Monday, January 9, 2012

The Committee

Seventh of twelve Ward Scouter training modules.

The Troop Committee has several purposes. One is to ensure that your boys’ program is well- and properly implemented – they’re the business end, supporting the Scoutmaster in delivering a quality troop program. They handle troop administration, freeing up the Scoutmaster and assistants to work with boys instead of getting buried under minutiae. Administrative and Adult Leaders exist to support youth leadership and to provide a great scouting experience for the Scouts.

Most importantly, they ensure the program meets the Aims of Scouting: (1) growth in moral strength and character, (2) participating citizenship and (3) personal fitness, and uses the 8 methods. The best way they can do this is through the Board of review. Three to six committee members sit on the board, which is really an opportunity for the committee to assess how well the program is meeting the boys’ needs. This is an important responsibility and is one area where help is always needed and appreciated (since neither a scoutmaster nor a boy’s parents can be a part of his BOR). Finally, the Committee members are responsible for knowing and following BSA policies and procedures, and ensuring they are followed in the Troop. (Adapted from MeritBadge.org)

Here’s a question that a Scout’s parent asked an expert, with relevant bits highlighted:
Q: Hello Andy, I’m a Scout parent with a question about how a unit committee is run. Specifically, can a Scoutmaster call a committee meeting without the Committee Chair present, and can that Scoutmaster run the meeting and vote on issues? (Jenn Queener, Mid-America Council, IA)

A: In a correctly run Scout troop, the Scoutmaster isn't even a member of the committee. In fact, the Scoutmaster reports to the committee and the Committee Chair. So obviously, he has no "vote." But then it's really a very rare circumstance that would call for any sort of a "vote" by a troop committee, because a troop committee gets the administrative and logistical stuff done and the BSA has already provided all the policies and procedures a troop will ever need. Moreover, as far as the troop’s program is concerned, the committee has no creative or decision-making authority—the troop program is created and decided on by the Patrol Leaders’ Council, which is chaired by the Senior Patrol Leader. This is according to the BSA and can be found in the Scoutmaster Handbook and Troop Committee Guidebook. (Ask Andy, 25 Sep 2011)
Who serves on the Committee?

The Troop committee consists of at least three members including the Chair. The Scoutmaster, as discussed above, is not a committee member, but is an adviser to it. The Young Men Presidency is NOT a de-facto Troop committee (unless they have volunteered or been set apart as such), because each quorum adviser typically has a concurrent Scouting responsibility (PQA = Venturing Advisor, etc., see the Green Book, p. 3 Aaronic Priesthood Quorum Advisors section, first paragraph). However, there is plenty of overlap between the two organizations: the YM secretary could easily be the Commitee secretary as well. For a description of each committee position, click here (the * entries on the graphic represent what I feel must be provided for in a bare-bones committee of three, in addition to the chairperson).

From the BSA Troop Committee Challenge training, “it is recommended that at least one parent of every scout be active on the committee.” (This can help eliminate the Scouts-as-babysitting mentality.) Each volunteer should register with the local Council, and get appropriate training (YPT, Committee Challenge). There are two committee position options when registering: Committee Chair and Committee member. Specific positions will be decided upon by the committee itself. By having all nine duties covered, the Scoutmaster is free to work with the boys, instead of that plus handling all the administrative burdens.

What is the Church’s attitude toward the Troop Committee?
“The bishopric organizes ward Scouting committees to ensure that Scouting functions properly as a supporting activity for Aaronic Priesthood quorums. The bishopric calls several capable adults (including fathers and mothers of boys and young men) to serve as committee members. One of the committee members is called to serve as the chair. Qualified adults, whether members of the Church or not, may serve on these committees. Each committee should include a member of the bishopric.

“… members of the Primary presidency should be assigned as follows: (1) the member responsible for the eleven-year-old boys serves on the Boy Scout troop committee and (2) the member responsible for eight-, nine-, and ten-year-old Scouting serves on the Cub Scout pack committee.

“…Scouting committees should (1) meet as needed to discuss Scouting in the ward and receive assignments from the committee chair, (2) support and assist Scouting activities by providing needed services, and (3) see that the Scout units operate in accordance with Church and BSA policies and standards.” (Green Book, p. 2-3, emphasis added).
Take-aways:
  1. The Troop Committee exists to ensure a well-functioning troop by sharing the load
  2. The committee conducts Boards of Review to assess the health of the Troop
  3. Committee members must register and be trained
  4. A Committee consists of at least three members, and does not include the Scoutmaster
    • In an LDS construct, this means a bishopric member, a primary presidency member, and a Chair
  5. Finally,


Handout, including sample Committee Meeting agenda
Committee Org Charts from Adventures and Accidents (not LDS-specific)

Fantastic list of what a Committee can do for a Troop

Sources
Meritbadge.org Wiki
Troop Committee Challenge training
Troop Committee Guide for Successful Troop Operation
2011 Guide to Advancement
Green Book

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