Re: Troop Leadership Question (Three Year Plan)
Barry Runnels (barry_c_runnels@MMACMAIL.JCCBI.GOV)
Wed, 15 Jul 1998 14:20:27 -0600
>The biggest drawback to this plan is the fact that after two years on
>doing all of the work, some adults have a tendency to get used to doing it
>that way. This drawback can be fixed by making sure everyone involved in
>the troop (SM, ASM, and Committee) are aware of the timeline and how the
>plan will be implemented.
Hi Gang, I saw this by Anthony and was impressed. I have also been there
and done that and agree that Anthony's method is excellent for new Troops.
There is on point of his plan I would do different however. I believe you
need an SPL after the first six months. First, even though you explain that
the Troop belongs to the SPL, the adults and Scouts don't believe it. They
know that the adults will take over when they don't agree with the Scouts.
The longer you keep a real Boy SPL out of your Troop, the longer it will
take for your Scouts to beleive the adults really will let boys run the
Second. The sooner the adults release the Troop leadership to the boy PLC,
the sooner they can get acclimated to the boy run concept. Troops talk boy
run all day long but not that many really allow the PLC to take charge. I
believe (from experience) that it takes years to build a boy run troop
because "boy run" sounds easy, but in reality is very difficult. Look at
summer camps. How many camp directors go to the Camp SPL meeting and ask
for volunteers to clean the main bathroom or perform the camp
opening/closing ceremonies. They normally do this at the Scoutmaster
meeting. Seems we only do "boy run" when it's convenient for the adults.
One of our ASM asked me "what if none of the SPLs volunteer?". Then we
aren't delivering the promise.
And third. I use to think you should give the Troop a year before electing
the SPL but now I believe the it should be after six months. The reason is
the Troop needs to be use to the SPL idea before the next group of new
Scouts come in. That way you will have fewer Scouts to convert to the SPL
idea and the Scouts who have been doing it for six months will help you
teach it to the new guys. The longer you wait and the more boys your Troop
recruits, the harder the change to SPL and PLC boy run Troop will be.
I know what you thinking but I also believe boy run is relative to the age
of boys in charge. A 12 year cannot possibly run a full Troop of Scouts the
same as a 15 year old. They are very different. So the SM has to learn
where to fill in, where to advise and how far he can allow the Scouts to
go. For me, a good rule of thumb is let the Scouts run the program until
their Scouting experience turns negative. For 12 year olds, that's not very
much. You have to learn these limits. Last year at summer camp our 13 year
old SPL did great. He inspected the camp everyday, handle discipline
problems and was involved in a lot planning. But by Friday he was in tears.
He was tired and stress just wore him out. I should have stepped in earlier
and taken a few duties from him. I learned a hard lesson. This year I am
watching this a lot closer.
My point is the sooner you get the boy SPL running things, the sooner
everyone learns how to really let the boy SPL be the leader. It's not easy.
The adults will learn more than the boys and it takes time. Several years
in fact. I spend a lot of my time preaching the Troop program to the
leaders. New leaders don't really understand boy run and jump in every time
they see the Scouts doing it different from the way the would do it. Adults
are quick to criticizes an idea and throw in a better one. You can't change
them over night. Adults are stubborn. Once the adults allow the boys to
screw up, the PLC will start to trust the adults. I know it sounds funny
but boys are of the mind you will save them from making mistakes. Once they
see you won't except for safety reasons, they will start to except the
responsibility given to them. Takes time.
When you see the SPL and PLC really running things, you will reap the
rewards of you very hard work. That's why I love this Scouting Stuff.
Have a great Scouting Summer.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City