Junior Assistant Scoutmasters

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Junior Assistant Scoutmasters

Postby AquilaNegra2 » Tue May 06, 2008 1:55 pm

Since I don't have a copy of the current SM handbook, can someone please let me know if this has changed?

Awhile ago, our troop decided to elect the ASPL rather than the SPL, and justified it by calling the handbook "guidelines". Now the Scout who was expected by the leadership to become SPL, but who failed to get elected by the boys, is instead going to be put into the position of Junior Assistant Scoutmaster (along with the SM's son). They are 13 and 14, respectively, and have just made Life rank.

According to the information I have, one of the requirements states: "He must be at least 16 years old and not yet 18." When I brought that up, the SM said that the Scoutmasters had made a decision, and they had discussed it with their District (the SM's wife is the charter rep), and the District supports it. My son is the (last elected) SPL. This decision was made while we were out of town on vacation.

I don't have a lot of experience with JAS - in my experience, they are usually older boys who have already made Eagle and whose talents need a place to be used. What is your experience with JAS, and is it a "more the merrier" case?

Can the SMs and the District disregard a rule when they think an exception needs to be made? Are they in fact "rules"?

*sigh* My son is feeling like this is shady. Me, too. Are we overreacting?
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Postby wagionvigil » Tue May 06, 2008 2:08 pm

Junior Assistant Scoutmasters must be nominated by the Scoutmaster and confirmed by a vote of the troop committee, must be at least 16 years old but not yet 18, must demonstrate marked ability as a leader, and must be proficient in scouting skills.

The Junior Assistant Scoutmaster is responsible for:

Attending regular meetings with the troop's Scoutmaster to ensure responsibilities are properly carried out,

helping the Scoutmaster and his assistants in the running of the troop,

teaching untrained scouts in the skills they need for advancement,

assisting the Senior Patrol Leader whenever requested,

serving as judge in inter-patrol competitions, and

training the youth leadership corps in the performance of their leadership positions.

No They cannot change the rules.
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Postby wagionvigil » Tue May 06, 2008 2:27 pm

This is the second time IO have heard that BSA Rules and policiies are "Guidelines" and that troops can do what they want. Both from Out west. Seems odd to me. Big Councils Some in area and some in Size not watching what is going on in their councils.
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Postby ASM-142 » Tue May 06, 2008 2:55 pm

wagionvigil wrote:This is the second time IO have heard that BSA Rules and policiies are "Guidelines" and that troops can do what they want. Both from Out west. Seems odd to me. Big Councils Some in area and some in Size not watching what is going on in their councils.


Until National comes out with a written memo to all councils, districts, and troops that these are policies and not guidelines these things will continue.
If it is not written down then it is not an official rule
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Postby AquilaNegra2 » Tue May 06, 2008 3:11 pm

It's actually both from our troop :-(. It's getting very frustrating. Too much concentration of power. I'm not sure what to do at this point.
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Postby wagionvigil » Tue May 06, 2008 3:14 pm

I bet if you talk to long time scouters. I do not mean less than 10 years you will never hear that these are guidelines. This stuff is being done by relatively new scouters that have an agenda and feel rules are made to be broken. They also must have limited training and are not in contact with council much.
Aquila What is District? There is a district committee but they cannot change policy etc.
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Postby wagionvigil » Tue May 06, 2008 3:18 pm

ALso if you notice in the requirements for JASM it say's MUST not should but MUST that is not open to interpretation.
Should allows for free space but MUST or Will Be No leeway there!.
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Postby WVBeaver05 » Wed May 07, 2008 12:10 am

wagionvigil wrote:I bet if you talk to long time scouters. I do not mean less than 10 years you will never hear that these are guidelines. This stuff is being done by relatively new scouters that have an agenda and feel rules are made to be broken. They also must have limited training and are not in contact with council much.

I don't have as much experience as you do, but I have seen this behaviour in about even distribution between the long time Scouters and the new ones. Not sure it has to do with that as much as they "are sure" that their way is correct/better.

I strongly support training and it should help, but it doesn't always. I've seen/heard them come out of training with comments to the effect of "...gee that was nice, but surely no one does that and they don't really expect us to, etc..."

I'm with you on this. Make the training mandatory. (It is in our Council to some extent - unit leader must be fully trained for the position in order to recharter. Was supposed to move up to adding the Committee Chair this year.) I wouldn't even object to some (appropriate) recurrence of training.

YiS
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Postby WVBeaver05 » Wed May 07, 2008 12:15 am

Opps. Got a bit sidetracked on the training issue in the last post.

Yes, they MUST be 16. No, they CAN'T change the rules no matter what rationalization they try to use.

JASM is a good role for an older Scout who can lead others. Serves a couple purposes (IMO). Can sometimes keep an experienced Scout in a POR but open SPL for a younger Scout that needs the experience. Also, starts preparing a 16-18 YO for the switch to ASM where he HAS to step back and let the younger ones "do it" and learn.

YiS
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Postby pipestone1991 » Wed May 07, 2008 6:05 pm

It has been decided by my SM I will be made a JASM in June. I was indeed nominated by my SM and approved by the committee. I am also 16. Although those two boys are Life they should not hold this office. Experience is the key to this job, not rank.
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Postby joat » Wed May 07, 2008 8:50 pm

wagionvigil wrote:Junior Assistant Scoutmasters must be nominated by the Scoutmaster and confirmed by a vote of the troop committee, must be at least 16 years old but not yet 18, must demonstrate marked ability as a leader, and must be proficient in scouting skills.
You must be a member of the "committee" ! (smiley thingy)
Appointing boy leaders is the baliwick of the SPL. My copy of the Scoutmaster Handbook (same in the Senior Patrol Leader Handbook) says "A Scout at least 16 year of age who has shown outstanding leadership skills may be appointed by the senior patrol leader, with the advise and consent of the Scoutmaster as a junior assistant Scoutmaster". The SM has some input here, but it is abundantly clear that the decision is that of the SPL alone.

The troop commitee has nothing at all to do with boy positions of responsibility or the troop program, except supporting same.
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Postby wagionvigil » Wed May 07, 2008 9:07 pm

What I quoted came from the BSA website
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Postby joat » Wed May 07, 2008 10:39 pm

The BSA website is a jungle. If things have changed, I want to learn about the changes. Do you have a link, or a smaller target I could look at?
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Postby AquilaNegra2 » Thu May 08, 2008 12:32 am

Either way it's wrong. My son is the SPL and believes in standing by the national policy; he would never have appointed a 13 year old to a position that is meant for the most experienced boys in a troop. #2 son asked the newly appointed JASM if he didn't need to be 16 -- his answer was that "the troop sets its own policies." So it's done. Dangerous precedent. It's the kid whose peers wouldn't elect him to SPL and this is, I believe, how they're keeping his family in the troop. They did it while SPL was on vacation. The timing is not coincidental, imho.

So the boys will live with it. ...for now. His SPL term ends in September and we will have some hard thinking to do in the meantime.

Thank you for the confirmation. I appreciate it.
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Postby deweylure » Thu May 08, 2008 9:05 am

It seems if the adults keep making there own rules the scouts will be learning a bad habit . If you do not like a rule and it will benefit you just interpret the rule to make your way right.

We have had the same in our troop although it is changing for the better,new trained leadership. It sometimes takes awhile to catch on to the program From viewing alot of posts i must agree that National must send out a letter clarifying RULES.

One of the leaders I know, is a trainer. His sessions are by the book .

You have heard the answer to the question already. If a problem exists see the district commisioner.


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Postby scoutaholic » Thu May 08, 2008 1:52 pm

OK, I'm going to confess. I've broken the must-be-16 rule for JASM.

In LDS chartered units, boys automatically move from the troop to the team when they turn 14. In many LDS units, little (or no) scouting gets done in the team or crew.

When I was turning 14 (in the stone age), I knew there was little scouting done in our team or post (now called crew). I was a life scout, and OA Chapter Chief. I was not ready to sever all ties with a local unit that did scouting. I went to my SM with the problem, and his solution was to make me JASM (unofficially) so that I could still stay involved with the troop. At 16, I became an official JASM, and at 18 ASM. This may not have been good according the the National rules, but it seemed the best solution to the problem at hand. As far as I know, none of the younger scouts, nor their parents or the troop committee had any problem with the arrangement.

I have now been SM for 9 years. Twice during that time, I have had a 14-year-old boy come to me with a similar request. In both cases, the boy was a few weeks from Eagle, he was very involved in scouting, he had previously shown good leadership, and the younger boys respected them and their leadership. In both cases, after much thought, discussion/approval of the younger boys, the committe, and the CO, I have allowed an 'unofficial' JASM in the troop until they were old enough to be official.
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Re: Junior Assistant Scoutmasters

Postby asdfate » Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:48 pm

When I was probably 14, my SM asked me to be a JASM. I assume it was because I had shown a interest in how that end of the house was run (borrowed and read his SM manual, etc) and there were many younger scouts who needed positions of responsibility. I was greatly honored by the offer, but I knew I had to be 16 and declined on those grounds. I told him that I was definitely interested and would seek the position when I turned 16. I felt that if we started bending/adjusting requirements it would take meaning away from anything earned in Scouting.

For example, you have Scouts who live up to the Oath and Law, they have the opportunity to get credit for a requirement even though they know they didn't accomplish it. They do the right thing and accomplish the requirement and EARN the reward. Now you have the more common kids who get away with whatever they can, as many parents implicitly raise them these days, wear the same reward that the Good Scout earned. Now the Good Scouts badge has 0 meaning because the requirements no longer need to be met.

Trying to help the Scout is admirable, but not when it undermines every achievement of every Scout thats ever been or ever will be in your program. I would find a way to help your Scout within the requirements. You may end up solving that problem for everyone who follows him as well as maintaining the integrity of your program.
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