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Woodsmith

How many terms in the PLC?

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Woodsmith - You're on the right track. I applaud you for taking the initiative to bring your program in line with that designed by the BSA. I concur that you should focus on the "electing" part of the issue now. Term limits may not be an issue after that.

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You hold elections, and allow the boys to run the troop. You know what happens then? The SPL says at the end of six months "Man I'm ready to not do these things!" Another young man will step up, and then you burn him out too. Only problem with this method... the first 5 months of a six month term are rocky adventures in group dynamics. The last month flies by and it's time to do it all over again.

 

If you have a big troop, be sure to let your older scouts use all the offices. I mean have den cheifs, patrol guides, instructors, etc. That way you don't hear pleas like "I want to be SPL because I need it to be an Eagle." If that ever comes up grab a scout handbook and read the office requirement. We used this to method to end a problem that came up in our troop. Funny how the program works when we use it like it's described!

 

Good Luck!

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Thump,

 

I agree - the 6 months always seems to be too short - I personally think they're almost always still on the learning curve and miss out on the confidence of really knowing a job well. But the pressure to roll them over is overwhelming in every program I've been affiliated with.

 

The way we work it, it's irrelevant if a scout comes up saying he "needs" a POR for Eagle (or any other rank). The only way to get a job around here is to earn it by being elected (SPL or PL), or having the SPL select you as the best scout for the job (who is willing and able).

We have several scouts sitting on Life for 2-3 years, MBs all completed, but unwilling to accept job with any real responsibility. They have the silly notion that we're going to pin the QM patch on 'em and sign it off in 6 months - even though they haven't been on a single campout to assist with gear, etc., etc.

I had SM Conf with one of these Life Scouts after our last leadership elections. He was disappointed he didn't get a job (which he "needs" for Eagle). I reminded him that adults don't assign jobs - scouts elect and SPL appoints - that's the only way to get a job. And who is most likely to get a job? (The ones active in the troop program.) How many campouts had he been on in the last 2 years? (One.) How many times had he stepped up to fill in the when the PL/APL wasn't there for a meeting? (None.) Etc. - you get the picture - he wanted a gift. Bottom Line: he wasn't showing much interest in being active and taking on responsibility, so he wasn't likely to get a POR.

Fortunately, this one is a success story. This particular scout decided he really wanted Eagle, has made the last few campouts, shown a more mature positive attitude, and was just elected PL at the age of 17yrs and 3 months. I couldn't be more proud of the knucklehead that's finally getting his act together and told him so last night.

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We use the 6 month "term" and the vast majority of PLs, and the SPL is re-elected and serves two terms. The kids are smart enough to realize that the ones that have advanced on the learning curve are worth keeping. The ones that hold office and just don't gain much, for whatever reason, don't last more than six months.

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There is nothing magic about 6 months. Depending on the particular situation with the patrol, or the boy holding a position, 7 or 8 or 9 months might work better. And I don't see any particular need to have all the patrol elections at the same time either. Whatever works best for each patrol is the way to go.

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Mike F's remarks are right on target. That is exactly the type of result you want to see. In our young troop, most of our second year scouts are lazy. Trying to get them to fulfill their responsibility is difficult. Now we've got a group of ambitious first year scouts coming in. It will be interesting to see the SPL appointments this fall. I'm hoping it will provide some motivation for the boys trying to reach Star or Life.

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