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gwd-scouter

Scoutmaster can't go on all the campouts-is that OK?

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For nearly a year now, I have been suffering from an as yet undiagnosed form of rheumatism/arthritis. Having said that, I'm not trying to garner any sympathy here but my post is prompted by a serious concern. Because of this condition, which comes and goes very sporadically, I've not been able to attend many of our Troop's outings. I'm OK if it's a car camping type of thing where I know I won't be required to do much of any physical activity if the pains flare up. Or, if we're camping locally where I could actually go home if it becomes crippling.

 

Our two ASMs are wonderful fellows who really have taken charge of all outdoor activities, but neither is comfortable or available to take the SM job. My husband is one of the ASMs and states he cannot become the SM since his work schedule requires him to miss every other Scout meeting. Other ASM simply does not want the responsibility being new to the Troop (maybe next year, huh?).

 

Before we get into a debate on how SMs are chosen, our CO is not involved and our Troop Committee is in yet another transition. So, as it has always been in our Troop, a new SM will be whoever steps up to the job.

 

I really don't want to quit the position as we have all worked so hard these past two years turning this troop around and I wouldn't want to mess with the momentum we've built. And, as my husband tells me often, we wouldn't be where we are today if you didn't have the vision of what this troop should be. But, then again, I worry that I may lose respect of the boys if I am not fully active in the outdoor program.

 

So, my question: Is it OK for the SM to take care more of the indoor part of the program (leadership training, mentoring, conferences, etc.) and leave the outdoor part to the other adults?

 

(This message has been edited by gwd-scouter)

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Sure as long as proper two deep leadership is maintained it is ok for a SM not to go. However it may be hard for that SM to say much to scouts who choose not to go.

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If we set a standard of Adonis for men and Diana for women to be our Scoutmasters, most are going to be sadly short.

 

gwd, someone needs to be thanking you for stepping up to the plate and serving. THANK YOU. You are making a difference in the lives of young men.

 

I see nothing wrong with an "ASM for fieldcraft." What I see are a ton of Scoutmaster minutes about making lemonade when life gives you lemons.

 

I would recommend you do what you can in the field, but don't let your special needs inhibit where the Scouts choose to camp. Be there when they assemble, be there when they get home.

 

Lots of troops use a "Camp SM" for the annual LT camp. He does the program work while the SM concentrates a bit more on serving with the Scouts.

 

Is you DH in position to support being the "camp SM"?

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>>And, as my husband tells me often, we wouldn't be where we are today if you didn't have the vision of what this troop should be.

 

So, my question: Is it OK for the SM to take care more of the indoor part of the program (leadership training, mentoring, conferences, etc.) and leave the outdoor part to the other adults?

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Our SM is an EMT/fireman. He can't make every meeting or outing. But between three other ASM's we keep it covered. He is a wonderful SM and I have loads of respect for him.

 

I have recently changed jobs and won't be able to go on all the outings either. But as long as we are covered 2 deep and have at least one trained leader there the boys pretty much plan all the outings.

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No one person can do it all. You have the help and support of your fellow Scouters, God bless you, and keep plugging along.

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gwd, as usual, it sounds like folks are providing sound thoughts. I'd just chime in with this note (pun intended:

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I agree, there's no reason you should step down because of this, unless you actually WANT to step down. I wonder, though, if part of your concern has to do with the fact that you're a female SM in an overwhelmingly male setting? I know for myself, there are times when I have been concerned that some of "the guys" would perceive me as being less able or interested in some activity just due to my gender. Like, for example, the time a Scouter was giving his recruiting speech to a bunch of us and he singled us "ladies" out for tasks such as refreshment coordinator and secretary because "you moms may not want to camp or hike but there are still domestic tasks to be done." Grr. GRRR. (hackles raised) Yeah, I laugh with him about it now. So I think that if I were in your shoes, the concern you voiced would cross my mind too. And then, as others suggest, I would try to know my own limits, be reasonably open with others about them (esp. the boys but also their parents - kids tend to parrot their parents' opinions, after all), and get on with being as good an SM as possible.

 

 

 

 

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gwd,i agree with Vicki. If you are comfortable with it, let the boy's in on it. Maybe incorperate the Disability MB while your at it.

 

Not a disability, at least not yet, but a week ago last Mon. I had a thyroidectomy. The shirts I had been wearing covered up the incision most of the time, except for the uniform shirt of course. Go figure. At the meeting this last Monday i never gave the uniform shirt a thought. Threw it on and went to the meeting. First thing in the door, a couple of the crossovers (it was their third meeting ) walked up looking at me, pointed at my neck and asked "WHAT HAPPENED?" At least I was fast on my feet replying, "TOTEM-CHIP GONE BAD BOYS, TOTEM-CHIP GONE BAD." Then we had a good laugh.

Let them know.

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This is as tough as my work situation. My days off are Wed and Thurs. That leaves me unable to do weekend trips, unless I take 3 days off (not good for the wallet) and will leave my employer upset enough to take me to a disciplinary hearing, resulting in a suspension of at least 7 days! Your first priority has to be to your family (which includes YOU). I am blessed to be an ASM with 6 other ASMs, but most work weekends like me. Still waiting for that Powerball ticket!

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Thanks folks for the support. I have in fact shared my "disability" with the boys and parents. It is very obvious when I'm having my bad days as I can't stand up quite straight, walk with a limp and usually cannot raise one or both of my arms. We always do the Scout Oath at the beginning of our meetings and the guys certainly get a laugh when Mrs. B, the "drill sergeant" when it comes to doing the Scout Sign properly, can't even raise her own arm!

 

My illness became most clearly known last August on our white water trip. Long drives seem to aggrivate the condition and I was in considerable pain by the time we arrived and finished setting up camp. The whole troop including many parents were in attendance. As we were going over the boat assignments I explained that I was not going to go down the river with them. Puzzled faces for sure as I made no attempt to hide my extreme pleasure at doing white water.

 

But, I explained to them, one of the things we had talked about during safety instruction was how everyone must paddle. How paddling helps keep you in the boat as you go through the rapids. At that stage of the day, my shoulders were barely moveable and my right hand had closed into a fist. Besides being incredibly uncomfortable, I would have been a safety risk on the boat. If I fell out, I could not have helped to get myself back in the boat. Dead weight. Everyone had a great time and I did enjoy standing on the bridge and watching as each of our boats made it down the last most extreme rapids.

 

We've had lots of activities since then and I have faired better in some than in others. I am fortunate to have very understanding boys in my Troop, but I try hard not to let the pain show because I don't want the boys to begin thinking they have to help me do everything - then what kind of SM would I be?

 

As I said, I don't do the high adventure stuff myself for now, but I do go along on the trips and camp if possible. If I can't go on the trip at all, I always see them off when they leave and meet them when they return.

 

John-in-KC - what is a DH?

 

As to my gender - well in the beginning there was a lot of concern about "the girl," but that has passed for the most part, at least among the members and families in our Troop. Still a few fellow Scouters out there are probably waiting to see me fail, but that's their problem. I've done a lot with these guys and plan to continue as much as I can.

 

 

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gwd:

 

DH can be either "Dear Husband" or "Darling Hubby" :)

 

Terms for the fairer side of the relationship I've seen and liked:

My Good Girl

LSW (longsuffering wife)

 

John

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GWD,

Hang in there. you're the SM right? Not a superhero.

 

Do you best, and go camping when you can.

 

Gonzo

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DH - Dear Hubby, of course. I am fortunate in that my husband, one of our ASMs, is very happy to assume the role of SM in the field. In fact, it was his idea and a position for which he is very comfortable. It is a relief to know the boys are in good hands on our more adventurous outings with husband and our other ASM along. Both trained, both experienced, both very enthusiastic scouters, and both fully behind "letting the boys do it."

 

 

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