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ASM59

Committee & Program Help !

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Our Troop had a major changing of the guard this past December/January. Our Scoutmaster and about two-thirds of the committee left (including Committee Chair and Treasurer). There were no real problems; the SM just felt it was time to move on and the committee that has worked with him just followed.

 

Our new Committee Chair who has only 6 months experience in Scouting, seems to be having what can only be called a power-grabbing problem. He makes decisions about outings, fundraisers, the purchase of a new trailer and more without input from the rest of the committee or the Scoutmasters. When questioned, he simply states that his is the most powerful possition on the committee and no one has veto rights over him.

 

An example of his interfering with outings;

About half of our boys decided to join in on a Cycling Merit Badge opportunity that will end in a scheduled 50 mile ride for the group in August. Our Committee Chair decided that he wanted to schedule a Canoe outing for the Troop without consulting any of the Scoutmasters and he sheduled it on the date of the 50 mile ride. His exact words were, "I know it is on the same date as the big Cycling ride, but the boys will just have to make a decision which to do. My son is not involved in the ride so it doesn't matter. We need activities for the other boys as well." Now the boys who are in the Cycling MB, are torn between the two outings. He will not reschedule, again stating that his possition is the most powerful, and he doesn't have to.

 

His premise seems to be that there are not enough outings for the boys and that the boys, like his son, are being left out because they elected not to be in the Cycling MB with the others (it was open to all). We have at least one outing per month in our unit with some months having two scheduled outings.

 

My question for you all. I have not been able to find exact wording regarding the Committee Chair's responsibilities to a Troop, or the "power" to be had in that possition.

Do any of you have a resource showing this information?

 

My position is that there should be no power to be had at all in Scouting. We are servants, making ourselves available to the Scouts so they can have a functioning Unit.

 

ASM59

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It might be a good idea to have a chat with your Unit Commissioner he ought to be able to put you in touch with the person who presents the Troop Committee Training in your district.

I would also have a few words with the Charter Rep along with the other members of the committee.

It sounds to me as if this Lad is in need of a friendly kick in the pants.

It also seems as if the PLC needs a lot of help and support.

Eamonn.

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Training is truly your answer here. The BSA program is very specific about this. Troop Committees operate very differently then packs. In the Troop Committee Guidebook you will see it spelled out. The Troop Committees job is to support the program decisions of the Patrol Leaders Council, NOT to make the program decisions.

 

Convince the committee to spend 5 hours and get trained.

2-hours New Leader Essentials

3-hours Troop Committee Challenge

 

Then just keep reminding them to follow the program if they want the program to work.

 

Every boy deserves a trained leader.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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I strongly recommend that your Troop Committee take the training together. It will bind you together into a cohesive group. For your unit to become boy run, as requested in another thread, you need to follow Bob White's advice and then get the Committee Chair to understand that the planning is done by the boys and approved by the committee.

Last resort- get a new Committee Chair.

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Thanks again for the advice.

We just finished an improptu meeting of the Committee and Scoutmasters that was called by our Charter Representative. She, being very wise, sat everyone down and without making accusations, instructed the whole committee regarding their positions and responsibilities. She went on to point out that she has final approval regarding any committee position and must see to it that the committee is functioning properly. She strongly urged structured meetings and that everyone learn to work together. Our Committee Chair seemed to understand and agree that these changes would be good and that he is willing to work toward making the changes.

There's hope!

Thanks,

ASM59

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Hello, I am very new to scouting and my son is actually in Venturing, but we have a similar problem with the committee, and based on the research I have done so far, as it pertains to venturing, I have found the following information-

 

1 The charter org recruits the committee members- minimum of 3 people to have a committee

2 The committee serves during the charter year and meets at least monthly.

3 New committee members can be recruited throughout the year.

4 either the charter org or the committee members appoint the chair, which means the chair can be removed by the committee members or charter org and another appointed.Generally the chair is appointed by the charter org for new crews, and then after by the committee members themselves.

5 the chair only votes in the event of a tie ( this is from scouting.org)- duties of the chair

I found these policies in the Venturing Leader manual pages 20-21 and online at www.scouting.org by searching "committee chair"

Hope this helped. I know in situations like this it helps to be able to quote policy. I would think the boy scout leader manual has a similar section on the duties of the chair. Good Luck!

Karin

 

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In every committee I have ever been on- business, hospital, etc., the committee chair simply runs the agenda. He(she) is not allowed to make motions or vote, except in a tie. There is no question that the chair has tremendous power in limiting discussion if he wants to (or not allowing a topic to be brought up in the first place).

I was a Troop Committee member for 2 years and that is the way our troop ran. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend our Troop Committee training session. All the other members of the committee, including the Chairman, were able to take the training together, which really helps.

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I agree the agenda is key but it should be set based on input from the SM based on input from the ASM's, and input from the Pl's based on input from the Scouts. It is a method that supports the Scouts in their program.

 

Power is centered on those governed and issues forth.

 

Regressive parliamentary measures to thwart a policy by limiting debate may be successful in a few instances but continued use will constrain fair representation and lead to either repression or use of aggressive tactics from the minority.

 

A time limit on each item is necessary but it is also important to have a fair hearing. The members must be aware that debate needs to be held to a minimum and each speaker should be coached to speak concisely to cover the main points. Dissent can curtail initiatives the same as time constraints, so work outside the meeting needs to be completed to understand and to include the oppositions view and/or to find common ground.

 

As much as people like to believe in the one hour per week Scouting job, it simply is untrue.

 

The system of governance is one of spirited cooperation and not one that is conducive to an adversarial stand by a few. It takes the whole group to support the program and to effectively assist the group in arriving in a timely manner to their goals.

 

FB

 

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Terms like debate, dissent, opposition, limiting discussion, votes, and parlimentary procedure implies that decisions are being made by the committee. I learned that the committee doesn't make decisions at all. The decisions are made by the patrol leaders' council. The purpose of the committee is to support the PLC in carrying out those decisions. I don't see any place for governance by the committee.

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Aside from the power grabbing problems, there is nothing wrong with having two events in one weekend. Life is filled with choices and people need to make them. Do I ask Becky or Suzy to the dance? Do I want pizza or a sub for lunch? Do I like the colonial or the tudor house?

 

Our PLC does long range planning but many events pop up, usually because an adult was presented with an opportunity. For example, this past winter one of our adults was offered a block of tickets to a basketball game. If it went to the plc for discussion, the opportunity would have gone away. An email went out, "First 20 Scouts to respond can go to the b-ball game" and we were off and running.

 

 

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I apologize for using political terms but in fact that is the point. Governance is the rule used all along the way. The Troop Committee, the PLC, the Scouts, the SM, all are involved in the process. It is important to know how it works or there will be disorganization resulting in authority reverting to the few or to the one.

 

The PL's represent the Scouts in their patrol and do not represent their own personal interests. The PL's come to the PLC to present the issues that have been discussed and agreed on in the Patrol meeting.

 

The issues move up and through the SM and through the Troop Committee to find resolution and support. The Committee is there to support the issues within their wealth/poverty of resources. It is a democracy and power is shared. I hope that is the process we share.

 

FB

 

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The problem as presented by ASM59 is that the Committee Chairman is making all of the decisions.

 

PS In our Troop the ASM's are allowed to attend the Committee meeting and participate in discussions, but have no vote in decision making.

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ASM59's problems are well understood and have been shared by at least one other here that I personally know.

 

When the symptoms of despotism are recognized and the tedium of censorship is endured, it is time to understand how the system works.

 

Power is shared in the BSA on most all levels. There are votes to be counted and the people that have a vote can change the way things work.

 

As a SM, I worked with a large committee. I wanted help. I asked for help and I got help. There were enough people to go around and to assist on every single project the Scouts requested and then some.

 

It was not always that way. When I accepted the position, I also had a CC as the power broker. Once I requested help and once people took control of their votes, it didn't matter who was the CC. He soon left on good terms, although the smell of the incident still remains with me to this day. It was unfortunate because I still think we could have gotten along.

 

FB

 

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