Tuesday Talkback: How does your troop use its junior assistant Scoutmaster?

Tuesday-TalkbackSay your troop has a 16- or 17-year-old Scout who has already been senior patrol leader but still wants to serve his fellow Scouts.

The BSA has just the position for him: junior assistant Scoutmaster.

The junior assistant Scoutmaster is a young man who is at least 16 — but not yet 18 — and is appointed by the Senior Patrol Leader with the advice and approval of the Scoutmaster.

The junior assistant Scoutmaster, sometimes called a JASM, functions as an assistant Scoutmaster and reports to the Scoutmaster. (Youth Protection note: Though a junior assistant Scoutmaster functions as an adult leader in some ways, he still must follow BSA youth policies regarding two-deep adult leadership, sleeping quarters, driving, etc.)

And good news for 16- and 17-year-old Scouts working on Star, Life or Eagle Scout: junior assistant Scoutmaster is a qualifying position of responsibility for those ranks.

Once a young man serving as junior assistant Scoutmaster turns 18, he’s no longer a youth member in Scouting. If he wants to remain with the troop, he should become an assistant Scoutmaster — something he’s even more qualified for after serving as a JASM.

Now that you know how a young man becomes a junior assistant Scoutmaster, you’re probably wondering how best to use a JASM in your troop. That was on the mind of Virginia assistant Scoutmaster Ray L., who wrote me this email:


I’m an assistant Scoutmaster, for a new troop. We have a boy who just made Eagle and was made a junior assistant Scoutmaster. I’d like to know how other troops use their junior assistant Scoutmasters.

Tips from Scouting magazine

This very subject was covered in Scouting magazine back in 2001.

A few ideas from that article:

  • Use junior assistant Scoutmasters as new Scout patrol advisers and teachers of such advanced skills as backpacking and rock climbing.
  • Have JASMs serve as liaisons with the troop’s brother Cub Scout pack.
  • Encourage JASMs to aid in the patrol leaders’ council’s annual program planning conference by sharing their experiences in camping and program activities.

Tips from you

Does your troop have a junior assistant Scoutmaster (or three)? If so, how’s it going? What best practices can you share for getting the most out of these ambitious Scouts?

Please leave a comment (or three) below.

See also

Learn more about the junior assistant Scoutmaster here.

About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.