Re: some input please
Murphy Peter (MurphyP@TCE.COM)
Mon, 15 Jun 1998 10:07:00 -0500
I can only tell you about my own experiences. Hope there's something
that's of value.
I became the SM 2 1/2 years ago after contemplating taking my son to
another troop. The previous SM was very well liked by parents and boys.
He had not attended training though he regularly went to roundtable. It
was not a boy run troop at the time. The former SM still attends nearly
every troop meeting even though his boys have been out of Scouting
for years by the time I showed up. I had some doubts about his hanging
around. Our styles are VERY different.
As it turns out, he's been good to have around. He's more reliable about
showing up to troop meetings than most of ASM who have sons in the
troop. Maybe, because he has no young children that have conflicting
schedules. Instead of becoming an ASM, I asked him to be the
Chaplain since he is also the religious emblem counselor for Catholic
Scouts and the troop is chartered by a Catholic church. This has
worked out great though his last graduating class consisted only of
Scouts from other troops in town.
Being a former officer in the Army, I knew there are sometimes problems
when leaders rotate. So on his last night as SM I addressed that issue
right between the eyes. His last night was our end of year Christmas
party. After Christmas break we started up with me as SM. During those
two weeks I met several times with the SPL and discussed MY vision.
I re-arranged the furniture in the Scout cabin. In other words, I made
there was a definite visible demarcation between the past and the
In my little speech I told the troop they could expect things to be
and that my style would be very different than Mr. X's. Not because one
is wrong and one is right or one is better than the other. Rather,
we are individuals and everyone is different. Over the next year I may
ask something to be done and someone might reply "but that's not how
Mr. X did it". And I will politely remind you that I am now SM and not
I told them story of when I was in high school and we had a change of
coaches on the debate team. *I* was guilty of replying to the new coach
"but Mr. X said". He got mad and accused me of not supporting his
policies. In that particular situation, he had asked why I had done
something and I defended my actions with the old coach said that is
the way to do it. Since I had no NEW instructions from the current
logic says to continue with previous instructions. So I the Scouts I'd
remember that story and not get mad if anyone else did the same thing
I had done.
I told them one of the stories from one of my heros: Admiral Grace
She told how she had a clock in her office with the face printed
and the hands moved counter-clockwise. It took a little getting use to
after awhile you could tell time on that clock just as easily as any
The clock was a reminder to her staff that while traditions are good
past actions are not sufficient justification for continuing to things
same. Don't let the past limit your imagination or options. She never
wanted to hear the excuse "but, that's the way we always did it before."
About a month later it was time for the next troop election. The new SPL
was elected with the express mission to overthrow me and all of my new
ways. This I learned from him a year later. He was secretly on my side
and after a year the troop was much pleased with themselves and the
"new" way of doing things: uniforms, a functioning PLC, boys planning
and running the meetings. Yes it was a tough change and more demanding
on the boys, but they wouldn't have it any other way now.
In a boy run troop the SM may not necessarily be running the program;
however, I believe he still provides the VISION and through his
enthusiasm he provides the ENERGY that drives the troop. If the new
guy is not up to the task, then maybe the Troop Committee should
review their options for a different SM. The old SM should not have
hand picked his successor. The Troop Committee should have
reviewed potential candidates with the Charter Organization and selected
the best possible person for the job. It's not too late to do just that.
Peter M. Murphy :: firstname.lastname@example.org
SM T125, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church
Carmel, Indiana :: Del-Mi District, Crossroads of America Council
Life is short, pray hard.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City