Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: Re: Tenure of a Scoutmaster
Re: Tenure of a Scoutmaster
Thu, 18 Feb 1999 20:16:25 -0600
I will end my discussion with this post also. I agree with much of what
you say on Scouts-L, but I feel I must express a different viewpoint on
this one issue.
On Wed, 17 Feb 1999 GMarmet@AOL.COM wrote:
> I have no intention of continuing this discussion beyond this response, and
> will not. I do believe that there is value to having 10 different
> Scoutmasters over 50 years. The consistency that is described is a
> consistency that exists over a period of time in which Scouting has changed,
> youth have changed, economics have changed, the world has changed. Certainly
> our program has changed. There is value to having new men, newly trained in
> the new program (and we all know it changes every 5 years) to lead.
I agree there is value in having "quality leadership" over 50 years,
whether that is 10 different men or 1 man isn't the issue. A single leader
can certainly adapt to change, otherwise people would be changing careers
every 5-7 years in their private life. We are always adapting. I think
experience can be a very valuable tool. Change for the sake of change is not
always a positive thing.
Changing leaders often can add new ideas and new enthusiasm, it can also
add inexperience and inconsistency to a key role in a troop. There are
pros and cons. I've seen troops over the years that have gone up and down
in quality with changes in leadership. That is the inconsistency I refer
Your argument suggests that longterm committment to a job is a negative
component within the Scouting program, I reject that idea.
Ultimately it is the quality of the leadership that make the impact, not
the years of service.
> I have always believed (even before my friend shared his wisdom) that old
> timers, me included, are resources. I serve as an ASM. I can be gone to by a
> younger scoutmaster at any time and I can offer old wisdom. But he is better
> with new boys. This is not always true, of course. Exceptions exist
> everywhere. I simply repeat the wisdom I offered earlier. A 50 year
> Scoutmaster could prevent change, and certainly denies those other 10 men the
> chance to do a better job than the first guy to arrive could have done.
Scoutmasters are resources, one of their primary responsibilities is to be a
resource to boys and offer them wisdom. They can still offer old wisdom to
new leaders in their unit and other units as well.
I don't believe that Scoutmasters necessarily need to fade into the
background after xx number of years of service. Tenure does not in itself
qualify or disqualify a leader. Longevity is not a disservice to the
program or to the boys. Baden-Powell, James E West, William Hillcourt,
none of these Scouters would have better served Scouting by stepping aside
after 5-7 years, they excelled in their positions and Scouting benefitted
> There are examples on both sides, I do not deny it. I simply reiterate the
> idea that, in my mind, ideally we serve in a leadership job for 3-5, maybe
> even 7 years, then we step aside and either move to another job, where our
> previous experience is useful, or we serve as advisors, resources, to the new
> guy. Move around; it keeps you young.
> Yours in Scouting,
> G. John Marmet, ASM
> Cubmaster for 5 years
> Asst. Webelos leader for 2 years
> Troop Committee Chair for 5 years
> District Chairman for 1 year
> Assistant District Chairman for 2 years
> ASM for 5 years (so far)
> Council Exec Board for 3 years ( the first time- I just went back on in
> etc. etc.
There is nothing wrong with moving around after 5-7 years, I'm not arguing
against that, I am just saying there is also nothing wrong with remaining
in a position beyond that time.
I think ideally you should serve in a position as long as you are
effective and enthusiastic (whether 5 or 50 years).
What keeps you young is not moving around from job to job. What keeps you
young is a love of what you do, a curiosity about learning new things,
being adaptive to change, and looking forward to new challenges while
remaining alert to the lessons of the past.
Youth is not measured in years, it is measured in the way you see things
and how you respond to life.
Yours in Scouting,
Scoutmaster Troop 33, Advisor Venture Crew 333
DeKalb, Illinois "http://members.tripod.com/~CGolden/troop33"
Scoutmaster -- 22 years (so far)
Crew Advisor -- 11 years (so far)
Asst Scoutmaster -- 4 years
Webelos Leader -- 4 years
Committee Chairman -- 10 years
Scouting Coordinator -- 5 years
Scout Roundtable Commissioner -- 3 years
District Commissioner -- 3 years
OA Executive Committee -- 12 years
Council Camping Committee -- 4 years