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Cburkhardt

When To Elect SPL in Brand New Units?

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Cburkhardt said:

When a new Troop starts from scratch and the Scouts are all inexperienced 11-13 year olds, I think it is best to delay election of an SPL and for the Scoutmaster Staff to temporarily provide a bit more of the “leadership”.  The goal would be to transition to a SPL leadership model as soon as possible, but not so soon as to implode the experience of youth during the earliest months.  There is a lot of this fact circumstance currently in the formation off all-Girl troops.

 

I disagree. The youth will learn far better by doing. By having the Scoutmaster and ASM's provide "leadership" the scouts are not learning now. The Scoutmaster and ASM's may need to provide more guidance now, but it should absolutely be in the hands of the Scouts to lead now. 

Yes, they are inexperienced. Yes, they will make mistakes and have failures. Better to have them now than 6 months form how. Every single unit has failures, regardless of how big the number on their anniversary bar. But that is how they learn. 

News flash, they will have failures with adults leading as well. But they Scouts will not learn as much from the adults mistake as their own. 

But don't take my word for it, some one with far more experience once said:

“Let them lead in practically everything. Let them work out their own problems, interfere as little as possible—but be ever ready to give wise guidance—not when you think they need it, but when they seek it. Keep in mind that unwarranted, ill-advised interference discourages leadership and that those boy leaders of yours are “learning by doing.”

Mistakes, some of them serious, are bound to be made; therefore, be ever ready with a kindly and friendly spirit to urge them to try again.

Help them occasionally with constructive criticism. But do your coaching on the sidelines always, never in front of the Patrols. And then, when the Patrol Leader succeeds in his job, praise him for it. Commendation which is justified and not overdone is an absolute necessity. Such statements of approval should be made occasionally before the interested group. They like it, and so does the leader, as long as it is short, free from “soft soap,” and genuine.” 

--- William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt

Edited by HelpfulTracks
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We have a one-patrol troop.  PL and APL but no SPL or APSL.   Initial terms of office were for three months.  Next elections in May.

The scouts did dole out most of the standard positions of responsibility.   Some of the scouts are growing into their roles.  (The instructor is enthusiastically studying the scouts BSA handbook so she can teach the others.)  Some of the roles we probably should not have had.  (The librarian has nothing to do yet because the troop owns no books -- but since no one is first class yet,  no one is getting advancment credit for a bogus job.)     The scouts may want to organize things a bit differently next time.  (For example, split the quartermaster job into two, since it is large.)

6 hours ago, qwazse said:

I strongly suggest you  move up your SPL elections to before you depart for camp. Two or three campouts is enough for youth to decide who they think would be a good leader for the week. I don't think you will regret having one youth and her assistant "on point" for the entire week. Really, PL is the much harder job at camp, and your patrols -- especially very new ones -- really need stable leadership. In this circumstance, the SPL basically fills out rosters assigning patrols to troop-wide responsibilities, leads roll call, and does occasional after-action review with the PLs (i.e., practices holding PLCs).

For a one-patrol troop,  should we have both a PL and an SPL for summer camp?  Or can the PL fill in for the non-existent SPL when the summer camp has a task for the troop SPL?

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7 hours ago, Treflienne said:

...)  Some of the roles we probably should not have had.  (The librarian has nothing to do yet because the troop owns no books -- but since no one is first class yet,  no one is getting advancment credit for a bogus job.)     The scouts may want to organize things a bit differently next time.  (For example, split the quartermaster job into two, since it is large.)

For a one-patrol troop,  should we have both a PL and an SPL for summer camp?  Or can the PL fill in for the non-existent SPL when the summer camp has a task for the troop SPL?

Has your founding librarian built shelves? Procured a field box for literature? Collected the last two months of Boy's Life? Identified the pamphlets needed for the MBs scouts will take? Her job is far less bogus than an SPL's would be.

In a one-patrol troop, the PL or APL can do whatever the summer camp asks of SPLs.

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, qwazse said:

Has your founding librarian built shelves? Procured a field box for literature? Collected the last two months of Boy's Life? Identified the pamphlets needed for the MBs scouts will take? Her job is far less bogus than an SPL's would be.

In a one-patrol troop, the PL or APL can do whatever the summer camp asks of SPLs.

The librarian can also work in concert with the instructor to help them by sourcing other learning materials. Or with the grubmaster to source menus, and recipes. Or with the PL to find maps and camping locations/ideas. Imagine the librarian building a collection of reference materials and more importantly being the research arm of the patrol.

Edited by DuctTape
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In the event of creating a new troop my suggestion would be that you wait a little bit on an SPL. Starting off with a couple of patrol leaders is probably the best place to start. When the time comes to actually select who the SPL will be after a year or two, I would suggest that you (or who ever the scout master is) appoint them instead of holding an election. Don't get me wrong, I love democracy as much as the next guy, but when a troop is in it infancy, the scout master needs to take extra caution in who the leadership is. As much as I hate to say it, elections amongst youth tend to be popularity contests even after carefully explaining to them how important it is for it to not be. When one or more of your scouts shows that they have the skill in leadership that is adequate to lead an entire troop of their peers, then you will know who you should choose. Maybe when they get too old or just don't want to do it anymore you can switch over to the official Boy Scout recommended method of choosing an SPL.

 

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