Jump to content

Rejecting ASM Applications from College Students

Recommended Posts

But I think that the connection between age and maturity and experience is a bit tighter than maybe you'd like to admit.


Nah, I think all da evidence out there says that experience is based on, well, experience and not much else. Age is only a correlate because it affords more time to accumulate experience. At least that's what all da psychologist folks seem to tell us, with reams and reams of literature on how difficult it is for people to "transfer" experience from one field to another. Being older doesn't make yeh a better airplane pilot, and having a lot of experience as an attorney doesn't make yeh a better airplane pilot (if you've ever met an attorney pilot you'd know what I mean ;)). But havin' years of experience as a pilot will make yeh a better pilot.


So I'll buy that an older EMT candidate might have better people skills, but that's only because folks with people skills / caring experience tend to be attracted to EMS, not because of age by itself. That's a selection effect, not an age effect. Da only well-documented age effect is that the older we get, and particularly when we get past our mid-twenties, the less able we are to learn or really change our beliefs in light of evidence. Our brains get kind of hardwired, eh? Nuthin' more torturous for a young scout than trying to teach grandpa Beavah how to use da most recent computer thingamajig ;)


In da case of scouting, though, we're talkin' about a young fellow with 7+ years of recent experience and typically much better fitness, vs. a parent with virtually no experience. Have yeh ever sat and watched as parent scouters try to treat every kid as though they were their own son? Expecting "obedience", giving orders/consequences, doin' nuthin' but high-impact car camping? Blech! They have experience as a parent, but that's not da experience set yeh need to be an effective scouter.


Yep, each unit should make a choice based on da individual, for sure. My advice, though, is to give preference to younger folks, folks with scouting/outdoor experience, and folks with experience working with groups of same-age kids (schools, camps, sports, etc.). That's da experience which is relevant. Experience as an engineer just isn't. :)


So I'll take moosetheitalianblacksmith and his willingness to beat the crap out of a guy raping a kid over an "experienced" older athletic director who carefully and responsibly acts to limit liability and damage to public reputations like a mature, responsible adult. Any day of the week and twice on Sunday.


Beavah(This message has been edited by Beavah)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 104
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Right Beav, I see what you're saying. But I don't think that it's all about experience either. I know I included experience as an example, but there's also maturity and good judgement, correct? And, contrary to what you said, it has been well documented that the parts of the brain that regulate risky behavior and overall maturity aren't fully developed until the mid- to late-20s. It may not be fair to judge one particular young adult based on that generalization, but it's not any less fair than judging an older adult based on the generalization that they will be slower to learn or to accept change.


I'll leave the EMS discussion alone. I'm not sure exactly what type of service you work under, but having worked in a variety of environments myself, I can assure you that a desire to help people is not necessarily high on the list of things that attract some young people to the profession :-) (On a side note, can I ask what state you're in that you have an EMT-W certification? I'd like to learn more about how it works in that state)


I'd say who we give preference to depends on the needs of the specific unit at the particular time the applications are being considered. If the unit is best served by a particular young adult, by all means give that young adult preference. But to always give the young adult preference, based only on age, and regardless of the needs of the unit - well, that's just discrimination in the opposite direction, right? :-)


So I'll take moosetheitalianblacksmith and his willingness to beat the crap out of a guy raping a kid over an "experienced" older athletic director who carefully and responsibly acts to limit liability and damage to public reputations like a mature, responsible adult.


Well, I guess it's a good thing that most leaders fall somewhere between those two extremes, and that I have more choices than just one or the other. Because, honestly, both would be unacceptable to me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

to always give the young adult preference, based only on age, and regardless of the needs of the unit - well, that's just discrimination in the opposite direction, right?


Perhaps, though yeh have to admit that the Europeans have a point when they think that older adults who want to hang out with kids is a bit creepy. ;)


I was really talkin' about young adults who have scouting experience, eh? I'd give preference to da scouting experience over some vague, amorphous notion of "maturity" which quite frankly I have not seen to be particularly well correlated with age. And I'd give preference to people with experience working with groups of same-age youth over parents, because that experience is more relevant. And I'd give preference to those who come with solid outdoor skills over those for whom IOLS would be their first introduction.


All of which brings us back around to why I'd give preference to a young adult with 7+ years in scouting, because unlike that neophyte parent, the man has years of relevant outdoor experience, years of experience working with groups of youth of that age, etc. Given a situation with a kid in the outdoors, that young fellow is much more likely to make the correct decision.


And that's what da brain studies really show, eh? It's experience that counts, because experiences causes brain development. Not vice versa. Da notion that young people "can't do" stuff is just a pleasant fiction that us old farts tell ourselves in order to make ourselves feel better in our declining years. ;) Ain't got a thing to do with reality.




Link to post
Share on other sites

Beav - All very good points. 7+ years experience in Scouting is quite an accomplishment, and I'm sure a very attractive qualification, regardless of age.


If I could just ask you to expound on one more point for me: "experience that counts, because experiences causes brain development" -- can you point me to the research that indicates that inexperience is the reason why certain regions of the brain aren't fully developed until age 25 or so?


Also could you maybe PM me with info on the EMT-W cert?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yah, I've got a scouter friend who does this sort of work professionally, so I mostly just listen to him, eh? ;) Ain't my field. But here's somethin' he pointed me to as a good synopsis: Scientific American Article


It's one of those areas where da popular press and da actual science bear relatively little resemblance to each other. We old farts aren't very good at filterin' out our own biases against da young. :p



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I found out at our round table to day, while I listened to multiple adults including our DE talk about what exactly they would have done to the guy molesting the kids that I am actually not in an extreme.


Not even remotely I was very subdued and in the middle compared to what every one of those Older Scouters were saying.


And that was a very large group of people discussing that at the Round table not one was even close to as gentle with the guy as I was.


Just food for thought that it isnt just young people that want to go beat the crap out of the guy....in fact the young man was least violent out of a large group of scouters.


As I said before this counts as an extreme situation which is not a good correlation in any way to an actual persons personality, maturity or judgment.


Again just food for thought but my question would be if what I was hearing at roundtable was a typical response by seasoned experience mature adults how am I out of line and not welcome a troop (KC9DDI's apparently) because of what I was saying?


If you want to judge based off of extreme situations I think my round table just proves Beavahs point when he said Personally, I'd have trouble with any scouter who didn't have that kind of immediate reaction.

(This message has been edited by MoosetheItalianBlacksmith)(This message has been edited by MoosetheItalianBlacksmith)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bevah that was a fascinating read and its not something I would typically read. But it supports conclusions I had come up with by comparing our culture to others.


Amazing read.....Im gonna keep that article.


"When we treat teens like adults, they almost immediately

rise to the challenge."


I can attest to that and have seen it in multiple time already....they teens that get babied are the ones that cause problems. Treat them as if they were an adult (as I have been treated for most of my life) and they will be an adult.


Good read and I recommend everybody read it before saying teens or young adults are incapable or immature or have poor judgment cause it really shines a light on the subject.

(This message has been edited by MoosetheItalianBlacksmith)

Link to post
Share on other sites



Not my specialty either, but one of the MDs whose specialty it is wanted me to get some articles on the topic of the brain fully being fully developed at 25. He read some of the articles I got him and said "BS." Don't remember exactly what he said, except the "BS" part, but it was something along the lines that the brain scan differently based upon the data it is collecting, and that while something is being learned, brain scans are different. So a 20 something in school brain scans are different from most older adults, but if you take a scan of a 40something student, the scna would be similar to a 20 something.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Eagle and Beav - That's very interesting. At the very least, it shows that there are (at least) two credible positions on the matter. I have some questions about that specific article, but I too am certainly not an expert in the field.


Beavah, I need to ask you for some clarification on your position, so that I don't waste time arguing something that's not being disputed :-) Are you saying that units should look only at experience, and not at age when selecting a unit leader? So a 40 year old who served as an ASM for 7 years would be on roughly equal footing as a 18 year old who spent the past 7 years as an active Scout? Or are you saying that preference should be given to the younger man in a case like that?


MIB - I guess I'd have to admit that I'm a bit surprised to learn that. I've never attended a Scouting event where adults took turns discussing how they'd do violent harm to another person - even a child abuser. I'm not sure that's something I'd brag about. But I guess I agree with your point - bad decisions can be and are made at all ages.


But I strongly disagree with you on theme of "extreme situations." I've found that how a person reacts to an extreme situation can be a very good gauge of their maturity, their character, and generally their ability to handle "normal" situations. Having been in a few myself, and having handled some well, and others poorly - I maintain that even "extreme situations" require proper handling. Perhaps even more so than "normal" situations.

Link to post
Share on other sites

At no point was I bragging but merely making a point that its a typical reaction or this extreme situation. They talked about it because somebody brought it up and when not doing anything people tend to talk about lots of different things.after awhile the topic changed to something more scout related.


On the other issue....some people do base opinions off of extreme situation and apparently your one of them. This would be one of those debatable issues because you got the people that think as you do and then those who think like I do because they realize all bets are off and people arent always in their right minds in those situations.


A person can make every right decision in the world except that one that he made in an extreme situation.....does that mean he makes bad decisions and is not to be trusted? I dont agree with that. I find it is a much better way to judge somebody based off of the normal conditions or the harshest conditions they may typically come across or need to know. As an EMT or member of the armed services that is at a different degree than you say an accountant or architect.


We all have heard of Members of the armed services that may work excellent in those extreme situations in which they are trained for but make some horrible decisions judgment calls, and life choices outside of that atmosphere. So by judging off of extreme situation you would say that because the ARMY vet was great over there they would be a great leader....what about the other stuff?


Same goes in reverse if a vet wasnt good in the Extreme Situations but outside of the armed services makes a lot of great decisions and is a good role model does that mean he would be a bad scouter.....I say no.


So maybe its just me but I Strongly feel that judging people off of extreme situations is unfair to them and is not a good accurate measure of them.


So dont use those Extreme circumstances to judge people test them out and see how they would do in a troop setting. If it doesnt look like its going to work thats a different story because now you have tested them on the level that they would be working.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sexual abuse is more than a pet peeve with me, and you do not want to knwo how violent I would get to help a person in need. I've had friends sexually assaulted, and dated a girl who was raped, there are emotional scars. The physical violence done to them is nothing, again NOTHING, compared to the emotional and mental violence they caused on someone for their entire lives.


In regards to scouters and "bragging," I know that no one ever brags about it, rather they just tell the truth about the situation. And yes I have seen the results of one molester at a camp who "fell down the three steps in front of the cabin," and have no problem with what the staff did. I also know the police had no problems either, 'cause off duty office was one of the staffers dealing with the situation. Don't know if child molesters in the UK are treated as scum by their fellow prisoners as in the USA, but It would not hurt me in the least if they were.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was in the group that MIB was talking about.. My take on it.


1) it wasn't an official gathering of RT, not a Before breakout announcement time, or during a breakout session.. Just a group of people with no need to go to a RT, gathered to talk about anything and everything to while away the time. Started with one person telling me I have to change the way I present YPT to tell people to call 911 first, not the DE due to the incident.. (Since 99.8% do it on-line, I don't really have a say in how YPT is taught.)


2) A few guys made comments close to MIB's on this forum about beating the guy up, others agreed with the thoughts.. On to other topics..


3) My impression of the whole thing?

a) Men may mature, but there is still a secret desire in them to be super heroes..

b) I could no more see the guys who made the comments truely beating the guy up, if in that situation. Knowing the guys there first reaction would be to help the kid, and get him away.. If that involved a brief struggle to do so, they would do that. But, truely they would take the kid and run, not leave the kid shivering in the corner while they spent 5 or 10 minutes pummeling the molester to within an inch of his life..


Conclusion.. Alot of bravado, all the guys made it known that they would not be best buddies of a child molester, and would not feel sorry for him if he met up with some unforgiving prison mates.. But, if any of them truely were placed in those circumstances, I trust that each and everyone of them would put the child first, their need to get themselves and the child to safety second, not the need for revenge. Then I know they would all report it..


And really that is all these men really wanted anyone to take away from all their Bravado.. That if they are in a similar situation they would act. Period..

Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you saying that units should look only at experience, and not at age when selecting a unit leader? So a 40 year old who served as an ASM for 7 years would be on roughly equal footing as a 18 year old who spent the past 7 years as an active Scout? Or are you saying that preference should be given to the younger man in a case like that?


I'm sayin' that it's an awfully rare troop that has da luxury of "selecting" a unit leader in da first place, and that by and large units should make use of any qualified and willing soul, taking advantage of each person's individual skill and talent. I can't imagine why a unit would place ASM candidates on any comparative "footing" at all, eh? I'd expect any unit would grab both fellows.


Beyond that, I think that "training" is vastly overrated. Nobody is really goin' to change how they act or approach things because of a few hours of seat time or viewing an online cartoon. In reality, scouting relies on people to join who have certain kinds of experience and talent that took a lot of time to develop, because we aren't very good at developing it after they join. That's what B-P used to talk about as scouters "of the right sort", eh? People who came with some natural skills working with boys or the outdoors, and preferably both. So yeh really do a unit a disservice when yeh reject people who come with substantial prior experience that yeh didn't have to "pay" for, because we really don't have da time or resources to develop it after they come.


For da rest, I only have loose rules of thumb, eh? I'd never make decisions based on such things, they're just potential traps to look for. Da most common trap is accepting Webelos parents immediately into ASM/MC ranks. Causes lots of grief lots of times. Second most common issue is selecting SM/ASMs based on who da parents like, without reference to the boys. Parents I've found are more apt to judge on surface appearances if they aren't out campin' with da troop a lot. Clean cut and well pressed takes precedence over "works well with kids". That sort of thing.





Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd welcome him.


Looking back over those days, I think having an off-campus, non-academic, non-school, non-always the-same-peer-group, social outlet would have been a very good way to clear my head, get some fresh air and stay in touch with the real world.

It surely would have benefited me as a student.



Link to post
Share on other sites

This thread is one that my son will definitely have to read. He is an Eagle Scout and registered ASM with my Troop, his current plan, after he completes Air Force basic and school, is to volunteer with a Troop near his duty station. He enjoyed his 7 years as a Boy Scout immensely and wants to give back as much as possible.

I currently have 3 ASM's who just last year were Scouts in the Troop, They are probably my greatest asset, especially since getting parents to register as leaders is hard to do. (I'm down to two, with one getting ready to "retire" after 30 years in Scouting.)

Like my son the other two "young" ASMs also plan on helping with local Troops when they go of to college/military. And if the leaders of the Troops they contact want references, I will give them a glowing one, either over the phone, by email, or even snail mail.

Maybe if the leaders of these troops that are nervous about a college-age Eagle wanting to volunteer gave a call to the Eagles former Troop it might dispell some of those issues. Leaders talk frankly with one another in private, we don't mince words, if there was an issue I definitely let you know if you asked.

We teach these young men to be leaders, and as Eagles they are held to a higher standard. Giving back to a Troop when they are away from home gives them an opportunity to hone those skills in a new, yet familiar, setting. I personally would welcome them and be glad to assist them in continueing in Scouting.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...