The Role of the Scoutmaster Conference
According to the Boy Scouts of America charter, the purpose of Boy Scouting is to develop in a young man the ability to do things for himself and for others, to train him in outdoor skills, and to teach him patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues. We use the methods of Scouting—including advancement, the outdoors, and adult association—to accomplish these goals. The Scoutmaster conference allows the Scoutmaster to review
- -The Scout’s growth in his understanding of Scouting’s ideals
- -How the Scout applies these ideals in his daily life and in the troop
- -The requirements of the Scout’s next rank so that he can be properly encouraged
Why does the Scoutmaster engage in this one-on-one review? The relationship between a Scout and his Scoutmaster is important for the troop’s health and for the Scout’s success. The Scoutmaster must watch the troop’s dynamics to see who is showing leadership, who is holding back, who is shy, who is working with the younger boys, who is skilled in outdoor activities, etc. Further, the Scoutmaster must watch the individual Scout to determine whether he is advancing, whether he is having fun, and whether he seems eager or uneasy.
These functions are not easily performed if a Scoutmaster delegates a Scoutmaster conference to assistants. In a boy-lead troop, the Scoutmaster does not assert his authority, but guides and counsels every Scout so that the troop can function well and serve the purposes of Boy Scouting. The Scoutmaster conference is one of the primary ways the Scoutmaster does this.
In large troops, delegating this function may be necessary, especially when large numbers of Webelos Scouts are joining the troop. In these cases, an experienced assistant Scoutmaster can fill in to conduct the Scoutmaster conference. Remember however, that this first Scoutmaster conference is vital to the new Scout’s development.
Even in a large troop, a Scoutmaster should not delegate a conference with any candidate for Star, Life, and Eagle.