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Can We Replace Our Committee Chair?

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  • Can We Replace Our Committee Chair?

    Our troop is trying to keep afloat. We have several parents who have scouts in the troop and are trying to re-energize it. Unfortunately, our Committee Chairman doesn't seem to be on the same wavelength as the rest of us. The Chairman is not availble for meetings and shows no interest in support the Troop. Another parent has offered to take the position of Chairman but the current Chairman said, "I'll think about it." Her scout has not attended a meeting in over a year and his apathy may be part of it. Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance.


  • #2
    Now it's time to have yet another explanation of how a Scouting unit is organized and who works for whom and who can replace whom.

    The unit belongs to the Charter Organization. Not metphorically, literally. The CO creates the unit with the agreement of BSA to operate it as part of their youth program.

    The big boss of the Scouting unit is the Institutional Head and his lieutenant is the Charter Organization Representative. The COR finds and appoints the Committee Chair with the approval of the IH.

    Now the Committee Chair with the support and approval of the COR finds other committee members and the Scoutmaster.

    So, the sixtyfour thousand dollar question is "who can remove the Committee Chair"? Only the COR or the IH. Not the committee members, they were appointed by the CC. Not the Scoutmaster. Definately not the parents of the Scouts because they aren't on the org chart.

    If their are problems with the CC, someone from the committee should talk to the Unit Commissioner. The UC can then go to the COR and find out what can be done.

    I'm sure that someone will correct my picture of how things work.


    • #3
      What GW describes is correct and "by the book". Unfortunately, the reality is often different. Of course, if the COR were doing his/her job, 510Scouter would not be here asking this question.


      • #4
        GW, that was perhaps the best description of this relationship I have ever heard, yet as scoutldr says, that is not always the way real world relationships work

        With that said, if you do not go through your Unit Commissioner, then there is nothing which says you cannot speak directly to you Institutional Head or Charter Organizatinal Rep. Either of these people should listen very carefully if informed their representative heading the Pack committee was not doing anything.

        To add (on a tangent) to what GW said, this should not be a matter for your District Executive. It should be dealt with on the volunteer level. Your DE is an administrator of program, not a manager of volunteers.

        Finally, if I was minimally involved, and someone asked to replace me, I would jump at the opportunity. I can't really fathom what this CC is thinking (or doing).


        • #5
          What Gold Winger describes is the ideal situation.

          If you have a weak or non-existent Chartered Partner relationship, you may get "deer in the headlights" looks.

          If you have a weak or non-existent Commissioner Service, you may also get "deer in the headlights" looks.

          Whoever instigates this, though, needs to be ready to step into the CC's shoes. That means taking training!

          Remember, our job as adults in Boy Scouting is to support the Scoutmaster as he delivers the program to the youth. That also means supporting the SPL and the PLC as they make the basic program decisions about what the Troop does.

          We can't tell you much more given what you've told us. We can wish you well in this.


          • #6
            Yah, sometimes in da real world when someone holds a title but just isn't doin' the work, it's OK for someone else just to start doin' the work, eh?

            Most TC's are a small group of people, eh? I'd say the other parent should just start leadin' meetings and coordinatin' the work of the committee. Then, next recharter when the UC comes around, yeh make that change more formally. Doin' it at recharter avoids some of the ill feelings that can come with a COR "firing" a committee chair.



            • #7
              And since we don't live in that wonderful ideal world with CORs who are closely involved and UCs who make their presence felt...

              A few years ago, the parents in our pack decided they'd had enough of our CC. He was much like the one described here and was basically suffering from burnout. He'd been running the pack single-handedly, despite new parents who wanted to step up, begged to step up, but he didn't like them so he held on doggedly long past his need to move on. Well, something happened and it went out by email to the parents. For several parents it was the last straw. Not one of us had ever heard of such a thing as a charter organization, a COR, a UC or anything else...the CC kept that info and his contact with these people to himself.

              We parents DID know that there was such a thing as a Council and if you go on their website, you could find something called a district executive. Suddenly that DE got bombarded by emails and phone calls from several parents, including myself, who didn't know that the other parents were doing the same. I have no idea if the CC ever knew how many people and who had complained, but he got a phone call from the DE. The DE got the CC's side of the story, including the fact that the CC wanted to move on, but for various reasons was reluctant to do so. The DE did what he could to resolve the CC's issues with leaving and encouraged him to resign. And everyone was happy (eventually).

              I'm not saying that the DE is the best one to solve YOUR situation. As someone said, it's not really his job. But if there is SOMEONE, ideally the COR, but it could be the UC who holds some position of authority, who can have a little chat with the CC and come up with a resolution that will suit everyone.


              • #8
                Having worked with more DEs in over 50 years of Scouting than I can count, I respectfully suggest that, in a case like this, it is the job of the District Executive to:

                1) Listen to the parents
                2) Make a reasonable decision on who should be involved (himself/herself, some volunteer(s) or some combination)
                3) Help get those people involved and help come to a good conclusion

                If the unit goes defunct, it will be the responsibility of the District Executive to explain why and to come up with another unit to replace it. The District Executive would then like to dropkick the individual who said/decided that it was a matter strictly for volunteers and the DE should not be informed and involved.

                This is not saying that the DE will be the one actually doing the work. That is yet to be determined.

                The DE is trained and paid to address situations like this. It is one of their highest priority items. Get them involved right away.


                • #9
                  I am somewhat curious why someone continues to want the position but has no interest in being involved. It isn't the pay. Do they give any reason for wanting to stick around? Usually when someone becomes that disinterested they jump at the chance for someone to replace them.


                  • #10
                    No reason given for stay around. Some think it is because she wants her son to make Eagle, although I'm sure he has the same thing in mind. Some think for her to act as a insider for several people who left the troop, so they can keep track of whats going on.


                    • #11
                      " No reason given for stay around. Some think it is because she wants her son to make Eagle, although I'm sure he has the same thing in mind. Some think for her to act as a insider for several people who left the troop, so they can keep track of whats going on."

                      If one of these is the reason, all the more reason to get the DE involved and soon. There are ways to accomplish this woman's objectives and get the unit back active again.


                      • #12
                        It's true,
                        that most parents and many Scouters do not understand the relationship that is supposed to exist from the IH down to the SM.
                        Many who are long time Scouters do not realize that even new volunteers may not understand the structure of unit Scouting. Most people(not heavily involved) see the Scoutmaster as THE central authority in a unit and think the CC is some kind of helper who coordinates the activities of the other helpers on the Committee.

                        I had a talk about this with a Scout parent this week who compared it to how religion is often seen as irrelevant partly because of insider/outsider vocabulary issues. The insiders insist on using "doctrinally correct" terms and the outsiders don't have the same vocabulary in "daily" life. We agreed that often this occurs in Scouting and that it really is incumbent on the insiders to attempt to lead these discussions if they really want to develop the understanding of the outsiders.

                        Now it would be great if all parents took the time to find out the information about scouting but, don't most of us find it hard just to get the Committee and Direct Contact volunteers trained? It seems now even to me that this is very basic information about how a troop is supposed to function but to newcomers and casual associates it is nowhere near as clear.


                        • #13
                          "t's true,
                          that most parents and many Scouters do not understand the relationship that is supposed to exist from the IH down to the SM."

                          And as serious a problem, if not more so, is that there can be a huge difference between what things are "supposed to be" and what they actually are. Most chartered organizations I know are minimally involved and CORs are minimally involved. Expecting them, in many cases, to resolve difficult disputes is not what they expected to do, want to do or will do.

                          Those of us who work at the district and council level have to try to help work resolutions to these problems that are within the correct organizational structure of Scouting but which also are realistic in terms of what really will happen.


                          • #14
                            Some people just like being a "big fish in a little pond."


                            • #15
                              As a COR who functions on the District Committee, I believe one of the key ways to strengthen the District is to strengthen the individual units. I think COR's who actually function and hold the Scouters in their units accountable for running a quality program is one of the primary ways of helping units. Yes, Commissioner Service is another, but that is secondary assistance to the unit.

                              Real life numbers in our District are probably just like all of yours. I held a COR Leader Specific course at our Fall training. In addition to the usual promotion of the event, I sent personalized letters to 38 CORs in our District who cover about 80 units. I had 2 CORs and 1 IH attend the training. I like what one gent said who had been a COR for 6 years. After he finally understood his role in the CO's Scouting units, he said "they told me when I started I only had to sign adult applications and make sure we rechartered". Sadly, too many people appointed by the IH do not get COR training, or have been given a false sense of what their duties include.