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young assistant scoutmaster

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I am 20 years old and an assistant scoutmaster of the troop I have always been in. I decided to be an assistant scoutmaster to help my friend out when he became the scoutmaster after my dad. We are both fairly young and have some troubles keeping the boy's attention. Any advice from more experienced scoutmasters will be great.

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The usual reason for wandering attention is a program that is dragging or doing stuff that is not interesting for your audience.

 

You may need to change activities more often, or you may need activities intrinsically more interesting.

 

I see program leaders violating these rules all the time, and you can see when boys begin to provide their own entertainment.

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Wrong group to ask. You need to ask the youth.

 

With no disrespect intended, I've been in your shoes once and know some of the problems you are facing, But have you gone through adult leader training yet? That should help some.

 

Also I recommend getting a copy of the 3rd Ed. SM handbook, both volumes. While it's a little dated, it is a superb resource.

 

Also have you "unlearned" as Yoda would say ? :) I know one of the toughest challenges I faced, and seen others face as GASers (Gray Area Scouters, i.e. 18-20) was learning to step back and let the youth do things. Kinda hard when you spend how many years as a PL, ASPL SPL etc. taking charge only to have to sit int he chair and drink your coffee once ya turn 18.

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There are three "personas" a Scout Leader can assume (may be more, but these are the usual I have observed):

1) Funny-ha-ha ain't I the entertainer.

2) serious-nuetral, information coming

3) Angry, dissapointed, listen here you brats.

 

Any and all MAY be appropriate at a given time. You will find you are more comfortable and assume one of them without thinking, and then you will be frustrated.

 

"GUYS, GUYS, BE QUIET! We have to start the meeting! Sit Down! GUYS! Come ON Now!"

 

-or-

 

((Neatly uniformed Scouter stands quietly at the front of the room, at the scheduled time. Room is already set up, chairs are arranged by Patrol. He puts his Scout Sign up and waits. Eventually, the boys notice and settle down. It is a shorter time than last week. He puts his sign down.)) "OK. Our Senior patrol Leader, Sam, will now open the meeting..."

Much has happened 'behind the scene' preceeding this moment.

 

-or-

 

 

""I am ashamed of you . All of you are to blame for this mess. Why can't you behave like SCOUTS, and not like a bunch of idiots? Sometimes I think you guys aren't worth my effort ."

 

Now, you have to decide which is YOUR persona, and which you think the Scouts will benefit from at any given time and which will work for your purpose?

What IS your purpose?

 

Oh, and welcome to the forums! Glad you could make it!

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I'm an ASM and 22. Doesn't really qualify for "seasoned Scouter," but I'm posting anyway.

 

Brotip: they see more as "one of us" than "one of them." In other words, they more likely associate you with youth than an old adult. You're too young to fit the stereotypical image of an old grouchy guy with coffee and a sleeping disorder. I speak from experience - it's a double-edged sword.

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One of my Eagle scouts turned 18 in January, took SM Basics at summer camp and by the time he was 18 1/2 he was a fully trained ASM. At the camp where he took the training, they sent him an application for summer employment the next year at camp. They had on their high adventure crew a fully trained ASM/Eagle assistant director. He had a blast and the camp got the benefits of his expertise.

 

Ya gotta pay your dues. :)

 

Stosh

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Choaman,

 

In regards to this statement

 

I'm an ASM and 22. Doesn't really qualify for "seasoned Scouter," but I'm posting anyway.

 

I say at the top of my lungs: HORSEHOCKEY! :)

 

One of the things that really ticked me off when I was a GASer was older leaders discounting my knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) due to my age. Sorry but let me get this straight, you just let me spend 7 years in an outdoor program where I mastered outdoor skills, and was given leadership responsibilities, etc etc, and now that I an 18, 19, 20 etc, I don't know what the heck I'm doing?!?!?!?!?!?!

 

Sorry but you ARE a seasoned scouter. You do have the KSAs of a seasoned scouter, and heck I'd put you for a leadership role in a troop turning into Webelos III.

 

 

Please do not discount yourself.

 

OK off that soapbox onto another :)

 

Now in regards to this quote

 

Brotip: they see more as "one of us" than "one of them." In other words, they more likely associate you with youth than an old adult. You're too young to fit the stereotypical image of an old grouchy guy with coffee and a sleeping disorder. I speak from experience - it's a double-edged sword.

 

all I can say, again at the top of my lungs....

 

RIGHT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;)

 

 

Ok off that one now.

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BDPT00 - I've taken the specific training, Wood Badge (gots me some beads, too), and other various trainings like Hazardous Weather. Why?

 

Eagle92 - I never had a leadership position and did not really "get it" until three years in. Maybe that's just true of most adults. Eh... at least I'm learning early I suppose.

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Amen brother to E92.

Youngmaster, you will be accepted and "judged worthy" (is that phrase familiar?) by how you are willing to get out there and get dirty with the younger than you boys and the older than you boys. See my previous comment. Don't be shy. Do a Totin Chip class for the PLC, so THEY can teach their Scouts. Help the SPL have a successful meeting. Be the model of the successful Scout the others can aspire to be. And be the "correct" model, that's one of the things I think a SM should do. If you do not make use of your knowledge and experience, then why are you there?

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Hello Chauman,

 

 

>

 

 

I see you have your own stereotype issues to deal with. Could it be that influences the behavior of other leaders towards you?

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>I see you have your own stereotype issues to deal with.

 

No, I don't.

 

>Could it be that influences the behavior of other leaders towards you?

 

No. Plus, even if it was, it's not relevant to OP's problem.(This message has been edited by chaoman45)

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Hello Fellow Scouters,

 

I'm a new SM to the forums, it looks like this is a great resource.

 

Regarding keeping kids quiet, we try to emphasize respect for everyone. And when the "ADHD or IHDHD (Imagined ADHD)" kicks in, I give one or two warnings, and then quickly boot anyone who continues talking out of the room, to take a 5 minute break outside, while we are discussing MB work or whatever the topic is. This works pretty well.

 

I also like to give push ups for talking out of turn or forgetting handbooks, etc. Our troop is a strong bunch of boys, let's put it that way. ;) Any one of them can now bang out 50 push ups at any time.

 

With the system above, we seldom have any real/long running interruptions anymore. And that keeps me from going berserk, which is great for the entire troop, me included.

 

 

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Thank you for your advice and your patience, I've been visiting my dad in Florida and wasn't able to reply. This is great advice and I will address you one at a time.

 

SeattlePioneer: Right now we are trying to get these guys to first class before they turn 15. We've been really behind in advancements so we're just trying to get them caught up. Some of the topics are not fun, but we can try to find a way to make it fun.

 

Eagle92: I went through youth protection training online, if you mean actual classes then no, I have not but will look into it. IMO our patrol leader plays more into the best friend role then the leader and he needs to find the balance between the two.

 

SSScout: Mostly I am the "Funny-ha-ha ain't I the entertainer." type and the head scoutmaster is the "serious-nuetral, information coming" type. I get frustrated sometimes because we do need to get the meeting started and going quickly. Our meetings are an hour long and parents do not like to wait the extra time so if it's 8:00 and we haven't got anything done, then we have to leave it at that. We had to cancel a campout that was going to be last weekend simply because they were too hyper to plan the meals.

 

chaoman45: I completely agree with you there, some members of the troop are taller than me and the oldest members are about 7 years younger then me. So they do see me as the "fun guy" or as "one of them".

 

BDPT00: I took the youth protection training online, I plan to take further classes after I'm done with school next year.

 

jblake47: Due to a lot of us leaders not having enough vacation time we have not been to summer camp in the last few years. Hopefully we will next year.

 

Eagle92: I'm usually popular among the other older scoutmasters in the district because they knew my dad and saw me growing up over the years.

 

SSScout: I've felt my SPL is having trouble finding a balance between best friend and scoutmaster, and I know that one of the hardest thing to overcome being a leader is telling your best friends to be quiet or do something. I would like to help him with that without him feeling like I'm telling him how to do his job.

 

SeattlePioneer and chaoman45: Let's not fight in this forum, all of the answers are good.

 

SM1234: We have had to kick some out of the room before. I give pushups for calling eachother names and make them run around the building 3 times if they don't keep their hands to themselves.

 

BDPT00: Don't know what's bogus but if it's due to my lack of replys I visited my dad last weekend and have been unable to post anything new.

 

Again, thank you for your advice, I will post an update soon.

 

 

 

 

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