Appointed or Elected?

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Postby Mrw » Mon May 07, 2007 8:43 pm

We had a point at which the troop went through a major transition, had very few older boys (13-14). It made sense to appoint the SPL once until the new boys could understand voting and how the troop should work.

And it was okay with those couple older boys who knew it was an elected position too
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Postby 9009scoutmaster » Wed May 09, 2007 4:28 pm

Mrw wrote:We had a point at which the troop went through a major transition, had very few older boys (13-14). It made sense to appoint the SPL once until the new boys could understand voting and how the troop should work.


This was the reason that we appointed the SPL. All of our youth were new to the troop. We had no 13-14 years olds. Every youth straight out of Webelos or 1st time in scouting program. The boy lead troop which is our troops goal, was a completely new idea to the youth of the unit. Instead of having the most popular youth elected SPL, the adult leadership decided to appoint the most mature scout as SPL. We feel like this was the best and quickest route to a boy lead unit.
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Postby Eagle77 » Sat Dec 15, 2007 10:08 am

In our troop, we elect SPL and PL. They appoint their ASPL and APL. We elect all the other positions in the troop. We have a small troop and everybody that wants to hold a position, or needs to hold one for rank advancement, gets elected. This way, the boys feel they have more input into the leadership of their troop.
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Postby AquilaNegra » Sun Dec 16, 2007 1:57 am

>>>>Just checked my copy of the Scoutmaster's Handbook to be sure. Sounds like most Troops follow the guidance there.

SPL is elected by the Troop. PL is elected by the Patrol members. ASPL is appointed by the SPL with the approval of the SM. PL appoints APL. SM can help the SPL select all others.

That's what the book says. That sounds like what many of you say. And it is the way our Troop does it. <<<<

Can someone please confirm for me that this is the exact language in the Handbook? And can you please point me to chapter and verse? And, is the Scoutmaster's Handbook a "guide" or is instruction?

Some of the members of the troop (more specifically, their parents) want to make it policy that the ASPL automatically moves into the SPL position. This would effectively cut a large portion of boys out of the SPL possibility (especially older Scouts -- who should be expected to have the experience and maturity to lead). We only elect every nine months.

I'd like to have my ducks in a row when I talk to them at next week's parents' meeting.
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Postby FrankJ » Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:30 am

Bottom line is the Charter Owner can decide how the SPL is appointed. In most troops that would fall down to the committee & the SM.

The SM handbook is a mostly guide, but it it is based on almost a 100 years of experience so it is good to follow it.

Most normal & all boy led troops, the SPL is select by the scouts in some way. Some elect a ASPL which would be the next SPL. Most elect their SPL directly.

The National Youth Leader Training (NYLT) material shows the SPL being elected by the the scouts.
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Postby joat » Mon Dec 17, 2007 10:23 pm

AquilaNegra wrote:Some of the members of the troop (more specifically, their parents) want to make it policy that the ASPL automatically moves into the SPL position. .... We only elect every nine months.
So how do they propose for the assistant SPL to be selected? If the SPL appoints his assistant, then in effect the SPL would be selecting his successor 9 months hence. That doesn't work.

If they are suggesting the assistant SPL be elected, then what is happening is the SPL is still being "elected", 9 months early. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

I'd suggest that you ask the committee to support their idea with something in any BSA publication that supports the idea. Otherwise, suggest it maybe might be best to go with the wisdom found in the Scoutmaster Handbook, SPL Handbook, and PL Handbook. This wheel has already been invented and it rolls very well.
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Postby AquilaNegra » Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:59 am

Thanks, Joat. I did. I got the explanation that those were "guides" and that "a lot of other troops in the district are doing it." The discussion began to get heated and it's been tabled for the time being. The writing is on the wall (the ASPL will be elected, SPL moved up), though. The Scouts (and committee) were both evenly split down the middle -- with the ASPL having the tie-breaking vote.

Anyway, we figured out what's really going on. The ASPL (a bright, kind, hard-working young man) has been ASPL twice in a row. He'll never be elected because the boys don't view him as a leader. His parents are ASMs who are integral to the success of the troop (and also very good people.) It's my opinion that the real impetus behind the move is that the SM and ASMs want to choose the leaders. The three oldest boys in the troop don't want to be ASPL under the young "SPL-elect" (that's the SMs term), which puts the SMs choice as the new ASPL and eventually SPL.

*sigh* It's a good lesson in politicking for my son (one of the three). I think the boys would rather just have been told that this is the way it was going to be done rather than having to agonize over all the "might be"s.
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Postby OldGreyBear » Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:30 pm

I may be reading to much into this. So, to keep things clear in my head, I need to restate what I have read to see if I have it right.

The Scoutmaster's Handbook and the Senior Patrol Leaders Handbook are "guides" they don't have to be followed. When postions to be elected and appointed are discussed in these handbooks, then, well, heck, like the Pirates Code, Arrghhh, they be guidelines

On the other hand, the Boy Scout Handbook is the heart of the program. It has the straight poop, the rank requirements and other needed information. It's funny how the BSA has calls different publications handbooks and one has to be followed, but other publications do not.

Well, anyway, is this correct?
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Postby joat » Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:43 pm

OGE, the label attached to a publication matters not. In the minds of adults that want to do their own thing, the books are optional if there is a conflict. "The book is only a guide" is a nice excuse that some may buy into. If the book was entitled "Mandatory Rules and Regulations for All Boy Scout Troops, they would brush it off with a different excuse.

I would really question how one defines a successful troop, given that the two assistant Scoutmasters "integral to the success of the troop" are so quick to dismiss the methods of Scouting. In my view, successful troops don't discard BSA publications in favor of home-brew ideas. If nothing else, its arrogant.
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Postby WeeWillie » Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:03 pm

Each handbook outlines the responsibilities and requirements for the intended audience. None of the handbooks take precedence over the other. I have not encountered situations where one handbook contradicts another although some handbooks place greater emphasis on certain aspects of Scouting because the role requires such.

It is my experience that the push for appointed rather than elected PORs comes from parent leaders who are unhappy that their Scout isn’t being elected. Rather than identify and correct the situation with their Scout, they seek to rig the process for their desired outcome; not what is best for the troop. Becoming a leader or committee member becomes a quid pro quo arrangement. Don’t be surprised if they bolt as soon as their Scout obtains Eagle/SPL. (Experience)

Prior to an election I give a short speech on the importance of selecting a Scout who exemplifies Scout Skills and Scout Values rather than your friend. In 6 years I have yet to be disappointed.

One method I use to mitigate resentment by older Scouts taking direction from a younger SPL is to have an older scout patrol. That allows the older Scouts to be lead by a peer.
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Re: Appointed or Elected?

Postby AquilaNegra2 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:19 am

*sigh*

We're running into this in our new troop for the upcoming elections. ASPL, who won't be elected by the boys as SPL, is to be moved up and a new ASPL elected. Supposedly because of training. I expressed my dissatisfaction to the SM, and asked him politely to show me where he is getting the information that an ASPL can be elected and an SPL appointed. He "discussed it with the DE". The DE is new, young, and apparently not very well-read about Scouting. Grrrr. SM said he'd take my concerns under advisement -- which we all know means I'm being patronized.

It's an issue I feel very strongly about, having seen it irreparably divide our last troop. My question is, what's my next step? The elections aren't for another month. Do I go to the Committee Chair? The District Executive?

Is he right, and I'm wrong? Has National changed their standards? If not, can a DE override them as a local issue?

I'm feeling very frustrated at the moment; feeling like I'm seeing the writing on the wall.
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Re: Appointed or Elected?

Postby smtroop168 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:02 am

AquilaNegra2 wrote:*sigh*

We're running into this in our new troop for the upcoming elections. ASPL, who won't be elected by the boys as SPL, is to be moved up and a new ASPL elected. Supposedly because of training. I expressed my dissatisfaction to the SM, and asked him politely to show me where he is getting the information that an ASPL can be elected and an SPL appointed. He "discussed it with the DE". The DE is new, young, and apparently not very well-read about Scouting. Grrrr. SM said he'd take my concerns under advisement -- which we all know means I'm being patronized.

It's an issue I feel very strongly about, having seen it irreparably divide our last troop. My question is, what's my next step? The elections aren't for another month. Do I go to the Committee Chair? The District Executive?

Is he right, and I'm wrong? Has National changed their standards? If not, can a DE override them as a local issue?

I'm feeling very frustrated at the moment; feeling like I'm seeing the writing on the wall.


Are you concerned about the process or the scout who will move up to SPL?
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Re: Appointed or Elected?

Postby FrankJ » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:23 pm

While I agree that the SPL should be elected directly & that is the model that is taught in SM fundamentals, there is no "rule" that says it has to be so. Nobody outside the troop can override these kind of decisions. So going to the DE, district committee, unit commissioner, etc is pointless. The unit commissioner can discuss things with the troop, but he cannot make the troop do anything. The CC could change the policy, but even that should not be done arbitrarily.

I have heard of troops electing the ASPL & having him move to SPL the next term. The advantage of that is the ASPL gains experience he needs to run the troop. This is not uncommon in volunteer organizations. Our PTA does something like that as well. Are the boys running the troop is the bigger issue.
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Re: Appointed or Elected?

Postby AquilaNegra2 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:24 pm

smtroop168 wrote:Are you concerned about the process or the scout who will move up to SPL?


Both. But mostly the process. The reason that it's written as SPL-elected, ASPL-appointed is so that the SPL *chooses* his ASPL, someone without an agenda who is there to support HIM. It gives a boy the chance to make a 6-month (in our case) commitment rather than a year; it provides the opportunity for an older Scout who doesn't need 6 months of training to move right into SPL; and it ensures that they boy running the troop is the one that the Scouts want in the top leadership -- boys can change a lot in 6 months. It's worked that way for 100 years.

The particular boy isn't horrible. He did say (previously) that he wants the position so he doesn't have to sit under any other boy's authority, which is a red flag for me. There are two or three other boys who would be much better choices (no, not mine) and would likely be elected.



So, Frank, it's just a guideline then? If so, I won't push it. It's a new troop that does not HAVE a policy (the first SPL/ASPL was adult-chosen because all the boys were brand new crossovers from Webelos). I had thought it was part of the program and unalterable. How much discretion does a SM have, then? (I like ours, but think the ASPL's ASM-father is driving this.)
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Re: Appointed or Elected?

Postby FrankJ » Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:58 pm

John Adams would certainly agree with you. Thomas Jefferson was not the best pick for VP as far as he was concerned. For much of the same reasons.

I would call it a guideline as much as a model. All the training & literature has a model boy scout troop. Which includes a direct elected SPL. From troop leader training on up. It is based on a hundred years of experience of what works. Other arrangements might work, but why reinvent the wheel? But with the exception of advancement, the units are pretty much free to arrange themselves as they want to. LDS churches are a good example of group that has taken the program and adapted it to their needs. (Please do not take this as a jab LDS because it is not.)

If your leadership has not been to training, I would strongly suggest that they go. Not only will they get trained for their position, but they can talk to leaders in other troops to find out what works for them.

As far as the current round of SPL, it might be better to skip the battle & win the war. Although this really should not be looked on as a war with winner & losers because I am sure the common goal is to have a good troop.
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Re: Appointed or Elected?

Postby wagionvigil » Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:25 pm

The junior leader with the most responsibility in a troop is the Senior Patrol Leader. He is elected by all of the members of the troop. Each troop sets its' own requirements and schedule of elections, though senior patrol leaders are usually chosen at six- to 12-month intervals and can be reelected. ”

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Re: Appointed or Elected?

Postby AquilaNegra2 » Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:01 pm

Thanks for posting that, Wagion. Not sure what to do at this point, but I do think it's definitely not in the best interest of the troop.
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