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Tampa Turtle

Advice for successful incorporation of 18 year old ASM

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Son#1 (Eagled July 2016 and aged out late August 2016) missed scouts and is coming back as a (part-time) ASM. As he is a Junior in High School he should stick around for a while and is intending to go to Summer Camp with the Troop and do some training there). He is all registered up and has his YPT. I did not twist his arm; I think he missed the meetings he had been going to for 6 years.

 

(Taking IOLS will be a tough sell as he had 132 nights camping and the CC says he needs to take Trek Safely though he has almost 800 miles of Backpacking and Hiking as a scout. But as I explained BSA makes everyone jump through hoops equally ridiculously LOL.)

 

My real question is how to help him with the transition from Scout to Scouter vs the Scouts AND the adults. I sense that this is no easy transition in the best of cases. He is strong on field-craft and aquatics.

 

The SM and SM-Elect seem supportive. I was thinking it might be best to have him start with the younger guys who know him the least and help with some of the Canoe and Backpacking trips where a young buck comes in handy.

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I was an 18 year old ASM.  Of course that was 21 years ago.  I remember finding the transition quite easy.  I've seen several boys who turn 18 stay on as ASM's.  I've found that a lot of times, they're actually more qualified then most of the ASM's who were already there.  If he was an active Scout as a boy and was a good leader as a youth, I'd say that he should have no problem. 

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I too was an 18 y.o. ASM. I jumped through the hoops to get "trained," although like your son I could have taught the courses.

 

Despite all the training, knowledge, skills, and abilities, it was hard for me to make the transition. Yes working with the younger Scouts helps a lot. I've found young Scouts have a puppy-like devotion to the older ones. The older ones may be a challenge as they are use to him being a peer. But for me, I had to be reminded multiple times and be mentored multiple times that I'm no longer a Scout, but a Scouter, and I need to act like a Scouter and not a Scout. Yes, I was that bad.

 

The other issue being a "G.A.S.er" (Gray Area Scouter, i.e. 18-20) was not being taken seriously as an adult by other adults outside the troop. I got active in the OA, and in turn on the district and council levels, as a young adult. Some folks told me I don't know what I'm doing, ignored my ideas, etc. It can became frustrating at times.

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(@kypton_son, it's like you're my evil twin! Except my first ASM patch is probably a little more faded than yours. ;))

 

Every young adult is different. But the goal is to make him feel respected as an equal.

Have him set up camp with you adults. Let him hang with the SPL and ASPL during free time. Let him sit in on a few SMCs. Have the SM ask him for feedback. When there's a one-off project that one of you adults might do, set him to it. (For example, at summer camp, I noticed a permanent orienteering marker was missing. So I called the ASM out of his electronic device funk, walked over to the QM, requisitioned the fallen post a shovel, and he and I dug a post-hole in a swamp.)

Edited by qwazse
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I don't have a memory of any situations of young ASMs who were scouts in our troop, but I found young adults who were not scouts in or troop tended to struggle defining their role as an ASM. Either they fell in to being too much of a scout, or they over reacted in being an adult. They feel more at ease with the scouts, but know it's the adults they have to please. I left them alone as much as I could for the first six months so they could get a feel for the troop and how the adults worked with the program, then I started pulling them into the adult side; more to develop maturity than anything.

 

Also, my teacher son who is a new father reminded me the other day that working with kids takes on a whole different perspective after becoming a parent. He reminded my of one of our Eagle scouts who found himself to be a father at 19. He was a completely different person the year before. We parent leaders need to understand and respect that paradigm.

 

Barry

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(@kypton_son, it's like you're my evil twin! Except my first ASM patch is probably a little more faded than yours. ;))

 

Mine is pretty worn.  Good to know there are others out there that are as well tenured as myself.

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The current SM, and any future SM currently involved with the program, should discuss with this new young ASM his role in advance. The SM has a valuable new resource. Use it wisely, but give him appropriate time to fellowship with his friends. I would not force him to always work with the youngest scouts. Negotiate a balanced role. And most of all, recognize him for a job well done, and how valued he is to the troop's program. Do not allow any adults (leaders or not) to make him feel less than who he is (Eagle or not by the way), an important new adult leader.

 

I had many scouts to scouters transition successfully over 33 years. I had one who didn't get it. Fired him.

 

sst3rd

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I asked because I saw a few come and go. Will be hard on Dad most of all and younger brother SPL. I will ask the SM and SM-Elect (both are good guys)

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I had one Eagle transition into ASM after aging out.  Did well, but struggled with his best friend who was  2 years younger.  Found it difficult to not hang out together as much anymore, but they came to terms with it and the two of them worked well together after that.  The younger Eagle was a TG for the troop and the older Eagle was the ASM and between them they did quite a bit to promote the boy-led, patrol-method process in the troop. 

 

If given a specific role, the ASM's in my troop stay on task and regardless of age, do well with the program..

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Son#1 (Eagled July 2016 and aged out late August 2016) missed scouts and is coming back as a (part-time) ASM. As he is a Junior in High School he should stick around for a while and is intending to go to Summer Camp with the Troop and do some training there). He is all registered up and has his YPT. I did not twist his arm; I think he missed the meetings he had been going to for 6 years.

 

(Taking IOLS will be a tough sell as he had 132 nights camping and the CC says he needs to take Trek Safely though he has almost 800 miles of Backpacking and Hiking as a scout. But as I explained BSA makes everyone jump through hoops equally ridiculously LOL.)

 

My real question is how to help him with the transition from Scout to Scouter vs the Scouts AND the adults. I sense that this is no easy transition in the best of cases. He is strong on field-craft and aquatics.

 

The SM and SM-Elect seem supportive. I was thinking it might be best to have him start with the younger guys who know him the least and help with some of the Canoe and Backpacking trips where a young buck comes in handy.

 

I would not have selected your son to be an ASM until he finished high school.  The transition is tricky enough for an 18 year old who is a recent graduate.  I can only imagine how awkward it would be for your son to be a classmate during the school day and an adult leader in the evening and on weekends.

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I would not have selected your son to be an ASM until he finished high school.  The transition is tricky enough for an 18 year old who is a recent graduate.  I can only imagine how awkward it would be for your son to be a classmate during the school day and an adult leader in the evening and on weekends.

 

You'd be surprised at how little awkwardness there is. Besides, what other position is there for  18-20 year olds to be in a Boy Scout troop except as a Merit Badge Counselor, a district position.

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I had a boy (Eagle) who turned 18 at the end of his junior year.  He took SM fundamentals at summer camp after that school year, and did Woodbadge during his senior year.  He is the scout who I mentioned in the previous post.  He was not my son.  His dad was the former SM of the troop.  I drove from Wisconsin to Oklahoma for his wedding and one of the wedding gifts he received from me was my Woodbadge beads.  I told him that there are over 25 years of experience on those beads that he is responsible for adding to it.  I wear his beads.  I keep in touch through Facebook on a regular basis.  If he had been my son, I would not have complained. It is boys like him that make my job as a SM worthwhile.

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You'd be surprised at how little awkwardness there is. Besides, what other position is there for  18-20 year olds to be in a Boy Scout troop except as a Merit Badge Counselor, a district position.

 

Is there a reason your son doesn't want to register as a merit badge counselor (a district position)?

Edited by David CO

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My experience is most 18 year olds that want to stay as ASMs have scouting as something that fills a place in their lives.  And, I'm 100% okay with that.  As long as you make it clear about youth protection and expectations, I'd be easy on the new ASM.  Let him find his place.  Treat him as a fellow adult and as a friend guide him into his new role.  But let him enjoy it.  

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