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Roles available for adult leadership during the crossover from Cubs to Scouts BSA

Hi everyone.
I’ve been thinking about the role I will play in a little over a year as my son is currently a Webelos I heading into AOL next year. I have a really good relationship with the current Cubmaster who is going to be crossing over and heading to be Scoutmaster with his son who is AOL.

We’ve made a really good tandem over the past few years, him as Cubmaster, me as Asst. - And next year when I cross over I’m sure I will step in as Asst. Scoutmaster. Curious though what other roles there are to take on or where I can better expand my reach within the Troop/District/Council, etc.

There are a lot of roles that can be taken on, depending on your skill set and available time. One of the best resources I have found for information like this is reaching out to the district commissioner for more information about what kind of help the district needs. If you’ve already selected a troop, you can reach out to the SM or CC for similar information.

In the unit, there are ASMs and committee members, with the former generally being direct-contact leaders working with the youth and the latter mostly conducting behind-the-scenes support activity. Some units have specific adult roles which advise particular youth roles (e.g. ASMs assigned to advise patrol leaders or an MC assigned to coordinate with the youth quartermaster on gear maintenance and replacement).

At the district level, you could volunteer for a committee/commissioner role (e.g. unit commissioner, member of a district committee or subcommittee). At the council level, you could volunteer as a merit badge counselor. Once you have more experience, you might volunteer as a course instructor for adult leader training courses.

The key thing to keep in mind for those of us who cross over from adult leadership in a pack to adult leadership in a troop, crew or ship is that adult leadership roles are very different in the pack than in any of the other programs. In the pack, the adults are responsible for day-to-day planning and execution of the program. In a troop/crew/ship, it is the youth (scouts/venturers) who are responsible for planning and executing the program, generally with advice from the unit leader (SM/crew adviser/skipper), whose role is primarily advisory (similar to a driving instructor, who has a brake pedal, but no steering wheel). The youth do the driving for the most part, and we’re there to offer advice and, if necessary, pump the brakes when something goes sideways.

If you’ve never served in a troop as an adult leader, the fastest way to get a sense of the intended roles is to take the online scoutmaster or troop committee training. The hardest thing for most of us who served at the pack level to do as we transition to a troop or other role is to resist the urge to grab the reins from the scouts whenever things aren’t going the way we would do it, particularly when it looks like nothing is getting done, or at least not “efficiently”. That’s part of the process, and leaves more of your attention available for youth mentoring and watching for imminent “crashes” that might need intervention.


Speaking as a District Chair (and Cubmaster), I can say that one of our greatest needs across the country, is for experienced leaders who can step up to help Pack leaders across the district.

This especially includes:

  • Unit Commissioners for Packs
  • Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioners
  • District Membership Committee Members - To help with District and Pack recruiting events, training/supporting New Member Coordinators, and facilitating AOL-Scout transitions

Anyone who has served as a Den Leader or Committee Member for a few years would be great in these roles. We don’t just need former CMs and CCs (or ACMs ;). And as Charley noted, adult roles in the troop are often less onerous (if all is going well), so former Pack leaders who are willing to use their knowledge and experience to help, can be a great asset for Cub Scouting across the district. Helping those up-and-coming Cub Scout leaders is a way to have a huge impact as a volunteer.


So Much This! Remember, the Scouts BSA counterpart to the Cubmaster is the Senior Patrol Leader, not the Scoutmaster!


I am not aware of any district whose district committee has too many active members or whose commissioner corps has too many active commissioners. You can support your child’s troop as an ASM and also serve scouts in other units through the district committee or district commissioner corps. Check with your unit commissioner for a first contact if you need one. If you don’t already know who your unit commissioner is, then your district commissioner corps needs help.

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My scout crosses into his troop in 6 weeks. He decided during his Webelos 1 year at the troop sponsored event that he wanted to join the local troop. I have had several roles in the pack, from Advancement chair, Outdoor Activities Chair to my current role as ACM. When we met with the SM at the event I asked what could I do. His advise? Take all the online training you can! So I did. I have taken the SM/ASM training. I even took the weekend long IOLS training. I have taken the CC and committee member training. The Unit Chaplain training. Merit Badge Counselor training. District Commissioner training. Just take it all. I have even taken the SPL and PL trainings to better understand their roles. I will be stepping into the role as the Committee Chair with a uniform that displays my trained patch with pride. Get to know how a troop works from every aspect and the transition should be easy. Good luck!

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I also have taken all of the online trading except commissioner. That is quite a time commitment. As an online trading nerd, I salute you!

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@SageLichtenwalner put wonderful opportunities on this list. I personally went from cubs to being a commissioner. There is a need for leaders who are fresh out of packs. Commissioners tend to be the oldest folks in the room. While their experience is invaluable. The fresh perspective on webelos transition and pack needs is as well.

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In my going on 26 yrs in my council,in various positions from unit (ASM to Committee)to council, district(OA Chapter Advisor conducting Camporee’s / Weboree’s and other events) and council( Various OA advisor positions),I have been in the capacity of OA advisor positions Predominately But my advise coming over from a Cub leader to a Scout unit, is get your feet wet in the Scout environment first either as an ASM or Committee member, but more importantly as an MB counselor, You have experience at work an hobbies in the PVT sector that can be used as a Merit badge counselor. as you get experience in the unit thn you can step up in other capacities.When I initially joined my uni, It had a registered boys of about 35 but over the years grew to the largest unit in the council of oveer double that. we also had an active ASM of 40 and committee of 25. That was one of the requirements of the scout being in the troop, at least one parent had to be active in the troop. We were a very well run troop, I have downsized to a smaller unit now by choice. but am trying to offer the experience I gained. The old troop had a min or 1-2 adult patrol advisors in ASM’s and other ASM duties on outings planning and executing it all ASM’s. 2 were given to run the camping trip down to all paperwork needing to be submitted the various agencies to the Parent consent slip that the drivers had in the vehicle so if the scout was hurt during travel the driver had full authority to act for the scouts safety. We let the SPL and ASPL run each meeting and we ran PLC’s monthly, and annual troop[ planning meetings at a parents home with a swim party or BBQ during So get your feet wet then decide if you want to let you scout fly by the seat of his pants with you in a district or council position later. I’m not saying those positions are not necessary, but Unit commissioner to District commissioner is too early, this new parent is more interested that his new scout will make Eagle Scout than being commissioner. I never had kids and do scouting for my love of scouting.I am a 1958 Eagle Scout and may retire from scouts at age 80, Maybe? My health is excellent so scouting IS My Hobby.

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