Troop Committee Challenges


Help WantedIn our small unit, we have a limited number of parents.  This is starting to cause a problem because some of them are just ‘too busy’ to volunteer and help the Troop out.  I’m not asking any of them to run the show (and I know, as Scoutmaster I shouldn’t be asking anyone to be on the Troop Committee – but that’s another post all together).

Recently, a few parents have decided that they no longer want to serve on the Troop Committee.  I suppose that’s OK since they’ve at least served in some capacity at one point.  There are many that have never lifted a finger, and I honestly can say I don’t expect them to any time soon.

So my ‘challenge’ (I know, I know – it shouldn’t be MY challenge – but if I don’t make it mine, it just won’t happen) is this:  how to properly fill the Troop Committee with people who WANT to be there.  We have 9 new Webelos crossing over in less than a week.  I’m hoping some of them will want to help serve the Troop in one fashion or another.  I’ve already heard that one will not, however – and I’m worried that this trend will continue with the other parents.  I hope not, but I’m nervous that’s how it’s going to play out.  I can play hard-nosed or the guilt card – but I’m not very good at either.

I’m wondering if asking non-parents from our Charted Organization if they’d want to be part of the Troop Committee?  Is that something that happens a lot?  Is it a good idea?  I’d hate to open another can of worms if I do.

Anyone have any advice on this?  Comments are more than welcome here on this one.

Thank you all in advance, and keep on Scouting!

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About MNScoutmaster

Dad, Husband and Scouter. Scoutmaster, Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioner and Cub Scout Dad. View all posts by MNScoutmaster

4 responses to “Troop Committee Challenges

  • Frank Maynard

    You’re right, it’s not your job to stock the committee – it’s the committee chair’s job.
    I work with our ScoutParents coordinator, who fortunately does most of the talking with prospective parents and has brought several parents into the committee.
    The key is to ask. Don’t throw the net out and expect the fish to swim into it. If a parent wants to help out, don’t waste a second handing him or her an adult application. Once you have them registered (and receiving Scouting magazine), you’re halfway there.
    Figure out which specific jobs on the committee need filling. Ask if they’d be interested in any of them. Don’t stop until you get a name next to a job.
    You absolutely need a good committee chair, though – someone you can work with, because he or she supports you and coordinates the committee support of the program that the boys have planned. I can tell you from experience as a committee chair that it’s a great relief to have a Scoutmaster who I get along with and who is committed to the way Scouting should be done.

  • Scoutmaster Shawn

    I meant to reply to this a couple weeks ago, but couldn’t at the time.

    It’s not your job to fill out the committee, like Frank said. It’s the CC’s job…and if they aren’t doing it effectively, then it’s time for a change.

    I recently have had the same issues…no committee involvement. Why? The parents don’t really like the CC that we have. He takes on all roles, and drops the ball on about 95% of the things that he is supposed to do. We are going into our 3rd year of our troop, but yet he only has one committee member that has a title (advancement chair) and one at-large member (both rarely make meetings). The CC is the treasurer, secretary, awards chair, and does pretty much everything, except find help. He doesn’t do a good job at any of the other roles, but he does a good job questioning what I am doing or what the boys are doing or planning the events for the troop.

    I called him out on all of it. I had enough. We had a fundraiser that did poorly sales-wise, due to his lack of advertising…things that he said he did, and we found out that he didn’t. As the conversation progressed, it came down to him or me. We agreed that it should be neither, but I made it clear that *he* needs to fill out *his* committee…not me. I gave him 5 parents who said that they would help, and he hasn’t followed up with any of them, as of today.

    What I am saying is that my CC is hurting the program, but doesn’t see that he is. Things have to change, and change soon…otherwise the troop will fail. A troop that is only being run by one person is destined to fail…

    I have a good group of parents, that won’t allow our troop to fail. But as the Scoutmaster, I can’t do it all…and up until now, I don’t. I do what my job tells me to do, and I let the boys do what they are supposed to do. When the scouts or their families are let down by those who fail them, it’s time to call that person/those people out…that has a tendency to go one of 2 ways…

    Either the family leaves, or the parents step up…that’s what I have seen happen.

  • Frank Maynard

    Shawn,
    Maybe you’ve already done this, but it sounds to me like you need to meet with your chartered organization representative and make sure he/she is aware of the situation. It’s the CR who approves all adult leadership including the committee chair.
    After talking with you, the CR should approach the committee chair and get his take on the situation. Then you should all have a meeting to try to iron things out, and include your unit commissioner as a resource person (not as a referee) to confirm the expected role of the CC and his committee members. If the CC hears it from someone other than you he may be more likely to get the message. (and I should ask: is your committee trained? Troop Committee Challenge?)
    It would be up to the CR to replace the CC if he sees fit. If that doesn’t happen, that could be a message that you need to find another unit and take that good group of parents (and Scouts) with you. If your good efforts go to waste because of a non-functional and unwilling-to-change committee, you should channel your efforts where they will do the most good. (Sounding like Ask Andy here!)

  • tony

    your in a tough situation. it is always hard to go stepping on other peoples’s toes. but for the boys you got to do what you got to do.

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