Jump to content
TMSM

How Many ASMs per Troop

Recommended Posts

28 minutes ago, qwazse said:

Depends on the troop.

I prefer that ASM have no roles, but rather are available at different times to coach a variety of activities.

The SM and one other dad are aces with guns. I'm all about land navigation (comes from getting lost a lot) and aquatics. Others are good mechanics. As boys get to know us and become leaders they learn who to call on to set up an activity. This may include, at times, helping a QM manage an influx of gear, but not being an uber-QM.

Yeah that’s my Troop too. We don’t have like permanent “you can only do this” roles, more of like yours, but thankfully one of our ASMs was a scouter and was a camp director for years. Meaning, he has experience in a lot of things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was thinking how grateful I am for the ASMs who are stepping up and helping me with the program. I think that they were hesitant to do so under the previous SM, I know I was. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, qwazse said:

It really depends on your flexibility. 40 boys = 5 patrols. If there was a weekend where each patrol wanted to overnight in a different location, you would need two adult chaperons for each. 2 x 5 =10 adult leaders. Ten ASMs gives you that level of flexibility all the time. If you have dads who complete training (including IOLS) that's half that equation. The other half is the first word on the patch. If they are actually assisting you instead of running their own little fiefdom, it's great. If not, they need to find their own CO and start their own troop.

Or ... if they really want a job, have them team up with a mom or two recruit some sisters and girlfriends and start a BSA4G troop next year. :)

Thats a good point - Patrol outings need an adult leader. I have been suggesting to the SPL and PLC that they should consider a patrol outing or a Patrol campout. I do not know of any troops in our area that do patrol campouts dut to the cost of camp sites in our area - midwest. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, qwazse said:

Depends on the troop.

I prefer that ASM have no roles, but rather are available at different times to coach a variety of activities.

The SM and one other dad are aces with guns. I'm all about land navigation (comes from getting lost a lot) and aquatics. Others are good mechanics. As boys get to know us and become leaders they learn who to call on to set up an activity. This may include, at times, helping a QM manage an influx of gear, but not being an uber-QM.

I have found that without stating specific roles we (SM & ASMs) were all tripping over each other do the same things. Better to pick an owner and the rest of us can back off and also know that task will get done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Different side of the Atlantic but I'd agree with the broad thrust of this thread. If you are running a great program with the team that you have then you have the right number of adults. It's that simple. Don't let anyone else tell you that you must have more adults. 

Currently we have a teamof 10 adults with 37 scouts. Sounds like a lot but it doesn't tell the full story. 3 of them are away at university so we only see them during university holidays, 1 has a job as a sales rep so we see him if he can make it. Another we share with a Girl Guides unit so we see her alternate weeks. A couple of others work some evenings so over all we probably only have 4 or 5 adults on any given evening. If all 10 of us could make it every week we'd have nothing to do. So yes you need the number that works for you.

Don't forget though that it's better to be lining up replacements before someone eventually moves on. So yes keep it at what works, but do start warming up a few replacements for when that day comes.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, TMSM said:

Thats a good point - Patrol outings need an adult leader. I have been suggesting to the SPL and PLC that they should consider a patrol outing or a Patrol campout. I do not know of any troops in our area that do patrol campouts dut to the cost of camp sites in our area - midwest. 

 

As a suggestion, not sure if it possible in your area though... We regularly use woods attached to a farmer's field for patrol campouts. Great way for a scout to make calls to get permission, and set up service projects, etc... Also some town/county/state parks allow scouts to camp in conjunction with a service project, like "park cleanup" in areas not typically used for camping. Some outside of the box thinking which might spur other ideas which could work in your area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I think the OP's model is spot on!

     with one big IF.... and that is if he is able to make all the meeting happen with so few adult heads

Generally, I think that most troops just have way too many adults envolved.

Clarke Greene over on scoutmastercg did some podcasts and writing on this topic a while back.  Since then I did a lot of thinking, soul searching, and observing our troop and others with this 'issue' in mind.

You'll have to read and listen to his points for yourself, since he made the points better than I ever could....but to summarize my thoughts & If I remember correctly (it's been a while) his major point of discussion was around "too many adults".  Actually I think I might be blending a couple discussion points he made....

"too many adults"

+

"what is the ASM's job"

 

A lot of folks seem to think a lot of adults are needed because those adults are needed for the driving.  That can be an issue.  If the camp site is close enough though parents or committee members can drive and drop off....but if it's far away that makes less sense.  A large van or church bus helps in this area....

Another aspect is that the adults want to be involved with their kids and the troop.  I know that this was definitely my case.  Part of it is our wanting to be a scout.  On top of that many folks who want to be involved also have something strong to offer the troop.... but with so few really key jobs there is a lot of potential out there that just never gets used....that's bad....BUT being intellectual honest with myself & floating back to the point that it's not our journey (adults,) and like it or not I realize that too many adults WILL harm the experience and journey that the scouts are doing.  No question in my mind about that.

On the point of "what is the ASM's job?".... Clarke's point really stuck in my throat for a long time.  I just couldn't swallow it as a parent.  He said more or less that the only adult talking and interacting with the scouts should be the SM.  ASM's should only be doing or saying what the SM wanted them to say.  As I recall, this was all from the perspective of consistent message, consistent program, no mixed-signals or mixed-messages confusing the scouts or the program.  I've chewed on this for a couple years now...& I have to say that if I'm being honest with myself I think he's correct...With that approach, the SM really has to be heavily involved with every PLC and strongly coaching his SPL or PL's himself...but a good SM doing a good job of LEADING his few ASM's I think could do a great job of sharing the load of an active program.

I remember Clarke saying something to the affect of a troop really only needing 1 or 2 ASM's.  They are really there only to fill in for the SM, when he can't make it for some reason, or can't be in two places at once.....or that kind of thing.  One of those ASM's would be the 1st ASM, the guy in training to be SM...part of the exit strategy.... and really there's not much else for the 2nd ASM to even do.  

And having non-ASM adults on the trip....I understand letting a non-registered parent or a committee member come to observe...infrequently.  I really do not think that it's in the scouts' best interest to encourage any more visitors than that.

Honestly, if you think about it....if the scouts have their own strong leadership in place, isn't that true?  They don't need any more ASM's, and there really is no use in having other adults along that are untrained and that are not up to speed to deliver the program that the SM has set up.  The more adults you have at a meeting or on a campout standing around with their hands in their pockets, the more likely they will find ways to jump in and "help" the scouts.

So I think that as long as you have enough ASM's to be able to have a couple adults for every outing...and have a lot of outings going, then I think that's perfect.....and if you can do that with three, all the better.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, qwazse said:

Depends on the troop.

I prefer that ASM have no roles, but rather are available at different times to coach a variety of activities.

This was how my troop was when I was a scout, our ASM(s) didn't have roles.  They were there to assist as needed in whatever capacity was required at the time and did a good job of it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, blw2 said:

Personally, I think the OP's model is spot on!

   Thanks blw2 - I am the OP. I am a big fan of Clarke Green. 

I did try to recruit a new ASM but asked him to wait a year, He had taken the SM training while he was a Den leader and had skills. I thought he would be great to take over as SM but in the first month he screamed at me in front of the Scouts for not letting him decide which patrol his first year sons would be in.  A few times he jumped in front of the SPL and forced the troop to listen to how much he knew about the subject on hand. A few more times on the phone or in front of adults he went off on me and finally I asked why would he want to assist me if he thought I was horrible at SM and I saw no way he could do and ASM role because there is not much to do.

He left and went to another Troop and at the next Round Table their CC got up and talked about a troop(ours) that would'nt let a trained leader be an ASM - good luck with that ;)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, TMSM said:

I did try to recruit a new ASM but asked him to wait a year, He had taken the SM training while he was a Den leader and had skills. I thought he would be great to take over as SM but in the first month he screamed at me in front of the Scouts for not letting him decide which patrol his first year sons would be in.  A few times he jumped in front of the SPL and forced the troop to listen to how much he knew about the subject on hand. A few more times on the phone or in front of adults he went off on me and finally I asked why would he want to assist me if he thought I was horrible at SM and I saw no way he could do and ASM role because there is not much to do.

He left and went to another Troop and at the next Round Table their CC got up and talked about a troop(ours) that would'nt let a trained leader be an ASM - good luck with that ;)

 

 

Just because you’re trained doesn’t mean you’re good. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, TMSM said:

I did try to recruit a new ASM but asked him to wait a year, He had taken the SM training while he was a Den leader and had skills. I thought he would be great to take over as SM but in the first month he screamed at me in front of the Scouts for not letting him decide which patrol his first year sons would be in.  A few times he jumped in front of the SPL and forced the troop to listen to how much he knew about the subject on hand. A few more times on the phone or in front of adults he went off on me and finally I asked why would he want to assist me if he thought I was horrible at SM and I saw no way he could do and ASM role because there is not much to do.

He left and went to another Troop and at the next Round Table their CC got up and talked about a troop(ours) that would'nt let a trained leader be an ASM - good luck with that ;)

 

 

Been there - done that, a couple times. The assistant presenter of our Scoutmaster Specific class, who was also a SM, called me once to whine about their new ASM that was asked to leave our troop a month before. She was asked to leave his troop two months later. She quit scouts completely after a 3rd troop asked her to leave.

Teams and leadership are hard. The job of the leader is to inspire the team toward a vision. That concept is not  hard when everyone agrees with the vision. But like TMSM's  example, the team leader is also the gatekeeper of the vision. If a member of the team doesn't agree with the vision, then something has to change.

I used to be the district coach for units with adults that weren't working well as a team. In 90% of the cases, the leader either didn't have a vision, or was too weak to keep the team focused on the vision. And it is amazing how quickly most of these adults come together when they understand and agree on a vision.

Barry 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

Been there - done that, a couple times. The assistant presenter of our Scoutmaster Specific class, who was also a SM, called me once to whine about their new ASM that was asked to leave our troop a month before. She was asked to leave his troop two months later. She quit scouts completely after a 3rd troop asked her to leave.

Teams and leadership are hard. The job of the leader is to inspire the team toward a vision. That concept is not  hard when everyone agrees with the vision. But like TMSM's  example, the team leader is also the gatekeeper of the vision. If a member of the team doesn't agree with the vision, then something has to change.

I used to be the district coach for units with adults that weren't working well as a team. In 90% of the cases, the leader either didn't have a vision, or was too weak to keep the team focused on the vision. And it is amazing how quickly most of these adults come together when they understand and agree on a vision.

Barry 

I think you've nailed it Barry. My other 3 ASMs share and contribute to the vision. The potential ASM had his own vision and would often share this with potential new parents (he wanted to grow the troop to 90 and have 10 ASMs). He wanted me to send a printed note home to every parent each month detailing the requirements we would be working on - he was upset when I told him I had no idea what requirements the scouts where working and that it if the parents wanted to know it would be a good topic at dinner time. 

He was also very upset at how much influence I had within the the troop - in reality he hated that the Scouts owned the program and that I supported whatever (within reason) they wanted. Because the scouts decide everything he started to realize he would never have control nless he bullied his way, which he did one too many times.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, TMSM said:

... He was also very upset at how much influence I ...

If you follow here very often, you will see my phrase "the concept, not the patch." Usually that's in reference to a first class scout. But it also applies here. If one is upset about how one's SM does something, one is an usurper, not an assistant scoutmaster no matter how much badge magic was used to solder the patch on one's sleeve.

So, how many do you really need? All of the helpful ones and none of the others! Who defines what's helpful? The SM. Period. (Hopefully he's listening to the boys while he does this, but that's the point of conferences.) The CC should back the SM on this.

Independent patrol outings? Consider with weekends where different patrols have different hike plans, maybe being dropped off at different trail heads, but rendezvous at the same location. The SM/ASM's would shadow the least skilled patrol. Needless to say, this requires some readiness evaluations on the SM's part. The rendezvous should have ample space for patrols to set up camp at some distance from one another.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/9/2018 at 5:28 PM, TMSM said:

I have been taking grief (mainly from new parents) that I need more ASMs. The 4 other troops in our area have 10 -12 ASMs for troops of 30-40. I get it that dads want to be part of scouting but most just want Webelos 3 so I make them wait a year to make sure  they get how Boys Scouts work. Am I off here? Do I need more? What do 10 ASMs do that helps the Scouts maintain responsibility?

 

I get grief from parents also. Their "beef" comes from canceling and rescheduling campouts because I have 7 ASMs for 18 Scouts and I'm often the only adult who registers. I end up begging for their help or reaching out to retired Scoutmasters and current committee members. I need ASMs who can camp. I understand people are busy, but some of them resist anything after 5 pm Friday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/13/2018 at 3:21 PM, Scoutmaster Teddy said:

I get grief from parents also. Their "beef" comes from canceling and rescheduling campouts because I have 7 ASMs for 18 Scouts and I'm often the only adult who registers. I end up begging for their help or reaching out to retired Scoutmasters and current committee members. I need ASMs who can camp. I understand people are busy, but some of them resist anything after 5 pm Friday.

I am not sure why someone would want to be an ASM but not want to camp. ASMs should assist the needs of the SM and you outdoor chair should be making sure you have enough adults on each campout.

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

×