The Dreaded Phone Call...
settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Sun, 3 Sep 1995 14:19:28 -0500
YES, you should "take the plunge" and become a Scoutmaster. It's a
worthwhile venture! Here's some suggestions, though, to make the transition
enjoyable and experiencable:
First, attend a couple of meetings and get the "feel of the unit" not as a
Commissioner, but rather as a parent and as a potential Scouter with *that
unit*. As you stated, there's a big difference between being on the outside
looking in and actually "being there". Get yourself a current Scoutmaster
Handbook and review it, and be familiar with the schools, churches and
neighborhoods that your Troop members will come from. All of this will give
you some idea of how easy or hard it will be to recruit, retain and
encourage youth to become Scouts.
Talk with the parents of some of the Scouts and let them know that you're
the "incoming Scoutmaster". Of course, they'll going to have tons of things
to suggest to you that the "other person couldn't do" for various reasons.
Take the suggestions, but let the *real change* come from your youth
members, not from the adults. (Hey...what do *we know* anyway?? *hehehee*)
Second, make sure that you get a clear, definative agreement (it doesn't
need to be in writing but it needs to be clear as a bell) as to what the
chartered organization is supposed to do for you and what you and your youth
expect from the chartered organization. This may be a good time to
explore, as I did when I took over a Troop, a possible new chartered
organization partner. This becomes important because in a lot of cases,
the previous Scoutmaster may have had some kind of "personal deal" going
with the chartered partner which doesn't work now that you're going to be
the Scoutmaster! The first thing I asked for was an audit of the books. It
wasn't that I didn't trust the last Scoutmaster, but some folks have a way
of making a small thing into a mountainside, and one of the last things you
need is a contriversy about financial matters at the time of switching
Scoutmasters. (Can we say "that's why he's leaving??" NOT FAIR to him or
you...or to those Scouts in that Troop) The second thing I asked for was an
inventory of the Troop's camping gear. It's the Army in me, but I wanted to
make sure that we had enough gear to support the Troop and whatever's out
there at someone's home needs to be back at the Troop's Quartermaster shack
or building or room *before* the key is handed over to me. I had as
Assistant District Commisioner, a unit that switched Scoutmasters in
mid-stream. There were no hard feelings between the old guy and the new
guy, but the old guy had taken all of the "stuff HE'D paid for" over the
years when he left, leaving the Troop with a lot of half-tentage, lanterns
that don't work, and two Coleman stoves that only one of the burners worked.
The previous Scoutmaster, on the other hand, had what looked like brand new
stuff, going fishing with stuff that's labeled "Troop 81, BSA".
The stuff may have been his, but you as Scoutmaster need to know that AHEAD
of time and not from third-parties telling you "I think I've seen some of
your Troop's camping gear at Lake Medina over the weekend...."
Finally, take the Scoutmaster Fundamental training *again* (make a good
impression and role model for your Scouts and those other Scouters!)
and use the things that the training along with coaching from this list and
other resources to make your unit a youth-run, youth-led Troop.
John, I have no doubt that you'll make a SUPER Scoutmaster if you choose to
do so. Take some time, outline the pros and cons, and after you choose to
do it, sit down and make some personal plans and try to incorporate them
into the planning you'll have with your new Troop.
If you choose NOT to serve as Scoutmaster, make sure that you assist the
Troop Committee Chair and others in finding a suitable "replacement". He or
she needs to do the same things that I've suggested here and that you'll get
from other Scouters as well here and locally!
I would DO IT!
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://dynasty.net/users/blkeagle
241 Fairview Dr., Henderson, KY 42420-4339 email@example.com
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