Re: SPL Election/Appointment
Amick Robert (amick@SPOT.COLORADO.EDU)
Tue, 10 Dec 1996 15:34:35 -0700
On Tue, 10 Dec 1996, Terry M. Lynch wrote:
> Some discussions have recently come up amongst several Scouters in our
> troop. We have a new Scoutmaster who is working hard at getting the troop
> into the "patrol method". Historically this has not been so for this troop.
> The transition towards this goal has raised a few questions. I was hoping
> the list's cumulative wisdom and experience could shed some light for us.
The "patrol method" presupposes that the troop is a "boy-run"
organization, hence all elections and procedures for same should
necessarily be determined and agreed upon by the Scouts. Certainly advice
and consultation with the Scoutmaster should be included, but by no means
should policies be set or mandated by the Scoutmaster/Committee.
> 1. How often should troop elections be held. We currently have them every 6
> months, have been thinking about yearly.
Yearly is a long time for a Scout to hold down an office; especially a key
position such as SPL. It also limits the possibilities for others to
assume the role and get leadership experience. Better to let them be
re-elected if they are chosen by their fellow Scouts or to move on to
something else in leadership. Often an older Scout will have a busy
schedule during one part of the year (e.g., band, football in the fall)
but will have a light schedule in the Spring, so they could hold an office
in the Spring but would have difficulty during the Fall. Others have just
the opposite situation so often there is a complementary availability of
candidates seeking the position during those times of the year. If they
have the flexibility to do both, and the desire, let them seek
re-election; if they are good and their peers appreciate their work, they
will be re-elected.
> 2. Should the SPL be appointed by the Scoutmaster/Committee or elected by
> the scouts? If elected, should the Scoutmaster/Committee present a list of
> "acceptable" candidates to the scouts, or let nature take its course?
The SPL should never be appointed by the SM/Committee. Election by the
Scouts is appropriate and should follow democratic processes of candidacy,
a "platform" statement of the goals of the candidate(s) and how they hope
to implement their goals, and most of all why they are qualified and why
the Scouts should vote for them. Scouts are quite adept at picking out
who will do a good job and who will not based on their prior association
with the candidate, and it should by all means be their choice.
The PLC, in consultation with the Scoutmaster, should develop some
criteria for eligibility for election (e.g., first class rank, experience
as a patrol leader, demonstrated leadership skills, attendance at JLT,
etc.) Scouts who wish to run for SPL should be given those expectations
by the PLC as prerequisites for running for election.
> 3. Should the rest of leadership positions (excluding patrol positions) be
> elected by the troop, or appointed by the new SPL?
This varies from troop to troop, but usually the ASPL(s) and other members
of the (formerly leadership corps) youth leader "cabinet" are often
appointed by the SPL in consultation with the PLC, or they can also be
elected if the PLC chooses that venue, but the PLC or even the entire
troop membership should decide on how they
want it done. It is not unusual for a troop to have bylaws or at least
written guidelines that cover such procedures; this way once the PLC has
determined the criteria for such offices and election procedure, it
remains consistent for future processes; if it isn't working then the PLC
can elect to change it.
We spent several meetings just having the Scouts brainstorm how they would
like to have elections conducted, what the criteria for eligibility for
office should be, and were very impressed with their creativity, and
candor. They came up with some very good ideas and guidelines and we
still use them. If they decide to change them, they have that option.
The patrol leaders can be either elected by the troop at large, or they
can be individually elected from within the patrol to which they belong.
I have seen it done both ways and it seems to work well in either case. I
would tend to recommend election from within the individual patrol since
it gives the patrol members more direct determination on who they want to
lead their individual patrol. Again, they should not be appointed.
Bob Amick, Explorer Advisor, High Adventure Explorer Post 72, Boulder, CO>
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City