Jump to content

SPL has Zero interest in new Scouts


Recommended Posts

Context up front:

• (SMALL) linked girl troop grown out of an existing boy troop. 

• adult leadership vacuum; Scoutmaster was attending classes the prior year and was seldom around - few ASMs, one of which is primarily Cubmaster

The Youth in question - 

• VERY trained; trained through NYLT and staffed summer camp. 
 

*LOVES* Scouting and all the things she can do in Scouting.

• has *zero* interest in new/young Scouts, and spends all energy linking up with former camp staff mates and older youths in nearby troops. 
 

She’s current SPL because other qualified Scouts aged out. We now have essentially an SPL, a PL, a 2nd year who is always gone for sports, and two first year Scouts.
 

Her NYLT Vision was to recruit for the troop via social media, but near as I can tell, that’s not even a blip on her radar anymore. She spends the entire meeting talking to the PL (if she’s there-also a very busy kid) or “confirming with members of Troop XX” about Scout activities that have nothing to do with her Troop. I’m constantly pulling her back in, and the new Scouts are learning skills through the ASMs.  I just finished staffing woodbadge, so the T4LTL mantra is ringing in my ears, but—she’s trained, she’s been given rein to lead—she’s just completely uninterested in the younger Scouts, and I’m constantly having to bring her back into her own troop. 
 

She’s incredibly capable, and has checked all the boxes, but if I were to be honest about her leadership in her position, umm..I wouldn’t recommend her.  
 

Is this normal? 
 

Have you handled a youth like this? Is it possible to not recommend or lose priveleges due to lack of leadership, or is does a capable Scout who is not performing get a pass because she filled the SPL slot for 6 months? 
 

admittedly, she didn’t want or campaign for the position. She inherited it because the other eligible Scout aged out. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, MattR. 
That’s a great suggestion for the rest of the girls and getting things going for them.  

I think my question in regard to the Scout is, does this qualify as leadership for rank if she’s in the position but performs no actual leadership? Is that something the Scoutmaster can bring up in Scoutmaster conference and deny her credit for that position toward her next rank until she actually shows some leadership? I ask because she’s Life and closing in on Eagle. Does she get a rubber stamp on the requirement because she held the position?  That doesn’t seem right to me. She’s 15, so no risk of aging out before she gets another opportunity to lead her troop. 
 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

If she is in the position, it counts. If she is failing to perform, then she should no longer be in the position. 

My initial thought was also, 5 scouts and an SPL? Superfluous position. You have one patrol, and the PL.

  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, BearsBeetsBSG said:

Thanks, MattR. 
That’s a great suggestion for the rest of the girls and getting things going for them.  

I think my question in regard to the Scout is, does this qualify as leadership for rank if she’s in the position but performs no actual leadership? Is that something the Scoutmaster can bring up in Scoutmaster conference and deny her credit for that position toward her next rank until she actually shows some leadership? I ask because she’s Life and closing in on Eagle. Does she get a rubber stamp on the requirement because she held the position?  That doesn’t seem right to me. She’s 15, so no risk of aging out before she gets another opportunity to lead her troop. 
 

 

If a Scout is not performing, you must set expectations and goals (good material for an SM Conference).  (RECOMMEND you document this.)  After this conference, if those expectations are not met, then you may remove from the position and not give credit back until the time of the SM Conference.  Time served up until the SM Conference for expectations counts and should (must?) be credited.

From G2A:  https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33088.pdf

4.2.3.4.3 Meeting Unit Expectations. If a unit has established expectations for positions of responsibility, and if, within reason (see the note under “Rank Requirements Overview,” 4.2.3.0), based on the Scout’s personal skill set, these expectations have been met, the Scout has fulfilled the requirement. When a Scout assumes a position, something related to the desired results must happen. It is a disservice to the Scout and to the unit to reward work that has not been done. Holding a position and doing nothing, producing no results, is unacceptable. Some degree of responsibility must be practiced, taken, or accepted.

4.2.3.4.5 When Responsibilities Are Not Met. If a unit has clearly established expectations for position(s) held, then—within reason—a Scout must meet them through the prescribed time. If a Scout is not meeting expectations, then this must be communicated early. Unit leadership may work toward a constructive result by asking the Scout what he or she thinks should have been accomplished in that time. What is the Scout’s concept of the position? What does the Scout think the troop leaders—youth and adult— expect? What has been done well? What needs improvement? Often this questioning approach can lead a young person to the decision to measure up. The Scout will tell the leaders how much of the service time should be recorded and what can be done to better meet expectations. If it becomes clear that performance will not improve, then it is acceptable to remove the Scout from the position. It is the unit leader’s responsibility to address these situations promptly. Every effort should have been made while the Scout was in the position to ensure the Scout understood expectations and was regularly supported toward reasonably acceptable performance. It is unfair and inappropriate—after six months, for example—to surprise someone who thinks his or her performance has been fine with news that it is now considered unsatisfactory. In this case, the Scout must be given credit for the time.

There is other guidance related to this in G2A...

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, they get the credit for time served and you get a lesson on confronting a problem in a positive way - i.e. making lemonade from lemons. My guess is that your spl needs a bit of tough love along with some guidance. I've had scouts that were also cruising, were told this is not what an eagle scout does and if they don't change their ways, won't get eagle. Okay, that was more than a bit of tough love, but it was all I could think of to get their attention. Every time I had this conversation, except once, the scout took it to heart and really improved. They usually thanked me at their COH.

I stretched the rules and if you can figure out how to get their attention without doing that I'll applaud you. It's not easy confronting scouts but it can lead to a lot of growth. Doing one's best usually involves challenging oneself.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. Her Scoutmaster has set guidelines for her, which she continues to ignore, so I’ll be having a conversation with the Scoutmaster about the situation and how she would like to approach it.   Thanks for the advice, y’all.

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, BearsBeetsBSG said:

Admittedly, she didn’t want or campaign for the position. She inherited it because the other eligible Scout aged out. 

IMHO, this is the telling statement.  SM should have a SMC and ask about the role.  If the SPL is not interested, then look for another.  Or you don't even need an SPL with a small troop.  IMHO, SPL does not have to go to NYLT or another training course or even be a XXX year or XXX rank scout.  SM can coach the new SPL.  They key is to find the scout that wants to be SPL.  

My advice feels like a broken record.  Find a solution that works for your unit, but get the troop active and doing interesting things.  That is what drives excited scouts. 

Edited by fred8033
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, SPL or not, any ideas on focusing her into guiding the younger Scouts with less stretching the rules (hat tip MattR) or should I let that go also?  Just don’t want her example to set the culture that you go to NYLT for your college resume and skip the part about giving back by raising up the younger part of the troop.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you're asking about how to motivate someone. Given that this is the challenge of civilization don't be surprised that it's not simple.

Some people will respond to simply recognizing that they're not doing a good job and all you need to do is point that out.

Some people don't know what to do and need help figuring out a plan.

Some people need constant correction.

Some people only respond to pain, or negative consequences.

Some people respond to a combination of the above.

Some people just don't want to be there and nothing you do will change their minds.

Everyone is different. There's no science to this.

For a lot of scouts I had to start with some pain ("you will not get eagle unless you start behaving like one") followed by "I want you to be successful, let's come up with a plan." That's what I mean by tough love.

I suspect the SM has never run into this problem before. It's hard to deal with these types of problems. One thing you'll learn is to recognize these problems earlier on but it's still not fun confronting scouts, not to mention the extra time you need to spend on this.

My suggestion is first get on the same page with the SM. If she'll take care of it, bonus!

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/19/2022 at 1:17 PM, BearsBeetsBSG said:

*LOVES* Scouting and all the things she can do in Scouting.

• has *zero* interest in new/young Scouts, and spends all energy linking up with former camp staff mates and older youths in nearby troops. 

She’s incredibly capable, and has checked all the boxes, but if I were to be honest about her leadership in her position, umm.. I wouldn’t recommend her.  

Is this normal? 

You've got a capable young lady who loves Scouting - ordinarily, that wouldn't be a problem, except your Troop is experiencing some growing pains. In theory, a Troop exists with Scouts ages 11-17 in perfect harmony, but in practice, kids have different needs and interests. While I'd encourage older Scouts to take an interest in the development of their younger peers, it's unfair to charge them with that responsibility (no matter what the Handbook says). 

So, yes - it's normal. Even the best, most-involved Scouts follow a fairly typical evolution:

  • Ages 11-14: Troop Life is the core of their Scouting experience. They earn their Life Rank and nearly all required merit badges within 3 years. The capstone of this phase is them serving as ASPL or SPL at age 13 or 14.
  • Ages 15-17: They scale back their involvement in the Troop because their high school experience is more demanding and they've already been through the Troop Calendar 3 or 4 times. They connect and bond with other older Scouts through Camp Staff, OA, or High Adventure activities. Ideally, they return to the Troop to finish their Eagle requirements and provide support as a Troop Guide, Instructor, or JASM, but they should not be counted on as primary youth leaders.
  • Ages 18-21: They still might make great seasonal employees for the BSA. Hold the door open for them if they ever want to volunteer or finish up any Venturing requirements, but it's time for them to shine outside of Scouting.
  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, BetterWithCheddar said:

You've got a capable young lady who loves Scouting - ordinarily, that wouldn't be a problem, except your Troop is experiencing some growing pains. In theory, a Troop exists with Scouts ages 11-17 in perfect harmony, but in practice, kids have different needs and interests. While I'd encourage older Scouts to take an interest in the development of their younger peers, it's unfair to charge them with that responsibility (no matter what the Handbook says). 

So, yes - it's normal. Even the best, most-involved Scouts follow a fairly typical evolution:

  • Ages 11-14: Troop Life is the core of their Scouting experience. They earn their Life Rank and nearly all required merit badges within 3 years. The capstone of this phase is them serving as ASPL or SPL at age 13 or 14.
  • Ages 15-17: They scale back their involvement in the Troop because their high school experience is more demanding and they've already been through the Troop Calendar 3 or 4 times. They connect and bond with other older Scouts through Camp Staff, OA, or High Adventure activities. Ideally, they return to the Troop to finish their Eagle requirements and provide support as a Troop Guide, Instructor, or JASM, but they should not be counted on as primary youth leaders.
  • Ages 18-21: They still might make great seasonal employees for the BSA. Hold the door open for them if they ever want to volunteer or finish up any Venturing requirements, but it's time for them to shine outside of Scouting.

Those groupings match the progression I've seen. 

It's good to keep in mind not every kid likes or is good at working with younger kids. In fact a lot of them don't and frankly, that describes a lot of adults in scouting and even roles like teaching. I don't think you should necessarily see that as a negative, especially since she's good at other things. An older scout who has awareness of and relationships outside and beyond your troop is a huge asset. She may not be fulfilling some of the aspects of the SPL role but she is still showing leadership if she is interested in participating in inter unit activities and showing younger scouts what is available in scouting beyond the troop. She just has a different leadership focus maybe than her adult handlers. It certainly doesn't sound like she is just being lazy or a no show. 

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...