An assistant Scoutmaster says he feels unneeded in a troop with many adult leaders. Readers urge him to get plenty of training and use his skills and interests to find leadership opportunities.
One of the most important things that an ASM can do, if he hasn’t already, is take advantage of training opportunities, including Wood Badge. In the interim, he might consider whether he has the expertise to serve as counselor for some merit badge.
The troop may have plenty of opportunities on its committees for training, advancement, camping, and activities. The ASM might also serve as leader for the “Trail to First Class” or head a money-earning effort.
Boy Scouting is very different from Cub Scouting in that the boys run their troop. For new volunteer leaders, this can be hard to accept because it’s easy to feel you are not needed. Our troop encourages parents to attend training to help them see what the program really is.
One of the keys to a well-run troop is that there are enough adults, whether they are advisers, or skill teachers, or drivers, so that the Scouts feel they can plan any kind of program they want.
Troop Committee Chair L.J.
Arroyo Grande, Calif.
Most Cub Scout packs suffer from lack of adult leadership when the fathers of graduating Webelos Scouts follow their sons into a troop. Nothing in the books says that a Webelos Scout graduate’s dad cannot remain in the pack as a leader. Quite the contrary, the pack’s leaders will surely welcome his expertise—and he can still go camping with his sons in their new troop.
It’s a win-win situation.
Coral Gables, Fla.
We have a large troop and a large number of registered adults. Even so, most of the work falls to a few adults, and new leaders like ASM don’t always feel useful.
My advice to new leaders is: (1) attend troop committee meetings so you can find out where help is needed; (2) take all the training you can (in our troop an adult leader must complete Scoutmastership Fundamentals or equivalent to register as an assistant Scoutmaster); and (3) look for a busy leader and volunteer to help him or her.
Former Troop Committee Chair L.S.,
First, ASM should let the Scoutmaster know of his frustration. I’m sure the troop does not want to lose a volunteer leader, no matter how many there are.
My troop has 20-plus adult leaders. To even the workload, make everyone feel productive, and take advantage of everyone’s expertise, we have reorganized adult leadership. To handle administrative affairs, the Scoutmaster is aided by a first- and second-assistant Scoutmaster. He also has an executive officer.
Other ASMs are assigned to work groups, with one serving as the Lead ASM. Separate work groups are assigned to Scouts working on Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks, and merit badges. At each troop meeting, one of the four work groups conducts interpatrol competitions and activities.
The system has been very successful. Leaders know what their responsibilities are, and we have some flexibility when some leaders are not available.
Assistant Scoutmaster M.C.