The three rules of Scouting leadership are simple:
I’m a Scoutmaster so I concentrate on the work I am supposed to be doing. I don’t do these jobs:
- Outdoor Coordinator – he takes care of ALL camping trip logistics, phone calls, online reservations to support the annual plan that the Scouts prepared.
- Committee Chairman – I go to committee meetings each month for about 10 minutes. Then I leave and return to the Scout meeting. (I strongly recommend having committee meetings during the regular troop meeting.)
- Treasurer – I have absolutely nothing to do with the troop funds and I don’t need to. I don’t know how much money we have or how much the last fund raiser brought in. The SPL asks for funds for gear or events and the committee responds.
- Advancement – I occasionally assist new advancement chairs with Eagle application and BOR things, but otherwise, Scouts work directly with the advancement committee. Scouts manage the COH and I observe until the Scoutmaster’s minute. I occasionally participate during rank presentations, I probably shouldn’t. But I still do 🙂
- Planning – An Assistant Scoutmasters did an introduction for our annual planing conference and we left the roop patrol leader’s council on their own for several hours to plan their program.
We did this at my house at my large dining room table. The Scouts played with my cat, used the internet to look up camping places and council summer camps. Mrs. Geiger made sure they had a snack. They scribbled a bunch of notes and occasionally make loud noises.
We adults sat out on the porch and chatted.
Around lunch time the SPL came out and presented the plan to the committee chairman. The SPL received a couple of comments, nothing important, and then Mrs. Geiger served up lunch.
- Quartermaster – We have a trailer. (I’m not thrilled with trailers and lots of troop junk. I think that a Scout should be able to fit most of his camping gear into his backpack and what a Scout needs is what a troop needs.) The Quartermaster deals with the trailer and all of the junk.
- Secretary – The Troop Secretary handles all communications; if I want to send something out I send it to her.
- Scoutmaster conferences – An Assistant Scoutmaster is in charge of conferences. All Scouts requiring conferences talk to him. He sometimes assigns me to a conference.
- Senior Patrol Leader- I am not the SPL nor do I want to be. He runs the PLC meetings without adults directly present around the table. I am always available to answer questions. He runs the campouts and if I end up napping most of the afternoon on a warm, sultry Florida day, then so be it :-).
- Patrol Leader – I am not the PL nor do I want to be. On campouts I will normally walk through a patrol camping area about twice a day. One time during a meal. I will bring my spoon and sometimes sample the goods. The Scouts are very familiar with me sampling a pancake or a bit of a slice of bacon, or hamburger or beef stew. I just sample. I let them know that I trust their work. The second time is around bed time. I like to stop by each Scout’s tent and say good night. Particularly for the youngest Scouts. I will pat on the tent and ask who’s in there and say goodnight or something else wise and wonderful. This way I sort of get a lay of the land before I turn in.
- Scout – I am not a Scout. I camp, eat and hang out with the other adults during meetings and campouts.
Don’t be a “sanctimonious stick-in-the-mud”. Let people do their work without a lot of criticism or interference.
Here’s what I do: train and (you guessed it) delegate.
- My main job is to train the SPL and his staff (and on some rare occasions the Troop Committee). One of the Assistant Scoutmasters and myself coordinate the two annual training sessions.
- Mentoring – I do occasionally make recommendations to the SPL. I rarely followup on those recommendations. It’s up to him. Still, I watch the SPL and the PLs all of the time. It’s what I focus on. I watch them teach, instruct, direct, assist and play. I try to convey some wisdom during campfire discussions. Sometimes I say something during reflection time on Sunday morning. Sometimes Scouts will come to me to talk about stuff.
- Discipline – I do not tolerate foul language, put downs, unsafe behavior, drinking, etc. Boy Scouts are naturally active, rambunctious and sometimes even a little mischievous, so the line between what the SPL needs to deal with and what I deal with can be a little bit foggy. Still, when the line is crossed, I step in immediately and take care of the problem. This is rare, but it happens.