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Troop committee questions

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I have two questions about troop committee positions. First, can an ASM who serves in a dual role as a committee member vote on issues brought to the committee? I know that ASMs are not included as an official vote, but I've not found clarification if one person has two roles. At the very least it would seem prudent to exclude his/her vote if it is a conflict of interest.


Second, who is responsible for recruiting merit badge counselors?


And a third, I guess. Is there a digital copy of the troop committee handbook online somewhere for viewing or download?


Thank you!

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First of all, why would a person NEED to be dual registered as both ASM and MC? Should be one or the other.


MBC is a District position. The District Advancement Committee is responsible for establishing a list of qualified persons.


Digital free copies of BSA pubs? Good luck with that.

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People can not be Assistant Scoutmasters and Troop Committee Members at the same time. With one exception regarding the COR, the position you put on your application is the only one you hold. So if an Assistant Scoutmaster is performing the role that is usually a Troop Committee Member's job, then the Assistant Scoutmaster needs to make a choice. The Assistant Scoutmaster is going to stay an Assistant Scoutmaster and perform the Assistant Scoutmaster role or the person is going to resubmit an adult application to be a Troop Committee Member and perform that role. The same goes for a Troop Committee Member acting as an Assistant Scoutmaster. A choice needs to be made. If a troop does not have enough Assistant Scoutmasters or Troop Committee Members, the troop needs to do some recruiting. With that said, if everyone is doing the job for which they are registered, there will be no conflicts of interest.


Of course, there are troops out there which have monthly adult meetings which all registered adults attending regardless of position. Many troops call these meetings Committee Meetings. Is it the way the program is supposed to be presented? No. Should it be changed? Yes. Can you change it? Yes, but you will need to be the top dog to do so effectively.


As for recruiting merit badge counselors, I would say that we all as Scouters are responsible for recruiting them. If you come across someone who might be a good counselor for a particular merit badge or group of merit badges, ask if he/she would like to be a counselor? If the person says yes, get his/her information and contact the District or Council person on the Advancement Committee. I'm sure that the point person would be real appreciative.


As for an online version of the Troop Committee Handbook, you will probably need to do a bunch of searches. You may find that troops have posted it on their websites, but that the document has been customized for their troop.


Good luck,

Chazz Lees





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Hiya sasha.


Generally speakin' a committee should work together, eh? Contentious votes should be avoided as being a sign that everybody needs to get their priorities straight and work harder at workin' together.


The BSA only provides vague guidelines about committee operations, because the structure and functioning of a troop committee is really up to the Chartered Organization. Some Troop Committees only have three members of the church on 'em. In others, all of the parents participate. In still others, it's a mix of parents and community members. In still others...


You get the point.


Within the BSA, a person cannot register in the same unit as both an ASM (SA) and a Committee Member (MC). What happens in the Chartered Organization, though, is up to them, eh? They can allow the ASM to attend and discuss and vote with the committee if they want. That's the right thing to do if the committee is set up to function as a parents' committee, where all parents are welcome to participate. Otherwise you'd be disenfranchising an ASM just because he or she was doing more work than the other parents. :p It also might be the right thing to do if the ASM has been tasked to also serve in a committee role, which often happens in smaller troops.


I'm not sure what yeh mean by a "conflict of interest". Conflict of interest is a legal/ethical term that refers to a problem of servin' two masters. The sort of thing that would be a conflict of interest for a committee member would be somethin' like a vote to pay the committee member for a piece of property or a service. The committee member would then be torn between his or her duty to the committee to do what's best for the program, and his or her own financial or familial well-being. So any committee member should refrain from voting in that kind of situation. Aside from that, though, there's really nuthin' that rises to a conflict of interest in a scouting program. The interests of the SM/ASMs and the interests of the committee are the same, eh? To do the best job for the boys.


In theory, the local council or district is responsible for recruitin' MBCs, but don't hold your breath. :) In most places, that job is functionally handled by the units in some way or another. Could be the Advancement Chair, could be the Committee Chair, could be the SM or someone else. Often it's everybody. The SM, however, has discretion in terms of who he allows kids to go see, and some Chartered Organizations have additional requirements.


If yeh don't mind my sayin' so, it sounds like "something is up." Rather than try to treat the symptom by lookin' up the guidance in the old guidebook, my suggestion is that yeh instead treat the cause by takin' some time to get everyone to step back and take a deep breath and focus on how to serve the lads.


Of course, if yeh share what's up, we might be able to help a wee bit from afar. Otherwise we're all just guessin', eh?







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Thanks, ghermanno. Just the link I needed. I did search for one on my own, but I didn't find what I needed so I thought it likely that I didn't know the proper search terms.


Beavah, no big contentious issues. We have a troop in transition, most of the committee is new and we have more jobs than people right now, so we have volunteers working more than one position. Questions come up, like the ones I asked, and everyone says what they think is the 'rule' but no one really knows why. I'm a researcher and information-gatherer by nature and so I like to go looking. There is common practice, which is what this forum is good for learning, and there are the written guidelines, which generally come in the form of BSA handbooks. I will also talk to a few experienced local Scouters I know when I have the chance, for a different perspective. If it is relevant and important, I'll talk to other committee members and we will consider changing our current practice. In this case, I'm just trying to work stuff out for myself.


Thank you for your thoughtful reply, it was very helpful.


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Yep, everyone wears multiple hats in our troop, so nobody pays attention to your position patch when you raise your hand to vote. We've even stopped calling them committee meetings and started calling them parent meetings. That's partly because we lost a few hard-working families to a new troop in town, and adults who were hanging back need to step up. It's also partly because we want folks to realize they don't need a bajillion hours of training to have a good idea for the boys.


But, generally, the SM and ASM focus on how we are taking care of the boys, activities they want to do, what equipment we may need, etc ... the MC's focus on how to meet those needs, activities they can offer, fundraising schemes, etc ...


Rules have their advantage in terms of making sure everyone gets their say. There've been a few circumstances when they would have saved us some grief, but in a small group that isn't very often.

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I can speak from experience here and say that multiple hats are worn as proof of our own troop committee simply because we have the basic minimum of 5 scouts. Thus our committee has the basic minimum of committee members doing dual roles until we grow again.


In answer to your question, the ASM can do both roles but they lose the right to vote because a SM or ASM can't vote. ASM and SM can offer valuable debate to any issue on the committee table especially if they know scout regulations and have scout experience that the CMs don't have.

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Beavah's description of a unit committee is a good practical guide in my experience.



I've developed both troop and pack committees, usually in relatively small units that are struggling to grow and thrive.


I've taken units with no history of committee meetings and where unit leaders deny anyone would come and consistently turned them into effective meetings that were well attended.


My methods to achieve that are 1) they are parent meetings, with all parents and other volunteers welcome to attend and participate 2) they are scheduled most months as part of our annual plan 3) there are often a couple of months where they aren't needed for planning, and we don't hold them if they aren't needed 4) we promote them with a reminder at a unit meeting or activity and e-mails 5) the meetings last no more than an hour 6) The meetings are well structured to provide effective program planning and program support 7) It's rare to have a formal vote on anything, but we take a vote if needed.



Our annual plan lists our meetings and activities for the year. The unit leaders generally have some detailed ideas on what those meetings and activities will be, but parents usually contribute program ideas to flesh out the program, especially things that they would like to do to help make the program a success.



For our April Pack Committee meeting at the end of the month, I've suggested to the Committee Chair that we consider using the meeting in part as a reception for parents newly recruited into the pack this month. I'm thinking of giving those parents written invitations to the Committee Meeting and having the early part of the meeting devoted to introducing those new parents to the existing parents in the pack.


My theory is that this would help get new parents started right away in becoming friends with other parents and begin habits of supporting the pack program, and give new parents the opportunity to ask questions they have about Cub Scouts and the Pack program.


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Beavah gives a good description of a Troop Committee. Ours, finally, has no ASMs on it. When I stepped down as SM last year and moved to Committee Chair it was my main objective to build a real working committee. Hooray for us that we have that now. We have a treasurer, advancement chair and a fund raising chair.


It wasn't always this way for us. For years, we were a tiny little troop with only three adults doing everything. Now, because our Troop has become quite popular because of our AWESOME program (LOL), we are overwhelmed with adults. Be careful what you wish for.


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I very much am in favor of allowing the youth leaders to do their job working with the Scouts while the management committee works to do what they can to support them.

But as others have mentioned this takes time and in some Troops never happens mainly because they either are happy with the way things are or they just never get to that point.

I've chaired and been part of a lot of committees in Scouting. It's been my experience that anything coming up for a vote is rare. So I wouldn't waste time worrying about who can and who can't vote. Everyone is there to do what's best for the Scouts.

The District should have a list of MBC's. You should be able to get a copy from either the Dean Of Merit Badges or the District Advancement Chair.

All MBC's are supposed to be approved by the District Advancement Committee and in most Districts are given the choice of working with all the Scouts in the District or just the Scouts in the unit(Troop) they serve. Anyone can recruit but the Advancement Committee has the final word.


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