Charles Batteau (B3ZAATN@CPSLSOPS.BELL-ATL.COM)
Thu, 26 Oct 1995 11:00:41 -0400
You are definitely NOT out of line in wanting the adults to shoulder
their responsibilities. From your description, I would say that you
have a dysfunctional troop (even if you are putting on a great
program) and it IS going to fall apart eventually. The one thing that
I couldn't determine from your letter is how much PARENTAL interest /
involvement your troop has. Do the parents care? Or are they
rebuffed by the SM / CC when they offer help? Or does the adult
leadership discourage parental involvement?
What you need to do is seek some adult help from OUTSIDE the unit.
Specifically, I would first seek out your Unit Commissioner (if you
don't know who it is, your Council office can tell you). The UC
should probably pull in the District Executive and your chartering
organization's Charter Representative. You COULD go directly to the
DE if the UC wasn't responsive.
The UC and the DE want your troop to be successful because an failing
troop can hurt the whole scouting program. Assuming your Charter Org
CARES about your troop (some, unfortunately, ARE apathetic), your
Charter Rep will want to ensure that they are sponsoring a healthy
The UC, DE and CR need to then meet with the parents and explain what
is needed for a functional troop. Specifically, the committee needs
to exist (one person does NOT make a committee). They will "enlist"
more members for the committee. The new members should then elect a
new chairman. (I apologize if I tread on any feet here, but in my
experience it is a VERY BAD IDEA for the Committee Chairman to be the
spouse of the Scoutmaster. Being a committee of one exacerbates the
problems caused by this arrangement.)
The troop committee is responsible for recruiting the Scoutmaster and
Assistant Scoutmasters. As part of that responsibility, they should
make sure the SM and ASM actually live up to their responsibilities.
(By the way, I INFERRED from your letter that you may not be getting
"two deep" adult leadership at activities. This is REQUIRED by the
Guide for Safe Scouting, and you should not be having any troop
activities without it! The SM is responsible for ensuring that you
have two deep leadership at all times.)
You may find that with increased parental support (and pressure), the
SM and ASMs will actually start doing "their" jobs. There's an old
saying (or maybe I made it up <g>) that if you don't expect anything
of a person, you won't get anything.
There is one other area that you need to work on, which you have
probably missed because you have been too busy doing the adults' jobs:
The troop needs to be run by the PATROL METHOD. This means that the
program IS NOT planned by you and your ASPL. It's planned by the
Patrol Leaders (or their assistants) at a monthly Patrol Leaders'
Council meeting. You PRESIDE at the meeting. The SM/ASMs should be
there as coaches. The PLs should do the planning. (This isn't easy
-- there's a great tendency for the SPL to grab the ball and the PLs
too often let him have it! You have to restrain yourself and
encourage your PLs to come up with ideas. You might start by offering
them choices, then moving on to them actually coming up with ideas on
You have your work cut out for you, Uri, but you appear to have enough
initiative to get it done.
Chuck Batteau -- SM, Troop 751, Glen Allen VA USA
maybe they meant an hour a DAY! :-)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City