As with most organizational charts, the most functional groups invert them.
As part of our leadership training this year, I was going to do something different when we go over the BSA organizational chart. I was going to set it up as a human organization chart with the people filling in posiitons and having rope between who reported to whom. I was then going to tell them that it was backwards and that they needed to turn around. The SPL is responsible to support the PLs and the PLs are responsible to support their patrols. When you turn around that way, you realize who is supposed to have your back.
"In Charge" implies a management issue. Leading a troop and leading people are two different animals that often get confused as the same thing when in fact they are not.
I think your biases might be influencing your reading of that phrase. If someone is in charge, that can be management or leadership. I've been in charge of a lot of things in my life, some of them involved leadership and others did not.
Is this Patrol Method or youth leadership? Seems like trustin' boys to be capable and to run things through happy chaos is youth leadership.
Patrol Method is about breakin' up bigger troops into smaller independent functional groups, eh? That can increase opportunities for leadership and such, but it does lots of other things like leveraging identity and competitive spirit, increasin' opportunities for followership and smaller contributions to da group, allow for a degree of specialization, etc.
I think the patrol method works because a smaller group is easier to lead.
Beav, your observation has great value in an environment where some think elected youth leaders constitute the "method" and overlook "smaller independent functional groups." We keep reading "troop," "troop," "troop."
I see this in my Troop. The first part of our weekly meeting is run by the SPL and ASPL as a Troop, the second part of the meeting is patrol breakouts where the main thing they do is plan for their week of conducting the Troop activity, the third part of the meeting is one of the patrols running a Troop activity and the closing of the meeting is done as a Troop. Our outdoor program is still planned as a Troop. We have ad-hoc patrols on outings which typically have done little more than cooking together. We're slowly moving toward stronger patrols at our meetings and the boys functioning more as patrols during outings. Still have a long way to go.
I'm thinking it might be more of a public relations image issue. Here we have all these parents checking out the troop and it's chaotic and unorganized.
When parents visit, I tend to emphasize what I call the "beautiful chaos" that is boy-led. I explain to the parents that it would be a lot more structured if the adults ran thing, but that the boys think it is more fun for them to run things and they learn a lot more. I thinks that most parents like the idea of a program that encourages their son to become self-sufficient. It is a PR issue and we have to treat it that way.
I see the SPLs role as the coordinator in chief. They exist because there are multiple patrols. Some things are done at a Troop level and others at the patrol level. The SPL is "in charge" of those things done at the Troop Level. Our Troop does service projects at the Troop level. Those are announced and coordinated by the SPL. On a campout we've done orienteering by Patrols. The SPL coordinates where and when the patrols start (sometimes they start in waves, sometimes they do a staggered start) and the PLs work with their patrols to teach the skills and to navigate the course. As I"ve mentioned before, our Troop needs to start having more things done as patrols rather than the troop and that will affect the role of the SPL.