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#21 gumbymaster

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 09:56 AM

It is interesting to see the differences in elections between units, but in the end, each unit needs to figure out the structure that works for them.

 

My son's troop, has elections, generally in May with terms that take effect generally in September.  The elect every position, although not every position is used.  For example, sometimes there is a bugler, or historian, etc, sometime not.  They even have the entire troop elect the patrol leaders.  Admittedly, the patrol method vs. troop method is lacking in this unit, and something the new SM is trying to build up.  Even the Den Chief position (if someone wants one) appears to go through the election process. :huh:   After the elections, the SM may appoint some unelected (or discouraged from running) older scouts as troop guides, etc.

 

In general, I'm not a fan of much of this methodology.  I find the leadership for most functions (as observed from a visitor to the Troop meetings and occasional campout) lacking and disorganized.  The SPL does not always get along well with some of the other leadership staff, and so there is a serious lack of integrated effort.  This is for a Troop of about 20+/- boys, organized into two or three patrols, 3/4 are 13 or under.  This unit has more parent/leader coordination on activities and events then I would like to see, but the unit may not have reached a critical age/mass to be more boy run - I don't know.

 

The troop I grew up in, 50-60 boys, Fairly even age distribution in 11-16 range, some in 17 range.  7-8 patrols including the "leadership corps" organized as their own patrol; had elections every six months. 

Week 1, Scouts wishing to run for SPL would announce themselves and describe their vision and qualifications to the troop. 

Week 2, the Troop votes and the SPL is elected.  The SPL then chose his own staff, which was typically 2 ASPLs (one in charge of the indoor program - troop meetings, one in charge of the outdoor program - campouts, etc.), The Scribe, The Troop Quarter Master, sometimes a historian or librarian, but not usually.  If there were any JASMs, they were usually part of the leadership corps patrol (until we had to many of them, and they also became their own patrol).  At the time, Troop guides were not used. 

Following the staff selections, Scouts who wanted to transfer patrols (or outgoing/unreelected leaders) were moved into their new patrols.  Week 3, The newly reorganized patrols then met and elected a Patrol leader, who in turn appointed is assistant patrol leader, the patrol scribe, and the patrol quartermaster.  Sometimes after the patrol elections, some additional troop leader positions (i.e. the librarian or historian) might get staffed, but again, this was not common.

 

For this troop, this methods seem to work out well.  While it is true, that some youth members may have had difficulties getting a PoR; in general SPLs quickly learned to choose people who could do the job over picking their friends; and the troop and patrols would make similar choices respectively.  This was a very Boy run troop.  4-8 Adult leaders (also organized as their own patrol)  were very behind the scenes.  The boys made campsite reservations, each patrol was responsible for their own menus, did their own shopping, organized parent transportation, and maintaining patrol equipment (checked by the Troop QM), shifts on a paper recycling fund raiser.  The adult leaders had a slightly bigger role in organizing Summer camp and an annual skiing trip, and in maintaining the canoes, canoe trailer, and a Santa/parade float we used for the Christmas season; but staffing the float was again on the patrols for each day they were assigned.

 

While I understand the concerns of those that like broader elections, I generally think just voting on the SPL/PLs tends to make a stronger troop, and tends to motivate the boys to do a good job in front of their peers so that they do get elected or chosen.


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#22 Tampa Turtle

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 10:19 AM

Gumby, the like the indoor/outdoor ASPL's. Ours tend to be a leader/enforcer ASPL and a POR Manager ASPL combo.


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#23 Stosh

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 10:30 AM

I admit I liked how my troop growing up did it. No restrictions on being a PL. You could be reelected as many times as the patrol wanted you, or until you moved up to the Leadership Corps. SPL did have 2 restrictions: A. Must have been a PL and B. must be First Class or higher. rationale for those requirements was 1) you needed some experience as a PL to be able to mentor and work with them and 2) You really needed to have mastered all the basic Scout skills in order to teach them.

 

As I mentioned in earlier posts, my best SPL was never a PL.  :)  I spend a lot of time working with APL's being the "right hand man" for the PL.  He's the go-to guy that knows as much about what's going on in the patrol as the PL.  He keeps the PL on task, assists at every opportunity, make sure the PL is successful.  He keeps track of all the details the PL might slip up on.  No, one does not need to have experience as a PL to be able to mentor them and work with them, all one needs to be is a highly qualified and successful APL to be able to mentor and work with them.  My SPL is not OVER the PL's my SPL's always function as the #1 Left hand man to the PL.  PL's are my highest ranking leaders in the troop.  My SPL is the support they need from a liaison with the adults.   And NO, the SPL does not have to master all the basic scout skills in order to teach them, that is the job of the Instructor POR.  Like the SPL supporting the PL's the Instructors support them with their skill in the basic scoutcraft.  Everyone supports the PL's in one way or another.  It's the patrol method, after all.  :)

 

When it came time to select an SPL, the consensus of the PL's was to take the best APL and move him over from the patrol side to the adult side to help not just the one PL, but all the PL's.  It was a very successful move on the part of the PL's. 

 

Yes, APLs were appointed by the PL. Troop level staff had a restriction: must be chosen from the Leadership Corps or be eligible to be in the Leadership Corps. And the "have been a PL and be First Class" was needed to be in the LC.

 

The hiccup I see in that process is that a troop level QM needs to have been a PL and FC, but no experience as QM?  :)  In my situation, the PL's would select the best patrol QM to be the troop QM for the same reasons they selected the SPL.  If he's doing a bang-up job as patrol QM, then he should be considered for troop QM.  He's only a TF?  So what!!!  Do you want POR need or interested, experienced scouts doing the job? 

 

This "The scout needs a POR" as the only requirement for the job is nothing more than a recipe for disaster and hassles down the road for all concerned.  At least it's a problem I systematically avoid.  Let the boys figure it out.  They NEVER select someone because they "need a POR".   At least that's never been my experience.

 

My former troop figured this process out quite well, my new troop is still struggling in the learning curve, but we're getting there.


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#24 Oldscout448

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 01:26 PM

We elect the ASPL every six months, then at the end of his term he becomes the SPL. Then we elect the next ASPL. (sometimes it's the old SPL / sometimes not)   This way he gets half a year of training by both the  current SPL and SM. before he has to run the whole ballgame.   I know it's odd but it makes the transition much smoother.  

 

 

If the SPL and ASPL wanted to stay in their respective positions at the end of their terms I guess we would put it to a troop wide vote.  If the scouts want it its fine with me.   Hasn't happened yet though.

 

In the OP there was a line about the SPL appointing the OA?!   Big  no no!  Details Mr. Thrifty?


Edited by Oldscout448, 07 December 2016 - 01:38 PM.

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#25 NJCubScouter

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 01:32 PM

Troop level staff had a restriction: must be chosen from the Leadership Corps or be eligible to be in the Leadership Corps. And the "have been a PL and be First Class" was needed to be in the LC.

 

Well, if that worked for your troop as a youth, that's fine.  I don't see any benefit in telling a boy who wants to be troop QM, Scribe, Librarian or whatever that they can't because they were never a PL.  Some boys don't want to be PL or are not chosen by their patrols but can serve the troop in other ways.


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#26 Eagledad

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 02:47 PM

We elect the ASPL every six months, then at the end of his term he becomes the SPL. Then we elect the next ASPL. (sometimes it's the old SPL / sometimes not)   This way he gets half a year of training by both the  current SPL and SM. before he has to run the whole ballgame.   I know it's odd but it makes the transition much smoother.  

 

 

It's pretty common. Some troops elect the ASPL every six month, but keep the SPL for a year. In most cases, those SPLs are 16 and older. Seems to work well also.

 

Barry


Edited by Eagledad, 07 December 2016 - 02:48 PM.

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#27 TAHAWK

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 07:34 PM

The troop - the PLC in consultation with the SM, sets requirements to hold the offices of SPL and PL.

 

The SPL is elected by the Scouts of the troop and appoints all other troop-level officers in consultation with the SM.

 

A patrol elects its leader .  The Patrol Leader appoints each other member of his patrol to a job.  A patrol is a team with everyone in a position and a mini exercise in democracy.  A Patrol Leader is a leadership position, not an advancement requirement to tick off.

 

That is called "Boy Scouting" in a B.S.A. unit.  It is what the Scouts are promised in the literature that the boys read and on the BSA website if they go there.  "[U]nless the patrol method is in operation, you don’t really have a Boy Scout troop.”  B.S.A. website, 12/07/16.


 

 

Or you can decide you know better and ignore the rules and institute "Joe's Scouting" or "Mr. Bill's Scouting."  Maybe you'll be right. B.S.A. has been known to blunder, although they have been consistent about the above for over seventy years.  Most often, you'll be wrong.  In all cases the Scout will notice that you are ignoring B.S.A.'s rules and might think about "Trustworthy" or "Obedient."

 

And no, they can't "make you." 


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#28 Stosh

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 07:53 PM

Not all boys if left to their own resources turn into the Lord of the Flies. 

 

Situations, like snowflakes, no two are the same.

 

Not all fit into the one-size-fits-all category. 

 

There's an exception to every rule.

 

There's always a lot more discomfort trying to force a round peg in a square hole.

 

We all learn best from our failures, if one never fails, they never learn.


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#29 TAHAWK

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 07:58 PM

Nothing new here.  Adults have "known better" than the rules for decades.

 

We simply do not agree.


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#30 Stosh

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 08:46 PM

It's not that we disagree, it's just that we adopt a stance from different starting points.

 

I adhere to the boy led concept in a more pure form which means I don't tag a bunch of adult led rules for them to follow as a prerequisite to thus adopting their leading under the direction of adult rules.

 

Sure the boys teeter at times with some political, best buddy being selected, but that's going to happen either way.  But the added rule that the boys THEN need to stick with that mistake for 6 months or a year doesn't bode well for me, so I don't have a rule that says that mistakes have to be endured to build character.  They can fix their mistake at their own discretion, not the discretion of some adult's rule.

 

There will be mistakes made either way, but if someone's going to get caught holding the bag, it shouldn't be some adult who has made up some restrictive, because-I-said-so, rules.  I have seen this done and it ends up doing nothing but punishing the boys for a bad mistake they can't fix.

 

SM:  Johnny, where Tommy?

 

Johnny: He went out for basketball and won't be around much for a few months so as APL I'm taking over and Pete is going to be my APL.

 

Not much of a discussion, but the situation works out just fine.  If the other patrol members don't like the setup, they can always vote in a new PL at any time.

 

Not my problem to begin with, not my problem to solve.  Time for another cup of coffee....all's right with the world.

 

Is that dialog above for real?  Yep, happened twice.  Once with football, once with basketball, and the names were changed to protect the innocent.


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#31 TAHAWK

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 09:17 PM

With utmost respect. ..

 

The "boy led concept", like the boy led troop," is not a method that has ever been part of Boy Scouting.  Boy leadership in the troop and the patrol is an aspect of the Patrol Method that Bill Hillcourt had to fight to get accepted, pretty much winning by 1930.

 

When some adult decides he wants the program to be something other than what is set out in the literature, that adult usually sincerely believes he knows better than BSA - he's right and BSA is wrong .

 

The SM in my home town who makes absolutely all the decisions, sits as a voting member of the Troop Committee, and mandates total retesting at every Board of Review ("Who has the ropes?")  thinks he's right.  

 

The SM I work with now who thinks "there is no time for separate patrol meetings" (much less outings) and effectively appoints all the troop-level positions other than SPL thinks he's right.

 

The SM just removed in a neighboring council who just would not acknowledge that the troop committee had any authority over him and wanted to handle finances totally apart from the committee thinks he was right.  He told me so.

 

You sincerely believe your right.

 

We absolutely disagree,

 

Where BSA gives me wiggle room or where the rules are unclear, which is often the case because there are few masters of English prose at National Council, I argue for the interpretation that seems best - yes, best to me, but after consideration of thoughts of others whom I respect, like you, Stosh.

 

I will not violate a clear BSA rule.  If I can't go along with such a rule and BSA won't excuse me from compliance, I'll quit. That's what I view as honorable and that's what BP said should happen in so many words.  There are other good works that need doing if it were to come to that.  Otherwise, I am modeling by my behavior a belief that the Scout Oath and Scout Law are so much cant - do as I say not as I do.  As an imperfect being, it's hard enough to set a good example without setting out to be that sort of example.


Edited by TAHAWK, 07 December 2016 - 09:18 PM.

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#32 Stosh

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 09:38 PM

I totally agree with rules create order and in many respects offer a sense of comfort in the ability to trust in them.

 

But like Mom telling you don't touch the stove, it's hot, one just has to check it out for themselves. 

 

It is within the realm of Scouting that knowing the basic rules as taught by pastors, teachers and parents, there still is going to be a bit of envelop stretching at this age and why not at least make it as safe as possible.

 

There are two line of thoughts that pass through my awareness on this subject.  One is that the boys like to break/bend rules a bit and some are safer to break than playing in the fire pit.  So they pick their own PL.  Why not?  So do they use paper ballot? raising hands? voice vote, rock-paper-scissors?  So they collaborated and came up with Johnny as PL.  Was it an election?  Was it collaboration?  was it a meeting of the minds?  Did no one else want the position?  Did Johnny select the short straw?  Did he volunteer?  What difference does it make Johnny's the PL until the patrol decides otherwise.  If Johnny does a good job, they may keep him around for 6 months, a year, or maybe two or three.  What difference does it make  Everyone's content with the status quo.

 

So Johnny works his tail off getting the boys all to summer camp and it's time to have someone go to the SPL meeting.  Johnny is a bit burned out and sends his APL Pete to the meeting.  Johnny takes it easy now that everyone is taken care of for the week.  He still does his PL job, but it's a time of healing for him and no adults on his case about not taking a full load of MB's.  Instead he keeps the fire going and reads a book.  The patrol members don't care, why should the adults?

 

Sometimes we all need to get our batteries recharged and some of the best lessons I have learned over the years have been from the boys on what's important and what's not.

 

Elections are not that important.  Getting the right person in the right position to get the job done is.


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#33 fred johnson

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Posted 08 December 2016 - 12:39 AM

If there becomes a need for an SPL (4-5 patrols) then that person is selected by the PL's ...

 

... A boy needs a POR and didn't get selected as a PL so he goes to the PL's and asks if he can do the QM position for 6 months (for example).  ....

 

I think we've had this discussion before.  Your method works for you and your troop.  And, I can understand the reasoning.  .... like another post in this thread though, I don't prefer it as it does not work within the boundaries of what BSA describes and publishes.  I also fear a scout that somehow runs into the wrong district advancement person during an Eagle BOR and says his POR while a Life scout was Patrol QM.  If you are a single patrol troop, probably okay as the patrol is the troop.  If not a single patrol troop, then it's explicitly wrong.  Now, in my district the scout would probably still pass as we would view it as an adult mistake that we would not punish the scout for not knowing the rules.  But, I could see other districts with more hard nose scouters having a harder time.  

 

Here are two references for this from BSA.  

http://scoutingmagaz...responsibility/

http://www.scouting....p_Positions.pdf

 

I also "prefer" the whole troop voting for the SPL.  It has it's own challenges, but it's what BSA publishes and our troop makes it work.  

 

I do say "prefer" as if it works for you, it's not that big a deal.  And, there are much worse issues that could be happening.  I'm just glad you and your scouts are having a good experience.  I just prefer to promote and work within the flexibility of what BSA says.  

 

In our troop, the thing that I really really prefer ... we leave pretty much the whole election to the scouts.  No pre-printed ballots.  No SMCs to run for positions.  It's the scout's choice.  If the SPL is not comfortable running the election, in advance of the election meeting, the SM will coach the SPL.  Beyond that, the adults pretty much are on one side of the room and the scouts are on the other while they run the election.  We just ask that the SPL (or scribe ... or someone) tells us the results of the election.  The election being for SPL and each patrol votes for their own PL.  We also ask the SPL to tell us who was selected for the other PORs.  

 

We have had variations over the year.  Such as the troop having two ASPLs, one appointed and the other being the elected SPL who will take office in six months after watching and learning.  Other times the SPL takes over immediately.  Sometimes the SPL has run an election for troop level positions (and surprised us adults), but the SPL knows he can appoint his own too.  We pretty much leave it up to the scouts to choose their own leadership.  

 

KEY POINT ... I like the post that said the adult leaders should not view the election results as critical to making the program work.  IMHO, everything is about learning.   PORs are a chance for the scout to learn too, even the SPL role.  


Edited by fred johnson, 08 December 2016 - 12:45 AM.

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#34 Stosh

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Posted 08 December 2016 - 09:16 AM

I think the main reason why the boys select the SPL differently than most troops is because of how they define the role.  When the boys are focused on patrol as the core component of the program, troop activities are pretty much add on, focused mainly on opening and closing flags and the rest of the time is functional patrol operations.  The SPL really doesn't have much on his plate and is mostly an informational gathering agent who runs around keeping the PL's informed of Camporee, Summer Camp, etc. activities.  The role is usually "assigned" by the PL's, usually an APL.

 

In former troops, the boys had this nominal SPL.  No one really wanted to be the SPL and functioned well without it.  Once we got up to 4 patrols, the role began to take on more assistance for the PL's and they selected one of the APL's to fill that role on a regular basis.  I think they did it because none of them wanted to give up their position of PL.

 

I've pretty much ignored the whole process in that as long as everyone's happy, I'm not going to "fix" anything.  :)


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#35 Eagledad

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Posted 08 December 2016 - 09:49 AM

KEY POINT ... I like the post that said the adult leaders should not view the election results as critical to making the program work.  IMHO, everything is about learning.   PORs are a chance for the scout to learn too, even the SPL role. 

Yes, this is in my mind the basis for growth in the troop program. I think I spent a great deal of my SM time guiding the adults that scouts struggling in their responsibilities is ok because they are learning and hopefully growing from the experience. Adults by nature are impatient with slow performance because they measure performance at an adult perspective. But scouting is the real world scaled down to a scouts size. We are in no hurry, so we give the scouts the spce to grow.

 

Someone of the forum said the other day that the troop program is a safe place because it is where failing is considered a good experience for learning. I always gave the same basic pep talk before elections which said that each individual should seek out a responsibility to grow, not to be perfect. Making a good effort toward their responsibilities is all that we ask because we know that whatever the results, they will have learned from the experience. Sometimes they learn that they aren't very good in those particular responsibilities.

 

Barry


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#36 qwazse

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Posted 08 December 2016 - 09:52 AM

If I were to criticize one thing about my SM growing up, it was that he appointed the SPL. (At least I don't recall a vote.)

 

But, like Stosh's 4-patrol troop, patrols were very strong and independent ... camping on opposite sides of the cow pasture. SPL didn't do much except read announcements, fill in rosters, and look out for boys who may be "falling through the cracks." It really was a fun job and not much work. The QM and PL's clocked far more hours on troop business than I ever did.


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#37 Hedgehog

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 07:08 AM

I was under the impression that any boy that met rank/age requirements had an opportunity to run for a position.  This does not seem to be the case and in fact, could exclude boys from the chance depending on their popularity in the troop.  

 

***

Only the PL and my son are qualified to lead based on the requirements. 

 

I guess I don't understand the reason patrols are set in stone and other boys don't have an opportunity to lead even though they have the qualifications but might have more competition in their patrols.  Also, re-organizing patrols to be more even seems logical to me but that's not my concern here. 

 

What is the point in having a QM that never goes on campouts or a ASPL that has a job and can never make it to meetings?  We've had that problem, so again, it seems logical to have boys that want the position and are "hungry" for it.

 

The BSA doesn't have any age / rank requirements for any position.  Those are imposed by the Troop, typically the SM because the SM thinks that those requirements exclude people who are not qualified.  Any requirement that is a proxy for ability to lead really shouldn't exist.  The criteria should be the scouts ability to lead despite any arbitrary requirement.

 

The popularity issue shouldn't exist.  If the SPL's role is defined as making sure the Troop succeeds through supporting the PLs and the troop-wide PORs such as Quartermaster, Troop Guide and Instructors, then the SPL will find the best people for those roles.  In our Troop, the people who fill those roles end up being the most qualified but not necessarily popular scouts.  Our SPLs know that and tend to appoint people who will do the job because the SPLs success depends on the Troop's success and the Troop's success depends on the success of those PORs.

 

As a general sentiment, the more the adults develop rules, guidelines, qualifications, forms, etc. the further we get away from the BSA's requirements.

 

Same with OA.  Why is this not voted on or if it is voted on, seems to be just a formality

 

For OA, there are set requirements - First Class Rank, 15 nights camping in prior 2 years, scoutmaster recommendation and vote by Troop.  In our Troop, we ask those scouts who are interested to submit their names.  We won't nominate anyone who isn't interested.

 

There have been few instances where we have withheld the Scoutmaster's approval.  Those are typically for young scouts who just meet the camping requirements but where we think they need another year to mature.  We've found that if we approve those scouts and put them on the ballot, they typically don't get voted in.


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#38 TAHAWK

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 09:30 AM

If you are truly interested in opportunities to lead, the leader is whoever leads.  That is why Bill Hillcourt advocated "electing "leaders as the boys ignore titles in favor of whomever they want to follow.  Titles are not controlling.

 

If your actual interest is your son having a POR so he can "advance," I understand your concern.  Just know that having the title against the will of the "led" is not much fun for the title-holder.


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#39 Sentinel947

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 01:15 PM

Troop elects patrol leaders first.
Next week Troop elects all other PORs.

We have about 70 boys.

I'd rather go with the textbook SPL appoints all PORs beyond PL, but the system we run has worked well for 23 years.
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#40 Stosh

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 04:44 PM

Just like any other elected "servant" if they don't serve, they don't lead because those who are not being served are off looking for real leadership.

 

I have noticed that over the years, the boys tend to put those who work in the positions that need work.... it really cuts down on the selection by popularity or idle promises.


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