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In training this week, I won't say where or what course, the night's activities concluded with "What is the Scoutmaster's biggest responsiblitlity?" I already knew the answer.


As the trainer worked his way through his cards, he'd read about a different scenario, and ask if it was the SM's job. ie- Writing letters to sick scouts is the scribe's job. etc. He kept coming up with different tasks that were NOT the scoutmaster's job. Okay, that helped everyone review troop leadership structure. The only thing prior to his grand finale that this instructor would lay on the SM was G2SS issues. The SM owns safe scouting.


The SM's biggest responsiblity: Get out of the way and let the boys lead.


It took him three index cards of flowery complex sentences to say it. Half the 50 participants couldn't follow his thought process, and the other half recognized it as Blanchard speak. Nobody thought that it was the moving summary that the trainer seemed to think it was.


This trainer never came close to what I believe is the SM's biggest responsibility. Before I answer the question, can I ask y'all, my more learned and experienced Scouter buddies, what you would answer?


In two or three sentences of 50 words or less, what is the SM's biggest responsibility?


My answer is four words.



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Mine is three words, but I can see it expressed in 4 or 5.




Some might focus on a particular approach for the above like "Get out of the way and let boys lead.", "All your scouts earn First Class", ...but I hope we are all pretty much on the same page or is it pages now.(This message has been edited by RememberSchiff)

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He must have the boy spirit in him; and must be able to place himself on a right plane with his boys as a first step.

He must realise the needs, outlooks and desires of the different ages of boy life.

He must deal with the individual boy rather than with the mass.

He then needs to promote a corporate spirit among his individuals to gain the best results.


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What is the Scoutmaster's biggest responsibility?

A good SM trains the youth leaders.

He trusts them and lets them lead.


Of course the SM has other responsibilities, but training the youth leaders and allowing them to put their training to good use tops all the rest.

I've known some great guys who were wonderful at training but just were never able to let go and allow the Scouts to lead.

The Scout Law is truly a wonderful thing.

But if it is going to be more than just lip-speak, we have to give our Scouts opportunities to put them fine words into action.

If we want a Scout to be trusted we need to trust him and so on.

The other main job the SM has is to be the first one up and have the coffee on!


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We recently had a "reward night" where we watched a movie. The PLC selected the BBC series by Ian Hislop called "Scouting for Boys". Our guys found the whole thing enlightening as it spoke to many of the things posted above (train the scouts, give them the tools, get out of their way, be there to advise when they fail, etc.). Our PLC became encouraged and empowered, taking a much more active role in just about everything. They even adopted one of Baden-Powell's favorite sayings as the credo of the PLC: "Never do for a boy what he can do for himself". My life just got a whole lot easier. :-D


That quote sums up for me the SM's greatest responsiblity. It is not getting everyone to FC or to Eagle, as that smacks of the "trophies for everyone" mentality in sports (and Scouting) these days. The goal is to help the boys grow into men, be self sufficent, respectful, honorable, etc. By doing the things our colleagues have mentioned above we are doing that. If they make FC or Eagle along the way, then great. If not, I would rather they grow up to be respectful, productive human beings than make Eagle and simply convert oxygen to carbon dioxide for 70 years afterwards.



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