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Stosh

Who's running the show?

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No.  If the boys don't care to look at the bulletin board and would rather ignore the PL, then they are lousy scouts.

 

The Boy Scouts of my generation didn't just teach leadership, they also taught obedience.  A scout is supposed to obey his patrol leader.  When did this become so unfashionable? 

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No.  If the boys don't care to look at the bulletin board and would rather ignore the PL, then they are lousy scouts.

 

The Boy Scouts of my generation didn't just teach leadership, they also taught obedience.  A scout is supposed to obey his patrol leader.  When did this become so unfashionable? 

 

That would mean there are a lot of lousy scouts out there,   I believe that to be a false premise.  A good leader can make up for lousy scouts because the boys will follow if they really believe the leader cares for them.  It's basic human nature. No one follows a person that gives indication one is not important enough to be taken care of. 

 

When one has to start quoting Oath, Law, rules and bylaws in order to maintain group control, then it becomes blatantly obvious that the "leader" is trying to enforce authority from a source other than themselves.  To me that indicates a lack of leadership on that person's part.  Leadership stands on it's own merits.

Edited by Stosh

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Oh, by the way, my boys don't use rosters..... The only time I see a roster is at summer camp where the boys need one for camp inspection.  No one ever looks at it because they all know their part in how the patrol operates. 

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I disagree about not being able to train leaders. You can train leaders but the person being trained has to have the raw materials to become a leader. My Scoutmaster explained it like this: "You can smelt ore but it depends on what you are smelting as to what you get. You can't smelt gold ore and get copper. You can't smelt copper and get silver. Training leaders requires you start with the right materials. In the end you migh get a good manager or a good leaders. You might get slurry."

Edited by Back Pack

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That would mean there are a lot of lousy scouts out there,   I believe that to be a false premise.  A good leader can make up for lousy scouts because the boys will follow if they really believe the leader cares for them.  It's basic human nature. No one follows a person that gives indication one is not important enough to be taken care of. 

 

When one has to start quoting Oath, Law, rules and bylaws in order to maintain group control, then it becomes blatantly obvious that the "leader" is trying to enforce authority from a source other than themselves.  To me that indicates a lack of leadership on that person's part.  Leadership stands on it's own merits.

 

Yes, that is exactly my point. A good scout leader does enforce authority from a structure other than themselves.  In scouting, we have that structure.

 

First, you object to the adults having authority because you say you believe in being boy lead.  Then you say that you don't believe in having a SPL because you believe in the patrol system.  Finally, you say that boys shouldn't even have to obey their patrol leader.

 

Well, Stosh, that isn't scouting.  Scouting is based on the scout oath and law.  It has structure.  It has ownership.  It has rules.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I disagree about not being able to train leaders. You can train leaders but the person being trained has to have the raw materials to become a leader. My Scoutmaster explained it like this: "You can smelt ore but it depends on what you are smelting as to what you get. You can't smelt gold ore and get copper. You can't smelt copper and get silver. Training leaders requires you start with the right materials. In the end you migh get a good manager or a good leaders. You might get slurry."

That's the point being made. One has to have the correct basis in which to promote leadership. Starting with a narcissistic boy will not produce a good leader. For selfish reasons he may become a good manager and get the job done so as to garner accolades and praise. A true leader of people needs a basis of concern for the welfare of others (take care of you buddies). Without that they won't care about following a leader who doesn't care about them. This dynamic goes on around us all the time. How many people in your circle of true friends are selfish? No one gets a real Eagle without the help one's friends. Those whose goal is to garner accolades and praise for the Eagle seem to struggle even getting anyone to help with their project. They're just not leaders. They are in no way running their own show. Scouters have to step in and force and threaten the scouts to help. Even then they "manage" to get the project done. I've seen this too many times in my scouting career. When leadership isn't promoted the boys suffer.

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Sadly in my troop it's still the adults. Although the youth are making progress. The adults will jump in and take over when something goes wrong still. At least they are letting the Scouts do their thing until somehting happens, which is an improvement. They would jump in previously.

 

The new volunteers are still acting like Cub Scout leaders, and that is not helping matters. They do not understand the patrol method, still jump in for their sons, and are focused on the "legality" of advancement and not the spirit of it. We had one Scout get scared and run to dad's shelter this weekend. Since he slept under the stars, technically he counts as camping still. Problem was, he abandoned his partner, who when he got scared came over as well. And dad has already said he is not pushing his son out.

 

But the worse thing now is now one adult is saying the unit elections are popularity contests because the same Scouts keep getting elected, and it is starting to spread.

 

The adult starting this is upset because his older son has never held elected office, only appointed positions. What he is conveniently forgetting is that his older son either A) said he was not interested in running or B) when "encouraged" to run by Dad and/or other adults, the Scouts know he is not interested, so they do not vote for him.  As for younger son, while he enthusiastically runs for election, he is the on who complains, whines, drags his feet, etc when things need to be done. Again none of the Scouts vote for him as a result.

 

And as I stated the "elections are popularity contests" are now starting to spread. One parent hearing this agreed because his son has never held elected office, only appointed ones. What dad is forgetting what he said a few years back: the family situation only allows the Scout to be there 2/3 of the time, and the Scouts realize this so the son isn't elected. And the SM commented on it too.

 

I know it is disappointing not to be elected PL or SPL. While I was elected PL the 2nd time around, I was never elected SPL. I was always appointed ASPL.

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Putting on my Scoutmaster hat.....

 

I guess I am an old timer... I believe in giving my Scouts a safe place to fail, and grow from it.

 

In our troop, unless the issue is health or safety related, the adult leaders stay out of the way and let the scouts get on with the business of running the troop. They run the meetings, make the annual plans, present the plan to me so that I can pull out the "adult" portion (Driving, deposits etc., in other words, those things that require an adult to handle.) When camping, the adults plan their own menus, camp away from the boys (but close enough to keep an ear out for trouble) and let them have at it. Do they sometimes fail? Yes. Do the adults take over and fix everything? Not on your life. These become teachable moments for the Scoutmaster and the SPL. I will discuss options with the SPL, help him discover himself what went wrong, then he takes it back to his leadership team and they decide how to overcome the obstacle.

 

I had another scoutmaster (who runs a tight ship) visit and watch the organized chaos before the beginning one of my troop's meetings. He asked me when I was going to start, and I told him that wasn't my call. At 6PM, without a word from any adult, the SPL assembled the troop, and one of the patrols formally opened the meeting. The scouts broke into patrols and began the nights activity, which was planning for the upcoming camping trip. after a while, the troop gathered to learn a Scout skill from the Troop instructor, and the SPL led the inter patrol activity. At the end of the meeting, I was invited to give a quick "Scoutmaster minute" and the meeting was closed, the area cleaned and the boys left. All this happened without any adult lifting a finger, or giving any instructions. Needless to say, my visitor was amazed at what he had witnessed.

 

It doesn't happen overnight, but I believe in the saying, "Train em right, trust (but verify) that they do it right, then get out of the way!"

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I'm think the same thing.  The Venturing program does not use the patrol method.  It is designed more like the standard top down structure used by the military and business entities.  Maybe a "club" or "service organization" would be a better descriptor of a Crew.  President, VP, Sec, Treas, etc.  They focus on a certain activity, fun (local kayak club), service (Lion's, Kiwanis, etc.), but don't focus on a specific program, but something of like interest.  Under those circumstances, they are not trying to develop a knowledge of group dynamics and leadership, it is assumed those issues have already been learned along the way.  By the time youth reach the high school years (14-18) they are mature enough to theoretically handle the adult world of group organization.

  

I believe what you are describing is a Venturing Crew.

I personally would rather have that implemented into troops.

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I personally would rather have that implemented into troops.

Be careful what you wish for. Venturing has been the fastest shrinking division of the BSA. There are lots of reasons for it, but the nebulous leadership structure could partly explain it.

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I personally would rather have that implemented into troops.

I can understand why one would want a,structure like this. It's the most efficient form. With that being said, it is not a form that maximises leadership development. Only a few are "at the top". The patrol method breaks down the organization into small, easy to lead groups, thus allowing more boys to have the chance to lead. With the traditional model only a handful lead. It's efficient, but everyone else just follows along. With the patrol method, there are many leaders. One quarter of the boys are leading a group. Add SPL and troop leaders like TGs,QM etc.the percentage goes higher. Add patrol scribes and QMs and again the percentage jumps well over 50%. so one must decide what is the goal...efficiency or leadership development. The patrol method opts for leadership.

Edited by Stosh

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The traditional model is that a patrol is a team, with each member having a job. In that job, he has leadership responsibility.

 

This is, obviously, not what the Scouts usually get since the typical SM wouldn't know the Patrol Method if it smacked him or her in the chops.     Why should they?  BSA won't say what it is in any coherent way and has not done so in decades.

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I can understand why one would want a,structure like this. It's the most efficient form. With that being said, it is not a form that maximises leadership development. Only a few are "at the top". The patrol method breaks down the organization into small, easy to lead groups, thus allowing more boys to have the chance to lead. With the traditional model only a handful lead. It's efficient, but everyone else just follows along. With the patrol method, there are many leaders. One quarter of the boys are leading a group. Add SPL and troop leaders like TGs,QM etc.the percentage goes higher. Add patrol scribes and QMs and again the percentage jumps well over 50%. so one must decide what is the goal...efficiency or leadership development. The patrol method opts for leadership.

Bigger troops I can see using the patrol method, but for smaller troops I can see it going that way.

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Bigger troops I can see using the patrol method, but for smaller troops I can see it going that way.

Fact is, troops of less than 20 should leave SPL/ASPL vacant. A couple of PLs and maybe a JASM or two is all you need to support everyone. Every other boy takes on a practical PoR or picks a service project to do for the troop.

It's when you get to three large or four small patrols that you need a lower level of support.

 

Note: I find it best to turn organizational charts upside down. The chief positions being ones that support the others.

Note to Self: I need to put that ice cream cone diagram online,

  • Upvote 2

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Fact is, troops of less than 20 should leave SPL/ASPL vacant. A couple of PLs and maybe a JASM or two is all you need to support everyone. Every other boy takes on a practical PoR or picks a service project to do for the troop.

It's when you get to three large or four small patrols that you need a lower level of support.

 

Note: I find it best to turn organizational charts upside down. The chief positions being ones that support the others.

Note to Self: I need to put that ice cream cone diagram online,

 

OMG, you're starting to sound like me.  I even got in trouble at University of Scouting to proposing turning the chart upside down.  The only good thing about it is they never asked me to teach again.  If one looks at the chart in a practical manner, the further down one goes towards the SPL at the bottom, the stronger the SPL has to be to support the whole structure.  I always teach my boys to get out front and lead, but it is just as important to lead from the rear seat in support of the driver.  Get someone who can't figure out Google Maps as your navigator in rush hour traffic and you'll know what I mean.  Yes, the driver is in control of the car, but the navigator gives him instructions on what road to follow.

 

And yes.  the "highest ranking" officers in my troops have always been the PL's. They run the show for the customer.  Everyone else makes sure he's successful.

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