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How to divide the responsibilities?

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In my troop, there are a few parents that want to divide the responsibilities of the troop in the following way. They volunteer to handle all details for one or two outings a year. You have 6-8 to people running things for different events. My feeling is that the responsibilities that need to be taken care of should be split on a task basis, meaning that someone is in charge of equipment, someone is in charge of paperwork, etc. How do other troops handle the division of responsibilities for the troop?

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First, I think that the Scouts should be worrying about equipment, not the adults.


We have a camping committee that has one person who worries about paperwork, reservations and the like. We have another person who worries about medical forms. Yet another person fusses with all of the transportation issues.

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With volunteers you need to use their skills - not force them into something they don't feel they can handle.


Some "chores" lend thmemselves to being assigned on a task basis for example, in our troop, I am "Activities Chair" - which means it is my responsibility to make sure we have permits, reservations, a driver for the bus and any trailers we plan to use, maps on how to get there, etc. on every trip - even if I or my son are not going.


Sometimes another adult will volunteer to "run" an event - and that adult will handle the entire event. For example, we have an ASM (& badge counselor)who is a geologist, who is aranging for a day trip for our boys to work on an archelogical dig for a day. He knows the site, people, etc - so it makes more sense for him to make all the arrangements instead of for me to do so.


Sometimes, you need to have different people "lead" to avoid burning out your volunteers, though. 6-8 people "running" an activity is too many bosses - confusing for the volunteers & the boys.


Besides - as Yaworski pointed out - the BOYS should be "running" things except where adults are asked to step in (such as sharing a skill, judging a contest so all the boys can participate, etc)


Our troop's scoutmaster was out for a while (foot surgery) and we needed an acting SM while he was gone. Later, this SM stepped down and the Acting SM has been on the job since about March. he can't make all the trips and meetings, and we don't necessarily have a committee member for all jobs.


What we did, which actually worked pretty well, was that the SM assigned an adult that was planning on going on each trip as the Coordinator for that trip. All jobs, boy and adult, reported to that acting SM, to assure that paperwork was taken care of, equipment procured, maintained,activities & meals planned, etc. If the SM was not going, that person would also be named "acting SM" for the trip - for decision making purposes.


We have a boy quartermaster in the troop that does a top-notch job - so equipment wasn't a problem at all.


We recently started using the patrol method again - and while it took a little shaking down, (and some forgotten food items!) to get them thinking - the boys are doing great at getting their act together.


and if you forget something?


Well, it's all a learning experience, isn't it? That's what great campfire stories are made of!


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Kinda agree with Laura & kinda don't. Yes we should try to utilize the skills the adults have to benefit the Troop. However, I see nothing wrong with asking an adult to do something they need to learn about. Afterall, isn't that what teh Scouts do?


I feel other than ASM's adults should be committee people and let the Scouts handle the planning, equipment, etc.


Ed Mori


Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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When I talk about equipment, I am referring to getting our troop trailer out to the campsite. The Scouts obviously can't pull a trailer behind a car. I'm currently training the new QM to keep track of the equipment and when we need something, to report it to troop committee so they can get the equipment replaced and/or repaired.


What I envision for activities is having people specialize more in the jobs. They don't necessarily need to do them, but to work on them with the Scouts and make sure that particular task is done. We have a standard permission slip that must be filled out for events. Some events, it gets taken care of a few weeks ahead of time, other times it is done last minute. It all falls back on me if I don't find someone to take care of these tasks every single outing we go on (it is a pain to have to ask people constantly to do things). I'd rather have it where someone was in charge of making sure the permission slips were done each month so I wouldn't have to find someone each time. Ditto for some of the other stuff that needs to get done.


I hope this is a little more clear.

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Units are free to organize the adult side of their unit pretty much any way they see fit, as long as proper regard for the decision making roles of the scouts is taken into consideration. The official BSA guidelines for committee operations suggest what organizational experts would call a "functional" structure with individuals assuming specific responsibilities and performing specific tasks for the entire unit.


The SM and ASM work directly with the boys on an ongoing basis.


What is not addressed in the official guidance is the role that individual adults may play in planning and executing specific one off events. It has been my experience that larger units designate specific adults to "be in charge" of a specific event. I call them trek leaders, although the event may not include trekking. These people interact with the youth and the other adults to help pull the event together. Their names go on the tour permit. In effect there is a third structure of adults that revolves around events. We have moved towards expanding a subcommittee solely concerned with outdoor events and calendar coordination because of the volume of activities that we have. This subcommittee is responsible for training adults and includes the adult equipment coordinator. We generally make tour permits the responsibility of the trek leader. Personally I would not want somebody else to process a tour permit for me because I want to control what goes onto the form.


Having said all that, I think it would be a mistake to delegate to a group of adults the authority and responsibility for events outside the committee structure. Such people should attend committee meetings to report and discuss the events for which they are responsible. You can't just turn people loose without oversight.

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