The Troop Committee

Ah, the Troop Committee.  The adult-run portion of the boy-lead organization.  I’ll admit this is one of the parts of Scouting where I have plenty of room to grow.  My oldest is only a Wolf Cub, so I have a few more years before he crosses over.  And I was never a Boy Scout myself,  just a Webelos.  Nonetheless, I have stepped up to be Troop Secretary and ASM.  Why?  Several reasons.  But you probably need a little bit of the back story.

Troop 92 in Englewood, CO has the distinction of being the longest continuously chartered troop in the Arapahoe District and the third longest in the Denver Area Council.  Recharter paperwork shows the tenure at 972.  If I’m not mistaken that’s 972 months or 81 years.  Rumor has it that they are closer to 87 years, but that isn’t what the paperwork indicates.  The troop was originally charted by an Englewood mens group.  But somewhere along the way that relationship was severed and they ended up at their current home, Centennial Lutheran Church.

At one point in its illustrious history it was a thriving troop.  I could probably dedicate an entire post to all of the great contributions they’ve made over the years and the dozens of Eagle Scouts they’ve produced (and perhaps I will).  Today the numbers have dwindled.  Six showed up to the troop meeting tonight. That’s pretty much all of them.  But the boys are enthusiastic and motivated.  And although it can be challenging at times, they are managing to put together outings and activities and to keep their advancements up.  But my concern for the troop doesn’t come from the current group of boys; it’s from the pack that feeds them.

Now, to be fair, Pack 92 is a great pack.  So much so, in fact, that they, too, are deserving of their own post.  So, I will leave most of the discussion of the pack for another day.  But to further the current story let me just say this: the pack crossed over only one boy this year.  And the next couple of years are not looking good as all that is left this year is one Webelos I and no Bears.

So perhaps now you can begin to see my concern.  For the troop to succeed and for the legacy to be maintained there is work to be done to strengthen the troop and, specifically, to recruit more boys.  We have had little success getting into the middle schools.  And it can be a challenge to draw big numbers when you have few of your own.  So how do we find the boys and how do we get them excited about joining our modestly sized troop?

That brings us back to the Troop Committee.  Here we find a handful of dedicated adult volunteers who are investing their “one hour a week” to make sure the boys are getting everything they need to run a successful troop.  That’s what I saw and that’s why I joined.  I wanted to make sure that my Wolf and all of his den mates have a thriving, exciting troop to cross over to in a few years.  I also knew that the more fully trained leaders we had the better the experience would be for the boys and the easier it would be to schedule outings.  And what is Scouting without outings?  So I took ITOLS and SM/ASM training to show my committment to helping the troop survive and flourish.

For the committee, what the next move should be is still an unknown.  All of us are a little green around the edges – some of us more so.  And while we go at this in a trial-by-fire, we know that our dedication to the troop and those who will one day be a part of it is what will help all of us, both Scouts and Scouters, to reach our true potential.

I hope to share our progress and have good news to report along the way.  And I look forward to the exchange of ideas with my new friends in this community.  It feels great to be a part of something so awesome.

YIS

Mike

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~ by Michael Forner on April 14, 2011.

2 Responses to “The Troop Committee”

  1. Hi Mike,

    I think it’s great that you are getting involved in the troop well ahead of your son’s involvement. It means that by the time he’s ready to join, you will have a great understanding of troop operations from an adult perspective. We see many Cub Scout parents come over and expect that things will be done roughly the same way as in Cubs (i.e. adults planning and running things) but with older boys. A troop with such a long tenure as Troop 92 needs that continuing understanding of the correct way for adults to be involved (and more importantly, what they are not involved in).

    It’s also great that you have already taken the Scoutmaster training sequence and have invested yourself in Wood Badge. I would further suggest that you take Troop Committee Challenge if you haven’t done so (go to an in-person session if you can), and encourage all the other members of the troop committee to do the same. This will give them a greater understanding of the troop committee’s purpose and where it fits in within the troop organization.

    Don’t neglect your Cub pack, though. Use your knowledge and insight of “where all this is headed” to help others understand the purposes of Cub Scouting and to ensure that parents realize that Scouting doesn’t end in the fifth grade.

    Good luck! I look forward to reading your future posts.

    Yours in Scouting and service,
    Frank Maynard (Bobwhite’s Blather)

    • Thanks for the response, Frank. I appreciate the support and your advice is duly noted. I am very excited about the potential of both the pack and troop. Both committees need some work, though.

      Mike

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