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rubixcube

Are all parents invited to troop comittee meetings? And who is allowed to vote?

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The boat sounds like something that indeed could be decisive, especially if someone is using it for personal use far more than the scouts are using it.  Biggest issue here from what you have told us though, is as @SSScout and @scoutldr point out- if the church is defunct, then this former pastor is NOT the COR as there is no Charter Organization here! That means there is not really a troop, and you absolutely have right to question the spending of any money, as all that money is questionable as to who "owns" it.  Troops do not actually own $, they can fundraise, but those funds all technically belong to CO of their troop.  Now, you could form a group called the Friends of Scouting for XYZ township or something to be the CO, but you really need the DE or your council registrar to advise on how to do that appropriately.  

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I'm still unclear...WHOSE name is actually on the boat's registration/title?  THAT's who owns the boat legally.  If it's an individual, and he refuses to get rid of it, then HE needs to get HIS boat fixed.  The troop's use of the boat (which sounds to be minimal) can be considered his donation to the boys...worthy of a thank you.  And if the boat was "donated" by a donor who was under the impression that it was going to "scouting", and it was registered to an individual, then that's another issue.  We have been "strongly admonished" by our SE that he is the ONLY one who can accept significant donations of cash or property in the name of Scouting, because it triggers a "tax event", if the donor expects a tax deduction for a charitable donation.  I'm no lawyer, but IF the committee elects to funnel thousands of dollars into an asset owned by an individual, I believe you will have a problem with the law.

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On 12/12/2018 at 2:27 PM, rubixcube said:

Thank you everyone for the replies.  Good advice in all of the posts for me to consider.

Answers to some questions that people asked:

  • The boat appears to be worth around $20,000 based on my limited online research on what similar used boats are being sold for.
  • The boat’s engine simply broke down.  The mechanic who looked at it recommended replacing the entire engine (the $4,000 cost) as he said that the engine was far past its life expectancy.  It was just a coincidence that it happened to stop working on the scout trip.
  • I don’t think there is any interest in selling the boat since the boat is mostly used for personal use, and they don’t want to give that up.
  • The committee members know that the parents are not happy, but I honestly believe that they just don’t care.  And yes, I fully admit that having a group of highly experienced troop committee members with strong connections to council was a big reason why we chose this troop in the first place.  But they just have this smugness where they believe that they know what is best for the troop, since they have been involved in scouting for so long and continue to be involved despite their boys being long aged out of the program.

 

Hi @rubixcube,

As a former Troop Committee Chair - I'll add my .02 here.

It sounds like you've got a troop that has been run by a certain group of Scouters for a very long time.  I'm guessing that yours, and many other families, have relied on them for many years to make many hundreds of decisions.  I'm guessing that as a whole the families have been happy to have their time and leadership in support of the Scouts.  Now you've got a situation where you look at a significant decision and say "hmm.  I don't like that one."

You could go down the path of calling Council and trying to get this decision changed.  But I don't think that really helps you all.  Even if you got it changed, you might, as the say "win the battle to lose the war."  Do you lose their involvement?  Do you create some significant hurt within the group?

I'd encourage you and some others to become registered Troop Committee members.  Find some jobs to help out with.  Next time something like this comes up, you'll all be in a much better position to say "No, let's not do that."  Along the way you'll also help strengthen the troop too - a side bonus.

 

 

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Old guard adults are such a pain in the patootie.  Tell them that since they have no kids raising funds, they should listen to the people who have kids actually in the troop.  If they aren't raising the money, they need to take some freaking input. 

Email them, call them, complain to them.  Complain up the chain. 

I can't stand old guard leaders who don't serve the membership.  Back in the day, in 1980, we did it like this, and my son, who's now 45, did that for his eagle project,  yadda, yadda, yadda.  Ugh!!!   

Edited by WisconsinMomma
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On 12/14/2018 at 9:21 AM, ParkMan said:

Hi @rubixcube,As a former Troop Committee Chair - I'll add my .02 here.

I'd encourage you and some others to become registered Troop Committee members.  Find some jobs to help out with.  Next time something like this comes up, you'll all be in a much better position to say "No, let's not do that."  Along the way you'll also help strengthen the troop too - a side bonus.

2

The problem is that old guard members don't let in any new blood.  It's all ego and know-it-all-ism.

 

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When it became obvious that the Cub Pack that Scoutson had just crossed over out of was NOT going to be rechartered by the CO (a "paper" sponsor, a "courtesy" sponsor , a hospital "Foundation") , and no other parents wanted to take up the cause,  we collectively decided to have one heckava BBQ picnic, and used up the remainder of the treasury.  The last hundred or so dollars were signed off to the Hospital Foundation, a worthy cause none the less.  Remaining Cubs transferred to other Packs. 

Salve our wounds, cherish our Cub Scout memories and move on. 

Edited by SSScout

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1 hour ago, WisconsinMomma said:

The problem is that old guard members don't let in any new blood.  It's all ego and know-it-all-ism.

 

Always the option of finding another Troop if you don't like the leadership of the current one. The other option is to talk directly to the Committee Chair about your concerns. They decide who sits on the committee, and in what capacity. A third option is talk to to a district commissioner if your unit has one, they may be able to help mediate. 

As for the boat, it's pretty straight cut and dry for me. Either it belongs to the Troop( actually the CO), and the Troop should fix it, then retain control of the boat after it's repaired. Or it's privately held, and the owner lets the Troop use it. If the Scouts didn't actually damage the boat, then the Troop isn't obligated to pay for repairs, but might contribute since the owner lets the Scouts borrow the boat and that put some wear and tear on the boat. "Contribute" doesn't mean pay for the whole repair. If there was a Scout who damaged the boat by being careless or reckless, I'd be more inclined to have the Troop cover a more substantial amount or all of it. I'm extremely uncomfortable with an arrangement where Troop (CO) owned property, is titled to somebody affiliated with the Troop, and not the Troop(CO) itself. 

I'm in a similar spot to the "old guard" types. I'm an adult in the program without any kids in the Troop. Even at 25, I'm the 2nd longest active tenured member of the Troop. I've learned through the last Scoutmaster transition that my role needs to become less active and more advisory in a nature. Part of that is starting Graduate school, but part of that is also that I've had my shot to influence the Troop as an adult from 2011-2017, and it's time to make room for others to leave their mark on the Troop. The previous Scoutmaster feels similarly, we need to create room for the new Scoutmaster to create his own team, and chase his own vision of success for our Scouts. 

I think it's important for "Old Guard' members of a troop to be open minded to new ideas from newer parents and Scouts, and if they cannot tolerate the direction a new Scoutmaster or Committee Chair wants to go in, they should use their power of giving helpful advice, or maybe it's time to move on to other areas of Scouting (District, Council level volunteering.) 

It's important for new parents and leaders to respect and consider the advise of the "Old Guard." Many on this forum would qualify as "old Guard". Leaders with a decade or more in the Scouting program, without kids in the program. They've seen some things. They've been that optimistic and big dreaming new leader before. Some have been that parent with questions and concerns before. Long tenured leaders an important link to the history of a unit, and those who are truly ""Old" Guard" have an important link to the history of the district, council and development and changes of Scouting as a whole. 

Just my two cents. I've yet to have a problem infiltrating the old guard. 

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Whoa.  I didn't see anything here that said the old guard members in this instance did not allow in new blood.  Perhaps I should have inferred that, but I didn't.

Scouting experience is a wonderful thing.  It provide continuity and experience to the leadership team.  Our troop has a very rich mix of parents and experienced Scouters whose kids have long since left the program.  I cannot begin to tell you how much we've benefited from having those 10+ year veterans in our leadership team.  We have one leader who has been taking the Scouts to summer camp for over 20 years.  That leader is fantastic with the Scouts.  I shudder to think of the loss to our scouts if we asked every leader who's kids are done in Scouting is made to feel they need to move on.  How awful. 

Of course a troop wants a balanced leadership team.  Having just old guard with no current parents makes no sense.  That's a way to get a stale leadership team.  The flip side is equally wrong.  Having just current parents in the troop limits your ability to draw on experience.  End of the day, you want a mix.

This is where Committee Chairs and Scoutmasters earn their stripes.  The good ones know how to leverage different backgrounds to make things happen.  This is exactly why we have these folks - to organize and guide our adult leaders.

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51 minutes ago, Sentinel947 said:

Just my two cents. I've yet to have a problem infiltrating the old guard. 

Gotta admit - this has been exactly my experience too.  Respect and embrace their experience and they are wonderful additions to your program.

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19 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Gotta admit - this has been exactly my experience too.  Respect and embrace their experience and they are wonderful additions to your program.

Yeah.  I agree.  If you show respect and value their experience, you can usually build great relationships and join the team.  

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Tradition is a good place to start, until something better is agreed on.

Tradition replaced becomes lessons learned and "history", both good to remember. 

 

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There are several issues of significance that excellent comments have been made by others. Perhaps a summary and a few observations would be helpful.

The boat can have only one owner and that is whomever holds the title. The owner, in this case appears, to be either the CO or an individual. If owned by an individual, it might be time to work out an arrangement whereby the Troop compensates the owner whenever the boat is used. Whoever owns the boat is also responsible for insuring the boat, especially liability coverage. I wonder if an individual has saddled the Troop with insurance and costs so that the individual can use the boat without usual costs. It needs to be clearly established by viewing the title who owns the boat and be certain that it is properly insured.

Whoever owns the boat is responsible for determining whether to scrap the boat or repair it. As a boat owner of a boat about the same size, it cannot be so old that the engine has worn out and be worth $20,000. The boat is more likely worth about the cost of repair - the engine. Unless your Troop is well to do, I would recommend selling it if the CO owns it.

The first person to begin to work this out is the CC (Committee Chair). If there is no satisfaction there, the IH and COR should be next. 

You must get an actual Chartered Organization (CO) for your Troop that will have the Institutional Head (IH) and assign the Chartered Organization Representative (COR). The current situation does not meet BSA policies and might be fraud (I am not an attorney but this is misleading the council and someone is signing for an entity that does not exist) that could be a serious issue if something bad ever happens. If the Troop does not wish to find a CO, I would not remain in the Troop.

If the CC and current COR do not wish to rectify the situation, I would recommend a group of parents to go to the Scout Executive (SE) of the local council and lay out the issues. There should be a consensus that either the current Troop gets a true CO, IH, and COR; determines boat ownership; and establishes a new Troop committee; then the current parents will request council assistance in establishing a new Troop.

Scouters whose own youth have aged out of the program are a valuable resource so ever effort should be made to ask them to stay involved and that they are valuable to the Troop and the Scouts. Do not push them away. Be clear that such large decisions must be made with input from the current parents upon whom the bulk of the fund raising and the effects of spent funds (if money for the $4,000 repair comes from current Troop funds) will fall upon. Try to always remain Kind and Courteous. Be a good listener to their arguments and ask the same for yours.

Appoint a spokesperson to avoid to sides talking over one another.

The lack of a real CO is very troubling. The possibility that someone is taking advantage of the Troop with the boat is very troubling. The lack of a CO makes such an issue possible to arise and cause many problems.

Good luck in resolving the issues. Let us know what decisions are made and the eventual outcomes.

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48 minutes ago, vol_scouter said:

The lack of a real CO is very troubling.

I agree. It is troubling that the district/council have let this continue for 10 years. They must have known that the church had closed. It is also troubling that the parents have been willing (for the past 10 years) to sign their kids up in a unit without a real CO. 

The boat is the least of their problems.

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3 hours ago, vol_scouter said:

The lack of a real CO is very troubling.

 

2 hours ago, David CO said:

I agree. It is troubling that the district/council have let this continue for 10 years. They must have known that the church had closed. It is also troubling that the parents have been willing (for the past 10 years) to sign their kids up in a unit without a real CO. 

The boat is the least of their problems.

The CO issue is not really surprising or at fault.  And, it's far from unique.  Most COs operate at arms length.  Some COs equate to nothing more than the parents in the troop.  It's rare to have an active, involved CO.  I say this as I don't think there is anything unique for scout parents to notice or for the district/council to be concerned about.  Is it ideal?  Absolutely not.  Is it unusual or immediately concerning?  No.  

Edited by fred8033
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1 hour ago, fred8033 said:

 

The CO issue is not really surprising or at fault.  And, it's far from unique.  Most COs operate at arms length.  Some COs equate to nothing more than the parents in the troop.  It's rare to have an active, involved CO.  I say this as I don't think there is anything unique for scout parents to notice or for the district/council to be concerned about.  Is it ideal?  Absolutely not.  Is it unusual or immediately concerning?  No.  

I agree with you that in true practice, most CO's are pretty much hands off as to program, but do understand they have some stake of the use of their facilities.  In the BSA's eyes, they tend to operate as though that is not the case.  Districts/councils should be concerned at least from the perspective of liability.   If an injury occurred at a troop meeting in the church basement, for example, you can bet that the BSA insurance is not going to pay if another third party has coverage that could pay (the church) under a subrogation clause.   

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