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What is the process for picking a scoutmaster for a troop? What sort of qualifications should we be looking for? Does anyone have guidelines that would be helpful? We have a very qualified person - not with in our troop that is interested and than we have a dad that is not quailified. And at this point the troop is in a mess, they don't even do PLC's or do things by patrol. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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The usual procedure is to line up all the leaders in a line and ask all who would like to be scoutmaster to please step forward. Whereupon everyone in the group takes one step backward except for one, and lo and behold you have your new scoutmaster./s

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The Troop Committee Guidbook has a similar process, tailored for selecting Scoutmasters and assistant Scoutmasters. The bottom line is you're far better off taking the time to identify several candidates, and then SELECTING the BEST person.

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Yah, to be honest the process varies a lot from troop to troop, eh? Though the books described give a good outline of a generic process. Take from those whatever you think is useful, and add what's missin'. The biggest problem with the books is that it's pretty rare that there's a big long list of candidates to choose between, eh? :)


The one thing to avoid is "warm body syndrome". Selecting a SM is probably the single most important thing a scout unit does. It should be done with more time and attention than that committee debate that went on for two hours on whether to buy new pots ;). It should genuinely be a thoughtful selection. Nuthin' by "default."


Qualifications? I think those depend on where a troop is at, eh? From what you describe, the troop has a lot of program buildin' to do. In that case, I'd look for:


1) Someone who's got a lot of energy and is a hard worker, who has a clear vision of where he/she wants the troop to go.

2) Someone who has some prior skill working with groups of kids, in terms of setting a "good tone" and expectations.

3) If you can get it, someone who has some real outdoor skill and some current (not ancient) scouting experience. If not, someone who has demonstrated in the past the character of a lifelong learner who enjoys seeking out and learning all he/she can. Energy, vision, and demonstrated ability to work with groups of teens come first; scouting can be learned.

4) Someone who has the time to spend and will be around for a while. Yeh don't rebuild a troop in a year, it's a longer-term growth process.


There is a real advantage in promoting in-house, since you've got experience with that person "in action." But if that experience tells yeh you don't have what you're lookin' for in house, then you have to look afield. Problem is, a resume ain't enough - make sure you talk to adults and kids who have seen the candidate in action, and ask about specific strengths and weaknesses. Just because he was right for another troop and they "liked him" doesn't mean he'll be right for yours. Make sure you get specifics. If possible, go visit with some scouts and watch him "in action."


Whichever way yeh go, make it clear that the SM appointment is for a fixed term of no more than a year (perhaps 'til next recharter date?). With a new SM, you want to have a graceful exit strategy if things just don't work out. Renewal is always possible, even likely, but should not be a "given."


Keep askin' questions and fill us in with more details, and we'll keep tryin' to answer, eh? ;)



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Not sure why you classify the Troop Dad as "unqualified" and the other person as "qualified". Maybe a definition of your idea of qualified would help to clarify what you are looking for.


Whoever you (CC or COR?) decide on, I would make it a requirement that they get fully trained within the first 3 months (depending on when your council offers training).


Considering the fact that you stated your Troop is in a mess, I would also require that ALL leaders in the Troop get completely trained, including the Committee & the COR.


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My I suggest that every adult interested in the program first go to Scoutmaster Specific training so they can come of one mind of what the program is all about.


I've always felt that the SM works for the committee, and the committees job is to hire the person who agrees with the program they want for their sons, and enforce that philosophy or program hodling the SM accountable toward working that goal.


Now, the BSA pretty much sets the Vision and how to build a program to reach that vision. But most Troop committees dont have a clue about the BSAs Vision or Mission and even worse they havent heard of Aims and Methods. You might be surprised who wants the job after they learn and understand the boy run program. And you would be amazed how much easier and more fun the program will become after the adults learn what the BSA has to offer.




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The one canidate has been a scoutmaster for a troop in a different council where he use to live. He has been very active with his old district & council and very knowledge about the Scouting program as a whole, he has been involved w/ training thru the district. The dad from the troop has been an asst in the troop, he works nights (2nd shift) & has not attended many meetings. At this time the unit still does not hold PLC. It has been since March that the majority (more than 3/4) of the scouts have joined and nothing was changed. What are some good questions to ask when interviewing for a scoutmaster? any thing would be helpful since the majority of us are new to Boy Scouts and the majority of others that were in the troop are on their way out because their sons have gotten they eagles recently.


Thanks for all your help in advance!

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What do you feel is the primary responsibility of the Scoutmaster?


As one of the leaders of the Troop, you would be responsible for the appearance of the Scouts with regard to cleanliness and proper uniforming. What is your personal experience with your own uniform? How have you done in the past year in wearing the full uniform to your troop meetings? Do you think proper uniforming is important? Why?



You've held leadership positions in other troops. How have you participated in your Patrol Leaders Council meetings? Did you conduct or participate in the annual or semiannual planning meetings? If so, what was your role and how did you participate?


As a unit leader, what was your most difficult experience? Why was it difficult and what did you do to make it better?


Have you had an experience when your own team did not want to follow your leadership? This could have been any member of the PLC when you were a Scoutmaster or the committee. What was the experience and what did you do about it?


Can you give us an example of a time when you demonstrated leadership in a scouting activity? What was it and why do you think it showed leadership?


One of our first troop tasks is to divide into patrols. How would you suggest we decide who is in what patrol? Why do you think that's a good way to do it?


As adult leaders, we've been asked about taking electronic devices on the outings. What do you think we should decide about small CD players, cassette players, ipod/mp3 players or gameboy type devices?


What would your former troop say about you, your attendance at troop meetings and campouts, and your living of the scout oath and law - that would make us want to select you for a leadership position?


If you were not selected for the Scoutmaster position, would you accept the position of Assistant Scoutmaster if we offered it to you?


Two scouts start pusing and shoving each other and become more and more agitated. This happens on a troop outing right after dinner has been eaten. You are standing two feet from these Scouts. What is your immediate response? What is your long term response (next few hours).


If in implementing the Scouting program the way you see fit you encounter resistance from existing Assistant Scoutmasters because your way "is not way we've always done it" what is your response?


Do you have any questions for us before we end the interview session?



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To answer the OP: What I think are qualities to look for in a Scoutmaster:

1 Dedication to live according to the Scout Oath and Law

2 willingness to be available for meetings and outings

3 ability to work well with youth

4 experience in Scouting

5 ability to work well with adults

6 humble!

7 willingness to learn

8 commitment to get trained or continue training

9 experience in Camping, hiking

10 stable in thier life/ job with proven leadership record


IMHO previous Scouting background should be carefully considered. How far along the trail they went. If they earned their Eagle what did they do after that. Are they OA? Scouting as a ayouth does not mean that they will make a good Scoutmaster but IMHO it will help so long as they were committed to the "program" and not just what it did for them. For example the program teaches servant leadership; those that only served until they earned their Eagle IMHO are not as dedicated to the "program" as those that stayed in until they were 18 or longer in spite of the fact of the rank they advanced to.


By the way if a candidate is a Vigil Honor member of the OA I'd give them a bonus 100 points! The likelyhood that they would make an excellent Scoutmaster is very high.

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Mr Brotherhood WWW's post goes back to our discussion in the WB and Adult Leader Training Forum, where Lisa'Bob asked about Eagles making good leaders. To me, it's all about an attitude of servant leadership! If a Scouter (with or without youth program experience) has an attitude of "how can I learn to serve these young people better; how can I and my peers serve them better?" then all will be well.


OTOH, "Look at me, I'm a (insert honorific here), I don't need training", then it's time to run away ... far far away, from that leader.


In the time I was a Scout to the day I first signed an Adult Leader application ...

- We've quit digging trenches for fires.

- We don't cut browse for camp beds.

- We have to think about water purity in the deepest backcountry.

Training matters.


Training matters! Desire matters! Leading by serving matters!

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A good candidate for Scoutmaster is an adult that is active with his Scout and relates well with the other Scouts. Maybe he was a Cub Scout Den Leader before, did some training in Cub Scouts, crossed his Webelos Scouts with the Arrow of Light onto the Troop.

With the Boy Scout program being different than Cub Scouts, maybe he is laying back to see how the program runs.

Does he sit on the sidlines during the Scout meeting? Is he a registered Boy Scout leader in the Troop? Has he been camping or went on trips with the Troop? Has he done any Boy Scout leader training? Does he vounteer to drive Scouts on trips? Does he already wear the Scout uniform? Did he have a sucessful Cub Scout program retaining Cub Scouts?

He might just be waiting to be asked...................

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