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There's not any question I'm being the Papa Bear protecting my cub here. My son is having trouble getting the committee to schedule his Board of Review to advance to Star. I've talked to enough of the other adult leaders to know that there is some animosity because my son is advancing as quickly as possible while the other scouts are not. This is because there is a fundamental difference in philosophy in the troop...


The committee chair tells all the parents when their scout enters the troop that if the scout will earn 4 merit badges at summer camp and 3 merit badges at merit badge college, that their son can be Eagle in 3 years without having to spend a lot of time working on merit badges. I don't really like that plan and my son has chosen to work on merit badges on his own (as I feel Baden Powell intended). The Committee Chair and the SM both seem to think it's cool when a big group of Scouts all advance at the same time... they think it looks cool at the Court of Honor. My personal feeling is that it makes an individual achievement look like a group reward.


Anyway, I'm just venting. I try and do everything I can to help the boys achieve their goals, not the other way around.

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I'd love to comment on the MBC rules (I hope you did NOT mark "Troop xxx Only") but I will stay on topic.


Committee meetings, with full committee, are OPEN. There may be times, such as stated by John-in-KC, where specific members of the committee will meet with other personnel (IH/SE/COR/...) that are not public. The meeting, as I interpret from you, was a "normal" committee meeting and therefore should have been "Open" to the public, even the parent that brings up matters that the CC does not want to cover. The parent should be given an answer so that it does not come up again. Avoiding answers/people does not make problems go away.


My $0.02





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Committee meetings, with full committee, are OPEN


In some units, eh? But not all. Just depends on da unit and the CO. Often da closer the unit is tied to the CO, the greater a hand the CO takes in things (as it should) and the less "open" a committee is.


Over da years my perspective on this has changed. Maybe that's because we see more helicopter parents these days, maybe because a part of my life in Scoutin' is refereeing adult squabbles. I used to be an open-committee fellow, but I think on par it's a net negative.


What yeh want in a committee is a bunch of folks who are committed to the program, not (just) their individual kid. Yeh also want them to share a common vision of what that program should be accomplishing and how they go about things. Finally, like any good board of directors yeh want folks on da committee who bring some personal expertise in some area to contribute - somethin' that the group needs. For all those reasons, it's best to follow the BSA procedure to carefully consider and select individuals to serve on the committee.


After you've got a group that's really committed to da long-term health of the program with a common vision and some real expertise, yeh don't want 'em to get bogged down in da gripe of the month from a parent trying to end-run the SM. So yeh have to restrict people's ability to speak/comment at committee meetings as visitors. Thing is, a lot of people don't take to that well, or don't comply, and a lot of CC's (apparently like the one in question) don't like dealin' with that kind of conflict.


Finally, open committees tend to contribute to da cub-scoutification of boy scouting. Yeh put a bunch of parents comin' out of cub scouts all together just like a cub committee, and sure as shootin' they'll move things toward being adult-run and organized. There's just not that much stuff to do in a boy-run unit, eh?


In a small unit of folks who share a common vision, an open committee will work just fine. Leastways until yeh get an influx of a bunch of people who don't share the vision. In a large unit, an open committee is unwieldy and almost always pushes things toward being adult run. Can they work? Yah, sure, if yeh have a really strong SM and core group of folks who are constantly puttin' the mission in front of people (and have the gumption to clip da wings of the folks who don't buy into the vision). Bando's report of pleasant 30-person committee meetings is more an exception than a rule eh? ;) But such strong folks don't last. Da EagleDads of da world move on. As Bando mentioned, it wasn't always the case.


Here we have a parent who doesn't like the vision of his troop's committee, and wants to stir things up. Now, of course we're all thinkin' that he's right and a lad should move at his own pace rather than being in lockstep... perhaps until we realize that "lockstep" in this case is apparently a mad dash to Eagle before high school and markrvp wants his son to go faster.


I'd say "relax", eh? Scouting is a great thing if the adults don't get in the way. Take a step back and let your son just enjoy it.




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my son's current troop has never had a "closed" committee meeting...


my son's previous troop did - and is was to discuss my son and a couple of others. The part that was upsetting is that it wasn't an actual "closed" meeting - it was just closed to me and another parent. It was a bit-- session on how we were ruining things, even though we were actually trying to help the troop and the boys to keep them from having to cancel so many trips etc...


as to the reasons for the meeting... my son's troop doesn't limit the number of MB we can be MBC for, but they don't tell us that we can fill in more than one sheet for badges to council - and the sheet has room for 5 or 7 as I recall. My son HATES having me as a MBC because he says I'm harder on him than I am on other boys - I don't think I'm harder... but I like to have documentary proof that he did the work, either he has things written up, photographs of work, or does it during the free time of a troop meeting. This is the same for other scouts - though sometimes when it's a discuss with councilor I make him write and then discuss which is why he thinks I'm harder on him.


I was his Family Life councilor, because he started that with his old troop and they had parents do it for their sons. The other one was swimming and I'm the only swimming MBC in our troop. For that one I made him take it at summer camp and then what he wasn't able to complete there he did with me. The only part he didn't upset me because the camp actually raised the requirements - the surface dives are in depth over scouts head and they were making them do it in 10ft depth which he couldn't do, but he could do 6.5ft and at just over 5ft qualified.


wish your son luck with the 100 goal. I think it's cool to have a kid have a goal like that and it should be encouraged



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This unit has always welcomed any parent who wanted to attend the committee meetings and I can't remember a single time when there was a problem from parents sitting in. Sometimes they have useful information such as school event dates that the rest of the committee are unaware of. The only committee meeting that was ever a problem that I can remember over the last (good grief!) 18 years was many years ago when the leadership held a kangaroo court to try to deny a board of review for an eagle candidate and that was also the only closed meeting that I can remember.


Yes, we've also had a couple of times where people came to gripe. I'd rather have those things out in the open than festering in gossip. At the meeting, it falls into the category of new business and the meeting chair can control it and sometimes produce a constructive outcome. Those concerned parents have a right to air their concerns and a sincere attempt to hear them sometimes goes a long way toward the solution.

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Wouldn't BSA's policy against secrecy cover this. Assuming it is not a health or personal issue which requires privacy wouldn't ANY parent with scouts in that unit have a right to attend?

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At our PACK committee meetings, we have an open door policy. You can come, watch, listen, take notes, eat a burger if you want.


It's fine with us. We have nothing to hide.


BUT, that doesn't necessarily give you right to take over, steer the meeting or even interject uninvited.


This is our meeting( the ones who step up) . We have no problem with getting input from parents,or asking their thoughts..but it is a COMMITTEE member meeting .


You want to talk as much as us and have equal input and vote on stuff...join the committee!

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This is what I would have to say on this issue.


The general committee meetings should be open to observers and guests. There should also be a point in the meeting/topic area where each person who would like to say their piece could have 60 seconds to voice their opinion. That is it. THe CM/SM have the voice of the scouts and other unit leaders. But they do not have a vote. It urks me sometimes but I have to trust in my committee.


As for the closed sessions, the committee may move into a closed session in which they ask all parties not on the committee to please exit the room so that committee discussion may be completed. This is not a YP issue or a secret society issue. THere may be levels of privacy that are an order. That simple.


Why does EVERYONE have to know EVERYTHING about EVERYONE ELSE. It is not thier business. What if slacker scout's parents are in the audiance, when you are about to have a discussion on their little pookie who never does wrong, while you are discussing the campership that he has applied for. YOu know it is a bad idea because the boy may be trouble.


Or what if you are dealing with a parent who is constantly drunk and coming to meetings and stuff.


There are some reasons to have a closed session.

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The pay of the SM/ASMs. Hahahahaha. Let me laugh harder. If we had to pay our leaders and the MCs who do the vast majority of the work, no one could afford Scouting.


Really, don't perpetuate that myth.

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Adam S: No. That is program.


This is the business affairs of the unit (really, the support people doing what they need to in order to support the program people).


You can be as formal (Roberts Rules of Order and Executive Sessions) or as informal (consensus) as you need to be.


In my experience, adults playing nice can get along with consensus. Adults not playing nice may need more structure.


Of course: The CC and the CM/SM/C/Adv need to know when to use good judgment and move a particular matter out of the general audience. Camperships are the first area that come to mind here, there are certainly others.

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Sure, anyone who wants to come to one of my committee meetings is welcome to do so! However, as a proper committee, we operate to SUPPORT the troop program, not micro-manage it. If a parent wants to come to the meeting to start a B&M rant about little Johnny, I tell 'em they need to take it up with the SM,it's troop business; it's not committee business. They learn "how it works" after attending one meeting. They either want to join and help, or are bored silly. :)

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>>Bando's report of pleasant 30-person committee meetings is more an exception than a rule eh? But such strong folks don't last. Da EagleDads of da world move on. As Bando mentioned, it wasn't always the case.

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I've been around Scouting for a while and this question has never come up.

The dates, times and location of the committee meeting are out there and everyone knows about them.

I'll admit that there has never been an open invitation, but there has never been anything that would say that the meeting is closed.

Most committees I have known in Scouting units are made up of parents and people who at one time or another have seemed like people who want to get involved and are willing to serve. At times they might not have known just how willing they were and have needed a little nudge and maybe even a slight amount of arm-twisting.

The meetings are for the most part more about a meeting of the minds. A friendly group who want to help get things done for the kids in the unit.

Sure there is an agenda, but the minutes tend to be more note-like than what I'd call minute like. The meetings are fairly informal. A vote is un-usual with most things just moving ahead because whatever it is seems to be the right thing to do.

Someone once said to me that the one person after your mother that you don't want to upset is your bartender! As a SM or Skipper I found that the last person you want to upset is the Unit Treasurer. Even more so than the Committee Chairman.


I think the reason why parents have not attended the meetings is in part because we have never gone out of our way to invite them. Maybe some know that if they were to start attending they would end up with some kind of a job or responsibility?

It somehow has just come to be that parents are unwelcome, not because anyone has ever said so or it is in black and white.

If and when there have been problems non-committee parents first port of call seems to be the unit leader. If that has been me, I have taken their concerns to the committee or have tended to fix what wasn't right and then reported what I've done to the committee.

When I as a leader had a problem that I needed help with my first port of call was to the Committee Chair. While we might be guilty of by-passing the committee, a report of what was done was given to the committee.

In over 20 years, other than the one time the committee had to discuss the removal of a Scout, there really has been nothing secret done at these meetings.

For the most part Troop and Ship Committee meetings seem to be more like a monthly meeting of good friends, Pack Committee meetings I've been involved with have a slightly different tone. Seems like some of these parents need o learn how to get along with other people a little better? I think this might be because the Pack is split into Dens and at times the "Who is the real leader?" Becomes a little cloudy. In Troops and Ships most of the parents seem to really appreciate the time and energy that the SM or Skipper puts into looking after the Scouts and the leader is the face of the unit.

Maybe I'm wrong but it would seem to me that when someone has to ask if the meetings are open or closed? That something somewhere isn't working.

I'm not saying for a minute that markrvp is the problem, but if the problem he has is not being sorted out? I very much doubt that the Troop Committee will sort it out. Chances are that the SM will already have had the ear of the Chairman and the Chair will side with the SM.

This might sound un-fair, but in most units it's the way it is.

I have found that in Scouting most things can be fixed a lot faster and better with a face to face meeting with one or two people who are willing to listen and work toward a compromise, which can then be taken to the committee than trying to change the way things are at a committee meeting. What tends to happen is that someone will dig their heels in and the longer it goes on the bigger the chance is that someone gets upset. When someone gets very upset they really have very little place to hide or go, so they just quit. Which while maybe not always a bad thing! May not be in the best interests of the unit.



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