Jump to content
fred8033

When to step away

Recommended Posts

I've been mulling when to step away and make room for the next volunteer.  This will be my 20th year in scouting as a parent.  18th year as a volunteer leader.  500+ nights camping.  ... I like sleeping outside on a nice cool night more than sleeping inside ... Wood badge was 11 years ago.  Lots of district and council work.  I've also done a lot of volunteering outside of scouting.  

I once thought scouting would be my life-long volunteer passion.  But, it's lost it's luster for me in many ways.  Maybe that's normal that as you get more involved and more responsible for the content, you also learn more of the inner details.  

Over this next year, I'll be looking to have someone else take up my district and unit roles.  It's time for me to step back.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I knew it was time when I started dreading the phone ring. At first I thought it would be a break, but when the District Chairman offered me his Job (dream job at one time) and I felt nausea, I told him I wasn't ready.

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, the fun to grief ratio was getting too low. I didn't want to end up angry at scouting. I tried a different job at the district and while the fun was great the grief was also great. So I changed jobs again. Now, it's kind of like when I started. I have fun doing scouty things with scouts. I have learned to let the bad stuff go. Cheerful and Helpful is my litmus test.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After 40+ years it got to the point that instead of looking forward to meetings and campouts I was dreading them.  It was time to step down.  Best thing I ever did.  Now I go to the events that I want to and not have to.  Lot less stress and aggravation

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

18 years is an amazing amount of time to volunteer!  Thank you for your many years of service.

I'd encourage you to step back and re-evaluate.  In the process, hand off your responsibilities and take a sabbatical.  Think about where your fun is.  Maybe you're really done, maybe you decide these something else you'd enjoy doing.  But, it's hard to do that while you're still committed.  But whatever you do, find your fun in it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WSJ gave me a boost.

Also if I don't have scouting as an excuse, church will suck up my time and turn me into an angry old cuss.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can understand completely. After 15 years on the same district committee, I needed a break. I have had 9 months R&R. Between that and the new troop, it's been a great relief.

So sit back, take a break, and have fun with a unit, or no nonscouting activities. Get the much needed rest you deserve .

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Totally cool, you have positively impacted many youth in your 18 years.  I thought I was done and now I am a Skipper.  Life evolves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting that a lot of comments seem to center on Scouters who are burned out on district or possibly council positions.  Personally I have been involved with unit work for many years.  No district or council (well except 7 years of camp staff and 2 years as DE).  No Woodbadge or anything like that.  Worked with my home troop out of college #2, worked with others as I moved, worked with a local one here that my son joined.  He has aged out, but I Scout on with 11 years with this one.  Multiple trips to Philmont, long local High Adventure, coaching Life to Eagles now and logging 35 nights camping annually with the troop.

Keep involvement at the unit level.  Watch and get to know the new Scouts as they crossover.  That keeps it fresh.  Don't be afraid to be the old guy, who knows what is what, yet has a lot of fun doing it.  Those conversations with the 7th and 8th graders on the way to outings are pure comedy gold.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Interesting that a lot of comments seem to center on Scouters who are burned out on district or possibly council positions.  Personally I have been involved with unit work for many years.  No district or council (well except 7 years of camp staff and 2 years as DE).  No Woodbadge or anything like that.  Worked with my home troop out of college #2, worked with others as I moved, worked with a local one here that my son joined.  He has aged out, but I Scout on with 11 years with this one.  Multiple trips to Philmont, long local High Adventure, coaching Life to Eagles now and logging 35 nights camping annually with the troop.

Keep involvement at the unit level.  Watch and get to know the new Scouts as they crossover.  That keeps it fresh.  Don't be afraid to be the old guy, who knows what is what, yet has a lot of fun doing it.  Those conversations with the 7th and 8th graders on the way to outings are pure comedy gold.

 

Interesting observation.  I'll admit that district service often feels more like a job than my real job.

I need to remember sometime to start a topic "How can we make District Service fun?"  I'd love to hear ideas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Keep involvement at the unit level.  Watch and get to know the new Scouts as they crossover.  That keeps it fresh.  Don't be afraid to be the old guy, who knows what is what, yet has a lot of fun doing it.  Those conversations with the 7th and 8th graders on the way to outings are pure comedy gold.

I think this is one of the reasons.  All my adult leader friends who brought a smile when they showed up have moved on.  I still have many friends, but it is not like it was.  

And I must admit ... this last month, I've done a lot of yard work and home projects that I have put off for a decade.  It's sort of nice working my ticket back into my home life.  :)

Edited by fred8033
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, fred8033 said:

I think this is one of the reasons.  All my adult leader friends who brought a smile when they showed up have moved on.  I still have many friends, but it is not like it was.  

And I must admit ... this last month, I've done a lot of yard work and home projects that I have put off for a decade.  It's sort of nice working my ticket back into my home life.  :)

Not an untrue observation

Many Scouters take on District or Council positions at the request of a friend and then enjoy the camaraderie that may bring.  As friendships change or people move on, you may turn around and then you may not really have a lot in common with the team you are working with.  Lack of friendships and common experience can impact the "fun" you may have had in the past doing whatever for the District or Council.  Becomes more of job.

With the troop you go in knowing the main focus of your efforts (the Scouts) will in fact grow-up and age out, that is sort of the overall hope and plan.  As the older ones move on you can build relationships with the new ones, work with them, help develop them.  Sort of Rinse Lather Repeat.  A good bit of personal satisfaction to sit on an EBOR with a Scout who you remember being a somewhat homesick 11 year old.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

...  Don't be afraid to be the old guy, who knows what is what, yet has a lot of fun doing it.  Those conversations with the 7th and 8th graders on the way to outings are pure comedy gold.

As this year's jamboree theme song goes :

Quote

... And if there’s mischief then the leaders are to blame! ...

A lot of us "old souls" went around dancing like fiends,  dumping patches and "ruining" the market for traders, teaching leaders from "rule following" countries how to navigate the system, distracting groups from activities and pointing out edible wild plants, setting up flag stands because gateways could only be 8' high and poles only 10' high, etc ...

There's a lot to be said for being "that old guy."

On the other hand, Mrs. Q did appreciate that I pulled myself away from all of my shenanigans to tidy up outside the house.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unit volunteering is easier to sustain than District or Council. There is a more immediate "payoff" to unit volunteering that isn't always true of District or Council. 

It's ok to take a break, especially from District or Council stuff. I just turned down an offer to join the Distict Eagle Advancement team. A few years ago I'd be all over that, now I've got too much going on. 

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

×