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andrews

New Troop Question

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I am planning on starting a new, inner-city troop once I can move from where we live to closer to our church. The pastor is all in favor of it, which helps a lot.

 

I plan on listing my house in Jan-Feb and hopefully it will sell sometime after that.

 

I am not sure if I am going to have personal time to get away for a week of summer camp next summer, so I was leaning toward waiting until the fall to start things up.

 

Assuming I can get moved my March-April timeframe, should I wait until the fall or just try to start things up as soon as I can?

 

My two sons will be coming with me. By that time one should be almost 13 and Life while the other will be almost 12 and Star. I would only need 3 more boys to start, and we could start building a core, but the lack of summer camp would seem bad to me.

 

I suppose I could do summer camp, but my wife (who will be the committee chair) and I are going to Philmont at the beginning of June for training and I only have 2 weeks of vacation a year. Maybe I am being a bit selfish, but I expect this to be a long term committment and I figure my vacation will be much more limited in the coming years.

 

It is great to have a very supportive church behind us, with a great desire to reach out to the neighborhood. Scouts will be just one aspect of this.

 

Thoughts?

 

Brad

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There's no law that says you have to have a summer camp...especially with such a small troop. Couldn't you start in the summer and do a weekend trip here and there? Make sure you explain the role of the Chartering Organization to your pastor. It's good that he's supporting you, but he should have a good idea of what is expected of the church. Who's going to be your COR? Anyway, good luck.

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You should not feel guilty about rationing your time. Rooster7's suggestions are sound. In any event, your personal schedule for making your move may not hold up and you need to retain some flexibility. Once you have moved and the troop is launched there will be time for some weekend outings during the summer to get things started. If it really is to be an inner city troop, any boys you may recruit should be started with simple outings to get them comfortable with the whole business before they are thrown into an ordinary summer camp. Many of these boys need to see the pure fun part first. Good luck.

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I know the summer camps in this area allow for "provisional campers" -- boys who come alone to summer camp. I think that might be an option for any boys who REALLY want to go to camp.

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Rooster7,

 

What special things does my pastor need to know? I will probably find the full literature when the time gets closer, but other than providing space (which we now have since we just bought our own building) and letting us meet there, he doesn't have to do a whole lot. Still, it is nice to have him in full support.

 

I will see it as an outreach of the church, though not as integrated as the other ministries, and I certainly won't consider myself as a church leader.

 

The church is Potters Wheel Ministries in east Dallas, on Shiloh Road. We just bought the building, so I don't have the address memorized yet.

 

Eisley,

 

You are right, I am not going to do anything until I move. I just like to think ahead. :)

 

I do plan on trying to camp once a month, or at least close to that. (It gets VERY hot in Texas in the summer.)

 

Brad

 

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I wanted to mention:

 

I have already started one troop, so I know many of the pitfalls to avoid, and some really good mistakes to make! :)

 

I am currently an ASM there. I have also been through Scoutmaster Fundamentals and I will probably take Woodbadge in the Spring. (I started it last fall, but work interrupted right after the orientation meeting.)

 

Hopefully I can do things better this time.

 

Brad

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I'm not the best person to ask, but I can think of a few things. Some of you other guys might want to jump in and add to some of this (or correct it).

 

1) The Chartering Organization is the legal entity responsible for the Troop. It's their responsibility to make sure its being run in accordance with BSA policy. They often allow the committee to run it without restraint, but they are still the overseers.

 

2) They own everything...all of the equipment, including such things as Troop trailers. This is true even if the funds are coming from a "Troop account".

 

3) He'll need to assign a Charter Organization Representative (COR). This person is the liaison between the church and the Troop. He may or may not help with some of the Troop policies. It depends on how involved he becomes and how involve the church is with the Troop.

 

4) The Institutional Head (i.e., your Pastor) may be asked to resolve a Troop dispute. For example, if someone wants to remove an adult leader. The pastor could defer this kind of decision to the COR.

 

As a side note...I once saw a Pastor allow an ASM to be removed from a Troop, because a member of the church (who was also an ASM) had a personality conflict with the gentleman. The pastor never gave a creditable explanation, only that the man was deemed unfit. That particular pastor lost my respect. Anyway, the pastor could be put in a difficult situation such as this one.

 

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I suspect that I would probably be the COR, except that you cannot be the Scoutmaster and the COR at the same time. As it is, my wife will probably end up being both the COR and the Comittee Chair.

 

I don't have a problem with this since if we weren't starting the troop we would probably end up being leaders of something within the church. It will be quite tied to the church's ministry.

 

I have already discussed most of this with him, though I plan on sitting down in a few weeks with him and going over all the details. I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing anything important.

 

How open must a troop be to leadership in the committee that is outside the church? I don't see us wanting to scare anyone off, but your note above about the pastor possibly being required to resolve board disputes raises the question.

 

For example, could a hindu take over the board, or can the church say, "this is our spiritual focus?" Obviously Scouting is very flexible in the areas of how participants worship God, but how much does this have to control a specific troop? I have talked this over with the pastor BTW, but I would like more information to make sure we "do what is right."

 

Brad

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For the best and most complete answers, you should probably contact your local council and/or National. However, I believe, if it is your church's desire, you can restrict your membership to church members. For example, I understand Mormons and Orthodox Jews often do this. It is the decision of the Chartering Organization. I'm assuming BSA allows this because the group's faith will be an intricate part of the Troop's activities. Nevertheless, the Chartering Organization has the right to approve/disapprove committee members and adult leaders (SM and ASMs). If the Troop focuses on your particular faith, this should be advertised well in advance. Before they join, the Scouts, parents, leaders, and committee members should be made aware of this fact. As long as everyone is upfront and open about this (from the beginning), I don't see it being a problem.

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Thanks for the clarification.

 

We don't want to restrict membership, it is planned as a community outreach after all. I was more concerned with having the committee "hijacked" by some who weren't as tied to the church. I don't see this as a big problem/likelihood, but I am just trying to cover the bases.

 

Brad

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Rooster7 is probably right about the ability of a chartered organization to set membership limitations related to the faith of the sponsoring religious organization involved. Most LDS sponsored troops that I have seen provide all their own leadership and do not limit youth membership to members of their own faith. However, any non LDS youth who might join such a unit should expect heavy proselytizing. (Not that that would be wrong) Likewise units sponsored by orthodox synagogues are going to keep kosher on the trail and are more likely to plan their calendars around the complete jewish calendar. Again, there is nothing wrong with that. I have seen two troops affiliated in some way with Roman Catholic parishes whose scoutmasters were jewish men themselves affiliated with reform jewish temples. I think the amount of involvement in troop matters and activities by the sponsoring organzation, particularly a church of some kind, can be anticipated in the overall outlook of the particular organization or sect involved. If the sect has a lot of rules and actively proselytizes, then you will likely find few youth or adults members who are not already part of that faith.

 

One of the major duties of the professional staff of the council is to establish and maintain relationships with chartered organizations that sponsor units. You would be well advised, Andrews, to identify the district executive responsible for the area where your troop will operate and put that executive in contact with your pastor. The DE is in the best position to explain to the pastor the expectations of BSA of the chartered organization and to answer any questions your pastor may have.

 

Getting your DE involved early on is a good way to put yourself on the radar screen of the district staff structure and gain better access to the resources your new district can make available to you. You are not alone in your endeavors. Reach out early to your district staff and ask them for help. They love to receive phone calls from people like you.

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I am already working with the DE for the area.

 

He has been very helpful, though our contact has been limited so far.

 

Brad

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