Youth elections aren’t immune to drama

Many youth leaders in Scouts, Venturing and Sea Scouts are chosen by their peers. It’s a great exercise in civics.

However, like with any election, one side can be left disappointed with the results. 

Let’s examine this scenario:

Star Scout Adam and First Class Scout Timothy are running for patrol leader. Adam is the current patrol leader of the 8-member Dragon patrol; he was selected over Timothy in the last election, 5-3. The Dragons have loved having Adam as their leader and urged him to run again, which he happily does. Timothy, though, needs to fulfill his leadership requirement for the next rank and really has his heart set on serving as patrol leader.

After the vote, Adam wins again; this time, 6-2.

Timothy is heartbroken. He’s starting to believe he’ll never be patrol leader. He approaches his senior patrol leader with his concerns; the SPL tells him the election process works just fine and offers to appoint him as the troop librarian. But Timothy doesn’t want another leadership role in the troop; he really wants to be patrol leader.

The senior patrol leader presents Timothy’s concerns to the Patrol Leaders Council, which decides to keep the patrol elections as is. After finding out about the decision, Timothy is now really distraught.

What do you do?

As an adult leader, how do you counsel Timothy? What advice do you give him?

What about the current youth leadership? Are the elections turning into popularity contests? Should they reconsider changing their election procedures?

About Michael Freeman 51 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is associate editor of Boys’ Life, Scouting and Eagles’ Call magazines.