Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’


It has been one year since I retired as the scoutmaster of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68. It has been an interesting, but sometimes confusing year. After thirty years of serving as a scoutmaster I am trying to figure out what my role should be and where I now fit in with the troop.

I knew one of those new roles would be as advisor to the new scoutmaster. When the new scoutmaster stepped down after five months (he was also serving as the pack cubmaster) I found myself to be an adviser to the NEW new scoutmaster, Jim. Jim has taken to his role well and is not afraid to ask questions. He has taken all the online training and has been attending the monthly district roundtables. He has continued many of the things I brought to the troop but he is also adding a few of his own touches, which is to be expected.

When I visit a troop meeting, I have to watch myself. I find that I sometimes will step back into the role of scoutmaster when I see some help may be needed. When I catch myself I take a step back. I am getting better. The Scouts still seem to enjoy that I come to some of the troop meetings.

Patrol Leader Council meetings are still held at my home. It is a center point for the out of town families. The scoutmaster likes it because I am there to offer suggestions when needed. It has also offered a continuity to the meetings through the last year of adult leader changes.

I will admit that it has been strange not attending the monthly troop activities. I like that I may now pick and choose which outings I will attend instead of being expected to attend everyone of them. It was weird not attending a long term camp with the troop in 2012. After all, I have spent every summer vacation for the last 30 years with Boy Scouts, either at summer camp, Philmont Scout Ranch, a Jamboree, or some other high adventure outing.

I currently serve as the troop treasurer on the committee. After a year I have decided that although I guess I am doing a good job, I really do not enjoy doing it as much I as thought I might. I miss working with the Scouts. It may be time to look at changing to something new. I wonder if the troop could use an assistant scoutmaster?

I received a call this morning from a father of one the Boy Scouts, who is also a troop committee member, asking if I was going to attend the troop meeting tonight. He and his family would be gone on vacation next week and his son would not be able to attend the committee meeting for a board of review. I said I could be at the troop meeting but other committee members would have to be called. Little did I know it would be a weird, but fun and interesting evening.

As a new committee member and former scoutmaster I find that I sometimes need to pull back from things I am used to doing myself, and learning how to help others in new ways. For example, at the board of review tonight, I found that I wanted to step in and ask questions, lots of questions. But it was not my place to do so. There were two other people sitting on this board, not just me. I was now part of a team, not the scoutmaster doing a conference. Added to the situation was a new advancement chairperson who was learning his new responsiblities. Yes, I had to bite my tongue a couple times so that I would not dominate the board of review.

The Boy Scouts are getting used to the idea of a new scoutmaster. (He just registered last Tuesday.) He is very serious about talking on this new role. The boys get along with him but I needed to remind a couple of them that I am no longer the one to be talking to about some things. They need to go to the new scoutmaster. I had to smile to myself and they headed off to get their question answered.

Could I have answered their questions? Yes, I could have, but I need the boys to realize that I am not the scoutmaster anymore. And besides that, I want the new scoutmaster to build that bond with the boys. That will not happen very well if the boys keep coming to me every time they need something.

Once the First Class board of review was completed I noticed one of the Life Rank Scouts was not doing anything at the moment so I called him over to the board for an update on his Eagle Rank. We took a few minutes to find out what his plans were. After all, he turns 18 years old in four or five months. I think I caught him a bit off guard but we had a good discussion. I will be meeting him later this week to review his eagle packet. Why am I doing this? Because the new scoutmaster already has enough on his plate this month learning his responsibilities so I thought I could help hm out on this one.

After the troop meeting the scoutmaster and I spent some time reviewing the new tour permit, or troop outing guide, or whatever they call it now. We also talked about other things. I like that he is pouring himself into his new role and is trying to learn things as quickly as he is able. I think he will do well as the new troop leader.

So what was weird about tonight? That it seemed that I was still in the middle of things, even though I am not the scoutmaster. It is like my troop is now made up of adults. Instead of training boys I have now moved to the position of training parents in their roles.

And you know what. I am kinda enjoying it. It is a different challenge. And I am having fun.

Boy Scout Troop 68 has a problem. We are looking for someone to become the scoutmaster. Unfortunately, no one seems interested in the position at this time. Having a small troop does not seem to be helping matters. Being in a community that has not been interested in having their boys in the Scout program has definitely made it tougher. (Only three of our eight Boy Scouts live in town.)

When I retired from the position after being the troop’s scoutmaster for 30 years I had a feeling it would be tough finding someone to take over. Luckily, one father stepped up to the plate. After five months he has decided to step down. I had a hunch this might happen. Why? Because he is also the Cubmaster of our Pack. Holding two “full time” volunteer Scouting positions would be tough for anyone to handle. Add to this that his sons are heavy into sports and extracurricular activities, and that he owns his own business, I knew it would be a challenge for him. But I have to give him credit. He gave it a good try. He did a good job. But there just was not enough time in the week to do it all, and do it well. He continues to serve as the Cubmaster.

So, the troop is once again looking for a scoutmaster. I have received several “hints” that a few people in the troop (Scouts and parents) would like to see me return to the position. I have no plans to do so. I am worn out and burned out. I actually began to hate going to Scout functions during my last year as scoutmaster. I do not want to return to the routine of weekly meetings and monthly activities. While I really enjoy working with the boys I do not want the responsibility any longer. I like my new position on the committee.

Sometimes I think thirty years was too long to be the scoutmaster. People got to the point where they would just assume that I would take care of things, and I usually did. People are now scared of the role. I am not quite sure why they should be. I took the position when I was a “wet behind the ear” 21 year old. I did okay with almost no experience. I had a committee that supported me. I was willing to take training, and that made a huge difference.

We have the month of June pretty well covered. I guess I will be the acting scoutmaster. Next month is summer camp, so the troop will not have any meetings. But by August we need to have someone step up to the plate. If we don’t, the council could get antsy and apply pressure to find someone quick. Or else. Troop 68 went through that in 1981. We went through four men as scoutmaster that year. (I was the fourth.) I would hate to see that happen to the troop again. I would really hate to see the troop lose its charter because no one was willing to take the position.

It would be sad to see the troop fold after 32 continuous years.

Your have seen the presentation in the first video. You have heard from the former members of Boy Scout Troop 68 during the next two videos. Now it is time to hear from the retired scoutmaster. In this, the final of four parts of the retirement party, we finally get to hear what Steve has to say after 30 years of serving as the scoutmaster of his home troop. He talks about the Scouts, the parents, the leaders, the committee members, and brings his assistant of 24 years up to the podium.

Steve has not retired from the Scouting program. He still serves as the troop’s treasurer on the committee, attends the occasional troop meeting, and tags along on an outing now and then. He makes sure he is available if the new scoutmaster has any questions.

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Or watch it online at the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast channel at PTC Media.

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If you have been following this blog and the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast you know that two of the four parts of the scoutmaster retirement party video have been posted. Here is the third part. It features more alumni of Boy Scout Troop 68 as they step up to the podium and share their memories of Scouting with Scoutmaster Steve. It features six more gentlemen, of which three earned the rank of Eagle Scout. A few of them are from the first decade of Scoutmaster Steve’s 30 year tenure. One is from the last decade.

 

Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
Or watch it online at the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast channel at PTC Media.

Subscribe to Melrose Scout Productions Podcast through iTUNES  (and rate the show)
or at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
Leave feedback here, at iTunes, or on the forums at PTC Media.

The monthly roundtable is a meeting for Scout leaders to learn new skills, receive information, and have fun with friends. Sometimes special presentations are made. During this month’s Scenic district roundtable the district executive took a moment to recognize a Boy Scout leader. This leader is about to step down at the end of the year after 30 years of being a scoutmaster for Troop 68 in Melrose. The video was recorded on an iPod by one of the Scouters in attendance.

Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
Or watch it online at the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast channel at PTC Media.

Subscribe to Melrose Scout Productions Podcast through iTunes (and rate the show)
or at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
Leave feedback here, at iTunes, or on the forums at PTC Media.

So, you are new to the Boy Scout program. Maybe you crossed over this spring with your son who was a Webelos Scout, or maybe you joined with your son as he joined the program. Either way, you may be hearing terms you are unfamiliar with and abbreviations that confuse you. Let’s see if we can make a few of these clear and help you along your Scouting way.

SPL – Senior Patrol Leader (The elected Boy Scout in charge of running the troop.)
ASPL – The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader.
PL – Patrol Leader (The elected Boy Scout leader of a patrol.)
APL – Assistant Patrol Leader.
ASM – Assistant Scoutmaster.
JASM – Junior Assistant Scoutmaster (A Scout who is not yet 18 years old.)
PLC – Patrol Leader Council. (The boy leadership who plan troop meetings and activities.)
TLC – Troop Leader Council (Another name for the PLC.)
OA – Order of the Arrow (A Honor Brotherhood of Scout Campers.)
NOAC – National Order of the Arrow Conference (Yearly national meeting of OA lodges and leadership.)
PTC – Philmont Training Center at Philmont Scout Ranch.
NYLT – National Youth Leadership Training (Training for youth leadership done on the council level.)
G2SS – Guide To Safe Scouting (Our bible of how to safely operate our troops and packs.)
BSA – Boy Scouts of America.

This is not the whole list, but it is enough to get you started. Happy Scouting!

The Leaders Of ScoutingIt is hard to believe that it has been over twenty years since some volunteers at Mel-TV 3, our local community access television station, recorded a show in which five men were interviewed. Each gentleman was very involved with the local Scouting program. It turned out to be a fun and informative show. It was filmed with VHS tape unfortunately and is showing its age.

A few years ago I decided to transfer some of those old tapes of Scouting programs to my computer and burn them to DVD before they deteriorated any further. “The Leaders Of Scouting” was one of those shows. Once I had it on the computer I decided to break the nearly two hour show into five smaller segments and post them to the Melrose Scouting Productions video podcast. The first segment was posted nearly 21 months ago. I guess I should have been a bit more diligent about posting them on a more timely basis. But never fear! Today I post part five, the final portion of the television show.

Mike R. began his adult Scouting career when his son John joined Cub Scout Pack 68 in Melrose, Minnesota. When John crossed over to the Boy Scout troop, Mike followed and became a committee member, and soon accepted the committee chairman position. During this time Mike also served as a unit commissioner. Dr. Hedglin, the show’s host, has a great time asking Mike R. about his positions in Scouting. The other guests are still on hand so the show soon involves all five guests as they reminisce about their time in Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting.

As this series comes to a close I would like to take a moment to once again thanks all five guests: George O., Joe T., Mike H., Gerry W., and Mike R. I would also like to thank Dr. Hedglin for hosting the show. He did a great job. Thanks also goes to the Mel-TV 3 volunteers who spent an afternoon filming the program.

I hope you enjoyed The Leaders of Scouting series on the Melrose Scouting Productions Podcast. Please post a comment and let me know what you thought of them, and if you would like to see more of this type of program.

Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
Subscribe to Melrose Scouting Productions Podcast through iTunes.
or at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
Check out other Scouting podcasts at PTC Media.

Show Notes:
The Leaders of Scouting episodes:
George O. – Episode #46
Joe T. – Episode #51
Mike H. – Episode #61
Gerry W. – Episode #72
Mike R. – Episode #87.

Thank you for watching Melrose Scouting Productions Podcast.