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ParkMan

Increasing adult participation

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I've got a bit of a dilemma and I was hoping to get some advice.

I'm the Committee Chair of a Troop. Scoutmaster has been involved for 20 years.  We've got a Troop of about 80 boys.  We've got lots of registered adults - 35 last I checked.  Half the adults are asms

The thing I've never quite figured out is how a troop gets adult participation at events. Whether it's a camping trip, service project, or other event, we struggle to get adults to step forward who will help out or even attend.

I understand that it's the boy's troop and that they should shoulder much of the leadership.  They themselves are lackluster about most events.  As the CC, I've encouraged the SM to get the boys more engaged.  But, he's just not comfortable with it.  He's got a view that we present opportunities - if the boys go, they go.  If they don't, the don't.

My dillema is that this is presenting two problems:

1) the quality of our outdoor program suffers.  The SM doesn't really guide the SPL to get trips planned, so it often falls on the adults.  Because we get lackluster participation - there are not a lot of adults with the skills and desire to do this.  As a result, we have lots of small, last minute trips.

2) our bench is pretty shallow.  We got the SM and a very active ASM.  But past that, our adults are less engaged in the program parts of things.  It is not unusual to have a trip get cancelled because neither the SM or ASM available.

My question is - how do you get folks more active?  Is it a culture thing? Is it a CC that is finding adults for every task?  Is it a SM that builds a group of active helpers?

Something different?

 

 

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It really starts with the CC. He needs to be on the hunt for adults to add to the depth chart. You need to help him.

Together, you need to find families/friends with property to camp in.

If not. Forget overnights every month. Work on day activities theta get the boys out in the community visiting local officials or doing service projects.

Q: where do your scouts who age out go?

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Thanks.  A couple of followup questions.

So you see the CC looking at the yearly calendar and then filling each of the trips with registered leaders? Or, do you see it as a more general thing where the CC simply recruits more adult and then they sort out amongst themselvs who is camping when?

Im trying to figure out how involved the CC should be in figuring out who goes on what or organizes what.  The SM do a good job - so they don't need the CC more involved in hs business than needs be.  Looking for ideas on what's working for others.

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It sounds like you have some adults wearing patches, not ASMs. Truth be told, if the SM has been doing this for 20 years, and doesn't see what you describe as a problem, I doubt anything will change. Now if he has only been "involved" and not as SM, and he is new to the role, then sitting down with him and his one ASM and discussing the vision of the troop might be in order. From there determine what intermediate steps need to occur to reach the vision. Who does what, when and how, etc... Until a core group takes the reins, you will be trying to herd cats. (mixed metaphor on purpose, just to do it.)

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Mostly, the CC recruits adults and they sort things out among themselves. Our current CC, from the half of the troop merger who had younger boys, was more hands on with the schedule (engineer, go figure). Now that we have the PLC clicking better, he's more relaxed.

This has been a pretty crappy year for me, so the SM has had to call on other ASMs to step up. They did.

We also get adult applications in boys' hands as soon as they turn 18.

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Parkman,

 

The SM handles the program side of things, not the Committee. The Committee (under your leadership) supports the scout's program (advancement recording, transportation, fundraising, weekend camp and summer camp registrations, and the list goes on and on). When the SM sees a need (like maybe more active ASMs) he needs to evaluate all of these inactive ASMs, and recruit one for a specific needed purpose. Like an ASM advising the scouts on teaching the totin' chit skills, and maybe an ASM advising the scouts on teaching the varied cooking skills needed for advancement. Maybe an ASM advising the scouts on teaching camping skills and so on. Scouts need to teach each other these skills, but can use an adviser for encouragement and support. As far as any other inactive ASM, get them off your roster, or change them to the Committee with a responsibility. Sounds like too much dead weight. The rule has always been, don't recruit and adult leader (Committee or ASM) if you don't have a specific need for them. Whose rule you may ask? Mine of course.

 

sst3rd

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Thanks guys - I appreciate the pointers.  

@sst3rd - I fully agree.  I'm a big fan of letting folks do their jobs and I've got no interest in being involved in programming.  My dilemma is that we don't really seem to leverage the ASMs all that much.  I think what happens is that they sign up, go on a few trips, but don't really have a role.  Eventually, they get bored of just being around and stop engaging.

** ADDING SOME MORE TEXT - SAVED TOO SOON **

Edited by ParkMan
premature save

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35 registered adults and you can't get them to show up at events?  Why are they registered?  I agree with sst above...the SM's primary function is to train and mentor the SPL, who runs the troop.  ASMs can provide support by mentoring the other youth leaders.  The Committee handles the "logistics" of the troop...recordkeeping, fundraising, Boards of Review, advancement tracking, and representation at the District Committee.  They do not "supervise" the SM ... they support the program that he puts into action.  Sounds like a lack of training all around if there is basic confusion as to roles and responsibilities.

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Back from dinner.

@scoutldr - it's not that we don't get involvement.  We rarely have events canceled because of adults.  What tends to happen though is that it's the SM and some parents.  Maybe some of those parents are registered as ASMs maybe not.  But, the list of really active, engaged ASMs is pretty small.  The Scoutmaster likes to think of events by which adult is responsible for it.  He constantly asks for more adults to '"step up".  So it becomes a question of which adult is responsible for it.  We have all kinds of events that don't happen because there isn't an adult willing to be responsible for it.

I wouldn't say that the committee is trying to supervise the Scoutmaster.  The Scoutmaster goes to the Committee and says "we don't have an adult to organize this trip".  He then puts it on the committee to figure out who can help.  If anything, it's that the Scoutmaster invites the Committee to get involved.  Because we have a lot of registered adults, this kinda works.  Committee members and some ASMs step up to serve as adult lead on the trips.  But, just as often the SM ends up just doing it himself.  

I've never been terribly comfortable with this approach.  It just feels like every time a new event comes up, we scrounge around to figure out who can organize it.  That led me to thinking about - maybe I've got this all wrong.

@qwazse - That's what we've done historically.  Recruit ASMs from within the familes and get them registered.  Get them connected with the SM so they can get going.  But, as I mentioned earlier - we tend to get them signed up, but then not really give them a role.  This has me thinking - maybe I'm just doing this wrong.

 

 

Edited by ParkMan
accidently hit enter

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2 hours ago, scoutldr said:

Why are they registered? 

I think we all know the answer to that one. BSA is insisting that every volunteer be registered. Since we don't have a registered position for a parent driver, they get registered as either a committee member or ASM. I don't blame the volunteers for not stepping up to do the job they got registered as, instead of the job they actually volunteered for.

 

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Thanks for the clarification, Parkman.  It sounds to me like things are not that far off kilter.  One suggestion I would make is when the PLC has their annual planning meeting, they identify adult support for each event at that time...not wait until time for the event to wonder who will step up.  This gives the adults time to plan their own calendar, as well.  If no adults roger up when the event is proposed, then it comes off the schedule and you do something else.  When the SPL presents his annual plan to the Troop Committee, he has a name attached to each event of someone who has agreed.  The SM confirms the names with his cadre of 35 ASMs.

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1 hour ago, David CO said:

I think we all know the answer to that one. BSA is insisting that every volunteer be registered. Since we don't have a registered position for a parent driver, they get registered as either a committee member or ASM. I don't blame the volunteers for not stepping up to do the job they got registered as, instead of the job they actually volunteered for.

 

I've been thinking of using the "Unit Scouter Reserve" (91U) position for folks like this.  Does anyone actually use it?

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36 minutes ago, Chisos said:

I've been thinking of using the "Unit Scouter Reserve" (91U) position for folks like this.  Does anyone actually use it?

Nope. We don't register parent volunteers. We would like to keep our registration fees to a minimum. No reason to give BSA any more $ than we need to.

 

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Thanks guys!

It's 35 registered volunteers - not 35 ASMs.  It's actually 15 ASMs and 20 Committee Members.  The reason we have this many is because we make a point to ask.  The adults pay their BSA fee, so it is no financial harm to have more.

I presume they register to be able to help out.  On the committee side, we do a pretty good job of getting folks specific jobs - so that number isn't crazy.  In fact, we have had folks change from ASM to MC because of their committee job.

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1 hour ago, Chisos said:

I've been thinking of using the "Unit Scouter Reserve" (91U) position for folks like this.  Does anyone actually use it?

We're starting to do this too.  Right now it's the scouts when they join college - but it really could be anyone.

My only hesitation is that it seems like a weird name.

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