Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: Re: Training for New Troop Committee Members
Re: Training for New Troop Committee Members
Thu, 4 Feb 1999 08:29:54 -0700
Attached is an outline that I have used many times working with
new committees. I hope you find it helpful.
Carol Breuer, Fort Collins, CO
. . . I used to be an eagle, NC-155
And Just What Does a Troop Committee Do?
It is often said that a good troop committee is vital to the success of the troop. But why? Just
what is the function of the troop committee?
Simply stated, the troop committee's job is to SUPPORT the Scoutmaster in bringing the
Scouting program to boys. It is the Scoutmaster who is responsibility to see that the program of
the troop is carried out as it should be. If the troop committee is there to take care of administrative
functions, and provide support for the program, then the Scoutmaster can concentrate on working
with the Scouts.
Let's take a look at some of these administrative functions. Leadership is an important
function of the troop committee. The committee is responsible to see that the troop has the best
available person serving as Scoutmaster, and that there are one or more assistant Scoutmasters.
And, once competant, caring adults are recruited for these positions they should be encouraged to
avail themselves of training opportunities.
Administrative functions include the areas of finance and records. Someone is needed to
handle the responsibilities of a secretary -- meeting notices, minutes of meetings, and publicity.
Someone must handle the responsibilities of the treasurer and take care of all troop funds. Bills are
to be paid as authorized, sound financial records need to be maintained, and the committee needs
to be informed of any financial matters related to troop budget.
Equipment and facilities are another area. The committee ensures that the troop has an
adequate meeting place for weekly troop meetings. Adequate equipment is needed to carry out the
Scouting program. And with this equipment comes the need for storage, for inventory and repair of
that equipment. The troop quartermaster is a Scout leadership position, but to be effective an adult
committee member should work with the Scout.
A healthy troop needs to maintain its membership with an ongoing recruiting plan. The
troop committee should be familiar with the recruiting methods of the troop to ensure that new
Scouts join on a regular basis. Membership resposibilities also include a plan for prompt and
orderly reregistration of troop.
Those are the administrative functions that the troop committee is charged with. But what
about the Scouting program? What role does the committee play there?
When it comes to program planning the Patrol Leaders' Council, made up of the youth
leadership of the troop, is responsible for planning the troop program under guidence of the
Scoutmaster. The troop committee reviews and gives final approval on the plans developed by the
Patrol Leaders' Council, including both long-range program plans and those for the monthly
program. Then the committee should inform parents of the troop program and enlist their support
of that program. In addition the committee is to provide other necessary support, such as finances,
equipment, and leadership, to ensure that the program is successful whether it is for troop meetings,
activities, or special events.
Advancement is an important part of the Scouting program. The troop committee is charged
with conducting boards of review for rank advancement, obtaining badges and awards, keeping
accurate advancement records, and ensuring that courts of honor are planned and carried out to
recognize advancing Scouts ceremonially.
Another vital part of Scouting is the outdoor program, and the troop committee needs to see
that troop provides year-round outdoor program. Support for the outdoor program comes by
recruiting leadership for summer camp, encouraging the parents' support of the troop's outdoor
program, providing transportation for tours and camps, and by promoting standards of safe and
healthful experiences for troop.
This is a quick look at the responsibilities of the troop committee. These are important tasks
that need to be covered for the smooth operation of the troop. If they are not done by the committee,
then the Scoutmaster often becomes overburdened with administrative and support needs and the
program will suffer. But when the committee functions as it should, the Scoutmaster can
concentrate on bringing the Scouting program to the boys in the troop.
Ten Tips for Your Troop Committee
Here are ten good tips that I found for improving your committee when I first became a
Know your parents. Have them complete a Troop Resource Survey Sheet, then keep them
on file and refer to them often.
Continue recruiting. Find your best recruiter, someone friendly, outgoing, and enthusiastic
about Scouting, furnish them with recruiting material and turn them loose.
Get everyone involved. Once you recruit them give them each a job. Even create new jobs
as needed by splitting functions.
Make sure person knows his job. Check the Troop Committee Guidebook or other written
descriptions. You may also have a troop handbook outlining policies.
Recruit for two deep leadership. Every chairman should have assistant. Then you have
a ready made replacement if they leave.
Hold regular meetings.
Appreciate the value of everyone's time. Use a printed agenda and stick to it. Dispense
with any unnecessary reports. Then allow some time for open discussion at end.
Communicate! Use the telephone, a troop newsletter, or a troop directory.
Create a friendly atmosphere. Treat committee members as good friends. You might even
hold an adult social once or twice a year.
Give thanks for a job well done.
Try these ideas a few at a time. Wait a few months and then evaluate. Don't get discouraged.
It may take time to build a good committee. Remember what we said at the beginning: a strong,
vital troop commitee is a key ingredient of a first rate troop. It is worth your time and effort.