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rlculver415

Troop Committee question

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Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 1973. (Not so new anymore, is it!) Webster's New World Dictionary, College Edition, Unabridged, 1975.

It is not 74th Eagle, it's Eagle(class of)74.

 

For the sake of returning to discussion on the original topic, can we agree to put this to bed and move on?

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Good discussion, and I know what Bob White says is true in an ideal troop setting. However, in a little town like where I live you're lucky to have 4-5 committee members. You're even more lucky to have trained people, maybe half are trained. The other half will tell you they do not have time, so either take their help or leave it. Not an ideal situation but its hard to say no to help when there is so little to begin with. Everyone is doing double, triple duty. It is hard...there are conflicts, disagreements, lack of parental support, and everyone is trying to do the best with what we have.

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MomScouter, unless I am wrong (always possible) you can ask your district to come to a commitee meeting and provide training there,(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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I have just read the past 5 pages of this thread (as a new ASM in a brand new troop, and one who will not get to SM training until next month, this seemed like an appropriate subject to read about). After reading all of this it seems to be a no-brainer.

 

1. Let the Scouts make as many decisions a possible.

 

2. Where there is a committee decision that has to be made (i.e., Will we really let the whole troop take a week-long cross-country ski trip in the Yellowstone backcountry in January, or are safety issues involved?), discuss it and try to come to concensus.

 

3. But if a concensus cannot be reached, and a decision has to be made, then VOTE ON IT!!

 

Go back and read the original posting. He said that he realized that consensus was the best option, but in the eventuality that a vote had to be taken, he wanted to know WHO SHOULD VOTE. In an ideal world the committee will never have to vote. But this is not an ideal world, and few troops are perfect. Better to figure out who has a vote before the fact, rather than trying to settle this in the heat of a contested issue (the type likely to need a vote, after all).

 

I actually had this question too, a few weeks ago. The TC handbook (if I remember right; it is not in front of me now), clearly states that the SM is not part of the committee, but it is silent on the ASM. I think later it says that no adult should double up in 2 positions, which for me resolved the issue (I cannot be a committee member and therefore cannot vote).

 

It just seems that we quickly got off topic, quibbling over ideal situations, and never really answered the original question.

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Close DrBeado,

 

You are right on the money on #1.

 

#2 however is an example of problem in some units. The Role of the committee is not to decide if they will "let" a troop do something. The role of the committtee is to help the troop do the things that the PLC has decided to do. It's not a "can they go" it's "how can we help".

 

#3 If a consensus cannot be reached then yes a troop could vote. In fact they can make the decision however they want. The question that needs to be asked is, if a group of adults cannot cooperate to reach a concensus is majority rule the best answer? What if the majority does not want to do the right thing. What if they vote to put cubs and parents on a river with current in canoes, or sell a brand product in uniform, or work at a funraiser for a political candidate that the majority of committee members endorse.

The majority isn't always right. It is the role of the committee chair to make sure they do the right thing irregardless of the majority opinion.

That being the case voting unnecesarry to the committee function. Others will argue that decisions cannot be made without them. In most business meetings decisions are made by discussion and the meeting chair makes determination s on actions. Voting is usually used oonly when an official record is required. The BSA requires no such records.

 

Are Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters members of the committee? NO. The scoutmaster, as the adult program representative, sits in to represent the needs and decisions of the troop. The Committee as the administration support are there to help select and support the program team.

 

I hope this clarifies things.

 

Bob White

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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" The Role of the committee is not to decide if they will "let" a troop do something. The role of the committtee is to help the troop do the things that the PLC has decided to do. It's not a "can they go" it's 'how can we help'."

 

What if the PLC decides to have a stripper at the next campout? She'll leave her g-string and pasties on so she won't be naked in front of the boys. Should the committee help by driving the stripper to the campsite?

 

An extreme example but all rules are best tested at the extremes.

 

 

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You know very well yaworski that the scoutmaster is responsible for being the adult advisor for the PLC to make sure the scouts stay on task and within the scouting program.

 

If your situation EVER took place the first job of the committee would be to secure a new Scoutmaster.

 

Please stay within the realm of realism as we discuss these topics. Your red herrings add nothing to the topic.

 

You might also read the Troop Committee Guidebook pg. 12. To see that the PLC sets the program plan and the committee supports it.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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"Please stay within the realm of realism as we discuss these topics"

 

Wah, wah. Are you now the topic police?

 

 

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I have to disagree with you, Bob White.

 

The scenario I described in #2 on my posting is a situation that IS the committee's decision. As I understand the Committee Handbook (I don't have it

in front of me, so I cannot quote you a passage), the troop committee oversees the troop activities IN PARTICULAR as it relates to safety issues. Taking inexperienced campers on a week-long backpacking trip into Yellowstone in January is NOT a safe practice. If the committee allowed this event to occur and a scout froze to death, the fall-out would be tremendous. The committee DOES have the right to "not let" the troop do this. [A smart committee would kick it back to the troop to ask for adjustments to their plans, but that is essentially rejecting the original idea as presented, just diplomatically.]

 

And what if some of the committee members insisted that there was no safety issue and would not budge. Then the committee would HAVE to come to a vote on it, or talk it to death. The fact is that there are some situations where consensus just cannot be reached. I will reiterate the comments of some others. The very fact that Scoutmasters are explicitly denied a vote implies that there are some situations where a vote may be needed. This is not to say that the committee should not strive to minimize these situations, and some committees may work well enough together that the NEVER need to vote. But the possibility of a vote as a final arbitrator of an intractable issue is necessary.

 

rlculver415 asked a "real-world" practical question and this forum has been going round and round talking about theoretical "ideal" situations.

 

 

 

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"You know very well yaworski that the scoutmaster is responsible for being the adult advisor for the PLC to make sure the scouts stay on task and within the scouting program.

 

"If your situation EVER took place the first job of the committee would be to secure a new Scoutmaster. "

 

Why? What rules were violated? She wouldn't be naked so there's no youth protection guidelines being violated. She'd be as entertaining as some of the skits that are put on. She'd be as related to Scouting as the trip to King's Dominion amusement park. It would as educational as a trip to the museum to look at paintings by Reubens.

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"rlculver415 asked a "real-world" practical question and this forum has been going round and round talking about theoretical "ideal" situations."

 

Bob (not his real name) White lives in an ideal world. Maybe "Bob" lives in Pleasantville, a world of black and white.

 

 

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Let's look at your situation in a more scouting way. The job of the committee is to say "how can we help", so let's see how we can help.

 

It's September and the committee, after reviewing the calendar, sees possible safety issues involved in the Yellowstone trip. They also see the value of the experience and understand why the scouts are drawn to it. So at the committee meeting they ask the SM for more info. The Scoutmaster says this is a High adventure trip and will be for the 14 year old and higher scouts who are First Class and older. The PLC, he tells you, realize the adventuresome nature of the trip and have planned their skill training to prepare them for the trip. They also know of someone in the community who has done a trip like this who is willing to do training with the scouts in the area of trip planning and packing as well as winter saftey. The SM has a concern however about the volitale nature of that region in the winter, so he spoke to a park ranger at Yellowstone by phone. The range suggested a late February trip saying that the weather was more stable and there would still be plenty of snow. A side nenefit would be the additional preparation time the boys would have prior to the trip. Since the park gets considerable usage they could suggest a variety of treks from mild to difficult and that not all trails are in the back country. Also all hikers must file an itinerary with the park, so incase bad weather should start to move in the rangers can evacuate the park if needed.

 

The SM asked if the committee had any other concerns than the ones they are already preparing for. The committee recommends that a weekend trip be scheduled as soon as the weather allowed to let the scouts do a shakedown and be sure they are prepared. Everyone agreed that would be a godd idea. The question of cost came up and the SM said the SPL and one of his Assistants offered to work on a budget, the Finance chair and Outdoor chair offer to help the boys prepare it. The SM said he would have them call and set a meeting. The chairman congratulated the SM on an exciting plan that should create an abundance of learning and advancement opportunities for the boys. The Advancement chair recommended that as part of the trip preparation all the scouts could work on requirements from the X-country skiing merit badge. The equipment chair suggests that since the troop was looking at new tentage they investigate 4-season tents to accomodate the trip. Another member suggests that if they are too expensive the troop could rent the proper tentage for the trip. The chairman asked that the rental cost be included in the trip cost as an option.

 

So everyone plays a part, the boys plan, the troop committee supports, work gets done, and there was no voting needed.

 

Is it utopian? Only if all you do is talk about it. If you DO IT, it becomes a program.

 

Hope this helps,

Bob

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OK, you have changed the situation I outlined. I said they wanted to take all the troops, including new scouts, not 14 year olds who were experienced campers. And you propose maybe a dozen steps, all of which have to work properly.

 

I ABSOLUTELY AGREE that ideally everything can be worked out without preventing the scouts from doing something and without any votes taken. But just one hold-up in that scenario you propose and we have a conflict. The committee MUST have the final say in a situation involving safety, AND if they cannot come to consensus, the only obvious way to resolve the issue is a vote.

 

You have proposed a reasonable solution to a DIFERENT situation than I posed.

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OK so the original proposal included the whole troop. the Troop Committee Guide says that the troop gives the plan to the committee for their suggestions. Couldn't you suggest that the event be limited to the older more experienced scouts as a safety measure? Couldn't the boys be given a chance to see the logic and allowed to alter THEIR plan? Its about coaching and guiding not about being "in charge".

 

Sure this method takes longer. But the point is that it be a learning and growth experience for the scouts. If you are looking for speed and efficiency you will need to remove the boys input and leadership because real scouting doesn't run smoothly. After all its run by kids who are just learning about planning and leadership. But that is what we are here to do isn't it?

 

The committee is responsible for seeing that activities follow the safety guidelines and policies. That can be done without canceling the boys plans. You can help them to learn how to plan safety into the event. You can't do that if their event gets snatched away from them.

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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"OK, you have changed the situation I outlined."

 

That's classic "Bob." He deliberately misconstrues what you write. He also twists your words and changes the situations to fit his imaginary world.

 

If you dare to disagree with "Bob," he stamps his tiny foot and quotes BSA scripture.

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