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Rejecting ASM Applications from College Students

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Engineer, I don't know how you can be so jaded. Just as I can't say that all older adults are safe to be around, you can't possibly to say that all those are 30 are dangerous to be around. Packs, around the country, have plenty of leaders under 30 who are doing a great job as a parent and role model.


To draw the picture, that you have drawn, shows a great lack of the understanding of individuality and the morals and values that I would install in the kids I work with.


I will admit, that there are others my age I wouldn't sign an application for. However, I also know that there are adults over 60 that shouldn't be volunteering. As a BSA Committee Chairman and Executive Vice President, for a local little league, I know that it comes down to each board/committee to do its due diligence and check the references and background of all volunteers. It then has a responsibility to ensure that each of those volunteers are trained on their policies and also have a sense for doing what is right.



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I am really shocked at the idea that anyone would reject an application based on age alone. I am especially shocked that any troop would turn away their own Eagles.


As background, I am a 26 year old Unit Commissioner who was once an 18 year old Assistant Scoutmaster.


I wholeheartedly believe that you potential and current Scouters be judged solely based on their demonstration of the Scout Oath and Law in their own lives.


I my short tenure as a UC, I have seen more ineffective, unqualified, and destructive leaders that are 40+ (and more often than not, a parent) than I have in the younger, non-parent group. Younger leaders identify with the scouts more, communicate with the scouts better, are more likely to do what is best for the whole of the troop, are more enthusiastic about training, and are more likely to be willing to correct what they are doing wrong.


I will give you an example. On my first visit to a troop that I was new to I was unable to meet the SM (he was sick). Two months later was the first time I saw him. This man was 50ish, had been SM for several years and an ASM before that, and had two boys in the troop with one already eagled out. He was also an active member of the Chartered Org. I won't be specific, but I only had to see the way he acted at one meeting before I responded. I left that meeting and called my DC and then called the COR and CC for that troop. Two weeks later I attended a meeting with the DC, our DE, the COR and CC for that troop. Two weeks later he was replaced by a 24 year old SM who was an Eagle from that troop. That troop is now one of the best in our district and I am continually proud of them.


I say all that to express this - Age and parental status are not always good qualifications. I often tell COR's that they should view these two things as negitives when choosing unit leaders. I know that there are good parents who are good leaders, but I think it is in spite of being a parent and older instead of because of it.


Those with a "no-young, no-nonparent" policy should really rethink their position.

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While I am still mystified that an Eagle would be turned away as an ASM simply because of age, I actually understand why some Troops might push their own Eagles out of the nest. Keep in mind that these young Eagles just spent several years as "one of the guys." Placing them in the same Troop as an ASM can create some awkward situations, as some of the Scouts AND some of the parents might still see him as "one of the guys." This can create respect issues, and some Troops might want to sidestep the awkwardness.

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You are correct in that, and if memory serves, that's the policy in the UK. Once you get age out over there, you look for another group to join.


Can there be issues with a new adult and his buddies, absolutely. I had a few jokes pulled on me, and one challenging youth did have some issues. And if the young leader is having some challenges movin up into the role, and mentoring doesn't work. yes dismiss him.


But I do suggest giving them a chance.

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I'm a 25-year-old ASM. I started up again as an adult when I was 23. I'm lucky to have a troop that took me in (the one I grew up in, in fact), but have also had the experience of getting the cold shoulder from a unit when I lived in another city.


I've found my experience to be largely positive, although I must admit a bit of surprise the first time a parent asked me which scout was my son! At any rate, the relationship I have with scouts is a bit different than that of other adult leaders. Because I'm much closer to their age than the other adults in the room, they relate to me differently, and that can be a positive and a negative.


Sometimes scouts see a younger leader and think they can pal around with me the way they pal around with the older guys in the troop. (Not so, of course.) Sometimes scouts feel more comfortable talking to me about things than they do someone who is their dad's age. And that's a good thing, I think, as long as things are within the boundaries of Youth Protection, and as long as you keep in mind what the barriers are in what should be talked about with a parent and not a scout leader. I do think Youth Protection barriers are tougher for me to keep in check because of my age, because I think that there are a lot of scouts who don't necessarily see me as an "adult." As long as I'm careful and aware, though, there isn't a problem.


I also think some adults with sons in the troop may also look at an adult who doesn't have a kid in the troop with a certain amount of suspicion. And I think, given the climate these days with abuse issues, there is a certain paranoia that someone who doesn't have (for lack of a better term/idea) a "reason" to be there may not have the right motives. At the end of the day, all you can do is make sure everything you do is obviously above-board, show that you know what you're doing, show you can offer something of value to their program, and be enthusiastic about working with the kids. That's how it's worked out for me.

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Some food for thought (I meant to post earlier but I got rushed out of the house)....


Im still in the Young adult age group and I have already been a JASM, ASM, and outdoor Coordinator (at which I was told I was the best they had had in a while). I sit on the Eagle board for my district; I am a District Trainer and becoming the Co-district Training Chair. I am a merit Badge Counselor, the highest trained person in my troop, and have recently become an ACM and have lead more than one outdoor activity. I was a Certified Lifeguard and Swim teacher and I have used my first aide knowledge from scouts to save homebodies life before. I am an Eagle Scout and A brother hood member of the OA. I also have a full course load at College and am a master mason.


Judging by the fact I turned 21 a mere 2 months ago and have been doing a lot of that for multiple years....how much of it was being done as a young adult.


Would you say that all of that was bad and I shouldnt have been given the chance to do it? Should I as a young adult just sit around and twiddle my thumbs when Im not in school?


Some more food. I have even gotten my Fianc involved in scouts (now 20) she sits on the eagle board is vice training chair for the district, does merit badges has been an ASM, Health and safety coordinator and is currently the unofficial CC of the Cub scout pack.


So are we bad scouters because we are in the age range of Young adult?



and P.S. i havent seen any thing saying he was an eagle scout and even if he was hes on in a million as has been stated before.






In answer to something else-


I have remained in the same troop since becoming an eagle scout and have been able to get boys to follow me as an adult with no issues what so ever but Im also the first one they will come to if they have any issues or things they want to talk about that might be bothering them either in scouts or outside of it. but I will admit that it might be more difficult for some other people.


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"You are correct in that, and if memory serves, that's the policy in the UK. Once you get age out over there, you look for another group to join."


Kind of......


You need to remember the age ranges here which are

Beavers 6-8

Cubs 8 - 10 and a half

Scouts 10 and a half - 14

Explorers 14-18

Network 18-25


At 18 you as well as being in Network you can also be an adult leader with any section. Certainly we have had 18/19/20 year old leaders with beavers, cubs and scouts round our way and indeed for a while we had a 19 year old girl as CSL with our cubs (she dispensed with the traditional "Akela" title and was known, and still is, known as "Tinkerbell", far more fitting especially when she just does a hand stand or back flip in the middle of the room!)


Theoretically you can also be an adult leader with explorers as well, but in practice it is vanishingly rare, it is generally suggested to wait till you are 20, simply because of that problem of still being seen as one of the lad(ess)


Over all though younger leaders are encouraged as they bring a real energy to things with new ideas, fresh thinking etc. In fact in some European countries, particularly Eastern Europe I understand that you have to retire from being a front line leader at 35 and you can only be in a commissioner role after that age!


In the UK we also have the young leader (YL) scheme where by 14-17 year old explorer scouts can be a YL with beavers, cubs or scouts. And it is brilliantly successfull with many competent leaders being produced at the other end (indeed our 19 year old CSL came through the YL scheme, aged 21 she is now ACSL due to work commitments but is still with us). Similar to adult leaders some of this is theoretical. Most beaver colonies and cub packs will happily take on a 14 year old YL. Scout troops do so only rarely. I personally insist of them being 15 and some even say 16. Again this is because of them just being seen as one of the lad(ess)s so it is hard for them to gain the respect of the troop. I had a scout move up to explorers in July who wants to come back as a YL. I have had to tell her to wait until she is 15 next July as it is simply not fare on either her or the rest of the troop.

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I personally don't buy into E61's opinion fully on this matter. But, after thinking it over, I can see there being, maybe, a nugget of truth beneath what he's saying.


Whenever any question arises pertaining to the suitability of "young adults" to serve as Scouters, several "young adults" regularly pipe up listing out their qualifications ("I'm an Eagle Scout, an EMT, a lifeguard, I've saved someone's life, etc etc).


For some reason, it seems like the EMT angle comes up again and again in these discussions. Being a paramedic myself I'll pick on that for a second. I was an EMT at 18, and a paramedic at 20. For a while I was the youngest EMT employed at my service, though the average age was probably somewhere in the 24-26 area. So overall a pretty young group, with a couple of "old fogies" in the mix as well.


Now, based just on my own observations and generalizations: the younger EMTs and Paramedics were generally more prone to poor judgement - driving erratically, treating patients poorly, unprofessional interactions with hospital staff, etc. They may have been smart enough, and qualified enough to do the job, but in most cases were still developing the maturity needed to become true "professionals."


Often young adults still try to see the world in black and white, and try to solve complicated problems with overly simple solutions. It's not uncommon, both in my experience as an EMT and as Scouter, to see young adults want to barge into a situation and save the day, but do so in a hot-headed, over-the-top way. Let's see if I can find an example... oh, right here: "I know for a fact I would have on in and beat the crap out of those adults"


Now before everyone get's even more upset than you already are - I'm not saying that age is a 100% reliable indicator of this stuff. I worked with young people who were responsible and professional, and I worked with "old" people who were juvenile and unprofessional. But, generally speaking, I can see a strong correlation between age and maturity. This seems to be supported by some scientific studies, which suggest that full mental maturity is often not reached until the mid to late 20's, if I recall correctly.


Tieing this back into Scouting - I aged out of my troop at 18, but stayed involved in my troop and at a district and council level. Looking back at my first several experiences as a newly-minted "adult" Scouter, I know that I made several mistakes and errors in judgement in my interactions with youth and with other adults. That's not a huge deal - mistakes happen, and I was working with more seasoned, experienced Scouters (who were also more seasoned and experienced adults), who were able to help me see the error in my ways and make corrections. I've seen other "young adult" Scouters make similar mistakes.


So, I think it's a fair generalization to expect that a troop's collective leadership may need to keep a closer eye on a young adult, non-parent Scouter, than an older adult Scouter. This in and of itself isn't a reason to categorically deny young adults from serving as Scouters, but it may be enough of a reason for individual units to consider the application of a young adult Scouter in light of the unit's current needs, strengths and weaknesses, and come to conclusion that the young adult would not be a good fit for the unit at that point.

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But did you get the "Catch 22" in your statement? I think in any line of work or vocation, you get new folks who may have Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs)to do something, but not enough expereince to apply it to a particular situation. And the only way to gain the expereince is to apply the KSAs in situations.That's where

mentoring, coaching, whatever you call it comes in.


I know for a fact I made mistakes when I was a brand new ASM. I had been ASPL for so long that I continued in that role to a degree instead of letting the scout run things. I was too involved. I had to get mentored by older, more experienced scouters, some of whom had expereince helping us Gray Area Scouters (GASers) make the transition from youth to adults.


I know when I was a GASer, as well as a 21-25yo scouter, I was ticked off when folks based their opinions of me only due to my age. I was active in the OA on the executive committee and a Vigil when I became chapter adviser at 21, yet i had folks scream at me that I didn't know what I was doing in regards to the OA. When I moved to another council as a pro,I had folks question my expereince and KSAs in scouting. It wasn't until folks saw me working at an Ordeal, helping out with training, going camping, and one time even mentoring a Scout at a camporee, that I had folks say, OK he knows his stuff.


As for all the stuff I did as a Scout and young leader, I still have folks amazed at what I did. I had a lot of fun, and gained a lot of expereince.

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Well being "Mom" of the other "Moose" (In fact that is where my username stems from tracking down the Moose when he was younger.)

Yes.. son does have some more maturing to do.. But, is surprisingly mature in other ways.. I dont know about the rushing in where fools go, having always been a cautious kid.. But, sometimes does need talking to about what he says or how he says it.. Would he really beat the guy up? I have not seen him beat anyone up, but could possibly see him do a body slam of the guy up against the wall to get him away from the kid.. Then afterward talk about other things he had wished he had done..


Usually when taking on a interest to do something he will take it on whole heartedly and seriously, while ignoring other things he should be concentrating on.. Things that interested him last year he is not interested in this year.. Stubborn and opinionated But, then most of that describes me, and I am as mature as I can ever hope to be.. So is it really maturity or just genetics or learning from the parent?..


We can hope it is maturity which means there is hope for him, where at this point there is no hope for me..


Just because we can still hope that our children have room for improvement, it doesnt make them unqualified leaders.. As stated by mds3d and are more likely to be willing to correct what they are doing wrong. True for most young people (with my son, that stubborn streak may show up, especially if the correction is being suggested by a parent rather then another adult).


But that is why I see his staying with Scouts right now as a positive thing. He is positively contributing to the community.. But, other adults besides his parents are still involved with positively contributing to his development.. And its a good thing for him to learn other things besides his parents bad habits..


I have welcomed young adult in projects I work on, and always see them as an asset.. I also dont see the need to guide them any more time consuming then guiding an Adult completely new to scouting.. And right up the alley of what Scouting is all about Guiding young people..


Son is correct that I am making him co-Training chair.. I was told and I am working on the idea that I am to take this position for 3 years.. Learn it in year one, Be comfortable in it in year two, and train my successor in year three.. I was originally planning on training his Fiance to be my successor, but my son is more interested in it.. So be it.. At 22 I think he will be a great Training Chair, and our DE has made a positive comment when he noticed I was starting to train him to succeed me.

(This message has been edited by moosetracker)

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As you may be wondering why


"Whenever any question arises pertaining to the suitability of "young adults" to serve as Scouters, several "young adults" regularly pipe up listing out their qualifications"


This is because as the statement says they are talking about what young adults are capable and in capable of doing and if they are fit for doing different things. This being the case I do not think it unreasonable to give some examples of what young adults can and have done.


Some adults have even gone back in their mind and told of what they were doing around that time. This is an example of the same thing I am talking about but because we are still young adults we are not allowed to respond and give positive examples?


Everyone who knows me knows that I do not see things in black and white I will look at both sides of everything and try to find other angles at which to look at things but as everybody must at some point I put my foot down and decide where I stand on issues.


My mother is correct in say that I am stubborn and I have been since the day I was born but I also grew up to be very blunt and brutally honest. I have tempered that a bit because in my experience some adults cant seem to handle it (havent met any kids that have an issue with it though). So some time my personality my irk some of you on here or ruffle feathers but I typically dont respond without thinking about it at least in part.


In reference to the Coaching incident my mother is right id probably only escalate if they retaliated against me...at that point its self defense. I made it stronger to going in and beating the crap out of the person for the sole reason as to state that I am very serious about getting the kid out even if it means getting into a fist fight or risking my own neck. I believe that kid should be gotten out as quickly as possible and I dont see any fault in that. As I know many of you would agree as you also stated that just reporting it was not enough and somebody should have stepped in.


I realize a lot of the young adult age group is still learning but from my experience there are plenty of mature young adults out there. Young adults can be great assets and make a lot of great decisions a couple of the greatest leaders through-out history were young adults. If you have bad experiences with the group or with certain ones not being mature than dont use them but treat the rest as mature adults who might just need a bit of guidance once in awhile to make the right decisions.


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I pipe in on this conversation, even though I am now an old fogey with a son in the program, because I remember the challenges and obstacles GASers face. I do not like to see anyone abused or mistreated, and I have been abused and mistreated. I've had folks ignore me because I was "young." I've not only been told I do not know what I am doing, but had that screamed at me once, because I was 21, and the "adult" had been in scouting longer than I have. I've had people say I'm lying about my experience on the district level, serving as an OA chapter adviser at 21 and 22 years, when I was a pro b/c I just got out of college.


But what was interesting was this: the people in the know, the people who helped train and mold me, the ones I look up to as mentors and role models, they had no doubts. Sure they helped me out when needed. Sure I had a few conversations that helped me become a better leader. So I had no problems within the troop. I had no problems with the training folks I worked with. I had few problems with the OA folks I worked closely with, unfortunately it was an Arrowman who screamed at me but he was a flap wearer and rarely saw him at events.


So yes this thread hits home a little.

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"Whenever any question arises pertaining to the suitability of "young adults" to serve as Scouters, several "young adults" regularly pipe up listing out their qualifications."

That statement is correct but it still leaves me with one question: why is listing our qualifications suddenly a negative quality?


We do indeed list our qualifications because that is exactly what older adults teach us to do. We are told if we can show our qualifications, we might be taken seriously. I don't think there's any excuse to generalize about "young adults" when you are considering potential leaders.


So let me ask you this: were you a "good" or "bad" 18 year-old EMT? Were you the exception to the rule or were you one of the bad driving, rude, impulsive EMTs you described? If you consider yourself the exception, then I am not sure why you are suggesting that we initially mistrust all college-age Scouters.


If you are really concerned about the behavior of a potential adult leader, feel free to interview him or her. You could also ask for additional references as you try to get a feel for how reliable the person actually is. However, I feel like most of the "typical" young men (the impulsive ones) will not have the drive to stay involved in Scouting and will drop out quickly.


I have been told by several Eagle Scouts that they have no interest in staying involved with the BSA and THEY are the ones who are living out the stereotypical college experience (booze, etc). Those who ARE still active in Scouting also have positions in their university as RAs, TAs, and other positions of responsibility. These are not people who are in Scouting to hold on to childhood. Instead, these are people who are servant leaders and who are willing to be trained to become better at their jobs.


There is a reason the BSA only allows 18-21 year-olds to register as assistant leaders: so they can learn under a mentor before taking on the "major" adult roles in a unit. To deny students the opportunity to be mentored on the grounds that they are inexperienced is foolish.

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