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thrifty

elections?

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With utmost respect. ..

 

The "boy led concept", like the boy led troop," is not a method that has ever been part of Boy Scouting.  Boy leadership in the troop and the patrol is an aspect of the Patrol Method that Bill Hillcourt had to fight to get accepted, pretty much winning by 1930.

 

When some adult decides he wants the program to be something other than what is set out in the literature, that adult usually sincerely believes he knows better than BSA - he's right and BSA is wrong .

 

The SM in my home town who makes absolutely all the decisions, sits as a voting member of the Troop Committee, and mandates total retesting at every Board of Review ("Who has the ropes?")  thinks he's right.  

 

The SM I work with now who thinks "there is no time for separate patrol meetings" (much less outings) and effectively appoints all the troop-level positions other than SPL thinks he's right.

 

The SM just removed in a neighboring council who just would not acknowledge that the troop committee had any authority over him and wanted to handle finances totally apart from the committee thinks he was right.  He told me so.

 

You sincerely believe your right.

 

We absolutely disagree,

 

Where BSA gives me wiggle room or where the rules are unclear, which is often the case because there are few masters of English prose at National Council, I argue for the interpretation that seems best - yes, best to me, but after consideration of thoughts of others whom I respect, like you, Stosh.

 

I will not violate a clear BSA rule.  If I can't go along with such a rule and BSA won't excuse me from compliance, I'll quit. That's what I view as honorable and that's what BP said should happen in so many words.  There are other good works that need doing if it were to come to that.  Otherwise, I am modeling by my behavior a belief that the Scout Oath and Scout Law are so much cant - do as I say not as I do.  As an imperfect being, it's hard enough to set a good example without setting out to be that sort of example.

Edited by TAHAWK
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I totally agree with rules create order and in many respects offer a sense of comfort in the ability to trust in them.

 

But like Mom telling you don't touch the stove, it's hot, one just has to check it out for themselves. 

 

It is within the realm of Scouting that knowing the basic rules as taught by pastors, teachers and parents, there still is going to be a bit of envelop stretching at this age and why not at least make it as safe as possible.

 

There are two line of thoughts that pass through my awareness on this subject.  One is that the boys like to break/bend rules a bit and some are safer to break than playing in the fire pit.  So they pick their own PL.  Why not?  So do they use paper ballot? raising hands? voice vote, rock-paper-scissors?  So they collaborated and came up with Johnny as PL.  Was it an election?  Was it collaboration?  was it a meeting of the minds?  Did no one else want the position?  Did Johnny select the short straw?  Did he volunteer?  What difference does it make Johnny's the PL until the patrol decides otherwise.  If Johnny does a good job, they may keep him around for 6 months, a year, or maybe two or three.  What difference does it make  Everyone's content with the status quo.

 

So Johnny works his tail off getting the boys all to summer camp and it's time to have someone go to the SPL meeting.  Johnny is a bit burned out and sends his APL Pete to the meeting.  Johnny takes it easy now that everyone is taken care of for the week.  He still does his PL job, but it's a time of healing for him and no adults on his case about not taking a full load of MB's.  Instead he keeps the fire going and reads a book.  The patrol members don't care, why should the adults?

 

Sometimes we all need to get our batteries recharged and some of the best lessons I have learned over the years have been from the boys on what's important and what's not.

 

Elections are not that important.  Getting the right person in the right position to get the job done is.

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If there becomes a need for an SPL (4-5 patrols) then that person is selected by the PL's ...

 

... 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).  ....

 

I think we've had this discussion before.  Your method works for you and your troop.  And, I can understand the reasoning.  .... like another post in this thread though, I don't prefer it as it does not work within the boundaries of what BSA describes and publishes.  I also fear a scout that somehow runs into the wrong district advancement person during an Eagle BOR and says his POR while a Life scout was Patrol QM.  If you are a single patrol troop, probably okay as the patrol is the troop.  If not a single patrol troop, then it's explicitly wrong.  Now, in my district the scout would probably still pass as we would view it as an adult mistake that we would not punish the scout for not knowing the rules.  But, I could see other districts with more hard nose scouters having a harder time.  

 

Here are two references for this from BSA.  

http://scoutingmagazine.org/2016/04/boy-scoutings-required-positions-responsibility/

http://www.scouting.org/filestore/boyscouts/pdf/Troop_Leadership_Positions.pdf

 

I also "prefer" the whole troop voting for the SPL.  It has it's own challenges, but it's what BSA publishes and our troop makes it work.  

 

I do say "prefer" as if it works for you, it's not that big a deal.  And, there are much worse issues that could be happening.  I'm just glad you and your scouts are having a good experience.  I just prefer to promote and work within the flexibility of what BSA says.  

 

In our troop, the thing that I really really prefer ... we leave pretty much the whole election to the scouts.  No pre-printed ballots.  No SMCs to run for positions.  It's the scout's choice.  If the SPL is not comfortable running the election, in advance of the election meeting, the SM will coach the SPL.  Beyond that, the adults pretty much are on one side of the room and the scouts are on the other while they run the election.  We just ask that the SPL (or scribe ... or someone) tells us the results of the election.  The election being for SPL and each patrol votes for their own PL.  We also ask the SPL to tell us who was selected for the other PORs.  

 

We have had variations over the year.  Such as the troop having two ASPLs, one appointed and the other being the elected SPL who will take office in six months after watching and learning.  Other times the SPL takes over immediately.  Sometimes the SPL has run an election for troop level positions (and surprised us adults), but the SPL knows he can appoint his own too.  We pretty much leave it up to the scouts to choose their own leadership.  

 

KEY POINT ... I like the post that said the adult leaders should not view the election results as critical to making the program work.  IMHO, everything is about learning.   PORs are a chance for the scout to learn too, even the SPL role.  

Edited by fred johnson

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I think the main reason why the boys select the SPL differently than most troops is because of how they define the role.  When the boys are focused on patrol as the core component of the program, troop activities are pretty much add on, focused mainly on opening and closing flags and the rest of the time is functional patrol operations.  The SPL really doesn't have much on his plate and is mostly an informational gathering agent who runs around keeping the PL's informed of Camporee, Summer Camp, etc. activities.  The role is usually "assigned" by the PL's, usually an APL.

 

In former troops, the boys had this nominal SPL.  No one really wanted to be the SPL and functioned well without it.  Once we got up to 4 patrols, the role began to take on more assistance for the PL's and they selected one of the APL's to fill that role on a regular basis.  I think they did it because none of them wanted to give up their position of PL.

 

I've pretty much ignored the whole process in that as long as everyone's happy, I'm not going to "fix" anything.  :)

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KEY POINT ... I like the post that said the adult leaders should not view the election results as critical to making the program work.  IMHO, everything is about learning.   PORs are a chance for the scout to learn too, even the SPL role. 

Yes, this is in my mind the basis for growth in the troop program. I think I spent a great deal of my SM time guiding the adults that scouts struggling in their responsibilities is ok because they are learning and hopefully growing from the experience. Adults by nature are impatient with slow performance because they measure performance at an adult perspective. But scouting is the real world scaled down to a scouts size. We are in no hurry, so we give the scouts the spce to grow.

 

Someone of the forum said the other day that the troop program is a safe place because it is where failing is considered a good experience for learning. I always gave the same basic pep talk before elections which said that each individual should seek out a responsibility to grow, not to be perfect. Making a good effort toward their responsibilities is all that we ask because we know that whatever the results, they will have learned from the experience. Sometimes they learn that they aren't very good in those particular responsibilities.

 

Barry

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If I were to criticize one thing about my SM growing up, it was that he appointed the SPL. (At least I don't recall a vote.)

 

But, like Stosh's 4-patrol troop, patrols were very strong and independent ... camping on opposite sides of the cow pasture. SPL didn't do much except read announcements, fill in rosters, and look out for boys who may be "falling through the cracks." It really was a fun job and not much work. The QM and PL's clocked far more hours on troop business than I ever did.

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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.  

 

***

Only the PL and my son are qualified to lead based on the requirements. 

 

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.

 

The BSA doesn't have any age / rank requirements for any position.  Those are imposed by the Troop, typically the SM because the SM thinks that those requirements exclude people who are not qualified.  Any requirement that is a proxy for ability to lead really shouldn't exist.  The criteria should be the scouts ability to lead despite any arbitrary requirement.

 

The popularity issue shouldn't exist.  If the SPL's role is defined as making sure the Troop succeeds through supporting the PLs and the troop-wide PORs such as Quartermaster, Troop Guide and Instructors, then the SPL will find the best people for those roles.  In our Troop, the people who fill those roles end up being the most qualified but not necessarily popular scouts.  Our SPLs know that and tend to appoint people who will do the job because the SPLs success depends on the Troop's success and the Troop's success depends on the success of those PORs.

 

As a general sentiment, the more the adults develop rules, guidelines, qualifications, forms, etc. the further we get away from the BSA's requirements.

 

Same with OA.  Why is this not voted on or if it is voted on, seems to be just a formality

 

For OA, there are set requirements - First Class Rank, 15 nights camping in prior 2 years, scoutmaster recommendation and vote by Troop.  In our Troop, we ask those scouts who are interested to submit their names.  We won't nominate anyone who isn't interested.

 

There have been few instances where we have withheld the Scoutmaster's approval.  Those are typically for young scouts who just meet the camping requirements but where we think they need another year to mature.  We've found that if we approve those scouts and put them on the ballot, they typically don't get voted in.

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If you are truly interested in opportunities to lead, the leader is whoever leads.  That is why Bill Hillcourt advocated "electing "leaders as the boys ignore titles in favor of whomever they want to follow.  Titles are not controlling.

 

If your actual interest is your son having a POR so he can "advance," I understand your concern.  Just know that having the title against the will of the "led" is not much fun for the title-holder.

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Troop elects patrol leaders first.

Next week Troop elects all other PORs.

 

We have about 70 boys.

 

I'd rather go with the textbook SPL appoints all PORs beyond PL, but the system we run has worked well for 23 years.

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Just like any other elected "servant" if they don't serve, they don't lead because those who are not being served are off looking for real leadership.

 

I have noticed that over the years, the boys tend to put those who work in the positions that need work.... it really cuts down on the selection by popularity or idle promises.

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Leaders do not always serve and the followers often do not seem to care.

 

Leaders should serve.  We speak of "public servants."   But Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Fidel were followed, willy nilly, as were Caesar, Timur, Genghis, Alexander, Jeff Fort, Jim Jones, Francisco Solano Lopez, and Napoleon - to the death in many cases.  

 

In the real world, wonderful aspirations are not automatically met.

Edited by TAHAWK

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Leadership by fear and intimidation is not the kind of approach I wish to present to my boys.

 

Hitler - Arian bigotry,  Tthere were those who were being served and they went to war for him. 

Stalin - Political paranoia

Castro - Did anyone really have a chance to do elsewise?  30 years of fleeing the country at the risk of life and/or limb? 

 

etc.

 

This is Leadership?  Look closely, not that many were really following because they wanted to and they were pretty much those who personally benefited the most from such "leadership".

 

And really, is this what anyone in BSA teaches as leadership?

 

I think there are those do more Peter F. Drucker approach and call it leadership.  I will stick with Robert Greenleaf.

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Please,  Stosh, read what I posted.

 

We agree on the goal.

 

We disagree on historic reality.  People will actually follow non-servant leaders.  "You can fool some of the people some of the time and all of the people some of the time.  When we get "perfect" people, that will stop.  Until then . . . .

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Let's look at the historic situation. 

 

Hitler -- The German people had suffered greatly and were systematically held back following the armistice of WW I.  They were held restrictive by a number of other countries around the world.  When a charismatic figure appears promising great things for the future of Germany, the purity of the German nation and a ton of other perks for the oppressed people in the middle of a double whammy, the War and the Depression, is it any wonder they flocked by the thousands to Hitler's "I'm-going-to-take-care-of-you" political emphasis.  Austria-Hungry jumped at the chance to unite into this panacea.  It was the NATIONAL SOCIALIST party, everyone's going to benefit from this new form of government.  It's the same promise that the government is going to take care of you message that's been around for about a hundred years now.

 

Stalin -- The savior of the Russian people of WW II, like Roosevelt (a beloved president) and Churchill who held out against all odds FOR THE PEOPLE!  It wasn't until after the war when political currents convinced him of the plots against him did he begin the extermination of his political rivals, or assumed political rivals.

 

Once the political situation changed from serving to mandating, it's really difficult to buck "city hall" and be the first one to question the changes that one sees occurring all around.  Of course propaganda machines of the Third Reich didn't do much FOR the people as it did AGAINST any political dissension.

 

I think that historically most of these tyrants started out with a caring cause for the people (Jim Jones) and somewhere on down the road the ball got rolling fast enough to simply jump the tracks and take on a whole different bent than that which was the original intent.

 

What happens in the political world can also happen in the religious world as well, the Inquisition, the Salem Witch trials, Jim Jones, etc. 

 

There's nothing to say that on a small scale these dynamics are still alive and well and are acted out quite literally in our governments, our schools, our social programs and our religions.

 

One just has to know the tipping point and keep as far as possible away from it.  I think that many of these tyrannical leaders historically started out with thinking they were helping people and the people thought so as well.  Over time, things change and in these cases, not for the good.

Edited by Stosh

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Stosh, the concentrations camps later called "Gulags" held millions in the 1920s, well before WWII. Millions of Ukrainians were murdered by systematic starvation in 1932-1933.  The Great Purge of the military that put the majority of the field-level command and the upper Party leadership against the wall was in 1937-38 - over a million victims.  Stalin became the maximum leader after Lenin died by killing the other high-level leaders.  Uncle Joe is a myth of the left.  We are past that, along with the "innocence" of the Rosenbergs.  Stalin was always a monster.  

 

The Soviet Union "won" WWII for many reasons, one being that Stalin he was marginally less idiotic than Hitler, who took less and less expert advice as the war went (badly) on.  Germany could only win a short war, and Hitler's insistence on three "first priority" axis of attack, combined with relatively bad weather, made that impossible. 40% of Soviet tank strength in December, 1941 was from the UK.  Hitler's racial theories meant that millions of Ukrainians were rejected as additions to the army and made enemies instead.  The U.S. supplied the S.U. with, among other things, tens of thousands of trucks far superior to anything built in the S.U.. millions of boots, over 8000 locomotives, and thousands of miles of rails.

 

 

 

I would like to express my candid opinion about Stalin’s views on whether the Red Army and the Soviet Union could have coped with Nazi Germany and survived the war without aid from the United States and Britain. First, I would like to tell about some remarks Stalin made and repeated several times when we were “discussing freely†among ourselves. He stated bluntly that if the United States had not helped us, we would not have won the war. If we had had to fight Nazi Germany one on one, we could not have stood up against Germany’s pressure, and we would have lost the war. No one ever discussed this subject officially, and I don’t think Stalin left any written evidence of his opinion, but I will state here that several times in conversations with me he noted that these were the actual circumstances. He never made a special point of holding a conversation on the subject, but when we were engaged in some kind of relaxed conversation, going over international questions of the past and present, and when we would return to the subject of the path we had traveled during the war, that is what he said. When I listened to his remarks, I was fully in agreement with him, and today I am even more so.

 

N. Khrushchev, Military Commissar of the Soviet Union 

  

The point I was trying to make is that people will follow a person, call him a "leader" or not, even though he is not a servant in any sense.  This needs to be taken into account.

Edited by TAHAWK

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