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mashmaster

Stepping aside

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Well, my son is taking a major step back from scouting which makes me sad.  That being the case, I have stepped down as Scoutmaster for the troop I helped start as the first scoutmaster.  It is certainly a very weird feeling not being the sm.  I will still be an ASM and support the new SM who already does things radically different from me.  I will need to remember to keep my mouth shut and support the new method, but it does worry me and the new approach already seems to be more strict and school like rather than boy led.  I typically dealt in the grey area, where the new sm thinks everything is black and white following the bsa rules to the word.

For those that have been in this situation what have you done?  Just bit your tongue and slid into the woodwork?

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Yep.  At some point, you need to hold your tongue.  If it's mainly style (strickness, by the book, etc), then it's hard to argue.  Personally, my ideal scoutmaster is still a very laid back person who watches from a distance.  Who laughs with the scouts.  Who mainly teaches by asking questions in a way that the scouts don't even know he knows the answer.  Rarely, does my ideal scoutmaster actually direct anything.  Rarely, does he take charge or raise his voice.

But then scoutmasters change and the SM often sets the tone of the program.  Similar with camping chair.  Advancement.  Treasurer.  etc etc etc.  

If it's a safety issue or violating a rule, then speak up.  But otherwise, you will be more effective making change by waiting to be asked.  And even then, be careful how much you share.  

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Posted (edited)

First, I never let my kids passions determine where and when I would be volunteering. They were quite fortunate that I enjoyed many of the pass-times that they were involved in. I still found time to catch their games or touch base with their other youth leaders. But, if there was a geocache nearby, I'd make it back to the stands in time for a parent to give me the cliff-notes version.

Regarding the troop. The current SM knows where I would push. He's seen me do it as a crew advisor. The boys know I think he spoils them, but they also see me step up when needed. The abbreviation is Asst., there's the occasional person in that position who must have missed the "t", I'm not one of those.

But when we were merging, and a different scouter was top dog, I kept a tight lid on things until we could spend some time hiking together. To the committee, if ask, I would offer a detailed opinion, but make it clear that I have no skin in the game (i.e., my Sons are adults and never registered as ASMs when they could have, so I'm not gonna vote on their behalf). I'll support their kids. Period.

I work for smiles.

Edited by qwazse

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51 minutes ago, mashmaster said:

For those that have been in this situation what have you done?  Just bit your tongue and slid into the woodwork?

Yep.  

It helps me if I keep reminding myself that it was never my troop. The unit belongs to the Chartered Organization.

 

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1 hour ago, mashmaster said:

For those that have been in this situation what have you done?  Just bit your tongue and slid into the woodwork?

My replacement requested I take a 3 month hiatus because he felt my respect with the scouts might overshadow his effort in developing a relationship with them. I thought that odd since I trained him to be "Just like me".:laugh:

Barry

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While I have not stepped down as SM, I have as CSDC PD and OA chapter adviser. For OA, I was too busy with Cub Scouts to be around much after I stepped down.

When I stepped down as CSDC PD, and for those that remember I was also doign a lot of the CD's work too as she would not do what she said/needed to do, I kept my mouth shut. THAT WAS EXTREMELY HARD FOR ME TO DO! (major emphasis). One thing that helped was I picked up a new hobby, model railroading, and focused on that so I could keep my big fat mouth shut. When day camp came, I focused on my Tiger son so that I would keep my mouth shut. And also stay out of the new PD's way.

 

Taking a 3 month sabatical like Eagledad may be a good thing.

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6 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Taking a 3 month sabatical like Eagledad may be a good thing.

I have never felt more appreciated and unwanted as I did in the moment of his request.

One wonderful thing that came out of my time off was the independence my younger 16 year old son gained as a result. We never saw much of each other at the meetings or camp outs, but we both felt a since of freeing when I wasn't part of the program. Kind of hard to explain, but it was a growing experience for both of us.

Barry

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Some of the boys have asked me why can't I stay as scoutmaster.  Adults and Scouters have told me that they think I have done a great job, I feel pretty useless right now.

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1 hour ago, mashmaster said:

Some of the boys have asked me why can't I stay as scoutmaster.  Adults and Scouters have told me that they think I have done a great job, I feel pretty useless right now.

I would rather feel useless than what I felt: concern and depression. After talking to my replacement, a lot of concerns started arising.I spent 2 full years improving the day camp. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel like I had to do because the CD would not share any information with me, I handed over everything I had so he could see what the Cubs wanted, what was done and working, as well as what didn't work. He ignored it all and started from scratch. When day camp finally started, it was chaos and anarchy. I got depressed big time. I ended up serving as PD a 3rd year, but when youngest was a Tiger, I stepped away again, and things got so bad, that one year there was no day camp. Luckily someone really motivated picked it up and it is rebuilding.

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When I became SM I told my son he didn't have to stick around because I was SM or that he should get Eagle because of me. He enjoyed scouts until 6 months before he graduated and then sort of faded away. He was looking forward. I was fine with that and I kept at it. You feel bad about stepping down and that's understandable. Don't deny it. But don't beat yourself up over it. This job requires passion. That said, you can find an outlet for that passion and I encourage you to look for it. It will take time.

It has taken me a year. It sort of sucked at first. Now I think it is working out better for the troop and therefore me as well. Rather than have just one adult with a lot of passion for the troop there are now two. I did take about 3 months off, mainly because there were a bunch of things going on and I was okay with skipping some things. I was unhappy with one thing the new SM was doing but I did bite my tongue. When I started as SM everyone was telling me what to do and it just didn't help. So I wasn't going to do this to the new SM. Especially since my opinions carry a lot more weight than those of others. But we were both after the same goal so I decided to let it play out. In the process of doing that I found a couple of things to work on that were orthogonal to what the new SM was working on and at the same time complementary (so what really bothers me about his new approach will solve itself). I now have a purpose. We're working together. And I don't have to worry about all the little details anymore. I'm happier. Whereas before the buck did stop with me, so it was all my problem if nobody else was going to step up, I can now say nope, I'm not going to worry about that. I can now focus on the things I wanted to do before but didn't have time for. Of course, the district has sucked me in but that's another story.

Anyway, if you have a passion for this then honoring it is not such a bad thing. You still have to balance it with your family but how often do people get to find something they really enjoy?

Good luck!

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1 hour ago, mashmaster said:

Some of the boys have asked me why can't I stay as scoutmaster.  Adults and Scouters have told me that they think I have done a great job, I feel pretty useless right now.

Stop feeling useless.  

This is nothing in comparison to the changes you are going to experience later on in life. Empty nest. Retirement. Slowing down.

 

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15 hours ago, mashmaster said:

Some of the boys have asked me why can't I stay as scoutmaster.  Adults and Scouters have told me that they think I have done a great job, I feel pretty useless right now.

Sounds like stepping back was YOUR choice...do what your heart tells you.  I have seen many parents (myself included), stay active after their sons left or aged out.  My own sons were in their 30s before I "retired"...I was having too much fun and treasured my adult friends and "time in the woods".

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15 hours ago, David CO said:

Stop feeling useless.  

This is nothing in comparison to the changes you are going to experience later on in life. Empty nest. Retirement. Slowing down.

So funny. As the kids left, we took on housing 1st year fellows from our church's college outreach (think missionaries in training and you get the idea), what with their ministry and social contacts the house is rarely empty and often quite full. Empty nest? Well, if nests have revolving doors, maybe?

And then there's the occasional spur-of-the-moment Kazakh's invite to random events, like the symphony backstage or ballet dancer's birthday party. (Don't ask. I couldn't explain if I tried. I just take it as a chance to try and fit "moose and squirrel" into the conversation.)

It's not just me. Other friends "adopt" refugee families, support to high school playoff games, band competitions, etc. The lucky ones, in my opinion, have grand babies. There is life outside of scouting (even my SM ... he was a church organist and delivered Meals on Wheels).

Scouting prepares us for life ... not the other way around.

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1 hour ago, qwazse said:

Scouting prepares us for life ... not the other way around.

Well said qwazse.This belongs in Eagledad's motivational quote thread.

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3 hours ago, Chadamus said:

Well said qwazse.This belongs in Eagledad's motivational quote thread.

 :o

But, I already submitted mine for today. :p

So it will have to wait for me to remember it, or someon else to quote me. ;)

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