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Proudeagle

Changing Election Policy midterm

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Posted (edited)

I took over as SM in Jan 2019, Eagle Scout myself.  The troop was not a boy-led troop as well as being a young troop.  Since then there have been many comments from Scouts that is much more boy-led now.  Before starting, I spoke with the outgoing SM, 3 former SPL's who left as Eagles, and a few of the experienced Scouts about changing the Troop election policy.  The change was making the SPL 12 months and the other positions 6 months.  There was no hesitation that was a good idea for the above.  The policy then went to Committee to verify it was within BSA policy. All agreed and election held.  Now 5 months later 1 scout semi-active with 2 years of Scouting went to NYLT and feels he should be SPL and his parents want the policy changed for the election in 3 weeks.  Mind you they have had 5 months to air any grievances.  This would cut the current SPL to 6 months instead of the intended 12.  There has been no complaints on the current SPL's performance.  Any thoughts?

Edited by Proudeagle

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2 minutes ago, Proudeagle said:

I took over as SM in Jan 2019, Eagle Scout myself.  The troop was not a boy-led troop as well as being a young troop.  Since then there have been many comments from Scouts that is much more boy-led now.  Before starting, I spoke with the outgoing SM, 3 former SPL's who left as Eagles, and a few of the experienced Scouts about changing the Troop election policy.  The change was making the SPL 12 months and the other positions 6 months.  There was no hesitation that was a good idea for the above.  The policy then went to Committee to verify it was within BSA policy. All agreed and election held.  Now 5 months later 1 scout semi-active with 2 years of Scouting went to NYLT and feels he should be SPL and his parents want the policy changed for the election in 3 weeks.  Mind you they have had 5 months to air any grievances.  This would cut the SPL to 6 months instead of the intended 12.  There has been no complaints on the current SPL's performance.  Any thoughts?

One of the hard parts of being a Scoutmaster is saying "No". And this is why,............................

But, offer to sit with the scout to hear what he learned from the course.

I have had a several parents take their son our of our troop because I would not bend to the their demands.  

Barry

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Posted (edited)

Interesting.

Other than the one Scout, and his parents, is anyone else complaining? 

Another question to consider, is the job getting done?

I was in a troop that switched from 6 months to 4 months. Part of it was to give more opportunities for leadership. Part of it was lack of performance by the SPL. I was against that decision, but more adults agreed with it.

Key question what would the PLC think of the change?

Forgot to add, if the PLC does want to change it, it needs to go into effect AFTER the SPL finishes his term of office. The SPL was elected for a year, and his term of office had not ended.

Edited by Eagle94-A1

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I think if you made the term length change for the right reasons and had others agree then this is what you tell the scout and his parents. Just getting out of NYLT is a good reason to be a PL again before running as SPL. Also tell the scout your are looking forward to him running for SPL in 6 months.

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, TMSM said:

I think if you made the term length change for the right reasons and had others agree then this is what you tell the scout and his parents. Just getting out of NYLT is a good reason to be a PL again before running as SPL. Also tell the scout your are looking forward to him running for SPL in 6 months.

I concur.

You all discussed this, reviewed it, and made a decision.  Your authority as a leader will be hurt much more by changing this back.

Stick with your current plan.

Edited by ParkMan
clarified a thought

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Simple, have the PLC's scribe put the term change on the docket ... for a meeting 6 months hence when the SPL's elected term is near complete.

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14 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

I was in a troop that switched from 6 months to 4 months. Part of it was to give more opportunities for leadership. Part of it was lack of performance by the SPL. I was against that decision, but more adults agreed with it.

4 month terms?!?!   Now there's a BAD idea! 

The requirements for Life and for Eagle are to hold a position of responsibility for a 6 month term.  Does that mean you don't advance past Star in your troop?  Or does it mean scouts need to hold 2 terms to rank up? (In which case, you're effectively changing the requirement to an 8-month term.)

4 months is barely time to get in the groove of a new job, let alone to make a difference...

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IMO, there should not be a "troop policy". The PLC is the decision making body for troop elections (when, where, how, etc..). By having adult policies which the scouts follow denies them the opportunity to play the game of scouts. The decisions regarding election of SPL and other troopwide positions are an example of "a man's game cut down to boy size." Sure it is more efficient and cuts down on adult drama to have troop policy, but why deny the scouts a such an opportunity to learn and grow.

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1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

4 month terms?!?!   Now there's a BAD idea! 

Agree, especially since the troop instituted a policy that you cannot run for immediate reelection, but have to sit out a term or run for a different position.

 

1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

The requirements for Life and for Eagle are to hold a position of responsibility for a 6 month term.  Does that mean you don't advance past Star in your troop?  Or does it mean scouts need to hold 2 terms to rank up? (In which case, you're effectively changing the requirement to an 8-month term.)

The troop is not not adding to requirements. Star and Life Scouts still need 6 months. It would be as if a Star Scout SPL earning Life 4 months into his 6 month SPL term of office. the last 2 months of SPL count towards Eagle, he just needs 4 more months in another approved POR to finish the requirement.

That exact situation happened to my oldest. 2 months of being SPL and 4 months of being a PL is what he is using to meet that Eagle requirement.

1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

4 months is barely time to get in the groove of a new job, let alone to make a difference...

You're telling me. Heck sometimes 6 months is not enough time. Another reason why I was against the 4 month change. And I am also against term limits. I was a PL for 18 months straight. I had several friends keep getting reelected for 2 years.

But it could be worse. I know one troop in which the SM appointed all PORs. (all bold here on out are emphasis) 🤯 SM's rationale was that "the same people keep getting elected over and over. This is gives everyone a chance and is fairer" When I reminded him of what I taught him in training he told me, "Scouting needs to change with the times." 

1 hour ago, DuctTape said:

IMO, there should not be a "troop policy". The PLC is the decision making body for troop elections (when, where, how, etc..). By having adult policies which the scouts follow denies them the opportunity to play the game of scouts. The decisions regarding election of SPL and other troopwide positions are an example of "a man's game cut down to boy size." Sure it is more efficient and cuts down on adult drama to have troop policy, but why deny the scouts a such an opportunity to learn and grow.

Agree and disagree. Agree in that all decisions are made by the PLC. They know what works best with their patrols and troop better  than we do.  Disagree in that adult interference causes more problems than they solve. Seen it happen in other troops, and lived it in one troop. Trust me it was not pretty, and fought hard against it. Also disagree in that once the PLC makes a decision, it is troop policy. And just like our countries laws, succeeding PLCs can change those policies.

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So what happens when you change the policy and this scout doesn't get elected?  If you keep changing policies then why even have policies.

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1 hour ago, DuctTape said:

IMO, there should not be a "troop policy". The PLC is the decision making body for troop elections (when, where, how, etc..). By having adult policies which the scouts follow denies them the opportunity to play the game of scouts. The decisions regarding election of SPL and other troopwide positions are an example of "a man's game cut down to boy size." Sure it is more efficient and cuts down on adult drama to have troop policy, but why deny the scouts a such an opportunity to learn and grow.

I disagree. Sending scouts into the dark without some kind of light is setting them up for failure. Scouts can learn from experience and change anything they want, but to throw them in a room and just say go, doesn't do it. I know that is extreme, but scouting is hard enough to do with a known process, it can be very aggravating and annoying (not fun) when every step has to be made up along the way. Give the scouts a starting place to allow them give them enough time to learn how it fits in their program. A one year election would I think require at least one year, if not two, to experience if it works or not. 

Barry

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1 hour ago, DuctTape said:

IMO, there should not be a "troop policy". The PLC is the decision making body for troop elections (when, where, how, etc..). By having adult policies which the scouts follow denies them the opportunity to play the game of scouts. The decisions regarding election of SPL and other troopwide positions are an example of "a man's game cut down to boy size." Sure it is more efficient and cuts down on adult drama to have troop policy, but why deny the scouts a such an opportunity to learn and grow.

All scouting is local and it difficult to know whats best in this situation. Allowing the PLC to make every decision can be a little difficult. If the PLC decides elections should be every 3 years, every month etc there mayy be more chaos than usual. In the OPs case I think its good he made changes based on others past experience and now should meet with the PLC to help them understand and to listen to any objections they have to the length of terms. 

My first week as SM the PLC voted to not wear uniforms (ever), changed the day we met and to only play dodgeball during our weekly meetings. At that point I decided scout-led sometimes needs the right guidance for better outcomes.

 

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5 hours ago, DuctTape said:

IMO, there should not be a "troop policy". The PLC is the decision making body for troop elections (when, where, how, etc..). By having adult policies which the scouts follow denies them the opportunity to play the game of scouts. The decisions regarding election of SPL and other troopwide positions are an example of "a man's game cut down to boy size." Sure it is more efficient and cuts down on adult drama to have troop policy, but why deny the scouts a such an opportunity to learn and grow.

I'm with you.  No policy necessary.  I've seen thoughtful practices such as new SPL is really elected a two year position.  Six months of incoming ASPL.  Then 12 months SPL.  Then outgoing ASPL for six months.  But even with those thoughtful practices, I prefer none.  

IMHO, the best is to keep it simple and keep the adults in the back of the room.    At annual planning, schedule elections twice a year.  As close to just over six months as possible. 

I liked how our troop did it for years.  An ASPL scramples to find paper and tears it into election slips.  SPL asks for nominations.  Each nominee accepts or rejects and/or gives a reason why they want the job.  Our troop had SPLs often for 12 or 18 months because the boys would re-elect the SPL until the SPL didn't want to be SPL anymore.  SM was always ready to coach a new leader.  

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