Now that we know how a committee meeting is run, what are the normal functions of the troop or pack committee?
Areas of Responsibility
The committee is responsible for the business aspects of the unit’s operation. In other words, this encompasses the activities and functions that the adults are responsible for. Contrast this with the program aspects – the boy activities: troop meetings, pack and den meetings, and all that goes with them: ceremonies, games, advancement activities. The adult committee gets involved when it needs to facilitate these, but program planning and execution is largely up to the direct leaders – in a Pack, the Cubmaster, Den Leaders and assistants, and the Scoutmaster and assistants, who train and mentor the youth leaders of a Troop.
Some of the specific responsibilities of the commitee are laid out in the Troop Committee Guidebook and the Cub Scout Leader Book. These include:
- Finance and fund raising
- Relationship with the Chartered Organization
- Charter and Journey to Excellence (formerly Quality Unit)
Your Charter requires that you have at least three committee members, one of whom is the Committee Chair. How many of you only have three committee members? How many have more than that but only a very few are active?
A successful committee has most of the unit’s adults involved in some way. It’s especially important in a small pack or troop, because there are fewer hands to do the same work. Be careful, however, to make sure that each one of your adults doesn’t do too much. Don’t allow one adult to hold multiple jobs. If you have one person wearing many hats, this gives you an opportunity to enlist other parents to take the load off. If one person does many things, they can’t do any of them well, and when he or she leaves, you have multiple committee positions to fill. Look over your areas of responsibility and see who’s doing too many things, and start looking over your adult roster to see who can share some of the load.
Make sure all of your committee members are registered. The benefits to registration to the individual include being part of the organization, receiving Scouting magazine, and able to enjoy the benefits and recognition that come along with being an adult member of BSA. The benefits to the unit are that you demonstrate to the chartered organization that your adults and families are more committed, and your adults have been background checked by your council. An additional responsibility – and privilege – of the troop committee is conducting periodic boards of review for the scouts in the troop.
BSA has official training for nearly every conceivable job. This is one of the things that sets us apart from many organizations. It also helps to ensure that the jobs are being done right and providing maximum benefit to the boys. A trained leader can wear the Trained emblem on his or her uniform and is eligible to receive training award recognition. And, once basic training is completed, registered adults are qualified to participate in the Wood Badge course.
For the Pack Committee, basic training consists of
Pack Committee Fast Start, Youth Protection Training, Cub Scout Leader Position-Specific Training with the Pack Committee breakout, and This Is Scouting. All are available online; Position-Specific is also taught as a three-hour course by district training staff. It can also be administered by the Pack Trainer. (Some districts also have the staff to offer This Is Scouting and Youth Protection Training in person, and they are frequently available at your council’s University of Scouting.) [Note: Fast Start and This Is Scouting have been dropped as required training but are still available. -fjm]
For the Troop Committee, basic training consists of
Boy Scout Leader Fast Start, Youth Protection Training, Troop Committee Challenge and This Is Scouting. All of these courses are available online, though if your district or council offers Troop Committee Challenge as a face-to-face course, try to make the time to take it in person.
Insist that your committee members become trained. They will better understand their jobs, their place in Scouting, and the overall Scouting program as a result.
Next: Recruiting committee members and getting them active
Previous articles in this series:
- Effective committee meetings: Introduction
- Effective committee meetings: The purpose of meetings
- Planning committee meetings
- Agenda planning
- Time for the meeting!
- Parliamentary procedures
- The People Issues: Relationship guidelines
- The People Issues: Problem characters
- Committee meetings: Staying Organized