Re: Boy Run Troop Discussion
Stephen Buck (sbuck@GRACE.CS.BROCKPORT.EDU)
Fri, 11 Oct 1996 10:51:20 -0400
I would like to answer this in another direction. You asked for
responses from the SM's, but I would like to answer this reviewing when
I was the SPL of my troop. Let me give some background information on
myself that should hopefully qualify a litte more what I say. When I
was 12 I went through the JLT course offered by my district, that summer
I went through the council's JLTC course (the week long course). The
following two years I was on staff of that course as a Troop Guide (what
is now called a Patrol Councilor), the year after I was a ASPL for the
JLTC course, then the following two years after that I was the course
SPL. Finally I was ASM for a year, and I took a break from staffing the
course this past year.
In my home troop I found my SM to be a very liberal person in how the
troop was run, he would always listen to my suggestions to the point
where I was eventually planning every aspect of what the troop did with
the input of the PL's, and having the SM there to step in when reality
stepped out the door. From what I saw, this method worked wonderfully.
The troop enrollment increased by about 50%, and boys were excited to do
what we were doing. On the same note, if there was an activity that the
boys didn't like, I was sure to hear about it, where with the
scoutmaster running the show, this doesn't happen quite as often...no
matter how open the SM is, I have still found that boys have trouble
approaching this person.
So it is through my experience that if a boy is properly trained, he
should have no trouble running a troop by himself. That is not to say
that it is an easy job, it is probably exponentially harder for a boy to
run the planning of a troop than it is for an adult to do it, but it is
definitely an enlightening experience, I think both for the SM and for
the SPL. For the SM because he/she has to hold him/herself back most of
the time and bite their tounge, and for the SPL because he gets a taste
of real leadership and planning. This may not work in every case, but I
found in mine it did. It also allowed me to get to know the Scoutmaster
a lot better. I still talk to this person a lot, and I'm glad that he
gave me the chances that he did because I feel that it not only helped
me in seeing how a troop ran, but it also helps me understand event
programming and why people like what they like, and don't like what they
don't. This is *NOT* to say that an SPL should be allowed to run wild.
I was well aware that if I had ever run wild the structure that I
described would be quickly dissolved, and in a case like this, it is
essential that the SPL can't be stuck in his ways, he must be open to
all different points of view to try to tie them into one.
I hope you benefit from what I have to say.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City