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Can Senior Patrol Leaders Run Twice?

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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.

 

We have a one-year term for SPL. I would estimate that approximately half of the Scouts who have been elected have run for a second term.  (Over the ~ 15 years of which I have knowledge; and I am estimating partly because I don't have a photographic memory and partly because I wouldn't be sure how to count things like the year we had co-SPL's (not a good idea, but it wasn't my call) and one of them turned 18 during the year, so his non-running for a second term was not voluntary.  And actually our current SPL is going to turn 18 just before the end of his term, so he wouldn't be able to run again either.)

 

There has been one, and only one, who served two terms and ran for a third, but he did not get re-elected.

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In my troop this actually came up a few years ago, where we had a gap between ages of boys, and the most senior boys had either had a senior position or didn't want one. 

While we didn't discourage the practice, we did strongly encourage a change in his assistants to include at least one from the next group coming up, this worked out so well, that we have made it common practice for ASPLs.

The SPL in question did hold the position for 2-years, but as a more experienced leader we expected more of him the second time around, and actually earned the district trophy at our Camporee that year, something our troop had NEVER done before.

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I struggle with extremist debates on this forum because that leaves the other 95 of realist and pragmatist bored and searching google for something more interesting.

There are two considerations that should drive changes, especially in a patrol method program. One is simplicity for duplication. Simplicity generally requires a need for change to simplify another process or processes.  If the change contributes to more complexity for the same outcome, well because boys generally take the path of least resistance, they will change it soon enough.

Second, growth. My struggle with nonconforming ideas is that, more often than not, growth was not considered in the decision for the change. The troop program is a program of learning and growth. What's the point of change if nobody gets anything out of it.

I personally like handbooks because that is a good starting place, and a good fallback as well for the scouts. If the adult leader doesn't want to get blamed by the scouts' frustration, then give them a handbook.

One of the extremist points that I grow tired of is that the boys must make all the decisions. On this discussion, it is my opinion, that if the adult directed change results in more growth of character and decision making, than that is the direction the program should go. As much as it hurts some folks here to read, this is an adult program designed to develop boys into better men of character. Program changes should "Do No Harm" to that effort. I believe in boy run patrol method because it is the BEST method for developing growth. That being said, boy run without monitoring growth is a program of boy-run-into-the-ground. 

I do believe that sometime temporary changes are required. I have learned, and as a result teach, that shorter election cycles work better for new troops with young scouts because the PORs can burn out young scouts quickly. Scouting is supposed to be fun for all the ages and most 11 years olds cannot handled the demands of a mature troop. Independence is stressful for 10 and eleven year olds, so give them a break. Our scouts have found that they will add PORs to help large groups of new scouts. 

There are some basics to glean from there somewhere, I hope I didn't rant off too far.

Barry

 

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I have been SPL for two term, (1yr each) and that’s my troops limits.

Edited by ItsBrian

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This topic was well before my time, and like a fine wine, it's aged well.

 

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To my knowledge, there is no BSA rule about how many times a Scout can be SPL. In my Troop, we have a rule that a boy can only be SPL one 6 month term. I'd rather it be two terms, but the justification is sound. (It gives more boys the opportunity to be SPL). We never have a shortage of boys who want to be SPL, so it makes sense. 

Edited by Sentinel947

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8 minutes ago, Sentinel947 said:

To my knowledge, there is no BSA rule about how many times a Scout can be SPL. 

There is no rule.  The BSA leaves the length of terms, the number of total terms and the number of consecutive terms up to each troop.  Our troop has a one-year term and no term limits.  I have suggested a couple times over the years that the boys might want to consider a six-month term, but that has never gone anywhere.

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Hmmmm, if rule making by adults is important to the operation of the troop, why not have an opportunity for each boy to be SPL for a 1 week, 1 term election and then everyone can mark it off on their resume/college application they were an SPL.  From all the negative feedback about SPL's not doing their job very well, most troops wouldn't notice any difference.

As a UC that goes around fighting fires in units all the time, when it comes to elections in troops, I would venture to say about 100% of the times people are upset about leadership selection in troops is because of adult made up rules.

 

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29 minutes ago, Stosh said:

Hmmmm, if rule making by adults is important to the operation of the troop, why not have an opportunity for each boy to be SPL for a 1 week, 1 term election and then everyone can mark it off on their resume/college application they were an SPL.  From all the negative feedback about SPL's not doing their job very well, most troops wouldn't notice any difference.

As a UC that goes around fighting fires in units all the time, when it comes to elections in troops, I would venture to say about 100% of the times people are upset about leadership selection in troops is because of adult made up rules.

 

Then growth wasn’t considered in the process. 

Barry

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My troop does not allow consecutive terms for any elected PORs. Appointed are a different matter. But there is now a push by adults to change the rules so that you only get 1 term of office in a position. That's because the other adults say same the same people keep getting elected, and  it's a popularity contest. My opinion is that the Scouts know best who will get the job done, and vote for those Scouts. One person upset has a son who, when he ran for PL voted for the other person. Another son ran for PL and was not elected. Due to extracurriculars, he has been to only 1 meeting since elections, and he was at the election only long enough to vote. And he will not be at meeting again until Feb.

 

Me personally I say let them run until they get voted out, or no longer want the position. But I am in the minority of adults.

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In all honesty, it depends on the size of the troop.

My troop has 12 scouts, with only 3 senior. Two of them do not want to be SPL so I was it again. 

 

If it’s a big Troop, everyone should get a chance if they want one.

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It is a popularity contest, and the leader is whoever the Scouts follow, titles notwithstanding.

That is not to say that adults cannot profoundly influence the outcomes by the training they give the Scouts, both training of the leaders and of the electors as to  what the elected leader must accomplish.  I know of poor choices --  that proved educational to the Scouts, and that is the goal, rather then "perfect" choices - according to adults' opinions.

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WHO PITCHES AND TO WHAT END?

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4 hours ago, Eagledad said:

Then growth wasn’t considered in the process. 

Barry

If that were a major concern, why doesn't BSA address the issue?  There are plenty of opportunities for growth other than PL and SPL.

 

3 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

My troop does not allow consecutive terms for any elected PORs. Appointed are a different matter. But there is now a push by adults to change the rules so that you only get 1 term of office in a position. That's because the other adults say same the same people keep getting elected, and  it's a popularity contest. My opinion is that the Scouts know best who will get the job done, and vote for those Scouts. One person upset has a son who, when he ran for PL voted for the other person. Another son ran for PL and was not elected. Due to extracurriculars, he has been to only 1 meeting since elections, and he was at the election only long enough to vote. And he will not be at meeting again until Feb.

 

Me personally I say let them run until they get voted out, or no longer want the position. But I am in the minority of adults.

And once again the adults get their hands in it and the boy's wishes take a back seat.

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2 hours ago, ItsBrian said:

In all honesty, it depends on the size of the troop.

My troop has 12 scouts, with only 3 senior. Two of them do not want to be SPL so I was it again. 

 

If it’s a big Troop, everyone should get a chance if they want one.

With only 2 patrols, that's not much of a job for an SPL.  If the two PL's needed to discuss anything they could do it over the phone.

As far as chances go, any boy that is willing and able to lead shouldn't have any trouble getting elected/selected.  It's only when the adults make up rules that the less qualified or unable to handle it get assigned by the adults.  Then the adults start the helicopter hover over the boy to make up all kinds of rules that measure performance so that they can "mentor" the boys to get done what the adults want done.  I see it all over the place around my neck of the woods, and from what gets tossed around here on the forum, we're not the only ones.

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2 hours ago, Stosh said:

If that were a major concern, why doesn't BSA address the issue?  There are plenty of opportunities for growth other than PL and SPL

Ah, how many pages of policy, procedure and guidelines are required to handhold adult leaders to one single way of scout leading? And, would that still be enough to satisfy the cynics?

Growth is a continuous and unpredictable process where different methods of scout leading are required for ultimate results. 

Being a good scout leader requires as much experience and growth (if not more) as a scout growing into a better scout. But, as the saying goes, the adult doesn’t know what the adult doesn’t know. The program, as a whole, is only as good as the adults willingness to grow and learn. 

Barry

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