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  • new scoutmaster, and new to forums

    Hello all. I've looked here briefly a few times, but just felt compelled to sign up and make a post for the first time (about something in Wood Badge, if you haven't been to the course yet I recommending not reading the "Win All You Can" thread, if you have been, you probably know why I had an experience I felt compelled to post about).

    I have been on the committee for a cub scout pack for several years, and followed that role with my oldest son last year when he joined a Troop. I am now an ASM, and will be transitioning to SM sometime in the next year. I'm a bit overwhelmed. As stated above, I'm on my off weekend for Wood Badge.

    My Troop has gone from about 6 active boys to around 20-25 in the last few years, largely due to the outgoing SM in my opinion. Big shoes to fill. However, he has had changes in his life that necessitate him not keeping the SM role. He will still be around quite a bit as an ASM, just not as the person with the primary responsibility. I'm taking on the role because I love what he has done with the program. I still see some areas where positive changes can be made, but if I can impact someone else's son the way he has impacted mine then I think I am on the right track. We have a ton of parents who are active, so that is a huge benefit that I have. The biggest areas to improve are transitioning to running a pack with 20-30 boys rather than 5-6. I know that's pretty vague, but if anyone has experience with changing from a small start up Troop to a midsized Troop, I would love suggestions (especially if they can be worked into ticket items)

  • #2
    Welcome , and been there with a small Troop and seen it grow from 5 to 50 (10+ new Scouts every year).

    Strongly endorse the SM concentrating on training the SPL/ASPl for Troop Leadership Training so they can turn around train the other Scout leaders and leverage the PLC.

    As SM do not take an active role in the Scout Meetings, other than SM minute at the end.

    Also promote Patrol identity, don't combine Patrols on outings just because some of Patrol A did not show up...

    Comment


    • #3
      Yeah, interesting that you bring up not talking until the SM minute. Last week one of the ASM's barked at the boys (for a valid reason, but I don't care, it wasn't the proper way to handle the situation) during the meeting. We also have too many adults making announcements that the boys could handle themselves. And we have adults standing in the wings when the boys are trying to conduct their meeting, making occasional comments (helpful usually, but again not the proper place). Later in the meeting last week when the boys were doing an activity I told the ASM's (and the SM, as I don't hold that role yet), that I was instituting a new rule. From now on, unless a boy is in imminent mortal peril, no one over 18 is to speak at the meeting without raising their hand and waiting to be recognized by the SPL. I am also putting a line behind the last row of boys that no adults are allowed in front of without first asking permission to enter. I have already lined up for the SM to cross the line to talk to the boys without permission, and for the SPL to put him in his place and make him go to the back of the room to ask permission before he crosses the line or addresses the group. I'm also going to make some announcements to the Troop during the meeting, and one of the boys has been planted to ask me why I am giving them the info directly instead of through the SPL. I plan on tying it all together in the SM minute, which will be aimed at the parents as much as the boys.

      Should be a fun meeting, I'm kind of excited.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have observed a number of SM's, all pretty good. As an ASM I suggest:

        (1) Get the training. I have seen it has reduced the anxiety.
        (2) Ask the ASM's what you want them to do.
        (3) Focus on the boys, focus on the boys.
        (4) Feel free to play with the boys.

        I have been very impressed on how patient and understanding our SM's have been with the boys. We ASM's tend to get the 'bad cop" role to preserve the reputation of "the old man".

        Comment


        • #5
          A SM can handle 5-8 boys in a small troop quite nicely. But if he's running the show, then none of the boys ever learn leadership and responsibility.

          If you grow beyond that you need the patrol method. That way no one has more than 6-8 people to handle at one time. 50 boys? 6 patrols each PL has 8 boys to worry about and work with. SPL has 6 PL's to worry about at one time. Each patrol operates like a "mini-troop" with PL as the "SM". Those "troops" are coordinated by the SPL through the PLC.

          If the SM think he can handle all 50 boys, guess again. A highly trained, professional school teacher says the ability to handle more than 25 is a handful.

          Train your boys and disburse the leadership throughout the troop.

          Stosh

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          • #6
            Sorry you are taking Wood Badge. At least in our district, Wood Badge seems to indicate that you cannot implement what you have been taught.

            Comment


            • Buffalo2012
              Buffalo2012 commented
              Editing a comment
              Wood Badge is very dependant upon the Council/District facilitating the course. Too bad its not a good experience in your district. I got a LOT out of my WB experience.

          • #7
            Just wanted to introduce myself. My name is Ray. I am the assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 105, Piedmont Council #420, Battlegrond District. I have been the ASM since November of 2012.

            Comment


            • #8
              Ray,
              Welcome to the campfire!
              Prof

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              • #9
                Yep, welcome to our temporarily dysfunctional virtual crackerbarrel. Admit it,Prof, Campfires and electronics are a bad mix. Cheese and crackers , ok. Crumbs in the keyboard you can shake out. Melted plastic, not so good.

                Test Test.

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                • #10
                  SSS,
                  Good point! I hadn't thought about that!
                  Prof

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                  • #11
                    Test Test, howdy.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      My son crossed over last December. I am a Unit Commissioner, CS RT Commissioner, CS Day Camp Director, and Troop Chaplain. I am IOLS trained and have taken on an informal ASM role to help the young scouts get through Tenderfoot.

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                      • #13
                        Scouter Scot,
                        Welcome to the crackerbarrel!
                        Prof

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