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How do you decide who is SPL for Summer Camp?

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Would be interested to learn how your troop decides who will be Senior Patrol Leader and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader at summer camp. We recently had someone new run troop camp and he selected two more junior boys for the roles at camp when three higher ranking scouts were on the trip. This ran counter to the troop's past practice and caused some confusion and hard feelings. How does your troop handle SPL/ASPL for summer camp? Is there any guidance from National? The boys who were passed over are scouts in good standing. Two were even recently elected as the troop's ASPLs. They were told (at camp) that they haven't been involved enough at troop meetings and that's how the decision was made.

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Posted (edited)

@@BCscouter   welcome to the forums!
Guidance from national? There's a thing called the Boy Scout Handbook.
SPL and PL are elected by the boys, period. At summer camp, We've told them to come to us with the names of who is doing what ... They found us by our camp drinking coffee and reading the paper. We distributed the rosters, and asked them to kindly add one for adult guests at meal time.
Done.

Edited by RememberSchiff
typo BCscouter
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Posted (edited)

If the SPL and ASPL cannot be at Summer Camp our Scoutmaster and SPL review the roster of boys attending and decide who will be acting SPL for the week at camp. This is generally an older Scout who has future interest in being SPL and it gives them some practice and getting their feet wet in the role. 

Edited by Sentinel947

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Welcome to the forum!!

 

Over the years my troops have handled it 4 different ways.

 

1) Large troop, no patrol method, SM assigns who's going to be SPL.

 

2) Smaller troop, 3 patrols, the PL's decided among themselves who would be designated SPL because we didn't need one except for council activities and summer camp.

 

3) Bigger troop, 4 patrols, the PL's selected best APL in the troop to serve as SPL.  We were using the patrol method and the PL's felt they were too busy with their patrols to take on the support work of the SPL (PL's are the highest ranking officers in the troop.  This is not normal BSA structure, but the boys liked it that way so I didn't get involved.  It worked just fine.

 

4) Small troop, just starting out.  1 patrol, PL took on SPL responsibility and APL "filled in" and ran the patrol when the PL was dong SPL responsibilities.

 

For me, there is no one answer to this question.  I varies depending on the troop culture and size.  Without sounding like I'm giving you the brush-off, why not have the boys make this decision after passing some of these comments from the forum on to them.  It might go a long way to promote the patrol method and the boys can take ownership of the process and decision.

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Here are the (partial) quotes from BSA. http://www.scouting.org/filestore/boyscouts/pdf/Troop_Leadership_Positions.pdf

 

"All members of a troop vote by secret ballot to choose their

senior patrol leader. Rank and age requirements to be a senior

patrol leader are determined by each troop, as is the schedule of

elections."

 

"The senior patrol leader appoints the assistant senior

patrol leader with the approval of the Scoutmaster.

He serves in place of the senior patrol leader at meetings and events when the

senior patrol leader must be absent."

 

So for summer camp, or any other time, the troop elects an SPL, and he appoints his ASPL. If the SPL isn't attending camp then the ASPL takes over. On the one occasion I can think of where nether of the two were at camp the PLC decided who would be SPL. We consider everyone holding a leadership position to be part of the PLC. If I recall correctly they picked the person who was the Quatermaster, who did go on later to be elected as SPL in his own right.

 

The key really is that this is a choice made by the boys, however they go about it.

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The regular SPL is the SPL at summer camp.  If the SPL can't make it, the ASPL takes it on.  If neither can make it, the boys at camp make the decision

Same except the last sentence. If SPL or ASPLs cannot make it, SPL appoints acting SPL with SM approval. Should be a good leader, rank does not matter. Have had a Star scout as SPL when other Life scouts were present. They'll get over it. You're either a good leader or not. Rank means nothing.

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Thanks all for the replies. It appears this was irregular in two ways. 1) Typically an elected ASPL would be the SPL at Summer Camp in the absence of the SPL. 2) Adults picked instead of the boys choosing.

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With my new troop, all Webelos cross-overs a couple of months earlier, one boy did get the Scout Rank.  He was the SPL for the one patrol of new boys and dd just fine.  Ya go with whatcha got.

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Thanks all for the replies. It appears this was irregular in two ways. 1) Typically an elected ASPL would be the SPL at Summer Camp in the absence of the SPL. 2) Adults picked instead of the boys choosing.

Yep.

So, who to blame?

Did any of the boys respectfully point out to the SM that the guidelines in their hand book were being ignored?

If not, why?

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After the boys pick their patrols, they select/elect (however they want to do it, it's fine with me). their PL because that's the person they want taking care of them.

 

I subscribe to the idea that the SPL should be selected/elected by the PL's because that's the person they want taking care of them.  There's nothing but aggravation to have all the boys elect an SPL based on the popularity method of politicin' only to have the PL's suffer the results.  Not a problem I want to deal with.  With me, NO the SPL is the "PL" of the PL's, not the troop.  The PL's serve at the pleasure of the patrol members and the SPL serves at the pleasure of the PL's.  I find that SPL's interfering with patrol activities is non-existent with that understanding.  No SPL ever trumps a PL on a decision made by the patrol.  If there's a problem with one patrol wanting to go to one activity and another patrol to a different activity at the same time, it's the SPL's responsibility to resolve the issue with the PL's or call together the leadership corps to do double duty, getting each patrol to where they want to be.  The are in a supportive role, not dictatorial.  If patrol A of younger scouts want to go to summer camp A because it has a great first year program and patrol B of older boys want to go to summer camp B because it has a great HA program, either one or the other patrols will call in blue-flu for that week if it's required to go to a camp it doesn't wish to attend.

 

Of course of one has mixed patrols, the patrols will need to be broken up to handle such diversity in the camp program.  Those kinds of things don't bode well for the patrol method.

 

Let the SPL earn his stripes.  Figure out a solution that satisfies both patrols equally.  That's his responsibility.

 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's not BSA policy, but then a lot of BSA policies seem to cause enough problems along the way that it keeps the threads going for a long time on the forum.

 

All the boys in the troop electing Mr. Popularity for a 12 month term that the PL's have to suffer with for it, doesn't make my job as SM easier.  If the PL's select the SPL, it's their own fault if it doesn't work out and they can dump him and get a new one in a matter of minutes. That's how it works in the real world.  You screw up at work, at home, or anywhere else, you are immediately on the outside looking in.

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Yep.

So, who to blame?

Did any of the boys respectfully point out to the SM that the guidelines in their hand book were being ignored?

If not, why?

If the adult leader is asking a forum for the answer, I would guess nobody is reading handbooks.  

 

Barry

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The SPL serves at the pleasure of the troop. They elect him, not the PLs. The SPL appoints the ASPLs who fill in for him when he's. It around. The SM advises on all appointed positions.

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