Archive for the ‘committee’ Category

It has been interesting how many people in the area think that I have retired from the Scouting program when they hear that I have stepped down as the scoutmaster of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68. I explain to them that I am still active with the troop, that I serve on the committee as the treasurer, and that I am still assisting the new scoutmaster through the transition.

I am not ready to leave the Scout program completely. It has been a part of me for nearly 3/4 of my life. I was a Boy Scout in my youth. I was an assistant scoutmaster before being appointed the scoutmaster. The Scout Oath and Law have literally become the guidelines in my life, along with the ten commandments.

Oh, I am sure that someday I may step away from the program, but it will be a slow transition. We have a Boy Scout who is going to Philmont this summer and I want to be there to help as he prepares for his adventure. Some Scouts want to earn merit badges for which I serve as a counselor. A few of the boys have a good chance of becoming Eagles Scouts and I want to be around to see that happen and celebrate their accomplishment with them. Plus, there are still troop activities I plan to attend. I am even thinking about going back to spend a week with the troop at Many Point Scout Camp this summer. (I did not attend last year and I missed it.)

No, I am not ready to retire from Scouting just yet,  but I am ready to try some new things outside of Scouting with the extra time I have. Any suggestions?

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    I received a call this morning from a father of one the Boy Scouts, who is also a troop committee member, asking if I was going to attend the troop meeting tonight. He and his family would be gone on vacation next week and his son would not be able to attend the committee meeting for a board of review. I said I could be at the troop meeting but other committee members would have to be called. Little did I know it would be a weird, but fun and interesting evening.

    As a new committee member and former scoutmaster I find that I sometimes need to pull back from things I am used to doing myself, and learning how to help others in new ways. For example, at the board of review tonight, I found that I wanted to step in and ask questions, lots of questions. But it was not my place to do so. There were two other people sitting on this board, not just me. I was now part of a team, not the scoutmaster doing a conference. Added to the situation was a new advancement chairperson who was learning his new responsiblities. Yes, I had to bite my tongue a couple times so that I would not dominate the board of review.

    The Boy Scouts are getting used to the idea of a new scoutmaster. (He just registered last Tuesday.) He is very serious about talking on this new role. The boys get along with him but I needed to remind a couple of them that I am no longer the one to be talking to about some things. They need to go to the new scoutmaster. I had to smile to myself and they headed off to get their question answered.

    Could I have answered their questions? Yes, I could have, but I need the boys to realize that I am not the scoutmaster anymore. And besides that, I want the new scoutmaster to build that bond with the boys. That will not happen very well if the boys keep coming to me every time they need something.

    Once the First Class board of review was completed I noticed one of the Life Rank Scouts was not doing anything at the moment so I called him over to the board for an update on his Eagle Rank. We took a few minutes to find out what his plans were. After all, he turns 18 years old in four or five months. I think I caught him a bit off guard but we had a good discussion. I will be meeting him later this week to review his eagle packet. Why am I doing this? Because the new scoutmaster already has enough on his plate this month learning his responsibilities so I thought I could help hm out on this one.

    After the troop meeting the scoutmaster and I spent some time reviewing the new tour permit, or troop outing guide, or whatever they call it now. We also talked about other things. I like that he is pouring himself into his new role and is trying to learn things as quickly as he is able. I think he will do well as the new troop leader.

    So what was weird about tonight? That it seemed that I was still in the middle of things, even though I am not the scoutmaster. It is like my troop is now made up of adults. Instead of training boys I have now moved to the position of training parents in their roles.

    And you know what. I am kinda enjoying it. It is a different challenge. And I am having fun.

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      As the newest treasurer of the Boy Scout Troop 68 committee it will be my job to pay bills and keep the checkbooks balanced. Some of the responsibilities I am familiar with, but others are presenting a bit of a challenge. I hope to have it all figured out by this month’s committee meeting.

      Our troop’s treasury is divided into three funds: the individual Scout’s funds, the high adventure fund, and the general fund. The general fund is used for normal troop operating cost like patches, awards, and some activity expenses. The individual Scout’s fund is the credit earned by the Scouts during fundraising. The high adventure fund is money set aside to assist with the cost of attending a high adventure base or jamboree, thus making it more affordable for a Scout to attend the event.

      Troop 68 holds two fundraisers each year. In the spring we hold a Lenten Belgian waffle meal on a Friday night. In the fall we hold a waffle and sausage breakfast on a Sunday morning in October. The Boy Scouts earn credit for the individual funds based on the amount of tickets they presell. The balance of the spring fundraiser profit goes into the general fund, the fall is used to build up the high adventure fund.

      The Scouts are given the option of participating in the council’s annual fall popcorn sales. All profits the troop receives from this fundraiser goes into the boy’s individual fund. It provides a great way for the Scout to build up his credit for summer camp or other troop activities.

      The troop’s funds are kept in two local financial institutions. The general fund is with the credit union. The other funds are in the bank. Both are checking accounts so it is easy to switch money between the accounts.

      Another of my duties will be to give a treasurer’s report at each of the monthly committee meetings. I will explain what our expenses were during the last month, were any income came from, and what, if any, money was transferred from one account to another.

      While the job of troop treasurer does include some serious responsibilities I believe it will be fun and rewarding. Best of all, it allows me to remain active with the troop although in a smaller capacity than I did as the scoutmaster.

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        The Troop 68 committee met tonight. The troop’s two newest Boy Scouts attended for their Tenderfoot board of reviews. They were very excited. In fact, they arrived before the committee did.

        The committee holds board of reviews at the beginning of their meeting. I, as the scoutmaster, present each Boy Scout to the board and then leave the room. The committee conducts the review and then asks the boy to leave the room for a few minutes so they can discuss his progress. I go back with him when they call him back into the room for their decision and congratulations.

        Both boys did very well during their board of review. After the boys left, the committee told me that both Scouts were well prepared. They also commented on the differences between the boys. One was very talkative and maintained good eye contact, while the other was more shy and quiet. They were impressed with each Scout.

        Both boys were beaming as they left the meeting as the troop’s newest Tenderfoot Scouts. They are anxious to work on their Second Class Rank. These boys have enough enthusiasm to easily attain the First Class Rank by the end of the year.

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          Our local community access television station, Mel-TV, and Boy Scout Troop 68 have worked together during the last 23 years to provide programming about local Scouting. Courts of honor, troop outings, and Laughs For Lunch Shows were regular features. It was a great way to keep Scouting in the public eye.

          Due to recent budget cuts Mel-TV closed its doors on December 31, 2010, and the channel went black. I was a member of the board of directors for twenty years but retired one year before the decision was made to close the station. I had invested hundreds, if not thousands, of hours to the station and programming. I was sorry to see it close down. It was a great asset to the community.

          During the last six months of 2010 the board of directors began the process of shutting things down. Some of the thousands of video tapes and dvd’s were given to another local television station, but most of them went to the Melrose Area Historical Society. The equipment was divided among several local organizations. The Boy Scout troop was offered some things. We ended up with a set of lights, a tripod, a microphone and stand, and the music library.

          Monday evening, during the troop meeting, a member of the Mel-TV board walked in and handed me an envelope. He explained that the remaining funds needed to be distributed to various non-profit organizations. I joked with him about getting a new iPad 2. He asked how much one would cost. When I told him he replied that there was enough to buy one. Imagine my surprise when I opened the envelope and found a check for $1000.00.

          This donation to the troop comes at a great time. The committee has been talking about replace some of our twenty year old equipment. This check will go a long way toward doing that very thing.

          As for the iPad 2? I do not think that would be the best use of this donation. Sorry about that Mr. Jobs.

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            In 1989, five women who were involved with the Scouting program in Melrose, met at the local community access television studio to do a talk show about Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting in Melrose. The show was titled The Women Of Scouting. It was broadcast several times over the years, usually during Boy Scout anniversary week in the first part of February. This program has been broken down into five parts for use on this podcast.

            In this final part of the show, Ann B., Clara N., Patty D., and Betty S., discuss Philmont Scout Ranch, and share their memories and feelings about the Scouting program, and what it has meant to them, their boys, and their families.

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              The Board of Review. Terrifying to the new Tenderfoot Scout. Confusing to the new committee member. How does the Scout prepare? What are the board members supposed to cover and ask?

              I have been scoutmaster long enough to see a lot of people come and go on the committee. Many times the new committee members are confused when it comes to serving on their first board of review. I usually let the more experienced committee members instruct the newer ones about what to do or say. However, during the past 25 years I saw they could use a suggestions or two, so I made a Board of Review sheet for them to use during the BOR. It seems to have helped them quite a bit during the years. In fact, I think newer members now think it is a sheet required to be filled out during a BOR. I have to correct them that it is a sheet of suggestions to cover for our own troop use, it is not a national requirement form.

              So, what does the sheet have on it? It has seven areas I suggest the BOR to talk about with the Scout.

              Participation. How has the Scout been doing with attendance at meetings, outings and fundraisers? If he has not been showing up for functions then it is time for them to ask about the reasons behind the poor attendance. Many times the Scout has valid reasons, but sometimes he does not. Sometimes the board will discover things that the scoutmaster does not know about. It is also a good time to praise the Scout who has a great attendance record.

              Scout Spirit and ideals. Does the Scout know the Scout Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan? Does he know what they mean? Does he try to live by them? Of course, the board members better know and understand these oaths themselves or it may look awkward if the Scout catches them in a mistake of understanding.

              Merit badges and advancement. First of all, this is not a re-test of the badges! My suggestion is to ask which merit badges were fun to earn and why? Which ones were difficult? Did he find any of the skills learned while earning the badges to be useful in everyday life? Keep the questions about general topics.

              Service Projects. Did he participate in the troop’s service projects and/or help out with other troop members Eagle projects? What were the purpose of the projects? Did he learn anything while doing them?

              Leadership. What position of leadership did he hold in the troop since the last board of review? Was it difficult or easy? What type of leader was he? What were his duties? Did he do them well? Most of the time the BOR members really don’t know much about how the Scout did with a leadership position because the members do not regularly attend troop meetings and outings. However, they should ask the Scout questions, and also talk with the scoutmaster before the BOR.

              Religious principles. Of course, a Scout must have a belief in God. How does he practice his faith? What does he believe is his duty to God? We have to be careful with this topic because there are Scouts of many different religions. We don’t want to make the Scout feel uncomfortable with the wrong questions. However, I think we do need to touch on this subject and not ignore it as if it is unimportant.

              Goals. Everyone needs goals. What goals has the Scout set for himself, both in and out of Scouting? Does he have a goal to complete his next rank? Does he have leadership goals? Is there a goal to attend a high adventure base and a national jamboree? Does he have any goals in school? How does he intend to meet those goals?

              Of course, the BOR members can bring up other subjects also. But these few areas cover a lot of territory. If asked correctly, they can begin a great dialog between the board and the Scout.

              A copy of this form can be found on our troop’s website at:
              Leave a comment if you have any other suggestions that you think would be good topics for a board of review to cover.

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                In 1989, five women who were involved with the Scouting program in Melrose, met at the local community access television studio to do a talk show about Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting in Melrose. The show was titled The Women Of Scouting. It was broadcast several times over the years, usually during Boy Scout anniversary week in the first part of February. This program has been broken down into five parts for use on this podcast.

                Part four of this five part series features Betty S. who is the mother of three boys who went through the Cub Scout program and graduated into the Boy Scout program. Betty was a pack committee member and very active in the Cub Scout Pack. She graduated with her older son when he became a Boy Scout and joined the troop committee as the treasurer. Betty was on the committee for about ten years. She and her family were very supportive of the Scouting program.

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