Scouts-L Mail Archive for April of 1999: FW: Should I become a Professional Scouter?
FW: Should I become a Professional Scouter?
Sat, 17 Apr 1999 19:52:17 -0500
(Would you be kind to please post this over on Scouts-L? Thanks!)
You asked the list (and I've only deleted some lines for space):
>With some big changes occuring in my council, I have been asked to become a
>Right now, there is a great opportunity that probably will not be there when
I am >"ready"...
First, your Council must think high enough of you for you to be even
considered for professional service with the Boy Scouts of America.
Second, the opportunity for service will still be there, whenever you're
"ready" to do so, but it may not neccessarily be in your Council or even to
fill a vacancy in your District.
"Should you become a Professional Scouter?", Sam. That all depends upon you
and your understanding of what a career Scouter does and what he or she does
not do. I've explained much of this on the Leaders' Online (tm) website in
two separate postings dealing with my personal interest and work on the "paid
side" of Scouting.
Only you and your family can decide on this question....there's a lot going
for the profession of service that Scouting truly is. There's a lot of great
benefits and great rewards serving as a professional, whether fulltime or
part-time, as I've done. But there's also a lot of work...really hard
work...associated with the profession. There's a lot of late meetings,
travel, expenses that don't get readily reimbursed, extra items which must
come from your pockets because the Council's budget doesn't have the funds
There's the "us-them" associated with some volunteers' involvement with you
as a pro.
And even if you've known these people as a volunteer, things change REALLY
when you place the "executive" patch (or the "Council employee" patch in my
case) on your sleeve and no matter what kind of great relationship you've had
as fellow volunteers are now trashed because "you're now the DE".
Many entry-level professionals (and that's what you'll be) become quickly
disenchanted with the professional not even a year into their service. They
only see the brief exposures from their professional (if they're lucky to see
that!) and don't realize the underlying things that the guy or gal does to
support us all that MUST be done or else the program will suffer. I would
strongly suggest that you "shadow" your current District Executive or another
field professional for a two or three week period. Go where he or she goes,
do what he or she does, attend meetings and other projects like they would.
Only then, will you get an realistic idea of what kinds of time periods are
you in for, what kinds of things a "typical professional" does, and what
kinds of problems you will be dealing with as you decide if this is really
With that bit of background and experience under you, then would I complete
the application and other materials for professional employment with the BSA.
I would NOT enter the profession lightly...you are making a COMMITTMENT TO
SERVICE, not "applying for a job". Your attitude from DAY ONE must be one of
unending service to other people, most notably the ones residing in your
District...but there are ones at the camp, the ones at the Council events,
and the many people whom don't have a clue as to what Scouting is all about.
You are the BSA to ALL of them people, and to those that you don't even know
Sam, take a look at the two postings on LO and read all of the advice given
here and privately to you from other Scouters. Then, sit down with your
family, and explain fully and in terms they will understand, the step you are
anticipating. Answer their questions as completely and with as much
information as you can, and those you cannot answer for them, post a followup
here and ask here. Your family MUST be in agreement with you that this is
something they want to support; I've been friends with many, many field
professionals and they tell ME that part of the secret of their success is
the overwhelming approval and support given to them by their spouses and
Remember, you will NOT get rich being a field professional and it's a good
chance that the "large amount of money" you've been quoted won't come through
completely if your Council is undergoing financial problems!!
I hope that I've provided a balanced response to your posting, based on my
part-time experience doing "fulltime work", as well as my observations and
information from other professionals. The profession of Scouting is VERY
rewarding, Sam....I've known lots of people whom have retired from the
profession and are grateful for the opportunities they've had. I also know
lots of people whom have left the profession and are glad they are away from
the high strees and conflicting requirements and expectations. There's a lot
of both in the job of a Professional Scouter and a lot of it depends upon
YOUR ATTITUDE AND WHAT YOU BRING INTO THE PROFESSION.
If I may be of help, let me know please.
(Leaders' Online (tm) is at http://users.aol.com/coffeeweb/LO )