Combining committees

One of the most persistent problems in keeping a troop or pack going is obtaining sufficient adult leadership to get all the various jobs covered without causing burnout of the small group of people who usually get stuck with everything.

It’s often advised to make sure each committee role is covered, and in a Cub Scout pack, to ensure that den leaders (and the Cubmaster) aren’t doing committee-type things.

Troops are usually better off, because parents are more familiar with Scouting after going through it as their sons grew, and they see the value in the program and the need to get things accomplished. Or perhaps it finally dawns on them that nobody else is going to do the work, and the pack or troop can only go when supported by enough volunteers.

One solution, as suggested by a reader, is to combine the pack and troop committees for units that are chartered by the same organization. Continue reading “Combining committees”


Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Rebooting a troop committee

It doesn’t happen very often, but on rare occasion a troop’s committee withers away as Scouts leave or age out and their parents, who served on the committee, also depart without being replaced. Sometimes, others just take on the added responsibilities rather than recruiting a replacement, until the burden gets too great and they themselves step down. When you’re wearing not just one hat but a stack of them, it’s not easy to take off just one or two.

A question arrived a few weeks ago from a Scoutmaster who said that his troop committee had essentially disbanded. Continue reading “Rebooting a troop committee”


Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Adults on troop outings

A reader wrote to me a few weeks back asking for advice on how to select adults to go along on troop campouts, particularly those featuring above-the-norm, interesting activities. This reader felt that certain adults were given first crack repeatedly, that most of the adults were being bypassed when it came to offering the chance to participate, and he asked if some sort of a lottery or rotation system should be put in place.

I responded by saying that first and foremost, Scouting is for the Scouts. It’s not something that the adults plan and do because they like it or find it interesting, and include the youth in the process. Adults are there to make it possible for the Scouts to do Scout stuff. Continue reading “Adults on troop outings”


Print pagePDF pageEmail page

More advancement updates

No sooner had the Boy Scouts of America published the 2017 revision to its omnibus reference work Guide to Advancement, which we reviewed in a recent article, than it announced a few changes.

Eagle Palms

There are some important changes to the way Eagle Palms are earned and awarded. Most significantly, the new rules allow a newly-minted Eagle Scout to receive Palms for his aggregate total of merit badges up to the date of his board of review. This will be a benefit to Scouts who earn Eagle late in their Scouting careers, and who would not have otherwise had an opportunity to earn Palms. Continue reading “More advancement updates”


Print pagePDF pageEmail page

There is only one Scoutmaster

I once had four bosses in the same job, all at the same time.

At one point in my career, I was a department head at a branch location of a company that had a half-dozen locations around the country. Our branch had two divisions, which my department supported, and each division had a manager. The location had a general manager who ran the overall branch operation, and the corporate headquarters had a chief of the department that I headed. I effectively answered to all of them.

Talk about confusion!

There were times when I felt like I was being pulled in four directions. Manager A wanted something done, but it went against what the corporate head’s policies permitted. Meanwhile, Manager B and the general manager were asking me to do different things as well. There was no clear managerial chain of command, and the way things ran in this organization made it difficult to rectify the situation. I left after a couple years, primarily for greener pastures, but also because the conflicting structure made it difficult for me to satisfy everyone.

If this befuddled me, think of how it would affect a Scout-age boy. Continue reading “There is only one Scoutmaster”


Print pagePDF pageEmail page