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Some concerns about a new scoutmaster

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At summer camp we have an ASM who is transitioning into the role of SM. He has been an ASM (untrained) for about 2 years and finally got trained. It seemed to me that he has a "my way" mentality and after spending a week with him I have some concerns.

#1 He does not support the SPL when the boys give the SPL a problem or refuse to do the tasks assigned to them. This happened on several occasions and 3 that I can remember had to do with the Sm's son refusing to do his assigned task. The SPL ( an excellent scout in my opinion was upset that he didn't get the support from the scouts and I did tell the boys that as "he is the SPL and deserves the respect that he apparently earned as you boys voted him in as SPL") I know feels that the SM did not assist him with this issue and I heard him say that "his son's do what they want but nobody else gets to do this." This needed to be addressed immediately in my opinion to the patrols and the troop to prevent it from happening after the first occurence but the opportunity was lost.


# 2 After an incident with a breakdown of the buddy system at night he did not address the situation as the scout that committed the breakdown ( he left his buddy alone) went into his tent and did not want to talk about it. I felt that allowing the boy to go to his tent was although not the best way to handle it was ok for that night but the issue still had to be addressed in the morning and that as nothing occurred it lost us a valuable chance to impart expectations on the boy ( a newer scout) about how to handle such an issue.


# 3 I have heard ( still unsubstantiated) from a few of the boys that his son after drawing a picture that displeased him was taken aside in private and had his face slapped. Now apparently the picture had something that was offensive but I have a concern about the slapping. I am not one of those never hit your kids types but I do not feel it belongs at a scouting event in any way shape or form. Take him aside and explain the consequences and proceed from there but not at Scouting and not where the boys can or will hear about the incident.


# 4 We had a week of terrible weather and when the boys were pulled from the event field and sent back to the campsite because of weather he did not go to the site but instead went and sat in his van with one of his son's while the other one went to the site, It was left to the ASM's (of which I am one) to see to the boys during a period of very incliment weather.


Any ideas suggestions etc, I am not sure how to handle the situation as I think the SM thinks that I want to be the SM as the leaving SM and Committee chair have asked me if I was interested and I think that does not sit well with him. I support him as much as possible but the few times that I have told him I didn't agree with how things were being handled he has pouted and basically been nasty with the ever common "well you do ....." comment. I do not want the SM job and have told him so but I am leary of approaching him concerning this past week as that will be the first thing that he thinks.

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Regardless of feeling leery about talking with him, you really have to if you want to make your concerns known and to continue in the troop.


The fact that you're seeking advice indicates you see them as serious issues. Ignoring them isn't going to make them go away.


There's no magic bullet to solving unit leadership problems. You can go talk with your CC, COR, UC, etc., but the first step should always be to try to talk it out with the person involved. Anything else and the SM will likely feel blindsided.

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he sounds like a tool so i think it is very important that you be the best a.s.m. there is to keep your troop together. If he can't do the job very well, be there to pick up the slack and maybe he will learn from what you do.


maybe deep down he knows he is over his head but is afraid to ask for help. help him with out telling him you are doing so.


good luck

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Welcome to the campfire.


I am curious as to why he agreed/wanted to be SM. I am also curious as to why he was asked to be SM. Hobsons choice?


Does he have a plan for his tenure as SM?


Also what is the troop culture/history? Scout led, adult led, mix, size, Committee involvement.




red feather

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Basically, what shortridge said.


The first step is to share your concerns, quietly, calmly, with Mr Scoutmaster. I recommend away from the Troop or Committee meeting site, someplace neutral, someplace where you can get "a friendly cup of coffee." Have your own Scouting program knowledge in a row.


If he listens and acknowledges, great. If not, Mr ASM, you have a decision to make. As an ASM, you work for the SM. He's the principal program officer. If you wish to carry this forward, you may need to ask for a new adult leader app and shift to the Committee (as an ASM, you're NOT a member thereof). From the Committee, you can raise the issue, first quietly with the CC, and there less quietly, by way of the committee as a whole.


If this still doesn't work, then your right path is to ask for a business meeting with the CC and the COR, and lay it on the table.


How important is this to you? How far are you willing to carry it? Are you prepared to be thanked for your past service to the Troop, and given a farewell? That is a real and potential second order consequence.

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I have a bit of a problem with threads where ASM's state that they are having problems with the SM.

OK, I will admit that I have never served as an ASM. However over the years have had some really wonderful people who have worked along side of me and with me.

All these guys have been my friends, in fact most have become my very nearest and dearest friends.

Scouts and Scouting for us was more a way of life, than just an activity that we were involved in.

We shared our lives, we shared our goals, our experiences and our love for Scouting and the kids we were working with and serving.

I guess I must have just been lucky?


I agree with the wise man from K-C, even if at times I have a hard time understanding the military jargon!!

You need to take a long hard look at yourself.

Look deep inside of yourself and think about what is really going on?

While this might sound easy? Take my word for it. - It's not!

A few years back I moved on from serving as District Commissioner to serving as District Chairman. The Council Commissioner selected a new District Commissioner.

This new guy was everywhere, he fast became very popular. He was (Still is!) A very likable fellow, very charming, a great salesman, a real bundle of fun. However it soon became clear that he was very much like a butterfly. He was everywhere because he didn't stay in one place long enough to find out what problems were happening, let alone fix them.

He was spending all of his time being the Mr. Nice Popular Fellow.

As the problems grew and got more and more out of hand. I knew that he just wasn't the right person for the job.

But I had a big problem.

I had been used to being the popular guy. I was used to people coming to me and asking me for help and advise and deep down I resented all the attention that he was receiving.

When I looked at myself, I wasn't sure if I was really seeing what was happening? I wasn't sure if I was being fair to him? Or if I was allowing my resentments to push me into looking for faults.

I did know that the faults were there. I'd have been a real twit not to see them and notice them.

In the end I decided that it was in the best interest of everyone that I take him under my wing and work with trying to get him to do the job that he was supposed to be doing.

It wasn't easy and there were times when I would loved to have done some very un-scout-like things to him.

There were times when I felt like the guy cleaning up after the elephants had left town.

We had some very not so nice conversations and I know at times his feeling were hurt.

He was still serving when my 3 year term was up.

Sadly he has now moved on and is active in another organization. But I do feel that I gave it(Him) my best shot!

With some deep thought and maybe a little prayer? I feel sure that you will do what is right and give whatever you make your mind up to do? Your best shot.

Good Luck.


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How was this fellow as an ASM? Has he significantly changed with the change of position?

Did you work with him during his time as an ASM?


Look if his character and dealings with the boys in relation to the Scout Law are in question and you are trying to hold him to the standard then how can you do that if you aren't being Trustworthy, et al.


You, definitely as an ASM, need to speak to him first; then you need to consider staying in place or following John-in-KC's advice.


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Eamonn, I liked your story and agree with your thought that a person should look at themself first and what they can do before criticizing the other guy. However, your story was a little different in that you are the senior person taking the other guy under your wing. If you are an ASM with a SM who is doing a poor job, you can't offer to mentor the SM. The SM is in the more senior position and that creates a different dynamic.


Nobody likes to receive criticism. Many people respond very negatively to it. The SM may even see ASMct as the real problem. I found an article on the internet called "How to Criticize Your Boss". I will try to summarize and reword to fit the Scouting issue:

1. Be sure that the Scoutmaster can handle the criticism. If you don't have a good enough relationship, or the Scoutmaster doesn't seem to want input from others, the criticism may not be well received. Even if you've had a good relationship, he may still conclude you are the problem if you are having to bring up such concerns constantly and/or other people aren't telling him the same things. If he knows what he is doing is wrong and he doesn't care (as is probably the case with a SM who abandons his troop in bad weather to go sit in his van), once again he is not likely to want people around who are going to point out such things.

2. Keep it private. This is generally a good idea. Criticizing in public will almost automatically create hard feelings. There may be times when you have to bring up an issue to the Troop Committee, but if so, be prepared for a fight.

3. Time it right. At week long summer camp, you will notice the boys near the end of the week fighting more. The same can happen with the adults. Pick a less busy and stressful time to bring up concerns.

4. Be objective. You should have specific concerns, things that can be fixed, and be prepared to offer solutions.

5. Balance your criticism with a compliment. Compliment first, then let them know your concerns. Don't do it in the reverse order.(This message has been edited by Scouter760)(This message has been edited by Scouter760)

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Noel and I would get along just fine!!


Anyway, do the SM/ASMS have a monthly meeting where they can get together and discuss what's working and what's not? If so, you might be able to bring up that you saw some things that could have been handled to the betterment of the troop.




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