Tuesday Talkback: Balancing too much adult involvement with too little

Tuesday-TalkbackThis much we know: A unit where Scouts/Venturers do everything without feedback or coaching from adult leaders is taking the “youth-led” concept too far. And a unit where adult leaders plan trips and lead meetings isn’t taking the concept far enough.

So where’s the line?

That’s what Scouter Michael Dulle wondered in an email to me. He writes:

There is a fine line for a good balance of a boy-led Scout unit vs. a hands-on, adult-led unit. I am totally in favor of the boy-led unit. However, there can be too much boy leadership in a unit, especially when the Scoutmaster abdicates his leadership role.

The troop of which I am member of is closer to a good balance than I’ve seen in other units I have witnessed. How do you create and maintain good, balanced unit leadership?

Great question, Michael. Cub Scouting, where adult leaders must take on an active leadership role, doesn’t deal with this problem, of course. But Michael’s question gets at a real dilemma in Boy Scout troops and Venturing crews.

Share how it works in your troop or crew, and consider these questions when responding in the comments below:

Is your unit youth-led? Ask yourself these questions:
  • Where do adult leaders sit during weekly meetings? When, if ever, do they speak?
  • Who does the majority of trip planning, including making reservations at state parks or figuring out menus?
  • If a Scout or Venturer misses a few meetings, who contacts the youth to check in?
  • Who runs courts of honor and hands out awards to Scouts?
  • During planning meetings, at what point do adults chime in?
  • Describe an adult leader’s role during a weekend camp-out.
  • Who handles advancement tracking and unit finances?
  • Who updates the troop or crew’s Website and Facebook page?

Photo from Flickr: Some rights reserved by Calypso Orchid

About Bryan Wendell 2856 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.