If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ve picked up on our monthly summary of things the committee chair needs to give attention to for the following month. We finished up the year last month with the March version, so we’ll take one last look at the committee chair’s job with our list of details that need to be looked at each month.
- The troop committee meets every month (perhaps with the exception of summer), so the committee chair prepares the agenda for that month’s meeting. Use a standard format (there’s a suggested one in the Troop Committee Guidebook) and include sections for review of the previous meeting, the treasurer’s report, old business items left over from the previous meeting, and new items that need to be taken up. Include an opportunity for the Scoutmaster to deliver a report (you can “float” that item, and allow the Scoutmaster to interrupt the meeting when it’s most convenient) and reports from your individual coordinators (advancement, outdoor, equipment, membership, etc.). I like to wrap up with a round of final comments, asking all participants if they have any “good and welfare” thoughts or observations. (See my earlier article for more on committee agendas.)
- A key committee responsibility is to ensure that all Scouts needing a board of review can have one without unreasonable delay. Many troops have a scheduled session on at least a monthly basis at which boards of review are available. In other troops, there are usually enough committee members present so a Scout completing his Scoutmaster conference can see the board the same night. Use whatever system works best for you, but ensure that the Scouts know what to expect. Scheduling boards of review and enlisting enough committee members normally falls to the advancement coordinator, who should be told by the Scoutmaster about any Scouts needing a board of review, and who should inform the Scoutmaster of the outcome of any reviews held.
- Campouts are another monthly happening. Ensure that the details that the committee is responsible for are covered for the current month’s campout. These details include:
- Transportation – having enough drivers to transport the Scouts. The boys should be able to figure out who rides with whom; just ensure there are enough “seat belts” going and returning.
- Tour plans – If your council requires that a tour plan be filed, make sure the filing takes place far enough in advance.
- Adequate trained adult supervision – There needs to be a bare minimum of two adults, one of whom is registered. Beyond that, the “safety rule of four” is a good idea, so that in the event a Scout needs to be taken from camp (to receive medical attention, for instance), two adults can go with the Scout while two remian in camp. There should be one adult for every ten youth participants. All should have current Youth Protection training. There also needs to be one person with current Weather Hazards Training on the outing, as well as adults with specialized training for specific activities (such as Safety Afloat for a float trip, Climb On Safely for a climbing activity, etc.).
- Equipment – While obtaining and packing the equipment (tents, cooking gear, etc.) for the campout is the job of the troop and patrol quartermasters (youth, not adults), the equipment coordinator needs to make sure the gear gets to and from camp. Usually troops pack their equipment in a trailer, but others bring it along in cars along with the participants. A vehicle with sufficient towing capacity is needed for a trailer; be clear on who is responsible.
- Camp reservations and payment – Of course, if you don’t have a campsite reserved and paid for, you probably aren’t going camping. The outdoor coordinator should ensure that this arrangement is made, and the treasurer needs to pay the camping fees in whatever manner that the camp requires.
- Look ahead to next month and get commitments on all of the above for that campout as well. These things have a way of sneaking up on us, so by making sure you’re covered, the campout will go much more smoothly when the time comes.
- Good financial practices dictate that the bank statement be received by the committee chair and reviewed with the treasurer. If you haven’t done so, set up your bank account so the committee chair’s name and address are on the statement, and choose a time to review the statement with the treasurer. The very next troop meeting after the statement arrives is a good time, and hopefully this will give the treasurer time to reconcile the statement and report at the next meeting.
- Last but not least on your monthly to-do list is to go to your district Roundtable with your Scoutmaster. At Roundtable, you will find out what’s going on in your district and council, learn about events and deadlines, and have an opportunity to exchange ideas with your fellow adult leaders. Many OA chapters also meet at the same time and place as Roundtable; if this is the case, offer to bring some of your troop’s Arrowmen to their meeting.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of articles on the committee chair’s scope of responsibility. Please feel free to add any other thoughts you have in the comments of this or any other article in the series.
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