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Stosh

Who's running the show?

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

 

Of course if one has only 8 boys, It's still the Patrol Method, but it looks like the traditional top-down org chart.  With two patrols the temptation is to add an SPL and that only further promotes the top-down concept.  If the only job the SPL has is making sure the two PL's are successful, then you will see the shift away from traditional models and the Patrol Method.

 

Got to thinking more on how to explain it.  Most organizations from the Lion's Clubs to the Church Councils have a president on down.  And that structure is very effective and efficient.  We agree on that.

 

But Boy Scouts is not an organization with efficiency in mind.  It is an organization that teaches how most organizations run, but on a smaller scale with more opportunities to learn the process.  Yes, one patrol looks just like a small Lion's Club in structure.  It is meant to be efficient.  But if there weren't multiple patrols, not all the boys would get a chance to try it out.  Just one or two maybe.  The Patrol Method is a way to teach more boys hands-on training at the same time with the SPL supporting them in their efforts.

 

If scouts were to be an effective and efficiently run organization, just let the SM do it, he's got the know how to do it.  But if the boys are to learn, they had better be given the opportunity to do so.

Edited by Stosh

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One can't "train" a leader.  They can encourage an attitude in the boys that will lead to leadership, but no manual, no lessons, no training is going to produce a leader.

 

There are a slew of organizations that would disagree with the idea you cannot train leaders. Not the least of which would be 5 branches of the military and 3 military academies.

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The unfortunate thing for my troop, as the SPL, the PLs have to support me. They have been trained many many times and I’ve always tried to get them more involved.

 

That’s why personally I would think SPL and ASPL only would work fine.

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The SM is running the show.

 

The BSA POR hierarchy is already the shape of the ice-cream cone format because the program is using servant leadership as the process to meet the Vision of developing ethical and moral decision makers. I don’t understand how the SPL is separated (or the SM for that matter) from the servant leadership part of the program. If the SPL is a servant leader, he serves the patrols just as much as the PL.

 

The confusion for many here is thinking that the BSA leadership hierarchy as a linear structure of directors and subordinates like military organizations. But the BSA leadership structure is more of defined levels of experiences and mastery of skills. That is why we call it Positions of Responsibility (PORs). The SPL is generally the scout with high level of experience and mastery of skills. Not the scout who has the highest level of directive authority.

 

The reason many troops struggle with the BSA leadership structure is they don’t understand, or even know the BSA Vision. They instead are stuck in the weeds of advancement and leadership. And troops that focus on the methods of the program without understanding the Vision generally do not use servant leadership because advancement and leadership are a lot easier than making moral and ethical decision makers.. Servant leadership is the equalizer of program because everyone’s actions are to serve everyone. That is how the SPL is as much a servant to the patrol member as the PL. And why the SM is also as much a servant to the patrol members as the PL. Each have their defined responsibilities within the program structure for the intention of working toward the Vision by way of managing an efficient program. But if they don’t see themselves serving the patrol members, then the SM is doing it wrong. If the SM is doing it wrong, can anyone make it right?

 

The SM has the responsibility to direct the program to use (or not) servant leadership. The SM is the gatekeeper to the Vision. That is why the SM is running the show. I can’t imagine a mature troop running any other way.  

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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The reason many troops struggle with the BSA leadership structure is they don’t understand, or even know the BSA Vision. They instead are stuck in the weeds of advancement and leadership. And troops that focus on the methods of the program without understanding the Vision generally do not use servant leadership because advancement and leadership are a lot easier than making moral and ethical decision makers.

 

 

Agreed. I'm seeing this happen in my own troop right now. Advancement is easy so the entire troop is working on one MB. It doesn't matter that a lot of scouts already have it. It was really easy to pick a MB for a month long theme. It was really easy for the plc to divy up the requirements so each pl does some classroom style explaining. Not sure how fun it will be after a few months.

 

Until the bsa can explain this program in a way that parents can easily catch onto this is what it will be. Btw, the new sm is an eagle scout, so this is not a new problem. Also, this theme came right out of the programming resources documentation that the bsa publishes.

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Agreed. I'm seeing this happen in my own troop right now. Advancement is easy so the entire troop is working on one MB. It doesn't matter that a lot of scouts already have it. It was really easy to pick a MB for a month long theme. It was really easy for the plc to divy up the requirements so each pl does some classroom style explaining. Not sure how fun it will be after a few months.

 

Until the bsa can explain this program in a way that parents can easily catch onto this is what it will be. Btw, the new sm is an eagle scout, so this is not a new problem. Also, this theme came right out of the programming resources documentation that the bsa publishes.

The fun in "explaining" depends on how they approach it. It can be fun if, for their section, each patrol ...

  • Makes a skit, puppet show, or video
  • Create a song ... with motions.
  • Hides the bullet-points around the scout house property. Or figures out some other game or puzzle where patrols have to race to "get" the complete explanation. (Pro-tip: hangman is always good for terms.)
  • Brings an expert in who has good demonstration materials (e.g., for all those potential diseases from cooking: a doctor with specimen slides or pictures of symptoms!).

Then, at the end of the series, scouts vote on which patrol had the best presentation.

 

This will definitely be disruptive to folks who want advancement to be "easy." But, it forces advancement to lean on other methods (patrols, leadership development, adult association, personal growth). It focuses the question in this topic from "who's running?" to "where's the show?".

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There are a slew of organizations that would disagree with the idea you cannot train leaders. Not the least of which would be 5 branches of the military and 3 military academies.

 

Volunteers already have the heart of a leader, that's why these people are in the military serving their country.  Scouts are not volunteers, they expect something from the organization.  Volunteers only want opportunities to serve.  Big difference.  That's why so many youth programs have problems.  Volunteers don't join an organization to be entertained and taken care of, they take care of others.

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The unfortunate thing for my troop, as the SPL, the PLs have to support me. They have been trained many many times and I’ve always tried to get them more involved.

 

That’s why personally I would think SPL and ASPL only would work fine.

 

If the PL/APL's don't want to follow the SPL, then why would any others in the unit want to follow.  One cannot put the onus of the problem on the followers, sometimes the problem is the leader or lack thereof.

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Stosh on 27 September 2017 - 7:41, said: "Volunteers already have the heart of a leader, that's why these people are in the military serving their country.  Scouts are not volunteers, they expect something from the organization.  Volunteers only want opportunities to serve.  Big difference.  That's why so many youth programs have problems.  Volunteers don't join an organization to be entertained and taken care of, they take care of others."


 


We disagree - profoundly.


 


Not all those who volunteer for the military have any desire to lead.  Some want three squares and a bed.  Some want to be led - to have structure in their chaotic lives.   


 


Scouts are volunteers.  Neither you, I, nor their parents can force them to participate for long ("Mom, it's study for the math exam or attend the Scout meeting.") In massive numbers they walk away from weak program.  They join to have fun.  They are promised fun and adventure.


 


It has been observed for centuries that leadership can be taught.  Beyond safety, It is the primary job of the Scoutmaster, voluntarily assumed, to train Scout leaders, and if you have no faith in your primary mission, there is a problem.


 


You will not convince me, or Bill at Home, otherwise.

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Stosh on 27 September 2017 - 7:41, said: "Volunteers already have the heart of a leader, that's why these people are in the military serving their country.  Scouts are not volunteers, they expect something from the organization.  Volunteers only want opportunities to serve.  Big difference.  That's why so many youth programs have problems.  Volunteers don't join an organization to be entertained and taken care of, they take care of others."

 

We disagree - profoundly.

 

Not all those who volunteer for the military have any desire to lead.  Some want three squares and a bed.  Some want to be led - to have structure in their chaotic lives.   

 

And yet some of the strongest bonding among men occurs during their military experience that lasts a lifetime.  Probably more than any other.  In a difficult situation, they somehow, when needed step up in heroic ways to help their buddies in combat.  Sure, they don't all wear strips and brass, but there's lots of leadership being conducted in the military.  If one only uses the standard measurements of what people think leadership is, then one is missing some of the best leadership going on around them.

 

Scouts are volunteers.  Neither you, I, nor their parents can force them to participate for long ("Mom, it's study for the math exam or attend the Scout meeting.") In massive numbers they walk away from weak program.  They join to have fun.  They are promised fun and adventure.

 

It has been observed for centuries that leadership can be taught.  Beyond safety, It is the primary job of the Scoutmaster, voluntarily assumed, to train Scout leaders, and if you have no faith in your primary mission, there is a problem.

 

You will not convince me, or Bill at Home, otherwise.

 

Of course I'll never convince you otherwise.  You are operating under a different definition of leadership than I am.  It's apples and oranges.  :)   It might help if one were to read up on Peter F. Drucker, the Father of Modern Management and then read Robert K. Greenleaf's, founder of the modern Servant Leadership movement.  Then we can discuss the difference between apples and oranges.

 

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If the PL/APL's don't want to follow the SPL, then why would any others in the unit want to follow.  One cannot put the onus of the problem on the followers, sometimes the problem is the leader or lack thereof.

It’s not that they don’t want to follow, they just have no interest in holding a position. Nobody in the troop wants a position.

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It’s not that they don’t want to follow, they just have no interest in holding a position. Nobody in the troop wants a position.

 

:)  No organizational structure in the world is going to work for that group.  You might as well have the janitor running that group.

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Volunteers already have the heart of a leader, that's why these people are in the military serving their country.  Scouts are not volunteers, they expect something from the organization.  Volunteers only want opportunities to serve.  Big difference.  That's why so many youth programs have problems.  Volunteers don't join an organization to be entertained and taken care of, they take care of others.

 

Scouts are volunteers, unless mom and dad are forcing then to be there. Scouters are volunteers. Just like athletes, business people, churches, and a vast many other organizations. Those people chose to be there, and those that lead chose to do so, no one forces them. A volunteer MAY only want to serve, but leaders are needed and usually emerge.

 

Regardless, I do not see how that has anything to do with the concept that one cannot train leaders. I stopped at military and and the academies in my examples, because those organizations train leaders everyday. But so do businesses, universities, churches and more.

 

Leadership is a learned set of skills.

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How much do the boys pay to volunteer for scouts? 

 

Sorry, but the boys are voluntarily paying for a program just like any other program being offered out there.  When I pay for an annual pass for the YMCA programs, I'm not volulnteering.

 

One does not pay to be a volunteer for a program, they pay for what the program provides in service, education, etc.

 

When a person picks a college to attend, they don't volunteer for the school, they voluntarily go there because of what it has to offer and they pay for the knowledge.

 

One trains managers, but they develop leaders.  There's a big difference. 

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As to the original post, "who is running the show?"

 

I guess that depends on how you define "running" and the "show."

 

Different elements of the organization have different responsibilities and to different primary stakeholders and thus different levels of authority.

 

The CO, the committee, the SM corps, the PLC, SPL, PL, the scouts, district, council and national all have different responsibilities and accountability on different scales.

 

National has the ultimate veto power on certain things, the CO has ultimate veto power on certain things, they have agreed to that by contract (Charter).

 

The SM and Committee do and should have veto power over certain things. They have responsibilities that they cannot abdicate. None of that precludes being boy-led. Some troops do a better job of defining who has authority in what areas and abiding by those definitions.

 

My CEO can walk in tomorrow morning an reverse every decision I have made, no matter how well I lead, he has that authority. The board can do the same to him, and stockholders can force the board. Our customers can force changes too, and the circle of life goes on.

 

Everyone has someone they answer to, it is they way of life.

 

And boys ask questions because they are conditioned to do that. As Scouter, we only have them maybe 10% of their time at best. The other 90%, at home, at school and at work, they answer to adults. So, even when they have the authority to make decisions, they often fall back to asking anyway. Thus the saying "have you asked your PL."

 

Being boy-led is not culturally intuitive for adults or youth. That is why we work on it so much.

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