Tag Archives: Troop Committee

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!


A Time To Reflect, A Time To Refocus

2011 is in the books.  All in all, I’d say it was a good year.  It had it’s ups and downs, but on the whole I’d say it was a good one.  As we pass into this new year, I’d like to take some time and reflect on some Scouting things, and also look ahead at what’s to come.

A Time To Reflect:

First off, 2011 was my first attempt at blogging.  The 100 Days of Scouting thing got me into this whole blogging / twitter-ing stuff.  I have made many contacts and friends through these technologies, and for that I am most grateful.  Some of the ideas, information and suggestions I have gotten over the last year have greatly helped not only myself, but my unit, my District and my Council.  It’s like we’re one big Roundtable sometimes, isn’t it?

Secondly, there was the #CSPSwap.  I have a whole bunch of awesome CSP patches from all over the country now, and I hope that we can do it again sometime this year!  On a side note, I know that I owe a few of you folks some CSP’s still.  I haven’t forgotten who I owe patches to, and I will still get them to you – sooner than later I hope.

Our unit is currently in the process of recharter.  I’m not sure how we’ll pan out for the Journey To Excellence, but I think we’ll score high enough to at least get Bronze, if not Silver.  We look good on paper – but in practice I feel we have a long way to go.  This last year, I learned quite a bit about how a boy-led Troop is supposed to work.  For the past 6+ years, I have held too tightly to the reigns of the Troop (including planning, decisions and just about ever facet).  I’m learning to let go, let mistakes happen, let learning begin.  Training the boys isn’t about standing up in front of the Scouts and droning on and on about something.  It’s about letting them figure out what resources they need to learn a skill, and how to procure those resources.  It’s about asking the right questions.  Questions that lead them to discover the answers for themselves.
I have to admit – this is the toughest thing I’ve done this year.  And it’s caused a little bit of strife with some of the adult leadership.  Some feel there needs to be more adult-provided structure.  Maybe they are right.  I just don’t know, and we’ll have to see how things go.

I became one of the Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioners for our District.   I took my training, and am still learning and trying to come up with ways to make Roundtables something people want to attend.  It’s not easy.  And – it’s not my top priority.  Being Scoutmaster trumps being Roundtable Commissioner and I feel that at times, the Roundtable programming suffers for it.  It’s about finding a balance, and I’m still working on it.

Speaking of our District – our Council re-organized our Districts from 8 down to 2 very large Districts.  They had a contest to re-name each District – any the name I submitted was selected for my District!  We’re now part of the Northern Trails District of the Voyageurs Area Council, and I had a little something to do with the name.  Way cool, huh?

A Time To Refocus:

A new  year brings new opportunities.  Here are a few of the things I’m looking forward to so far in 2012:

We just held Troop elections – which means we have some new leaders and some returning leaders.  I’m looking forward to being able to train them using the new ILST.  It looks promising, and I hope to be able to use as much of it as I can to help these young men understand and start down their journey to becoming leaders.  It’s as much a learning process for me as it is for the Scouts.

We have a pretty good group of Webelos 2’s (or, should I say Arrow of Light Scouts?) possibly crossing over in late February or early March.  We could sure use a good influx of Scouts and just as importantly – new adults.  Our Committee is very, very thin right now and we need some people to step up and fill some important positions.  Hopefully we can get it all worked out and our Committee can, dare I say, start to do what a Troop Committee should do.

Summer Camp.  The possibility exists that a brand-new Troop in our area is going to piggyback with us to summer camp this year.  Our first year, we piggybacked with another local Troop to help us figure out the whole camp thing.  Time to pay it back – and to make it even better – their Scoutmaster and I used to be in the same Troop years ago!  I’m really looking forward to helping them down the right path so they can be a strong, boy-led Troop as well!

Blogging – I hope that I can blog more consistently this year.  Not sure I’ll do the 100 Days of Scouting or not – depends if it happens.  I feel like I lost all my steam after it last year, and I just didn’t give the blog enough of my time.  Granted, I got pretty burnt out on Scouting at one point this last year – and that definitely affected whether or not I wanted to write about it.  So I may try to pace myself more this year and see how it goes.

I have submitted my application to be an adult leader for the 2013 National Jamboree.  Our Council hasn’t picked any adult leaders yet, so I don’t know if I’m in or not.  If I do get picked there is one thing I know I have to do:  lose weight and get in shape.  I know I can do it, and it would be a great incentive to me to get my butt off the chair and moving and eating better.  Getting healthier is one of my goals for the year, but being part of the contingent would really light a fire under me.  (So if anyone from the Jamboree Committee is reading this….*ahem*).

I could go on and on about what I’d love to see…..but when it really all boils down to it – what I really want for 2012 is for everyone in my family (and extended Scouting/church family as well) to be healthy, happy and safe.

Feel free to share your hopes/dreams (dare I say resolution).  I’d love to hear what you are most looking forward to!

Here’s to the new year!

Day 36 – Taking Care of Business

Today brought our monthly Troop Committee meeting.  This is only the second one in a row since we started having them again (another story – for another time).  Due to a boy’s basketball playoff game out of town, we were missing a few members, but we had a decent turn out (or at least enough to hold the meeting).  Our Chartered Organization Rep was there too!

I’m very happy to tell you that we were able to successfully find a way to do an FOS.  It’s a little unconventional, but it still will be in line with what FOS is about.  We (I say WE as in the Troop Committee – as Scoutmaster I don’t have a vote) also decided to fund our upcoming Base Camp trip so the Scout’s don’t have to foot the bill.  That all came from our aluminum can trailer – a product of my Wood Badge ticket!

We also talked first aid and CPR certification.  Our CC is trained, and we all want to get certified so we’re going to look into doing that soon.  Also looking into other Red Cross training that might prove useful for summer camp, as they only allow certain trained people to distribute any medications besides a parent.

Finally, we went through our Troop ‘wish list’.  We have some funds available, so we thought we’d list out what we need and want as far as equipment.  Some of it is rather important (new flagpoles) and some of it is totally what I call the ‘Scoutmaster’s Dream’.  But, we’re going to price it all out and figure out if we can get it all, or if we have to trim the fat and prioritize it all.

All in all, it was a very productive Troop Committee meeting.  I’m glad we held it, and am very happy and excited that we’re going to keep on holding them monthly.  I didn’t realize how much the Troop suffered by not holding these meetings monthly.  And here no one thought we’d have much to talk about this month…


100 Days of Scouting – Day 7

Day 7:

  • Took part in a Troop Committee meeting (more on that below)
  • Helped conduct our monthly PLC meeting.
  • Contacted the local Council to confirm the date and cost for the rental of Camp Newman for our Arctic Blast weekend.
  • Contacted our Committee Chair about providing transportation to those who need a ride to Arctic Blast.
  • Completed the online tour permit application and submitted it for approval.

Mondays are one of my busiest Scouting days, as we either have a Troop meeting or a monthly PLC meeting.  Tonight we had a PLC, but before that we had a Troop Committee Meeting that was really good.

Reader’s Digest version of the story is that there was a whole lot of rumors going around our small community about my wife and I not being very Scout-like with the Troop’s finances.  It’s all been hammered out now and we’re both still here – but the damage had already been done.  I became very apathetic towards the entire Troop for a while – not wanting to give much effort into it due to the fact that it seemed no one trusted us.  Why should I keep giving all my time and effort to their kids when they continually throw me under the bus? Needless to say, it hurt the whole program and many boys left due to the meetings being boring and unorganized.

So tonight our Committee Chair held a Troop Committee meeting for the first time in months.  It was sorely needed, and we hammered out all the necessary things.  We’ll have an Advancement Chair and Safety and Medical Coordinator for the first time ever!  Being a small unit, I’ve assumed both of those roles in the past, so I think it will take a little adjustment on my part to let go of some of this responsibility – but I’m up for the challenge!

Finally, at the PLC I discussed Troop elections.  We’ve done yearly elections the last 2 years, and I’m leaning towards elections every 6 months now instead.  What do your units do for elections?  Pros / Cons of doing it that way?  I’d appreciate your input on this one, as I’m interested to see if one way is more common than another.

Until tomorrow, where I’ll have more Cub Scout stuff to report on. . .