Re: Scoutmaster Conferences
Thu, 29 Sep 1994 15:56:46 MST
>The results of the last seven months are somewhat mixed, depending on who you
>talk to. First, the Troop Guides have done little or nothing with the
My experience also, unless the Troop Guides are given specific assignments by
the adult leader, or the PL asks for his help. I have encouraged my adult
leaders to provide assignments.
>Second, some of the boys have completed all the requirements for
>First Class, while others haven't finished Tenderfoot (some just won't do the
And that's the real world. I have the same situation. Very few patrols have
stayed together very long on advancement. But if they are all good friends,
everything should be OK.
>There has been no further direction provided by the
>Scoutmaster or other experienced leaders in the troop. In other words, the
>two ASMs have run the program as they chose to do. In one case, the patrol
>is getting pretty independent; that is, they can handle most things on a
>campout. The other patrol is not as far along but is getting there.
No two leaders will ever be alike, but no two patrols will be alike either.
>All of this leads to the question: was this an appropriate use of the
>Scoutmaster Conference? I will point out that these are two very experienced
>leaders, both Eagles, dealing with 11 year olds on a 2 on 1 basis, away from
>the campsite and in two cases, after dark (we've already heard from one
>parent about that). I'll also point out that the three boys don't feel good
>about the experience.
>Your comments would be much appreciated.
you seem to favor the SMA position over the SM. Just a note on your
As an SM I have used the SM conferences in both ways you described. Sometimes
I just talked about their experiences and life in Scouts, other times I hit
them on requirements. Sometimes both. Why get caught in too much routine.
After all, a scout should be trained to be flexible and deal with the
unexpected. To be Prepared.
I have had a similar situation just this past year. The SMA is a good friend
and dedicated adult leader. But his boys (now 7th graders) did not fair well
on their first class review. Either SM conference or BoR. And I had to
confront the SMA. Not an easy task.
The SM is ultimately responsible for the Troop in all ways, including
advancement. By testing the boys on their requirements, he gets a good
indication of the program's value to the youth. I can't speak on what was
tested vs. what was done at camp or remembered. From what you describe,
hoever, it seemed the SM was not upset about just one or two missed questions,
but rather a host of missing knowledge.
As for the bad experience, it can be turned to a positive one. If the SM made
a mistake, it was to sign off the books. If he didn't feel comfortable with
their advancement, he should have identified the specific items, asked the boys
to review them, and provided a date and time for another SM conference. In so
doing, you offer the boys an opportunity to make good. When this has happened
to me, I have explained to the Scout that my purpose is to help him do his very
best at the BoR. They are usually very happy for my support. It's all in how
you present yourself. The point is that the Scout is always responsible for
himself in the end. He is accountalble at the BoR.
In short, the SM may have uncovered a program weakness. After helping the
Scouts recover; his next task is to determine where the hole is with the
program and seal it up. In my own example above, I had a mighty big hole with
the 7th graders. It was fixed with support from my high school age Post
members. And my SMA was more than happy to have their support.
Bill Hunter SM-T99
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City