You can’t turn it off

Being a Scoutmaster is a great privilege, and one that I do not take lightly.
At a recent Scoutmaster/Assistant Scoutmaster training event I was talking with a group of soon to be Scoutmasters and ASMs. We were talking about our roles as they apply to activities out side of Scouting.
I strongly believe that you are a Scoutmaster 24/7. We that have accepted this role need to understand that we can not turn it on and off.
When we are at the Store we are still a Scoutmaster, I am always running in to Scouts of my Troop and their parents at local stores. I need to be aware of what I doing.
At the Friday night football games, I can’t be that obnoxious Dad, yelling and screaming at the Ref. I need to set an example of good citizenship all the time. This takes work, but more importantly it takes a willingness to do my best to live the Scout Oath and Law daily. And I need to be honest, it’s tough.
I knew a Scoutmaster that was arrested for DUI. As much as the Scoutmaster tried to keep it quiet, word got around and soon the Scoutmaster was finished. He had lost credibility within his Troop and among friends. He preached to the boys that Drinking in excess is wrong and worse yet, driving while under the influence is not only a crime, but it is plain dumb.
So now the Scoutmaster has violated not only the law, but committed the worst crime, he set a terrible example.

We all try, and try hard to live the Oath and Law and set an example of good Citizenship. I share with the Scouts of the Troop opportunities to demonstrate citizenship. We talk about voting, especially when the occasion of a vote comes up. We discuss special government days, like Flag day, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day. We show the Scouts an example of good Character. They see me in Church, at civic events, and going about my daily life. Often invited to School concerts and events, I try to be there for the Scouts, and when they need my help, a letter of recommendation, or just someone to talk to, they get it, because they know that my character will not let them down.
The Scouts see a demonstration of fitness, both physical and mental (emotional). I am able to run with them and hike with them. I act on and make rational decisions. They know I enjoy a beer every now and then, and many of them have seen me enjoy a nice cold beer (not on Scout time). But they know that I never drink it in excess and that I am responsible with it.
The Scouts of my troop see me having fun with life. And that is a great example to set.

We can not turn off the fact that we are Scoutmasters, Scout leaders, and Assistants. It is a part of our lives and a very good part of our lives. It is the part that makes us better, but more important it makes everyone around us better. It impacts the lives of young men and for that we are blessed.

Have a Great Scouting Day!


  1. I couldn’t agree more. You cannot be ‘reckless’ in the world outside of a meeting or activity just as you cannot when you have your Scouting ‘hat’ on. Parents trust us with the care of their children and expect us to be responsible as Leaders, especially when some of the children can be as young as 6 (well over here anyway). If we lose that trust then we lose the kids and therefore the Troop etc.We can have fun, be silly and have a laugh, but we have to remember the image we project and the trust that is upon us.


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