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Asking an SPL to Resign?


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#21 ItsBrian

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 03:57 PM

You're gonna think I am pulling a fast one, but really I tapped the plus one, nothing, tapped again, hit the minus. :(

We still should allow a little room for grey area. Is this a "sick day"? Or, is this a shift in priorities? Has this happened with other SPL's before? SMs can be a bit like ground bees, the nest gets stirred by the lead hiker, but the guy taking up the rear gets the stings.

You're going to see my rep as -200 pretty soon because of you  :(.


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#22 ItsBrian

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 03:58 PM

You're gonna think I am pulling a fast one, but really I tapped the plus one, nothing, tapped again, hit the minus. :(

We still should allow a little room for grey area. Is this a "sick day"? Or, is this a shift in priorities? Has this happened with other SPL's before? SMs can be a bit like ground bees, the nest gets stirred by the lead hiker, but the guy taking up the rear gets the stings.

Anyway, responding to the 2nd part of your post, I've seen other members shift priorities, never someone in a key leadership role though. I can understand why he wants to change his priority. Also, this is Boy Scouts... not the military and so...


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#23 Ranman328

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 05:28 PM

You're gonna think I am pulling a fast one, but really I tapped the plus one, nothing, tapped again, hit the minus. :(

We still should allow a little room for grey area. Is this a "sick day"? Or, is this a shift in priorities? Has this happened with other SPL's before? SMs can be a bit like ground bees, the nest gets stirred by the lead hiker, but the guy taking up the rear gets the stings.

Based on the father's information, it appears the only one having a problem is the SM.  My comment about calling out sick would be a last minute issue they would have to deal with.  Again, based on the father's information, the SPL will still be planning and participating in everything except going to the event.  It would be the same thing if he got sick or had an emergency and couldn't go.  Doesn't really matter why or if it is sick or whatever.  My point is if he had to miss the event for whatever emergency or reason, he still planned it and couldn't go.  My question is, would the SM still request his resignation?  Seems petty to me.  Again, my $0.02.


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#24 krikkitbot

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 08:46 AM

I think the SM is way out of line or we are not getting the full story. I guess it could also be both, SM is out of line AND we are not getting the full story.

 

It sounds like the SPL has been proactive in making sure the contingencies are covered. Kudos.

 

What is the event? Is it a camping trip or COH? Is it the annual fundraiser for the troop that depends on the SPL to lead? I don't think that asking a youth to resign nor forcing a new election is in order either way. This might be best elevated to the Committee Chair. 


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#25 Eagledad

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 11:11 AM

One of my marketing phrases I gave to visiting Webelos parents is: "The troop program is the real world scaled down to a boys size. We want our scouts to learn from their many experiences of making decisions so that when they grow up, they can deal with situations like waking up to a sick wife, three hungry kids and a boss calling about a deadline. 

 

Barry


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#26 fred johnson

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 01:46 PM

My prayers and sympathies to you and your family.  

 

This is a very hard and difficult situation from all perspectives.  I doubt we are hearing the full story such as does the troop have position specific performance expectations or are there other issues.  But even then, if the SPL has been doing "okay" for five months and needs to assign an activity / campout to an ASPL or other scout, that's always fine.  Conflicts happen.  It's about how the situation is handled.  So your situation does not seem abnormal.  

 

The reason I say we are not hearing the full story is that taking away a position at 5.5 months is generally bad and tacky.  If election is less than a month or two away, taking away the position usually NOT about keeping the troop running smoothly.  It usually happens because the SM views past performance as bad and/or wants the scout to not get full advancement credit for the position.  As such, it seems there is more to the issue.  

 

Heck, BSA itself publishes guidance that says POR and "active" issues can be qualified because a scout has other competing commitments.  AND, that we should celebrate it as it produces well rounded young men.


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#27 ChristianDad

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 01:56 PM

I think the SM is way out of line or we are not getting the full story. I guess it could also be both, SM is out of line AND we are not getting the full story.

 

It sounds like the SPL has been proactive in making sure the contingencies are covered. Kudos.

 

What is the event? Is it a camping trip or COH? Is it the annual fundraiser for the troop that depends on the SPL to lead? I don't think that asking a youth to resign nor forcing a new election is in order either way. This might be best elevated to the Committee Chair. 

I've tried to give you the full story the best I can. My intention in posting here was more to help me understand if the SM's request would be considered normal in the Scouting world. Because I told him (calmly) that I "strongly disagreed." But thinking about it, I wanted to make sure I wasn't opposing some obvious Scouting ethos I was missing. I spoke with the SM for one full hour with my son and wife there. I asked the SM to tell me if there were any other problems I'm not aware of. The answer was no. His only indication was that my son does allow some of the "stronger" willed boys to dominate a meeting too much. But he said it wouldn't be anything that he would ask for resignation.

 

I'll say my wife and I still respect him as a SM. He does so much work for the troop. The conversation was cordial and calm. But I'm still somewhat floored by it. 

 

The event is a boat regatta and camping out. Context: the troop camps out a lot and the only absence may son experienced this year was because he was working as a counselor at the Boy Scout camp. He did so for 5 weeks, which the Boy Scouts asked him to do last minute. 


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#28 ChristianDad

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 02:01 PM

My prayers and sympathies to you and your family.  

 

This is a very hard and difficult situation from all perspectives.  I doubt we are hearing the full story such as does the troop have position specific performance expectations or are there other issues.  But even then, if the SPL has been doing "okay" for five months and needs to assign an activity / campout to an ASPL or other scout, that's always fine.  Conflicts happen.  It's about how the situation is handled.  So your situation does not seem abnormal.  

 

The reason I say we are not hearing the full story is that taking away a position at 5.5 months is generally bad and tacky.  If election is less than a month or two away, taking away the position usually NOT about keeping the troop running smoothly.  It usually happens because the SM views past performance as bad and/or wants the scout to not get full advancement credit for the position.  As such, it seems there is more to the issue.  

 

Heck, BSA itself publishes guidance that says POR and "active" issues can be qualified because a scout has other competing commitments.  AND, that we should celebrate it as it produces well rounded young men.

 

Thanks. I have asked the following in person and in writing: "Things I don't know that would help. Are there bylaws that would make it clear? Does he have them? Did he take an oath and if so, what does it say?" This was after the SM made an issue of it. I wanted to know what commitments my son had actually made, and whether he was in fact being untrustworthy. The SM didn't answer the e-mail: He said we should meet in person. He didn't answer in person either. 

 

The SM says the issue for him is the message it sends to future SPL's. 


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#29 Sentinel947

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 10:11 PM

 

No need to use curse words here... 

 

 

As for the OP:

 

I think your Sons arrangements are acceptable and he'd be meeting his obligations in our Troop. As a Catholic Scouter myself I'm sympathetic to what you are trying to accomplish with your son. 

 

As for the SM, if wants to force your son to resign I suppose he can, but he must still count your son's term of position of responsibility for advancement up to that point. 

 

I think that he's being foolish. He reminds me of the sports coaches and band directors in my town that demand the boys make all of the practices, games, retreats all season AND offseason, or they will be benchwarmers. 


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#30 Col. Flagg

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 10:30 PM

What provisions do BSA rules or policies have an adult removing a scout in good standing from a youth-elected leadership position?

Seriously he has ZERO grounds for removing him unless there's a pre-arranged and documented requirements for the SPL to be at said event. Otherwise it's yet another adult sticking his schnoz in to some place he shouldn't.
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#31 fred johnson

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 10:38 PM

The SM says the issue for him is the message it sends to future SPL's. 

 

It just seems wrong and destructive to even think about scheduling elections just because of this.  Even asking a scout to resign is just too far..  Sometimes adult leaders try to make improvements and it's at the cost of scouts.  That's what I'm seeing here.  

 

Read the Guide To Advancement relevant sections and maybe even a few Advancement News articles.  It's always good to read the official BSA guidance as it's carefully worded.  


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#32 Eagledad

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 07:34 AM

I think that he's being foolish. He reminds me of the sports coaches and band directors in my town that demand the boys make all of the practices, games, retreats all season AND offseason, or they will be benchwarmers. 

I've been thinking this way as well. It seems that no matter how hard we try, the world ends up rotating around us.

 

 

It just seems wrong and destructive to even think about scheduling elections just because of this.  Even asking a scout to resign is just too far..  Sometimes adult leaders try to make improvements and it's at the cost of scouts.  That's what I'm seeing here.  

 

 

And yet it happens so often. I received many calls in the evening from Scoutmasters asking me how to remove scouts from their PORs. It is so disheartening when adults see bad decisions as bad scouting. I tried so hard to teach otherwise in Scoutmasters Specific courses, but vanity blinds us from the noble objective.

 

Barry


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#33 HelpfulTracks

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 07:44 AM

I understand the SM wanting to have his SPL there, but I am not on board with removing him. I think that sends the wrong message more than the SPL not being there.

 

If they scouts see a good SPL that is active and doing the job, and he is removed, then what message does that send?

 

What do the other scouts think about the SPL's performance? Have there been issues in their minds? Do they support him? Could be that the SM is reflecting reflecting the youth's concerns, though I don't think he is handling it right if he is.

 

Also, it does not seem very boy-led. In the end, the SM may need to remove leader that is failing in his job, but that should be an absolute least recourse. And it should have been proceeded with a great deal of mentoring before it ever came to that. And frankly, sometimes you have to let the boys fail, as long as it isn't endangering their safety or violating BSA policy.

 

Some other thoughts.

  • If you son has taken ILST or NYLT (or the Scoutmaster has taken Wood Badge) then he knows that the SPL cannot do it alone. There is a balloon game in ILST (Role Balancing - Ballon Toss) that demonstrates that delegating is not only an option, but is an necessity for a well run troop.
  • The Oath and Law applies to adults also. The SM might want to examine his stance in that light.
  • Is missing either of these events really going to change much? Will missing a scouting event have a negative impact on an otherwise good scouting experience? Will missing one church event, cause him not to move closer to God? I am just not sure either of these events warrants putting extra weight on a young man that knows he is losing his mother. It seems like everyone involved could find a compromise or satisfactory solution.
  • I have read what you want, what the SM wants, but no where have I seen you state what your son wants.
  • Knowing what he really wants may be a hard thing for you, and even him, to truly know. I lost both parents as a teen. My mother suddenly in my early teens, my father, in my late teens, after a long fight with cancer. Anything he asked of me trumped anything else, because I knew I wouldn't have him much longer. My father rarely asked me do do things, because he knew where my head was, in that I wanted to make him happy, and he didn't want to put that burden on me. My problem was, if I even suspected there was something my father wanted me to do, I made sure i did it.  I have zero regrets mind you, but your son is in a place that he probably isn't thinking about what he wants, or even his obligations. He knows he is losing his mother, and I am sure he is scared, so anything he can do to make her happy he will gladly do. As you have stated to him, you want him to decide. But I am not sure that is really fair on him, he knows what you and your wife want.

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#34 qwazse

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 08:44 AM

... My intention in posting here was more to help me understand if the SM's request would be considered normal in the Scouting world. Because I told him (calmly) that I "strongly disagreed." But thinking about it, I wanted to make sure I wasn't opposing some obvious Scouting ethos I was missing. .... 

I think you got a variety of answers sufficient for you to conclude that this action is a bit draconian. Most of us here feel our troops would be harmed if we acted so harshly when our SPLs didn't meet expectations. Most of us see the PLs as the anchors of the troop. SPL facilitates PL training and coordination and sometimes comes along site the more introverted youth. If he does well in his first four months, the ensuing months require less physical presence. On the other hand, we're not your boy's SM. A Unit Commissioner like @Eagledad might advise him to lighten up, another one might have warned him to do the opposite.

 

... I'll say my wife and I still respect him as a SM. He does so much work for the troop. The conversation was cordial and calm. But I'm still somewhat floored by it.  ...

In the real world, superiors want more than we can/should give. And it's on us to say no more water is getting squeezed from this rock. Days without pay, being written up and sent to HR, missing salary bumps, busing through the rough part of town instead of tossing money towards car repairs and parking garages ... all were part of my career. It's called sacrifices. No regrets.

 

It's time to stop being floored. Your son just has to say "No." That's all. No long speeches. No interpretations of Oath and Law. Nothing. Just, "Respectfully, Sir, no resignation will be forthcoming. Advance the election timetable as you see fit."

Then to the boys, "Sorry guys. This is more important than troop life. See you on the next activity. If you think I've done right by you, my hat is still in the ring for the next term."

 

Let me assure you that I practice what I preach. My kids play soccer, and when they were in high school there were times they were sidelined longer than what I thought was good for the team. I told them to take it up with their coach ... I'm not on the team. The coach eventually did discuss it with me -- because it's a weird parent who doesn't give them a piece of their mind. I said, "Yes, he or she's bothered. But, that's between you, him/her, and the players. Thanks for your hard work."


Edited by qwazse, 06 September 2017 - 09:13 AM.

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#35 Chadamus

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 10:02 AM

I received many calls in the evening from Scoutmasters asking me how to remove scouts from their PORs. It is so disheartening when adults see bad decisions as bad scouting. I tried so hard to teach otherwise in Scoutmasters Specific courses, but vanity blinds us from the noble objective.

Barry, what do you say in those courses?


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#36 Eagledad

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 10:26 AM

Something qwazse said reminded me that the main skill I wanted SPLs to practice was delegating. Actually delegating and patience, they go hand-in-hand. But I find that delegating is one of the least used skills by adults. That skill gives the average leader leverage for being a good leader. If the skill can be learned at a scout age, imagine their leadership ability when they are adults. 

 

And thinking about this scoutmaster; through my struggles in learning to be a better scoutmaster, I tried to balance my pride with the humility of learning something new from all our youth leaders. There is so much that could be learned in this situation.

 

Barry 


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#37 ItsBrian

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 10:33 AM

Something qwazse said reminded me that the main skill I wanted SPLs to practice was delegating. Actually delegating and patience, they go hand-in-hand. But I find that delegating is one of the least used skills by adults. That skill gives the average leader leverage for being a good leader. If the skill can be learned at a scout age, imagine their leadership ability when they are adults. 

 

And thinking about this scoutmaster; through my struggles in learning to be a better scoutmaster, I tried to balance my pride with the humility of learning something new from all our youth leaders. There is so much that could be learned in this situation.

 

Barry 

 

 

Current SPL for my troop, I hate delegating, I know I should do it. I've been getting a lot better with delegating. it's so much easier doing it yourself instead of having others do it.


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#38 Eagledad

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 11:41 AM

Current SPL for my troop, I hate delegating, I know I should do it. I've been getting a lot better with delegating. it's so much easier doing it yourself instead of having others do it.

Yep, that's what they all say.

 

The thing is that SPLs shouldn't see themselves as the Troop leader, instead he is the Patrol Leader's working model of a servant leader. I don't know if you realize it, but the Patrol Leader position is the most important leadership position in he troop. There are many reasons why, but as a SM, the PL is the most important position because it teaches a scout more about his character than any other position. There is no position as stressful as the Patrol Leader position if the troop is running correctly. And there is no better motivation to learn new habits and change old habits than stress. A person can only change when they see and feel the consequences of their choices. If the SPL does for them what they should be doing for themselves, then he is robbing the scouts an opportunity to learn and grow. Success isn't a well performing troop under your leadership. Success is well performing patrols under the Patrol Leaders leadership. The more you do for them, the less they will do for their patrol.

 

In most cases, the Patrol Leaders are new to the experience of leadership, so the SPL should be a model of leadership skills for PLs to learn from. And remember, we humans learn best by watching, not by listening. Patrol Leaders watch everything the SPL is doing. So show them how to be a servant to their scouts. Treat the PLC the way the PLs should treat their patrol. Serve your PLC so they learn how to serve the patrol. Run your PLC meetings the same as they should run their patrol meetings. All the PL's look up to the position of SPL, so set the example of servant leadership by "looking up" to the PLs as the main leaders of the troop. Treat them with the respect as the top tier troop leaders and you will find that your humility will be rewarded with the same respect. It's pretty cool to experience really.

 

Sounds like you are pretty good SPL already. I look forward to learning what you gain from your experience.

 

Barry


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#39 ItsBrian

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 12:02 PM

Yep, that's what they all say.

The thing is that SPLs shouldn't see themselves as the Troop leader, instead he is the Patrol Leader's working model of a servant leader. I don't know if you realize it, but the Patrol Leader position is the most important leadership position in he troop. There are many reasons why, but as a SM, the PL is the most important position because it teaches a scout more about his character than any other position. There is no position as stressful as the Patrol Leader position if the troop is running correctly. And there is no better motivation to learn new habits and change old habits than stress. A person can only change when they see and feel the consequences of their choices. If the SPL does for them what they should be doing for themselves, then he is robbing the scouts an opportunity to learn and grow. Success isn't a well performing troop under your leadership. Success is well performing patrols under the Patrol Leaders leadership. The more you do for them, the less they will do for their patrol.

In most cases, the Patrol Leaders are new to the experience of leadership, so the SPL should be a model of leadership skills for PLs to learn from. And remember, we humans learn best by watching, not by listening. Patrol Leaders watch everything the SPL is doing. So show them how to be a servant to their scouts. Treat the PLC the way the PLs should treat their patrol. Serve your PLC so they learn how to serve the patrol. Run your PLC meetings the same as they should run their patrol meetings. All the PL's look up to the position of SPL, so set the example of servant leadership by "looking up" to the PLs as the main leaders of the troop. Treat them with the respect as the top tier troop leaders and you will find that your humility will be rewarded with the same respect. It's pretty cool to experience really.

Sounds like you are pretty good SPL already. I look forward to learning what you gain from your experience.

Barry


@Eagledad Everything you just is completely true! The thing is though I have the most issue with is having the PLs actually do their job. Not a single Pl in our troop has done their job. I’ve tried fixing it, and many other SPLs have too. Tonight at the PLC I’m requesting for the SM and I to talk to the PLs separate. They watch what I do, and they don’t want to do it. Reason why I get stuck doing it, this is my second year as SPL due to nobody else stepping up for elections. It honestly wears you out when you have to do most of it. Even worst thing is, I always have to teach! Senior scouts go above my head always to SM saying they want to help instruct but NEVER ask me! Then why I say they can teach, they don’t even prepare!

Edited by ItsBrian, 06 September 2017 - 12:04 PM.

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#40 qwazse

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 12:46 PM

@Eagledad Everything you just is completely true! The thing is though I have the most issue with is having the PLs actually do their job. Not a single Pl in our troop has done their job. I’ve tried fixing it, and many other SPLs have too. Tonight at the PLC I’m requesting for the SM and I to talk to the PLs separate. They watch what I do, and they don’t want to do it. Reason why I get stuck doing it, this is my second year as SPL due to nobody else stepping up for elections. It honestly wears you out when you have to do most of it. Even worst thing is, I always have to teach! Senior scouts go above my head always to SM saying they want to help instruct but NEVER ask me! Then why I say they can teach, they don’t even prepare!

@ItsBrian, you need to spend more time in your hammock, or at the trading post, or lashing your own personal giant hamster wheel. The position needs to look like fun before PL's will start running for it.

 

Talking to your SM about necessary adjustments is a good idea. Needing to focus on your Eagle project is a good excuse. Not just between you and the SM, but between the SM and the boys. He needs to say to them "The current SPL to focus on his Eagle project, that means you all need to take up the slack and be more accountable to do things the way he was doing them."

 

By the way, that is a REALLY BIG ASK for many SMs. Parents aren't comfortable with the ensuing "storming" among boys who are now finding that the spoon-feeding has stopped. Unless he's heard from ASMs or other adults who see what you're seeing, he'll likely get some agitated phone calls. So, expect a little give-and-take on this one.


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