Being an adult leader can be a very satisfying and rewarding experience. It will take everything you can offer and then some more.. 🙂 The level of involvement will vary depending on the need of the unit you are dedicating yourself and your time. If you are thinking about becoming an adult leader there are a few things to consider….
#1. Role: Understand the role and expectations of that role. There are two different areas of the troop.
(a.) Working with the scouts. Assistant Scoutmasters and Merit Badge Counselors work along side the scouts. These roles usually work the scouts directly. They typically are needed at meetings and/or campouts. They work with the scouts on advancement, awards, merit badges and leadership. The Scoutmaster is the person to get proper expectations of the different roles mentioned here. Some troops are very lucky in the amount of assistant scoutmasters they have so they don’t need to attend every single campout or meeting. Some troops don’t have that luxury and need all their assistant scoutmasters on all campouts. Our advice here is to ask up front and set the level of involvement early.
(b.) Working for the the scouts. Troop Committee roles such as treasurer, fundraising, popcorn kernal, advancement, and a committee member are typical roles that work in a supporting role for the scouts. These roles usually don’t sign off on requirements for rank, awards or merit badges. They usually aren’t instructing and going on campouts. These roles are just as important though because roles are needed to run a scout troop. The Troop Committee Chairman is the person to get proper expectations of the different roles mentioned here.
#2. Time: You have to be honest with yourself and other leaders who are depending on you. Activities with the scouts require at least 2 adult leaders (trained in youth protection) for it to be an official scout activity and to be covered under the national’s insurance. If you can’t make all the meetings, campouts or activities say you can’t upfront so others can accommodate. It should be fine. Usually there is a very graceful period of ramp-up time to learning the role, depending on the role.
#3. Training: The one best thing about scouts is there is all kinds of training opportunities. Don’t let the fact that you were never a scout deter you from jumping in working with scouts. There are online opportunities with my.scouting.org, this site, and others to offer online material. There are also other official training that is working with other people in classrooms and on campouts. For roles working for scouts there is a ton of online courses you can take to really understand what it takes to be successful in the role you choose. Talk to the scoutmaster or troop committee chairman on how you can access these resources.