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Getting new ASMs engaged and keeping them involved

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Mom et al,


I don't think anyone here, especially me, is trying ti denigrate or insult CS leaders moving up to Boy Scout leaders.


Rather we are stating what our expereinces are with new BS leaders who were Cub Scout leaders. Even folks who SHOULD know better what the role of a BS leader is sometimes get involved when they should let the Scouts do it themselves. Yes I'm the guilty party on that one. :)


I'll give you the most recent example of how I acted as a CS leader, instead of letting the PL or another scout, if not the scout involved, and handle the situation.


I was visiting the camp where I was going to hold IOLS training, and the troop affilaited with my pack was there at the time. So I go visiting. While talking to the SM, one of the Scouts cuts himself, nothing major just a minor cut. Instead of letting the Scouts deal with it, again a minor cut needing a band aid, I stop the scout, whip out my first aid kit, and treat the Scout. Again it came automatically and I wasn't thinking.


SM had a smirk on his face, and it was only after the Scout was walking away did I realize what I have done, and apologized. SM said, "Don't let the SPL catch you doing that."


Another example was an OA meeting I attended. I had asked the OA to help out with a Cub Scout event and the chapter chief brought up the topic, but wasn't explaining it exactly like I did to him in our conversations before the meeting. Long story short I started to take over, until I got a gentle kick in the shins and a reminder that "this is OA {Eagle}, let the yutes run it."


IMHO this is why there is the problem of former CS leaders becoming ASMs immediately: They have had multiple years of experience and training as a CS leader in order to take charge, that even once trained as an ASM, old habits die hard.


I'll give you an example of old habits dieing hard. I was a lifeguard instructor who was trained in the "hand to hand combat" methods of lifeguarding and who helped train folks in those methods for 2 or 3 years. Then the new stuff getting rid of that stuff went away. Even though I was not only trained in the new methods, but was trained in how to teach them, but occasionally when in class, a situation would arise and I would automatically react using the old methods. I'd have to apologize to the students and have them redo the drill. The old stuff was so drilled into me from training and then teaching for 2-3 years, that 14 years after being a lifeguard when an incident happened, I immediately reacted without thinking using old school methods.


So the take charge and do things mentality of CS leaders tends to get ingrained and can be hard to change.




When I became a TCDL, I had a hard time adjusting from BS leader mode to CS Leader mode. I was so use to letting the scouts do their own thing, that doing things the right way with Tigers, even after not only training, but also teaching the course, I still reverted back to BS leader mode alot.


What helped was mentoring and counseling from expereinced CS leaders.


Here's my thoughts on this, and the topic of respect: Different programs of the BSA require different types of leaders and leadership methods. None of these leaders and methods are better than another, but are equally important because as a whole, they contrubute to our great movement. BS leaders need to keep current with CS methods and program in order for their troops to survive, just as CS leaders need to keep informed about Boy Scout program in order to keep their Cubs, esp. the Webelos enthused and active. Ditto with the Venturing leaders. Yes we are different, but we are like a giant jigsaw puzzle: without one you don't get the full view.


We are a team, and if anyone starts putting down other members of the team, it hurts all of us.


Ok off soapbox and I hope I clarified my psoition a bit ;)

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It is a tough switch from CS DL to ASM as many of us have experienced and viewed.


We encourage the newbie ASM's to go to Summer Camp with us. The first year Mom is more likely to want Dad to tag along anyway. If Dad is willing to sacrifice a whole week of vacation time we know we might have a keeper!


We also try to get them into Scoutmaster Training at summer camp. We try to get them trained up as much and as soon as possible. At Woodruff SR I highly recommend Sue Nunn's class. It gets the ex-scout adults up to speed on the changes today and less experienced ones some basic skills to build confidence.


Camp gives the Scouters a chance to bond with the boys on any Troop activities and the adults to bond as well.


I would pair up a newbie ASM with a more experienced one for a while to coach them on how Scouts work and your Troop in general. I would go so far as to encourage assigning them as tent buddies if you could. I have seen that and it works.


We have a Committee member whose job it is to track the adult training and let the SM know. We encourage new folks to utilize those areas they experienced or interested in and get the appropriate credentials to do so.


We also try to have each ASM support the PLC on one campout a year so everyone gets some experienced on the forms, rules, and logistics the adults may need to provide.


Several times a year we have an offsite adult planning and issues meeting of adult "patrol" with steaks and cocktails.

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Some clarifications to my original post:


"#5 - don't assign them to a job a youth should be doing like QM....


Agree in general. But if you have a QM with ADD or OCD, and an adult with some skills in logistics. The pairing might help transfer some skills the boy may need to manage his job and overcome other difficulties in life."


They would be advising only - not doing the job. The Troop has recently been reorganized and there is a good deal of training that has been happening. Care for gear is one area that needs work.


"#2 - if the CC (in charge of securing leadership) transferred them from the Pack as new ASM's then heavily stress training for that position if they wish to continue as an ASM."


I am the CC - that is why I'm asking this question. Our council requires ASM to be fully trained by the end of 2012 so they must do IOLS etc in order to stay on the roster.


"In other words, you want ASMs in positions that complement -- not replace the boys."


Exactly our thought process and why I was asking what sorts of positions new ASMs are placed.


"We really don't want to involve them with the new scout patrol to avoid Webelos III - we've had that happen in the past (not by choice but by lack of volunteers). "


I've heard of SM's who stole money from their troops in the past...so does that mean that the SM of the troop my son is fixing to join will steal money too? "


When I say past I mean as in the past year. Yes it is possible that it won't ever happen again but why not be proactive about it going forward? Sorry if I offended you - perhaps I wasn't clear in what I meant.


The natural tendency seems to be that people that were in DL positions can have an issue with letting go once they get into a ASM position. We are trying to be proactive and help them find a good place in the Troop where they can contribute and stay active.


Another poster mentions how many parents just gather at a table in the back and shoot the breeze. I'm just trying to make sure that new ASM feel welcomed and needed - so they don't say to themselves - I'm not needed here - I won't bother coming anymore. That's all.


"Maybe the 1st step would be not to assume that they will automatically become Web III leaders and encourage them to take ASM training.


(refer to "prestige" thread) "


One more time - we aren't assuming anything, but it is simply easier if the new ASM aren't working directly with their boys. Yes, they've all been encouraged to get fully trained. My apologies if it came out some other way.


I'm currently the CC for the Troop but I'm also the Webelos I Den Leader. I've done the DL job 3 times now and have one more coming in a year or two. Ive also held the CM and Pack CC position. I ran a troop as SPL as a youth and it was a real boy run organization. I've had my own experiences coming up into the Troop with my now 13yo son. The day we all met for summer camp to load the trailer I learned my lesson. As soon as the trailer doors were opened I jumped up and started carrying gear into the trailer and organizing it - calling out for boys to grab other stuff. It lasted all of about 30 seconds before a seasoned ASM pulled me aside and nicely told me that 'wasn't my job here'. I instantly knew what he meant and felt foolish for it given my background. It can be very hard to let go. If you do it right off the bat - then my hat is off to you. I'm much better now and I dont hold it against anyone that has an issue with it.


Thanks to everyone for your input - I always appreciate the wisdom of these forums.






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Eagle92, the minor cut is a great example of things that people like me (a CS Leader) had to deprogram myself of when I made the jump. A lot of things are easy to recognize and let go. The QM does his, the Scribe does that, etc.


But giving a kid a hand with a small cut on the finger, that's just being nice. Heck, it can be friendly, courteous and kind, not to mention just the normal reaction of what anybody would do in a normal situation. Once I started to recognize and let go of those type of circumstances is when I really started to learn what it meant to make the transition.

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Hello Irsap,



Real world injuries are prime opportunities for Boy Scout to discover if they have learned something about first aid. Do they have the skills to respond? Do they have the supplies needed to respond? In short, are they prepared?


It's natural for an injured boy to turn to an adult for aid when injured, and there might be occasions when I'd take charge of an injury, especially if it were serious or urgent.


But minor and non urgent injuries are laboratories for Scouts to solve for themselves, in my view.


In my last stint as an Assistant Scoutmaster, I did two or three exercises/games at troop meeting that involved "resacuing" a Scout by tying a bowline and throwing a rope to a trapped Scout to pull him to safety. Great fun!


But then on a snowshoe hike, a Boy Scout on his first outing became separated from the group and slid about 30-40 feet down a steep chute with 3-4 feet of fresh powder snow ---trapping him.


As it happened, I had brought a climbing rope with me. It would have gratified my ego to conduct this rescue, and indeed I discouraged another adult leader who wanted to take charge.


Instead, I handed the rope to the Patrol Leaders and let them conduct the rescue, which they did quite capably. I'll bet they will remember that experience for years to come.


Actually, having the boys successfully conduct the rescue gratified my ego, and still does!

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