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Please share advice for handling a VERY tough situation involving our committee chair and chartered organization.

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  • Please share advice for handling a VERY tough situation involving our committee chair and chartered organization.

    This is a tough situation. The chartered organization for our Boy Scout troop is a 501-C3 (not-for-profit) organization that was started by our committee chair and her husband who is one of our assistant scoutmasters. Both are the only two members of the chartered organization. Together they are creating a lot of troop "policies" that override BSA policies. Additionally it seems that they did not keep up with their 501-C3 registration so the organization no longer really exists in the eyes of the state. We are beginning to lose members who are fed up with what seems to be a situation in which the chairman issues policies based on personal preferences rather than committee vote. Finances in the troop are also out of control, and she has run off parents and most recently a very good scoutmaster.

    I know the advice might be to run away as fast as possible, but I just became the new scoutmaster (learning the ropes) so I'd prefer to find a way to clean up this mess for the sake of the Scouts. Running to a new troop is the easy way out and doesn't solve the problem for those left behind.

    My thought is to sit down with the committee chair and ask her to resign and transfer troop ownership to a new chartered organization. I suppose she could fire me from my new role, but this really needs to stop.

    From what I described, does it sound like she is acting in violation of BSA policy? Can the head of a chartered organization appoint herself as committee chair? We can't complain to the chartered organization, because she and her husband are the chartered organization!!

    Thanks for any advice you can provide!



  • #2
    Big. Huge. Red. Flags. But at the same time I'd like to buy you a beer because you obviously care about the boys. Some questions I'd ask first are what do the families think of this? A problem that needs solving? They don't care? They like the CC and husband? Next, other than the boys, what's keeping you there? Where do you meet? What is it about this CO that you like?

    If the CO doesn't matter and the boys are all that matter, and everyone agrees with this then here is one option, I'm sure there are more. Find someone that would be a new CC. Between the two of you, find a new CO. Create a new troop and for those that want to follow you, help them transfer to the new troop. It costs $1 per person. You lose the money the old troop had, but that's probably nothing because the finances are a mess. You also lose the gear. But you have a very clean break. Then you can get back to being a SM. Good luck, and welcome to the forum.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks. I just discovered that the head of the CO can be the CC, so it's a no-win battle. I believe that most of the adult leaders would head to a new troop. Many of the drop-off parents are unaware of what is happening, but since our last SM resigned recently they would certainly start hearing some alarm bells. The straw that broke the last SM's back was when the CC would not let him allow an Eagle Scout to sign off on boy's requirements. She said it wasn't troop policy. While the prior SM and I strongly support boy-led, the CC is so committed to boy-led that adult guidance is virtually nil (think Lord of the Flies). ASMs do little more than sign books, so they get bored and start disengaging. I'd like to assign them as patrol advisers (coaches/sounding boards) but have been told by the CC that this is not troop policy. I get the fact that the ASMs would need to advise and not direct, and lines can blur, but I see it as my job to work with the SPL and ASMs to ensure that we remain boy led with an appropriate sprinkling of adult guidance.

      Sorry, I'm starting to whine. The frosty beverage sounds really good right now. I think your advice is the path I will likely take. Thanks.

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      • #4
        This is one example of the down side to 'local option' gone awry. This was a weak unit structure to start with and from the sound of things, it is taking a predictable path to a predictable fate. Let it go and find greener pastures. Find a CO that actually IS an organization.

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        • #5
          This is simple. Tell the CC "No." I don't have the details to know if I would agree with the CC or not. It kinda sounds like you need to get training and go to district round tables. As far as policies go, scratch any that dictate how to proceed with advancement, The BSA guide to advancement is more than sufficient for those purposes. You are the SM. You dictate how the ASMs assist you. They are not ACCs! If you say an adult may teach a skill, that adult may teach that skill. If you say a boy can sign off on advancement, then it is so. Tell your CC to do her job. Get trained. Get the books in order. Get on the line with these drop-off parents and see if she can arrange tea with them. Tell her to call the parents she has run off and apologize and let them know the troop wishes their boys well. Meanwhile you will serve the boys according to the scout oath and law as you see fit.

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          • #6
            Go to the District Commissioner and District Exec. If the CO/COR is not following the rules of the BSA to be Chartered, then they should not be Chartered by the BSA. Time to transfer to another Troop or find a CO that will take you on as a Troop. Basically, it sounds like you have a Parents of Troop XXX or Friends of XXX as a Charter Org.

            Time to leave.

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            • #7
              Yes, this is a tough situation. No, you are not ever going to fix this troop committee. Staying will only lead to frustration for you and you don't need that. Bottom line: take you and your boy to another troop or get support, a new CO, and start a new troop.

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              • #8
                How long has this Troop been in existence?
                How many Scouts are registered?
                Why did you, and the other parents, choose this particular Troop to join?

                If their paperwork has lapsed, and this CO is no longer a valid organization, then your unit's BSA Charter is in jeopardy.

                With no real CO, and probably no real charter, do you know that the Scouts are actually registered? Are any rank advancements being recorded/accepted by your council?

                The first thing to do is to contact your council registrar to make sure everyone is registered, and to find out the status of your Charter. Then you need to contact your BSA District Executive.

                You all need to find a real/new CO with help from your DE.

                Get everyone trained for their positions (it really sounds like you all need that), and start up a new Troop.

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                • #9
                  Troop policies are unenforceable and moot. Scouts signed up as scouts and subject to the BSA program. Troop unique or conflicting policies can essentially be wiped away by ignoring them and focusing strictly on the BSA program as written.

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                  • #10
                    What ScoutNut said, then a conversation with CC explaining that the committee is not responsible for the program, the SM is.

                    When the CC won't agree with you, have a plan to leave for another troop.

                    Don't spin your wheels too long trying to convince or change other people.

                    I've been with a new troop for almost 2 years now. It is extremely taxing for a new SM/ASM to start up a new troop. Try to find one to your first.

                    Good luck!

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                    • #11
                      Find an real CO and punch the eject button. You cannot fix this. Furthermore if they are doing things wrong you may be jeopardizing some of your liability shield as SM. Mostly though leaving will allow you to restart with the proper focus on the boys.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Algonquin View Post
                        Additionally it seems that they did not keep up with their 501-C3 registration so the organization no longer really exists in the eyes of the state.
                        501-C3 Registration is not a BSA Requirement..Never was

                        Originally posted by Algonquin View Post
                        We are beginning to lose members who are fed up with what seems to be a situation in which the chairman issues policies based on personal preferences rather than committee vote. Finances in the troop are also out of control, and she has run off parents and most recently a very good scoutmaster.​
                        Originally posted by Algonquin View Post
                        I know the advice might be to run away as fast as possible, but I just became the new scoutmaster (learning the ropes) so I'd prefer to find a way to clean up this mess for the sake of the Scouts. Running to a new troop is the easy way out and doesn't solve the problem for those left behind.
                        Seems like You already Know the Answer..Quit Go somewhere else..Allowing the Unit to Disappear and No Longer Exist "will clean up the Mess for the sake of the Scouts". Your Obligations to Scouts everywhere is not to allow the Unit to exist if they do not follow BSA Rules..


                        As for your issue with another Scout not Being allowed to sign off on another Scout's requirement.
                        What Requirements are you allowing to Sign off on....Scoutmaster's Review????
                        Are you want to allow Scout's to Sign Off on Board of Reviews????
                        What are you wanting to allow Scout's to sign off on exactly?
                        Last edited by jpstodwftexas; 04-04-2014, 04:38 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks very much for many great suggestions. I'll give the CC a chance to resign (She has said she wants to, but....) and move the troop to a different CO. Short of that, I can't accept the liability of the current situation. Hueymungus, yes, the COR is basically "Two Parents of a Kid who used to be in the Troop".

                          jpstodwftexas, I want my Eagle Scouts who are staying with the troop to be able to sign off on basic rank requirements through First Class, not SM reviews or BORs. I know in many established troops it is quite common for the boys in leadership positions to sign off on other boy's rank requirements. I'd actually like to push this down to Star rank signing off since they would then be more engaged and need to stay current with skills. I know different troops have different ideas, but we've been a troop for over 35 years so it seems that something is wrong if we don't trust (and can't monitor and guide) the boys so they can sign off on junior Scouts rank requirements.

                          And yes, more training is something I definitely need. Heading to Wood Badge soon.
                          Last edited by Algonquin; 04-04-2014, 10:09 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Algonquin View Post
                            , but we've been a troop for over 35 years so it seems that something is wrong if we don't trust (and can't monitor and guide) the boys so they can sign off on junior Scouts rank requirements..
                            So this troop was created by these two individuals and has been going on for 35 years? Sounds like they are doing something right.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Algonquin View Post
                              ... we've been a troop for over 35 years ...
                              In scouting that doesn't really mean much except bragging rights. Scouts turn over every seven years. Leaders turn over regularly too. The key is that the troop personality is the people. And the practices and habits of the troop reflect the leaders and they slowly change as the leaders change too. Sometimes they change for the good. Sometimes they change for the bad. 35 years means nothing for how it is now.

                              Heck, if troops didn't change, we'd still be discussing what to do when a scout brought a Panasonic FM radio to camp or his dad's Playboy. Times change. Troops change.

                              You want more senior scouts to sign off on skill achievements? Start now. Work with the SPL and PLC so that they can explain how it will work and so that they can influence how it will work. Just do it.

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