scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: Switching Charter Organization, why not !!??
MAJ) Mike Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle (blkeagle@USSCOUTS.ORG
Mon Mar 29 1993 - 18:26:32 CST
Tom Hess asked us all:
>My son's Troop has the opportunity to ' transfer ' their chartering
>organization to a church that has better facilities, an active Cub
>Scout Pack, an active youth program and a Pastor and chartering
>group ( Men's Club ) that appear to be very interested in securing a
>Troop to complement their youth program. All things that are
>lacking in the current chartering organization.
Now, here comes the question that you should REALLY ask your youth members:
DO THEY WANT TO CHANGE THE CHARTERING PARTNERSHIP ARRANGEMENT??
I've seen two Troops that have done what you are considering, Tom. One
Troop folded within a few short months. Everyone was stumped, which is why
I was asked to come in and take a gander.
The first thing was that the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster both
thought that the change of partnerships were being done to "slowly get rid
of them" and bring on board younger, more vibrant supervision. The
Scoutmaster was in his late 50s and have been "playing the game" for many
years. He was a former District Chair. The Assistant Scoutmaster was in
his 30s and was similiarly experienced as a Scouter. Both served on Wood
Badge staffs and team-taught Junior Leader Training.
The second thing, as I mentioned in the lead-off question, Tom, was that the
youth of the Troop felt that the "challenge was gone". They were used to
"using their brains to figure out" how to get things done and how to
resource the various trips they wanted to take. The Troop was not that
active, but when they were active, the majority of the Troop participated.
But when given "everything they could ever ask for, and more" by the new
chartering partner organization, the Troop's youth leadership crumbled.
They were so used to "struggling" and "making do" that the change threw them
for a large loop.
The third thing, Tom, was the parents. The parents of the Troop dropped
off, when they saw that the new chartering partner organization would
basically "do it all for them". The chartering organization, a church, had
a very active Deacon's Board, and a youth program for all ages including
high school. Trained and religiously counselled staff members doubled as
the Troop's Committee, and little by little, choked the life out of the
existing Troop Committee and basically took it over. They did nothing wrong
from my examination....no conflicts between the leadership of the Church and
the Troop's few adults...as one parent told me "Now that they have the bus
and van at their disposal, I don't see a need to volunteer to drive them
Finally, it was the new chartering partner organization going too fast too
soon to cement that new relationship with the Troop. The youth pastor
wanted to camp with the Troop although he didn't want to be registered and
felt it was "his responsibility" to spiritially lead the Troop. The Troop
registered him as their Chaplain somehow (I'm STILL trying to figure that
one out, gang!!). Other Church leaders wanted to be in the know and would
park themselves down the hallway from the Troop meeting, and although the
Scoutmaster and Assistant appreciated the extra hands, they eventually quit
because that they thought the Church wanted them to eventually hand things
off. The new Scoutmaster and four Assistants received basic training
(through the work of the previous Scoutmaster and Assistant, on the
District's training team too...) but didn't carry the Troop very far because
of their lack of getting assistance about Troop structure and support systems.
In other words, they relied more on their resources as a church and less on
the resources they had within the Scouting program.
(It is appropriate to note that the Troop "never seen their Unit
Commissioner". They knew who he was, where he lived, and even invited him to
come around and visit the Troop. When I asked their District Commissioner
about this guy, the District Commissioner smiled and shook his head. "He's
been on paper for years, and that's all he does...nothing." The new Troop's
leadership didn't even KNOW what a Commissioner was. They kept talking about
the previous Scoutmaster and the District's Executive (who could smell
*cha-ching*!) but they didn't know who the Troop's Commissioner was. Who
rechartered the Troop? The District's Executive did. District and Unit
Commissioners, please take note!!)
So, this Troop, with, as a current commericial states, "Money out the
Wazzoo", folded and many of the members went to a Varsity Team or to
Exploring. The younger ones were just lost in this case (it was the only
Troop in town).
The other Troop "crashed and burned" way too fast. The new chartered
partner organization thought that all they needed was a few tents, a
basement for their "weekly meeting" and someone to sign the paperwork. In
this case, the Troop went from one bad situation to a worse one.
>The SM seems to think that the decision to pursue this possibility
>is a boy-decision. And to date the interest has been luke-warm.
>So the SM is resigned to let it slide by for now. Which seems
>rather short-sighted to me. I certainly can see letting them have
>input but I believe they are truly not looking at the bigger picture.
I think that the youth of your Troop IS looking at the "bigger picture",
which is "if it's not broke, why are we trying to take it apart and put it
into a prettier package?"
Have the new chartered organization to come in, give their pitch and let the
boys ask questions of them.. and let it lie for a few weeks. Then bring it
up for a "second reading" and let them discuss it AMONG THEMSELVES (they
won't say a WORD if you and all of the adults are standing around listening
in...) for a while before coming in and making a final vote.
And whatever you do, don't accept a negative vote from them and think
because we're all adults and we "know what's best", go and override their
vote. Remember who's running the program, who's responisble for the growth
of the Troop and who attends the meetings each week.....
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
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