Don't Succomb to Scouter Burnout
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Mon, 27 Nov 1995 04:19:26 -0500
You as a Scouter are an invaluable asset to your Council, District,
and/or Unit, depending on where and how you serve youth. Without people
like you many Scouts would never have the enriching experiences that they
get in Scouting. But you are only human and have limits. If you exceed
your limits, there is the danger that you may become unable or limited in
your ability to helps these Scouts. As a result it is important every
once in awhile to take a little time just for yourself and assess how you
are doing and whether you should be making changes to retain all the
wonderful qualities that you have, which make you such an asset to these
young people. This posting is intended to help you avoid "Scouter Burnout."
"Scouter Burnout" is not a precise term, but a reference point for
continued discussion. We've just recently had a number of postings on
over-doing it and our ability to do "x" number of jobs. What follows is
a questionnaire just for you, one that you won't share with anyone else.
Take a look at the instructions and give it a try. Although it has
points for you to fill in, there are no magic formulas, no wrong
answers. Its purpose is to help you see areas where you might want to
Instructions: Please read the following questions and in the space
provided at the left, rate your truthful, personal experiences of how you
feel the majority of the time when you are performing your duties as a
Scouter. Rate yourself with a score of 1, 5, or 10 with 10 being the
most frequent. See the example below:
1 Seldom or never a difficulty to me. (green)
5 Sometimes a difficulty to me. (yellow)
10 Frequently a difficulty to me. (red)
___ My time is controlled by factors beyond my control.
___ Chronic Overload - more to do than time is available.
___ Occasional Overload
___ Chronic Underload - too little to do in time available.
___ Occasional Underload
___ Alternating periods of overload and underload.
___ Disorganization of my time.
___ Procrastination on Scout Projects
___ Separating home, work, and Scouts.
___ Transition from home, to work, to Scouts.
___ Finding time for regular exercise.
___ Finding time for regular periods of relaxation.
___ Finding time for Friendships.
___ Finding time for family.
___ Finding time for vacations.
___ Easily bored with Scouts.
___ Saying "yes" when I later wish I had said "no."
___ Feeling overwhelmed by large tasks over an extended period of time.
___ Avoiding important tasks by frittering away time on less important
___ Feel compelled to assume responsibilities in groups.
___ Unable to delegate because of distrust of quality of other's
___ Unable to delegate because there is no one to delegate to.
___ My perfectionism creates delays.
___ I tend to leave tasks unfinished.
___ I have difficulty living with unfinished tasks.
___ Too many projects going on at one time.
___ Get into time binds by trying to please others too often.
___ I tend to hurry even when its not necessary.
___ Lose concentration while thinking about other things I have to do.
___ Not enough alone time.
___ Feeling compelled to be punctual.
___ Pressure related to deadlines.
Now that you have completed this and started looking at the number of
fives and tens you wrote, don't panic. Everyone of us is going to have a
few here and there. I found a few areas here that surprised me too.
Guess I'm not all in the green (ones) yet.
I don't have any magic answers as to what constitutes a safe score. What
I can tell you is that the more of these that you rated 10 the more
likely you are under stress and a candidate for burnout. The tens should
be regarded as alarms (red). And if you have a large number of fives you
should be looking at them as caution signals (yellow). Take a look at
the ones you rated as a 10 and ask yourself what can be changed to make
it a five or a one. Try to reduce as many as you can. In six months or
a year do this evaluation again. If your score is the same or
increasing, then you should be concerned. Its time to talk with your
Commissioner, your Committee and your Assistants and to share some of the
load, reduce the number of things you do, seek quality in what you do,
and reorient. And if it is apparent that a large number are high and the
number growing, you may want to consider talking with your physician
about attending a stress management course to pick up information you can
use to change for the better.
For those that you serve, if for no other reason, take care of yourself.
You are important to those Scouts! :-)
Speaking only for myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F. Bowman
DDC-Training, GW Dist. Nat Capital Area Council mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City