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Information, Observation, and Inspiration for Scouters

Committee chair timeline: March

march_200March is nearly here, and with it longer days and the urge to get outside. But before we lace up our hiking boots, let’s talk about some of the business items the committee needs to tend to this month.

Your primary happening this month will be welcoming the Webelos Scouts who are headed your way. Cub Scout packs are having their crossover ceremonies, and hopefully the bridge leads to your troop. If you’ve been doing your homework, you have had many prospective Scouts and their parents come and check out your troop at a troop meeting, court of honor or an outdoor event. Be prepared to welcome these new Scouts to your troop! Make sure your committee members who have a role in welcoming new members know their part in the process.

  • Your membership coordinator is one of the key people. He or she should have an ample supply of youth and adult application forms and be able to assist families of new Scouts in filling them out. This person could also maintain a stock of Scout handbooks, troop neckerchiefs, unit numbers and other uniform insignia. Ensure that completed Scout applications get the Scoutmaster’s signature, then get turned in promptly to your council service center. Adult applications need to go first to the committee chair, who should then route them to the chartered organization representative.
  • The treasurer should know the pro-rata amount that new members must pay (remember, a Scout transferring from a Cub pack only pays the $1 transfer fee). Many troops also charge dues or an annual fee of some sort, so know the correct amount to charge, factoring in the cost of items you provide.
  • If you have a parent or committee member in charge of ordering troop clothing like t-shirts or jackets, they should have a supply of items or an updated order form listing items and prices.

As the new families come into your troop, the committee chair should welcome the parents and make them feel welcome. Find out a little bit about each one, and try to find ways for them to share their talents with the troop. Make sure you introduce them to your committee members and invite them to attend your next troop committee meeting. Not all will make it, but the ones who do attend are showing interest in their son’s troop, and may be good candidates for committee positions.

New parents also need to know a bit about how Boy Scouts works, so plan on having a new parent meeting sometime this month or next to augment the orientation that you do when they first join. Explain the patrol method and the concept of the boys leading the troop. Tell about the outdoor program and describe upcoming campouts. Have information on the next campout including permission slips and the cost. Most of all, make sure they know that while they’re welcome to observe at troop meetings and outings, Boy Scouts is not a parent-son activity.

Summer camp is just a couple months ahead, so your summer camp coordinator should have registration information including cost, merit badge signups and deadlines. You don’t want your boys to miss out on any opportunities, so be sure things get done according to your camp’s procedures. Besides delivering this information to your current families, emphasize the importance of summer camp to your new parents as well. If your council offers camperships or fundraising opportunities, make sure everyone knows about them.

Depending on your troop’s election cycle, you’ll need to support youth leadership training in your troop. While the actual training is conducted by the Scoutmaster and youth leaders, the committee can support the effort by providing a meeting place, refreshments or equipment – and don’t forget the position patches and Trained strips for your boys.

This wraps up the monthly series we started last April. I hope you enjoyed it and found some value in the reminders. Next month I’ll have one last article with a summary of ongoing items for committee chairs.

Image: arstzaumi / freedigitalphotos.net