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Matt_theLife_Scout02

SHOULD HE BE REVOKED AS SPL?

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Posted (edited)

I am on the verge of a retaliation against my troop. So many things went down over the last year and it was mainly because of one person: the SPL. Lack of work getting done at each meeting, the nonsense (ed -RS) that is shown towards other members of the troop, mainly the younger ones, and the amount of excuses our SM, who just so happens to be HIS FATHER (YES OUR SPL IS THE SON OF THE SCOUTMASTER) has to make up because the SPL doesn't show up to a lot of meetings or almost any camping trips. 

Our previous SPL was pretty responsible and ensured work got done, but he got his Eagle last fall and turned 18. That left our current SPL (James) to take on the role. I sometimes wonder if he even wants to be a Boy Scout, or if his father is making him stay. He misses every other meeting because of sports and even when is is there he just goofs off with the other guys. He didn't go on our most recent summer camp trip because his mother was "sick" (claims his father). He didn't show up to a merit badge workshop because he had a "stomach flu" (again, claims his father). And he didn't show up to a NYLT class for whatever reason I don't know. One of our guys went on the camp trip from Sun-Sat, came home and went up for the week-long NYLT training (Mon-Fri), came home again and went back up to the camp to volunteer for a weblos week (Mon-Fri). HE ALONE DID THREE WEEKS OF CAMPING AND OUR SPL WAS NOWHERE TO BE SEEN. NOT A WORD. I show up to every camp trip, meeting, and always get work done. More work than the others because they don't even work most of the time, they just goof off and James doesn't do anything about it because HE'S GOOFING OFF. 

Its not fair to the other guys or myself because we don't have elections for anything, not even SPL. So James is set to be SPL either until he ages out of Boy Scouts(he's 15) or he just decides to quit.

To make a long story short: Our SPL fails uphold his position by not doing much work, not showing up to a lot of meetings or other activities without reason, and failing to lead the troop. WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN?? 

Edited by RememberSchiff

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Welcome to the forums!

Step 1: find out what the Boy Scout Handbook says about SPL and PL positions.

Step 2: Arrange to have a conference with the SM. Respectfully show him what you've read. And, let him know that you think the next round of elections should be scheduled at the troop's earliest possible convenience.

 Be patient if you don't like the answer. There are lots of ways that scouters may, from time to time fail to deliver on the promise of scouting. And it takes a while for them to come around.

The good news is that you guys have a lot of opportunities to go camping. Leverage that and try to get your patrol to operate independently. For example, you all could make a good plan for a local hike or other activity and request a couple of adults to chaperon you. Other patrols might begin to follow suit. If not you're still having fun with or without the SPL/ASPL.

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Welcome,     

First   a deep breath, you are not the first scout to be in a situation such as this.   I am not sure what you mean by " retaliation"  but lets hold off on that for now.  OK?

The fact is you are going to need to work with the SM and SPL in the coming years,  and it is best if they can be persuaded to get back on track using small taps rather than a wrecking ball. I will admit that there are  rare times when there is simply no other option , but please leave it as an absolute last resort.   

It is a not unheard of for a father/son to be a SM/SPL, but it often results in problems.     It is very hard for any parent to stop seeing their son as their son and see him as just the SPL no matter how hard they try.  All parents tend to defend their offspring.  Its just hardwired into us. Thus the excuses for "James"  are understandable,  not right perhaps but understandable. Some SMs try to fight this by being extra hard on their sons, some ask an ASM to deal with any performance issues with the SPL.  It is also nearly impossible for a SPL to assert himself if the SM is overstepping his role ( appointing PLs or writing up all the patrols menus for the next camp out)  It is a rare 15 year old who can look a 40 year old in the eye and say " I'm sorry Sir, but you're doing it wrong."  Doubly hard if it's his Dad.   

How does your troop get its SPLs if there are no elections?  It's pretty clearly stated in many places that PLs and SPLs are elected positions.   Most troops have them every 6 months or so.

Has your SM been to any training?  If so what?      SPL same question

Dont make this a you vs them fight.  You will almost certainly lose.   As will the scouts caught in the crossfire.    Try to make it a "Scouting way" vs " the way we are currently doing it"  As quaze said be respectful.  If you can't respect the man at least respect the office.  

Props to you for reaching out for advice.

Oldscout

 

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9 hours ago, Matt_theLife_Scout02 said:

Its not fair to the other guys or myself because we don't have elections for anything, not even SPL.

If you didn't speak up about not having elections when the guy you liked was SPL, then you shouldn't make that an issue now. You will sound like a hypocrite. 

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9 hours ago, Matt_theLife_Scout02 said:

He didn't go on our most recent summer camp trip because his mother was "sick" (claims his father). He didn't show up to a merit badge workshop because he had a "stomach flu" (again, claims his father).

Illness is a very good reason for being absent. 

Your tone suggests that you question the honor of your scoutmaster. Tread lightly here. 

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, David CO said:

If you didn't speak up about not having elections when the guy you liked was SPL, then you shouldn't make that an issue now. You will sound like a hypocrite. 

We do not yet know that the former SPL was unelected,  it may be so or the SM may have suspended elections so that he could appoint all the junior leaders.   I have seen it happen and the result was not pretty.   

In any case the main focus here, assuming that the OPs account is totally factual, is a disfunctional  troop. not how a scout sounds

Further,  99% of Scoutmasters are indeed honourable men,  some few are not.    If we may not speak freely here then where?

Edited by Oldscout448

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@Matt_theLife_Scout02, welcome to the forum. I like your enthusiasm. It might be a bit rough around the edges but I wish you were in my troop. If I were still the SM I'd give you the keys.

Anyway, there are certainly issues. Not having elections is a really big one. Unfortunately, that will be a hard one to solve right now. Maybe later. The current SPL is another problem. My guess is you can't change his attitude very easily. So, what's left? Well, the entire troop, for one. Please describe to us what the PLC thinks of all of this. Do they agree with you? Or are they just going with the flow? In all honesty, this is the first step in being a leader. Find out what the rest of the troop thinks and wants. A new question for you - what does the rest of the PLC think of all of this? Are they okay with it? Are they upset?

It turns out that power does not belong to the one with the title, or patch in this case. Power belongs to the one that leads. It sounds like your current SPL does not lead. He does not show up. He is not interested. In all honesty there's a power vacuum. This is why the question of who is the ASPL was asked. He could lead. He could just act like the SPL. All the scouts would recognize his leadership and would follow him.

Another question asked was what is your position. If you're the ASPL then there's a simple solution to all of this, start leading. If you're not then the current ASPL might need some coaching/mentoring. I wonder who might be able to do that. Any ideas?

I have to add a caveat to all of this. This is not an ideal solution. Having someone with the title of leader and someone else leading may cause trouble. That's why, if you go this way, later on down the road you should talk to the SM and suggest having elections would be a good idea.

I hope you write back to us.

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Just now, NJCubScouter said:

I agree with most of the advice above.  I would also ask you to consider whether there are things that you may not know about the situation.  But from what you say, it does sound like some things are amiss.

As for the SPL being the son of the SM, I agree with Oldscout448's comments on this subject.  I can tell you from personal experience (as someone who was SPL while his father was SM) that although it is difficult, it can work.  Of course I can't be completely objective about my own situation, and 43 years' time does tend to sand off the bad parts in one's memory, but I think it did work in my case.  The SM has to treat the SPL as just another Scout, as much as possible, which is not easy.  I think my father succeeded in doing it.  I think it would be correct to say that he did expect a little more of me than he would have with another Scout, but that's ok as long as it doesn't go too far, which it didn't in my case. 

On the other hand, the fact that your SM appointed his own son SPL is a problem, even beyond the lack of elections, and it is no doubt contributing to some of the problems you describe in the SPL's performance.  Prior to my showing an interest in being SPL, the SPL in my troop was appointed (by a combination of the SM and troop committee I believe), not elected.  Shortly after my father became SM, another Scout was appointed SPL and I was appointed ASPL (also by the SM/committee.)  At some point while I was ASPL, my father told me that when the other Scout's term (1 year) was up, he I would not be appointed SPL because of the position it would put him in, and that my other option was for the PLC to recommend a system of elections (term, qualifications, etc.) for consideration by the committee, and then I could run if I wanted to.  So I wrote up a proposal, the PLC agreed to it, the committee agreed to it, and at the end of my predecessor's term I was elected SPL.  So I guess I did have to work a little harder just to get the position than another Scout might have.  But that's ok.  It builds character.

But enough about me...  :D

 

 

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Matt_theLife_Scout02Are you a scout or an adult ?  

A few generic comments.

  • No troop is perfect or can stay always close to perfect.  The idea is to keep moving toward an "ideal", but while doing that provide great scouting experiences.  
  • Elections are key.  Keeping them simple, open and fair is important.  
  • All positions including SPL are mainly about learning how to become a better leader.  We adult leaders are spoiled when we have scouts in positions that they can naturally perform without help.  It makes us look good.  But in reality, we won't always have perfect scouts in each position.  It's part of the troop's job to educate and help them learn and succeed.  
  • A key point to ask.  Are you having fun with your troop or should you change troops?  
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  • Upvote 1

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Matt the Life Scout, are you a member of the PLC?  Does the PLC actually have meetings?  I ask this because the PLC can be an agent for change in the troop, more than the average 15-etc.-year-old may realize.  When I hear a discussion among the boys (or when one of them asks me at a BOR or elsewhere) about a change they would like to make in the troop, I always suggest that they talk about it in the PLC, and if a majority of the PLC thinks it's a good idea, they write it up and give it to the SM to give to the committee for consideration.  So far I don't think they have ever taken me up on it, and I have seen a few good ideas drift away because the boys could not devote say 30 minutes of their lives to bringing the issue to the committee's attention.  (In at least one case I brought the idea up at a committee meeting myself, but I thought the others were things that should come to the boys, if at all.)  Matt the Life Scout, if you read my post about what I did in ancient times when I was ASPL, you can do that, assuming you are a member of a functioning PLC.  You can point what the book says about elections.  If the other Scouts agree with you (perhaps over the vote of the current SPL, if he there), you type up the plan and give it to the SM.  And watch what he does with it.  If he takes it to the committee, maybe there will be a change.  If he throws it in the wastebasket, then you have other issues with your troop.

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Time to have an election.  Talk with other scouts that feel the same way and have someone you guys can depend on run and vote accordingly

 

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Your can always leave the lame SM and son, go to a troop that has it's stuff together! NO elections...that is a MAJOR red flag right there!!

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1 hour ago, Scout12 said:

Your can always leave the lame SM and son, go to a troop that has it's stuff together! NO elections...that is a MAJOR red flag right there!!

This is the approach that came to my mind as well!

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