scouts-l Mail Archive for April of 2000: Re: How many Committee Members?
MAJ) Mike Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle (blkeagle@USSCOUTS.ORG
Mon Apr 19 1993 - 20:32:30 CDT
Ginny asked us all:
>Does BSA set a limit on how many people can serve on the committee or is
>it an unlimited number? Once the positions are all filled and there are
>a couple of extra members, is that not enough?
Here's what *I*taught a few years back at Commissioners' College and before
that, it was taught to me at Philmont and during the Paraprofessional Course:
First, the number of members on a committee -- unit, district or special
task - should be one per critical task of that committee and enough
supporters to assist the critical members in doing their roles
Second, there is no upward ceiling on a lay committee, respecting that the
larger the body, the larger the organization and therefore the larger the
Finally, remember the "span of control": a person can only "handle and deal
effectively with" as many members as the fingers on your hand, minus one.
This is why Unit, Pack and Troop Commissioners should have no more than four
units assigned to them; why Assistant District Commissioners should have no
more than four Unit/Pack/Troop Commissioners assigned to them; and why Field
Directors (and now District Directors) should have no more than four
District Executives reporting to him or her.
So, in a "typical Troop" with eight key positions to fill: the Chair, the
Activities, Advancement, Equipment, Facilities, Training and Adult
Recognition, Transportation and Records....each one of those folks could
have four others working with them...and so, my rusty math says 32 adults
are about the limit that one body like that can deal effectively with...
>I would like someone to explain to me the logic of why the SM and ASMs
>cannot cast a vote when they are the ones actually working with the
>boys? These are the people that truly run the program and know what is
>needed, yet they are powerless.
Because your Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters, Ginny, are what the BSA
called "Commissioned Officers". Military term, goes back to the earliest
days of the movement in America whereby the BSA actually gave "commissioning
certificates" (you can find a couple on eBay being auctioned off...) to
Scoutmasters, Assistant Scoutmasters and Commissioners.
It was important then as it is now that the lay committee SUPPORTS the
efforts of the "commissioned officers" of the unit, and the youth leaders of
the Troop indirectly. They don't RUN the Troop's program...they find ways
to ASSIST the program.
And remember that the Scoutmasters don't "run the program".....that's the
job of the youth officers. The Scoutmasters should only attend the Troop
Committee meetings to transfer information from the youth leaders of the
Troop (if your Troop doesn't allow the youth members to say what they need
>In this Troop the most trained leaders, BSBLT, are the SM and 3 ASM's.
>Only one committee member is trained. Everyone preaches training, yet
>most Committee Members are NOT trained.
Well, then...I would be talking with the Chartered Organization and having
them understand that THEIR COMMITTEEMEMBERS NEED TO BE TRAINED. Especially
since now, the BSA's got a really great "game training course" especially
made for unit committees...Have your Commissioner to borrow the game, bring
it to the next Committee meeting and inform all of the Committeeemembers to
expect to be there for a while because they are going to be trained.
That's the ONLY way to do it, Ginny, if they are "too lazy" to go and get
the training on their own. Your Unit's Commissioner assisted by a member of
your District's Training and Coaching team, should be able to manage the
instruction needed in the Troop Committee Course/Game.
>I have found after over 6 years
>in BSA the CMs don't know or care to know rules that apply to BSA. They
>say I don't need training, I don't need to wear the uniform, I'm not
>driving that far or spending my weekend doing that. Yet they can vote on
>important issues and the SM and ASMs must comply with their decisions.
And I'm willing to bet a CSP that your Chartered Organizational Rep doesn't
show for those meetings nor are there any other reps from your Chartering
>Recently we have acquired lots of new faces on our committee that are
>still Cub parents.
Huh? They should be Boy Scouting parents. I don't understand, Ginny. Are
these new people Cub Scouting *leaders* that want to serve as a
Committeemember with the Troop for some reason; or are these the parents of
*former Cub Scouts* whom have moved over to the Troop.
If it's the former, your unit DOES have some problems and it should be
worked out with your Chartered Organization; if it's the latter, then it
becomes a "simple" process of educating ALL new parents that "HEY! This is
NOT Cub Scouting, and Boy Scouting IS DIFFERENT and here's why!!"
>The Cub parents CMs find it hard to believe there are not advancements or
awards >given out monthly as in Cubs.
HELLO!!! Didn't the change in uniform, flags and ceremonies mark the change
between Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting?? *heheheeheheee*
You need to have an "education session" with ALL of the parents of your
Troop SOON, Ginny....this session should cover all of the aspects of Boy
Scouting (the eight methods, the role of the Scoutmaster, the role of the
youth leaders, how your Troop handles camping and outdoor activities, etc.)
Otherwise, they are going to CONTINUE to think that they are still a part of
Cub Scouting, only that the boys are older!
>Why is that the SM and his Assistants cannot vote on what effects them when
>they are the informed and effective leaders who attend training, RTs,
Numbers. There's only ONE Scoutmaster and maybe four to five Assistants
(three of whom are probably Committeemembers with the additional job of
being Assistant Scoutmaster, which is something I NEVER recommend but do
understand that it has to happen that way...)
Against eight to eleven others.
The Scoutmaster should be RECOMMENDING and CONVINCING the Troop Committee to
adopt and use the Senior Patrol Leaders' PROGRAM and activities.
I still recommend having the Senior Patrol Leader there to "push his agenda"
(it cuts down on the bickering between adults...we don't like to complain in
front of our kids).
Hope this all helps out!
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
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