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We are about to try something new in our troop that we were exposed to at summer camp last year.

 

One of the troops at camp explained how their SPL was "elected". Each six months a scout is elected to the ASPL position. He spends 6 months learning from the current SPL and attends a JLT (whether he has recently or not). At the end of the 6 months the current SPL steps down, the ASPL becomes the new SPL, and the troop elects the next ASPL for the next 6 month period.

 

Can anyone tell me if they have tried this and if so, did you have any trouble with it.

 

 

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I actually find that pretty creative. It still allows for the election of the SPL by the scouts and allows for training junior leaders. it seems to meet both the methods and goals of the program. I like it! Doesn't International Rotary club do it much the same way?

 

Bob white

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Thanks Bob,

 

It's sometimes diffcult to align ideas with policies so it is useful to have that additional insight. The big plus for this in our case is that the boys thought it was a good idea as soon as they heard about it. We just had the election last Monday. Now we have to make sure we follow through on the training.

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I shared your idea with my son's SM. He liked it a lot and is going to offer it to the SPL at the next PLC meeting.

 

 

Bob

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I have seen this approach to SPL selection used in some units, and it has much to recommend it.

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Our Troop also elects the ASPL, who understudies for a year before taking on the task. One difficulty that I notice with this method is in the difficulty of the current SPL passing on his lessons learned; quite a variety depending on individuals.

Think that a way to address this might be to more clearly outline the ASPL's role (multiple BSA references here) and to actively encourage the SPL to delegate from day one.

Any thoughts from the group on 6 month / 12 month terms?

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I think many organizations do something comparable. The bar associations that I have been a member of have an officer with the title "President Elect." He or she is between the President and First Vice President in the hierarchy, and at the next rotation of officers (usually annual) automatically becomes the president. The First Vice President is then usually elected President Elect, but I don't think it is automatic.

 

One question I would have about doing this with the SPL/ASPL is, how would it work in a troop with more than 1 ASPL? Maybe that is no longer in vogue, but I remember that when I was a Scout back in the last millenium, my troop usually had 2 ASPL's. Maybe in a troop that has enough Scouts to justify having 2 ASPL's, you could do as described and elect an ASPL who will move up to SPL in the next rotation, but then also give the SPL the option of appointing a second ASPL who is not assured of "promotion." Of course, this second ASPL could run for the elective ASPL spot in the next election, or just remain in the appointed spot as long as the SPL-at-the-time wants him there.

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Good idea. How many scouts do you have in your troop? We have trouble making sure we have enough leadership positions ( that have leadership meaning). We currently use the dual ASPL system and the scout that performs the best advances to SPL the other moves to Troop Guide usually working with the first year scouts.

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Right now we have 15 boys. SPL, ASPL, JASM, and 2-6 scout patrols. We are recruiting hard to bring our numbers up. We'd like to be around 28-30 in the next two years. I'm figuring if we have the best program in town we'll hard pressed to accept everyone who wants to be there.

 

We use a 6 month rotation for two reasons. 1) it gives more scouts a chance to lead. 2) a 1 year rotation would mean ASPL is a two year committment which seems a bit much for a 15 year old.

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I realize this thread is old and maybe forgotten, but I wanted to respond.

 

Our troop elects both the SPL and ASPL. however, it has become expected in our troop that the ASPL WILL be the next SPL, regardless of ability or effort displayed. We view this as a problem, but one that we have not been able to resolve while maintaining "boy run".

 

I'd love to hear some suggestions for us as adults influencing the boys to make a better decision when it is time to elect troop leaders. We think that all it would take is one cylce for us to say "NO, we don't care who you voted for, he isn't qualified" to break this habit. We think the boys would then understand that it is not a requirement that they vote for the ASPL to ascend to the next logical position. But of course, we can't do that. We've made the pitch before every election, but literally, the last one was problably 40 - 1 to promote the ASPL. The guy's a great kid, but other commitments have kept him from being effective as an ASPL. Who knows how he'll do as the top dog, but from our perspective, there were at least two other candidates better qualified.

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Yeah, mk9750, let's dust off this old thread!

 

You are right. Automatic elevation of the ASPL to SPL is not so hot, even if the boys are doing it through elections.

 

In all honesty, I think you'd be making a big mistake by directly interfering with the process. I know you said you "can't do that", I'm just agreeing with that observation.

 

How 'bout a Scoutmaster conference with the ASPL before the elections? Ask him if he REALLY thinks he can best serve the troop in that position-- even with all his commitments (while reminding him about a Scout being Trustworthy and truthful)? Maybe your ASPL will understand and break the tradition.

 

However, maybe it's not perceived as such a big problem to the boys. From their standpoint, if the SPL is absent and the ASPL steps in and does a good job, then they might not care. However, the (future) SPL might care that the (future) ASPL would be more knowledgeable about what's going in the troop on than he would, and the ASPL would look 'more in charge.'

 

This happened in a patrol with a potential patrol leader. I knew that the candidate was, immediately after the elections, going to be absent for 3-4 months due to swimming practice. I debated with myself about what to do, then decided to talk to the boys before any elections started, explain about qualification ("Attendance is important. You want to pick someone who's going to be there. Candidates, you need to keep in mind that you are expected to be there most of the time... etc.). I then just let the boys experience the ramifications of their decision. Sure enough, the boy in question allowed himself to be elected. He promptly selected another (very passive) boy to be his APL, then departed for 4.5 months. The patrol floundered for a couple of campouts, then another (unelected) boy basically stepped forward and became the defacto leader. The 'real' patrol leader showed up the week before the camporee, but he didn't exactly look very leaderlike as the other boys didn't stand around and wait for him to be brought up to speed. The boys in his patrol learned a lesson from this episode (I don't think the 'Patrol Leader' was ever elected again), and the other patrols learned from this patrol's example.(This message has been edited by Compass)

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About the original purpose of the thread:

 

It's an intriguing idea. Probably works well for those that do it. My thoughts on it are this: in the original system, my observation is that the ASPL is oftentimes being observed by the boys as the potential next SPL. If he does a good job as ASPL, especially when he has to be in charge in the SPL's absence, then he has an edge in the next elections. However, if the ASPL is perceived by the boys as being a lame leader, his chances of elevation to SPL is reduced. Therefore, the ASPL is kinda going through a 'dry run' for the SPL position before he gets in there and does some real damage.

 

My concern is that, by having the ASPL position be a 'SPL-in-training' position (which is then automatically elevated to SPL at the end of the term), then the boys don't have an opportunity to 'throw the bum out' if he proves to be less than worthy of the position. Also, if another more-worthy Scout appears (due to advancement, transfer from another troop, whatever), then he and the troop has to wait potentially a long time (a year IS a long time to a boy) for that boy to become a SPL.

 

Just my thoughts...

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I'm obviously surprised by the response that Bob White had on this subject. ASPL position is not an elected position. He is appointed by the SPL with the guidance of the SM.

I used to be in an organization where the next years leaders were elected. It works fine except that when there are goals for the leader to reach in his year and it looks like they won't be met, the group tends to start looking prematurely at the incoming leader and sandbagging items for his year. This causes a lowering of respect for the current leader and sets him up for failure.

The current method of choosing ASPL helps to teach the SPL delegation of duties. If the ASPL is elected, this choice is taken away. This system works well because the SPL is picking a team to work with, just like the POTUS. I don't think POTUS would be happy working with a VPOTUS if he had no choice of who it might be.

Doug

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ASM7: "This system works well because the SPL is picking a team to work with, just like the POTUS. I don't think POTUS would be happy working with a VPOTUS if he had no choice of who it might be."

 

Well, ASM7, you are right. This was another concern I had about it. When I was a boy and elected a Patrol Leader the second time, I made a mistake and allowed the patrol to elect my Assistant Patrol Leader. They elected a popular, party type of guy. My new APL decided he did not have to show me respect or obey me because he saw his allegience was to the other patrol members that elected him. He 'dissed' me at nearly every opportunity. He eventually caused so many problems and disruption I had to, in essence, fire him through the PLC (we had a hearing: he and I gave our sides of the story; then we all voted). I never repeated that mistake again.

 

Of course, not every boy is going to do this. YMMV

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Wow, there are a lot of things that have been brought up in this thread. As a new adult leader but a very old Scout, I'd like to comment from the perspective of the boys, if 20 isn't too old to do that.

 

Our troop just switched over to this idea of electing the ASPL and then after 6 months he becomes SPL. I have to say, I don't like it. First off, it requires a whole year's commitment from the boy, which can be difficult if he's engaged in another activity that may take him away from Scouting for a while (swim practice, or in my troop the main culprit is marching band.) Often, when boys are elected, they don't stop to think 6 months ahead, and whether or not they're going to be able to attend meetings then.

 

My second concern is that it elimates the possibility of an SPL serving a second term. I myself served for a year and a half as SPL. This may seem like a long time to some people, but there was a large gap in age between myself and most of the other boys in my troop, they all being quite younger than me. I personally was thankful for being able to serve for more than six months, as it allowed me to accomplish more. My younger brother, who is still a boy in the troop, was SPL when this policy went into effect, and was upset that it would deny him a second term. He was assured by the Scoutmaster that he would be allowed to run again. He did and won, but found himself having to go through 6 months as ASPL just to get back to a position he had already held. He found it much more difficult to serve non-consecutive terms, as was not able to get as much accomplished as he would have liked.

 

As far as a de facto policy where the ASPL is automatically elected regardless of ability, you are very right not to interfere with the boys election. If the boys don't elect their leader, they may resent him and not follow what he says. The only solution, unfortunately, is to let them live with their decision. This is very difficult to do, because as leaders we don't want to see the troop falter, and the temptation to step in and cover for the SPL is great. But, the only way the boys can learn to elect someone who will do a good job is to let them see what happens when they don't.

 

Also, the issue of electing both the SPL and ASPL has come up. I'm totaly in agreement with ASM7. This is another objection I have to electing an ASPL rather than an SPL. The SPL needs to be able to work with his assistant and know that if he can't fill some responsibility, his ASPL will.

 

That's just the opinion of an upstart ASM who thinks he knows how to run a program because he was a Scout.

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