New to Forum w/ Questions
Posted 25 January 2017 - 09:01 PM
I am a 16 year old Scout from Troop 13 in NJ. I have been involved in Scouting since CubScouts when I joined as a Tiger in 1st grade. I've held most of the "major" Positions of Responsibility in the Troop.
One of the main reasons I've joined is to learn a bit about how other Troops work (as mine is just coming out of a major period of disarray) and to connect with Scouters from all over.
A major question I'd appreciate the answer to right off the bat is if anyone has a "Scout Representative" to their Troop's committee meetings? I heard a while back that each Committee meeting there is supposed to be a member of the PLC there to stand in for the interests of the Scouts. I think this is a great idea, but can't find any official policy on it. Before I bring it to my committee and possibly burn some bridges (they are very controlling) I'd like to make sure I have my policy in order.
Thank you and I look forward to connecting with everyone!
Posted 25 January 2017 - 10:20 PM
Welcome to the forum.
We do not have a "Scout Representative" at committee meetings. Most of our committee meetings take place at the same time as the scout meetings, in another room. We would rather have all the scouts attend the scout meeting.
As a scout, you are much more important to the unit than a committee member. Your participation at scout meetings is much more interesting and much more important to the unit than any of the boring grunt work we do in the room next door.
Edited by David CO, 25 January 2017 - 10:21 PM.
Posted 25 January 2017 - 11:24 PM
Welcome to the forum.
I as well have never heard of a scout rep at a committee meeting. I don't think I would want one in my troop either. Basically the unit committee is responsible for making sure the unit is following the prescribed BSA program so that the scouts actually get what they paid for. I just started a new troop a few years back and my troop committee is there to support the work of the boys and therefore insure the Boy Scout unit is run as boy-led. Cubs would run more of an adult-led program in that the boys really can't handle the job of running the unit.
It would seem that you perceive the committee as being controlling and would suggest to me they are "running the show". If one were to read BSA policy this is NOT the way a Boy Scout troop is run. It is to be boy-run/led by using the patrol method as prescribed in the BSA literature. The structure of order in my troop is the PL's are at the top of the org chart. with SPL the person that supports them in their leadership with the patrols. The SM is under him supporting the work of the boys in the troop. The committee is at the bottom doing anything and everything to insure the boys are successful in the operation of their troop. Of course whatever the structure one uses in the troop the #1 concern is having the boys run the program.
If one has over zealous/controlling adults trying to run the show, then there's no need to burn any bridges, it's simply time to find a troop that respects and supports the boys in their program. Just remember, BSA is a program for boys, not a program for adults. They need to be standing in the wings helping the boys be successful.
There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.
Posted 26 January 2017 - 08:21 AM
In our troop the SPL has a standing invitation to attend the monthly committee meetings. It has been that way for the past 5-6 years since we removed a SM who thought he was the worlds oldest PL. It may simply have been part of the backlash to his " I do everything" rule, I have never found anything written in the regs concerning this practice. In most troops I have worked with the SM is the liaison between the committee and the PLC. But it works well for us, the SPL gets to hear the give and take of the adults discussing the issues of the month, which is helpful training for the PLC meetings. A scout in uniform also serves as a reminder to the committee of why they are there in the first place.
Posted 26 January 2017 - 08:47 AM
Scouts and parents are welcome to attend but rarely do, except the SPL and a couple parents. The SPL attends maybe half the TC meetings. Often its really the SPL's parent is a TC member and the SPL attends just see what they are like. A new SPL typically goes to a couple of meetings and then realizes he could care less about the monthly finance and checking account reviews/approvals and adult training issues discussed and stops coming. Then every six months the new SPL comes for a month or two then disappears. No big deal.
Posted 26 January 2017 - 10:04 AM
As Stosh points out, most organizational charts are best read upside down. (E.g., the committee supports the SM, who supports the SPL, who supports the PLs, who support the boys, who pursue that pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with your mates.)
I always try to encourage SPLs to sit in on committee meetings. You want to be polite (speak when spoken to, talk to the committee chairperson and SM afterword if there was something that bothered you, etc ...) but firm (share the boys' vision when asked for your opinion, respectfully disagree with what someone said if you have to). But you should be a welcome presence.
I'm not sure what BSA literature says about this, but this is certainly the case in venturing. And I will not allow my crew committee to meet in the absence of the crew president and his designee.
Posted 26 January 2017 - 10:12 AM
TRON, welcome to the forum!
If you are looking for a National rule or guidance that a Scout representative should be invited to attend troop committee meetings, I do not think you are going to find one. I just looked at the Troop Committee Guidebook, chapter on committee meetings, and there is nothing in there about Scouts attending, one way or the other. As you can see, the actual practice in troops varies widely. There have been a number of other threads in this forum over the years regarding the same subject.
I think the bigger issue, as some here have already suggested, is how your troop's committee is operating. If you believe they are "very controlling", the question is whether they are overstepping their responsibilities. You have not provided any specifics and you don't necessarily need to, but you may want to discuss this subject with your Scoutmaster (who IS supposed to attend committee meetings but does not have a "vote", if your troop's committee operates by voting) and discuss the subject and see if anything can be done.
Posted 27 January 2017 - 08:51 PM
Welcome Tron! I am impressed with how articulate and well-written your post is; it speaks highly of your ability to play a key role in improving you unit and program.
I am so glad to hear from a Scout about his desire to participate more in the program at the Committee level. I think your attendance would be a huge benefit to the boys in your Troop, as there are many committees who get so caught up in the bureaucracy of Scouting that they lose focus of the actual Scouts of which it is composed. As you are clearly an experienced leader with the best interests of the Scouts at heart, as well as an intelligent individual who can articulate his thoughts well, you should be a welcome and important member of the Committee and its discussions.
I had a recent experience in regards to this very issue. I am the Webelos Den Leader, but I am close to many of the boys in the Troop, and since we meet at the same time and place I have frequent occasion to check in on their progress, and I often help the Scouts navigate the oft-perilous waters of Adult Meddling in their activities. Well, I recently had a conversation with the Senior Patrol Leader who came to me with concerns about some things that weren't happening in the Troop, and he wanted to know what to do. His list of concerns included the following:
1. Our Troop has had no involvement with the Order of the Arrow for years (I was the last boy to be inducted over a decade ago), and there were a number of boys who wanted to nominate their friends to be a part of it
2. The older Patrol wants to get new neckerchiefs in their patrol colors, instead of using the same ones they were given at their bridging ceremony years ago
3. After I told them about what it was (they had never heard of it), the boys want to go to Camporee (again, it's been years since our Troop has gone), but they don't know how to convince their Scoutmaster to take them
I thought about it, and asked him simply "Have you presented your ideas to the committee?" He looked at me with wide-eyes and asked "Am I allowed to?" I told him essentially "Hey, you are the Senior Patrol Leader, and you represent the interests of all the boys in the running of THEIR program. If you get the input of your boys and the Patrol Leader's Council, you can present the information to the committee and inform them (not ask, INFORM) that you have elected to attend Camporee, nominate some boys for the OA, and obtain new neckerchiefs in your chosen colors. Then, ask the committee how they are going to help the Troop accomplish these goals."
So, next week he is going to have all of his information ready to present the desires of the troop to the Committee so that they can know exactly what issues the boys want addressed (I will attend to support him and his propositions as well). And that, Tron, is how it should be. The Committee exists to facilitate the needs of the Troop, but if the entire spectrum of the Troop's wishes is not fully represented by the adult leadership, the Senior Patrol Leader or his chosen representative is perfectly within his rights to attend the meeting and voice the desires of the boys themselves. I have recently read every edition of the Boy Scout Handbook and Scoutmaster's Handbook published since 1912, and there is nothing to say you cannot attend the meetings, but there are a number of occasions where it mentions issues or concerns being brought up by the boys themselves at Committee meetings. So according to BSA precedent, you have a green light to attend and participate in a Troop Committee Meeting. Just make sure you have your ideas and concerns well-prepared, and that you attend with either the position or the approval of the Senior Patrol Leader, who technically should be one of the senior officers of a Troop Committee anyway. And as mentioned, be polite, hold your ground, and stand for the boys of your unit. I think any committee would be lucky to have such an involved and pro-active young man such as you be a part of their proceedings and planning.
I hope you find this helpful.
Posted 01 February 2017 - 10:09 PM
Welcome to the forum and YES we have a scout representative at Committee Meetings. Basically it is the SPL who brings the PLC stuff to the Committee member to help implement the Troop program.
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