scouts-l Mail Archive for August of 2000: Re: New 18 yr old leader
Anthony Mako (ajmako@NLS.NET
Sat Aug 19 2000 - 12:53:23 CDT
<Terry Slade wrote>
My kid just turned 18 and we signed him up as an ASM. He earned his Eagle
and several palms and is a Vigil member of the OA. What do your troops do
with these guys and what jobs do they usually have in your troops? He isn't
too active in scouting anymore as he is a senior in high school and plays on
the football, basketball teams and sings in the choir. Any thoughts?
I have several thoughts on this subject. First off, why not ask him what
he'd like to do with the troop? If he enjoys High Adventure activities and
has the time for it, why not give him the job of SA-Ventures. If he enjoys
working with younger Scouts, you could give him the job of SA-New Scouts.
You can also give him the responsibility of advising the PLC. Or, if he
cannot be active enough to participate in every meeting and activity, give
him a responsibility he can fit into his schedule (such as the SA in charge
It is important to do two things with former Scouts who become SAs as soon
as they turn 18. First, it is important to stress not only to him, but to
the Scouts, that he is an adult. He should be treated as an adult by the
Scouts, and the other adults. If the troop has the tradition of calling
adults "Mr.", the new SA should be addressed the same way. It won't be easy
at first, but it's important. He will likely have several good friends who
are still Scouts, and that can present some sticky situations. The boys who
are still Scouts need to understand that they are dealing with an adult when
they are "in Scouts." That doesn't mean they can't "pal around" anymore, it
just means that in Scouting activities they should respect the difference
between youth and adult.
Second, sign him up for SMF (or whatever your district calls it). There are
two reasons for this. New adults who were so recently Scouts know a great
deal about how Scouting works, but they don't know everything about being
adult leaders. Scoutmaster Fundementals will be very valuable to these new
adults, especially with regard to the responsibilities of an adult leader.
Their participation in this type of training also has a much more beneficial
effect on the other participants. Since he still remembers what it was like
to be a Scout, he has valuable insight into the effect the training has on
the Scouts. He knows what will be effective with the Scouts, and probably
has some rather innovative ideas on how to deal with problem Scouts and all
of the other problems asked about during SMF.
Third, no matter what you decide, the new adult should be given some
responsibility - preferably something that distinguishes him as an adult.
The responsibility should not only be real, but it should be an adult level
responsibility. It is also important that the other adult leaders give the
new adult the same opportunity to do his job that they would give each
There are also several things you shouldn't do. Other adult leaders should
not continue to treat the new adult as a Scout. They shouldn't routinely
countermand his authority. Yes, he'll make mistakes and occasionally revert
to acting like a youth member, but that's all part of the growing process.
The unit shouldn't simply sign him up and give him nothing to do. The unit
should also be patient and let him grow into the role of an adult leader.
The transition can be eased by appointing him as a JASM when he's 17 and
giving him some real responsibilities. That will give him the chance to
gradually move into the role of an adult.
A. J. Mako, Scoutmaster, firstname.lastname@example.org
Old Portage District, Great Trail Council