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Kcaine

Election question

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Our Troop is getting ready to come up on our mid year elections. Which means a new SPL. I am going into our committee chair position starting today. At our PLC I over heard our SM son say that a scout in our Troop was going to run for SPL. And our SM son was going to be his ASPL. My issue with this is this scout, according to our scoutbook attendance report has a 19% attendance record. He has only attended 14 of the events since Nov 2016 to present day. There is talks of another scout in our Troop that is interested. Who has a better attendance record and takes his leadership role serious.

Am I wrong for saying that the SM and ASM should intervene, in the aspect that the one scoUT with low attendance doesn't qualify for SPL? There has to be a time when leaders have to give that guidance and direction, when your older scouts are not there to give that direction. We have numerous older scouts who sign up for leadership. But don't commit. They aren't active in the bulk of our functions to do their job.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

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1) WELCOME TO DA FORUMS!!!!!

 

2) Scouters should NOT interfere with the election of a units leaders. Let the Scouts vote and live with the consequences. If you interefere they learn NOTHING (emphasis)

 

The Scouters in my current  current troop interfered with unit elections last year. It sets the Scouts in the troop back. if you look at my previous posts, the adults would not let the leaders lead. It got so bad that I thought of restarting a troop that had folded. That interference is still affecting the troop today.

 

The Scouts know what is up. If you truly have a Scout-run troop, they will take unit elections seriously. But if adults constantly jump in and interfere, they will not care. I know of a troop that had a real slacker and trouble maker decide to run for SPL. Scouts knew what was up and he only got 2 votes: his and probably his best friend's vote.

 

3) good luck

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Posted (edited)

Welcome to the forums, and thanks in advance for all you do for the boys.

Aside from laying out the troop's expectations for its SPL, I would not interfere.

Pick a bad SPL, the other boys take up the slack. It's good training for when they get the position.

Edited by qwazse

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Posted (edited)

Our Troop is getting ready to come up on our mid year elections. Which means a new SPL. I am going into our committee chair position starting today. At our PLC I over heard our SM son say that a scout in our Troop was going to run for SPL. And our SM son was going to be his ASPL. My issue with this is this scout, according to our scoutbook attendance report has a 19% attendance record. He has only attended 14 of the events since Nov 2016 to present day. There is talks of another scout in our Troop that is interested. Who has a better attendance record and takes his leadership role serious.

Am I wrong for saying that the SM and ASM should intervene, in the aspect that the one scoUT with low attendance doesn't qualify for SPL? There has to be a time when leaders have to give that guidance and direction, when your older scouts are not there to give that direction. We have numerous older scouts who sign up for leadership. But don't commit. They aren't active in the bulk of our functions to do their job.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Unless your troop has a policy that defines what active participation means you have no grounds to judge is activity level. Whether he's attend one or all of your events he's eligible to run and up to the boys to decide.

 

Now the Scoutmaster can develop objectives the SPL must fulfill to get credit for his leadership position, one of those can be attendance at troop events during his tenure.

Edited by Back Pack

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Welcome to the forum.

 

One of the first thing one learns in the Scouting program is stay in your own lane.  Elections are the boy's problem.  Stay out of it.  They aren't going to learn anything until they fail at ti a few times. 

 

I don't do elections (insert corporate gasp here) I let the boys decide who there leadership is.  I only define the Patrol Method as the structure in which they make their decisions.  I have had PL's (s)elected by the patrol members that lasted only a couple of weeks before losing the position to a better suited scout.  I have had other scouts who have done well and held the position for years. 

 

I don't care how they (s)elect their leadership because it is THEIR leadership.  When the problem spills out far enough to influence me, then I can say something.  Until then, be patient, grab a cup of coffee and remember, this process is not your problem.

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Our Troop interferes with elections; ie. screens, scout master approvals, min requirements. Almost always backfires. Let the boys sort it out.

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Posted (edited)

The worst SPL my troop ever voted into office set the tone for better SPLs for years to come. The scout was a nice kid and very popular, but he was just a terrible planner and leader. Half way through his tenure (I found out later) there was serious discussion among the older scouts, including his friends, about whether they should hold a recall election. After his term the scouts took elections more seriously: qualifications, including attendance, how well someone had done in a previous position, and how well they performed in helping plan events at PLCs, were seriously debated and contested before each election. Personal popularity stopped being the main criteria. It was a rough couple months at first, but even before his tenure was over true leaders among the scouts were stepping up to make things better, and our troop has had a higher standard for scout leaders ever since.

 

If you're concerned about scouts taking on leadership positions that they don't then fulfill, which is a legitimate concern, then make sure you have performance criteria, including attendance requirements, in place so that each scout understands what expectations they have to meet WHILE THEY'RE IN POSITION.

 

In the particular case you have, what does "only 14 events" mean? Was he at every campout but not many meetings, did he miss a big chunk in a row because some particular sport or other extra curricular activity conflicted? Does he maybe have a plan for making events more interesting so that more scouts like him are motivated to attend?

 

The bottom line is yes you would be wrong to interfere in the elections, but you would not be wrong to ensure that there are high standards for performing a position once a scout takes it on.

Edited by T2Eagle

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Why would the adults be the ones "to ensure that there are high standards for performing a position once a scout takes it on."  Isn't that the job of the boys?  The biggest problem I have with election term limits is that one usually has to suffer for 6 months or a year on a bad call.  Recall?  Nope, if he's not doing the job up to the standards of those he is serving, then get someone in there that will...immediately!  With this onus hanging over every leader, if they want to keep the job, they had better do it or someone else will.

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Let me tell you the story of the "Unqualified SPL"

 

There once was an 11 year old Tenderfoot. He was in the troop about 5 months when his patrol elected him PL. He did such a great job, that his APL nomintated him for SPL when his term as PL was over. So this 11 year old now Second Class Scout with 11 months in the troop was elected SPL.

 

Now his dad is an Eagle, and active in Scouting still in too many roles. Dad thought it was a joke when told the son was elected SPL. Then he freaked out. Dad actually wanted son to think about what he was getting into and was he sure he wanted the job, and said it was not too late to back down. Son took it on.

 

Over the next 6 months, the troop made a lot of progress towards being boy-led. The 11 year old Second Class Scout set a lot of good precedents. Was he perfect, no. Did he ask for help from his dad. yes.  My proudest moment was when one of the older Scouts said my son was the best SPL the troop had ever had. And this was the ex-SPL whom my son looked up to.

 

Sadly, a new influx of adults, as well as some health challenges with the SM caused major changes. The adults interfered so much that progress towards boy-led took an almost 180 degree turn, and the older Scouts have lost interest in being in leadership b/c the adults interfere so much. Heck they just did a fundraiser. SPL wants to divide the money up by the three patrols and let them purchase equipment they want/need.  And one adults stated "They can do that, as long as they get what we want them to get."

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The worst SPL my troop ever voted into office set the tone for better SPLs for years to come. The scout was a nice kid and very popular, but he was just a terrible planner and leader. Half way through his tenure (I found out later) there was serious discussion among the older scouts, including his friends, about whether they should hold a recall election.

 

Exact same issue three years ago with us. Kid was a straight A student, highly organized, NYLT, etc., etc. As SPL he was a nightmare. No follow up. No leadership. No communication. No organization. Converted oxygen to carbon dioxide. He was counselled by the SM during the first two months how to change his execution and management. Gave given a road map to get back on track. Short of doing his job for him he was given all the tools and counsel. Each time he said he knew what to do. Crickets. When is term was done he left the troop he was so embarrassed by his lack of performance. We tried to talk to him and let him know leaving is the easy way out; facing his challenges is the character development. His parents let him wimp out and he left.

 

To this day the Scouts that were under him have created a set of checks and balances to make sure that never happens again. At least THEY learned from his mistakes.

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What we do about this is this:

When we have an SPL election, before the Scouts actually vote, each candidate speaks to the troop and usually covers the typical stuff, why I want to be SPL, what my plans are, what I would do to improve things.  Usually it's only a minute or two.  These speeches have been part of the election process for as long as anyone can remember.

 

A couple years ago we made a suggestion to the candidates, which has basically become an "accepted practice" (you can call it a "rule" if you want) that if any candidate has any upcoming sports commitments that might lead to numerous absences, they need to share that with their fellow Scouts so the troop can take that into account when voting.  A corollary to this is that if a candidate for SPL has had a poor attendance record, he needs to share with the troop how and why that is going to change, IF it is going to change.

 

This way the electorate is better informed about the candidates and can make their own choice.

 

The other part of the solution, I think, is to make sure the ASPL is taking on that job with full knowledge that he might be "acting SPL" quite a bit.

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I don't do elections (insert corporate gasp here) I let the boys decide who there leadership is. 

 

How is "the boys deciding" different from an election?  I assume the decision is not made through combat or drawing of straws, so some conscious decision is made by the boys as to who would be the best person for the job. Isn't that an election?

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I like the idea of expecting the potential leaders to present all relevant information/potential conflicts/whatever to the boys before they vote - but what I like shouldn't have any final bearing on the internal affairs of the Troop.

 

The simple fact, as the others here have pointed out, is that the Troop committee has no say in the internal affairs of the Troop. Nor does the Scoutmaster, nor his assistants. The only people who have any voice in Troop elections are the boys of the Troop itself. Any meddling from adult leadership or the Troop committee robs the boys of their right to lead their group, run their program, and yes, even their right to make mistakes, learn from them, and improve their program. The whole point of the Scouting program is to teach boys the leadership skills and character virtues they will need to be successful, self-reliant adults, and a central part of that program is allowing them to run their own activities and choose their own leaders. That is what teaches boys why it is essential to choose good leaders through the democratic process, and how to become skilled leaders themselves - it generate both conscientious citizens and responsible authority. If you decide to take away the very processes by which those qualities are meant to be learned, bending them to your own ideas of how the program should be run (and therefore, unjustly manipulated), you might as well take their uniforms and badges away from them too, because at that point you aren't running a Scouting program any more.

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The simple fact, as the others here have pointed out, is that the Troop committee has no say in the internal affairs of the Troop. Nor does the Scoutmaster, nor his assistants. The only people who have any voice in Troop elections are the boys of the Troop itself. Any meddling from adult leadership or the Troop committee robs the boys of their right to lead their group, run their program, and yes, even their right to make mistakes, learn from them, and improve their program.

 

For me this statement is partially correct. Maybe I read it wrong but it sounded like you were advocating no role of the SM in this processes. In fact the SM handbook calls out specific roles of the SM during leadership development and leadership evaluation.

 

The TC has no say in the running of the troop. That's the SM's job. The TC hires and fires the SM, but the SM is the chief operating officer and is responsible for working with the boys. The TC manages the administrative and financial functions.

 

The SM is the advisor to the PLC, SPL and PLs. Scouting is not like Lord of the Flies, where the boys reign without input. The SM is like a firearms instructor. He ensures safety, teaches technique but in the end allows the shooter to aim, fire and adjust. The SM gives advice and they try again.

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