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How long should a Scoutmaster be a Scoutmaster

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I would like to hear your thoughts on how long a Scoutmaster should be the Scoutmaster.

Lets keep the simple and say that the Scoutmaster is doing a good job.

Should the Scoutmaster stay on board until he say ENOUGH?

Or should this term be limted to 2 years, 10 years?

 

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The Scoutmaster has the influnce of many Scout in the time he/she serves. Nationwide, the average time a SM serves is 10.5 years.

 

Most SM's I know serve that long or longer. In troop I am Commisioner for, the SM just retired after 15 years of service to boys in our community. I feel that as long as the SM is happy in the job, is giving the Scouts a quality program and feels he/she is effective, ge/she should continue.

 

When program becomes stale, the SM is shows signs of burn out or boys are leaving at high rate, it is time for a change.

 

This can determined by the SM, the Troop Committe, and/or the Commissioner.

 

The important thing is that a quality program is provided to the Scouts in the troop.

 

Scott Hemgren

ADC

Central Minnesota Council

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Ideally, I feel that a SM should serve for at least seven years. That way, a Scout will never have more than two Scoutmasters in their career. Like was mentioned before, this all depends on how the troop is doing. If the troop is not moving in a good direction or has stagnated, it is usually a sign that the top leadership needs to be changed (a group will reflect its top leader). No matter how long a SM serves, their should be a plan of succession in case anything happens to the SM. That way, the troop will have a minimal adjustment if the SM suddenly leaves for whatever reason. I can tell you that high turnover among SM's will not help a troop. My troop has never had more than 16-18 active Scouts. We've had eight SM's in 19 years of existance, and two of those served five years each in two separate terms.

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My feeling is when it stops being fun, it's time to run. I have been the Scoutmaster of my Troop since 1997. I was an ASM & CC prior to that & have 11 years in Boy Scouts & 3 years in Cubs. For me, it is still fun. I love teaching the Scouts & watching them grow up (most of them that is). The man who was SM prior (he is now an ASM) really got to be a grouch & it was time to step down. So in answer to the question, I don't think there should be a term for a SM. Once it stops being fun is when I will step down.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

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I think the answer is revealed by looking at the people around the Scoutmaster. If the troop is vibrant, and there is a healthly number of other adult leaders serving in various roles, then I think the SM is probably doing his job well.

 

But if a troop has had the same SM for years, and he serves almost at the exclusion of other quality adults, then the unit has become pretty one dimensional, and a change in leadership is due.

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Personally, I feel that when a scoutmaster stops letting the boys lead the troop and has the adults running it he, or she, should be replaced.

This might happen after 6 months, 6 years or 16 years. However once it becomes Adult Scouts rather than Boy Scouts, it's time for a change.

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I agree with Chipewa29. A high turn over is undesirable. At the point in their lives that we lead them there are many uncertainties. Their bodies, intellects, hormones and roles in family, school etc are all developing. Having a safe refuge with a consistant role model may be very important. Obviously inappropriate styles and 'grumpiness' is to be avoided.

 

Having other good adults around in formal and informal roles is also important. The kids need to examine alternatives to mum and dad and a variety is as important as consistency. They need both I suppose.

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A friend of mine in Scouting has been Scoutmaster of his troop for almost 30 years now. And there's no sign that he's ready to call it quits. Nor is there any sign that the troop is ready to let him go. He has somewhere in the neighborhood of 65 Scouts in his troop. He also has about 70 registered Scouters...all in uniform...in his troop. His SM position is the ideal. He's surrounded by significant talent, and is able to stick to the job as defined in the books. I took my direction from him, even though I never achieved his mark.

 

I was a Scoutmaster for two terms in the troop, totalling 15 out of 20, oops, now 21 years in Scouting. When my own sons graduated, people would ask how long I'd stay with it. My response would always be: As long as it's still fun, and as long as the troop will have me. Yes, there came that point when it was no longer fun (old thread somewhere around here), and I retired. But I didn't leave Scouting.

 

I don't think there should be a term limit to any Scouter position. Scouters in many areas are very hard to come by, and, unless they prove themselves to be totally inadequate, a detriment to the troop and program, or some other problem, troops should be pretty glad to have them. Few parents nowadays are willing to jump in and lend a hand, even if their own sons are involved. BSA in some places could be understood to mean Baby Sitters of America. Without the determination and good will of those who will jump in and do the job....the job may never get done in those places.

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Our scoutmaster has been in that position for a bit over 30 years also. He is considering stepping down and having me take over. I don't think I could ever live up to his reputation. Some of the boys int he troop now are the sons of boys who made their eagle under the same scoutmaster.

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Weekender-

 

I both envy and don't envy you. The reason I do envy you is that you would obviously be stepping into a good situation of a stable troop with good resources and a strong tradition. On the other, hand, it will not be your troop for several years at least, especially if the current SM sticks around to help out. The best thing you can do for yourself is be yourself. If you try to be the current SM, you will fail miserably. However, as yourself, you may actually end up a better leader (in your own way) than the current SM and have as much influence with the Scouts during your tenure (however long it is) as the previous SM had during his tenure.

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