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How do you decide who is SPL for Summer Camp?


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#1 BCscouter

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 12:16 AM

Would be interested to learn how your troop decides who will be Senior Patrol Leader and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader at summer camp. We recently had someone new run troop camp and he selected two more junior boys for the roles at camp when three higher ranking scouts were on the trip. This ran counter to the troop's past practice and caused some confusion and hard feelings. How does your troop handle SPL/ASPL for summer camp? Is there any guidance from National? The boys who were passed over are scouts in good standing. Two were even recently elected as the troop's ASPLs. They were told (at camp) that they haven't been involved enough at troop meetings and that's how the decision was made.
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#2 RememberSchiff

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 06:32 AM

@BCscouter  welcome to scouter.com


Edited by RememberSchiff, 16 July 2017 - 07:40 AM.

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#3 qwazse

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 07:19 AM

@BCscouter   welcome to the forums!
Guidance from national? There's a thing called the Boy Scout Handbook.
SPL and PL are elected by the boys, period. At summer camp, We've told them to come to us with the names of who is doing what ... They found us by our camp drinking coffee and reading the paper. We distributed the rosters, and asked them to kindly add one for adult guests at meal time.
Done.


Edited by RememberSchiff, 16 July 2017 - 07:40 AM.
typo BCscouter

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#4 Sentinel947

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 07:33 AM

If the SPL and ASPL cannot be at Summer Camp our Scoutmaster and SPL review the roster of boys attending and decide who will be acting SPL for the week at camp. This is generally an older Scout who has future interest in being SPL and it gives them some practice and getting their feet wet in the role. 


Edited by Sentinel947, 16 July 2017 - 07:33 AM.

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#5 Stosh

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 07:58 AM

Welcome to the forum!!

 

Over the years my troops have handled it 4 different ways.

 

1) Large troop, no patrol method, SM assigns who's going to be SPL.

 

2) Smaller troop, 3 patrols, the PL's decided among themselves who would be designated SPL because we didn't need one except for council activities and summer camp.

 

3) Bigger troop, 4 patrols, the PL's selected best APL in the troop to serve as SPL.  We were using the patrol method and the PL's felt they were too busy with their patrols to take on the support work of the SPL (PL's are the highest ranking officers in the troop.  This is not normal BSA structure, but the boys liked it that way so I didn't get involved.  It worked just fine.

 

4) Small troop, just starting out.  1 patrol, PL took on SPL responsibility and APL "filled in" and ran the patrol when the PL was dong SPL responsibilities.

 

For me, there is no one answer to this question.  I varies depending on the troop culture and size.  Without sounding like I'm giving you the brush-off, why not have the boys make this decision after passing some of these comments from the forum on to them.  It might go a long way to promote the patrol method and the boys can take ownership of the process and decision.


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#6 T2Eagle

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 09:18 AM

Here are the (partial) quotes from BSA. http://www.scouting....p_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."

"The senior patrol leader appoints the assistant senior
patrol leader with the approval of the Scoutmaster.
He serves in place of the senior patrol leader at meetings and events when the
senior patrol leader must be absent."

So for summer camp, or any other time, the troop elects an SPL, and he appoints his ASPL. If the SPL isn't attending camp then the ASPL takes over. On the one occasion I can think of where nether of the two were at camp the PLC decided who would be SPL. We consider everyone holding a leadership position to be part of the PLC. If I recall correctly they picked the person who was the Quatermaster, who did go on later to be elected as SPL in his own right.

The key really is that this is a choice made by the boys, however they go about it.
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#7 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 10:17 AM

As others have mentioned, the adults don't pick.


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#8 CalicoPenn

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 05:14 PM

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The regular SPL is the SPL at summer camp.  If the SPL can't make it, the ASPL takes it on.  If neither can make it, the boys at camp make the decision


Edited by CalicoPenn, 16 July 2017 - 05:15 PM.

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#9 Back Pack

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 06:43 PM

The regular SPL is the SPL at summer camp.  If the SPL can't make it, the ASPL takes it on.  If neither can make it, the boys at camp make the decision


Same except the last sentence. If SPL or ASPLs cannot make it, SPL appoints acting SPL with SM approval. Should be a good leader, rank does not matter. Have had a Star scout as SPL when other Life scouts were present. They'll get over it. You're either a good leader or not. Rank means nothing.
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#10 BCscouter

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 08:14 PM

Thanks all for the replies. It appears this was irregular in two ways. 1) Typically an elected ASPL would be the SPL at Summer Camp in the absence of the SPL. 2) Adults picked instead of the boys choosing.
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#11 Stosh

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 08:17 PM

With my new troop, all Webelos cross-overs a couple of months earlier, one boy did get the Scout Rank.  He was the SPL for the one patrol of new boys and dd just fine.  Ya go with whatcha got.


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#12 qwazse

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 10:08 PM

Thanks all for the replies. It appears this was irregular in two ways. 1) Typically an elected ASPL would be the SPL at Summer Camp in the absence of the SPL. 2) Adults picked instead of the boys choosing.

Yep.

So, who to blame?

Did any of the boys respectfully point out to the SM that the guidelines in their hand book were being ignored?

If not, why?


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#13 Stosh

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 11:03 PM

After the boys pick their patrols, they select/elect (however they want to do it, it's fine with me). their PL because that's the person they want taking care of them.

 

I subscribe to the idea that the SPL should be selected/elected by the PL's because that's the person they want taking care of them.  There's nothing but aggravation to have all the boys elect an SPL based on the popularity method of politicin' only to have the PL's suffer the results.  Not a problem I want to deal with.  With me, NO the SPL is the "PL" of the PL's, not the troop.  The PL's serve at the pleasure of the patrol members and the SPL serves at the pleasure of the PL's.  I find that SPL's interfering with patrol activities is non-existent with that understanding.  No SPL ever trumps a PL on a decision made by the patrol.  If there's a problem with one patrol wanting to go to one activity and another patrol to a different activity at the same time, it's the SPL's responsibility to resolve the issue with the PL's or call together the leadership corps to do double duty, getting each patrol to where they want to be.  The are in a supportive role, not dictatorial.  If patrol A of younger scouts want to go to summer camp A because it has a great first year program and patrol B of older boys want to go to summer camp B because it has a great HA program, either one or the other patrols will call in blue-flu for that week if it's required to go to a camp it doesn't wish to attend.

 

Of course of one has mixed patrols, the patrols will need to be broken up to handle such diversity in the camp program.  Those kinds of things don't bode well for the patrol method.

 

Let the SPL earn his stripes.  Figure out a solution that satisfies both patrols equally.  That's his responsibility.

 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's not BSA policy, but then a lot of BSA policies seem to cause enough problems along the way that it keeps the threads going for a long time on the forum.

 

All the boys in the troop electing Mr. Popularity for a 12 month term that the PL's have to suffer with for it, doesn't make my job as SM easier.  If the PL's select the SPL, it's their own fault if it doesn't work out and they can dump him and get a new one in a matter of minutes. That's how it works in the real world.  You screw up at work, at home, or anywhere else, you are immediately on the outside looking in.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#14 Eagledad

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 07:21 AM

Yep.

So, who to blame?

Did any of the boys respectfully point out to the SM that the guidelines in their hand book were being ignored?

If not, why?

If the adult leader is asking a forum for the answer, I would guess nobody is reading handbooks.  

 

Barry


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#15 Back Pack

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 07:29 AM

The SPL serves at the pleasure of the troop. They elect him, not the PLs. The SPL appoints the ASPLs who fill in for him when he's. It around. The SM advises on all appointed positions.
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#16 BCscouter

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:29 AM

Original poster here. The question was specifically about summer camp (wasn't sure if the regular troop positions automatically extended to camp). The ASPL boys who were "passed over" for leadership at camp were taken by surprise to be told (at camp) that they would not be SPL and ASPL for the week. They accepted the authority of the (new) leader who did the assigning.

 

@ CalicoPenn -- Agreed! They'll get over it. All part of the learning. 

@ Senior Member - Thank you for "The key really is that this is a choice made by the boys" -- and a good reminder to carry and use the handbook!

@ BSA Heretic - Great idea! To share with the boys.

 

These are my takeaways:

 

1) The ASPL boys could have taken ownership of the role in advance and gone to the summer camp leader before the event. That may have circumvented the situation. They are new ASPLs. Now they'll know.

 

2) The adult leader could have sought the involvement of the SPL and ASPLs during the preparation period. That may have circumvented the situation. He is a new summer camp leader. I hope he'll do it again and next time he'll know.

 

3) The committee chair (who was present at camp) could have stopped the assigning and demonstrated that this is a boy-led organization. By both his position and experience, he knows.

 

My suggestion to the boys will be that they go to their SPL and make sure he understands what happened. Most likely he'll go to the SM who can address it at the next committee meeting.


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#17 Col. Flagg

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:33 AM

3) The committee chair (who was present at camp) could have stopped the assigning and demonstrated that this is a boy-led organization. By both his position and experience, he knows.

 

Only if the TC chair spoke to the SM about enforcing the boy-led approach. Never directly with the boys.


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#18 CNYScouter

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:20 AM

Elections in our Troop are held in June.

The newly elected SPL and the outgoing SPL get together and decide who is SPL for summer camp.

Last year there was an issue because both were working at summer camp and wouldn't be going with the troop.

The PLC got together and voted on who was going to SPL for summer camp.


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#19 Stosh

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:01 PM

Elections in our Troop are held in June.

The newly elected SPL and the outgoing SPL get together and decide who is SPL for summer camp.

Last year there was an issue because both were working at summer camp and wouldn't be going with the troop.

The PLC got together and voted on who was going to SPL for summer camp.

 

What the PL's elected an SPL  HERETIC!    :)  Did anyone think that just maybe the ASPL is next in line before the outgoing SPL?

 

Ain't it jus' great how BSA spells this all out so that all the negative fallout gives us something on the forum to talk about?  SM decides this, PLC decides that, The boys vote, the troop votes, serves at the pleasure of the troop but has to do it for a full 12 month term or the will hold his rank advancement back, etc. etc. etc.

 

I hear SM/ASM's all walking around telling the boys, "Go talk to your PL", "Go talk to your PL." and with an adult led troop, the boys know this is code word for "Don't bother me.  I know your PL doesn't run the show and can't make decisions, but I"m busy now, so go talk to your PL."  Then the SM's and ASM/s get on the forum and complain about the boys not wanting to lead.  Well, everyone knows who makes the ultimate decisions in a group.  If the boys are constantly looking to the adults for decisions, it's because they know the pecking order.

 

So, when it comes to the SPL?  What does it really matter.  In all the summer camps I have attended, they have a daily SPL meeting (which is duplicated in a daily adult leader meeting.)  It is as if the SPL really doesn't matter, but they get to hold the title and waste their time in a meeting.

 

I have had more than one camp director get on my case about not attending the leader's meeting.  I always tell them, my SPL is too busy to attend two meetings every day that have all the same information.

 

Not many SPL's need to really be an SPL because the SM/ASM at the leader's meeting will tell the boys what they need to know for the day.

 

If the SPL knew he was solely responsible for the passing of camp information and there was no SM/ASM safety net out there, he'd step up to the plate.  We got the train 'em part down (that's all we ever do), we don't really trust 'em, and there's no way in God's green creation we are ever really going to let them lead.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#20 qwazse

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 05:06 AM

....
3) The committee chair (who was present at camp) could have stopped the assigning and demonstrated that this is a boy-led organization. By both his position and experience, he knows.  ....


This is always a dodgy proposition. The push-back tends to be something like "It can't be boy run into the ground." Or, "I'm just trying to make sure their experience is positive." Not every CC-SM pair can have an honest conversation about it.

Either the boys are going to read their handbook and insist that adults "Play by the rules." Or this kind of behavior will repeat itself.
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