Re: Professional Scouting
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Wed, 2 Nov 1994 22:55:33 CST
Brian Johnson <ai671@FREENET.BUFFALO.EDU> writes:
>Right now, I am a sophmore in High School (almost 16 years old) and I am
>pretty sure I would like to go into professional scouting. Are there any
>recomendations or suggestions from any of you pertaining to this topic?
>Or, are there any professional scouters out there that would like to talk
>about this... That would be great. Also, does anyone know of any Scout
>Scholarships besides the E. Urner Goodman, which I am already applying for?
Read my book, "Patches and Pins" (whenever it gets published!).
When I was 14, there were only three things on my mind: Belinda, the
daughter of one of the Post's senior Chaplains; becoming an Army
officer somehow; and becoming a District Executive. Not neccessarily
in that order, either.
When I told Doyle Fuller, our new DE, that I wanted to "do his job
someday", he sat with me over McFood and started in on the "realities
of the job". He was the first person to tell me that "Career
Scouters" (euphorism for "professional Scouter") weren't too much in
demand...or appreciated for that matter. They work long hours, get
yelled at a lot by both volunteers and their professional bosses, and
get paid less than the average teacher does. "But you're having fun,
right?" is what I asked him.
I asked him twice. He never did answer me, but kept right on talking
down the role and the job. He talked about how some months you don't
get your travel allowance payments, about the fact that you're
"required to give to United Ways AND to SME" or face the contempt of
the others in "the office". I sat there, drinking coffee and eating
french fries as he told me that professionals don't get to see their
families very often, unless their wives were Cub Scouting leaders too.
He told me about how unpleasant it was to go and "beg for money" (his
statement, not mine) and how he had to go and present badges to kids
that "don't deserve to be in Scouts, let alone be high-ranking
I guessed that Doyle wasn't happy about being a DE, but what he did
was to HONESTLY tell me what *he* does and how effective he feels that
he is...which is the first piece of advice to you. Find a DE that
won't just "sugar-coat" the role of the District professional to you.
This person should be able to express BOTH the great feelings and
satisfaction you get when signing the charter for a new unit AND the
gut-wrenching, Maalox-treatable stomach knots you get when you lose
seven units before "report card time" (June and December in most local
Councils) with no time to organize new ones to take their places.
Such a man to do that was Doyle Fuller, whom now works for the
Elizabethtown-headquartered News-Enterprise Companies. The
_News-Enterprise_ is the newspaper in Hardin County...they also
publish the Fort Knox Communities newspaper _Inside_the_Turret_ as
well as two smaller papers in Sonora and Vine Grove, Kentucky.
Doyle (only "Mr. Fuller" around my parents and when introducing him to
people that didn't know him) taught me how to organize a unit. The
RIGHT way, not the way that I would have thought to do it. He also
allowed me to go with him while he pitched for money, while he pitched
for Scouts and for adults. Many of the techniques I later used in
eastern Kentucky and northern Tenneesee I learned from Doyle. I was
"used" as an example of what Scouting is all about, and I didn't mind.
And when I became a Junior ROTC student at the high school, many more
people knew me as "Doyle Fuller's assistant" at the young age of 15.
Doyle left the profession shortly after I broke up with Belinda ("I
can't compete with the entire Boy Scouts", she told me...she wanted to
date someone else.) and two weeks before my father's father (not my
grandfather...) passed on. When I returned to Rose Terrace, I got a
phone call from Doyle expressing sympathy and introducing Mr. Scott
Claybaugh, his replacement. "I can't continue. My points are low,
I'm losing more hair every day, and I'm unable to see Missy (his wife,
a nurse at Hardin Memorial) and the kids. Scott will work hard and
he's more ambitious to serve than me".
(Personal note: Doyle Fuller officially has MORE hair now than he did
when he was a DE in the Lincoln Trail District. It IS a very
stressful job, being a District Executive.)
Scott Claybaugh *was* more ambitious...he's NOW a successful Council
Scout Executive in Ohio and moving upward and onward onto the years.
Scott showed me a lot and worked with me and others interested in the
profession, and I owe a lot to him (and to Hal Cory, the old Scout
Executive of the Old Kentucky Home Council). But my introduction to
professional Scouting started with Doyle Wayne Fuller.
Some more positive advice:
* get with a District Executive and if he or she will allow it,
"shadow" them for about two or three months. This means that your
social life, as mine, has to be placed on "hold". You can't really
know what the job entails unless you are inconivenced as much as
possible like they are.
* ask the District Executive to let you attend staff meetings
periodically with him or her. The staff meetings allow you to meet
OTHER professionals (we all get "tunnel vision" and relate only to OUR
"man" or "woman"...we forget that in a typical local Council, there
are at least three or five people out there in the "field" all of
the time. We also forget sometimes about the "middle managers", the
Field, Exploring and Program Directors that do important jobs at the
"office" and still have to meet field "missions" too.
* ask the DE to let you read "ProSpeak", the newsletter for the
professionals in the BSA. ProSpeak has a lot of inforamation that
many times the career staff gets before us volunteers do; much of it
is technical and (as it did with Doyle, Scott and others), serve as
"stepping off points" for questions dealing with "Beating last year"
and "Making every unit count".
* go out and observe how OTHER professionals interact with volunteers.
Even the ones that really irratate volunteer you can learn from.
* go to college and earn your degree. The profession of Scouting will
NOT let you in unless you have earned a bachelor's degree in a subject
area supportive of the Scouting program. What's a good degree? Any
degree that *you* will fill confortable with AFTER you leave the
profession (something that you have to think about!) will be good
enough for the BSA. Many of it's professionals have business-related
degrees; some have liberal-arts degrees; many have religious-education
degrees. A LARGE number of professionals have advanced degrees,
mostly Master's degrees.
* while in college, enter into the BSA's Professional Preview program.
It is UNPAID in most places, but the experiences are great (and can be
used as co-op periods if you do it right!). Again, the roles you will
pay are NOT "paper pushing" and will expose you to many areas of the
* stay out of trouble. The BSA does a great job of doing drug
screening and background investigations on its potential
professionals. Some local Councils do a better job than others. If
you have a good driving record and a clean criminal record, you will
be accepted quicker. (and once you get into the profession, try not
to "p.o." anyone too much...once you're released from the profession,
it takes a long time to come back...if you can!)
* finally, look, listen and learn. The profession of Scouting is not
much different from the clergy or missionary work. You really have to
have a love for the program AND the participants!! There will be
clearly those that will not like you solely because you are getting
paid for what they do for free. There are others that feel that you
earn much more than the $18,200 national average salary and will
resent you for it. You will get lots of offers to leave the
profession for "higher paid jobs" which equate to using your "power
and influnce" to getting them more money. On the other hand, you will
experience firsthand what Scouting and Exploring is really about by
your interaction with many great Scouters and Scouts. You will learn
new songs to sing, new dishes to prepare, and new places to go and
camp at. You will see how individual units improvise and carry out the
program within the guidelines. You will swell up and cry when you see
that the units that YOU HELPED ORGANIZE celebrate their first First
Class Scout, or their first sets of Bobcats, or their first Arrow of
Light or Eagle reciepent. You will do those silly things that DEs do
as part of "psyching up" the volunteers at the start of the program
And you WILL live the Scout Oath and Law as best as you can. That's
not a requirement, it's a given. Kids will look at you and some of
them will say what YOU said (at least, what I'd said to Doyle Fuller):
they will want to "do your job someday".
That's a GOOD thing to do, believe me.
And when someone asks you "You're having fun, right?", you can look
them squarely in the eyes, smile at them and respond "Every single
[extracted from the preface:
Mike Walton served as a Paraprofessional Executive and later as a
Neighborhood Professional within the old Area Two of the old Southeast
Region from June 1977 through May of 1981, under a grant given to the
BSA by the-then CETA (Comprehensive Education and Training Act).
Walton worked in rural areas of five local Councils in Kentucky,
Tennessee and West Virginia; and in the urban area of two others in
Kentucky. During that same period, Walton was also a member of the
Regional Exploring Committee and provided guidance to Explorer
Presidents' Associations and Exploring divisions within the old Southeast
and East Central Regions.]
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
co-Owner, BlackEagle Services ___)_
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