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Assistant Scoutmaster as Advancement Chair?


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On 1/1/2021 at 9:13 PM, InquisitiveScouter said:

1 x COR (dual hatted as a MC)

1 x CC

1 x Additional MC

The COR could also be CC, but then you need 2 MC's for the same total of 3.

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Concur.  That is why BSA doesn't do it.  They give you the minimums.  We use BSA directives to establish the minimums, and then rely on judgment, experience, activity or subject matter expert adv

The real question is, what is the minimum number of adults to charter a unit? Four, in five positions. 1 x COR (dual hatted as a MC) 1 x CC 1 x Additional MC 1 x Unit Leader (

Hi @Chadamus, Sorry to be a few days late here.  It's probably also worth noting the BSA publication, "Troop Leader Guidebook, Volume 1" describes a role of Assistant Scoutmaster for Advancement

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Scouting units are very well thought out structurally. There should be a separation between the program (SM and ASMs) and support (CC, MC, etc). Thus the advancement chairs should be a MC. The ASM should be "busy" with the program, supporting the SM. 

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12 hours ago, fred8033 said:

This is not a live or die issue.  Scouters can be flexible on this.  BSA does clearly intend the Advancement Chair is a member of the committee.   BSA then again, BSA also clearly intends the SM is the person who interacts with the scouts.  ASMs support the SM.  ... aka ... committee members don't work with the scouts.  Yet, I continually see the committee members interacting with youth and pretending to be SM/ASMs.   Perhaps, committee members should not camp with youth.  Not attend troop meetings or PLCs.  Not make announcements to scouts.  Seriously, this would be good.   It's the SM with his ASMs that should be working with the scouts. 

Quality control?  The BOR is the quality control check, not the advancement chair.  See below duties.  If you really want a separation for quality control, then separate the committee members from the scouts.  Huge benefits here in many ways.  Stop having committee members camp with the scouts.  Stop having them in the room during troop meetings, activities or doing announcements.  Far too often, the BOR members behave exactly like a troops ASMs and then put the committee member hat on for the BOR.

I learned from the above linked Committee Guidebook years ago.  

Advancement Duties:

  • Encourage Scouts to advance in rank. ... Perfect for an ASM.
  • Work with the troop scribe to maintain all Scout advancement records. ... Perfect for an ASM.
  • Arrange quarterly troop boards of review and courts of honor.
  • Develop and maintain a merit badge counselor list. ... Perfect for ASM as SM gives a suggested MBC name.
  • Make a prompt report on the correct form to the council service center when a troop board of review is held.  ... Now ScoutBook.
  • Secure badges and certificates.  ... Order online.  Delivered before next meeting.
  • Work with the troop librarian to build and maintain a troop library of merit badge pamphlets and other advancement literature.  ... Perfect for ASM.
  • Report to the troop committee at each meeting.  ... I usually see many SM/ASMs at commmittee meetings ... not all, but many.

My thoughts are ...

  • Do what you need to make your troop work.
  • Don't overwhelm one volunteer with too much work.
  • Clearly assign responsibilities.  Who buys the advancements?  Who encourages the scout?  Who works with the scout master of ceremonies to put a program together for the next court of honor ?  Who ###, etc, etc, etc ?
  • BOR members must NOT be a SM or ASM from the same troop.  Can be SM/ASM of another troop, but not the scout's troop.  Personally, I'd go further and say not any adult that regularly interacts (attends mtgs, camps, activities, etc) with the youth in the troop.

One option ... split the advancement chair job into two roles.  One scout facing (ASM) and one committee facing (MC).

 

Interesting. Almost all our committee members interact with scouts. Scouts contact the AC regarding advancements, talk to the treasurer re funds, etc. We have had committee people who routinely attend camp outs, meetings, and activities. Thank goodness they do because we're a smaller unit.

BORs in our units are viewed as an opportunity for the scout to talk to adults about his/her experiences earning rank and for the units to get feedback on how well the program is serving the scout. Other than that it's not any kind of quality control. 
 

57 minutes ago, mrjohns2 said:

Scouting units are very well thought out structurally. There should be a separation between the program (SM and ASMs) and support (CC, MC, etc). Thus the advancement chairs should be a MC. The ASM should be "busy" with the program, supporting the SM. 

One of the most important qualities for an Advancements Chair is to be detail oriented and in the past either that person or a support person has needed to be fairly tech savvy.

 

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2 hours ago, yknot said:

Almost all our committee members interact with scouts. Scouts contact the AC regarding advancements, talk to the treasurer re funds, etc. We have had committee people who routinely attend camp outs, meetings, and activities. Thank goodness they do because we're a smaller unit.

Yeah, that's pretty normal.

Though I support the BOR rule, I find hypocracy in the requirement that BOR can't have SM or ASMs.  Often committee members interact with the scouts more than ASMs (who can't be on BORs).  That seems wrong and breaks the idea that you want someone separate to judge program quality.  

"Ideally", scouts work with scouts.  SM is the liason to the adults.  ASMs support the SM.  The SM/ASM side interacts with the scouts.  ... committee members don't.  I've seen way too many troops where ASM seems like an entry level spot that will eventually step up to a functional committee role such as advancement, treasurer, etc. 

The best camp outs I've seen are where we have two adults and the scouts.  Even when it's been 30+ scouts.  

I wish the BOR rule was ... BOR can only be staffed with people who don't interact with the scouts.  (camping, advancement, etc)

 

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2 hours ago, fred8033 said:

Yeah, that's pretty normal.

Though I support the BOR rule, I find hypocracy in the requirement that BOR can't have SM or ASMs.  Often committee members interact with the scouts more than ASMs (who can't be on BORs).  That seems wrong and breaks the idea that you want someone separate to judge program quality.  

"Ideally", scouts work with scouts.  SM is the liason to the adults.  ASMs support the SM.  The SM/ASM side interacts with the scouts.  ... committee members don't.  I've seen way too many troops where ASM seems like an entry level spot that will eventually step up to a functional committee role such as advancement, treasurer, etc. 

The best camp outs I've seen are where we have two adults and the scouts.  Even when it's been 30+ scouts.  

I wish the BOR rule was ... BOR can only be staffed with people who don't interact with the scouts.  (camping, advancement, etc)

 

Eh, I don't think you can have two leaders with 30 scouts any more. That's just not kosher from a YPT or liability sense.

BORs -- I still don't get the value of having them staffed with people who don't interact with scouts. I think that' s the opposite of what you'd want. Maybe we've unwittingly broken some rules, but our BORs are usually all hands on deck even if that means grabbing a wandering ASM and plunking them in a chair. I've just never seen it be an issue of any kind whatsoever. 

 

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7 minutes ago, yknot said:

Eh, I don't think you can have two leaders with 30 scouts any more. That's just not kosher from a YPT or liability sense.

I don't believe there are any YPT rules against this.

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1 minute ago, mrjohns2 said:

I don't believe there are any YPT rules against this.

It's inferred. With 30 kids, the chances of something going wrong needing additional adults are pretty high. You've got to have two to stay and two to leave. From a liability standpoint you just shouldn't do it. It would be insane given today's legal liability environment. 

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1 hour ago, yknot said:

It's inferred. With 30 kids, the chances of something going wrong needing additional adults are pretty high. You've got to have two to stay and two to leave. From a liability standpoint you just shouldn't do it. It would be insane given today's legal liability environment. 

Insane?  Legal liability?  We empower scouts with stoves, axes, knives, rifles, etc.  We take them out into the wilderness (usually a state park or scout camp) with weather, animals, etc.  If you want to avoid liability, don't volunteer anywhere.  We do have G2SS to explicitly follow and parents sign waivers for each campout.  Beyond that, I'm not sure having extra adults would really help with liability.  Would it prevent incidents?  Probably not.  Would it help when incidents happen?  Maybe.  That's why 3 or 4 adults can be nice, but it's just not that critical.

 

Edited by fred8033
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17 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

Insane?  Legal liability?  We empower scouts with stoves, axes, knives, rifles, etc.  We take them out into the wilderness (usually a state park or scout camp) with weather, animals, etc.  If you want to avoid liability, don't volunteer anywhere.  We do have G2SS to explicitly follow and parents sign waivers for each campout.  Beyond that, I'm not sure having extra adults would really help with liability.  Would it prevent incidents?  Probably not.  Would it help when incidents happen?  Maybe.  That's why 3 or 4 adults can be nice, but it's just not that critical.

 

Whoa. I normally like what you have to say fred, but this is kind of out there. No, no way should 30 kids be out in the woods with 2 adults. Think of summer camp. Most camps, apart from the initial two leaders, want an additional responsible adult per 5 kids. So you send 20 kids to camp, you need at least 3 and preferably 4 adults. Thirty kids would require an additional two. That's pretty much what any other youth activity requires as well. 

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11 minutes ago, yknot said:

Whoa. I normally like what you have to say fred, but this is kind of out there. No, no way should 30 kids be out in the woods with 2 adults. Think of summer camp. Most camps, apart from the initial two leaders, want an additional responsible adult per 5 kids. So you send 20 kids to camp, you need at least 3 and preferably 4 adults. Thirty kids would require an additional two. That's pretty much what any other youth activity requires as well. 

Scout camps have a ranger on-site with a house usually within a mile and other troops are near by.  Most state parks have 911 coverage, other campers and county sheriffs respond quickly. 

If you have scouts with special challenges, the situation changes.  And then I'd really ask the question ... are you comfortable taking responsibility for that specific scout?  At that point, I'm not sure any number of adults will help ... unless you require the parent to attend.

In my 15 years of troop camping, we've camped with 30+ scouts and two adults about five or six times.  It worked great.  I also found scouts avoided the adults much less and stayed together more.  .... Most campouts were 3 to 6 adults.  It was okay.  ... The worst campouts were always when we had 10+ adults or a ratio of 1 adult to 3 scouts or 1 adult to 2 scouts. 

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That ratio seems off to me as well.  But in my unit we are almost always sailing or by water so we have to follow the guidelines for water safety so maybe I am confusing the ratios.  I also have to ensure that we have male and female adult leaders since we are co-ed.

Along with ensuring boy tents (blue) are on one side, adults in the middle, girl tents (pink) on the other side.  No purpleing....(mixing of pink and blue 🙂 )

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Five years ago, we did a high adventure.  Two adults.  Eighteen scouts.  The high adventure camp staff treated our troop like all stars for letting the scouts enjoy their own trip and minimizing the adults.  '

I'd encourage every troop to consciously work to minimize the adults on the camp outs.

It is a youth program.

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Great discussion...perhaps for a new thread?

I'm with @fred8033 on this one, in the frontcountry.

Backcountry (more than one hour from definitive care), no way. I push for four adults, minimum.   Primarily to help handle the psychological impacts of worst cases scenarios.

"What experts do know is that children and teens tend to be more vulnerable to the effects of trauma than adults whose brains have fully developed. The underdeveloped brain is not mature enough to integrate the traumatic experience and process it in a way that facilitates moving on from it."

https://paradigmtreatment.com/teens-vulnerable-ptsd-adults/

In both scenarios, minimizing adult "presence" is key.  Youth camp where they want...adults camp far away, but within reach if there is a problem.  Our Scouts love this, and the culture from the older ones passed on to the youngers is "Don't mess up this good deal for us!"  I want them to experience adventure and independence/interdependence, without removing the safety net.

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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When we have done high adventures we have kept the adults to the minimums.  But that depends on the activities.  Water based activities require more adults for supervision.  When we are in the non-water based part like camping or hiking we are at a minimum of adults but we only have 12 active scouts so our ratios are lower.  It is fun for us adults to hang way back and watch the scouts get lost on a hike.

I remember last year our scouts walked us in a big circle and I pointed out how that truck looks a lot like mine.....  They asked why didn't I say anything, I mentioned y'all look well hydrated, my job is done. 

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1 hour ago, fred8033 said:

Scout camps have a ranger on-site with a house usually within a mile and other troops are near by.  Most state parks have 911 coverage, other campers and county sheriffs respond quickly. 

If you have scouts with special challenges, the situation changes.  And then I'd really ask the question ... are you comfortable taking responsibility for that specific scout?  At that point, I'm not sure any number of adults will help ... unless you require the parent to attend.

In my 15 years of troop camping, we've camped with 30+ scouts and two adults about five or six times.  It worked great.  I also found scouts avoided the adults much less and stayed together more.  .... Most campouts were 3 to 6 adults.  It was okay.  ... The worst campouts were always when we had 10+ adults or a ratio of 1 adult to 3 scouts or 1 adult to 2 scouts. 

Is your CO aware that you take 30 kids out with two adults? If something happens it's hard to defend under the legal definition of negligence and could leave you all exposed to liability because no other youth organization works that way. BSA itself no longer allows even small patrols to operate without at least two deep adult supervision what makes you think even larger groups would be OK? Relying on camp staffing to count towards numbers only relates if they are working with your unit and are in sight, not if they are randomly in residence somewhere in the general vicinity. 

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