Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Cambridgeskip

Pinning down volunteers

Recommended Posts

Col Flagg: very cheery. It depends on the region of the UK. Paying those taxes would be my culture shock.

 

I think I'll be active with the troop for another year or two, but I doubt I'd stay beyond that. 7 years without any kids in the troop is a respectable run.

 

Young adults aren't generally welcomed or encouraged to be troop volunteers. With all the other stuff going on in a young adults life, the only position they can have in a troop is ASM. That comes with a good healthy dose of training requirements.

 

Its not the other unit leaders, they all seem to genuinely think its good that I'm volunteering. The pro scouters love volunteers of my age group. Its more the newer parents and people outside of scouting that give me weird looks or even outright grief about my involvement. With all the sex abuse scandals, thats always going to be what many Americans think.

Edited by Sentinel947
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Col Flagg: very cheery. It depends on the region of the UK. Paying those taxes would be my culture shock.

I was an expat for five years. Three years Germany and two years England. Actually when you add up taxes, and I mean all taxes, and compare you actually pay about as much annually in Germany as you do in the US. Unless you live on the east coast the cost of living in England will be MUCH higher and you're flat and car (assuming you can afford one) will be smaller. Forget gas. Starbucks is 20% more expensive. London is deathly. North better but still $$$ or is that ££££. Either way, it's costly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in the US. Ohio. The current adults and I are tight knit. I was a Scout when our current Scoutmasters son joined the troop. But that was 7 years ago.

 

Its rare in the US to have young single troop volunteers. Dating, college, working, and the stigma have something to do with it. It mostly comes from new parents or folks outside of scouting.

 

Plenty of young adults volunteering at the district and council level in my council. That's probably where I'll focus most scouting volunteering in the future.

 

That's too bad.  I think 25 is the perfect age for a scoutmaster.  Your unit should be thinking of moving you up, not out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Western PA here, and the attitude is much Ohio. Based on posts on this blog, I think it is nation-wide.

 

If I were you @@Sentinel947, I would take 'Skip up on his offer.

 

In fact, @@Cambridgeskip, any chance you lot will take gaffers? On day my crew is bound to replace me. :sleep:

General consensus is that there is demand for 3 or 4 more scout troops in the Cambridge district so if you're willing ed happily take you :)

 

Re cost of living - it's really quite variable across the country. London and the surrounding areas are a complete joke. How anyone can afford to live there is beyond me. Once you move away though there are places that are relatively cheap. North East england, East Lancashire and South Wales aren't bad. Then again major cities like Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Edinburgh while not quite as bad as London are quickly catching up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I'll be active with the troop for another year or two, but I doubt I'd stay beyond that. 7 years without any kids in the troop is a respectable run.

 

Young adults aren't generally welcomed or encouraged to be troop volunteers. With all the other stuff going on in a young adults life, the only position they can have in a troop is ASM. That comes with a good healthy dose of training requirements.

 

Its not the other unit leaders, they all seem to genuinely think its good that I'm volunteering. The pro scouters love volunteers of my age group. Its more the newer parents and people outside of scouting that give me weird looks or even outright grief about my involvement. With all the sex abuse scandals, thats always going to be what many Americans think.

 

To those parents, you are young (meaning inexperienced), not a parent, and an outsider. Oddly, they do not see you as a "product" of Scouting and that in a few years their sons may be quite like you. You have to do more than "help others", you have to market yourself to the parents. introduce yourself, tell them your background, show your knowledge and enthusiasm, tell them about their son,.. The older adult leaders should promote your strengths with parents.

 

I saw this news from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (MA)

https://www.wpi.edu/news/wpi-students-put-others-first-through-community-service

 

As an assistant scoutmaster and den leader for Boy Scout Troop 54 and Cub Scout Pack 54, David Goodrich Class 2017 Electrical & Computer (Engineering) is able to pass on knowledge and skills he learned during his own experience as a Boy Scout, something he finds rewarding. “It’s a lot of fun to work with scouts the way my leaders worked with me when I was going through the scout program,†he says. He teaches the scouts such skills as gear packing, knot tying, first aid, and cooking, and also helps them carry out the various programs they plan. The scouts range in age from 6 to 10 in Pack 54, and 10 to 17 in Troop 54, giving him a chance to test his skills at adapting the programs and activities to each audience.

 

David also knows that his volunteer work with the Boy Scouts will be invaluable when it comes to life after graduation. “It’s helped improve my teaching and leadership skills," he says, "so once I become one of the more experienced people at a company, I’ll be better accustomed to training and leading others.â€

Edited by RememberSchiff
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's too bad.  I think 25 is the perfect age for a scoutmaster.  Your unit should be thinking of moving you up, not out.

The Troop isn't. I am. After 12 years in the troop I'm not sure I want to grow through the growing pains of a 4th Scoutmaster.

 

Scoutmaster is something I know I am capable of, but I worry that would hurt the Troop. Modern parents wouldn't want their sons in the care of a 25 year old. When I was a crew advisor for my hands off advisor style was constantly questioned or subverted by other adults in the crew.

 

I was the only adult on that trip with a lick of prior backpacking experience. I can't imagine fighting those battles week after week, month after month if I became Scoutmaster.

 

I'm happy to be the right hand man to the current SM, but SM for me is not the right gig for them or for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was the only adult on that trip with a lick of prior backpacking experience. I can't imagine fighting those battles week after week, month after month if I became Scoutmaster.

 

I'm happy to be the right hand man to the current SM, but SM for me is not the right gig for them or for me.

 

And that is exactly what would happen at first. See, being an SM is more than just being totally trained and experienced in Scout stuff. There's a bit of visioning that needs to go on...something they don't teach in BSA really. You need to put forward your vision for the unit AND make sure that is communicated to the parents. Oh, and you need their buy in, as well as that of the TC, TC Chair and all the ASMs. Otherwise, you will be subverted at every turn. 

 

Even with all of this, during the first year there will be challenges. However, if you have this buy in of which I speak, you will eventually reach a point where you are operating much smoother.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And that is exactly what would happen at first. See, being an SM is more than just being totally trained and experienced in Scout stuff. There's a bit of visioning that needs to go on...something they don't teach in BSA really. You need to put forward your vision for the unit AND make sure that is communicated to the parents. Oh, and you need their buy in, as well as that of the TC, TC Chair and all the ASMs. Otherwise, you will be subverted at every turn. 

 

Even with all of this, during the first year there will be challenges. However, if you have this buy in of which I speak, you will eventually reach a point where you are operating much smoother.

Yup. Sounds very arrogant, but my troop has changed alot because I was able to bring the SM and Committee around to what I thought we needed to offer to our Scouts. We went from a troop method troop to a patrol method troop in about 4 years. It was a vision I was able to sell to to the SM and the other ASMs. I pitched it to the committee and got their buy in.

 

It worked well because I had credibility with the Scouts a parent never can. The SM had credibility with the parents I can't build at this point. There was a point where I was quasi Scoutmaster during transition points. I knew what the end game looked like, and the SM trusted me to help the Scouts lead us there.

 

I don't see myself being able to pull this off going forward. I was at a unique place where the SM, ASMs and Committee all knew me well. I was a Scout when their sons joined the Troop. I took my ASM training with them.

 

I haven't made up my mind on anything. I'm not being pushed out. Its just weighing my options, whats best for the troop and how much I have left in the tank. The current SM and I have talked about me taking over from him, but I'm not sold on the idea and I'm not certain he is either.

 

The last four years I've lived and breathed Scouting and the idea of going and refighting those same battles with a new team of adults that I don't have the same connections to makes me tired just thinking about it. Easier just to slow fade into the background when the SM steps down and things become a circus.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yup. Sounds very arrogant, but my troop has changed alot because I was able to bring the SM and Committee around to what I thought we needed to offer to our Scouts. We went from a troop method troop to a patrol method troop in about 4 years. It was a vision I was able to sell to to the SM and the other ASMs. I pitched it to the committee and got their buy in.

 

No, on the contrary, that does not sound arrogant at all. That's what you are supposed to do when articulating your vision for a unit. What will been seen as arrogance, perhaps, is that it is coming from someone as young as you. Normally, folks take far longer to develop that skill set. Some never do. Don't lose that trait.

 

It worked well because I had credibility with the Scouts a parent never can. The SM had credibility with the parents I can't build at this point. There was a point where I was quasi Scoutmaster during transition points. I knew what the end game looked like, and the SM trusted me to help the Scouts lead us there.

 

I don't see myself being able to pull this off going forward. I was at a unique place where the SM, ASMs and Committee all knew me well. I was a Scout when their sons joined the Troop. I took my ASM training with them.

I remember being like you -- well-spoken, knowledgeable, able to influence people (now *I* am being arrogant ;) ) -- and everyone older than me thinking I was either too young or too arrogant. Knowing when to chuck in the towel and not beat your head against the wall is a HUGE lesson and you've learned it early. Go find a troop or crew that need your energy and will appreciate your efforts. A small, new troop perhaps?

 

Don't let those who *think* they know better, or more, dissuade you from doing what you want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back in 2009 when I switched from running cubs to scouts I handed the cub pack over to a 19 year old. She had to fight a few battles to be taken seriously by parents. I supported her by not supporting her. I regularly got emails about cub events from parents who insisted on continuing to direct them to me. I had to take a very tough line by forwarding them to her to deal with and neither of us even acknowledging that I had received them in the first place. The message got through in the end. Sometimes you need to be a little bit bloody minded!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back in 2009 when I switched from running cubs to scouts I handed the cub pack over to a 19 year old. She had to fight a few battles to be taken seriously by parents. I supported her by not supporting her. I regularly got emails about cub events from parents who insisted on continuing to direct them to me. I had to take a very tough line by forwarding them to her to deal with and neither of us even acknowledging that I had received them in the first place. The message got through in the end. Sometimes you need to be a little bit bloody minded!

 

In the U.S. she would not even have been eligible to be a Cubmaster until age 21.  She would have been eligible to be an Assistant Cubmaster.  Although I think some parents would have an issue with a 21-year-old Cubmaster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'Skip, after all these years of imported comedy, "bloody minded" still doesn't translate well crossing the pond - (blame Zombie movies), but we get it from the context.

 

I think @Sentinel947 nailed the issue. There is something to be said about being old enough to not worry about dying young anymore. We all see how teachers and coaches and school board members are treated by parents. When I was in my 20's I was more comfortable being yelled at by angry zealots than putting up with parental disrespect. (Zealots made better coffee.)

 

A lot of us aren't up for being under that microscope -- even if parents confine their criticism to the weekends and evenings that you are doing scouting. Folks need encouragement that that kind of scrutiny is worth the hassle.

 

So, my advice to a 20-something ASM is: in every class of new parents, look for the one most likely to buy-in to your vision of a scout leader. This does mean half of the time you are effectively training adults. At campfires, get them immersed in the history of where the troop came from. At breakfast, talk about where you and your SM think it should go. Every year, one more adult. In five years, you have your very own front line behind which you can quarterback, handing off or passing the ball to scouts with impunity. The adults who currently buy-in to your vision become your coaching staff, and you all have more than a team. You have a dynasty. (Can you tell my town is morning the loss of one of the greatest franchise owners in NFL history?)

 

Obviously, as Flagg points out, if you and your fellow scouters aren't assembling that cluster of parents, find a new unit to serve before you face scouting burn-out.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm empathetic to Sentinel. There's no doubt that because I'm now the old codger people are more willing to listen to what I have to say. Every new leader has to go through some of this but I could see it being worse for someone young. Some parent telling Sentinel that since he doesn't have kids he doesn't know what he's talking about is likely.

 

But, as Skip says, the old codger being replaced can do a lot to smooth things out. When I stepped up I had to fight every battle on my own. When I'm replaced I'm going to let everyone know that the new guy only wants to hear 4 words from anyone - how can I help. I'm going to be there and back him up. There's a learning curve to getting comfortable and confident with running a scout troop. Once he has that the new SM will do fine.

 

Sentinel, I think you'd do fine as well. It might take a bit longer than someone older but not that much. Part of the respect you're talking about is your own confidence in talking to parents about their kids. Everyone has to learn that. Either telling a parent their son can do more than the parent believes or less than the parent wants creates conflict with the parent and that's a skill to learn.

 

While you said you had credibility that no other parent could have, is it possible that your credibility didn't come from your age so much as that you cared about the scouts and you knew how to help them? If you listen to them, let them know when they do a good or bad job and help them out, then you will gain their trust. I doubt if that will change, even as you get older.

 

Now, weather you have the energy to continue this, or just need a break is a different issue.

 

Best of luck on your decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sentinel, I modeled our boy run program from a troop whose Scoutmaster started when he was about 21 and single (Cliff Golden - Troop 33). His Troop is the best model of boy run program in the country. He was my role model for becoming the type of scoutmaster I became. 

 

The best scoutmasters can sell refrigerators to Eskimos because Boy run/patrol method is a tough concept to sell. You have already proven yourself to have that skill. 

 

Barry

Share this post


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
Sign in to follow this  

×