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Ditto question. Different venue. What is a Scoutmasters job?

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He is the program guy. The buck stops with the Scoutmaster on all program issues. He keeps the flame on the Aims and Methods of Scouting for the Troop.


He's a supervisor. The ASM's work for him.


He's the mentor, adviser, and trainer of the PLC. He cannot delegate this.


He knows every single youth member. He's the one who has the joy of talking to them about the Oath and the Law. He's the one who assigns them Merit Badge Counselors. He's the one whose quiet word of encouragement will send a young man soaring ... and whose quiet word of discipline should bring a young man back to hard reality. None of this last is delegatable.


At least, that's what Mr Weiss, Mr Wright, and Mr Warden were to me... ... 40-odd years ago.


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I agree with most of what John-in-KC says, except for the 'cannot delegate' part. Depending on how big the troop gets, sometimes the Scoutmaster is almost forced to delegate some of these pieces.


The Scoutmaster is definitely the program guy. And he certainly sets the tone for the troop. The ASMs definitely work for him - and it is hard to delegate the supervision of the other adults, although some very large troops might have smaller teams of ASMs with a team lead for each grouping.


Wood Badge has an ASM for Program, and so do some of the larger troops. The SM can delegate quite a bit to this ASM.


But I would say that essentially, the SM's job is to make sure that the program is functioning effectively. There are lots of ways to accomplish this, but the SM has to keep a watchful eye over all aspects of the program and gently counsel the SPL, or the PLC, or particular Scouts, or ASMs (and sometimes committee members, too, although that's not officially part of his/her duties).

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Oak Tree, I agree, there are things the SM can delegate to his ASMs ...


- Overwatch of specific Patrols? Yep.


- Skillset Master Trainer (the instructor resource person)? Yep


- Event support person (Mr Camporee, Mr Klondike, Mr Summer Camp, Mr HA ...)? Yep


- Administrivia of Life--->Eagle? Yep (I'm not talking the concept of the Project, nor am I talking the Eagle SM Conference; I'm talking knowing the Advancement Committee well enough that the Project will get "you may begin" go-ahead, and I'm talking the arcane process of the Eagle app packet itself)


What I say the Scoutmaster cannot delegate is:

- the duty to the PLC,

- the duty of youth mentorship, to specifically include SM conferences and MB Counselor assignments.

If the Scoutmaster has to delegate those, it's time to look at splitting the Troop, it's too big! I've seen, out in a server farm somewhere, several different Commish College theses which say the correct high-end youth count shouldn't be more than 50 kids.


Does that make more sense?

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As is often the case, I agree with John. If the SM can not have a good one to one relationaship with each and every boy, the troop may just be too big. Those boys are expecting to have that relationship. They NEED that relationship. My Scoutmaster "Mac" was the most important male role model in my life.


John fondly remembers the Scoutmasters who mentored him, as do I. While I believe an ASM can have an important relationship, it is key for the Scoutmaster to have one with each boy.


How quaint and old fashioned that the Scoutmasters John and I remember were all men.



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I also agree with John that this is the way it is most of the time. As an ASM I was asked to take over as primary mentor to the SPL once. The SPL was the Scoutmaster's son. The Scoutmaster thought it was better for his son to have my perspective since the SPL already knew his Dad as a mentor for years. Additionally, it is likely I will be the next Scoutmaster so it was a learning opportunity for me as well. It worked well. The other Scouts did not even notice the change because most of the time I was interfacing with Scout to prepare for meetings and events and not much during the way it should be.

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This is a really great question and some really good responses. I'm not sure there is a bad response really, but I know my answer changed with experience.


I think toward the end of my SM carrier I looked at job as the guardian of Scouting's Ideals. The SM is the primary judge for interpreting the Scout Law, Oath, promise, and motto for that troop for everyone in the troop.


Every ASM, SPL, PL and even TG run their part of the program differently from their counterparts because their personality is different. So there has to be some kind of consistency or judge to maintain constant direction of leading boys into becoming men who make ethical decisions.


The SM's measure of values and ideals have to rule fairly, equally and with justice so that each boy in their different ways still work toward the same Scouting goals. I find those are the most respected Scoutmasters because they are good at judging behavior, not individuals. Boys don't mind failure when they know the judgment isn't condemnation, but only an opportunity toward better ethical decision making. I think that is what Badon Powell had in mind when he described the SM as the big brother.


I love this scouting stuff.



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That is certainly an exception to the rule, and truly so. The father/son relationship is usually so strong that it's not always objective. :)


There will be exceptions to what I describe; the 80% solution is just that :)

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