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Woodsmith

How many terms in the PLC?

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I have not found anywhere where BSA states how many terms in succession a Scout may retain the same leadership position -- whether that's SPL, Patrol Leader, Scribe, Historian, etc. Is there a guideline for that?

 

In my opinion, Scouts that have already held the position of Patrol Leader (for example) for one year need to move on. It is my understanding Boy Scouts is designed to develop leadership skills in boys. Boys that have held such a position already know how to lead a Patrol (or whatever duty they're responsible for) and should now be in the position to help teach the next Scout ready to step in to the role.

 

Obviously, my Troop thus far has no limits on the number of times you can be re-elected (or re-chosen, as the case may be) and it irks me a little (a lot).

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There are no mandated guidelines on this. Every troop that I've been associated with had some sort of term limit. They have all been 6 months, 12 months or 2 years. I agree with your thought, that you need the limits sometimes to allow more boys the ability to serve in various positions. I think six months is too short. It takes a boy 3-4 months just to figure out what he is supposed to do.

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Here again is another time when the focus needs to be on the purpose of what we do than on the rules we create. I offer this shift in outlook. look at the individual scout. What has he learned or not learned yet? What challenge is he ready to advance to? What situation will best help him to develop his decision making abilities.

 

Please put aside the search for blanket rules and learn about the needs and characteristics of the individual boy. Base you decision on what serves each scout the best as he develops. It takes a little more effort on the part of adults and will reap far more growth in ability of each scout.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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I guess my biggest problem stems from the fact that the PLs were selected by the SM and CC (an issue well covered on another thread) -- and I am stepping in as SM just AFTER a the latest round of "elections". The PLs that were chosen were undeniably the most trained, most qualified, most responsible bunch of boys in the Troop -- but I still don't think they should be Patrol Leaders -- AGAIN. The Powers That Be (or at least, the Powers That WERE) felt that the boys next in line are not ready for such a responsible role.

 

It is my feeling that just about any boy can learn to be a quality PL, and as Scoutmaster, it is one of my primary duties to help train these Junior Leaders.

 

Now, I recognize that not every boy will become the ideal PL, and some boys are stubbornly resistant to training, and it may become necessary for the APL, SPL and the SM to take steps to ensure the other Patrol members don't start dropping out because of the "bad apple" PL -- but I still feel it is the right of any qualified Scout that wishes it to be given the opportunity to see what kind of a leader he can be (and likewise, for his Patrol members to see what kind of a leader he is -- perhaps causing them to take the election more seriously the next time).

 

Plus, we have too large a Troop to have the top leadership positions "hogged" by a select (literally) few.

 

I also think that these already-proven leaders, given the chance, will make excellent mentors for their new replacements.

 

Anybody see any flaws or omissions in my thinking before I gird for battle on this issue?

 

 

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My son is in a very large troop, 93 scouts.

There is no limits on terms. The most any scout was a SPL was 18 months (3 Terms). The scouts wanted him to run again, and he said enough, I need a break. They will limit there own terms, especially in a large troop, it is a lot of work to be a SPL! Some scouts want to limit terms, but these are the ones that did not get elected, and they are looking for excuses why they did not get elected instead of the real reason, hint it has nothing to do with term limits.

If you want a boy lead troop, let them pick their SPL, with no artificial rules added. In a large troop their are many opportunities for POR, not just SPL.

The scouts may pick a poor leader, this is a learning curve for them and the new SPL. They will learn to pick better over time. this just make you job harder as a SM! But that is the fun part working with the scouts and mentoring them.

 

Forget more rules, let them finish this term, and have the scouts elect a SPL, correclty, the next term.

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Bob and Dan --

I really don't want to create any more rules -- just an effective argument against having the same person hold a leadership position for too extended a period (whatever that is). Our Scribe has been the same for 3 years. The Historian and Quartermaster about the same. Now the Patrol Leaders are into their second year (at least, heck --they may have been a PL before I became involved with the Troop) in that position.

 

I guess this is a situation where I should just butt out, huh? I suppose I should be happy that I have such strong and willing Patrol Leaders -- and be wary what I could get if they stepped down -- but I'd just like to see the others get a chance to see what they can do.

 

Another question -- Scouts are all about developing leadership qualities, character and good citizenship -- but many of the boys are quite content to let the other boys take the leadership positions. I know roles like Scribe and Historian are considered "leadership" positions sufficient to satisfy rank requirements -- but what's the best way to encourage the guys to step forward and test their mettle?

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I should just butt out,

 

Good leaders don't butt out. They evaluate and choose to: counsel, guide, train, reinforce, recognize, or resolve. But they should never butt out.

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Before I could give anymore suggestions, I need to know.

Are YOU going to let them vote for SPL and PLS? At the next election?

 

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We have a hard and fast rule, no more than 16 consecutive six month terms for any youth office. The only exception we make is for Junior ASM. For this office we limit it to no more than 4 cnsecutive terms. ;)

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Dan:"Before I could give anymore suggestions, I need to know. Are YOU going to let them vote for SPL and PLS? At the next election?"

Absolutely!

Actually, I am to address the PLC within the hour -- this is how I intend to begin:

"I dont want to scare you, thinking that I am going to make a lot of changes and shake things up with a lot of new ideas because I do intend to make a lot of changes and shake things up but with a lot of old ideas. Those ideas that have been part of the Scouting program for almost 100 years. Much of the Boy Scout program has been tweaked and modified hopefully improved -- over the decades, but fundamentally it is the same. This program has been carefully prepared and it is my charge as Scoutmaster to see the Eight Methods of Scouting delivered to every boy in the Troop not just my version of Scouting.

Do any of you guys have a problem with me running the Troop? No? Well, I do! A Boy Scout Troop is intended to be Boy Run. (blah blah blah here)"

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EXCELLENT

Let them vote in their SPL, let him select his team, let the patrols pick their leader. Do not worry about term limits. They will surprise you and work it out.

Good Luck and please let us know how it turns out.

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Just a couple of rhetorical questions to get your minds working.

 

Do you consider your position (s) in Scouting to be as important to you as the boy's positions in Scouting are, or should be, to them?

 

What is your term limit?

 

How would you feel if someone told you, "you can do this job for six months and then never again?"

 

Unc.

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UncleGuinea: "Just a couple of rhetorical questions to get your minds working.

Do you consider your position (s) in Scouting to be as important to you as the boy's positions in Scouting are, or should be, to them?

What is your term limit?

How would you feel if someone told you, 'you can do this job for six months and then never again?'"

UncleG -- I know you said they were rhetorical questions -- but you bring up some interesting points, so I'd like to answer anyway.

Yes, I consider my position very important -- yes, I would hope that the boys take their position seriously too (some do, others ... not so much) -- no, I have no specific term limit (other than sticking it out for as long as my sanity or wife will let me) -- and, of course, I would not appreciate being told I could only hold the position for six months.

Now -- reality -- 1) A Scoutmaster position is in no way comparable to that of a Patrol Leader -- other than they both are part of the BSA program.  Hopefully I don't have to list the differences I see.  2)  If there were a line of qualified adults waiting to take over as Scoutmaster (oops, we were talking reality here...), I might be happy to step aside and give others their shot. But, 3) a Scoutmaster could not hope to accomplish a tremendous amount within just six months -- and neither can a first-time Patrol Leader be fully trained and acclimated to his position within that time. And, 4)  I never suggested six months -- or even one year -- as an ideal term limit for a Scout in a "leadership" position.

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Woodsmith,

I think you know the real problem - it has nothing to do with needing term limits and everything to do with the previous administration not using the BSA program of scouts electing their own SPL and PLs. I've been a part of 5 troops and 2 Explorer posts through the years - and I've never seen a need for term limits in any situations. Like dan said, the scouts will work it out. I've actually seen more of the other side of the coin - people (scouts and adults) who wrongly state or assume that leaders are limited to a single term of office in a certain position. It has taken a lot of work to convince all involved that it's OK for scouts to be reselected for a job if they're still willing and the followers still want them.

A lot of scouts seem to have this belief that after serving a term in office, they've earned the right to kick back and not continue to contribute. I've seen a lot of promising leaders lose their edge and never really get back into the game doing this. In fact, just two hours ago, I counseled a scout to go talk to our just-elected SPL and talk to him about the next job he'd like to have. "Leaders have a need to lead! Every job is an opportunity to hone your skills and support the troop. After helping drive this troop for the last 6 months, do you really want to go back to the trenches as a patrol member, or do you want to stay out front and make a difference?" He stood there with his mouth open for a minute, then hunted down the SPL.

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Hey The Man from Uncle,

My position came with a term limit!!

You can bet that there are a few non- Eamonn fan club members that are counting the days. I don't know why, but that makes me smile. Could it be that I have the Rolling Stones playing "You don't always get what you want." On the CD player - Nah it's just a coincidence!!

Eamonn

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