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Interesting timing on this topic. Last night the SM stated he has 17 months left as SM. That is when his son turns 18. Why do I have a feeling I am in several people's crosshairs now?

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1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Interesting timing on this topic. Last night the SM stated he has 17 months left as SM. That is when his son turns 18. Why do I have a feeling I am in several people's crosshairs now?

Congratulations!  It is only one hour a week 🙂

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This is my story.  I was asked by a friend to help with a troop (his son was a member).  They needed someone who could take care of the paperwork.  The troop had been around about 10 years and had had 3 SMs. I showed up at a meeting and knew 5 youth and adults.  Near the end of the meeting the SM stepped forward with a couple of announcements.  The last one - Now let me introduce you to your new SM (me).  That was a shock.  I had two choices - run for the door on the other side of the room or step up.  I stepped up and served as SM for 16 years until the unit folded due to lack of youth (no feeder pack) and volunteers (most left after their sons did).  By the way I have no kids.

I once told my old SM that I took the position because of the fun I had when I was a youth and it was my way to pay back to others.  Most were surprised I was in the position because I had no kids, but they came to understand my commitment.  

Perhaps it was meant to be for me to be the pin that held things together for the youth when others left with their sons.  One group asked my wife once why we had no kids.  She told them that if we did, then I would not be able to spend as much time taking them on outings, etc.  They told her - Don't have any kids.

After 16 years, I felt some of the challenges that have been listed, but am still active with the District, Council, OA, MBC, etc.

There's no limit on length of time in a position.  As long as everyone is okay with it don't change it. 

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1 hour ago, mashmaster said:

Congratulations!  It is only one hour a week 🙂

You forgot the "...per Scout."

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My challenge is that my wife has asked me to NOT be the SM until after all three of my boys are done in Scouting. Oldest will be out by then, and middle son will be 16+, and the way he' is going will be Eagle prior to that. But the youngest, the most challenging one, will only be 14.

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8 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

My challenge is that my wife has asked me to NOT be the SM until after all three of my boys are done in Scouting. Oldest will be out by then, and middle son will be 16+, and the way he' is going will be Eagle prior to that. But the youngest, the most challenging one, will only be 14.

Happy wife, happy life.  :)

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1 minute ago, WisconsinMomma said:

Our troop seems to have had shorter, 1 to 2 year terms for Scoutmasters.  

By any chance LDS? I know the LDS church use to appoint Scouters. And they averaged about that long. 1 year, the local LDS troop went through 3 SMs.

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53 minutes ago, WisconsinMomma said:

Our troop seems to have had shorter, 1 to 2 year terms for Scoutmasters.  

That was roughly the case for our last three. I’m hoping this third one can stick it out a little longer. Getting him onboard has been rough due to scheduling conflicts with training. But, being an Eagle Scout and having already raised two Eagle Scouts kinda helps.

His job is pretty demanding, so he’s not at every meeting and activity. But, that’s not the disadvantage that you’d think. Our ASMs can get occasional practice being “the guy”, and our SPLs have a good sense that it’s on them to keep everyone on task. Basically there’s less room to take everyone for granted.

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12 minutes ago, qwazse said:

That was roughly the case for our last three. I’m hoping this third one can stick it out a little longer. Getting him onboard has been rough due to scheduling conflicts with training. But, being an Eagle Scout and having already raised two Eagle Scouts kinda helps.

His job is pretty demanding, so he’s not at every meeting and activity. But, that’s not the disadvantage that you’d think. Our ASMs can get occasional practice being “the guy”, and our SPLs have a good sense that it’s on them to keep everyone on task. Basically there’s less room to take everyone for granted.

It's only an issue if the SM does not communicate or delegate. I spent about 3-4 years being "the backup" to two different Scoutmasters. One always made sure I was in the loop and prepared. The other would tell me 30 minutes before a meeting he wouldn't be there. 

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8 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

Our troop seems to have had shorter, 1 to 2 year terms for Scoutmasters.  

I must admit I prefer long standing scoutmasters.  Troops change personality with the SM and youth need continuity.  

BUT why shouldn't it be okay.  We want scouts to step up and adults to minimize their own involvement.  It seems like rotating adults promotes youth owning their own program.  My only fear is it takes a long time to really figure out the job.  I'm betting at least two years.  It would not be fun to have a SM continually learning his role.

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4 hours ago, fred8033 said:

...  My only fear is it takes a long time to really figure out the job.  I'm betting at least two years.  It would not be fun to have a SM continually learning his role.

That’s a definite disadvantage. Our previous SM was just hitting his stride when his job promoted and relocated him. It’s time consuming for the rest of us to train new SMs. I don’t really know how rough it is on the scouts, though.

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1 hour ago, qwazse said:

That’s a definite disadvantage. Our previous SM was just hitting his stride when his job promoted and relocated him. It’s time consuming for the rest of us to train new SMs. I don’t really know how rough it is on the scouts, though.

It depends on the Scouts. My first Scoutmaster handed things over when I was 12. While I remember him fondly, I wasn't super upset that he was stepping down because I hadn't known him very long. On the other hand, during the last Scoutmaster transition, I noticed how much Scouts (and their parents) would still seek out the Scoutmaster or I for things that were really the purview of the New Scoutmaster. It was mostly older Scouts and their parents who had grown comfortable with who they should go to.  

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I learned the lesson in the pack. We had 3 really good CCs who were job transferred in one year. The loses didn't affect us much because each CC brought in a really good assistant who shared the work. I personally believe that CC is the most important adult in the unit because they are responsible for recruiting each position, including the CM and SM. The CC should have a good understanding of the unit mission and goals and remind the adults now and then of those goals. The CC should insure each scouter is trained for their specific tasks.

I believe that good Scoutmastering skills requires several years of practice toward the goals for the scouts. But, that is only if the SM has goals. Most SMs don't have goals specific to individual scouts (other than Eagle), they have agendas. They have the agenda of a weekly meeting, monthly campout and  yearly summer camp and they make sure the everything is in order to make those agendas happen. Then there are the SMs with the goals of a youth program that runs itself without any attendance from the adults. That style of Scoutmastering is less about unit agendas and more about a culture of independence, personal growth, and using the oath and law. The scouts take care of the meetings, campouts and summer camps in that troop. And the SM guides the adults of the culture and develops them knowing one of them will be the next SM of the mission.

Barry

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5 hours ago, qwazse said:

That’s a definite disadvantage. Our previous SM was just hitting his stride when his job promoted and relocated him. It’s time consuming for the rest of us to train new SMs. I don’t really know how rough it is on the scouts, though.

It's good to acknowledge this can be tough on the scouts, especially the SPL. We had a nonfunctional SM for three years who used to brag the troop was boy led, but it was because he did nothing. He had some kind of a passive aggressive personality disorder that made him impossible for adults to work with, let alone kids. For two of his years we had good SPLs who did their best to run the troop. It was hard for them though to up manage an adult they were supposed to respect and hard because they were high school kids in AP courses, in the middle of college searches, involved in other activities. We talk a lot about adult burn out but I haven't seen many places where we talk about scout burn out. Some kids put little into their PORs but some take it seriously and the volunteer roles for kids can be just as consuming and burdensome for the scouts as they can be for adults. 

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