Changing leadership-advice needed (long)
Roman J. Smith (Roman.J.Smith.13@ND.EDU)
Mon, 31 Aug 1998 09:42:19 -0500
Our troop is now planning a change in the SM position. I need your advice.
In August of 1999, the current SM will step down, and I will be appointed
the new SM. The troop is right now mostly a one-man show with the same
person acting as SM, advancement chair, treasurer, and (except for signing
documents) Committee Chair and Skipper of Ship 505. The actual Committee
Chair (who does nothing more than sign documents) will step down at the
The current active leadership is made up of the SM, two ASMs (myself
included) and two committee members, all who act as the committee for
supporting the troop. The SM has final approval of all "committee"
decisions. This has worked well for our small troop.
We have about 20 scouts, with about 14 that are "regulars". (1 Eagle, 4
Life, 3 Star, others First Class or lower.) We expect 8 crossovers this
year. Two of the Webeloes dads are expected to join us as ASMs.
I will have no vehicle capable of pulling a trailer, no place to park the
current trailer, and no equipment storage space.
The sponsoring organization is a Catholic Church. The current SM has been
in that position for over 10 years and has now suggested that I take over
as SM. He is held in high esteem, and his recommendation will be followed.
I have talked informally to the Pastor, the Committee Chairman, and the
other troop leaders. There were no suprises or objections. My purpose in
approaching these people was to inform them of my concerns. I specifically
asked the CC if he would stay on if I was looking for an active committee.
He offered to step down if I needed a strong chairman, a role that he is
not willing to take on.
We have been meeting at the home of the SM's mother. Our storage room is
her garage, and the troop trailer is parked in her drive. Some of the
equipment we use is personal property of the SM, but only he knows what he
owns, and what we own. Our school is undergoing renovation and the church
has lost all meeting space during construction. That meeting space should
be restored by spring and will be fully appropriate for troop meetings.
Availability of storage space is unknown, but there might be a small amount
available. There is no secure place to park the troop trailer.
My wife has set the conditions that there will be no troop equipment (tents
to trailers) on our property, and no vehicle of ours will pull a trailer.
I assure you that is a firm position and non-negotiable.
The current SM will continue as Skipper of Ship 505 (a position he has held
since its inception), and will continue serving on staffs of Wood Badge and
University of Scouting.
What do I do? How do I do it? When do I do it? The main things I see that
need to be done are:
1. Work with the pastor to find a new chairman and get a full committee in
2. Get the new committee to buy into supporting the troop needs, given my
3. Get the junior leaders to accept a change in adult leadership culture
without upsetting their own culture or leadership style.
4. Find a place to house the equipment and trailer.
5. Arrange an appropriate ceremony to recognize the outgoing leadership in
an appropriate manner.
Roman J. Smith
University of Notre Dame
(219)631-4624 Fax: (219)631-8223
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 505
-I used to be an Owl
Committee Member, Ship 505
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City