Jump to content

Questions for a prospective Scoutmaster to ask

Recommended Posts

HELP! I have been approached be the Scoutmaster for a local troop. I have scheduled a meeting with the committee for next week to get answers to some questions that I have. Does anyone have any additional questions that would be appropriate to pose to the group, or any other items to consider before assuming this responsibility? I have very limited scouting experience, but am interested in the position. My main concern is that I would be just a name on paper, with several parents actually controlling the troops activities and functions. Thanks for any input or advice!!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Mr. Floyd First off, don't show them the dark side of your moon. Ok, OK, just couldn't resist. I have so few pleasures in life.


You leave a lot to our imagination. I would ask:


How many adults have been trained?

What are their goals for your scouts in this troop? Tell them yours, and will they except that?

Do they know what the BSA's goals are? Do you?

What does boy run mean to them, and ask for some exmaples?


Give them your definition of boy run and give them some of your examples. Ask them if they will be excepting of your boy run definition and a program like it.

Ask them how they deal with disapline? Tell them how you will deal with it in a boy run troop. Will they except that?


You need to find out their motive to be in that troop, and why they want you. They need to hear your ideas so that they can decide if you're the right person. If not, you will be asking different questions a year from now.


Good Luck, it was during my Scoutmastering that I learned to say "I love this Scouting stuff".



Link to post
Share on other sites

Ask about the level of involvment on the chartered organization. Many CO's are just names, and that is far from a deal breaker, but if there is active involvement and guidance from the CO, you want to know about it.


Ask about their activities. How active are they in terms of outings and what are their expectations? Do they expect you to be the adult leader responsible for every single outing? (That would be a deal breaker for me.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

The first thing I would do is go online and take the Fast Start training. That will give you some basic knowledge. Also, ascertain if they expect you to "do everything". In some troops, the SM is God and he rules the roost. The way it's supposed to work is the youth run the show, with guidance and support from the adult committee. The Committee Chairman is actually the "CEO" of the Troop, with other committee members in charge of such things as finance, advancement, transportation, program, training, etc. Needless to say, the CC and SM need to work closely together and establish common goals that you both can live with. The SM who tries to do it all will quickly burn out. If you have a good SPL who is trained and fairly senior, and a good Patrol Leaders' Council, your job should be easy. And if you run into problems, call your Unit Commissioner. That's his/her job!

Link to post
Share on other sites

In addition to the other great advice here, especially finding out the human factors & motivations, here's one more bit:


Read everything you can. Not just the SM handbook and Scout Handbook. Here's a short list (anyone else, feel free to add):



-Requirements Book

-Troop Committee Guidebook

-Insignia Guide

-SPL handbook

-PL Handbook

-Junior Leader Handbook

-Advancement Committee Policies book

-Guide to Safe Scouting


Here's a few more tips:


- Ask to see copies of the last ten Local Tour Permits the Troop filed. That'll tell you if they did them, first of all, where they went, and who approved them. All good indicators of program strength and rule-following.


- Ask to see the minutes of the last year's committee meetings...same reasoning.


- Ask to see the treasurer's reports for the last year...same reasoning.


- Ask to look at the Troop's equipment. The organization, condition, and quantities will tell you a lot.


- Ask to see the last year's advancement reports.


- Look at the troop flag; where are the Quality Unit and Camporee award streamers?


Good luck.



Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

Hey, I'm new to this forum, though i've been lurking for a while, mostly in the Issues & politics folder (wow) and I'd just like to say hello. I've been involved with Scouting, off and on, since about 1990. Went three three straight years in the provisional/scoutreach program, but then was later able to jump into to more traditional scouting. Never a Scout myself (kinda jealous at all I missed) but I've really been blessed to be able work with Scouts of many different backgrounds, races, and age groups, and do some cool Scouting stuff, including going to several BSA camps, and doing some independent stuff. Really, really enjoyed myself.


Had to learn leadership along the way, since it was kinda forced upon me...


So, while PinkFloyd is learning, i'm gonna be taking notes as well. Cuz I still have much to learn (and I'm considering starting a troop or Venture Unit where i'm at). Hope that's okay.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Best Scoutmasters are those who let a handfull of Boys control the Troop activities and functions.

Be sure to explain that you want to run a Scout Troop, not a Merit Badge factory.

Ask your DE,when he/she last met with the Chartered Organization, and how have things gone in the past?

If you are not a member of the Organization that charters the Troop, ask yourself Why Not?

Will not being a member cause any problems?

Check out what equipment they have and what plans are in place to provide you the tools to do your job, as Scoutmaster.

The list could go on and on. However most of the adults in Scouting, are doing what they do due to the fact that they really do like kids, and at times are willing to forgive the Adults for not seeing what the real program is all about, and how it ought to be run.

Welcome to the Forums, there are a lot of very talented people, who may at times see things, not in the same light as each other, but I think almost all of them have the good of our youth at heart.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ask them if they think training is necessary for the new Scoutmaster. How they respond to that should be telling. And ask them how much they expect to "meddle" in the operation of the your boy-led troop.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would ask everything everyone else has posted. I would also visit a couple Troop meetings to see what goes on. I would also go on a campout to be an observer. You can learn alot doing this.


Ed Mori


Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

Link to post
Share on other sites

Parents should not be directing troop activities at all. Neither should you as scoutmaster. If that is your concern, I'm guessing you have reason to worry that this is already occurring. Your biggest concern should be how to convert the parents from leaders to support staff so that the boys have a chance to be the leaders.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Look at the size and age of the boys in the troop. I'm a SM for a small to medium troop (16 boys) who are all 6th and 7th graders. My biggest problem is when I give the boys responsibilities (call members in your patrol for communication, plan, buy, cook and clean meals as a patrol, etc.) most of the parents complain that they are not old enough yet.


The younger the boys in the troop, the more work required by the SM & ASMs. Working with the boys is great, dealing with the parents can be both joyous and a burden. Knowing your ASMs is a good idea before you jump in headfirst.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with sagerscout. Something in your post raised a red flag. I sense there are concerns or past issues with this troop to cause you to have concern about being "just a name on paper." If that is the case then your meeting should address this issue before you continue.


Good luck and I admire your commitment. Keep us posted.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...