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Cub/Scout "Master" vs. GSUSA Troop "Leader"

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Maybe all of those theatre special effects got to me on this track ...

I was just thinking about the various BSA and GSUSA leaders and units that I've worked with -- all find people, really. But, they seem to approach things with a different sense of authority. I was wondering how much of that has to do with their titles?

  • Master ... most of us balk at any notion of temporary ownership the boys. We're all about servant leadership. But, there is a sense, in that word, of "possessing traits scouts  should emulate." A scoutmaster, is then, a model scout. Someone we should be like, but we're not there yet.
  • Leader ... Is more ambiguous. It's someone we should follow. But, it also has a sense of caretaker. So, you are on a journey with your leader. She gives you a vision, and you implement it together.

I've always called GSUSA leaders scout moms or scout dads (yes, I've met one or two) or scout leaders (if they never had been parents) but never scoutmaster. They never disagreed. I've never called a BSA unit leader scout mom or scout dad.

I don't think this changed my expectations of any of them. But I wonder if this changed their expectations of themselves.

Edited by qwazse
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Very perceptive.   One's title can certainly affect one's behavior or other's acceptance.

Before I retired from County Service, my title changed several times.  It was recognized that my new  "position"  had to be defined not just by the Job Description, but by the title.   Our labor union also recognized this.  So I and my fellows , with our reorganization, became "Transit Coordinators"  not "Street Supervisors" or "Transit Managers" or some other type of supervisory person.  As it was explained to me,  if we were "Supervisors"  we could not be in the union.   We therefore were like "strawbosses" or "crew leaders".  We could tell folks what to do, but not necessarily why.   We could direct, but not discipline (either reward or punishment).  We could report good and bad behavior but not do very much about it.   Very much a division of responsibility, I thought, and it had some  advantages....

So the idea of a "Scout Leader"  might imply a youngish fellow, or an older fellow (but young at heart?) . 

I have come to say that one must get older, but need not "grow up". 

That said,   I would also like to point out the need to NOT call our young charges anything remotely affiliated with the rest of the world.   We should ALWAYS  address them as "Scout", or "Camper" or " Patrol Leader"  , and avoid like the plague calling them "guys",  "kids",  .   They can be guys at school, or someplace else.  Reinforce the idea of being a SCOUT by addressing them as SCOUTS.  


See you on the trail....

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3 minutes ago, NJCubScouter said:

I don't get it, qwasze.  Why would you call them "Scoutmaster" anyway, if that is not their title?

I don't think it matters whether your title includes "master" or "leader."  It's what you do with the position that matters.

I wrongly called them Girl Scout Mom or Troop Mom because I thought that was their title. I can only guess that I never called them scoutmaster because nobody else called them that. I suspect if I only knew boy scouts, I would have called them girl scout masters.

So, what does one do in the position of "master" that they wouldn't as "leader"?

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14 minutes ago, qwazse said:

So, what does one do in the position of "master" that they wouldn't as "leader"?

One does whatever the literature and training of the organization that one is a member of says to do in the position that one holds.  :)

What's in a name?  Rex Tillerson is often addressed as "Secretary."  There is also a woman in my office who is called a secretary.  They have very different jobs.  Maybe a better example is "counselor."  I am sometimes called a "counselor."  I am not a camp counselor, a merit badge counselor (well, I am, but you know what I mean), a counselor who you speak with when you're depressed, or a counselor who helps you choose your classes in high school.  And don't get me started on "chancellor."  :)

Edited by NJCubScouter
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