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Looking for some advice on patrol leader elections

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Well Mark, if you were in New Jersey I might suggest that that rumbling was the earthquake we had last night. (3.8 on Richter scale, and really noticeable only in a fairly small radius around the small town of Milford, on the Delaware River, so I had no idea until I read the newspaper this morning.) But since you aren't, we'll have to go with your theory. :)

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Electing assistant patrol leaders may not be correct way to set up the patrols but it was a system that has been in place that I inherited (it does give some training to the APL's prior to them becoming PL's). It still is a boy led program and whether we switch at this point will be discussed at our next leaders meeting.


The election was a secret ballot. I do not know if the bribery was successful or not and there is no way to find that out without a new election.

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As our Troop heads into yet another year of patrols, leaders and elections, I thought I'd share something that we have been doing in our Troop for 5 years now, and it helps set the boys' attitude as they vote for SPL, or even for PL (though that one usually comes down to who wants the job within the Patrols of older Scouts!).


Before we do the election, I get out my trusty whiteboard and dry-erase markers and ask the boys to list the QUALITIES that they feel a leader should have in a boy-run Troop (which we are). I never censor what they say, they do that themselves, for example if someone is being goofy and says, "whoever pays me to vote for them", others tell me to erase that one. Of course, they list the Scout Oath and Law, but I ask them to go beyond that and think a little about how the person who runs the Troop should BE. It's fun, interesting and it changes a little year to year, but I am always impressed with the list of characteristics they come up with.


Once the list is complete (when they can't come up with any more), we have the candidates come up and give a brief speech for why they think they would make a good SPL, what they have done in the past to embody the traits that are listed right next to them, and what they intend to DO as SPL. Sure, the list sets them up a little, but we usually find the candidates giving examples of how they HAVE been the kind of person and Scout that the Troop is looking for in an SPL.


After the speeches, I remind the boys that THEY chose the qualities they were looking for in an SPL, they listened to (and probably have seen in action) the candidates, and that their votes should be based on how well they feel that the candidates will be the kind of SPL they are looking for.


Then we vote, and you know the rest. This process takes time (nearly a whole meeting), but it really drives the point home, and the boys feel very involved and responsible for their choices.


Every year I ask the PLC at the annual planning conference if they want to keep this in the election process and it's always a unanimous YES.

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Your approach is a great idea WoodBadgeEagle. Just as a follow up, I spoke with the SPL and when the scout was appoached about it he admitted that he offered the candy but stated that it was a joke. After discussing the perception that others had from his actions he offered that we hold a re-election. Sometimes things work out the way they should.


Dan, I am not sure what your "sigh" is for. I would of expected it on other posts but not this one.

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Its a good idea BUT


I get out my trusty whiteboard

I never censor

others tell me to erase

but I ask them to go beyond

Every year I ask the PLC


All of the above should be done by the SPL or a scout not a adult leader.


The only thing that a adult leader should be doing is this one


I remind them


Where is the boy lead in the above statments.

Or the above actions.


I have yet to see a boy run troop yet, I have proably viewed around 50 over the last 3 years, and it is the adults doing most of the directing.




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Benny- glad things worked out.


I think I'll take Dan's advice and have our SPL run this year's election, including the white board part. Just one more way I can help our Troop be more boy-run.


Dan, I hope you find your Holy Grail of a boy-run Troop. I know that if I visited 50 Troops in 3 years I would have found at least 50 ways that boys were running things instead of 50 units that weren't perfect.

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Hi All


I really enjoyed your post WoodBadgeEagle. I did something simalar for OA elections. After a couple years, the SPLs didn't even bother to come and get me, they just started teaching the lesson themselves. One less reason to get out of my chair I guess. You just did "teach them" part. Now you're doing the "trust them, let them go" part.


I'm going to take a copy of your post to our present SM. I can see it working in a lot of applications. Thanks again.



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