe, The Troop Quarter Master, sometimes a historian or librarian, but not usually.  If there were any JASMs, they were usually part of the leadership corps patrol (until we had to many of them, and they also became their own patrol).  At the time, Troop guides were not used. 

Following the staff selections, Scouts who wanted to transfer patrols (or outgoing/unreelected leaders) were moved into their new patrols.  Week 3, The newly reorganized patrols then met and elected a Patrol leader, who in turn appointed is assistant patrol leader, the patrol scribe, and the patrol quartermaster.  Sometimes after the patrol elections, some additional troop leader positions (i.e. the librarian or historian) might get staffed, but again, this was not common.

 

For this troop, this methods seem to work out well.  While it is true, that some youth members may have had difficulties getting a PoR; in general SPLs quickly learned to choose people who could do the job over picking their friends; and the troop and patrols would make similar choices respectively.  This was a very Boy run troop.  4-8 Adult leaders (also organized as their own patrol)  were very behind the scenes.  The boys made campsite reservations, each patrol was responsible for their own menus, did their own shopping, organized parent transportation, and maintaining patrol equipment (checked by the Troop QM), shifts on a paper recycling fund raiser.  The adult leaders had a slightly bigger role in organizing Summer camp and an annual skiing trip, and in maintaining the canoes, canoe trailer, and a Santa/parade float we used for the Christmas season; but staffing the float was again on the patrols for each day they were assigned.

 

While I understand the concerns of those that like broader elections, I generally think just voting on the SPL/PLs tends to make a stronger troop, and tends to motivate the boys to do a good job in front of their peers so that they do get elected or chosen.

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I admit I liked how my troop growing up did it. No restrictions on being a PL. You could be reelected as many times as the patrol wanted you, or until you moved up to the Leadership Corps. SPL did have 2 restrictions: A. Must have been a PL and B. must be First Class or higher. rationale for those requirements was 1) you needed some experience as a PL to be able to mentor and work with them and 2) You really needed to have mastered all the basic Scout skills in order to teach them.

 

As I mentioned in earlier posts, my best SPL was never a PL.  :)  I spend a lot of time working with APL's being the "right hand man" for the PL.  He's the go-to guy that knows as much about what's going on in the patrol as the PL.  He keeps the PL on task, assists at every opportunity, make sure the PL is successful.  He keeps track of all the details the PL might slip up on.  No, one does not need to have experience as a PL to be able to mentor them and work with them, all one needs to be is a highly qualified and successful APL to be able to mentor and work with them.  My SPL is not OVER the PL's my SPL's always function as the #1 Left hand man to the PL.  PL's are my highest ranking leaders in the troop.  My SPL is the support they need from a liaison with the adults.   And NO, the SPL does not have to master all the basic scout skills in order to teach them, that is the job of the Instructor POR.  Like the SPL supporting the PL's the Instructors support them with their skill in the basic scoutcraft.  Everyone supports the PL's in one way or another.  It's the patrol method, after all.  :)

 

When it came time to select an SPL, the consensus of the PL's was to take the best APL and move him over from the patrol side to the adult side to help not just the one PL, but all the PL's.  It was a very successful move on the part of the PL's. 

 

Yes, APLs were appointed by the PL. Troop level staff had a restriction: must be chosen from the Leadership Corps or be eligible to be in the Leadership Corps. And the "have been a PL and be First Class" was needed to be in the LC.

 

The hiccup I see in that process is that a troop level QM needs to have been a PL and FC, but no experience as QM?  :)  In my situation, the PL's would select the best patrol QM to be the troop QM for the same reasons they selected the SPL.  If he's doing a bang-up job as patrol QM, then he should be considered for troop QM.  He's only a TF?  So what!!!  Do you want POR need or interested, experienced scouts doing the job? 

 

This "The scout needs a POR" as the only requirement for the job is nothing more than a recipe for disaster and hassles down the road for all concerned.  At least it's a problem I systematically avoid.  Let the boys figure it out.  They NEVER select someone because they "need a POR".   At least that's never been my experience.

 

My former troop figured this process out quite well, my new troop is still struggling in the learning curve, but we're getting there.

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We elect the ASPL every six months, then at the end of his term he becomes the SPL. Then we elect the next ASPL. (sometimes it's the old SPL / sometimes not)   This way he gets half a year of training by both the  current SPL and SM. before he has to run the whole ballgame.   I know it's odd but it makes the transition much smoother.  

 

 

If the SPL and ASPL wanted to stay in their respective positions at the end of their terms I guess we would put it to a troop wide vote.  If the scouts want it its fine with me.   Hasn't happened yet though.

 

In the OP there was a line about the SPL appointing the OA?!   Big  no no!  Details Mr. Thrifty?

Edited by Oldscout448

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Troop level staff had a restriction: must be chosen from the Leadership Corps or be eligible to be in the Leadership Corps. And the "have been a PL and be First Class" was needed to be in the LC.

 

Well, if that worked for your troop as a youth, that's fine.  I don't see any benefit in telling a boy who wants to be troop QM, Scribe, Librarian or whatever that they can't because they were never a PL.  Some boys don't want to be PL or are not chosen by their patrols but can serve the troop in other ways.

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We elect the ASPL every six months, then at the end of his term he becomes the SPL. Then we elect the next ASPL. (sometimes it's the old SPL / sometimes not)   This way he gets half a year of training by both the  current SPL and SM. before he has to run the whole ballgame.   I know it's odd but it makes the transition much smoother.  

 

 

It's pretty common. Some troops elect the ASPL every six month, but keep the SPL for a year. In most cases, those SPLs are 16 and older. Seems to work well also.

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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The troop - the PLC in consultation with the SM, sets requirements to hold the offices of SPL and PL.

 

The SPL is elected by the Scouts of the troop and appoints all other troop-level officers in consultation with the SM.

 

A patrol elects its leader .  The Patrol Leader appoints each other member of his patrol to a job.  A patrol is a team with everyone in a position and a mini exercise in democracy.  A Patrol Leader is a leadership position, not an advancement requirement to tick off.

 

That is called "Boy Scouting" in a B.S.A. unit.  It is what the Scouts are promised in the literature that the boys read and on the BSA website if they go there.  "nless the patrol method is in operation, you don’t really have a Boy Scout troop.† B.S.A. website, 12/07/16.

 

 

Or you can decide you know better and ignore the rules and institute "Joe's Scouting" or "Mr. Bill's Scouting."  Maybe you'll be right. B.S.A. has been known to blunder, although they have been consistent about the above for over seventy years.  Most often, you'll be wrong.  In all cases the Scout will notice that you are ignoring B.S.A.'s rules and might think about "Trustworthy" or "Obedient."

 

And no, they can't "make you." 

  • Upvote 2

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Not all boys if left to their own resources turn into the Lord of the Flies. 

 

Situations, like snowflakes, no two are the same.

 

Not all fit into the one-size-fits-all category. 

 

There's an exception to every rule.

 

There's always a lot more discomfort trying to force a round peg in a square hole.

 

We all learn best from our failures, if one never fails, they never learn.

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Nothing new here.  Adults have "known better" than the rules for decades.

 

We simply do not agree.

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It's not that we disagree, it's just that we adopt a stance from different starting points.

 

I adhere to the boy led concept in a more pure form which means I don't tag a bunch of adult led rules for them to follow as a prerequisite to thus adopting their leading under the direction of adult rules.

 

Sure the boys teeter at times with some political, best buddy being selected, but that's going to happen either way.  But the added rule that the boys THEN need to stick with that mistake for 6 months or a year doesn't bode well for me, so I don't have a rule that says that mistakes have to be endured to build character.  They can fix their mistake at their own discretion, not the discretion of some adult's rule.

 

There will be mistakes made either way, but if someone's going to get caught holding the bag, it shouldn't be some adult who has made up some restrictive, because-I-said-so, rules.  I have seen this done and it ends up doing nothing but punishing the boys for a bad mistake they can't fix.

 

SM:  Johnny, where Tommy?

 

Johnny: He went out for basketball and won't be around much for a few months so as APL I'm taking over and Pete is going to be my APL.

 

Not much of a discussion, but the situation works out just fine.  If the other patrol members don't like the setup, they can always vote in a new PL at any time.

 

Not my problem to begin with, not my problem to solve.  Time for another cup of coffee....all's right with the world.

 

Is that dialog above for real?  Yep, happened twice.  Once with football, once with basketball, and the names were changed to protect the innocent.

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