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boy-led summer camp patrol method

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#1 Hedgehog

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 07:11 AM

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I got back from a week at camp with our troop last week and it was, in a word, transformative.  So, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of your favorite beverage and settle in for a long read.

 

TROOP PROLOGUE

 

Before my son and I joined, the Troop talked the talk on boy-led but it wasn’t very much boy-led in the outdoors.  The outdoor program consisted of one nearby campout, two backpacking trips and one cabin camping trip.  The adults designed and implemented the program with the boys leading by performing the tasks that they were assigned.  I came in at the same time as the new scoutmaster.  Together, we reinvigorated the outdoor program - having 9 to 10 trips per year plus summer camp and moved toward being more boy-led in the outdoors.  There was still something missing at times in the boy leadership.  When the elected senior leadership was on campout, there seemed to be an “order people around” type of leadership.  The adults learned to back off and give the scouts space to lead.  However, summer camp was different.  The person who served as Scoutmaster at camp would quickly fill any vacuum left by boy leadership.  His intentions were good and very understandable when you are in charge of 25 to 30 boys in the woods (some for the first time). 

 

MY SON’S PROLOGUE

 

So my son is very active -  attending every meeting and every outing racking up more nights camping and more miles hiking / backpacking over the past three years than any other member of the troop.  He earned Star in two years (sooner than any other scout in recent history - although another scout equaled his timing last year).  He served as an Assistant Patrol Leader (as well as a Den Chief) last year, but the Patrol Leader was ineffective and he became the de-facto patrol leader.  Now, we have patrols for our weekly meetings and ad hoc patrols for our outings.  The patrols for the weekly meetings are focused on planning an activity for the troop portion of the meeting (each patrol take one week a month).  On outings, my son was the PL for his ad hoc patrol based on his rank and experience.  He struggled a lot with leading last year — at age 13 he was just learning to take care of himself and he found himself charged with taking care of others.  He also clashed a bit with the older elected leaders - he became frustrated because they weren’t leading the way that I was trying to teach him to lead.  Their leadership consisted of ordering people what to do while my son was being taught servant leadership.  He made Life Scout in the spring as he finished up 8th grade.  When elections for patrol leaders came up, there were five boys running for four spots (we elect patrol leaders as a Troop… I know…).  He was the only one not elected out of the five.  He was devastated.  When he recovered, he asked to be the Troop Guide (I had another post on that) and the OA Rep.  He asked NOT to have to go to NYLT.  His comment was “why should I bother, I tried to change the Troop but they don’t want to change.”  He was one of the two most senior scouts - one of which would be tapped to be the SPL at summer camp (the elected SPL was not going).  The other scout got the most votes in the Patrol Leader elections (only by a couple of votes).  My son was the highest ranking and had the most experience leading in the outdoors.  I told him that I could tell the SM that the other boy should be the SPL so that my son wouldn’t be set up for failure by trying to lead other boys that had been elected to a position over him.  He said he still wanted the chance to lead, so I told the SM that I didn’t want to be involved in the decision.

 

My son did go to NYLT with a buddy and came back truly energized and excited.  The staff and the other guys in his patrol recognized that he had “it” — with one staff member telling him he had the most potential of any leader that had come through the program.  For the end of the week, his patrol elected him Patrol Leader.  On the way home, I asked him and his buddy what one thing they would change in the Troop based on their NYLT experience. They both instantly yelled “SERVANT LEADERSHIP.”  While at NYLT, the SM decided that my son would be SPL for camp.  It made sense because the elected patrol leaders would be serving in that capacity.  I hoped for the best but prepared myself for a train wreck.  I rearranged my schedule so I would be at camp the entire week to cover us being short a leader for the second half of the week, recognizing that would give me a chance to coach him and to run interference with the other adult leaders.

 

PROPER PLANNING…

 

Even before my son was selected as SPL, I had been advocating having a PLC meeting of the camp leadership before we left for camp.  Typically, the guys were expected to show up and just figure it out.  Going off his enthusiasm from NYLT, my son and I worked together to come up with an agenda for the meeting.  He started the meeting by setting out his vision:  boy-led, patrol and servant leadership.  My son made it clear that his job was to help the patrol leaders succeed.  About half way through his presentation, the Camp SM interrupted and started talking about his agenda.  After about 10 minutes, I managed to transition the conversation back to my son’s agenda.  Over the next couple of days, my son sent a couple of e-mails out to the leadership team and to the scouts attending camp and their parents.  I’ll admit, I did help him to develop the e-mails (what do you want to say?  do you want to mention this?  how do you want to say this?).  He and the QM came up with a list of gear to pack for camp.  He ordered bandanas and patrol flags for his leaders.  He planned a junk food night for the Thursday Troop campfire and he even planned to have 1980’s music blaring to wake everyone up.

 

My son also urged everyone to adopt one of the phrases he learned at NYLT - “Early is on time,  on time is late and late is unacceptable.”

 

THE WEEK AT CAMP

 

My son backpacked into camp with a group of scouts.  That gave him some time to talk to me and his regular SM about being SPL.  Unfortunately, he twisted his ankle on the road leading into camp (did 20 miles over rocks and trails but twisted his ankle on a gravel road in the last half mile).  He was limping for most of the first two days.

 

When the others arrived at camp he faced his first challenge.  One of the new scouts did not have a tent buddy.  It took my son a moment to ask his buddy (who was one of the ASPLs) to move tents so the new guy could tent with him.  In an instant, the new guy went from feeling like the last kid picked on the team to sharing a tent with the SPL.  As the new kid’s parents went to set up the boy’s bug net frame, my son turned to them and said, “I’ll show him how to do it himself when we get back to camp later.”

 

The second challenge was the chore charts.  My son had already decided that the two ASPLs and three APLs would handle being waiters the first night so the SPL and PLs could be there to make sure everyone lined up in uniform for flags.  In the past, there had been contention because the leaders exempted themselves from being waiters.  That was quickly solved when the SPL,  ASPLs and PLs decided they would serve as waiters for all the lunches.  When the chore charts were posted, a younger scout pointed out that the leaders were not listed as waiters.  One of the PLs heard that and responded, “we know when we are waitering - we’re doing all of the lunches.”  The younger scout simply responded “cool,” but you could tell he was impressed with the leaders doing more than they were asking others to do.  

The first in camp PLC meeting was shared between the SPL and Camp SM.  For line-up the first night, everyone was on-time and in uniform.  The Camp SM did have some comments to the boys based on some tasks not being done (water jugs filled, lanterns set up, etc.) and encouraged the younger scouts to step-up.  The rest of the evening went off without a hitch and you could see that everyone pitched in when they got back to camp after dinner.  We had another PLC meeting on Sunday night with the Camp SM going over expectations for the week.  In the past, those expectations had been conveyed to the Troop as a whole by the Camp SM.  This year, they were conveyed to the PLC and the PLs conveyed the information down to the rest of the guys in their patrols.

 

On Monday morning we played music (two songs) to wake everyone up (we’re the furthest campsite out so hearing reveille is hard).  The morning was chaotic due to handing out merit badge cards to the scouts to bring to their classes.  The APLs were responsible for making sure all tents were ready for inspection and the ASPLs did a final sweep as everyone was lined up.  The APLs did their counts of guys in their patrol and reported to their PLs who reported to the SPL.  As they lined up, the Camp SM complimented the guys on how well they did the night before and in the morning.

 

As the boys came close to the the parade field, they stopped, reformed their patrol lines and took a count.  The APLs then took their position as last in line for their patrols (i.e. running sweep to make sure everyone was there).  The boys would be early for all of the camp flag ceremonies - a break from the past where they would be late at least twice.

 

The Camp SM had to leave to deal with some work issues later on Monday morning and would return on Wednesday afternoon.  My son set his schedule so that he would be free from 1:00 until 4:00.  He had three merit badges in the morning and one from 4:00 to 5:00.  The first afternoon, we spent a chunk of time from 2:00 until 4:00 going over the schedule for the week and the division of labor among “The Six” (SPL, 2 ASPLs and 3 PLs).  There were a lot of activities and projects that needed to be completed during the week and my son realized that he couldn’t do it all.

 

We also had a complaint from the Troop next door about the music in the morning.  My son went over and talked to the ASM of that Troop.  My son looked for a compromise - can we play it at lower volume?  The ASM said he preferred we don’t play it at all.  My son replied that we wouldn’t play it because “a scout is courteous.”  He was disappointed but learned a lesson about what courtesy means - doing something you don’t have to do for someone else’s comfort.

 

On Monday night, my son took the new scouts to the First Year campfire with one of his ASPLs (his buddy who was new to the Troop and was his first time at camp) and had the other ASPL take the remainder of the Troop to the “Second Year (and up) Games” which is typically some sort of scavenger hunt.  From what I heard, the Troop appeared completely disorganized but they somehow managed to win the contest.  The ASPL and PLs had a sense of ownership of the activity and stepped up.  A scout had asked me what they should wear to the games and I told him to ask a boy.  The ASPL told him to wear his troop Class B t-shirt.  Those are usually saved for the Camp-wide games on Thursday, but I resisted the urge to overrule the ASPL repeating to myself that “nobody ever died from wearing a shirt twice.”

 

Tuesday morning went like clockwork.  I only said four words, “Do we have everyone?”  I didn’t police the campsite like the leaders usually do, I just trusted the boys.  My trust was not misplaced.  I started to notice the ASPLs working in concert with the SPL - each supporting the other.  I saw the PLs and APLs working in tandem.  I saw some guys who weren’t named leaders stepping up guiding younger scouts.  It seems that servant leadership is contagious.  I was concerned because most of our leaders (SPL, ASPL, PLs) had just finished 8th grade (one of the ASPLs had just finished 9th).  It seemed that those guys did better because they wanted to lead.  In the past, the older boys thought that being a leader interfered with their having fun and that they were “too cool” to be excited about leading.

 

On Tuesday night, the boy leaders were supposed to talk about he build it project between dinner and our Troop boating event.  They did and three guys volunteered to work on the project.  They were supposed to set up the roster and brief their patrol members for participation in the Camp Wide Games.  I suggested that they do it right when they get back from boating.  A couple of guys wanted to take a shower, a couple of guys had things they had to do and a couple of guys needed to rest.  I reminded my son that they needed to have the meeting because there wouldn’t be time to do it in the morning.  That was around 8:00.  Around 9:30 nothing had happened.  I was ready to let them fail.  I got distracted helping a couple of the guys with their e-prep requirements (they were putting together an emergency kit from the items I had in camp).  I came out to check on the leaders to see if they had even started yet, and was told that they had finished and were about to call everyone in and explain to them what they were doing.  Another note to myself - although they don’t do it the way I would do it, they still manage to get it done.  There was a couple of guys who didn’t like what they were being asked to do — luckily, those two guys happily switched roles.  

 

Wednesday morning went like clockwork.  We actually were the first troop to flags.  There was some joking that we were turning into one of “those” troops rather than our typical rag tag bunch of misfits.  I assured them they still had a long way to go.  Somehow, they ended up dominating the Wednesday games, placing in all but two events.  Their cheers were louder than I remember it.  They became the troop to beat despite being one of the youngest groups (our 13 and 14 yar olds beat other troops 16 and 17 year olds) and despite having every scout participate.  They sealed their victory with a well run rope and sled race and several well played games of tic tac toe.  It seems that they really thought about who would be the best for each game and then had the older guys teach the younger guys any skills they needed.  This is the first time the troop had won the camp games in everyone’s memory (which goes back more than 10 years).

 

The guys split up into patrols to do service projects with the PLs leading (the SPL and ASPLs added themselves to patrols and did what the PLs asked).  The Camp SM came back in the afternoon, saw how things were running and stepped back. I did have to intervene when a group of younger scouts were not ignoring their PL despite repeated attempts by the PL to encourage them to help.  I simply explained to them that boy-led means they have follow other boys for the good of the patrol / troop and that the alternative was adult-led which sounds a lot like me yelling at them.  It was enough to get their attention and I noticed that they put in extra effort the rest of the week.  Wednesday night saw the boy leaders working with younger boys on MB requirements.

 

Our campsite commissioner had a talk with my son about him wanting to to be a counselor next year.  The commissioner mentioned the conversation to me and said that there were boys who wanted to be a counselor because they liked the idea of being a counselor and boys who wanted to be a counselor because they loved being a boy scout.  He then said, “Your son is one of the ones who loves being a boy scout.”  The commissioner told me he put a good word in for my son for next year.

 

One of the older scouts who had been disengaged in prior years told me that he was having a great time this year because “people are actually listening to me and I actually matter.”  He explained that in the past, everyone was expected to do as they were told by the leadership rather than really asked to lead.

 

I heard stories of the PLs taking care of their guys who were homesick or struggling with MB.  When a scout became upset, one of the boy leaders was there to comfort them.  When a scout decided it was their turn to be a brat, one of the boy leaders was there to get them back on the path.  There wasn’t the expected “ordering around” of scouts to behave but there was advice given out of caring for the welfare of the scouts and others.

 

On Thursday, things seems to be running well until I got back from the First Year hike.  The build-it project remained unfinished.  Actually, it had been started but what was done was not according to the plan that I thought the boys had agreed upon.  I found out that one of the boys who wasn’t supposed to be working on it, started part of it and an adult did the rest. I tracked down SPL and asked what happened.  He thought it was under control.  To his credit, he said, “it doesn’t matter what anyone else did, I’m ultimately in charge and it is my responsibility.”  He went back to camp, took apart what had been done (incorrectly) and began working on the project.  He had one of his ASPLs go down to take his place in setting up for the patrol carnival and asked the other ASPL to handle rounding up the troop and doing flags.  He was ready to miss dinner in order to get the project completed.  He pretty much single handedly built the project in an hour and a half.  I helped by holding wood that he sawed and by drilling two holes with a power drill.  He made it down in time to grab some dinner and well in time for the competition.  The project ended up finishing third in the competition - again, the best in recent memory.  It was a great lesson is leadership for my son in both what went wrong and what he did as a leader to fix it.

 

Thursday night was the troop campfire.  One PL built the fire before dinner.  As it go dark, they started the campfire.  It started slow but became huge.  One of the scouts organized a campfire as part of his communications merit badge.  Everyone sat around the fire to watch as opposed to their typical going off and hanging out in groups of two and three.  After the campfire program, there was music playing and food.  One PL cut up watermelon.  SPL broke out the chips, pretzels, Doritos and soda.  One PL started making Jiffy Pop and another PL made two dump cakes in dutch ovens.  Around 10 staff members stopped by camp — apparently the SPL and PLs had been inviting staff to stop by.  

 

By Friday, the leadership was able to coast.  For SPL son, he had to play catch-up to finish a couple of merit badges.  He knew a couple of other guys needed requirements, so he pulled them along with him across the finish line.  Son spent much of his free time hanging out with the counselors.  After the closing campfire, the SPL got overwhelmed by one of the stories that an adult told about leadership (using his first campout where an older scout invited him to share his tent as an example).  All the pressure, stress, exhaustion, emotions and sense of accomplishment hit at once.  We took a walk under the clear night sky and for the first time that week, he just became my 13 year-old son.

 

When I woke him up Saturday morning, he was exhausted and had the start of a cold.  I told him that sometimes, leadership means digging deep inside yourself and finding the strength to go on when you think you have nothing else inside.  I told him that he needed to be energetic and engaged so that his boys would take a cue from him.  After breakfast, the troop returned to the campsite to take our flag down one last time.  Typically, the Camp SM and I would say something to the boys or the parents, but we both decided that boy-led meant that a boy should do the wrap up.  So before taking down the flag, SPL did a quick recap of all the boys had accomplished during the week, ending his talk by saying, “You guys were awesome this week.”

 

REFLECTION ON LEADERSHIP

 

Last week was the most boy-led I’ve seen our Troop at camp.  I heard the same sentiment from the other adults at camp and from many of the boys.  In past years, the boy leaders ended the week feeling frustrated and aggravated because they felt that they were being bossed around by adults all week.  This year, the boys left feeling exhausted but with a sense of accomplishment.   On Saturday, I realized that the key is not a singular boy in boy-led but that it takes all the boys leading.  My son realized that without his ASPLs and PLs, he would have failed.  In talking on the way home, my son said that leadership is hard.  He felt that the leaders in the past saw leadership as a privilege — the ability to make the rules, order people around and to do less than others.  He told me that being a leader really means you have to do twice as much as everyone else.

 

I know that we weren’t completely and entirely boy-led.  I spent a lot of time working with my son to prepare him for his role as SPL before camp and a good amount of time working with him at camp.  He would get up early in the morning and we would go over what to expect for the day.  In the beginning of the week, it was me telling him.  By the end of the week, it was him telling me.  We talked about objectives and discussed what he and others had to do to accomplish those objectives - or using the terms we used - “what do you guys have to do and how are you going to get it done.”  I did provide him with reminders at times.  I also coached the ASPLs and PLs through a lot of quiet talks as we walked to and from activities.  I joked with the other leaders that I was the “scout whisperer.”  

 

I think that boy-led is a continuum depending in part on the complexity of the task at hand, the experience of the leaders and the size of the group being led.  For a patrol of 8 guys my son’s age going on a campout, there is nothing I really need to do or say.  The boys have done it at least a dozen times before and know what needs to be done.  For a week at camp that is jammed packed with activities that need to be coordinated, a troop of 25 boys and youth leaders that have just finished 8th grade it seemed that my being involved in the up front planning and the daily discussions of what needs to be done and how to do it was a good level of being boy-led.  Even over the course of the week, I noticed my discussions went from telling “you need to do this” to asking “what do you need to do?”

 

Finally, the most important part is that the adults have to make a conscious decision not to undermine scout leadership.  The first three days, I must have told younger scouts to “go ask one of the boy leaders” at least 50 times.  It is better to talk to the SPL and PLs privately, than to overshadow them and talk to the troop directly.  It is better to let the scouts run things the best they can and have them ask if the adults have anything to add, than the other way around.  Scouts can sense when they are really being permitted to lead.

 

To quote my son, “You guys WERE awesome this week.”


Edited by Hedgehog, 21 July 2016 - 07:13 AM.

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#2 Tampa Turtle

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 10:06 AM

:) 


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#3 Lurking...

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 11:11 AM

Yawnnnnn!  Just another typical boy led, patrol method troop.  No big deal!

 

:)  Seriously!  Well done, congrats to your boys and NO it does not surprise me that the key to boy led is true Servant Leadership!  The management of the tasks will fall into place without a hassle with servant leadership.  And as you quickly found out if everyone is a servant leader ("What can I do to help?!") some awesome things can happen. 

 

Thank you for letting your boys experience REAL scouting!


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#4 Eagledad

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 09:24 AM

We are very boy run, but summer camp is always a good realignment for us because it's seven days of intense boy run. We usually get two campsites, one for the boys and the other for the adults. The SPL goes to all the unit leaders meetings and works the patrols with the camp leadership. He works so hard that he has little or no time for his own activities. Because of that, our troop has a tradition of paying for the SPLs camp fees. 

 

Barry


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"Experience is the hardest teacher. It gives the test first, then the lesson."


#5 Hedgehog

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 08:28 AM

And as you quickly found out if everyone is a servant leader ("What can I do to help?!") some awesome things can happen. 

 

What really surprised me is how contagious servant leadership and boy-leadership can be.  In talking to my son, we both realized that there was a lot of factors that all converged to make this happen.  A big part is that the boys who were in charge had been being primed for this role for three years.  The idea of boy-led was ingrained in them and they saw some leaders (both adult and youth) do the opposite of servant leadership (authoritarian or "do as I tell you to" leadership).  So the groundwork was there and a bunch of other things (me being there to keep the other leaders in check, my son being SPL right after NYLT, the other leaders being eager to lead, having the other adults at camp buying into boy-led and even the Camp SM being out of camp for a couple of days) were the cataylist. 

 

The next challenge is to build on this at our leader training campout in September.

 

We are very boy run, but summer camp is always a good realignment for us because it's seven days of intense boy run. We usually get two campsites, one for the boys and the other for the adults. The SPL goes to all the unit leaders meetings and works the patrols with the camp leadership. He works so hard that he has little or no time for his own activities. 

 

I could see how the SPL is fully occupied.  My son had no free time even with two free periods until Friday (and he used that time to finish up work on two merit badges).  

 

Although it would be nice to have a separate campsite for the adults, that really hasn't been a problem.  Three of the adults that are there all week have tents that are together at the front of the camp (they are a little bigger than the scout tents) and the other adults tend to tent on the fringes of the scout tents.  

 

I'm now jotting down my notes and thoughts on how we can build on this for next year.


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#6 qwazse

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 08:48 AM

Are SPL's more occupied than they used to be?

 

I don't recall the position being a burden to me. I can't recall what MBs I was earning at the time ... probably nothing too serious. I'd fill out a roster, march to flags, report attendance, chill at the trading post, inspect camp, help resolve the conflict du jour, chill in the hammock, go with SM to leader's meeting, go shoot/swim/hike during open program, catch some tree frogs for the camp snake.

 

I leaned on my PL's a lot. They rose to the occasion.

 

In general, we find the PL's to be the most occupied with their time. It's on them if food isn't picked up, cooked, and dining area spotless immediately thereafter.


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#7 Lurking...

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 08:54 AM

I haven't had much experience with SPL's, but your SPL's seem to be far more "involved" than need to be.  If the PL's are running their patrols, what is the SPL up to?  Coordinating communication from the SPL meeting is about all I see his role in summer camp being.  The reason I haven't had much experience with SPL's is because when the PL's are doing their jobs, one really doesn't need them until the troop gets up to 4-5 patrols.  Then the extra hand helping with coordinating things is useful.

 

If everyone in the patrols are doing their job, the PL has a handle on everything, the SPL like the SM pretty much have more free time than they want. 

 

Seriously!  Let the PL's do their job, it's the basis of the patrol method!  An SPL running around hovering over them is no different than an adult doing it.  Either way it undermines the patrol method.


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#8 TAHAWK

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 09:28 AM

Interesting observation, Stosh.  You, at least, are probably old enough to recall that until 2000 B.S.A. had an official syllabus for a one-day, district-level  training course for "Junior Leaders" call J.L.O.W.  (A few councils have refused to give it up.)   It contained a session titled "Welcome to Scouting's Toughest Job."  The message was that the PL had the toughest job in Boy Scouting.   With good PLs, the SPL had it easy and without them his job was impossible -- becasue it was the Patrol Method.  The same message was in the Patrol Leader's Handbook from 1980-1990 written by some guy named "Bill" and was a theme in the week-long JLTC.  

 

https://books.google...t Job."&f=false


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#9 Hedgehog

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 09:42 AM

Are SPL's more occupied than they used to be?

 

I don't recall the position being a burden to me. I can't recall what MBs I was earning at the time ... probably nothing too serious. I'd fill out a roster, march to flags, report attendance, chill at the trading post, inspect camp, help resolve the conflict du jour, chill in the hammock, go with SM to leader's meeting, go shoot/swim/hike during open program, catch some tree frogs for the camp snake.

 

I leaned on my PL's a lot. They rose to the occasion.

 

In general, we find the PL's to be the most occupied with their time. It's on them if food isn't picked up, cooked, and dining area spotless immediately thereafter.

 

 

I haven't had much experience with SPL's, but your SPL's seem to be far more "involved" than need to be.  If the PL's are running their patrols, what is the SPL up to?  Coordinating communication from the SPL meeting is about all I see his role in summer camp being.  The reason I haven't had much experience with SPL's is because when the PL's are doing their jobs, one really doesn't need them until the troop gets up to 4-5 patrols.  Then the extra hand helping with coordinating things is useful.

 

If everyone in the patrols are doing their job, the PL has a handle on everything, the SPL like the SM pretty much have more free time than they want. 

 

Seriously!  Let the PL's do their job, it's the basis of the patrol method!  An SPL running around hovering over them is no different than an adult doing it.  Either way it undermines the patrol method.

 

 

The structure of the camp makes the SPL the "coordinator in chief."  In the past the SPL did EVERYTHING leaving the patrol leaders feeling like figureheads.  This year, the SPL worked to push down responsibility to the PLs (as well as the ASPL and APLs).  The SPL didn't "DO" a lot (with the exception of the Thursday build-it project) except attend meetings and take care of his PLs.  As he said at the pre-camp PLC to the PLs - "You guys are in charge, my job is to help you succeed."

 

Some of the SPL duties (with parentheticals of how the PLs were involved this summer):

  • Setting tone and preparing ASPLs, PLs and APLs at PLC meeting prior to camp.
  • Coordinating unloading of Troop gear and boys moving into tents (asking PLs and ASPLs to take specific roles)
  • Leading Troop on camp tour, dining hall table assignments and swim test
  • Lining up the Troop whenever we leave camp (PLs were responsible for lining up their patrols and making sure guys were in uniform if appropriate.  APLs were responsible for taking attendence.  Duty was delegated to ASPL if SPL was unavailable).  
  • Helping PLs by providing materials to make patrol flags at camp
  • Coordinating with Patrol Leaders to do daily responsibility charts for their patrols to make sure that campsite wide jobs are assigned.
  • Serving as a waiter every day at lunch (with PLs and ASPLs to show that they were working as hard as everyone else)
  • Doing morning and evening flag ceremonies at campsite (each Patrol was assigned to handle the flags at one ceremony)
  • Lead the Troop to Campwide Morning and Evening Flags (relatively ease after line-up because each patrol was led by its PL)
  • Attending Daily SPL meetings with Camp Staff (and then relaying the information to the PLs through a PLC meeting or one-on-one)
  • Making sure camp is ready for inspection in the morning (APLs were charged with guiding their patrol members on what needed to be done and ASPLs did one final inspection during line-up)
  • Making sure that waiters report on time (PLs were responsible for knowing who their two waiters were and making sure they were ready)
  • Attending to issue related to playing music in the morning with neighboring Troop's SM
  • Deciding on Troop activities on Tuesday and Wednesday nights (done at PLC with PLs)
  • Being cheerleader in chief by telling ASPLs, PLs, APLs and others what they are doing well.
  • Taking new scouts to First Year Campfire on Monday while ASPL led PLs to participate in Older Scout Competition
  • Coordinating Troop boating activity on Tuesday night
  • Leading Patrol Leaders in deciding roster for Troop Games on Tuesday night at ad-hoc PLC meeting
  • Acting as a liason between Adults and PLs and PLs and Adults (i.e. keeping everyone informed of how everyone was doing)
  • Coordinating participation in Troop Games on Wednesday (games were not done by Patrol but by Troop)
  • Coordinating service projects on Wednesday (for the first time they were done by PLs and SPL and ASPLs joined patrols under PLs leadership)
  • Coordinating Wednesday Troop activitiy (ultimate frisbee game against staff)
  • Checking on how PLs were doing and asking them how the guys in their patrols were doing.
  • Backing up PLs on any issues with their patrols.
  • Addressing any issues that arose during the week with PLs, APLs, scouts and activities
  • Coordinating building of Troop Build-It Project for Thursday (OK, didn't do the best job coordinating but stepped up to get it done)
  • Making sure PLs knew what they were doing for Patrol Games on Thursday night
  • Coordinating Troop Campfire on Thursday night (advance planning to get snacks, soda and music, having one PL build fire, another make popcorn and another make dump cakes)
  • Attending waiter auction where Troops buy staff waiters for Friday night (asked PLs who their patrols wanted him to get).
  • Coordinating making of Troop plaque for Dining Hall
  • Coordinating move-out and clean-up of camp.

Add that to the regular camp schedule (line-up at 7:50, Breakfast and then MB classes till lunch, a break and then MB classes until 5:00, line up at 5:50 for dinner and then a campwide campfire every night except Tuesday (activity) and Thursday (Troop campfire).  The guys are usually pretty busy without being in a leadership position.


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#10 Hedgehog

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 09:54 AM

Interesting observation, Stosh.  You, at least, are probably old enough to recall that until 2000 B.S.A. had an official syllabus for a one-day, district-level  training course for "Junior Leaders" call J.L.O.W.  (A few councils have refused to give it up.)   It contained a session titled "Welcome to Scouting's Toughest Job."  The message was that the PL had the toughest job in Boy Scouting.   With good PLs, the SPL had it easy and without them his job was impossible -- becasue it was the Patrol Method.  The same message was in the Patrol Leader's Handbook from 1980-1990 written by some guy named "Bill" and was a theme in the week-long JLTC.  

 

 

Each of the PLs at camp had not served as PLs before.  Only my son (the SPL) and one of the PLs were APLs last year at camp and during the year and had undergone our troop's leadership training.  Neither of the other two PLs had any experience or training.  Simply put, to enable the PLs to lead under those circumstances, the SPL had to almost serve as their "guide."  Could the PLs have done more?  I'm sure they could have.  However, their role was 1000 times greater than it was in the past.  I find that to be an accomplishment worth celebrating.

 

The strength of the patrols in our Troop is an issue that we need to work on.  We have historically been a Troop Method troop in the outdoors.  We have made some progress in the patrol method but still have a long way to go.  I'm currently reading GBB's Patrol Leader's Guide and a book called Working the Patrol Method.  There are some structural changes that need to be made... but that is another post.


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#11 TAHAWK

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 10:01 AM

Longest journey.  First step.  Got it.


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#12 Lurking...

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 11:06 AM

Interesting stuff....

 

Just my 2-cents to indicate probably why my SPL's "don't exist" when the troop was small.

 

The structure of the camp makes the SPL the "coordinator in chief."  In the past the SPL did EVERYTHING leaving the patrol leaders feeling like figureheads.  This year, the SPL worked to push down responsibility to the PLs (as well as the ASPL and APLs).  The SPL didn't "DO" a lot (with the exception of the Thursday build-it project) except attend meetings and take care of his PLs.  As he said at the pre-camp PLC to the PLs - "You guys are in charge, my job is to help you succeed."

 

Some of the SPL duties (with parentheticals of how the PLs were involved this summer):

  • Setting tone and preparing ASPLs, PLs and APLs at PLC meeting prior to camp.

With only 1-3 PL's they pretty much coordinated this stuff between themselves.  When they got to 4 patrols, the SPL did help with keeping them a bit more "on task".

  • Coordinating unloading of Troop gear and boys moving into tents (asking PLs and ASPLs to take specific roles)

This of course would have been done by the QM which usually ended up being the patrol QM's from the Venture Patrol boys.  QM's rule the roost at this point!

  • Leading Troop on camp tour, dining hall table assignments and swim test

Each PL/APL team was responsible for his boys to keep up with the orientation, etc.  Patrol Scribe took notes, or at least the good ones did.  :)

  • Lining up the Troop whenever we leave camp (PLs were responsible for lining up their patrols and making sure guys were in uniform if appropriate.  APLs were responsible for taking attendence.  Duty was delegated to ASPL if SPL was unavailable).  

Each PL/APL team again was to make sure his boys were ready for any group activity the troop was participating in.

  • Helping PLs by providing materials to make patrol flags at camp

PL's were responsible for bringing their patrol flags from home.

  • Coordinating with Patrol Leaders to do daily responsibility charts for their patrols to make sure that campsite wide jobs are assigned.

Patrol level "duty rosters" no campsite wide jobs necessary.    The patrols camp separately from each other and the adults.

  • Serving as a waiter every day at lunch (with PLs and ASPLs to show that they were working as hard as everyone else)

PL took volunteers from his patrol to handle this and usually initiated the volunteering by doing it himself in the beginning.  (Servant leadership stuff)

  • Doing morning and evening flag ceremonies at campsite (each Patrol was assigned to handle the flags at one ceremony)

PL/APL team's rotated this on their own.

  • Lead the Troop to Campwide Morning and Evening Flags (relatively ease after line-up because each patrol was led by its PL)

Venture patrol usually initiated this and lead the others with NSP bringing up the rear as patrols.  Adults were the real tail end of the procession.

  • Attending Daily SPL meetings with Camp Staff (and then relaying the information to the PLs through a PLC meeting or one-on-one)

Usually the oldest PL would do this and let the other PL/APL team's know what's going on.  If the Venture PL was busy with HA events as sometimes happens, another PL would step in and be the ad hoc SPL.

  • Making sure camp is ready for inspection in the morning (APLs were charged with guiding their patrol members on what needed to be done and ASPLs did one final inspection during line-up)

This was the PL/APL team's job.  They are responsible for their patrol's area.

  • Making sure that waiters report on time (PLs were responsible for knowing who their two waiters were and making sure they were ready)

We pick camps with in-site cooking.  GrubMaster rules the roost at this point.  (Everyone is a leader at some time throughout the activity)  This is the PL/APL teams opportunity to relax.

  • Attending to issue related to playing music in the morning with neighboring Troop's SM.

No troop revielle, PL is responsible for gettig his boys up in the morning.

  • Deciding on Troop activities on Tuesday and Wednesday nights (done at PLC with PLs)

Don't know what the "troop activities" would be.  Things tend to be kept at the patrol level.

  • Being cheerleader in chief by telling ASPLs, PLs, APLs and others what they are doing well.

:) Everyone from the patrol members to the adults get to do that!! 

  • Taking new scouts to First Year Campfire on Monday while ASPL led PLs to participate in Older Scout Competition

TG does this the first day and the NSP PL/APL team does it for the rest of the week.

  • Coordinating Troop boating activity on Tuesday night

These kinds of things are done on the patrol level.  Usually a troop showing up to do canoeing is more of a nightmare than a patrol showing up.

  • Leading Patrol Leaders in deciding roster for Troop Games on Tuesday night at ad-hoc PLC meeting

If need by the ad hoc SPL can cover this.

  • Acting as a liason between Adults and PLs and PLs and Adults (i.e. keeping everyone informed of how everyone was doing)

Yes, this is an area where the SPL can be useful.  Generally with 2-3 patrols, the SM can "wander around" fo each of the patrol sites and get in a brief SMC with the PL's as to how things are going.

  • Coordinating participation in Troop Games on Wednesday (games were not done by Patrol but by Troop)

We've run into this problem with different non-patrol method camps.  They always want to do things as a troop.  We tell them we are a patrol-method troop and each patrol will be entering in to the games as patrols like they would be if they were a small troop.  Never had a problem with that from the camp staff and are often times impressed with the set-up we use.

  • Coordinating service projects on Wednesday (for the first time they were done by PLs and SPL and ASPLs joined patrols under PLs leadership)

The ad hoc SPL of the situation was already the PL of one of the patrols, usually the Venture Patrol, but not always.

  • Coordinating Wednesday Troop activitiy (ultimate frisbee game against staff)

The staff can break down to competitive numbers to compete against a patrol.  :)  Waterfront against NSP, Shooting sports against the Venturing Patrol, etc.

  • Checking on how PLs were doing and asking them how the guys in their patrols were doing.

Mini-SMC's here with each PL.

  • Backing up PLs on any issues with their patrols.

TG does this with the NSP, otherwise, he is there to assist other patrols.  He is the TROOP Guide.  Usually issues like these get escalated over the SPL or TG rather quickly anyway.

  • Addressing any issues that arose during the week with PLs, APLs, scouts and activities

Whoever went to SPL meeting as ad hoc SPL generally handles this.

  • Coordinating building of Troop Build-It Project for Thursday (OK, didn't do the best job coordinating but stepped up to get it done)

Don't know what this activity is, never ran into it in any camp we've attended.

  • Making sure PLs knew what they were doing for Patrol Games on Thursday night

Sink or swim, PL's chance to show why the boys selected him to lead!

  • Coordinating Troop Campfire on Thursday night (advance planning to get snacks, soda and music, having one PL build fire, another make popcorn and another make dump cakes)

Like any other patrol supported activity, this is generally coordinated by consensus of PL's

  • Attending waiter auction where Troops buy staff waiters for Friday night (asked PLs who their patrols wanted him to get).

Not something we've seen done.  PL's invite staff to patrol dinners/luches throughout the week.

  • Coordinating making of Troop plaque for Dining Hall

Not something we've seen done.

  • Coordinating move-out and clean-up of camp.

Squarely on the PL"s head for his area of the site.

 

Add that to the regular camp schedule (line-up at 7:50, Breakfast and then MB classes till lunch, a break and then MB classes until 5:00, line up at 5:50 for dinner and then a campwide campfire every night except Tuesday (activity) and Thursday (Troop campfire).  The guys are usually pretty busy without being in a leadership position.

 

With this broken down this way, No one ever seems to be overwhelmed.  The PL gets the "brunt" of responsiblity but he has a fully function assistant to help him if he uses him correctly.  SPL is just an information gatherer at the SPL meeting so that each patrol doesn't have to send a representative.  Just an efficiency thing.  Depending on how busy the NSP is the TG can sometimes function as the SPL in some instances but he is usually quite busy with the new boys that it is difficult to break away for administrative issues.

 

All in all, I just don't see where the SPL is ever an over-worked position if the PL's are all doing their jobs. 

 

It was interesting how the SPL came about in my troop.  The boys became a 5 patrol troop and one of the PL's said something about why did they always have to be looking to the SM for support.  I said they didn't.  Just pick someone from the troop who could do that.  They picked their best APL to fit that role.  He had been assisting 1 PL, now he was assisting 5.  Worked out just fine.


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#13 Lurking...

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 11:16 AM

By the way.  I am taking my boys next week to summer camp.  I haven't been to that camp in 15 years.  All the boys are Webelos crossovers. One patrol.  They have selected their PL, APL, QM, Scribe, GrubMaster and ActivityMaster.   Should be an interesting week.

 

I have high hopes they will win the overall camp-wide games.


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#14 Hedgehog

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 12:30 PM

The PL gets the "brunt" of responsiblity but he has a fully function assistant to help him if he uses him correctly.  SPL is just an information gatherer at the SPL meeting so that each patrol doesn't have to send a representative.  Just an efficiency thing.

 

 

Stosh:

 

I know how you feel about SPLs from other posts.  Although I think we agree about delegating as much as possible to patrols, I think we disagree on the role of the SPL. In most of your responses you listed someone else who would do the job, be it the QM, TG, a PL or the SM.  I don't disagree with where you pointed out the TG doing things in line with their position (my son is TG next year which is why as SPL he took the new guys to the campfire) or the QM doing things in line with his position (the Troop QM was also an ASPL and did handle the unloading of gear while my son had PLs focus on unloading the gear for their guys).  However, you have PLs and TGs doing things that are outside their roles on an ad hoc basis or done on the basis of being the "oldest" or being led by the venture patrol.  Most of those activities require coordinating various positions within the Troop and I see those as being the role of the SPL.  To me, it makes more sense to have one person in charge of coordinating the activities of all the leaders.

 

I also agree the need for an SPL looks different if you have 6 or 12 boys vs. 25 or 50 boys.  At 25 boys, we had three patrols of 7 or 8, an SPL and 2 ASPLs.  The PLs were new, untrained and without a lot of experience.  If they were put in charge without an SPL, I suspect that there would have been a lot more adult involvement.  Having an SPL who had acted as a PL on a lot of outings and who was NYLT trained allowed him to work with the PLs to make sure they were able to do their job.  He very clearly understood that his job was (with the help of the ASPLs) take care of his guys who were the PLs.  The fact that the PLs and APLs felt more in charge and valued than in the past is all the evidence I need to know that my son did his job as SPL.

 

As I said in response to Tahawk, we had an amazing level of Patrol Level leadership for a Troop that has is very much a troop method Troop and was at a camp that is strongly focused on troops.  We had boy-led, servant leadership and some level of patrol method.  To misquote Meatloaf, "Two and a half out of three aint bad."


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#15 Lurking...

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 02:14 PM

Hedge, I totally agree with what you posted regarding SPL and if some of the boys were doing double duty i.e. ASPL/QM and such it wasn't clear.  The point I was making was that the smaller troops can easily handle the lack of any SPL and until enough work gets generated to justify the position, it can be handled most often with an ad hoc SPL such as at a camporee or summer camp or a consensus of the 2 or 3 PL's.  By the time one gets to the 4-5 patrol level, then there's enough coordination and communication needs that a full-time SPL can be very useful.  6+ patrol level the SPL is mandatory!

 

The troops that parade around with a PL and seven boys AND an SPL?  How can that SPL not be walking all over the PL's authority on the one hand or totally doing nothing more than getting POR credit on the other hand?

 

Okay, so we have 2 patrols and an SPL.  What's the SPL's function?  Run a PLC with 2 members?  Gets to vote with the PL's and break ties so one patrol can get what it wants over the other patrol?  Or do the two PL's just sit down and hash things out on inter patrol activities  So one patrol decides on Camp A for summer camp because it has a great first year program and the other Camp B because of it's high adventure program.  SM and parent goes to one camp and ASM and parent goes to the other.  No big deal.  Where does the SPL fit in?  At which ever camp he goes to he's pretty useless because the PL can do the SPL job when they get there.  I used the example of two different camps to emphasize the autonomy of the patrol method   Had they both been going to the same camp, sure, the NSP PL would have deferred to the Regular Patrol PL to stand in as the ad hoc SPL.  With 2 patrols we're talking a troop of about 12-16 boys here and still struggling to define a real job for the SPL position.

 

So now we're up to 18 to 24 boys in three patrols.  1 NSP PL and 2 Reg Patrols or maybe for illustration sake, 1 Regular and 1 Venture Patrol PL's. So, who's the natural ad hoc SPL for the summer camp and/or camporee?  The Venture Patrol PL?  Not necessarily, depending on whether or not the High Adventure program for the summer camp is on-site or off-site.  If it's off site, the Venture Patrol is gone most of the week and the SPL will need to stay on-site and take care of the NSP and Regular Patrols while at camp and he misses out on the HA activities.  Suck it up cupcake, that's what SPL's do.  Or the Regular PL simply does the SPL routine and the Venture PL goes off with his patrol on the HA activities.

 

4 patrol?  24 to 32 boys?  Now we're getting at the tipping point of needing an SPL to start sorting things out.  That's quite a good sized troop to now see the need for a full-time SPL.  1 NSP, 2 Regular and 1 Venture patrols.  The dynamics of things being pulled three different ways necessitates someone with the ability to handle 4 boys (PL's) with divergent needs and interests.  The NSP PL wants the local council camp because of the First Year program is good.  The 2 Regular PL's are itchy for something a bit different this year and the Venture Patrol is wanting Philmont.  Now we begin to see an SPL that is going to have to earn his patch supporting the 4 PL's.and getting them to the programs and activities the want for the summer.  It's not just, "Who's going to go to the SPL meeting at summer camp" kind of thing, it's going to require some serious Servant Leadership of taking care of his PL's to pull it off.

 

5 patrol?  30 to 40 boys?  Yep, now we can easily see the need for an SPL.  Maybe he came onboard at the 4 patrol level to gain some experience, but now he has some serious sleeve rolling up to to.  Now he is going to need some real staff, too.  He needs a qualified TG to handle 1 maybe 2 NSP's, a Troop QM to make sure the 5 patrols' equipment is kept organized, a Scribe that can handle the organizational management of funds and paper work of supporting 5 patrols. etc.

 

6-7 patrols?  36 to 48+ boys?  Now it's mandatory to have a functional SPL AND STAFF!  And I emphasize staff.  The reason maybe that troops find their SPL's running all over burning themselves out is because they don't have a functional troop level staff to help them.  The SPL doesn't need to do it all anymore than the PL has to do it all on the patrol level.  He has staff, use them as they are supposed to function!

 

Hedge, you indicated your son, the SPL was quite busy at camp..... how big is the troop, how many patrols, and how many troop officers did he have to help him?  You mentioned an ASPL was functioning as a QM when they were unloading the equipment.  Where was the QM? or isn't the troop big enough to justify a QM?  You see, it's not an issue of right vs. wrong, it's an issue of troop structure fitting the needs of the boys.  How can the structure take care of the boys or do we have a structure just because BSA makes patches for POR's so the boys can sit around and get advancement credit?  I"m not suggesting this is happening in troops, I'm only indicating I have seen many cases where this is happening and I don't think it's unique only to my neck of the woods.  Having a troop of 75-100 boys without an SPL would be stupid, without a QM, Scribe, etc. would be ridiculous.  Add on Bugler, Chaplain Aide, DC's and other staff positions it makes it mandatory to have troop staff to coordinate and take care of the PL's and their boys.

 

I use GBB's Patrol Method of making sure every boy in the unit has a leadership job to function at.  Whether he be a patrol QM or the troop QM it makes no difference.  The only difference between a patrol QM and a troop QM is the patrol QM is worried about his boys in his patrol getting the right equipment at the right time.  The troop QM makes sure he's successful at that.  Same for the SPL, the troop Scribe, etc.  All these troop level officers are there to insure the success of the PATROLS.  If that's happening, then I as SM am happy.


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#16 Hedgehog

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 08:11 PM

Hedge, you indicated your son, the SPL was quite busy at camp..... how big is the troop, how many patrols, and how many troop officers did he have to help him?  You mentioned an ASPL was functioning as a QM when they were unloading the equipment.  Where was the QM? or isn't the troop big enough to justify a QM?  You see, it's not an issue of right vs. wrong, it's an issue of troop structure fitting the needs of the boys.  How can the structure take care of the boys or do we have a structure just because BSA makes patches for POR's so the boys can sit around and get advancement credit?  I"m not suggesting this is happening in troops, I'm only indicating I have seen many cases where this is happening and I don't think it's unique only to my neck of the woods.  Having a troop of 75-100 boys without an SPL would be stupid, without a QM, Scribe, etc. would be ridiculous.  Add on Bugler, Chaplain Aide, DC's and other staff positions it makes it mandatory to have troop staff to coordinate and take care of the PL's and their boys.

 

I use GBB's Patrol Method of making sure every boy in the unit has a leadership job to function at.  Whether he be a patrol QM or the troop QM it makes no difference.  The only difference between a patrol QM and a troop QM is the patrol QM is worried about his boys in his patrol getting the right equipment at the right time.  The troop QM makes sure he's successful at that.  Same for the SPL, the troop Scribe, etc.  All these troop level officers are there to insure the success of the PATROLS.  If that's happening, then I as SM am happy.

 

Stosh:

 

Troop is around 47 boys (were over 50, had a bunch of guys age out and a couple of guys join).  We had 25 boys at camp.

 

One of our issues is that we have ad hoc patrols on campouts because we see around 50% of the guys attending any particular campout.  Leadership on campouts is appointed by the SM or the  ASM in Charge of Outdoor Program (me) based on Elected Position, Appointed Position, Rank,  Grade and Experience  (we don't appoint an ad hoc SPL on campouts unless there are three or more patrols - the elected SPL or appointed ASPLs come on camp outs they are part of the adult patrol).  There are the guys (like my son) who have only missed one campout in three years and others that only attend one campout a year.  The other issue we have is that the patrols change each year and are assigned by the SM.  The next issue we have is that the PLs are elected by the entire Troop (i.e. you vote for 4 PLs and one of them will lead your patrol).  Those are the constraints that I'm working with.  When I become SM at the end of next year, I have a number of gradual changes planned (as well as a couple that I'm sneaking in this year).

 

So summer camp is no different.  Three of the four PLs that had just been elected were going to camp.  They were paired with the APLs that they will have for next year.  Their patrols were then asigned by the SM.  SM selected my son to be SPL for summer camp based on his rank and experience (as mentioned in the first post, I stayed out of that decision).  SM (with my advice) also appointed two ASPLs for summer camp.  My son will be the TG for next year.  One of the ASPLs is going to be the QM for next year.  As i've mentioned in other posts, we don't do a NSP (although next year I think we will have one from crossing over until the end of the School Year) and we don't have a Venture Patrol (I've advocated for both, but wasn't able to make those changes).  

 

So at camp, we had an SPL, two ASPLs and three PLs. With the exception of one of the ASPLs who just finished 9th grade, all of the other leaders had just finished 8th grade.  With the exception of my son and one of the new PLs, none of the leaders served as a leader last year (son and new PL were APLs at camp last year and during the year with the regular patrols), none had been trained (except son and one PL had TLT and son had NYLT) and with the exception of my son, none of the boy leaders had served as an ad hoc PL on an outing (son was PL or APL on every outing last year).  So we had an eager but very inexperienced team of leaders.  That would typically result in a Troop this size being very much adult led at camp.  Fortunately, that did not happen.  My son took the lead and was helping and guiding the PLs.  He truly viewed his job as making sure his PLs suceeded.  He consciously put as much responsibility as possible on the PLs and APLs.  He viewed his role as doing all the campwide SPL duties and coordinating the activities of the patrols.  He set the tone for the week by his servant leadership -- his biggest concern was that everyone felt that they were responsible for their boys.  Based on my coaching over the past year, he even quoted you, telling the PLs that their job was to take care of their boys.  All of the boys put in a tremendous amount of effort during the week, not just my son - hence the theme of my original post: they all were amazing.


Edited by Hedgehog, 23 July 2016 - 08:12 PM.

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#17 qwazse

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 08:14 PM

Yep, when I was SPL I didn't touch QM stuff unless asked. (Airing out wet canvas after a rainy trip might be an example of when
I'd be asked.) Never had a new scout patrol, just a new patrol of me my APL and bunches of crossovers, who after after a couple of years, became mighty fine PLs in their own right. I guess that's why I never felt my job was an imposition.

Never talked to the SM about it, unless I was in over my head. Went to JLT after being SPL for a while. Only then did I realize that patrols sometimes need a little help, and some people needed trained in what I thought came naturally. (Turns out I probably was learning by example and just didn't notice.) I also learned that boys from my neck of the world made light of burdens and city scouts were wimps, but that's a different story.
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#18 Lurking...

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 08:37 PM

Wow, Hedge, your son did a heroic job and the other leaders really stepped up.  That's one heck of an uphill battle, but stop and think for a moment.....  If your son and a few of his buddies can pull off this dramatic of a change after 1 week of summer camp, can this be an example of what might happen of the SM stepped back and let the boys have at it at this level when they get back home?

 

A troop of 50 boys where only half are active carries a heavy dead wood component dragging down the active boys.  There is no way any long term continuity can be established when it's apple-cart-upside-down at every turn.  Building the kind of trust necessary to bond together in a patrol takes time.  All the boys are learning is that nothing stays the same.  I had my Webelos boys from WB Ticket stay together and go into the Troop where they stayed together all the way and were not satisfied until they all Eagled.  One boy moved out of the area, but the other 5 stick together and no one dared step in between any of them.

 

I have over time had patrols merge, but did so on a cooperative agreement, no adults were involved and it was totally the boy's decision because both patrols had gotten down to 3-4 boys in each one.  That is different or of the Venture patrol takes on new members of more experienced boys, that's also a boy-driven decision. 

 

I stay as far away as possible when it comes to the makeup of the patrols, including the patrol leadership. 

 

:) You may have quoted me when you said the leaderss should be taking care of their boys, but here's another one, "Mr. SM, with all due respect, I would like the chance to try out my leadership....on my own." 


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#19 Hedgehog

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 08:29 PM

Wow, Hedge, your son did a heroic job and the other leaders really stepped up.  That's one heck of an uphill battle, but stop and think for a moment.....  If your son and a few of his buddies can pull off this dramatic of a change after 1 week of summer camp, can this be an example of what might happen of the SM stepped back and let the boys have at it at this level when they get back home?

 

We've made a lot of progress in being boy-led in the outdoors over the past three years.  Both the SM and I knew that summer camp was the last vestage of adult lead and we were able to break that this year.  I'm hopeful building on that for next year.   I think we have five guys (including my son) that are doing NYLT this summer -- including the incoming SPL and ASPL.  We haven't had anyone NYLT trained before.  I'm making it clear that they have my support to change what they see fit.  Also, I'm coordinating a weekend training for the rest of the boy leaders to build on what they did at camp (which of course was built on the efforts of the SM and myself over the past three years).  

 

A troop of 50 boys where only half are active carries a heavy dead wood component dragging down the active boys.  There is no way any long term continuity can be established when it's apple-cart-upside-down at every turn.  Building the kind of trust necessary to bond together in a patrol takes time.  All the boys are learning is that nothing stays the same.  I had my Webelos boys from WB Ticket stay together and go into the Troop where they stayed together all the way and were not satisfied until they all Eagled.  One boy moved out of the area, but the other 5 stick together and no one dared step in between any of them.

 

I have over time had patrols merge, but did so on a cooperative agreement, no adults were involved and it was totally the boy's decision because both patrols had gotten down to 3-4 boys in each one.  That is different or of the Venture patrol takes on new members of more experienced boys, that's also a boy-driven decision. 

 

I stay as far away as possible when it comes to the makeup of the patrols, including the patrol leadership. 

 

 

Agreed.  I'm pushing for this year's patrols to be very close to last year's patrols (knowing that the SM will still appoint patrols).  Then I"m hoping I can convince people to keep the same patrols for the following year but allow boys to switch patrols if they want to at the end of the school year.  Although I'd like to just throw it open and say form your own patrols, I'm not in the position to do that at this point.  The best I can do is have the appointed patrols become permanent and give the boys the ability to switch.

 

In the meantime, I'm working to strengthen patrols both in our weekly meetings and on outings.  Those types of small changes can shift the troop culture over time.

 

 

:) You may have quoted me when you said the leaderss should be taking care of their boys, but here's another one, "Mr. SM, with all due respect, I would like the chance to try out my leadership....on my own." 

 

 

The line i've told the boys to use is, "I've got this Mr. Hedgehog."  I spent the whole week at camp telling boys that approached me to ask their question to their PL.  Over the past three years, one of the main changes is training the adult leaders to respect and foster boy-led.  All of the folks at camp this year (except the Camp SM) have joined in the last three years and I've been able to impress on them what boy-led means.


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#20 Lurking...

Lurking...

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 09:21 PM

Gee, Hedge, you're gonna make a good Heretic really quick like if you're not careful.  :)  (By the way, the smiley face doesn't mean "Just kidding" it means I'm please you have made good progress!)  The boys will eventually see the value in your efforts and the results will come out at the Eagle COH speeches if not before.    If your SM sees the results be sure to share the credit as a team effort on the adult's part.  He'll appreciate it and eventually may have a "Come to Jesus" moment, too.


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