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Hawkwin

New Committee Chair for a New Troop

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I've been asked to be the CC for my daughter's new Troop she joined last May. The current CC is the Advancement Chair (AC?) of the "brother" troop and she wants to step down from trying to do two roles (and who can blame her). I was originally asked to be the AC but have recently been recruited to step into the big shoes.

I can log into myscouting and go through the training to learn what I need to do but we all know that such training can never really prepare one for the role so I am seeking the advice of other CCs (and non CCs) here.

What do you look for most from your CC? SMs, what bugs you the most about your CC? For current or past CCs, what is the one thing you wished you knew before you started or that you wished you did a better job of in the role?

What are some pitfalls to look out for? What are some tricks of the trade that really help make this job easier? Any other advice you might offer?

I told the current CC that I would make my decision either way by the end of this weekend. Any feedback you can provide is certainly appreciated.

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Great news that your daughter has a troop.   Last thing I remember you saying on the subject was "Don't ask".

Now for the pressing question:  Did she convince her patrol mates to be the Artemis Patrol and use that great patrol patch she designed?  or did they talk her into something else?    ( It seems to me that the incoming girls have a great opportunity to raise the standard on patrol names and patches. )

Keep in mind that as CC, being one of the key three, you will be in a position to positively influence the new troop.   Having a brother troop, you will have experienced scouters nearby when you need to ask questions.

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From a  ASM:

#1. Educate and manage the adults. Ground the helicopters.

#2. A unit committee is thrifty. Please minimize program time lost to fundraisers. 

From a former CC (albeit Cubs) 

#3. Meet with SM and ASM's to get more advice.  Review program calendar check for school, SAT, etc. conflicts.  What is their activity and equipment wish list. Who will handle equipment, a ASM or a Committee  member? Ditto with troop trailer (insurance, registration, maintenance)!  Who will handle med forms - a ASM  or committee member  (while an ASM  may seem more logical, a medical professional might be a committee member).

#4. Before you accept, review the unit finances and leadership with CO.  Know what CO expects from unit.  Talk about how to make leadership changes, if the need arises. 

#5. Proactively and energetically recruit the adults you want for committee positions.

#6. Any Committee member who says "Wouldn't it be nice..." see #2  :)

My $0.02,  hope it helps, best wishes

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I was a CC for about 5 years - it was a lot of fun.  It's one of the very few roles where you get to be plugged into everything in the life of that troop.

Some things I learned along the way:

  • A big part of the CC's job is preparing for the future.  It helps to be looking ahead 6-12 months.  What's next year's recruiting plan?  What's the budget look like?  Who will be stepping down and need to be replace?
  • Get along with the Scoutmaster as much as possible :)
  • As CC, you lead the adult team.  You've got to provide some high level vision for the troop adults.  Are we Scout led?  Do we want to grow?  What's our focus?
  • You've often got to be a voice of reason.  Do you have parents showing up who are causing problems?  If so, you'll need to stop that. 
  • The Scoutmaster runs the program.  Make sure you agree with the Scoutmaster's vision and then give him/her space to make it happen.
  • Always be looking for adult volunteers - activities coordinator, treasurer, advancement coordinator, STEM coordinator, merit badge coordinator, Eagle adviser, ASMs, etc...  The best thing I learned was just keep my ears open.  Talk to people, see what they like to do.  Then match up interests with needs in the troop.  Over a year or two, you'll get plenty of people to help by doing that.
  • Delegate, delegate, delegate.  Never take on a task that another can do.
  • Hold regular troop committee meetings with a prepared agenda.
  • Keep it positive.  Every troop has issues.  The key is to not focus on the negatives, but celebrate the positives.  Along the way clean up negatives when you can.
  • Encourage Wood Badge - seriously.  Wood Badge has the knack of giving a volunteer a sense of purpose.  It's great to have you treasurer go to Wood Badge and then come back more charged up then before.  Wood Badge tickets always benefited our troop.

Oh, and by the way - have fun!

 

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CC here.  A few things off the top of my head.  I'll probably come up with more late

1.  Make sure you and the SM have the same vision for the troop.  If there's already a SM in place be sure to sort this out.

2.  You've got to, for the most part, defer program decisions to your SM.  You're there to make the program happen, not to deliver it.  This is easy if you and the SM have the same vision (see #1).  We have a "running joke" in the troop that I'm the boss until the troop meeting/campout starts, then "management hands it over to operations" and I take a back seat for the SM to run the show.

3.  Probably the most difficult part is making sure all the grownups are on the same page.  If you've got a SM and and ASM that thinks they're the SM it's a recipe for problems.  Your job is to nip that in the bud.

4.  Delegate, but do it selectively.  Make sure you've identified someone's strengths and weaknesses before assigning them a job.  A mismatch means something doesn't get done then you have to do it.

5.  Don't read too much into the "org chart" that has the SM reporting to the CC.  Yes, if the SM isn't working out it's your job to deal with it.  But in practice you need to consider the SM-CC pair as equals with different responsibilities, both necessary to properly deliver the program. 

I've been in the gig for about three years and about have it down ( I think).  I deal with the paperwork, organization, logistics, that kind of stuff, and leave the program deliver to the SM and ASMs.  Works great for me, I can get all the "grownup stuff" lined up then go on a campout and just chill while the SM deals with the program aspects.

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I am a new CC for my daughters Troop that doesnt exist yet because I am still trying to find one or two more girls so I can turn in the paperwork.  

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11 hours ago, ParkMan said:
  • Encourage Wood Badge - seriously.  Wood Badge has the knack of giving a volunteer a sense of purpose.  It's great to have you treasurer go to Wood Badge and then come back more charged up then before.  Wood Badge tickets always benefited our troop.

Interesting.  It seems to me that Wood Badge is usually attended by SMs or ASMs.  I can't think of any committee members I know who have gone to Wood Badge.  

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34 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

Interesting.  It seems to me that Wood Badge is usually attended by SMs or ASMs.  I can't think of any committee members I know who have gone to Wood Badge.  

I guess all scouting is local. Around here WB classes seem to be an even mix of unit leaders, committee members, and district volunteers.

As it stands now, I'm the only guy in my troop who has attended WB. That makes some things a little more difficult. I spend a lot of time clarifying things that would otherwise be obvious. (E.g., "Our boys are storming a bit now, but if we keep encouraging them they'll soon be norming and preforming.") Fortunately we have a few dads who were in boy scouts, so that helps.

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5 minutes ago, qwazse said:

I guess all scouting is local. Around here WB classes seem to be an even mix of unit leaders, committee members, and district volunteers.

As it stands now, I'm the only guy in my troop who has attended WB. That makes some things a little more difficult. I spend a lot of time clarifying things that would otherwise be obvious. (E.g., "Our boys are storming a bit now, but if we keep encouraging them they'll soon be norming and preforming.") Fortunately we have a few dads who were in boy scouts, so that helps.

We seem to have someone attend about once every two or three years.  We get a mix of ASMs & Committee Members to attend.  

In our case, we're a bigger troop (about 80 scouts) and so some of our committee positions tend to be pretty active.  That's not to say we're an adult led troop - not at all.  When I started as CC, the committee was pretty much a few folks who did it all.  Over 5 years, I made a concerted effort to push ownership out to the volunteers on the committee.  As a result, many of those volunteers have taken a lot of initiative in what they do.  So, in the past 5 years we've had 3 Committee Members attend WB.  They always came back and took whatever they were doing to a next level of depth. 

For example, one of our attendees was responsible for adult leader training.  This then led to a broadening of that role into one where she started thinking about how to train non-leaders.  She then organized a new parent orientation day.  She started having info sessions for parents on topics like patrol method, advancement, & summer camp.

That has all really enriched what our committee is able to bring to the Scouts, Scoutmaster, & families.  So, I'm a big fan of having Committee Members attend.  

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17 hours ago, Treflienne said:

Great news that your daughter has a troop.   Last thing I remember you saying on the subject was "Don't ask".

Ya, we had to step outside our district, again, to find a home. At least this troop (unlike her pack) is a much closer drive (less than 15 minutes). We were working on trying to start a troop in our home town but the leadership, both within the brother troop and the district just didn't seem to have any sense of urgency. It was May and they hadn't even set up an information night (and school is out in May) so we had to find a troop before summer if I wanted her to be at all active during the summer. She got to go to a 1st Class day camp with her troop and gets her Scout patch on Sunday.

17 hours ago, Treflienne said:

Now for the pressing question:  Did she convince her patrol mates to be the Artemis Patrol and use that great patrol patch she designed?  or did they talk her into something else?    ( It seems to me that the incoming girls have a great opportunity to raise the standard on patrol names and patches. )

They went with something else - The Sea Turtles. She missed the meeting/camp out where they picked the patrol name. Her own fault for choosing not to go. The SM has indicated that patrol names will change over time. No idea what that schedule will be but I like the idea that they can evolve.

17 hours ago, Treflienne said:

Keep in mind that as CC, being one of the key three, you will be in a position to positively influence the new troop.   Having a brother troop, you will have experienced scouters nearby when you need to ask questions.

Yep, and the existing leadership seems not only VERY competent, they also seem to be very like-minded. I have been very pleased with all of the leadership so far and the methods and techniques used that have been new to my experience. For example, the troop gives all new scouts a sold white neckerchief when they join the troop. They "graduate" to other neckerchiefs as they progress in ranks. I love that idea. I've not seen or been part of another troop that did that.

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18 hours ago, Treflienne said:

... ( It seems to me that the incoming girls have a great opportunity to raise the standard on patrol names and patches. )

Waddaya got against Bacon Ninjas?

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11 hours ago, Hawkwin said:

Yep, and the existing leadership seems not only VERY competent, they also seem to be very like-minded. I have been very pleased with all of the leadership so far and the methods and techniques used that have been new to my experience.

Keep in mind that enthusiasm, and a willingness to learn, combined with a willingness to work hard and put in ample time, can go a long way.   These are no substitute for experience, but for any CC, there was a first time when they took the job without prior experience.

Who would do the CC job if you don't?   If there is not another obvious candidate, that can increase the other scouter's and troop families' willingness to put up with your learning on the job.   

Mind you, I am not a CC.   I did jump into a role with my daughter's new troop for which I have the training but not the experience.   Am learning as I go.   The troop is far from a perfect troop, but it is *much* better than no troop (which is what the girls had before 1 February) and is improving as the scouts and the adults learn their roles.

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10 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

Waddaya got against Bacon Ninjas?

Ok, we have wandered way off topic . . .    But from my adult and female point of view, it seems like giving one's patrol a joke name might go along with treating the patrol idea as a joke.   Of course, I've never been an 11-year-old boy, nor are there any such in my troop.    For the girls at least I'd like to see a certain amount of pride in their patrols -- and along with that goes choosing a good name.

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The best patrol names are those selected without any adult input whatsoever (and avoiding anything crude and inappropriate of course). But remember: if they choose a funny name that's a "joke", and love it, and use it, well, that IS the patrol method in action. That's not making a mockery of the patrol method - that's having the freedom to embrace it fully. That's EXACTLY what it means to have "pride in their patrols." That's what you want!

A "good name" is a name the Scouts love and stick to. We have to let go of our adult points of view, and consider things from their perspective. Ofttimes the units with the silliest patrol names are those that are the most committed to the program; their patrol yells are loud and obnoxious, their dances are silly and long - and the Scouts LOVE SCOUTING. As committee chair, one of your primary duties is to protect the right of the Scouts to enjoy that freedom of how they identify themselves as patrols. 

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