Jump to content
Jarmfam

Can Senior Patrol Leaders Run Twice?

Recommended Posts

Stosh, I am pretty sure we have had this same conversation at least once before, so I'm not going to go through it again right now.

 

My suggestion is that you send your concerns and suggestions for changing the program (whether this aspect or any other) and maybe they will consider changing it. Until then, I hope you will understand that most of us will encourage our Scouts to have elections for elected positions.

Edited by NJCubScouter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is obvious that units vary from each other in how they handle it in their neck of the woods.  To say that the "right" way is to elect using the processes of one over the other is the only way to go sometimes isn't in the realm of BSA guidelines.  We have many on this forum that indicate that the SM and other Scouters pick a boy to be SPL because he needs a POR.  That's the way they do it and yet, when I suggest the PL's select the SPL, that's not the "norm"? 

 

And the debate rages on.  Seriously, how many problems arise from the SM selecting an SPL vs. the PL's selecting the SPL?  I find it a lot easier on everyone over the course of the program.  And when all is said and done and everyone is bent out of shape from all the hassles that are created, I as SM can turn to my PL's and say, "You created this mess, now fix it." rather than trying to defend my ineptitude in putting an SPL in there that no one really wanted and are unwilling to follow.

 

I only offer an alternative that for my units have resolved many of the problems that float over and over again on this forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect you know the answer to that question, but here is the BSA's answer, from the Patrol Leader's Handbook at http://www.scouting.org/filestore/boyscouts/pdf/Troop_Leadership_Positions.pdf

 

 

I think the BSA expects people to read that and do something reasonable with it. "Perpetual" is inconsistent with "schedule of elections." A day or a week are not reasonable. Your other options probably account for more than 90 percent of troops.

Something about @@NJCubScouter's link was throwing it off. Cutting and pasting the edited link above seems to work.

 

As far as I'm concerned, @@Stosh's process is still an election. An Israel-in-the-era-of-judges kind of election, but one nonetheless. Bottom line: BSA allows a wide envelope on how things should be done.

 

I've encouraged our SM to be more flexible about the timing of SPL elections, calling boys on the carpet if they aren't showing up for their PoR's. On the other hand, imagine once @@Stosh's troop has about 40 boys, and if they turn all cynical and want to rotate a different boy through SPL every week ... I suspect at that point, he'll set the boys down and demand a little more stability.

 

SM's should set schedules and qualifications based on what their boys need to achieve the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with their mates ... not on what parents are telling them Johnny needs to advance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's try this again:

 

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

 

Qwasze, your post raises a different aspect of this issue. You mention the SM as setting the schedule and qualifications. I have always thought it was the PLC's job to determine the length of the terms for the SPL and PL's. At least it was that way in my troop as a youth. I am not sure who set the term length in my current troop because it has not changed while I have been there. But if there was a proposal to change it, I would think it would go to the PLC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's try this again:

 

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

 

Qwasze, your post raises a different aspect of this issue. You mention the SM as setting the schedule and qualifications. I have always thought it was the PLC's job to determine the length of the terms for the SPL and PL's. At least it was that way in my troop as a youth. I am not sure who set the term length in my current troop because it has not changed while I have been there. But if there was a proposal to change it, I would think it would go to the PLC.

Works now!

 

Regarding the PLC, you always need their buy-in. Most things in life are really a negotiation. In the examples I put forward, the SM might be seeing something getting in the way of boys achieving the pinnacle scouting experience, so he initiates the change.

 

It's entirely possible that a boy sees the need for change. That happened with our troop last year. TG started bailing out the SPL, and I started giving him advice on being a better SPL. He pointed out that that wasn't his position. I made it clear that I advise according who I see doing the work, not who's wearing the patch. The SM moved up the election schedule, and no boys disagreed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Works now!

 

Regarding the PLC, you always need their buy-in. Most things in life are really a negotiation. In the examples I put forward, the SM might be seeing something getting in the way of boys achieving the pinnacle scouting experience, so he initiates the change.

 

It's entirely possible that a boy sees the need for change. That happened with our troop last year. TG started bailing out the SPL, and I started giving him advice on being a better SPL. He pointed out that that wasn't his position. I made it clear that I advise according who I see doing the work, not who's wearing the patch. The SM moved up the election schedule, and no boys disagreed.

 

I don't view this issue as the boys buying INTO the system, it's the adults cashing OUT of the system.  The boys select their PL and if they don't like it, it's not my fault in the first place, nor is it my responsibility to fix it either.  I don't set terms, qualifications or anything else in the patrol.  They have a problem with their leadership, they have the power AND AUTHORITY to do what it takes to fix it.  

 

The only time I ever had a "full-time" SPL the PL's selected who THEY wanted to support their PL work.  They chose one of their APL's to do it.  Kinda surprised me, but it worked out well.  PL's all retained their positions in their patrols and the one patrol had to come up with a new APL.  Very little disruption or commotion i the process.  The SPL had to shift gears from being the right-hand man to a PL to being the left-hand man to 4 PL's. 

 

Again, I as SM wasn't involved in the process, I didn't make any adult rules, I didn't give any indication who needed POR (as if that's a big qualification game changer for anyone) and if anything had gone awry, the PL's couldn't come after me for making dumb rules. 

 

Eventually everyone finds a niche that they like and things run smoothly and I don't have to hear any whining or complaining.  "Whine and complain all you want boys, I didn't make the problem, and I don't have to fix it for you.  Figure it out yourself.  Excuse me I need more coffee."

 

Yes, in the system I use, there's a bit of politickin' going on just like anything else.  The TG that gets elected to the NSP as PL after his TG time is up; the APL of one patrol that gets lured away to be a PL of another patrol; etc.  With no rules applied, the first time a patrol "shanghaied" a patrol member of a different patrol to be their PL, there was a big to-do.  It was the NSP that elected the older brother of one of the new boys to be their PL.  It worked out fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Me personally I say run for election as often as you want. And run for reelection as often as you want.  I admit, I do not like how my troop does elections: only 1 six month term of office for a position is allowed. So you need to wait 6 months before running for the position again.  They do the same thing for appointed PORs: SPL can only appoint new people. Once the successor's term is over, then you can run for election.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello! I am a Scout Master for Troop 18, but have one question. Can Senior Patrol Leaders re-run? If they can't is there some Scout book that states it? Thanks!

Of course they can.  We had one SPL run twice (and win) about a year or so apart. The SPL serves 6 month terms in our troop.  The boy didn't like the candidates that wanted to run his second term, so he ran himself to keep the Troop running better. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

""Can Senior Patrol Leaders re-run? If they can't is there some Scout book that states it? Thanks!""

 

1)  "It Depends".  How big is your Troop?   Can any boy who would like a try at Leading get that opportunity?  Patrol Leader is the best leadership position , IMHO. Should the SPL serve a short term if he needs to be reminded of his "Duty"?  absolutely.  Long Term?   Why not, if the Troop needs his good example, if the boys approve, if the SM is sure of his own "Boy Led" philosophy.   AND... it is a real sign of maturity for a leader to be able to step down when it is "time" for the next to step up. 

2)  No, there is no Scout Book that speaks to this point Not in the SM Handbook, not to my knowledge.   SPL is elected,  SM counsels, reminds, guides, judges (signs off?) on the good result.   No time limit, except by Troop tradition, or  "need".  

3)  You're welcome.

 

While we're on the subject,   let's talk some more about this observed need to "make work" for Scouts that need a POR for advancement.  In essence, rotate boys thru the PORs purely to get them that requirement done.  The BSA defines several PORs , for which there are shoulder patches.  I once heard a Scouter say that those patches define the PORs that a Scout ONLY may use for his rank advancement.  Again, "Show me the page", there is none.  You will, however, see a paragraph about Assigning a Scout to a "special" task, in order to fulfill that POR requirement.  The clever , creative SM will use this assignment to help advance the whole unit.  Plan and organize a special trek,  service project,  training opportunity, often over several months (any Wood Badgers out there? Sound familiar?)  . Give the Scout a patch , if you like, ("Instructor" might be appropriate).   Here, the SM will truly 'earn his pay', I think, if it is done well.

 

See you on the trail.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@SSScout is correct in that there are always a number of boys that need POR credit and there are a number of USEFUL ways of doing that. 

 

As I have mentioned previously, my troops have tended to be small operations and so there is no need to have a "full-time" SPL, but when it is needed, one of the PL's does the necessary work, like at summer camp or at a camporee.  When the troop did grow large enough to warrant a full-time SPL, he was selected from the existing APL's to take on the task.  They didn't want to give up their PL positions and a good supportive APL makes a great supportive SPL as well. 

 

When a boy comes to me and says he "needs a POR" I ask him what he wants to do.  He needs 6 months experience in a POR.  Does  that mean 6 months as one POR or can it be 1 month for 6 POR's?  Which will produce effective responsibility? (Notice I did not use the word "leadership" because it's not a position of leadership.)  So the boy plans out a curriculum for teaching lashings to the NSP (1 month).  Then he cleans out the store room and inventories all the equipment and marks it so each patrol's items don't get mixed up (1 month).  Then he takes 4 weeks to do the opening prayer, devotion and closing prayer at the meeting's flag ceremony (1 month).  The Troop's website hasn't been updated for the past year and a half.  He updates all the names and phone numbers and puts on new pictures and updates the calendar (1 month).  He researches all the scout camps within 200 miles of the unit, collecting up information on each and making a presentation to the older boys who would like something new and different from the same-old, same-old council summer camp (1 month).  The older boys think it's great, so the scout registers the two older patrols at the camp of their choice, lines up their MB's, collects the registrations and lines up travel expenses and organizes a fundraiser to defray the extra cost associated with the further distance the boys need to go (1 month).  One of the Den Chiefs is going to be out of town for an extended period of time and the boy fills in for him with the Cubs (1 month).

 

Okay, the boy shows up for his BOR with all of this documented.  What Board is going to question whether or not he has fulfilled his requirement for advancement?  I have seen a ton of boys get buy on less than 10% of that amount of effort in the past by wearing a ASPL patch and doing absolutely nothing for 6 months.

 

AS SM it's not my job to "assign" POR's nor evaluate their completion, but boys that serve in 2-3 different positions for those 6 months have never been penalized for doing so.  As a matter of fact, there have been boys that have received positive comments for not marking time in a WebMaster position and when the work was done moved on to something productive rather than sitting around waiting for his time to expire.

Edited by Stosh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given that Bill Hillcourt saw the patrol as the school for democracy, his version of the Patrol Method called for the "election" of PLs and the SPL, and that is what is expressly required by BSA policy and promised to the Scouts in the Scout and Patrol Leader's handbooks.  That is Boy Scouting.

 

BSA says the "Troop" sets qualifications for the elected offices, and I suppose the qualifications could include no prior service as SPL or not being the incumbent SPL when the election is held.  

 

The "Troop" should be the PLC if we follow the repeatedly-stated principle that the troop is to be "boy run," with adults leading through youth except for matters of health, safety, and values.

 

Refusing to allow the Scouts to elect their leaders, and thus experience democracy on a small scale, has been the entering wedge for the near death experience for the Patrol Method - that is Boy Scouting - over the last thirty years - in favor or the adult-run program or the mythical "Youth-led Troop method."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As @@TAHAWK says the "Troop" makes these decisions and the real rub comes from the fact that the unit adult scouters think they are part of the Troop.  They are not.  The troop consists of the boys.  I have never heard of where the SPL is to run the troop and that includes directing the SM/ASM and Committee, i.e. the adults.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Your Boy Scout troop is made up of patrols . . ."  The Boy Scout Handbook, 13th Ed (20`6) at p. 25.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When we had 6 month terms the SPL would get re-elected every great once in a while. Since we went to a 12 month term for SPL no one has wanted to do it a second time--just burnt out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When we had 6 month terms the SPL would get re-elected every great once in a while. Since we went to a 12 month term for SPL no one has wanted to do it a second time--just burnt out.

 

Which would lead me to ask, what is it that the troop expectation is doing to put enough on him to burn him out after only 12 months?  Now I only had an SPL for a couple of years, but he really enjoyed the position until he moved up to the PL position.  We had a couple of PL's that served longer than a year.

 

Is the SPL responsible for running the whole troop?  That'll burn him out quickly.  Even adult SM's have a cadre of ASM's that tag along. 

 

Are the ASPL's ineffective or just sitting around waiting for the SPL to not show up?

 

Any position in scouting that burns the person out after only a year is not being utilized correctly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×