Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
mds3d

Expectations of a Scoutmaster

Recommended Posts

I would like to hear from you guys what you think the expectations you should have of a scoutmaster. Specifically I am talking about time. I know many people see the Scoutmaster as at every meeting, at every roundtable, and on every activity.

 

Is a good scoutmaster on every event/at every meeting, or is he able to be confident that his assistants can take care of things when he can't be there.

 

Here is the brief version of why I ask. What if you know the best choice for a Scoutmaster (he is willing), but you also know that he will unavoidably miss the occasional meeting and not be on each and every activity? Is he still a good choice, or do you go with someone who can be there all the time but might not be the best choice as far as delivering the best program/guiding the youth?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As Committee Chairman of a Cub Scout Pack here's what I expect from my Cubmaster, and a coorlation between the expectations of that position and Scoutmaster.

 

1. Build a relationship of mutual respect with Den Leaders and Assistant Den Leaders. Support and guide them to ensure that the pack meets parents'/scouts' expectations (where the youth leaders would replace the Den Leaders.)

 

2. Build a good working relationship with the Committee Chairman and committee members. Trust them to help with Advancements, Fundraising, Activities, etc. Make sure that they understand your expectations and how best to help you.

 

3. Build a good relationship with the families in the unit. Make sure that you communicate effectively and their problems/concerns are addressed quickly.

 

4. Work with your assistants so they understand what you're looking for. Communicate with your lead assistant when you can't be there to make sure that there's a replacement.

 

I would much rather go with the person who can communicate, build relationships, and has experience than someone who can be at all the outings/meetings, but lacks in communication and relationship building.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A good SM develops good ASMs that he can trust to handle some of the load since he can't be everywhere at once.

It helps to prevent burn out.

Before I retired I was a firefighter and worked shift work so I missed 1 meeting a month. I just made sure I had good ASMs and communicated my ideas to them and of course my SPL.

Last year I left for 6 months to hike the Appalachian Trail and my ASMs took care of business while I was gone with no problems.

Our troop has elections for SM each year and they continue to ask me to keep serving. Heaven only knows why ;)

If 100% participation was mandatory you'd never find anyone to take the job.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

100% is going too far - I don't know any leader that makes it 100%

 

but I will say that my son's SM has been gone more the last year or so than he's been there, and it has caused some issues. Until just recently he didn't want ASM's to do SMC or sign off blue cards, so when he would make it he'd get swamped by boys with cards and needing SMC's. Now that he's allowed an ASM to do those when he is gone it has helped some.

 

so I guess it would depend on what you expect the SM to do and not the ASM... because if there are things like then - then I'd go for SM that is around more and let the other be a very good ASM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's what us ASM's are there for! To support the SM however he needs it, wether he's here or away.

 

Our SM is an upper level Director for his day job, and is frequently out of town on business. Now, he has learned the art of the flight schedules and works around those to be at Scouting events as much as possible. If he is out of town, us ASM's can reach out to the SPL if we need to address anything during troop meetings or the SPL will reach out to us to handle a SM minute if he knows the SM won't be there. We are also required to be the lead ASM on at least one campout per year. We work with the PLC to provide logistical support for that campout, so the SM doesn't have to be bogged down with that task as well. We do ask the SM to attend Summer Camp with the boys and regular campouts as well. Anything else on top of that (HA, Jambo, Special Trips) is icing on the cake, but our SM does them because he really enjoys working with the boys. It is certainly my pleasure and priveledge to work with and for him.

 

I don't think it's fair to ask the SM to shut down his entire life for the troop, even though they tend to sometimes because of loyalty to the boys. They're human just like us (even though I swear I saw ours walking around camp one morning with a cup of coffee and traces of a red cape hanging out underneath his Jac-Shirt)

 

Oh, he also needs to be able to haul the troop trailer!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If he has good and supportive (and enough!) ASMs, I don't see why he has to be at every single event. I'm sure he should be at most, but for most of us, scouting is not our day job and there are times where it comes down to attending a troop meeting or attending a business meeting. That cannot be helped. As long as the troop continues running smoothly with strong and "with-it" ASMs, I don't see the problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An addition to my previous post.

When I was away on my little 6 month walk-about my 1st ASM had full authority. He signed blue cards and did SMCs including one for Eagle. It's easy delegating authority when you have full faith in your ASMs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Go for your best choice. Period.

If your ASM's are stand-up guys, they'll fill in the gaps.

If not, you'll have to reduce part of your program to fit the SM's schedule.

Either way, you'll have the role-model you think your boys need.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just ensure that the COR and CC are doing their jobs and ensuring the SM has support.

 

A one or two man show of one SM and one ASM is a sure sign you are going to burn out one or the other at some point... And if you have a paper ASM who's "around" but not helping lift the load... unless you have a very special individual as your SM, you better start looking for his replacement.

 

A Good SM with proper support doesn't need to go to every meeting at every level, not even every Troop meeting as has been mentioned above, but a Good (and not burning out) SM will always WANT to go to as many as he can "for the Boys".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be worried about a Scoutmaster who made it to every single activity and meeting. Everybody needs a break every now and then. Everybody has other responsibilities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great comments everyone. I and my right hand man pretty much make every troop meeting and camping trip for the past 4 years. I guess that explains the burn-out I'm feeling.

 

Some of the best SM's I've seen are the ones that are seen but rarely heard at meetings and outings. It's the folks that are the organizers and deligators that seem to make it look easy.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

I like what someone said last week. What are the expectation of the scoutmaster "that he have trailer hitch".

 

:)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"What are the expectation of the scoutmaster "that he have trailer hitch".

Gonna have to add that to the job description!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a scoutmaster, I sometimes think that I have to be there every time and everywhere and it started to take a toll on me for the past 3.5 years. So this scouting year, my ASMs (12 of them) (of a troop of 113 boys) have an objective and they set off to make a "Maytag repairman" out of me! Frankly, I'm not complaining. It is kind of nice!

 

Just this past weekend, I had to go to work (real work that is). Eight of my ASMs took 40 boys on a backpacking trip. On that trip, they got together and sent one of the boys home (calling the mother to pick him up) after the boy lit several firecrackers at 11:00pm. Two of the ASMs took care a burnt scout (2nd degree due to spilt hot water), took him to the emergency room, and stayed with him until his parents came and took him home. Of the 10 outings each year, I find myself attending 6-7 and serve in the background. Each of my ASMs take one event and serves as lead scoutmaster. As I have said, doing everything is a recipe for burn out. It almost happened to me.

 

Btw ... I also coach basketball, soccer, chess, help out with the swim team and the orchestra, and spend some valuable time with my wife of 22 years. So, I can't be there all the time, but I sure as heck make sure that the boys are supported properly! eg. all of my ASMs are fully trained and then some (BSA Lifeguarding, CPR, First Aids, and all of the BSA supplement training). Also, that's why I help pick my ASMs. They are of like minds and have to be able to work with me and others. Right now, I have two gentlemen whom I am making my succession plan with to take over when I step down at the end of 2012.

 

So to answer your question, the best choice for a scoutmaster is one who has his heart in the program and does everything that he knows of to deliver or to ensure delivery of the best program/guidance to the boys even if he is or is not there all the time! ... and he also needs to ensure that his ASMs follow the Patrol Method and Boy Lead philosophy and allows the boys to take charge of the troop.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think a SM

 

1-Needs to be a positive person with a sense of fun, remembers what is like to be a boy, and keeps the big picture.

2-Is tactful and persistent in dealing with troublesome adults and the minutia of modern day scouting.

3-Has a supportive spouse.

Share this post


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
Sign in to follow this  

×