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WisconsinMomma

Junior Assistant Scoutmaster Position

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Hi Scouters,

One of the volunteer jobs our committee is posting regularly is Assistant Scoutmaster.  I am thinking of suggesting to our Scoutmaster that he appoint a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster.  I have a suggestion for a boy in our Troop who I think would be a great fit (he was an excellent SPL, in the small view that I had.)  

Have you as Scoutmasters used the JASM position?  Has it worked well for you?   I need to learn more about this role and what it does, and then I think I will make a suggestion to our Scoutmaster to consider it. 

Thanks for your help. 

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First, JASM is appointed by SPL with the advice and approval of the SM, but he reports to the SM. He needs to be at least 16 but not yet an adult. Most importantly the youth needs to want to do that role and understand how it impacts him as a Scout.

Some boys like, some don’t. Some troops use them some don’t. 

The problem is that while a JASM is still a youth and must be treated as so for YP purposes, most of the jobs they are assigned are more inline with an ASM position. For the youth, this can get boring, be conflicting and be a negative if he prefers to hang out with his friends more. For a SM it can be a negative because the JASM is still a youth and often gets caught between wanting to be one of the boys and doing his job as JASM, which will often take him out of some of the fun. 

Thwre are pluses and minuses, it depends on the youth and the unit.

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Only time I've seen it done are  those who were Life and nearing 18, or Eagles 15+ (15 was back in the day when a 15 year old was able to have the POR). Mixed reactions. Some good some negative.

Biggest problem is fro YP purposes, he is a youth, but for responsibilities he is an adult. he is not part of a Scout patrol, does what the SM tells him, and can sometimes have challenges with the Scouts listening to him, especially friends.

As for recommending folks for PORs as a MC, I'd stay out of it. When I was a MC, I did that with Oldest Son, i.e. gave him ideas about who would make a good XYZ POR.  Our SM and ASMs "make recommendations" for PORs, and it usually backfires. Long story short, some youth have adults fooled. The Scouts know who is best for the various PORs.

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4 hours ago, HelpfulTracks said:

First, JASM is appointed by SPL with the advice and approval of the SM, but he reports to the SM.

Thanks for clarifying that, it helps a lot. 

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IMHO, this position and den chief are ideal for older scouts who want to  continue their leadership development but have sort of grown out of life in their patrol.

I enjoyed serving in both positions when I was a youth.

MC's don't recommend positions, but they could bring the possibility up with the scout on his board of review.

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We have used a couple, typically have a few around.  We are 100 +/- so there is the bench strength.  Got some active scouts, they may be responsible and good leaders but did not want to be SPL, we put them in the JASM position to sort of be a backstop to the SPL.  Good to have extra set of eyes and assist the SPL and various PL's.  

Sometimes if leaders see something, working through a JASM to the SPL is more subtle.

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Junior Assistant Scoutmaster Position

My son is now 17 years old and has bee an Eagle Scout since he was 14 years old. He as been an Assistant Senior Patrol leader but due to popularity and term limits he has never been selected as a Senior Patrol leader ( another debate).

When he approached the Scoutmaster about the possibility of becoming a JASM he was told it was just a named position with no real responsibility. So why would my son take on a leadership role without a real responsibility? So he decided to stay as the troops Outdoor Ethics Guide and take on the Troops O/A rep.

So as a ASM and Parent I don't want to question SM take on the JASM role but I disagree on how he sees this leadership position.

 

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There is a lot on the forum about the JASM...try search. It is an odd position...I am sure it has worked in some circumstances but a lot of folks have same experience.

Be aware that the Troops O/A rep is a lot of work to do it right,

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12 minutes ago, Tampa Turtle said:

There is a lot on the forum about the JASM...try search. It is an odd position...I am sure it has worked in some circumstances but a lot of folks have same experience.

Be aware that the Troops O/A rep is a lot of work to do it right,

Thanks for the Reply.

My son is very active in the O/A and has already seen the hard work that is involved in this position. I am glad that he took on these positions to keep him active in the troop.

There was a point that he was considering leaving the Troop and Venture Crew (He is active in both). He ran for Senior Patrol Leader 4-5 years in a row but was never elected and                   only last year was he selected as Assistant Senior Patrol Leader.  In our troop the scouts can be elected for multiple terms as SPL which doesn't allow other eager scouts to have the                chance to lead the troop and of course it is the most popular scout that gets elected.

When he was Assistant Senior Patrol leader he was at every meeting and at most outings and the SPL was hardly ever there so he felt he was doing all of the SPL's work (I was even approached be other Adults of scouts asking where was the SPL many times). So when the election came back up the same SPL was elected again and in our troop new ASPL's are selected. This just caused my son to loose all drive to continue on and we were worried that he would not finish his last 2 years as a youth in the troop.

So now he has duties that keep him active but we can still see that his frustrations with the troop.

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@MarkH, welcome to the forums.

IMHO, your troop was right in letting scouts elect their SPL for as many terms as they can stand the youth. The job is not a "let every eager scout take a turn" kind of position, any more than captain of a varsity school team would be. It may be that your son's leadership style was "unpopular" with the boys. Either he needed to improve his style, or the boys are wrong. Doesn't hurt to learn early in life that both are possible.

Your SM doesn't have a purpose for his JASMs. His loss. No point in a responsible boy like your son taking a useless job.

If he's having fun as an O/A Rep then he should lean into that. It could be that there's a boy or two who aren't getting elected. Sharing his experience could be helpful to such a boy who doesn't understand why his peers rejected him. Likewise with the Outdoor Ethics Guide ... if boys are learning cool skills from him, he should keep it up and see if he can find which scout would qualify to be next year's guide!

On the flip-side, devoting all of his time to his venturing crew would also be a "win." A troop is better served by a boy who heavily invests in the program he loves then comes back with his crew-mates to support an activity the troop would like to try rather than a boy who mopes and feels stuck (although it sounds like that's not your son).

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We use the JASM, typically this is a former SPL, so they may not be there much.  We have had success at Summer camp (we take 50 - 60) with some older scouts attending as they need to get some requirements complete.  Works really well.  Leader in camp works with the JASM who then backstops the SPL / ASPL's.  Gives them responsibility and a good taste of leadership.

Had a staff member who had an issue with a scout one time, came to see us, we referred him to the JASM and they worked it out.

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