Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Eagle76

Troop Committee authority - exceeded?

Recommended Posts

We have had this battle before in our troop the Solomon like decision was (insert drum roll here) the troop will not meet on Mondays when the schools are closed. What that has to do with anything I don't know but we had noticed prior to the decision that our attendance at holiday meetings was pitiful at best with many opting for other more exciting options including the troop planning longer trips on those holiday weekends. And if you really want to see bad attendance try the troop meeting monday night when they just got back at 5 pm from a long drive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Historically, our troop, which meets on Monday nights, didn't meet on any holiday. But the SM and I had discussed how there was no reason not to meet on the "minor" holidays, like Columbus Day, MLK's birthday, and President's Day. So the calendar presented to the troop committee showed troop meetings on those days."

 

As a DL, I'm not as familiar with the calendar set up by a PLC, but based on your post, it seems that the boys have very little to do with this problem. The tension is: You (the ASM) and the SM defined "minor" holidays, but then the committee (the parents) decided they weren't minor holidays.

 

Speaking as a parent *only*, regardless of what the committee had decided my son wouldn't be there. We use long weekends as time to be with our family, and would not change our plans to make a meeting. Even if we were home in time to make the meeting, Monday evening after a long weekend with family events tends to be a time of regrouping, catching up for the next school day, etc. My guess is that other parents would feel the same. Similarly, I would be left wondering why a program that is supposed to emphasize the value of your family is asking a scout to choose? As the person who is required to get my son to the meetings each week, it would be a bit of a turn-off.

 

While I am all for teaching autonomy and independence, and perhaps the scouts did decide that they wanted to meet on these holidays, it seems somewhat presumptuous that a group of children made these decisions without consulting their families. I would never make plans for any long-weekend or holiday for my entire family without checking with my family. Maybe I have an atypical family? If my son came home and said, "Hey Mom, we set our calendar, and were meeting on minor holidays and long weekends, so I'm gonna need to make meetings on MLK and President's Day," I would be than a little annoyed.

 

Again, this is speaking as a parent only, not as a member of any committee, and perhaps that was the way your committee was responding? As a parent, if y'all set the final calendar with these holidays as meetings that would be fine though, it would just be 3 meetings that my son couldn't make.

 

-Emily

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another approach is to try to go camping on those weekends for a 3 day trip. We have done that with good success. Especially MLK day where the youth are off and many parents have to work. Thus, it gets the boys out doing something constructive instead of potentially having too much unsupervised time as some of these holidays become.

 

Emily,

 

You appear to be new to this forum. I would like to kindly and respectfully ask you to reconsider the decision making ability of the youth in your troop (this is Boy Scouts and NOT Cubs). Though they need guidance, this is the time for them to begin to learn how to make decisions and be responsible for their actions. It would be much better to allow them to make a decision that may not turn out well that is then changed than to just over rule them. Scouting is difficult for parents (I have been through it with my children) because the youth should be in control of as much as possible. That helps them to learn. So if a troop's PLC wants to meet on minor holiday Mondays and very few attend, they will change it. Family trips should always take precedent over meetngs - scouting should support rather compete with the family.

 

As to the original question, I agree wth others. In the future, do not ask for approval from the TC but simply inform them of the calendar. I would not try to change things ths year but wait a year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the Committee can't reasonably support a request from the PLC, it has to say, "No." That's not overstepping their authourity: it's being honest about the resources available.

 

For instance, a previous PLC wanted to go camping six hours away over a weekend. The distance was the deal breaker. Another time they wanted to visit and shoot at a range that was not in any way, shape, or form in line with basic safety. Said, "No."

 

As for meeting on holiday Mondays, is the site even available? I know of many COs that don't open thier buildings on holidays.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nike,

 

If the Committee has to say NO, then one things has happened, and one thing needs to happen:

 

1) The Chair and the Scoutmaster are not cross-talking well-enough about left and right limits. IMO, the Chair does not have the Scoutmaster's back!

 

2) The Chair, representing the support side, then needs to go to the SPL and PLC and explain the NO answer so the youth can learn. Trust me, the youth will have some tough questions. The Chair needs to be prepared to defend the decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Another approach is to try to go camping on those weekends for a 3 day trip. We have done that with good success. Especially MLK day where the youth are off and many parents have to work. Thus, it gets the boys out doing something constructive instead of potentially having too much unsupervised time as some of these holidays become.

 

Emily,

 

You appear to be new to this forum. I would like to kindly and respectfully ask you to reconsider the decision making ability of the youth in your troop (this is Boy Scouts and NOT Cubs). Though they need guidance, this is the time for them to begin to learn how to make decisions and be responsible for their actions. It would be much better to allow them to make a decision that may not turn out well that is then changed than to just over rule them. Scouting is difficult for parents (I have been through it with my children) because the youth should be in control of as much as possible. That helps them to learn. So if a troop's PLC wants to meet on minor holiday Mondays and very few attend, they will change it. Family trips should always take precedent over meetngs - scouting should support rather compete with the family."

 

I am rather new, and I again spoke as a parent. I also think this problem is a great learning opportunity for the boys, so we may be in agreement. I'm am still unclear how much of this is about the boys' calendar versus tension b/t the SM and committee.

 

I think that one of the things that boys need to be guided on when learning how to make decisions is to consider how one's choices might effect other commitments and obligations. Maybe the SM and ASM directly addressed these questions in the planning meeting, and asked the boys to think about how meeting on "minor holidays" would work for them and their families.

 

I feel that my reaction primarily came from the OP, as it felt as if this issue had been pre-determined. I wasn't in either meeting, so I can't speak to that. If the boys knew ahead of time that this would not interfere with prior commitments and had made this decision after considering reasonable alternatives (such as moving the meeting to Tuesday), then maybe this was the best choice for the Troop as a whole.

 

You are certainly right that having boys plan events on MLK day, and then finding that only 2-3 scouts can attend, would teach the boys about making decisions.

 

-Emily

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John in KC,

 

Yes, a reason is always given along with some alternatives. And, since I've always been with SMs who are on the same wave length as the committee, the SMs have warned the PLC when something they want may not be possible.

 

Making the boys' plans possible is something that every committee member I've ever met wants to do. Sometimes the boys really don't understand what they are asking for, and by telling them no with a reason, they learn the limits of thier resources.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>>1) The Chair and the Scoutmaster are not cross-talking well-enough about left and right limits. IMO, the Chair does not have the Scoutmaster's back!

 

2) The Chair, representing the support side, then needs to go to the SPL and PLC and explain the NO answer so the youth can learn. Trust me, the youth will have some tough questions. The Chair needs to be prepared to defend the decision

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm fourtunate to have leeway from my PLC.

 

Basically the PLC has told me that they want two troop meetings month, with one outing a month. The parents meeting is held on one of the off Monday's.

 

We don't meet during Thanksgiving Week, 2 weeks for Christmas, one week in Januarary for school Midterms, Spring Break and Final Week. We also take off the from mid-July to August. This has worked well for us a small troop with 5 boys.

 

One thing we had to do this year because of the depression we are in is to cut back on a few campouts and replace them with day hikes instead. The PLC didn't nitpick, just wanted to make sure that we attended at least the Council Camporee.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OT aside...

 

Hey, Nike,

 

Where are you at in Beautiful Transatlantic Council at the moment?

 

We now return you to your regularly scheduled debate...

 

OK, we agree. If the PLC is not listening to the SM, sometimes a tough lesson has to happen, and Mr CC may be the right guy to bring it home. Of course, all of this presumes the Troop wants to let the youth do the major program decisionmaking and the planning/doing (short of driving) that makes the program happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hear what all of you are saying, but I think that the people who tend to congregate on this forum are more in favor of "boy led" than is the case out there in the general population of scout troop leaders.

 

Just using my son's troop as an example, the committee put together the calendar. They tell the boys when to meet, and the boys (via PLC) put together the meeting plan using that calendar.

 

Maybe this is because there are boys from 3 school districts and 3 private schools in the troop, and it is very challenging to stay on top of 6 school systems' schedules. Maybe it is because the troop meets in a school, and so there are certain dictates about school holidays, major school events, etc., that the troop must work around. Maybe it is because the adults don't believe the boys can figure out all of this on their own (and maybe they're right, maybe they're not). But in reality, I don't think it is uncommon for a committee to arrange the calendar and just give it to the PLC.

 

All that said, I'd prefer to see the boys do this, and hope the SM and CC would rein in the committee.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lisabob,

Only 6 different school calendars, that's a BREEZE! Back in the day my PLC did the colander having to deal with 2 public school calendars, approx. 4 private elementary/MS calendars, and approximately 6 private HS calendar. Yearly planning was just that: yearly planning, with things pretty much set in stone once written down. Scouts did all the planning and although tedious, especially if a school changed their calendar, once done the dates usually remained the same year after year.

 

And yes the youth can deal with it instead of the committee. no criticism is intended, but isn't your son's troop the one that had more adults than youth do the Venture patrol backpacking trip? Definitily sounds as if soem strings need to be cut.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This situation sounds familiar. What if the meeting hall was not available by the CO during the holiday? That has happened from time to time and the CCs job is to make the SM and the PLC aware of it. Meeting times should be set out in the units bylaws accounting for holidays. It sound like the SM is using the PLC to set his own agenda/control and the Committee was caught with a loophole.

 

These so-called minor holidays are typically non working days for many financial, governmental and legal firms. Thus families utilize them has part of their vacation time. It sound like the Committee (ie families of the unit) recognizes that and wishes that the PLC would consider that in their planning.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eagle92, I am not disagreeing with you. I would like to see more strings cut too. But it hasn't been a widely shared view and as I'm neither the SM nor the CC, I have found it challenging to make it happen.

 

To be fair - it is actually 10 elementaries, 4 middle schools, and 6 high schools in the troop's mix. Could the boys handle it? Yes I think they could, but again, that's not necessarily a widely-held view.

 

As I said, I think that those of us who buy in to the notion of boy-led (as more than window dressing) tend to be a majority on this forum, but a minority in our local scouting communities. I'm not saying that's how things ought to be, just that sometimes one needs to recognize the situation on the ground.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×