scouts-l Mail Archive for February of 2000: Re: A report from the scoutmaster on exactly what scouts in leadership
Fred Heilbrunn (Lilchpn125@AOL.COM
Tue Feb 22 2000 - 13:59:32 CST
In a message dated 00-02-22 11:30:08 EST, Anthony Hitchings writes:
My feeling is that the Troop Committe should be active in exercising
oversight of the troop and its members, to ensure that the program is being
delivered. The SM and ASMs may be too close or in a rut.
So if its done politley, and with my goal in mind, where is the harm?
Where is the harm? Where shall I begin?
No matter how courteous you may try to be, the act itself is rude. Your
intentions, I am sure, would be noble, but the level of oversight your words
suggest are tantamount to usurping the authority of the Scoutmaster and his
The Troop Committee functions to support the program that the Scoutmaster is
charged with presenting. I will grant that there is and should be some
flexibility in how this is accomplished, but it is totally inappropriate for
the Troop Committee as a whole to discuss the personal development of
individual Scouts unless and until the Scoutmaster brings up a challenge he
needs help with. You might not mind it if your son is discussed in such a
way, but I'll wager that some parent will be very upset. It can potentially
be a unit breaker!
The Troop Committee should not be an organ to "ensure that program is being
delivered". That is a vote of no-confidence in your Scoutmaster. Unless you
are prepared to take the job of Scoutmaster yourself, you would be well
advised to curtail your attention to other essentials of committee work:
finance, transportation, equipment procurement, etc. If the program is not
being delivered, it will become painfully obvious almost immediately with or
without your oversight. Just do your committee job and trust that the
Scoutmaster will do the Scoutmaster job.
If it seems that there is a "rut", a simple conversation with the Scoutmaster
to provide him/her with additional information may be all that is required to
solve it. After all, a Scoutmaster only has two eyes and can't see everything
all the time. Additional observations are useful, BUT advice is not always
welcome, so be careful. In any case, not a topic appropriate for a troop
committee as a body.
As far as sharing information about a boy for a Board of Review, I do believe
a Scoutmaster's perspective can be valuable to a Board. Sharing it in a Troop
Committee Meeting, however, is inappropriate. Personally, I do share my
impressions with the Troop Advancement Chairman privately before a Board is
convened. This is to provide a tool for the Board; what they do with my
impressions is not my concern -- I trust them to do their job! And everything
confidential pertaining to each individual Scout stays confidential.
I'm sorry if I may seem a little terse in this reply, but I have seen first
hand what harm an overzealous Troop Committee can cause. I have been a highly
successful Scoutmaster for over 15 years. but about 6 years ago I was
suddenly blindsided by such a Troop Committee. Ultimately, I found another
Chartered Partner that wanted me as a Scoutmaster, so I formed a new troop --
the vast majority of the Scouts transferred to the new troop leaving the
Problem Troop Committee Members with an empty house. This is not a scenario
you want to create; it is very painful. Currently, my Troop Committee is in
total support of the program I present and it is a true team effort, for
which I am grateful (I think the boys are too).
Trust me when I say that peace in your unit is far more important than
worrying about oversight.
Yours in Scouting,
Scoutmaster, Troop 125
Mount Vernon, WA