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My first SM Conference

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Tonight I'm about to do my first Scoutmaster's Conference with a boy that will be earning his Star rank. Funny, the honor of our troop's first one was given to my ASM, since it was my son.


Anyway, I've been reading up on what some good questions to ask will be and I think I'll do ok. I definitely want to come through for the Scout with this. But I got to thinking, I have learned quite a few things from the experienced Scouters on these forums (Gold Bond at Summer Camp!:) ). I would love to hear from some of the veterans here as to some of their tried and true SM Conference questions that you just don't find on Google.



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Congrats, SM conferences were one of my favorite part of boy scouts.


How about this one, ask the boy,"What do the words On My Honor mean to you personally in your own life?", I always got some great answers with that one.

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Most Scoutmasters think of the SM Conference as one of the highest responsibilities of their Scoutmastering. The reason is the conference for most of us expresses the foundation of our purpose. We may build the program around our vision, but the SM Conference is the one time we verbally expose ourselves to the higher purpose we want all the scouts to reach.


I say all that to point out that it takes a Scoutmaster a while to develop his or her own personal SM Conference style. As you shape your program around your vision for the scouts, you will develop a better understanding of what you really want to accomplish with your Scoutmaster Conferences.


My vision for scouts was to develop servant leaders who use the Oath and Law to guide all their decisions. So I use the ranks as stepping stones toward that goal. The ranks up to First Class was getting the scouts in habits of setting goals, setting timelines to those goals and learning how to reach those goals in their timelines. Learning the scout skills does that very well. Of course that is a very basic look at what I was trying to do, but I wanted first class scouts who were confident to survive in the woods by themselves and who also knew how to move forward with a plan. The rest of the ranks for me were more introspective for the scouts as far as serving others through leadership and followship. Character is a big thing for me. The Eagle for me was getting the scouts to understand where they served in the big picture of life.


It took me a few years to understand all that, so you have some time to develop your own vision for the scouts and understand the foundation to reaching that vision. You will hone down your conferences to where maybe, if you are lucky, the scout will seesjust a glimpse of their best possible future as you envision it and become even more motivated.


Everyone here has given some great advice. You cant really go wrong when the intent of the outcome for your conference is for the scout to leave wanting to do more scouting stuff. Scouting is fun, each scout should see scouting as fun. I believe the Troop experience is the real world challenge scaled down to a boys size, so each scout should like themselves more from the growth of their personal challenges. Scouting is a life experience like no other and each scout should see themselves doing something most boys their age are missing out. No matter who they are outside the troop, each Scout should like himself when he is in the troop. The SM Conference is a great place for that to happen.


Good luck and have fun. Ifs your reward for taking on the job.


I love this scouting stuff.




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Remember the main purpose of the SM conference is for you to get to know the scout and vice versa. Do not fall into the trap I see a lot of SMs fall into which is to review or test things learned. DO NOT come in with a list of pre-prepared questions; develop your discussion from how the scout reacts and what concerns they may have, not the other way around. Make it a fun conversation for both of you, and not a Q&A. The USSSP has some of the best advice here:




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I review what activities the scout participated in as well as those he did not participate in. We talk about those activities, scout meetings, and his general perception of the troop and program. I give him some advice about the upcoming rank and where both of us see him in the troop. Most importantly, I tell him this is his chance to critique the troop, fellow scouts, the program, adult involvement, or anything else he feels like. It is a good chance for him to open up.


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