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shortridge

One hour a week: Realistic time commitment for SM/ASMs

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Posted (edited)

For those of you who’ve served as Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmaster:

What is your estimate of the amount of time you spent (or currently spend, If in those roles now) on Scouting each week or month?

If you could indicate which role you filled, that would be appreciated.

My back-of-the envelope numbers:

>> There’s the troop meetings - say 2 hours a week.

>> Planning for troop meetings - let’s say another 2 hours a week, to encompass everything from PLC meetings and SPL calls to Lowe’s runs for supplies.

>> One troop committee meeting a month - say 2 hours.

>> One weekend campout a month - roughly two days, not counting any prep.

>> One District Roundtable a month (unless you’re able to delegate) - another 2 hours.

That’s about 66 hours a month if my math is right. It doesn’t count OA weekends, camp Beaver Days, unit fundraisers, service projects, parades or anything else. What else have I missed?

Edited by shortridge

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Hi @shortridge. I was a scoutmaster for 12 years. The real question here, if I may be so bold, is will your wife be okay with all the hours?

Scoutmaster conferences, eagle projects, packing for said trips, going to blue and golds, training, just spending time figuring out how to crack some nut. Those are some of the things you've forgotten. I'm sure there are more.

Some of this has to do with the size of your troop as well as how many adults will actually help. We estimated 1 hour per month per scout in the troop is what all of the adults put in together. How much of that will people help with? How good are you at convincing others to help out. I didn't do so well at that but a bunch of adults did step up. However, there seem to be fewer helping out.

And yet, I am really glad I did it.

BTW, I didn't answer your question. I didn't really want to know.

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You missed camping other than monthly troop camp outs like: youth and adult leadership training, high adventure and OA work weekends. 

Matt is right, eventually the wife will set the hard limit. That’s when we learn the skill of delegating and stepping back. Oh, and don’t talk Scouting at the dinner table. 

Barry

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In the SM role I am giving about 80 hours per month. I also am in charge of recruiting and help the Outdoor Chair but most of these hours are co-mingled with my SM duties.

My wife calls it my second job and only gets upset when she hears other parents complain they have to spend an hour here or there to help the troop. Last week a mom told me I need to spend more time with the troop and give her son more one on one attention - they moved on to a new troop when I asked her to spend time on the committee.

 

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I attend the Weekly Meetings and PLC Meetings (1 hour prior to each Troop Meeting) as an ASM, I make it to about 90% of all the campouts (Once a month).  I attend the Monthly Committee meeting.   Besides that, I don't truly spend any extra time as a ASM on it.  Our unit is a well oiled machine (so it seems) and has been running smoothly for awhile now (85 years charter).  In fact, I maybe stepping up to become SM here shortly, and I don't see my time being added on.

Being active on the Pack level is a hole different animal.

And I don't include my time as a District Program Chair as time for the Pack and Troop level, that work is on me.

 

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I'm an ASM:

My Troop's meetings are 1.5 hours a week. So lets say a typical month has 4 meetings. 6 hours a month.

I also attend the PLC meetings. 1 hour once a month. Running tally: 7 hours a month. 

Our monthly outings run Friday at 5:30 pm till about noon on Sundays. 49.5 hours a month. 

I probably spent about a half-hour to a hour a week responding to emails, various questions, or coaching the new Scoutmaster, whether before, after, or outside of a meeting. Final total: 51.5 hours a week. 

Things I also do but can't really get a good handle on due to variability: Eagle Project Coach, Eagle Scout Projects, Eagle Scout COH's. Our troop has ranged from 4 Eagles to 12 Eagles in a year. I also support one of our other ASMs who handles high adventure by being an extra adult on backpacking trips. That's typically 3 times a year. Another 42-45 hours a month when those happen. 

I'm sure I'm missing things. The key, whether an ASM or SM is to build up some extra help if that's possible. No ASM or SM should need to go to every event the troop puts on. It will burn them out. If the leader has a family, they feel pressure to be at everything, and that may compromise their relationship with their spouse or kids... which is horrible. 

 

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Posted (edited)

As an ASM, easily 40 hours/month. But ... to keep up Guard Certification and Wilderness First Aid (I've fallen behind on both) that averages another 4 hours a month over their cycles. Further, to stay sharp orienteering, and be fit for World Jamboree, I participate in as many Orienteering Club events as possible ... another 4 hours/month. Then, YPT which is effectively an annual exercise in our council ...  let's say 10 minutes a month that I'm not getting back.

And talking with you all so that I have my scouter hat on straight when facing parents ... I don't even want to know what that amounts to.:o

Edited by qwazse

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Weekly:  

  • Troop meeting (2 hours) 
  • Misc. Planning, calls, and emails. (2hrs)

Monthly:

  • Troop camp out (5pm Friday-noon Sunday) (43 hours)
  • Roundtable (2 hours)
  • Troop Committee Meeting (1-2 hours)

Annual:

  • Summer Camp (1 week)
  • High Adventure 
  • Training (University of Scouting= 8 hours)+many others  for a probable total of 20 hours per year
  • Scout Show, (planning, prep, setup, attendance, and cleanup. ) (12hours minimum)
  • Order of the Arrow. At least 2 weekends per year

Then, you can have a bunch more if you get involved in:

  1. Commissioner service
  2. Multiple units
  3. District
  4. Council
  5. Training staff
  6. Activity such as Camporee, University of Scouting, NYLT Staff, Wood Badge, Popcorn Sales,
  7. OA Chapter or Lodge. (particularly in elections or ceremonies)

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Oh and ILST twice a year at 3 to 4.5 hours each = 6 to 9 hours.

But it is all worth while. 

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Can't detail the hours, but think second job.

Plus, assume your first job vacation days devoted to camps/high adventure weeks.

Buy in from the home front is mandatory. 

In my case first son was all in on scouting and so have, second son doesn't scout, so I've stepped out and devote time to his passion, baseball.

Wife and I have talked, I think I'll keep a toe in the scouting waters and step back in on some level once the youngest has moved on do some level of volunteering. can imagine doing summers at camp a  retirement gig later on.

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I’m in a similar boat to you.  For our meetings, I’m the first one there and the last one out (6pm to 8:30/8:45pm every Thursday). I do most of the planning as well. I try to do a camping trip once a month. (Keep in mind we only have 3 scouts right now).  We have a committee meeting once a month and an charter organization meeting usually once a month.  All this and still not counting the many other things that pop up.  It’s a commitment but I enjoy every minute of it. 

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