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Sentinel947

Scoutmaster Transition

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Our Troop has selected a new SM to start May 2018. As an ASM, one of the longest tenured members of the troop, how can I help this new SM transition? What advice do you have for troops transitioning SMs.

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Our Troop has selected a new SM to start May 2018. As an ASM, one of the longest tenured members of the troop, how can I help this new SM transition? What advice do you have for troops transitioning SMs.

The thing that helped me most is to not question everything I do.  Provide some advice but realize the new SM will be overwhelmed and feel like everyone is questioning avery liittle decision.  Over course, an email here and there is helpful.  And just because you don't do things the same way as before, that is ok.  Give the new scoutmaster the program leader books,  book #1 is really good.  If you follow the program it works.  https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2013/08/15/first-look-troop-leader-guidebooks-set-to-replace-the-scoutmaster-handbook/

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With new SMs come new ASMs. By example and encouragement, you need to teach them that their job is *assist* the SM.

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I agree with being around to assist, but it also depends on how much he knows of the troop, it's operations and processes too. He may not know these and laying those out for him would be helpful. When is PLC? When are menus usually done? How is good paid for? When are OA and troop elections? Does the troop require NYLT for SPL? Which adults are fully trained? How many RSOs do we have?

 

These are all things that are important to troop operations which an incoming SM must know. Anything he does t like he can sit down with the PLC and discuss. Any ideas I had as ASM I'm going to take this opportunity to get forward.

 

I'm a firm believer that troops need fresh blood at the SM level just like at the youth level. I think it's great @@Sentinel947 is trying to be proactive.

Edited by Col. Flagg

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Business, family, scouts, etc ... It's always hard to be an expert or extremely experienced and watch someone else take the lead role.  There is a skill to sitting back and supporting.

  • Don't ask the SM too many questions
  • Don't nit pick everything the new SM does
  • Don't point out every possible way things could be done better
  • Avoid inserting yourself as a display of your own knowledge and skill
Edited by fred johnson

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Business, family, scouts, etc ... It's always hard to be an expert or extremely experienced and watch someone else take the lead role. There is a skill to sitting back and supporting.

 

  • Don't ask the SM too many questions
  • Don't nit pick everything the new SM does
  • Don't point out every possible way things could be done better
  • Avoid inserting yourself as a display of your own knowledge and skill
Fred I agree with this. But for the sake of an opposing view, isn't there a difference between being proactive, offering ideas and helping the SM instead of being a constant back seat driver? I suspect when you noted the points above you are advocating helping in this manner and not the latter?

 

Since the SM coming in is new, I'd expect him to welcome input and ideas. If not they have the wrong man.

Edited by Col. Flagg

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Any assistant is the "right-hand" man to the leader.  Yes, the title says "assistant", but what one's real job is to do anything and everything to make sure the leader is successful.  When he/she is successful, so are the boys.  As one who promotes the #1 leader is the program is the PL, for the life of me, I can't figure out why APL is not a POR.  A good APL that functions, is a fantastic support person for the PL.  It applies to the adult level support group as well.  99% of the problems in a patrol or troop is the lack of a functional assistants.

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back when I read this book, I felt that it should be required reading

http://scoutmastercg.com/far-good-new-scoutmasters-story/

along with this one

http://scoutmastercg.com/aids-scoutmastership/

 

Otherwise, I'd think words form you affirming him would do him wonders.... I mean just a private "good job" every now and then just so he knows you are not questioning & judging  him or what he's doing

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Fred I agree with this. But for the sake of an opposing view, isn't there a difference between being proactive, offering ideas and helping the SM instead of being a constant back seat driver? I suspect when you noted the points above you are advocating helping in this manner and not the latter?

 

Since the SM coming in is new, I'd expect him to welcome input and ideas. If not they have the wrong man.

 

What one person considers is "proactive" another considers as a "know it all" or a "thorn".  It is a real skill to know when to step in and when to let the new leader learn his job.  Being "proactive" is only good in really important things.  Otherwise, I'd let the scoutmaster learn his job, help as I can and wait to be asked before inserting myself "proactively".  

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What one person considers is "proactive" another considers as a "know it all" or a "thorn".  It is a real skill to know when to step in and when to let the new leader learn his job.  Being "proactive" is only good in really important things.  Otherwise, I'd let the scoutmaster learn his job, help as I can and wait to be asked before inserting myself "proactively".

 

Agree there's a fine line. Think it's worth asking him and having a discussion with him. Few folks offer or ask for help for whatever reason. Defining with him where and how he wants you to intervene is important. I wouldn't advocate waiting for him to ask you where you want to work.

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I echo the comment that a new SM has no idea how much he's suddenly responsible for and the last thing he wants is a bunch of people trying to "fix the mistakes" of the last SM. So defend him. At the same time, if you see things happening that you might do differently, mention it once out of earshot of everyone else and then drop it. He'll either take it or he won't. When he does something new that you like, say something. It's kind of like working with scouts.

 

As for what to do before he starts it would be nice if he knew what was coming at him. Some things take months to happen and most people only see the last week or two. I made a calendar of when to start working on upcoming things.

 

One more thing, and probably the most fun and most useful, the new SM should make a point of getting to know all the scouts in the troop. It would be a good excuse to have a SMC with each. Ask them what they like and dislike with the troop. An SM will get nowhere if the scouts don't trust him.

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Thanks all. My tentative plan is to help support the transition through 2018. By then I believe I'm going to start grad school, and depending on work, school or social committments, my troop volunteer days will probably end in 2019. Might take a small committee role at that point if 'm happy where things are going.

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When we got a new scoutmaster, I bought the two volume set of the 1940 Scoutmasters Handbook, written by Green Bar Bill.  I told him that a lot of the program had changed, but the stuff in the first volume, especially the four chapters on the Patrol Method, were golden.  I considered a good foundation in the philosophy of the Patrol Method to be invaluable to any SM.  Otherwise, I don't think the current literature would give him the appreciation of this almost unique feature of the Scouting program.

 

Our new SM got this, and has mentioned in planning meetings how old time troops from the past centered around the patrols.  He instituted a policy of having the patrols do patrol camping trips one time per year, with the PL's having to do all of the planning and organizing.  I think our SM got it.

 

Look on EBAY and purchase at least the first volume of this handbook from the 1930's and 1940's.  The SM handbooks from the 1950's were abbreviated versions of the former handbooks.   Green Bar Bill, being Swedish, spoke and wrote at a teenagers level, and that helped simplify his explanations of the material.  Highly recommended.

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