Re: Pack Organization & Bylaws (or What have I got myself into?)
Anthony Mako (ajmako@NLS.NET)
Tue, 18 Aug 1998 13:54:07 -0400
I am a soon-to-be promoted Cubmaster in a pack with a two person committee.
[snip] My question is, for those of you who have been in this situation or
helped increase parental involvement is:
1. How does the committee work? Who gets a vote?
To be a properly registered unit, the committee needs three people. At a
minimum, that's the Committee Chairman, the Chartered Organization
Representative, and one other registered committee member. The committee has
the responsibility of supporting the unit program. That means they're in
charge of the budget, getting necessary equipment, maintaining youth and
adult membership, maintaining unit records, and generally making sure the
unit remains in existence.
How these responsibilities are divided up or handled is usually up to the
committee themselves. At committee meetings the CC is in charge. The
Cubmaster (CM) should be there to report on the progress of the troops in
the trenches. Other adult leaders may be asked to give reports on specific
problems or activities. Regardless of who is present, though, only
registered members of the committee (CC, MC, COR) should have a vote. I've
had several people ask me why the Cubmaster and DLs don't get a vote when
what the committee decides directly affects them. The answer is pretty
simple: does the department supervisor of a company get a vote at a board of
directors meeting? No he doesn't, even when what the directors decide
directly affects the supervisor's job.
The committee's job is not to decide how the program will be implemented, or
even what the program will be. Their job is to make sure the CM and all of
the other leaders in the trenches have everything they need to make the
program succeed (that includes equipment, transportation, AND training!).
2. Does a written set of bylaws help? and who writes them and/or changes
I'm not a big supporter of "bylaws" in Scouting, but I know they can be
useful. Who writes the bylaws (preferably called "guidelines") depends on
what they are for. If the guidelines are intended to put down on paper how
problems will be resolved, who has responsibility for what, and when and
where this or that meeting will be held, then the committee should write
them. If they are intended to define for the youth members what is allowed
and what isn't, then who writes them depends on what kind of unit it is. Boy
Scout troops (Varsity Teams, Venture Crews, and Explorer Posts) depend on a
lot of youth leadership so guidelines for youth should be written by the
youth leaders with the advice and consent of the committee. Cub packs rely
on a lot of adult leaders so guidelines for youth should probably be written
by the leaders in the trenches, once again with the advice and consent of
the committee. Who changes them depends on who writes them.
3. How to best help new committee members fulfill responsibilities. I know
it's a pretty tall order. What I am afraid of is not having been in a pack
with a functioning committee, how do I jump start one without stepping on
peoples toes, avoid looking like Alexander "I'm in control" Haig, and get
this committee airborne?
The best thing to do is to get people to decide for themselves how they can
help. Tell them what you need help with and they will be able to tell you
what they can do. One other thing you can do is to develop the attitude that
help from parents is expected. Not mandatory, but expected. If parents know
up front you (or someone) will be asking for their help from time to time,
they'll be less likely to turn you down. Before you do anything, though, get
together with all of the present leaders and develop a plan. Decide who will
be responsible for what. Decide on an overall goal (don't make it
impossible), break it down into smaller goals, and set a time-line. When you
recruit an adult for the committee (or any other position), let them in on
the plan and how they can help realize the goal.
It's important to remember what your job will be. If the CC is going to
stick around, it should be his responsibility to build and develop the
committee. Your job, as CM, is to recruit and train den leaders, and all of
the other trench adults. You'll also be more concerned with developing your
program. That doesn't mean you can't help build the committee, it just means
you shouldn't be the one doing all the work.
AJ Mako, email@example.com, Scoutmaster Troop 381
http://members.aol.com/Scouts381/ "Home of the Unofficial Boy Scout Desktop
Great Trail Council - Old Portage District - Akron, Ohio
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City