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Can Senior Patrol Leaders Run Twice?


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#1 Jarmfam

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 08:56 PM

Hello! I am a Scout Master for Troop 18, but have one question. Can Senior Patrol Leaders re-run? If they can't is there some Scout book that states it? Thanks!


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#2 NJCubScouter

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 09:20 PM

Hello! I am a Scout Master for Troop 18, but have one question. Can Senior Patrol Leaders re-run? If they can't is there some Scout book that states it? Thanks!


First of all, welcome to the forum!

The BSA does not impose any limit on the number of terms that an SPL (or any other position) may serve.

Some troops do impose such limits, some do not. My troop does not. The troop I was in as a youth, did. It is up to the troop. I think it would be unusual to have a rule that SPL's cannot run for re-election at all - in other words, a limit of one term.
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#3 T2Eagle

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 09:21 PM

There are no formal rules about terms, term lengths, or term limits.  My understanding is most Troops have six month terms, but I know of some that require the position be 12 months long.  I have not heard of anyone not allowing SPL s run for consecutive terms as a matter of policy, although I can imagine not lettting a particular SPL run again.


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#4 Stosh

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 12:03 AM

In my troop any of the POR positions are open for selection, volunteering included.  The boy holds the position for as long as he wants and as long as he does the job as long as this buddies want him to.  Theoretically a NSP PL can get elected and age out at 18 in that position in his patrol. 

 

There's a lot of talk about elections in the troops being the process which marks good citizenship and showing the American way of prescribing leadership.

 

Yet the military doesn't elect anyone to the next rank.

Businesses don't convey promotions based on elections.

Families aren't run by the ballot.

VERY few government officials are actually elected, most are appointed and/or hired.

 

So every time someone tells you it's good citizenship to elect SPL's and PL's, because it's the American-way, just smile and walk away.

 

The boys in my troop hold those positions because they do the job, when they don't, they get replaced...on the spot if necessary.


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#5 qwazse

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 09:26 AM

Hello! I am a Scout Master for Troop 18, but have one question. Can Senior Patrol Leaders re-run? If they can't is there some Scout book that states it? Thanks!

@Jarmfam, welcome to the forums!

 

General rule: Let the Boy Scout Handbook and the Scoutmaster's Handbook be your guide. If those documents don't give a restriction, it means troops have latitude.

 

You most definitely want your SPL to be a lad the other PL's trust and someone who wants to continue to develop his leadership and management skills. So, yes, if an incumbent wants to ask the troop to allow him to retain his office, encourage him to do so. A boy on his second term (however long a term is in your troop) can learn more about tour planning, vision casting, and training his replacement(s).

 

From the school of hard knocks:

  • Never dole out leadership positions based on need for rank advancement.
  • Ban adults from bribing boys to projects by saying "It counts for service hours."
  • Merit badge classes during troop meetings: no. Meet the counselor evenings: yes.
  • It's not a problem if it takes five years to become a first class scout.
  • The advancement method helps with skills acquisition only. For skills retention one needs the patrol and outdoor method.
  • Patrols need physical distance (up to 300' if you have an open field, their own rooms if your chartered organization is that generous).

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#6 Sentinel947

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 09:40 AM

My troop only allows Scouts to serve as SPal once. We think its a great learning opportunity and experience and we generally have a handful of boys interested. If we had no scouts interested I imagine we would allow a prior SPL to run again.

We do elect our SPL. They are not appointed.
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#7 Chadamus

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 10:57 AM

In my son's Troop, yes.
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#8 blw2

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 10:58 AM

Sadly, in our troop the adults will steer things to those that "need" a POR for advancement, and steer with the "give another the chance" mentality....

 

If I were SM, I would try really hard to make sure the SPL and PLC understand the concept of taking care of their scouts...and that all scouts in general understood that too.... and make sure they are aware that there is a book to describe such things.... and then leave it to them.  


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#9 T2Eagle

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 11:02 AM

In my troop any of the POR positions are open for selection, volunteering included.  The boy holds the position for as long as he wants and as long as he does the job as long as this buddies want him to.  Theoretically a NSP PL can get elected and age out at 18 in that position in his patrol. 

 

There's a lot of talk about elections in the troops being the process which marks good citizenship and showing the American way of prescribing leadership.

 

Yet the military doesn't elect anyone to the next rank.

Businesses don't convey promotions based on elections.

Families aren't run by the ballot.

VERY few government officials are actually elected, most are appointed and/or hired.

 

So every time someone tells you it's good citizenship to elect SPL's and PL's, because it's the American-way, just smile and walk away.

 

The boys in my troop hold those positions because they do the job, when they don't, they get replaced...on the spot if necessary.

Hmm

 

Businesses are in fact run by people elected by the shareholders, those people then have to vote to select a CEO and usually also several of the folks directly below that.

 

Most families are partnerships where governance has to be reached by consensus. not strictly voting but not hierarchical either.

 

Many government employees are not elected, but all legitimacy comes from the election of the folks who do the hiring and appointing

 

For the military the senior officials are selected by elected officials, my understanding is that officers at least are in fact promoted based on a vote of a board of folks.  So, yes elections do seem at least as common as they are uncommon, and the more responsibility you have the more directly your position is the result of voting.


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#10 NJCubScouter

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 12:10 PM

It never fails, every discussion in this forum that has anything to do with SPL (or PL) elections will at some point turn to the burning issue of whether there should be elections at all.  For most people (including me) it is enough that the BSA says these are elected positions.


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#11 NJCubScouter

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 12:41 PM

My troop only allows Scouts to serve as SPal once. We think its a great learning opportunity and experience and we generally have a handful of boys interested. If we had no scouts interested I imagine we would allow a prior SPL to run again.

 

Are the terms one year?  I think it would be more understandable to have a one-term limit if the term is one year.  If the term is six months then it doesn't seem so reasonable.

 

Although we have no term limits at all, there is sort of a "natural" limit, which is partly due to the fact that our terms are for one year.  We have had several Scouts be elected to two terms, but they usually do not run for a third term.  The one who did run for a third term lost the election.


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#12 Stosh

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 04:45 PM

Hmm

 

Businesses are in fact run by people elected by the shareholders, those people then have to vote to select a CEO and usually also several of the folks directly below that.

 

And the SPL in my troop is selected by the PL's not the whole troop.  So I guess I'm still in the running.  :)

 

Most families are partnerships where governance has to be reached by consensus. not strictly voting but not hierarchical either.

 

Hmmm,  That's a stretch.  :)  If Momma ain't happy, .....   Oh, yeah.....

 

Many government employees are not elected, but all legitimacy comes from the election of the folks who do the hiring and appointing

 

All legitimacy comes from the group who selects those who govern.  Over the years there have been many processes of selection.  combat, coup, divine right, etc. Election stands in the minority even in our country.  The majority rules is not an absolute anymore.

 

For the military the senior officials are selected by elected officials, my understanding is that officers at least are in fact promoted based on a vote of a board of folks.  So, yes elections do seem at least as common as they are uncommon, and the more responsibility you have the more directly your position is the result of voting.

 

Having a select few vote is not the same as the whole voting.  Board of directors, few elected officials, a handful of military decision makers......  There is of course the Commander in Chief that makes the unilateral decisions over all.

 

And the SPL is elected by the whole troop...... Where's that example in today's US society?  Even the president is elected by the Electoral college.  No one is elected by the whole.  Originally US Senators were not elected by the people, but selected by the state representatives.

 

We go to great lengths to promote an ideal that is really not truly representative of our society's structure or processes.  Up until Roosevelt, there were no term limits on President, still aren't on any of the other national offices.  Where's the precedent in that? 

 

When all is said and done there is no one election process that holds up to all tests unless someone makes it a rule.  But don't promote that one rule as universal.

 

My boys select in a process that reduces the hassles of poor leadership and having to put up with ineffective leadership.  I like the process because the boys by consensus police the process and make sure their leadership really leads.


Edited by Stosh, 18 January 2017 - 04:46 PM.

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#13 Stosh

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 04:51 PM

It never fails, every discussion in this forum that has anything to do with SPL (or PL) elections will at some point turn to the burning issue of whether there should be elections at all.  For most people (including me) it is enough that the BSA says these are elected positions.

 

So does the BSA say for how long?  1 day?  1 week?  6 months?  a year? Perpetual?  With all the forum chatter on boys not fulfilling their responsibilities in their 6 month "term" for advancement, maybe people should revisit the basis for the problem rather than just suffering with the symptoms. 


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Stosh

 

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#14 NJCubScouter

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 05:38 PM

So does the BSA say for how long?  1 day?  1 week?  6 months?  a year? Perpetual?


I suspect you know the answer to that question, but here is the BSA's answer, from the Patrol Leader's Handbook at http://www.scouting...._Positions.pdf:

All members of a troop vote by secret ballot to choose their senior patrol leader. Rank and age requirements to be a senior patrol leader are determined by each troop, as is the schedule of elections.


I think the BSA expects people to read that and do something reasonable with it. "Perpetual" is inconsistent with "schedule of elections." A day or a week are not reasonable. Your other options probably account for more than 90 percent of troops.
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#15 Stosh

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 06:04 PM

I suspect you know the answer to that question, but here is the BSA's answer, from the Patrol Leader's Handbook at http://www.scouting...._Positions.pdf:


I think the BSA expects people to read that and do something reasonable with it. "Perpetual" is inconsistent with "schedule of elections." A day or a week are not reasonable. Your other options probably account for more than 90 percent of troops.

 

Maybe a day and a week is not reasonable, nor is perpetual, but then who's to say what is reasonable.  If some kid gets elected to PL based on popularity and after 1 or 2 weeks the boys see the error of their ways, does that mean they have to suffer their mistake for a month? 6 months? a year?  Or can they fix the problem right away?  Again arbitrary rules limits the boys' ability to decide for themselves and when they fail, to fix it.

 

And then again on the other hand of reasonable, if the boys have a top-notch PL that really cares about his boys, when do they have to give him up?  Or can they just keep him and find other POR's for their advancement?

 

Again, the rules mandate limits on the boys making decisions, fixing mistakes, and perpetuating a smooth running operation.  As an adult, I stay out of it and require no rules.  The boys do just fine and first and foremost, they are happy with the way things are.  After all, isn't that the ultimate goal for the boys?  Build a working team and go after the adventure?


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Stosh

 

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#16 NJCubScouter

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 09:03 AM

Stosh, I am pretty sure we have had this same conversation at least once before, so I'm not going to go through it again right now.

My suggestion is that you send your concerns and suggestions for changing the program (whether this aspect or any other) and maybe they will consider changing it. Until then, I hope you will understand that most of us will encourage our Scouts to have elections for elected positions.

Edited by NJCubScouter, 19 January 2017 - 09:04 AM.

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#17 Stosh

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 09:22 AM

It is obvious that units vary from each other in how they handle it in their neck of the woods.  To say that the "right" way is to elect using the processes of one over the other is the only way to go sometimes isn't in the realm of BSA guidelines.  We have many on this forum that indicate that the SM and other Scouters pick a boy to be SPL because he needs a POR.  That's the way they do it and yet, when I suggest the PL's select the SPL, that's not the "norm"? 

 

And the debate rages on.  Seriously, how many problems arise from the SM selecting an SPL vs. the PL's selecting the SPL?  I find it a lot easier on everyone over the course of the program.  And when all is said and done and everyone is bent out of shape from all the hassles that are created, I as SM can turn to my PL's and say, "You created this mess, now fix it." rather than trying to defend my ineptitude in putting an SPL in there that no one really wanted and are unwilling to follow.

 

I only offer an alternative that for my units have resolved many of the problems that float over and over again on this forum.


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Stosh

 

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#18 qwazse

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 09:39 AM

I suspect you know the answer to that question, but here is the BSA's answer, from the Patrol Leader's Handbook at http://www.scouting....p_Positions.pdf


I think the BSA expects people to read that and do something reasonable with it. "Perpetual" is inconsistent with "schedule of elections." A day or a week are not reasonable. Your other options probably account for more than 90 percent of troops.

Something about @NJCubScouter's link was throwing it off. Cutting and pasting the edited link above seems to work.

 

As far as I'm concerned, @Stosh's process is still an election. An Israel-in-the-era-of-judges kind of election, but one nonetheless. Bottom line: BSA allows a wide envelope on how things should be done.

 

I've encouraged our SM to be more flexible about the timing of SPL elections, calling boys on the carpet if they aren't showing up for their PoR's. On the other hand, imagine once @Stosh's troop has about 40 boys, and if they turn all cynical and want to rotate a different boy through SPL every week ... I suspect at that point, he'll set the boys down and demand a little more stability.

 

SM's should set schedules and qualifications based on what their boys need to achieve the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with their mates ... not on what parents are telling them Johnny needs to advance.


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#19 NJCubScouter

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 09:50 AM

Let's try this again:

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

Qwasze, your post raises a different aspect of this issue. You mention the SM as setting the schedule and qualifications. I have always thought it was the PLC's job to determine the length of the terms for the SPL and PL's. At least it was that way in my troop as a youth. I am not sure who set the term length in my current troop because it has not changed while I have been there. But if there was a proposal to change it, I would think it would go to the PLC.
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#20 qwazse

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 10:09 AM

Let's try this again:

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

Qwasze, your post raises a different aspect of this issue. You mention the SM as setting the schedule and qualifications. I have always thought it was the PLC's job to determine the length of the terms for the SPL and PL's. At least it was that way in my troop as a youth. I am not sure who set the term length in my current troop because it has not changed while I have been there. But if there was a proposal to change it, I would think it would go to the PLC.

Works now!

 

Regarding the PLC, you always need their buy-in. Most things in life are really a negotiation. In the examples I put forward, the SM might be seeing something getting in the way of boys achieving the pinnacle scouting experience, so he initiates the change.

 

It's entirely possible that a boy sees the need for change. That happened with our troop last year. TG started bailing out the SPL, and I started giving him advice on being a better SPL. He pointed out that that wasn't his position. I made it clear that I advise according who I see doing the work, not who's wearing the patch. The SM moved up the election schedule, and no boys disagreed.


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