Can a volunteer serve in multiple positions within a unit?

expertlogo1Yes, your official title — the position indicated on your BSA registration — says you’re an assistant Scoutmaster.

But now a Scouting colleague has asked you to sit on the troop committee as well.

You agree (just an hour a week, right?), but when you try to register your second position, it turns out the BSA’s registration system won’t allow it. What gives?

Let’s ask the expert.

The question

That question was on the mind of a Scouter named Curt who emailed me recently.

He writes:

You’ve probably heard this one before. Can an assistant Scoutmaster also be on the unit committee?

Thanks!

– Curt

The expert’s answer

The simple answer is no. The BSA has a one-position-per-person policy designed to offer the best possible experience to Scouts while not stretching our already-busy volunteers too thin.

Of course, this only applies within a unit. Some volunteers are registered in multiple units. That means you could, for example, serve as a committee member in a pack and an assistant Scoutmaster in a troop. Or a Scoutmaster in a troop and an associate advisor in a crew. And so on.

For the full answer, I went to the expert: Peter Self, program development team leader for the BSA.

Peter offers three reasons for the one-position-per-person (per unit) policy:

  1. It keep Scouters from being too overwhelmed by too many responsibilities.
  2. It encourages a broader base of adult volunteers in the spirit of “many hands make light work.”
  3. It offers our youth members multiple adult role models.

Here’s his full response, which is worth taking time to read:

This is a question that is asked of every professional from the newest district executive to the most seasoned Scout executive. Anybody who has tried to register in more than one position within the same unit knows that in most cases, it can’t be done. Our registration software just won’t allow it.

The only exceptions are for the head of the chartering organization, known as the Institutional Head (IH), and the Chartered Organization Representative (COR). Either of these individuals may register in one other position within the unit.

This means that an assistant Scoutmaster cannot also serve as a member of the committee. A den leader may not simultaneously serve as the Cubmaster. A crew advisor or Varsity coach may not additionally serve as the committee chair, within the same unit.

The reasons behind this policy are pretty simple but intentional in their design. Here are just a few of those reasons:

  1. We don’t want any of our leaders to become so overwhelmed in their Scouting role(s) that they end up neglecting their own families, careers, churches or other community commitments. We know that Scouting is an amazing tool to help strengthen families and develop our youth, but Scouting is only one aspect of a well-rounded life. Spreading out the volunteer roles of Scouting over a larger number of people helps ensure a more-balanced life and prevents volunteer burnout.
  2. Having a broader base of volunteers results in a stronger unit with more parental and chartering organization support. Just imagine how robust your unit would be if an adult member from every Scout’s family, or several members from the chartering organization, were engaged in a support role for the unit. As they say, “many hands make light work.” How much more fun would a volunteer’s job be if he or she didn’t feel alone in his or her efforts?
  3. In terms of the youth experience, interacting with multiple adult role models helps develop our Scouts in ways that pay big dividends when they head off to college, the military or the workforce. Our young adults will be better prepared for life if they have had the opportunity to interact with a wide array of personalities and character traits. Being able to communicate and work with different people of varying backgrounds results in better citizens. Isn’t that what we want?

So, although the “one-position-per-person” policy may seem restrictive, it’s just one of the ways we can ensure that Scouting delivers on the values we strive to instill in our Scouts.

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87 Comments

    • Very true. And very admirable that you’re willing to devote that extra time for the benefit of your Scouts.

      • On that same lines. If a volunteer is lets say , Advancement Chair, in a small unit, and the New SM asks if they can also serve as an ASM, If the “ASM” position was as Acting as ASM Advancement on campouts of as a part time position , as needed, Would that interfere with being a committee member

    • The difference is, in a smaller unit, the level of effort for each position is somewhat reduced as well, so it’s not as much of an issue.
      The bigger problem with this in the smaller units is that it reduces sustainability. There’s a lot of units relying on a husband and wife team and when they go, the unit is in serious danger.
      BTW, this concept applies to Districts as well. Leaders should not be trying to fulfill several jobs at once.

      • I agree. But I’m in a district where 6-8 people do EVERYTHING. One person may be a District Committee member, a Unit Commissioner, and have one or more roles in one or more of the units in our district. Yeah, we need more people to spread the load, but who doesn’t?

        MIke
        District Commissioner (and Unit Commissioner, and Roundtable Commissioner)
        Crew Committee Chair
        Assistant Cubmaster

    • The operative word in this discussion is “registered”. Over the years I have met hundreds of scouters who are registered as say an ASM (so for the unit all of the bases are covered with YP, training insurance, background checks, etc.) and these ASM’s also quietly serve unofficially on the unit committee. Sometimes it might be for something they are well qualified, example Treasurer. In other instances it might be intermittent service to help out in a time limited situation… FOS, fund raising, organizing a COH, etc.

      Every DE and SE I’ve worked with has know full well this is going on to a certain extent in nearly every unit… smaller units usually more so than larger units that typically have a larger pool of adults to pull from. While it may not be ideal it is what is often necessary to get the job done and offer a unit program to the scouts.

      Granted, BSA national is going to discourage this practice because they want to see more money coming in, i.e. registered leaders paying membership fees, buying uniforms, etc. but those of us with our boots on the ground more often than not have to cobble together whatever will work now and can’t sit around waiting for ideal.

      • As a unit grows, you need to include more people. It’s not realistic to run a unit with 20+ scouts the same way you did one with only 10-12. We’re working hard to get all of our adults to step up and help out so that no one has to double up.

    • Sometimes it is unavoidable to wear multiple hats BUT the Committee Chairperson and the Treasurer should never be the same person.

  1. In some cases you can’t get enough volunteers to staff all the positions in this model. At that point you end up wearing multiple hats and just not reporting it to BSA. I understand the intent, but it’s not always practical.

    • I absolutely agree. Although I totally agree with the intent of the rule and wish that all situations could fit into the rule model and intent, unfortunately it does not always work out that way. Back when I was working through the ranks toward Eagle, my father was forced to act as Troop Committee Chairman and Scout Master because their was a lack of volunteers and support from the families. I admit he did not function with the title Scout Master but simply absorbed the dutied of Scout Master into his own for about a year. I believe he preferred the title of Troop Committee Chairman for some reason. Never the less he did function as both. In similar curcumstances, I’ve know a District Commisioner to serve as Scout Master and even a District Exwcutive serve as Scout Master for a time. In a perfect world adherence to the rule in question is perferable. Unfortunately it is not always feasible if thing are to be accomplished.

  2. I agree with Charlie. Smaller units don’t have a choice. Not only that, but in Cub Scouts in particular, you should not have to choose between being your son’s Den Leader and being a Cubmaster or Committee Chair. It simply does not make sense. Your son could care less if you do Committee Chair work, he cares a great deal about whether or not you are the Den Leader though.

    • I so agree. I am about to start as Cubmaster and have been the leader of my son’s den from their first year until now, when they enter their second year of Webelos. I can’t turn the den over to someone else this late in the game; we’ve been a team for too long. I have plenty of time and energy to give both roles enough focus, and I have great assistant leaders at each level, to, for example, help out if I’m leading a pack meeting and need someone with the den.

      • Erin,
        I respectively disagree. You actually said it best, you have great assistant leaders. Now may be the perfect time to let one of them step up, give the boys a “change of pace” but still with someone they know as to not upset the entire process. Soon those Webelos will cross over to Boy Scouts and will be put into a patrol that will change leadership regularly. Why not practice that change, like we practice so many other Scouting skills. What better way to ensure a smooth transition into the boy led troop?
        My son’s last year in the pack I was Cubmaster and turned the den over to an assistant. I used my extra time to develop the new Tiger leaders. It made the program better for everyone, by having an experienced leader to guide the new ones and helped my son to realise he didn’t need “dad” there to get things done.
        Today he is a Life Scout and while he may have accomplished that with me on the leadership team he is more well rounded because of all of the leaders he has had over the years, and as for me, I am quietly in the background volunteering as a committee member for the troop and day camp director for the district. I even stick my head in on a Tiger meeting from time to time when asked to give guidance or just lead a game. 🙂

  3. It can also help prevent too much influence from one individual to likes to have control and importance. One person who does too much (and talks about it too much) can make others shy away.

  4. This guidance is also reflected in Wood Badge training where the ticket should be based on your one primary position in scouting.

    • I’m watching this happen in our troop now. It’s sad. And it’s not for lack of volunteers or parents. Our troop is quite large with 60+ boys.

    • I actually split my WB ticket three ways, between my three positions: two as Troop Committee Member, two as Cubmaster, and one as Roundtable Commissioner. My ticket was approved, and no one ever said it should have been done differently.

  5. I second the when you have limited people volunteering. We have only a few dads in the troop we have an SM, a CC, I am an ASM but I enter advancement. we have two other ASM to help have enough people in the room for YPT as not everyone is there every week. We have three committee members (basically dads who are willing to show up once in a while, but their boys have aged out) but they only want to help with boards. It would be great if more parents volunteered, but its just not the case.

  6. We all know the realities that sometimes this must be done…Commissioners also know the reality of Pack and troops folding from the exit of a husband/wife team who insisted on doing everything in the unit, not sharing responsibilities and doing everything their way. The wife and/or husband leave because their boy ages out or even an unexpected death and the unit is scrambling for people that actually have a clue about the bigger picture. The more volunteers you have involved the better, even if they only do a small job like bringing the refreshments for a single Pack meeting or arranging the rides to and from a campout in a Troop. The key three should never involve somebody who holds 2 of the positions. That is not only a recipe for disaster, that is an open invitation for disaster to come to dinner.

    • Let’s look at this story another way. Dad wants to get his son involved in scouting and signs him up. Pack needs a den leader, so dad agrees to serve. Next thing you know, dad is Cubmaster and den leader because well, there is no one else stepping up, either because they can’t or won’t. Often it’s because they can’t. Next son enters scouting, and mom gets involved because again, they need a den leader. And a secretary. And the Cubmaster needs help juggling all the stuff that keeps landing on his plate and the mom would like family time so she starts taking stuff off the Cubmaster plate and doing it herself. And then the troop needs a new Scoutmaster and the eldest son is now a Boy Scout and the dad becomes Scoutmaster so the troop doesn’t fold but the pack still needs a Cubmaster so the mom, who is now Committee Chair, starts doing both jobs because hey, the littlest son should have a good scouting experience as well.

      And the kids, the boys for whom the parents are working so hard at providing a good scouting experience, are tired of being the first to arrive at every scouting event and the last to leave every scouting event and are no longer interested in advancement or scouting itself. So the husband and wife team who have held the pack and troop together for so long, for their children and the children of so many, are tired and decide no more.

      If the pack and troop fail when they leave, it isn’t because they wanted all the control and glory. It’s because no one else wanted the work and responsibility.

      • It sounds like you know from experience. As do I, and, I suspect, many others.

        What is the solution for this? I propose that BSA create a new position – adult recruiter – and require not one but TWO adult recruiters for unit rechartering, complete with training for this important role!

  7. So, we’re having this problem right now in my pack. What do you do if you don’t have someone to step in and be the den leader for a particular den? We had this problem during this program year with our Webelos den and the committee chair stepped in to be the den leader. Now, unless we get lucky in our recruiting, we are going to have the problem with our Bear den. The committee chair already has multiple hats she’s wearing due to vacancies in the committee. I’m the cubmaster and can’t take on additional den leader roles because of two large commissioner roles I’m filling. What do other packs do when you can’t get a leader for a den? I’m just looking for ideas.

    Thanks!

    • We asked for help from college students in our town who are Eagle Scouts. They served as Den Leaders for 1 year. They needed service hours for their fraternity and we got den leaders.

      • Who is your chartered organization? Could they help recruit volunteers from their organization to lend a hand? Do they have former scouts/scouters among their organization? They should be helping to recruit and appoint leadership…

    • This happened to one of our Packs except most of the important positions were being handled by parents all from one Den (Cubmaster, Asst. Cubmaster, Treasurer, Advancement Chair and Chairperson) all in one Den and when it came time for their boys to age out there were too many vacancies to fill and not enough parents willing to fill them. We had to merge the two Packs back together to keep that Pack going. So not only one person doing too many job but too many important jobs all being handled by one age group, you need to spread them out or one day you find you need to fill 5 positions all at once and it’s tough enough to just fill one at a time!!!!

    • You have to keep asking until you get a yes and then support, support, support! If you get all of the families together and plan the next year out in full and secure each family for one of the months or meetings or adventures (however you split it up). If they see that they only have a small role then you will get someone to “sign above the dotted line”. And their biggest job will be to support whomever is in charge of the next event.
      Am I being naïve? Nope. I have been a UC/ADC for over 10 years. I have even gone so far as to disband dens…….
      Will it take a lot of planning over this summer to get ready for the fall? Yep, but it may be your only choice. “Getting lucky” with the chance that a 4th grade family is going to join and jump right in……….unlikely….

    • Jerry,

      Your primary role is with unit first…always. If you are also serving as a commissioner you should take a step back from those roles and concentrate on succession planning in your unit. As a DE I see these issues all too often, and I remind unit leaders the number one reason people don’t volunteer. It’s because they were never asked. Don’t be timid about asking the parents in your unit to step up. And don’t ask the unit as a whole. Single in on one parent at a time.

  8. Hahahaha! This question is great. Does not reflect our reality nor the reality of most of the units I know. And yes, the burnout is real.

  9. I think Peter Self needs to check out small, rural units and provide some information on how to answer how this can be done within these units. We’ve long been unable to operate at the “traditional large units” that cities and bigger areas have so unfortunately, we have to do it where a volunteer wears multiple hats.

    We have struggled with other limitations too and have been unable to figure out what to do about them in our district committee meetings. National should really take a look at these smaller areas and give us some insight on what to do. I can’t think for a minute that other units haven’t brought this up before but no one in our district/council seems to have an answer for how to overcome said limitations.

  10. BSA may want to check its registration system. The pack I support as a commissioner successfully rechartered their assistant cubmaster both as an assistant cubmaster and as a den leader. When I pull their adult leader roster in my.Scouting, he shows as registered in both positions in the same pack under the same BSA member ID number. Is this a glitch in the registration system, or in Internet Rechartering, or both?

    • Volunteering for BSA is much easier than many other organizations. At my son’s elementary school (public school) a parent has to take a tuberculosis test at their doctor and get a fingerprint background check by the Sheriff’s Department (both at their own expense) before they can volunteer in their kid’s classroom to help the teacher. At our church, they also require the fingerprint background check. Many sports leagues (Little League, AYSO, and others) are now starting to require something similar in order to volunteer.

      Taking YPT online & submitting the adult application? Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

    • Oh, but the change in membership rules was to be the salvation to all our volunteer problems.

        • The issue raised in this discussion existed well before the recent membership criteria debate and clarification, and I am sure will exist well beyond our Scouting tenures. No need to grind your axe on every stone you can find.

  11. I’m a Den leader for my younger Son in the Pack, I’m on the Troop Committee where my older Son is a Scout and I act as the C.O.R for both because I care and I do it for the boys. Sure sometimes it gets a little busy but but I wouldn’t do it if I couldn’t handle it….

  12. MOST, but not all, units would fail if this was a “true” statement. I know many individuals that HAVE to be in multiple roles to make the Pack/Troop run, and most do a GREAT job! I think if they “Counsel” and “above” would monitor this and then volunteer for the slots that are vacant, there would be A LOT more “volunteers”! The rule is in place so that INDIVIDUALS do not get burned out, but for that “hour only per week” they have to multiply it by the roles they are responsible for, the training for each role and any extra curricular activities planned; all the responsibilities for those. It is very unfair that the Unit Leader’s have to be “taken” advantage of if the parents opt not to “volunteer”!

  13. That’s great “guidance”. Perhaps it works on theory. Ask SMs and CCs how it really works. You do what is necessary to deliver the program.

  14. What works on paper sometimes does not work in practice. I welcome adults and parents but I do what I need to do to make the troop move forward.

  15. The only exceptions are for the head of the chartering organization, known as the Institutional Head (IH), and the Chartered Organization Representative (COR). Either of these individuals may register in one other position within the unit.

    Bryan – just for clarification – A COR can be the Scoutmaster of a troop, correct?

    If so, then I was mis-informed. My understanding was the COR COULD NOT be the Scoutmaster.

    • Yes Bryan – Please clarify.
      Per our Council registrar, we’ve received the same guidance – That a COR can only multiple as a CC or an MC – Nothing else!

      Since an IH is technically not an actual registered (paid) position (No YPT, no CBC), I can see where they could fill out and submit an application to be anything they wanted.

      Is this correct???

      • Both the IH and CR (COR) positions may each serve in a dual registered position. As an example the IH could also be registered as the SM and the CR could also be registered as the CC. Four key positions held by two people, certainly not ideal but allowed. As stated above the CR could be dual registered as either CC or MC, but not in any of the program leadership roles, meaning unit leader or assistant, den leader or assistant, etc.

      • Rick – That was the guidance I have been given – I can only serve as COR of the pack and troop..but I can’t be SM… It would be great if Bryan could reply to our comments and confirm based on the statement in his article…

  16. Also, you have to remember that when registering in a unit, there are only a certain amount of “official” positions.

    For example, looking at the adult application for a Troop level, you see the Chartered Org Rep and Institutional Head, Committee Chair, Scoutmaster, Committee Member and Assistant Scoutmaster.
    Anything else is a Troop defined position, so nothing stops the SM from maintaining the website, the Committee Member from being the treasurer or coordinating activities and so forth.
    You really need only 5 or 6 – The COR & IH (which can be the same person), the CC, 2 (I believe) other CM and a SM to register a Troop.

  17. This maybe true that a ASM may not registered in two positions, but this does not prevent the ASM from attending committee meetings, and assisting the committee with projects. In some troops, an ASM takes over logistics for each campout. There is nothing that I am aware of that says this is an issue.

  18. We have a small troop and crew and my father is the scoutmaster for the troop and we only have 3 active adults. Over the last few years he has acquired several jobs within the troop and has 6 jobs in the troop commitee as well as being advisor for the crew. We have 3 meetings per week. He has been told by people at our council office that he can’t do all his positions but we don’t have enough leaders and our district executive has told him that he can since he’s “willing” to do the work. We understand the one position per person rule but sometimes that isn’t an option for a lot of troops so they shouldn’t be told that they can’t do it when that’s their only option.

    • I commend your father for doing all of this for the scouts. I too wear multiple hats for the troop and pack. On one hand, people say you will burn out. But when you love what you do and are passionate about it, isn’t that what everyone needs to find for themselves. Find out what you are passionate about and go and do it.

  19. The reality for small units is that everyone on board is doing more than one job. We have a small pack (20-25 scouts from tiger thru Webelos). Throw in that some of the scouts are siblings and some are from single parent families and that doesn’t provide a lot of adults to go around. I’d much rather have five or six parents willing to commit the time to do what needs to be done than have a dozen parents, some of whom are always dropping the ball and can’t be counted on anyway. It’s the Pareto principle where 20% of the people do 80% of the work. I have not seen much burn out among our volunteers, but we are experiencing the succession vacuum: two families aging out and two families moving removes five of leaders for next year.
    Assistant Cubmaster, Webelos Den Leader, Committe Member (all unofficial) and Pack Trainer (official)

  20. So, when the “committee” votes on an issue (let’s say funding a Scout to go to NAYLE), does that mean the SM and ASM’s have no vote?

    • Yes, that is exactly what is SHOULD mean. The way I have always seen it is that the BSA model is a purposely hierarchical organization. In order for a LOT of good things to happen, there has to be fairly sharp distinctions between each level. Within the local unit:

      Top Level: The Sponsored Org, who provides accommodations and resources and approves everyone through the SOR, who is a de facto member of the PC/TC.

      Second Level: The Committee, who runs major decisions through the higher level via the SOR. Led by the CC who retains responsibility for assuring that required actions (recharter, for example) are accomplished; populated by involved, registered, parents to fill various defined and informal positions within the Committee.

      Third Level: SM and ASMs are approved by and work for and regularly report (via the SM/CM) to the PC/TC, as chaired by the CC.

      I am no expert, but I strongly believe that the collective wisdom of 100+ years of Scouting has proven that the separation of the three levels is important to guarantee the integrity of responsibility, oversight, and accountability via subtle but effective checks-and-balances.

      When the District or Council needs to communicate with individual units, the ideal situation would be to contact the CC for information dissemination or compliance, except when there are extraordinary discipline or conduct issues requiring intervention of professional staff.

      That is why, even in units where recruiting adults is like birthing babies, expending the energy to engage ALL parents of your Scouts with authentic, caring, relationship-building contact (one-on-one, face-to-face) on a regular basis is the only way to recruit and retain adult volunteers, populate an effective committee, and nurture and train SMs and ASMs. (BTW, parent relationship building is hardly the sole responsibility of the SM/ASM. That’s what all those CMs are for!)

      BSA is built like the finest Swiss watch: every part plays a critical part in the overall operation and superb functioning of the whole.

      That’s my 2 cents worth, FWIW. (BTW, whatever happened to the “cents” symbol on the old typewriter keyboards? Its gone!)

  21. While it is true that the reality of most units, especially Cubs, is that most folks where multiple hats where it becomes a real problem is with Troops. I mean no registered ASM or SM is supposed to sit on a BOR. Most troops draw from their committees to fill these slots. So what if an ASM is also CC or holds a committee position. Like treasurer or advancement for example.
    Is the rule just neglected?

  22. What a great discussion topic. I can understand BSAs rational, but as has been previously stated, the reality is that in many units we have no other options. By not allowing individuals to register as holding multiple positions, then that fact becomes “hidden'” better to have it obvious so that the district and council support can work on correcting the problem.

  23. Doesn’t it depend on the position? I am COR for a Troop and the Pack. But I am also a Committee Member in the Pack (remember minimum is two Committee Members). I think the key is there are two “tracks” (I don’t know what they are officially called) one is Leadership and the other is Admin (again that’s how I reference them, again don’t know their official names). What you can’t do is officially register as both Leadership and Admin in the same unit. Can you function as more than one track? Of course. I am also Cubmaster of a different Pack and ASM of it’s Troop (the Troop where I earned my Eagle). I also function as ASM of the Troop where I am COR (where my son is a Boy Scout), but don’t have to do that much since there are 60 boys, and we have 19 ASMs (one ASM becomes SM serves for two years and goes back to ASM – half of the ASMs are former SMs).

    I am also on the District Committee. So I am also aware of a lot of “paper” positions. This is where the adult does mostly nothing but “lend” his or her name and is willing to do the YPT. This is to complete the Charter, nothing more. The BSA YPT is also accepted by other youth organizations. The Crew Adviser of my daughter’s Crew makes everyone take the Venture YPT, even the youth.

    So, if you need to be on the committee to fill the required two, change your registration but not the patch on your uniform. I’ve got my position patch Velcroed so I change as appropriate for what I am doing.

  24. Does the one position per perso rule also apply to youth? Our large Troop often has Scouts in more than one position, particularly doubling up on the hard to fill Bugler position?

    • Not a problem. For a while our troop was one patrol. There were more positions than boys to fill them. For advancement purposes, each boy recorded a specific POR, but we maintained a working understanding that if there’s a job to be done, don’t let the patch on your sleeve stop you. Those boys who were doing multiple jobs never worried about getting the additional patch, but we wouldn’t have grudges them it if they had asked.

  25. Yet BSA “encourages us” to have unit, district, and council positions when it suits them. A bit of a double standard. As I get more grey hair, the more I see the huge divide between the unit level Scouters and the Professionals. The Professionals look only at the ledger sheets, Money & Members.

    We need Scouters from the unit level to have more say in what happens to our BSA.

    • The Professionals generally MUST look at numbers because us Volunteers generally shy away from that. If no-one does, then we die. Let’s give Professionals the respect they deserve for doing the hardest parts of the job of making Scouting happen.

      • Richard:

        I respectfully disagree with you on two counts. First, many of us are more than willing to look at the numbers, but we usually only hear/see when the fundraising is short. Second, the hardest part is not only volunteering, but paying to volunteer! I do not know many organizations (but someone will correct me on this), that I not only have to take two weeks of my time off, but then pay $800 to staff the Jamboree, instead of spending it with your family.

        Just my $.02

  26. I started one year as the Chair, Treasurer, Cubmaster, and leader of three Dens.

    I also funded the Pack for two years.

    I was told by the DE that you cannot do that.

    I told the DE that “until we do fall recruiting and have people to fill the positions, then there are two choices. I do it all, or a Pack that has been around for 50 years will die. I will not let that happen on my watch.”

    The Pack is healthy today, eight years later. We have now changed our Charter Organization and have attached ourselves to a new Troop.

    The Troop was an offshoot from another Troop. Their original Scouts were Eagaling out with few new members. It took some effort, but I finally convinced them that they needed a feeder Pack and I needed permanent help.

    We have now had more Cubs advance that the number of Scouts they started with.

    It was a tough time. But in this case, if I and others had not broke the rules, then there would have been a Pack and a Troop that failed.

    Let’s face it, this is a Volunteer organization. In theory we should be getting support from our Districts and Council. But in reality, we as Volunteers know more about our Scouts, our Units and sometimes even our Districts than the New DE’s that we have to train.

    It is the Volunteers that run Scouting on a daily basis. We live in the Real World and do what we do because we have been ‘touched’ and ‘believe’ in the program.

    We dedicate our free time and our own money to make it work to the best of what National dictates with what little we have to do it.

    The reality is, sometimes, in order to get the program to the most boys as possible and to the boys that need it most. We as Volunteers have take the Spirt of the program and break the Rules in order to not let Packs or Troops fail. Because if the Units fail, the boys are lost. And we have all failed.

    So when this issue comes up, almost every Unit will opt to put a registered (but not doing the job) person in place in order to “fill” the position. But the reality is that in small Units, it is a handful of dedicated people that fill multiple positions, regardless of the rules.

    After reading this and seeing confirmation that this is going on nationwide. It is apparent that this is not a District or Council problem. This is a National issue.

    • By the end of my oldest son’s Tiger year I was the only den leader still with our pack, the Cubmaster disappeared in NOVEMBER and the Bear and Webelo leaders vanished through the year and the Wolf leader moved at the end of the year, I think we had maybe 7 cubs. The starting out the next year is was just me, a Webelo leader and the Committee chairman. Yeah, we filled a lot of rolls. Currently, I’m Cubmaster, Webelo II leader (my oldest son’s den), Bear leader (my 2nd son’s den), and failing as committee secretary (something had to give), but we have 4 den leaders for five dens, both our Webelo dens have official assistants (my Bears do a lot of shared leadership as well), we have an assistant Cubmaster as well. Our committee meeting are regularly attended by 6 adults and we serve 30 scouts from two schools–half of which didn’t fit well in the pack at their school–and their siblings. We want a few more adults to take the plunge in official positions, but we have a great program here that so many of these boys would have missed out on scouting altogether because we didn’t have enough adults.
      It’s not a long-term solution, but sometimes you do what you have to do to get through a few lean years.

  27. “The Work Is Done By Whoever Shows Up”. Such is the slogan of the volunteer organization, whether church, social club , service club or Scout Unit.
    Small units have the best experience of this adage. Even large units can be at the mercy of what I call “The Soccer Syndrome”. Parents that ,for whatever reason, want their child to have the advantage of Scouting ; so they drop’em off at the church for the meeting, or Saturday morning for the hike, and come back in – ? – hours to pick’em up. “I wouldn’t make a good Scout Leader, you men do it so well.” “I never had the Scout experience, I wouldn’t know what to do”. (unconsciously to themselves: “I’m glad to get rid of the little ____ for a while. He cramps my style”). This is not to disparage the single parent who has little time to spare.
    How to convince them that they DO have a contribution to make. That the training will help, that it is important that they show the interest in their child’s time and efforts. All too often I have seen the proof of the idea that if one does not have a connection with their child by the time they are 12, you will not have any connection when they are 15.
    Waiting for the parent to volunteer may not yield the desired response. I have a button I was given when I worked at Safeway going thru college. It reads “HELP STAMP OUT NOBODY ASKED ME” , the intention being that any Safeway employee should never let a customer go by without asking if they needed any help. Same thing here. Make it personal, talk to the parent, the grandparent. . Invite them out for a cuppa, to Roundtable (you do attend the District Roundtable, yes?).
    Congrats to all you Scout folk out there , giving the youth the opportunity to excel and be responsible citizens by living the Scout Life .
    See you on the trail.

  28. I am a ACC for our Council, server on our local District Staff, CC for two different types of units (in different Districts) Along with being a DC for a neighboring Council for another Unit that I work with at the same time. I am also over all the LDS units in our Stake which is in a Rural area.

    We have a lot of small units where you can be creative in putting on a program for your kids. Now there are times when you might want to team up with another unit and share responsibilities where you keep a separate charter for each unit but you have some of the same leaders in both units dual enrolled. For example you have the same person as the Cubmaster or Den Leader that serve and charter for each unit. Each unit meets together and help each outher out.

    Here are the requirements to be able to Charter any type of Unit in Scouting.

    For each type of Unit to charter you need the following minimums:

    For non-LDS units you need at least 5 boys to charter a unit
    For LDS units you need at least 2 boys to charter a unit

    Requirements for Pack Registration.
    Packs must have: IH, CR, CC, two MCs , or one MC and one PT, CM, and one
    den leader who may be a Tiger Cub den leader, or a Cub Scout den leader, or
    a Webelos den leader.

    There must be an AP registered with each Tiger Cub. This person does not pay a fee in this position or fill out an application if they are the parent of the Tiger Cub. If they are not the parent, an application must be filled out for this person.

    Requirements for Troop Registration.
    Troops must have: IH, CR, CC, two MCs, SM.

    Requirements for Crew Registration.
    Crews must have: IH, CR, CC, two MCs, NL.

    Requirements for Ship Registration.
    Ships must have: IH, CR, CC, two MCs, SK.

    The above are the minimum requirements to register a unit. Which will also require YPT for every Adult Leader to be able to Charter the Unit

    The only position that may register in more than one position in the same unit is
    the CR (who may also be the CC or an MC) and the PC (who may multiple
    as a CR).

    There is one more position that can also hold another position in the same unit is the IH (who a lot of the time serves on the Committee) since being the IH you are not counted for any service years in Scouting. This is why you might want to have your IH also server as one of your required Committee members.

    Legend: Leader Code – Full Name – Min Age

    CR Chartered organization representative (21)
    CC Committee chairman (21)
    MC Committee member (21)
    TL Tiger Cub den leader (21)
    CM Cubmaster (21)
    CA Assistant Cubmaster (18)
    WL Webelos den leader (21)
    WA Assistant Webelos den leader (18)
    DL Den leader (21)
    DA Assistant den leader (18)
    PT Pack trainer (21)
    AP Tiger Cub adult (18)
    SM Scoutmaster (21)
    SA Assistant Scoutmaster (18)
    VC Varsity Scout Coach (21)
    VA Assistant Varsity Scout Coach (18)
    NL Crew Advisor (21)
    NA Crew Associate Advisor (21)
    SK Ship Skipper (21)
    MT Mate (21)
    PC Parent coordinator (21)
    IH Institutional Head (21)

    YPT Youth Protection Training That matches the type of Unit you are a leader in for example. Venture Leaders – requires Venture YPT all other type of Leaders requires the normal YPT. If you are dual Leader in a Venture and a Scout/Cub Unit you MUST complete both.

    Now this does not stop you from being chartered as a Leader in multiple Units or Councils.

    • Richard, excellent post with details on registration especially minimum ages.

      If any Unit has to resort to multiple registrations, this should be the IMMEDIATE SIGN they need to recruit more adults and spread those responsibilities equally, one per person.

  29. in reality you cannot get enough volunteers to help. I have served in multiple roles in a troop, as ASM , Committee Member, and Training Coordinator all at the time. You do what needs to be done to make the troop work. I been involved in two troops, one that utilized it’s volunteer in many roles and one that will not allow volunteers to have more than one role, take a guess which troop worked better?? The troop that allowed multiple roles advance scouts and had strong program. The that strictly enforced the rules has few volunteers and has a very weak program with hardly any volunteers. My son advanced through Star in two years with the strong troop and was very happy, he has advanced one rank in two years and is quickly losing interest. A troop needs to do the best for the scout,not the rules.

  30. Good point, but some people would like to serve in a several levels. I understand the intent, but if someone wants to do more than one position and is filing a need and doing it well, I don’t think it should be restricted.

  31. But I thought that when we changed he membership rules for adult leaders, all our financial and volunteer staffing issues would be resolved! That is what I was told. NOT!

  32. Ideally, trying to keep TCOM and SM/ASM roles unique and within the guidelines of the BSA documentation, is the best approach, if you can…

    As a previous Scoutmaster of a large Troop (80-85 boys), this approach worked well for us. We had a strong “youth-led” program at the time. I understand that in smaller units this may be more difficult, but in larger Troops, I’d recommend it as a “best practice”. We worked to get our ASM Corps built (25 Trained ASMs) and it wasn’t easy, but we did it.

    This also gets back to BSA’s “direct contact” training and ideal. TCOM (per the BSA documentation) should interact within Boards of Review…etc, but the SM/ASMs interact as “direct contact”. Some units I know of have had this methodology in the past and they ran well, but when this “blending of adult roles” happened, they also became more “adult led” over time.

    The 2 separate channels also allow the youth to communicate to 2 “unique role” groups of adults. Either in reviews or discussions, or even to raise concerns or questions. If these get “blended”, then do we truly offer the appropriate channels for the youth to do these things? I believe these unique communication channels are important to the quality of the experiences and the program for the youth.

    Maybe, BSA’s limitations are in place to “force” the right thing to happen, and this “blending” of roles should not occur?

    Now, as a Commissioner, I see other units who have approached this as I stated above – they are “strong youth-led” programs, with 2 separate channels/roles in the adults, for the youth to communicate and work with. I have also seen other units that have “blended” the roles (and lines of communication as well), and some have become much more “adult-led” (or fully “adult-led”) over time.

    Is there a direct correlation I can conclusively state – NO. Is there some observation to be made here – MAYBE, as it appears that having these as 2 unique roles helps…

    Remember, the program is her for the youth, about the youth, and we, as adults are here to support the SPL and the PLC – as they run the Troop…

    • I agree that certain roles are incompatible, especially at the Boy Scout level, but the same can’t be said at the Cub Level where adult leadership is more intensive. The rule needs to adjusted and changed with all these factors in mind. The rules should be broad enough to account for the practicalities of the range of how successful units are actually being run, rather than trying to bind units to a theoretical ideal that will only be attained by a minority of units. See my post how it negatively affects adult recognition and actually does not achieve its stated goals.

  33. Frankly, this rule is unrealistic for every unit I’ve seen or participated in and needs to be adjusted. This rule has zero effect on encouraging adults to volunteer, and only makes existing leaders seek more help (which we all do anyways). In fact this rule prevents adult recognition for all they do (i.e. knots) for a single unit. Trust me when I say no one is taking on an additional job just to get another knot, but that doesn’t mean that the knots aren’t deserved either. The logic also fails in that somehow a volunteer isn’t spreading himself or herself thin is they have separate positions with multiple units snd/or with District/Council too, but somehow they are if they decide to devote that same effort to a single unit? Ridiculous, especially when most units are unable to fill all their registered positions, regardless of size; change the rule!

  34. So after reading this I have a bit of a better understanding of the topic but was confused about something It’s no one person should serve two positions in one unit, but does this mean that technically that One Person could have one position with one pack say Cubmaster and Den Leader in a different pack? I’m sorry if this has already answered in the comments, but I didn’t see it.

  35. Another example of National and the paid side of our organization being out of touch with what is going on at the unit level

  36. So, I just want to clarify …

    I am a young Webelos Den Leader, and I have been having a WONDERFUL time working with my little Den of just 3 boys. They love Cub Scouts, they receive awards every month, their parents are involved – it’s thriving.But as I watch my group advance and win awards, I also look ahead to the Troop they will all be entering next year, and it is in a real state. As in, a bad one.

    I was asked to serve in this position because of my professional experience working with children and teenagers, and I have no children of my own yet. I am an Eagle Scout and at 32 I am still single so I have plenty of time to devote to the program. But while my group is in top form, the Troop where my Webelos are all heading is unorganized, adult-led, and revolves around poorly-planned campouts instead of advancement and character development. So, I want to join the Troop committee so that hopefully I can help get the unit in good order for when my Webelos advance into the Scouting program. I have a vested interest in the future of these three Webelos (and those that will join in the fall), and I want them to go into a quality program that will support them as they advance while following the basic Scouting methods.

    So I ask: is it allowed for me to be registered as a Den Leader AND a Committee Member? I would assume so since it has been clarified that they are different UNITS, but I just want to be sure. And then I have to find a diplomatic way to express my desire to join the committee because I want to, er, tidy things up. I don’t even know where to begin with THAT issue. Their patrols are run by the Scoutmaster, and only barely at that, while their boys have been BEGGING him to ‘give them time’ to choose a patrol name and buy them the patches, which he has now procrastinated for, oh, 4 months now. My den meets in the same building at the same time, so I often look in to see how things are going, and they are not going well. They see our Den with our flag and our yell and patches and as me “why don’t Boy Scouts get to have those?” With that sad question burning in my mind, may I, and how do I, get myself on the Troop committee so that I can help out somehow?

    Thank you for reading this rather long first comment!

  37. For the record, Webelos dens are strongly encouraged to visit multiple boy scout troops in fourth and fifth grade so that they know which one they want to join. If that’s just not an option in your area, then there are some different options, all the way up to forming a new troop. There have been several threads about these topics on scouter dot com, so I would suggest that you read some of those to get ideas on how best to proceed.

  38. For the boys in my Den, none of those options are possible. We work through a religious charter, and the boys in my Den automatically proceed to the Troop from our same religious congregation. SO finding another Troop is not an option; I need to figure out instead how to help the Troop that they will be going to no matter how bad it is.

    • To your original point. Yes you can do both. I would caution you that a role on a committee would be little more than providing “nudges” in certain directions.

      Having a heart-to-heart (maybe over coffee) with the troop’s SM about what you’ve seen in the crossovers already and what you really liked when you were a scout will get this troop further down the road you feel it needs to go.

      Depending on the quality of the coffee, this might get you invited to more meetings and activities. And give you opportunities to point out where things are going well vs. where things could be better.

    • There should be no problem with either COR or UC sitting on a BoR.

      But my observation: the most chronic friction among scouters occurs when UCs hold positions in the same troop which they are commissioning. However, those problems usually don’t trickle down to unwarranted behavior during boards of review.

      So, if this is a problem, consider that it is an interpersonal problem that can only be fixed by grace and humilty. Re-shuffling positions won’t get you vary far.

  39. Well then it sounds like the system is broken because on our charter we have several people listed as registered to more than one position. Small unit or not it is hard to get volunteers sometimes and the positions have to be covered. It does make it cumbersome sometimes but those of us who do it, do it for the kids. I love my scouts like they were my own children and they feel the same way. I am introduced as a boys scout mom a lot. Their parents love that I am as invested in their children as they are.

  40. I am a Scoutmaster of a large troop (130) that has been in existence for 60+ years, and had it’s share of ups and downs in registered scouts. The adult positions that get logged in the BSA’s computers matters not to me. Here is my interpretation, and you can decide if it’s agreeing or not with the BSA policy…

    The first BSA training class for adults is called “Scoutmaster Specific Training,” followed by “Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills.” Neither of those classes train committee members. An adult who has completed them, is an ASM, and will always be an ASM, and useful to our program at a campout or weekly meeting, in that capacity.

    Beyond that, trained ASMs and untrained adults can be recruited to committee positions, and even register with the BSA in a committee position. But in our troop, any trained adult, regardless of position, is welcomed during a program or on a campout, as an ASM. That is what they were initially trained for. No one is asking them to do double duty, they just like camping, and interacting with the scouts! Why would anyone restrict that?

    Our troop’s Equipment Coordinator, a committee position, is also one of the best, most useful, and highly trained (Wood Badge Troop Guide, Wilderness First Aid) ASM’s we have. Limiting her to her committee position would be a mistake.

    My humble opinion, trust your own judgement, and do what’s right for your scouts. Every troop, pack, crew is going to be a little different, and that’s to be expected. But for all of them, it’s about the scouts, not adults and their titles.

  41. The problem is that BSA “professionals” like to dream the perfect world in scouting but it never happens, though I would like to think it could. So now you have life long scouters who know and live scouting maybe because we are scouting families with generations in here, longer than most professionals and then you get a new committee chair come in who learns from the book and thinks it is the said word. Sorry BSA but it should be left up to the UNIT to say who does what, not you. My unit has 8-10 dedicated dads as asm’s and we know what to do, but with new scouts come new parents who get trained “your way” and start telling us what is BSA law and now it upsets us. I for one an ASM and chairman of advancement and I was told I can only do one or the other now, so I am going to be like the 85 other parents now in my unit who do nothing, because you taught a dozen new parents your new way. So in the end you lost a scout adult…

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