You may not have noticed, but earlier this year the Scout shops and Supply Division replaced the Troop Committee Guidebook with a new edition. The previous version, item 34505B, was originally published in 1998 and was reprinted several times since. The new version has a bright red and green cover with photos of Scouts in action, carries a stock number of 616928 and was published in 2013, though it didn’t become widely available until spring of this year.
Normally, revised publications have many changes and updates. In the case of the Guidebook, however, there are few major changes. The chapter headings remain unchanged as does most of the content. The biggest difference is in an increased emphasis on youth protection. Other updates include available training, the names of some forms and publications, and additional committee positions.
Should you go out and purchase a new copy? If you always want the latest version of publications, sure. It’s only a few dollars and you’ll have information that was current as of last year. If not, you’re fine if you’ve kept up with the changes to youth protection requirements, know about online Troop Committee Challenge training and have a well-functioning committee.
Here, then, is a chapter-by-chapter rundown on the changes in the new Guidebook:
- Includes policy on youth protection
Chapter 1 – Introduction
- No changes
Chapter 2 – The Organization of Scouting
- Adds a mention of the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve
- Clarifies that the chartered organization representative can also multiple-register as a troop committee member
- Adds emphasis on youth protection in the paragraph about the troop and the chartered organization
- Adds a footer box on the committee’s primary responsibilities
Chapter 3 – How Your Scout Troop Works
- Changes the term Junior Leader to Youth Leader, change in typography in the troop organization chart, and adds new youth positions Bugler, Leave No Trace Trainer and Webmaster
- Adds a subsection on Elements of a Good Annual Program Plan and a link to the webpage on the topic (www.scouting.org/BoyScouts/ProgramPlanning.aspx)
Chapter 4 – Troop Committee Organization and Responsibilities
- Adds bullet items on youth protection to the list of troop committee responsibilities.
- Replaces description of Troop Committee Challenge with the online version and drops mention of the orientation video The Barbecue.
- Adds a box on the Troop Committee’s Responsibilities for Reporting of Child Abuse.
- Adds a box describing Internet Rechartering under the chair’s duties.
Changes tour permit to tour and activity plan under Outdoor/Activities Coordinator.
- Adds a box on Internet Advancement under Advancement Coordinator.
- Adds Plan Scout Sunday ceremony under Chaplain.
- Adds several youth-protection-related items under Training Coordinator including encouraging parents to become registered members of the BSA and to emphasize the importance of parental involvement in furthering youth protection goals.
- Adds a box on Benefits of BSA Membership under Training Coordinator
- Adds position descriptions for New Scout Parent Unit Coordinator, Unit Religious Emblems Coordinator and Order of the Arrow Troop/Team Representative Advisor. (The latter is specified as an assistant Scoutmaster appointed by the Scoutmaster with approval of the committee chair.)
Chapter 5 – Selecting and Recruiting Adult Leaders
- Adds a paragraph describing the troop committee’s responsibility to make leadership changes when it is in the best interest of the troop, and provides brief advice on doing so
- Adds bin number for publication Selecting Quality Leaders for Boy Scouts
- Drops the references to the videotape Selecting Quality Leaders in the leader selection process description.
- Rewords steps 5 and 7 to include youth protection training concerns.
Chapter 6 – Troop Finance
- No changes.
Chapter 7 – Advancement
- Updates titles of advancement reference materials to specify the Guide to Advancement, drop reference to Boy Scout Advancement video, and change National Boy Scout Committee to national Advancement Team.
- Adds reference to A Guide for Merit Badge Counseling and drops Recommending Merit Badge Counselors.
- Slight rewording and added reference to the Guide to Advancement in the section on Eagle Scout boards of review.
- Adds a box describing Internet Advancement.
Chapter 8 – Troop Committee Meetings
- In the sample agenda under Reports, add items for membership coordinator and new Scout parent unit coordinator.
- Adds a box describing Troop Committee Challenge.
Chapter 9 – Outdoor Program, Rechartering, Training, and Policy
- Adds that the Guide to Safe Scouting is available online.
- Revises section on Tour Permits; now called Tour and Activity Plan with current requirements.
- In Transportation, drops a line item stating an adult leader 21 or over must be in charge and accompany the group; drops the paragraph stating passengers should not ride on the rear deck of moving vehicles; adds “obey all laws” to the speed limit item; adds stipulation that travel and rest time is limited to 10 hours in a 24 hour period and that drivers refrain from using cellphones and text messaging while driving.
- Replaces section on Quality Unit with Journey to Excellence.
- Drops reference to fast-start videos.
- Under Unauthorized and Restricted Activities: Clarifies that ATVs and personal watercraft may be used in council-approved programs but are not approved for unit use; adds that tethered hot-air balloon flights are authorized with a flying plan; adds that go-karting at a commercial facility is permitted with an approved plan; clarifies current policy on paintball and laser-tag type activities; adds prohibition on technical tree-climbing and water chugging
- Complete rewrite and expansion of section on youth protection, including training, application procedure, the three Rs, mandatory reporting of child abuse, a large section on how youth protection works, leadership selection, barriers to abuse, frequently-asked questions, youth member behavior guidelines, and member and unit responsibilities.
- Resources page is updated with current publications and websites.