Re: Troop Politics
Kirk Barley (kbarley@EROLS.COM)
Sat, 18 May 1996 12:42:29 -0400
As Committee Chairman doesn't "program" work for you? I have seen all
sorts of arguments about the right way to do scouting. The issue that
always seem to be overlooked is who's program is it? It's the parents
of the boys who are members of the troop as represented by the Committee
(I'm ignoring the Chartered Organization, they may be key to this issue
or irrelevant, it depends on your situation).
As the Scoutmaster it is sometimes hard to take suggestions from the
committee. I have been guilty of this myself, but usually over who does
what, not what I was doing with the boys. As the Committee Chairman
didn't you approve each adult application? The way that I see it they
serve at your pleasure. If a Scoutmaster won't work within your
guidlines then you don't need him (her). It is probably the old SM's
offer that is interfering with your filling the position.
There is always room for honest disagreement, and the Scoutmaster,
presumabley an experienced Scouter, should be educating the Committee on
the methods of scouting. Including Committee Members on outings and in
the program, as you are, helps ease the normal tension between program
Hope this helps.
MCB Quantico, VA
Tim Goncharoff wrote:
> Dear Scouters,
> I would appreciate your collective wisdom on a troubling issue. There is
> great dissension within our troop, particularly between the committee and
> the program side. The committee is supportive in the main. There are
> 6-8 active members. We would like more, but this doesn't seem bad.
> We are fiscally sound, have a good size troop (about 35) and very active,
> with at least one outing per month. The committee has had some minor
> criticisms of the Scoutmaster, and the Scoutmaster and Asst. Scoutmaster
> have had major criticisms of the committee. The issues seem relatively
> minor to me. Some committee members feel the Scoutmaster is too harsh
> with discipline. Sometimes they feel the program schedule is too full
> and would like to ease up a little. The Scoutmaster and Asst Scoutmaster
> feel the committee is meddling where it has no business. They have said
> that we are there only to support the program, not to "meddle." They are
> very resentful of suggestions that we reschedule activities to more
> convenient times, that we try to end troop meetings on time, and other
> seemingly innocuous suggestions. The Scoutmaster recently resigned,
> saying that he can't work with such a non-supportive committee. He has
> offered to return if the committee stops trying to "tear down the
> program." Most committee members feel the Scoutmaster and Asst
> Scoutmaster, who agrees with him, are a little too sensitive.
> We have been unable to fill the Scoutmaster position for some weeks now.
> Noone wants to wade into this morass. Our council has wished us luck,
> but had little else to offer.
> I am the Committee Chair, and also very active on the program side. I
> attend almost all troop meetings, campouts and other events, and am
> counselor for 18 merit badges. I get along with all of these folks on
> their own, but when the two sides get together, the sparks fly. I have
> distributed copies of the Committee Guidebook, and relevant portions of
> the Scoutmaster handbook, to no avail. We end up arguing about what is
> meant by "support," guidance," "defer," and similar words.
> These folks clearly feel strongly about Scouting, which I think is great,
> but sometimes they seem to take things a little too seriously. I am at a
> loss as to how to bring the sides together to promote our common goals,
> and I fear it is beginning to wear me down as well.
> Has anyone experienced a similar situation?
> Any advice from your great wisdom and experience?
> In humble supplication,
> Tim Goncharoff
> Troop 674
> Santa Cruz, CA
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City