Boys Scouts is a great organization where boys have fun, learn to become better citizens and build strong character and parents can participate as volunteers in the troop. Below is a brief overview of how Troop 123 works and how you, as a parent, may serve.
Three Sets of Leaders
Each troop has three groups of leaders, the Youth Leaders, the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters and the Troop committee members. Understanding what these various volunteers do can help you determine where you can serve most effectively.
Boy Led Troop
A boy scout troop relies primarily on youth for leadership, and this is essential in building youth leadership skills. In Boy Scouting, for example, one of the Scoutmaster's primary jobs is to train youth leaders, especially the senior patrol leader, who is the troop's top elected Scout. The troop is divided into patrols, and each patrol has a patrol leader responsible for his patrol. There is a senior patrol leader that is responsible for the entire troop.
The youth leaders coordinate training of younger scouts, planning and executing campouts and conducting service projects. In a troop with well-trained youth leaders, the adult Assistant Scoutmasters serve primary: to supervise activities, to make sure the scouts are safe, to ensure that each boy is treating others with utmost respect, and to ensure that skills are being taught properly. As necessary, when the youth leaders are absent or they are newly elected, the adult leaders will take more charge and direct activities to help the youth transition into leadership.
Inevitably, adults who are accustomed to a hands-on approach to leadership, as in cub scouts or church youth groups, may initially need time to observe the troop in order to learn to stand back and allow the boys to handle things. Although this may be challenging and seem chaotic in comparison to other organizations, this is an inherent part of the youth leadership building process.
Even with this concept of boy led patrols, safety is always a number one priority, and we want to ensure that no bullying take place in the troop. Thus adult Assistant Scoutmasters will be present, and watchful.
Depending on its size, a Boy Scout troop will have several Assistant Scoutmasters who have specific responsibilities. The Scoutmaster and assistants are responsible for the overall program of the troop, including both meetings and activities. For example, each patrol has an Assistant Scoutmasters assigned to it. If you have an interest in being an Assistant Scoutmaster be sure to check with the Scoutmaster to see if there are any needs.
To be an Assistant Scoutmaster you must be 18 years of age, and agree to abide by the Scout Oath and Law. All positions within the BSA are open to both men and women. Also, you must complete an adult volunteer application, which must be approved by the troop committee chair, the chartered organization representative, and the local Scout executive or his designee. As part of the application process, the BSA conducts a criminal background check on all potential leaders, helping to ensure a safe environment for its youth members.
Along those lines, all new leaders are expected to complete Youth Protection Training within their first 90 days of service and Assistant Scoutmaster training courses within the first 6 months.
The Troop Committee combines the functions of a board of directors and a parents' auxiliary. This group consists of several members, including the committee chair, and members over various areas of responsibility. The troop committee is responsible for the troop's administrative functions, including record keeping and correspondence, finances, advancement, training, public relations, activities, equipment, and membership and registration. Typically, a committee member takes on each of these functions, although some volunteers serve as members at large.
The troop committee meets once a month. The amount of time required per position varies widely from minimal work between meetings to special fund raising projects that occupy more time during the fund raising period. You may pick what best suites your skills and available time.
What you can do
Parents can serve either on the committee or as an assistant scout master. Those parents who do not have enough time to do either can do other things to support your son in scouting including:
- Performing an occasional task to assist the program
- Participating directly with your Scout
- Going to and observing Scout meetings
- Assisting with outings as requested by the Scout Master.
- Bringing food and refreshments to the court of honor.
- Serving as a merit badge counselor for a badge related to your career or hobby.
- Supporting the program financially
- Coaching your Scout's advancement and the earning of recognition
- Influencing your Scout's continued participation
- Helping out with other requests as may be needed in the troop.
- Helping out fund raising activities.
We encourage each family to do what they can, and in particular, to serve some time as a committee member. However we are here to serve the boys, and parents that are to busy and do not have the time should feel no pressure to serve either on the committee or as an assistant scout master Our most important mission is to serve the boys and we do so with generosity.
Parents - Deciding How to Serve
First ask the Scout Master what the troop needs are. The scout master will tell you where your services can be most utilized