Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Chadamus

ASMs assigned to Scout Patrols?

Recommended Posts

Do any Troops out there assign one or two specific ASMs to their Scout Patrols? For those that do, what is the ASM's function(s)? Signing off advancement for members of that Patrol, possibly?

Any pros and cons of this practice?

Thanks in advance for any insight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

My troop uses them.  On paper they are supposed to serve as an advisor for the patrol leader, provide the adult 2-deep leadership required for patrol meetings and outings, and make sure that all scouts stay safe on patrol outings.

Unfortunately, In practice, they end up as serving as the de-facto patrol leader because the youth in my troop are conditioned that if they don't do something, an adult will always bail them out and do it for them. (yes that is a bitter tone that you detect 😞)

Edited by Tatung42
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did it for a while at one SM's request. Told the PL, "If you need me for anything, I'll be elsewhere."

He did ask for help addressing one or two issues. And I gave him some pointers on how to handle them, but otherwise I wasn't needed. Moreover, I don't think he other PLs needed specific advisors.

I certainly am glad I didn't have such a thing when I was a PL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In a former, adult-run troop this was tried as there was an excess number 20+ ASM's which the SM felt needed assignment in his org chart, besides it would boost Advancement and Adult Association.  That it did, but  Patrol and Leadership method was further diminished as those ASM's were very hands-on, even to the point of cooking meals and attending PLC. 

Eventually, the SM realized the troop was reverting to a Cub Pack with adult-lead dens so he replaced the ASM's with Troop Guides. But the PLC , now with more scouts attending than adults,  reasoned only the new scout patrol needed a Troop Guide. 

An exception was soon realized where patrol ASM's could be necessary - a special needs scout, but that depended on the needs of the scouts and the support training of his fellow scouts.

Too many ASM's spoil the ...

My $0.02,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Tatung42 said:

My troop uses them.  On paper they are supposed to serve as an advisor for the patrol leader, provide the adult 2-deep leadership required for patrol meetings and outings, and make sure that all scouts stay safe on patrol outings.

Unfortunately, In practice, they end up as serving as the de-facto patrol leader because the youth in my troop are conditioned that if they don't do something, an adult will always bail them out and do it for them. (yes that is a bitter tone that you detect 😞)

Been there twice. First time, it was a troop that used age based patrols, i.e. NSP, Middle Patrol, and older Scout/Venture patrol. And yes it turned into Webelos III. on all levels, except the Venture patrol. I hated it.

Second time the  troop started off like that and moved to mixed aged patrols. Still had ASMs assigned, and depending upon the ASM, it was  Webelos 3 den. It steadily got worse. Switched to a a new troop

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For whatever reason the ASMs are seen as important for patrols, the program is supposed to mature to independence away from that importance. There might be a temporary need to Patrol ASMs, but the need is a red flag that program is not working as it should. 

The two risk are that human nature does not like to give up authority, and has a reluctance to change. Unless the SM has a plan, and strives, to move the program away from the need for patrol ASMs, there isn't much motivation to change.

Barry

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd think that like anything you have to define the roles for these ASMs.  As I see it, an ASM is generally there to provide guidance to the Scouts when needed.  They are augmenting the SM's ability/desire to do that him/herself.  

If you're troop is at a stage where you feel patrols need some support, then naming an ASM to provide that support can work.  You just need to be really clear on what patrol method is and how an ASM fits into that.  However, what happens way too often is that we give an adult some role without setting expectations for that role.  Then, since the adult wants to be helpful, they get too involved.  That's the danger here  Again, just be really clear on how patrols should work, the role of the PL, and the role of the patrol advisor ASM.  In practice though, experience tells me that if done correctly, the patrol adviser ASM won't be terribly busy and he/she will get bored.

To use a Cub Scout analogy.  I like to think of a patrol leader as the leadership equivalent of a den leader.  The ASM is the leadership equivalent of an Assistant Cubmaster (ACM).  No pack would ever have an ACM per den - there would simply not be enough to do. 

If I were in your position, I'd think about tasking the ASMs in a different way.  Perhaps one ASM for new scouts, one for ages 12-14, and one for 15-17.  That way you've got an ASM thinking about how the troop works for these distinct age ranges.  Are the new scouts getting going?  Are the younger scouts having fun and learning?  Is the troop program staying challenging, fun,  and relevant for the older Scouts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only reason I would have ASM assign to a patrol would be in an age based patrol and then only for the first months.

In our troop the ASMs are given specific responsibilities - one is our adult QM who helps the QM purchase items (adults have credit cards). He also will help the QM set a goal for his 6 month term and to set goals per month. He then reviews those goals on a monthly basis.

The other ASM helps with the logistics of the camping program when the committee has not provided what is needed and he also is my backup when I am not present.

Both  help keeping new parents from getting into patrol business or interfereing. 

IMHO being an ASM should be boring - The SM provides the vision for the program, the scouts provide the program based on that framework. The ASM assists the SM when needed. This opinon is based on a troop 18 - 50 scouts, more than that the SM will need more help.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


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

The only reason I would have ASM assign to a patrol would be in an age based patrol and then only for the first months.

In our troop the ASMs are given specific responsibilities - one is our adult QM who helps the QM purchase items (adults have credit cards). He also will help the QM set a goal for his 6 month term and to set goals per month. He then reviews those goals on a monthly basis.

The other ASM helps with the logistics of the camping program when the committee has not provided what is needed and he also is my backup when I am not present.

Both  help keeping new parents from getting into patrol business or interfereing. 

IMHO being an ASM should be boring - The SM provides the vision for the program, the scouts provide the program based on that framework. The ASM assists the SM when needed. This opinon is based on a troop 18 - 50 scouts, more than that the SM will need more help.

Good post, thanks. 

Our troop of 100 scouts ran pretty much the same way. One ASM to assist troop guides, one for camping and logistics, and one for QM. How many adults the SM requires is dependent on how well the scouts manage their program. Some years may require more adults than others as scouts age out and new blood learn the ropes.

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@TMSM, our troop has basically settled into that routine. Each of our ASMs have different talents, so it makes sense that they should be available to any patrol who asks for them -- as opposed to hovering over one patrol who never asked for it. I really hope that we will soon get a patrol who can only do an activity on a particular weekend or evening, and there will be just the right ASM and one other registered adult available to help that PL make it a reality. That kind of "spark" is what I think will get our patrols really upping their game.

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
Sign in to follow this  

×