Starting this month, I’m beginning a series of monthly articles based on a portion of my class at University of Scouting this year. Besides talking about issues that committee chairs typically encounter, I handed out and we discussed a suggested list of things that the committee needs to attend to, month by month. It’s a checklist of sorts, or a timeline for a troop committee’s year.
Of course, there are things that you do every month, such as hold the monthly committee meeting, arrange for support of that month’s campout and other outings in the near future, and ensure that boards of review are held. Each month, however, has unique events to plan for and tasks to complete.
- Follow up with your membership coordinator and Scoutmaster to make sure that new members who crossed over from Webelos have turned in their membership applications and are in fact registered with the BSA. While they are covered under BSA insurance as long as they are considered a prospective member, they cannot actually earn advancement or register for summer camp until they’re a registered member of your troop.
- Also communicate with the parents of new Scouts to make sure they have what they need, and to find out if there are any unanswered questions about the troop or Scouting in general.
- It would be good to hold a new-parent orientation meeting around this time. BSA publishes an Orientation for New Boy Scout Parents syllabus, but you should use it as a framework and cover your troop-specific information as well. Much of the orientation deals with “selling” parents on the Scouting program; if they’ve been involved in Cub Scouts, this is probably less important than covering the material they need to know, such as details on costs, campouts, equipment, summer camp and the like. (Our troop has an orientation meeting each year, and we are constantly “tweaking” the content to make it more relevant and applicable.)
- Remind families to schedule annual physical exams as soon as possible. Most doctors’ offices get backed up as summer approaches, and you don’t want to have a Scout miss out on being able to attend summer camp because he couldn’t schedule a physical in time.
- While on the summer camp subject, make sure payments are made to your council as needed, and that you collect fees from families for the Scouts that are attending.
- April is Child Abuse Prevention month, and with new members in the troop it’s an excellent time to schedule your presentation of A Time to Tell. If you’re not familiar with it, A Time to Tell is an excellent program aimed at 11-17 year old boys, explaining the dangers of child abuse and teaches young people how to recognize potentially abusive situations, resist any abusive action, and to report it to a trusted adult. I’ve written about A Time to Tell; you should obtain a copy and present it annually, using the facilitator’s guide as a resource.
I expect to have forgotten or overlooked a few things, so if there’s anything you would like to add, please leave a comment on this post with your own thoughts and ideas.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net