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  • JASM in a SM Conference?

    Hi, I was just wondering whether a JASM should be allowed to sit in on a SMC, either as an observer or as one of the people actually giving the SMC. Let me be clear, I am currently a Senior Patrol Leader who will become a JASM at the end of my term. I have read some forums about the position and notice that the perception of the position is not what I am (I mean how some people think of it as a position that doesn't do anything and is a place where Eagle Scouts go to die, which will not be me). I will continue to be active and plan on becoming an ASM when I turn 18. Since I plan on becoming an ASM, should I maybe be taught how to be one while I am a JASM, including SM Conferences. If not, then how could I become an effective JASM? I appreciate any response.

  • #2
    Hello! Welcome to Scouter.com

    As a 20 year old ASM myself, I think JASM is a great way for Scouts near to aging out to begin the transition to being an Adult leader. What that means in practice is up to the Scoutmaster of your Troop. In my troop, JASM's function largely as advisors to the SPL and Patrol leaders. They are there to coach those other leaders when they are stumped or need a little bit of help.

    Perhaps this will help you. http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php...nt_Scoutmaster

    Note according to BSA policy, ASM's should not be doing Scoutmaster conferences. Certainly this is not part of the job of a JASM. You perform functions that an ASM is supposed to fill (advisor, conflict resolution) while being more approachable because of your age.

    (TL;DR) JASM is what you and your Scoutmaster make of it. To answer your question, the BSA doesn't encourage ASM's or JASM's to do Scoutmaster's conferences. Congratulations on being SPL and I hope you will stick around on the forums with us.

    Sentinel947
    Last edited by Sentinel947; 08-07-2014, 04:19 PM.

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    • #3
      In our troop ASMs and the SM do them as a team so I was confused lol. Would you say that the JASM is an ASM in training?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Scouter205 View Post
        In our troop ASMs and the SM do them as a team so I was confused lol. Would you say that the JASM is an ASM in training?
        Likewise in my unit, our Assistant Scoutmaster's also conduct Scoutmasters conferences due to the size of my troop. 80+ Scouts.

        The BSA's training on SMC's can be found here. http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/18-629.pdf

        "In large troops, delegating this function may be necessary, especially when large numbers of
        Webelos Scouts are joining the troop. In these cases, an experienced assistant Scoutmaster can
        fill in to conduct the Scoutmaster conference. Remember however, that this first Scoutmaster
        conference is vital to the new Scout’s development. Even in a large troop, a Scoutmaster should not delegate a conference with any candidate for Star, Life, and Eagle."

        With that being what it is, I wouldn't allow a JASM to do Scoutmaster conferences in my troop. Mostly because the BSA makes no affirmative provision for it, and the parents would be up in arms about it.

        That being said, I do believe JASM is an ASM in training. I know there are many different thoughts about the position. My troop has received good use out of them (JASM's) (Although I was never offered to be a JASM when I was a Scout.)

        If you are unsure about the position, the person to ask is really your Scoutmaster. Since he will be delegating tasks down to you. One of my first tasks when I became a new ASM was to advise the guides when the webelos came into the Troop. I wouldn't stand in the room and breathe down their necks, but I'd talk to the guides before and after the meetings to see how things where going, and give advice as needed. On camping trips I'd be there to assist or help the Guides work through issues that came up with the New Scouts.

        The change from being an SPL to being an ASM/JASM is really going from being the dude in charge to being an advisor. As an advisor one of the biggest challenges is not forcing Scouts to do things your way, and sometimes that means watching things not go as smoothly as we would like, but thats how Scouts learn. By trying things themselves, leading themselves, and getting advice from older Scouts and adults when they absolutely can't get something.

        Sentinel947

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        • #5
          I think they call them ScoutMaster Conferences for a reason.

          This is the time for real heart to heart, no holds barred, talk with SM and Scout. I make sure NO ONE is within ear-shot of the discussion. We remain visible to the troop (YPT) but what is discussed is no one's business other than the SM and Scout.

          I have no idea what an ASM or JASM would learn about doing a SMC in the first place. There is no prescribed structure to them, and is entirely at the will and discretion of the SM as to how he wants to handle them.

          My suggestion would be, don't worry about SMC's until you become a SM and then you'll figure it out on your own.

          Stosh

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          • #6
            I would steer clear of the SMC's until your are an adult in your troop. It sounds like in your troop, this is an opportunity for the adults to get to know the boys (kind of like a pre-BoR), and you've probably already know the guys pretty well. JASM gives you an opportunity to help your troop in unique ways: you can organize your older scouts into a Venture Patrol, you could research a trip opportunity that would provide multiple tiers for different patrols, visit a venturing crew, an O/A conclave (if you're an arrowman), or talk to new scout parents about what it was like for you when you joined the troop.

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            • #7
              Ditto what others said, let the SM do it. The ASM who will be the next SM (yes we have a succession plan) signs off on advancement, but not the SMC.

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              • #8
                Since your going to be a ASM soon, I would start taking the training to be fully trained. There is Scoutmaster/ASM 1-3 which is the 4-6 hour class that will get you started and cover this. Then there is Intro to Outdoor Leadership. It's the overnight part.

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                • #9
                  I wouldn't have a problem with it, but you've been through a few SM Conferences already so you know what they're like - at least in your Troop.

                  In our Troop ASM's generally only do SM Conferences when a Scout goes through a couple of ranks in a short time. I do one, one of them does one. Good training for them, and the Scout gets a different perspective.

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                  • #10
                    I do SMC's all the time. Sometimes for rank, sometimes because the boy screwed up and sometimes because he did something nice. A bedwetter who's homesick is pretty much a good candidate for a SMC.

                    Anytime a boy needs one-on-one time with the SM for a troop or personal matter is a SMC in my book.

                    Stosh

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Scouter205 View Post
                      I am currently a Senior Patrol Leader who will become a JASM at the end of my term. I have read some forums about the position and notice that the perception of the position is not what I am (I mean how some people think of it as a position that doesn't do anything and is a place where Eagle Scouts go to die, which will not be me).
                      Well said, sadly there are a couple Scoutmasters here that for some reason agree with that theory.

                      Originally posted by Scouter205 View Post
                      I will continue to be active and plan on becoming an ASM when I turn 18. Since I plan on becoming an ASM, should I maybe be taught how to be one while I am a JASM, including SM Conferences. If not, then how could I become an effective JASM? I appreciate any response.
                      Our CC once told me about a first year scout at summer camp that they had just finished doing his 2nd class BOR. When they asked him what we just discussed at his SM conference, he said he had not had one yet. When they told him we had it an hour earlier where I bought him an icecream bar and talked, he said that I always have friendly chats with him, so he didn't know the difference.

                      The word conference confuses a lot of us into thinking it should be a formal meeting with a somewhat business style discussion. And it can be, especially Eagle conferences. But my personal style of scoutmastering is talking to scouts enough to already know the answers of what might be asked at a formal conference. You have the advantage Scouter205 of being about the same age as the scouts, so you can and do have a lot of discussions with the scouts.

                      I think what I and many scoutmasters (and adults in general) need to practice is just listening. That is so much harder than you think. I remember my first SPL while I was a SM, he just wasn't performing up to my expectations. I decided to ask him to dinner for pizza so we could talk about his performance. I was also concerned how to approach this discussion, so I asked here on Scouter.com for some help. This was back when the forum was a lot more active with experienced scouters. I got all kinds of answers, but one very wise scouter asked me if I knew how he felt about his performance so far. That question hit me like a ton of bricks. I had never asked. So I did ask that night during pizza and his face lite up while bragging about all the skills. He went on and on of how he was getting better at teaching, running meetings, creating agendas and so on. I was so focused on where "I" wanted him to go that I had forgotten to see how far "he" had come. All that by asking one single question and then just listening. In just a few minutes, I had gone from being disapointed with my SPL to being very very proud of him. Being proud is so much more fun.

                      I think it would be good to listen in to a few conferences if your SM thinks it is OK. Sometimes the discussion my be more personal than fellow scouts needs to know. But remember, each SM has their own style, so learn from what you hear, but realize that you will likely do it a little different to fit your style. I guided my scouts with your maturity to just practice talking a little less and listening a little more. Practice asking questions without ever really giving your own answers because it is the other persons answer that is important. Just asking "was that fun or what" gives people and opening to feel good about themselves. Try to do less guiding and instead ask a couple questions to get the other person to guide themselves. You don't have to always come off as the know-it-all. Give them a chance to see that they know-it too. As SM I might ask how a scouts actions practiced the scout law. Then I leave it up to him to determine if and how he did that. Try to be as good a cheer leader as you are guide of their moral actions.

                      I'm glad to see that you are wanting to learn more to improve your future. Very mature, very smart. I'm sure you will be a great JASM as well as SM.

                      Barry
                      Last edited by Eagledad; 08-08-2014, 10:32 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Scouter205 View Post
                        In our troop ASMs and the SM do them as a team so I was confused lol. Would you say that the JASM is an ASM in training?
                        ​Just to confirm .... by "AS A TEAM" ... you mean that your swap out who have a set of ASMs who support the SM by doing SMCs. ... BUT ... they are still a one-on-one experience (with youth protection still addressed). Just wondering if you meant as multiple people in the SMC because SMC is meant to be a simple conversation.


                        --------------

                        SMC topics ... I know it's not supposed to be formal conversation, but the first scoutmaster I worked with had a plan to his approach that I still like. It was still a simple conversation that occur anywhere and whenever the scout wanted. But the SM would work in specific topics for each rank as each rank meant something different in the advancement program. For example, the joining SMC is about his cub experience and what he can expect and to practices law, oath, etc. Tenderfoot is about learning the skills path. First class is about the transition to being a fullly skilled scout and starting with leadership roles.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sentinel947 View Post
                          Likewise in my unit, our Assistant Scoutmaster's also conduct Scoutmasters conferences due to the size of my troop. 80+ Scouts.
                          Which is why your SM is having difficulty doing right by his boys, and is the reason BP opined on the best size for a troop:
                          "The numbers in a Troop should preferably not exceed thirty two. I suggest this number because in training boys myself I have found that sixteen was about as many I could deal with - in getting at and bringing out the individual character in each. I allow for other people being twice as capable as myself and hence the total of thirty-two.(Aids to Scoutmasterhip)" As quoted at WOSM. (emphasis mine)


                          Scouter205,
                          As others have done a good job noting, SMCs are barely in the purview of ASMs, certainly not JASMs.

                          I felt really insecure as a 20-yr-old ASM, I was discussing it with a friend whose advice set me straight: At your age, it's basically your role to keep up friendships with the boys, promote participation and have fun. When something serious is going on, get an older guy. In the meantime, you're uniquley positioned to be a confidante and have a better perspective of what the boys are really thinking about the program, and relay that to the SM.

                          Once the last kid that was 10 when you turned 18 is gone, you can start to really begin being perceived by the kids as an adult. Until then you're better used (and you'll enjoy yourself more) as more of a super-scout who's along for the fun but can also drive scouts and gear, and count as leadership for trips.
                          Last edited by Scouter99; 08-15-2014, 09:44 PM.

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