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c_m_pratt

Senior Patrol Leader problems

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I am the Senior Patrol Leader in my troop. I got elected to the position in our yearly vote November, 01. I have been trying to do better than our last SPL who never attended anything and whenever i try to correct an issue or something, i get several curses spit at me like I insulted them by telling them that it was time to go or something. Also, my Scoutmaster and his assistants correct me right when i am in front of the rest of the troop, which also deteriorates the amount of respect i need to run a troop. HELP!!!

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c-m-pratt,

i'm sorry you are having such a bad time. SPL is a tough job but it should be a positive experience and one you learn a lot of useful skills from. I suggest you get the Senior Patrol Leader Handbook and read throught it. It should help clarify your job and how to do it.

 

Here are some tips.

*Your job is not to tell others what to do but to help patrols succeed.

 

*You will accomplish more through asking the patrol leaders questions and getting them to come up with there own answers. remember that the success of the patrol is ultimately in the hands of the Patrol Leader and the patrol members themselves. You can't make them do things or do it for them. You need to make them aware of choices and let them choose there own course of action.

 

*Always work through the Patrol Leader. if you talk to a patrol member it should always be positive and never to give orders or correct them. That's not your job. If a patrol member is out of line or needs help, go to the PL.

 

Here is an example of leading through questions. You arrive at camp and the patrols are setting up there sites. You notice that the Eagles have gathered a pile of firewood, but you also know it might rain. rather than order the patrol to cover the wood, you ask the Pl "So what do you think the weather might be tonight? He says "My folks said it might rain." You say "yeah I heard that too. How would affect all that nice firewood you guys gathered?" PL says "geez maybe we should cover it?" You say "Hey, that's good thinking." "What could you use?" He says "I'll check with the QM and see if he has some extra plastic we could use." You say "you look like you have your plate full getting the site organized, why not ask one of the patrol members to go? I'll check back in about twenty minutes and see if you found some."

 

You could have have saved time and told him what to do but the only thing they would have learned is that you like to tell people what to do. this way they learn to think aboout what is going on around them, and the PL learns how to ask for help rather than boss his patrol members around.

 

Remember as the SPL you don't run the patrols, your organize the troop and help develop patrol leaders.

 

Hope this helps,

Bob White

 

 

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My son was elected SPL by one vote several years ago. He realized that half the troop wanted another leader. He starteed having patrol leaders councils, he enlolved the other patrol leaders and his ASPL in the troop, and learned to delegate leadership to others in the troop. The more scouts that are involved in making decisions the easier your job will be. The leadership experience of SPL is the best path ot Eagle Scout, also JLTC is worth the week! Then consider a staff position, it will all add to your leadership ability, GOOD LUCK!

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I know how you feel. I am 14 and was recently elected SPL. 25% of the scouts listen, the others look at me and say no. The biggest help was my SM. I talked to him and he has greatly helped enforce my policies. Also, let your ASPL help out. Make him take some of the load.

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Your SPL position has very little respect. It could be you or just bad leadership in the past that has set a pattern. It doesn't matter. What you need to do is start a trend back the other way.

 

The suggestions from the list are very good. I will add a couple others.

 

1. You need to come together with the minds. Sit down with your SM and suggest a day of talking with the PLC for about three hours. Talk about each persons responsibilities and lead into how the SPL works with the PL who works with the other scouts. If you see a problem, how will your guys deal with it? I never allowed my SPL to yell. That forced him to ask other leaders to do their jobs like quieting down the patrol, or leading an activity or just getting a patrol to come to the opening on time. Now you're getting everyone on the same page. Then talk about goals. Have the PLC set three goals. It's very hard to walk down a trail if you don't know where you are going. They could be a simple as making sure the meetings start on time and finish on time. Uniform goals or running a meeting without adults. That one may need a while. But set some goals that you and the PLC can measure. If all this sounds like a few hours of JLT, you are right.

 

2. Start doing 20 or 30-minute PLC meetings each week before the Troop meetings instead of one three hour monthly meeting. I have found that one 3-hour PLC meeting a month doesn't work well for team building or troop management. To much time between delegating responsibilities and checking on progress. You have to practice something to learn something. Yes, a 30 minute meeting doesn't get enough done at first, but it will force you to get organized and build a good agenda before the meeting. And most scouts will like not having to sit during a boring three-hour meeting. A 30-minute meeting doesn't have time to get boring.

 

3. Make and agenda for everything, especially PLC meetings. Most SPL performance start degrading when they try to remember what they are suppose to do instead of just looking at the agenda. This seems like a small thing, but I noticed our SPL wasn't getting through meetings about the time he started memorizing his agenda, or not even making and agenda. My experience is in most Troops, bad agenda practices are the number one problems with junior leaders. If you don't have an agenda, either the adults take over, or the whole program starts to suffer.

 

Finally, sit down with you SM if you can and explain how hard it is to be corrected during a meeting. It's sets a tone for the whole troop and nothing like always looking over your shoulder. Make a deal with him. Explain you will come to him after each meeting after before you go home and take notes of his comments if he just leaves you alone to struggle during the meeting. If you start taking notes, his ego will give you some space. I know, I have been that SM.

 

Don't expect big changes at first, nothing happens fast in a boy run troop. Look at yourself as the farmer plowing a field to start a new crop. You are trying to start new habits in the troop. What you do now may affect the troop for many years to come. Now that is cool.

 

You came to a good place for advice, please let us know how it goes.

 

I love this scouting stuff.

 

Barry

 

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BW is right on. Also seems that your adult leaders haven't quite got the program figured out. I am a TC member but am active in the troop also. When we have a new SPL I let them know that I will back them up in front of the troop but may have 'words' with them in private. (following two deep leadership)

 

One of the things that we do is let new scouts know that the SPL speaks with the same authority as an adult leader. Dissing the SPL is the same as dissing me. If a scout has an issue with instructions or suggestions they are free to come to their PL and the PL can go to the SPL or if need be the adult mentor for that patrol. We follow a 'chain of command' structure. SM, ASM, SPL, ASPL, PL, ASPL. This works very well and also teaches a lesson for life.

 

If you were my troops SPL, I would let you know that one of your jobs is to try to make sure that I have a pleasant meeting and if on an overnight that I can drink my coffee with outside bothers. Of course this is will a grin and wink.

 

New scouts and those you have not learned the lesson tend to not follow the SPL as if they were an adult leader. Your leaders hopefully will see this and let the scouts that you are the boys leader. One of my 'jobs' in the troop is the 'enforcer', the boys believe that I am very strict and am in general very grumpy or at times can become that way. The ones who cause the trouble soon learn that it is much more fun to follow the SPL than to deal with me. (I really am just a teddy bear at heart, a 6'6 and 250 lb teddy)

 

Realized I am rambling but I think the gist of what I want to say is here.

Welocme to the campfire and keep posting.

 

yis

 

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hello,

 

I am also SPL of my troop and have problems. I am 13 years old (the oldest in the troop not including those over 18). I have MABYE 3 active members. With a scoutmaster, assistant scoutmaster, and parents. I am SPL and we have a PL and 1 regular scout (lol). I know we need to recruit by going on trips,and we do, but the best trips we can't go on because we are too small. Also we don't have very much money in the troop fund. My scoutmaster, assistant scoutmaster and I can easily communicate (SM has ham liceanse and so do I)and we talk often, but as for the rest of the "troop commity" if you could call it that (I don't even know who all it is) is not in very good contact. The person who is supposed to be our contact with our charter organization NEVER does his job either. As you can see we are small and sorta in an ongoing cycle of being small and not organized and not able to reqruit. I NEED HELP!

 

Thank You,

David

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