Scouts-L Mail Archive for June of 1999: Re: Patrol Method vs. Corporate Scouting
Re: Patrol Method vs. Corporate Scouting
Jim Miller Jr.
Mon, 28 Jun 1999 10:39:59 -0400
Mike Bowman wrote to the list saying:
>My answer would be "No" - I am not sure that a procedures manual really
>would solve the problem at all. Too often as adults we tend to think
>terms of the workplace with a myrid of rules, procedures, guidebooks,
>the like. And there is a tendency to want to apply these comfortable
>crutches to Scouting. Some would call this "corporate Scouting" as a
>natured jab. :-) Symptoms include using jargon terms like
>:-)) Sorry, couldn't resist the tease.
I must disagree with Mike. Every other organized group of every type
that I have been involved in uses these kinds of procedures. I consider
them a necessary life skill. Even the disorganized groups use some form
of it. ;-)
The skill we are really talking about here is called parliamentary
procedure. If we are really preparing these youth to be leaders and
active citizens, then they NEED to know about this stuff. I'm certainly
not endorsing the idea of having the SPL appoint a Parliamentarian to
the PLC and carry around a copy of "Robert's Rules of Order, Revised",
but I do feel that some sort of procedural rules need to be established,
in writing, for the part of the Boy Scout program that is designed to
teach the workings of governance.
I never remember learning anything about PP in my Boy Scout Troops. Our
PLC's were very disorganized, and the method of running meetings would
change from SPL to SPL. Only upon becoming active as a member of the
Executive Committee of my OA Lodge, did I discover that there really is
one way to run a "business meeting" of any group. I was fascinated by
it, and became the de facto parliamentarian of every meeting I
participated in. I believe I actually introduced the term "point of
order" to our Committee meetings. I read and reread our Lodge Rules.
If one of the purposes of the PLC is to prepare Scouts to become leaders
and active citizens, then we do them a disservice by avoiding the
concept of procedures. We leave ourselves open to too many
interpretations. Does the PLC operate under consensus, unanimous
affirmation, or majority vote? Do Patrols get equal voices on the PLC or
are votes weighted by the number of members in each Patrol? Does it take
a simple majority, a plurality, or unanimous consent to take punitive
action against a fellow Scout for violations of rules? Does the SPL get
a vote on every issue or only in the case of a tie?
Writing, reviewing, and revising constitutions and by-laws is not
something everyone will find as enjoyable as I, but it is a skill that
anyone who plans to be involved in the leadership of any organization,
not just corporations, needs to know. Writing and following the agenda
for the PLC meeting teaches a basic skill that is needed by every
leader. Running a meeting of any sort is a key skill for leadership.
It never ceases to amaze me how few people understand the basics of
parliamentary procedure. I know my District Committee meetings could use
a bit more of it. I also believe that the earlier we teach these skills,
the better the youth will understand them and incorporate them into
their own repertoire of leadership skills.
James J. Miller, Jr. Meechgalhukquot
Assistant Scoutmaster-Troop 5, Kearny, NJ "Redheaded One"
Eagle-1988 Vigil-1994 I used to be a Bobwhite(NE-II-76)
District Vice-Chairman - Venturing, Hudson Liberty District
Northern New Jersey Council, BSA