Welcome! This forum has a treasure trove of great info – Scouters helping Scouters! Just a heads up, though - all content, information, and opinions shared on this forum are those of the author, not the BSA.
BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

Scouting Forums

SPL reporting at the Troop Committee meeting

I’m a fairly new SM (13-months). Pre-COVID, the Troop has always had the Committee meeting following PLC. The Committee Chair has the SPL report to the Committee on what was planned at PLC. We’re now on different days, but the SPL attends the first part of the Committee meeting.

My quick google search pulls up some pros and cons on each side of the issues. When I went looking into BSA training material for the Committee, I found no mention of having the SPL present. As far as reports on Troop activities, according to the training, this falls on the Scoutmaster.

What are the forum’s thoughts on the matter?

The issue I have is my committee starts micromanaging what was planned. “who’s doing this?” “Have you thought of that?” “What are you doing for summer camp?” They honestly can spend 30-minutes of the meeting with the SPL. I’d argue that if I’ve done my job correctly as Scoutmaster during PLC, I’ve nudged the Scouts to address all the concerns one might have.

Our troop has done this for as long as I have been involved - including several years while I was SM. I have found this to be good for the SPL, as it is a chance to get used to presenting ideas to a group of people (other than the SM, who he/she is probably talking to frequently.)
Our adult leadership team has always been of the mind that the Committee should be supporting the plans of the SPL & the PLC. So, for instance, if the PLC wants to do an event, I would coach the SPL to ask the Committee to help make sure there are leaders (or canoes, or whatever) to make that event successful.
When I was SM, I did have to occasionally coach the Committee to back off on micro-managing (they called it “helping”) the SPL. But often they raised good points that the PLC and I had not thought of, so that feedback can be valuable as long as it is at the right level.
Now that I am on the Committee, I try hard not to micromanage the SPL… :slight_smile:

4 Likes

I’m torn, to be honest. When I was a scout, our SPL did report to the committee. The committee frequently asked the same kinds of questions that you’re referring to, and it’s in their purview to make sure that the requirements are being adhered to. That said, our SM handled policy questions. “We have ### adult leaders attending, so we’re covered even if # have to leave for some reason.” “Yes, the climbing guides are trained and their company is insured.” I think it was valuable, in hindsight, for the SPL/ASPL to see what the concerns from the committee are as well as being able to get experience working with adults. The CC made sure that the MCs all stayed cordial, even when the answer was “wrong”.

On the other hand, it is, as you noted based on the documentation, the SM or their designee’s responsibility to make sure these items are covered, and to serve as the bridge between the program side of the house and the committee side of the house. Ideally, if you’ve adequately coordinated with the SPL/ASPL, then the conversation goes smoothly and all reasonable concerns are addressed. If the committee is looking for an emergency plan for hurricanes during a winter camp in Utah, then there need to be some adjustments to the adult expectations, which might fall under the CC or the SM’s purview, depending on how your unit wants to handle it. It sounds like setting of some ground rules for the discussions would be a valuable task. Maybe having a specific scope for the questions (e.g. Events coming in the next two months are fair game. Anything further out needs questions submitted in advance.) would help slow the onslaught?

1 Like

Really, the SPL is mentored / coached by the SM. The SM gives a report at the committee meeting, but not a member of the committee. The Scouts really shouldn’t have to worry about the committee. The “committee meeting” the SPL needs to spend their time at is the PLC. Scouts and SM’s shouldn’t have to worry about the bureaucracy of the troop. They are on the program side.

3 Likes

I’ve been CC for my troop for about six years, and we do not do this. We believe the SPL should be interacting with the SM and ASM, not the committee, for these kinds of discussions. Of course, that doesn’t stop individual committee members from giving the SPL advice as we are out supporting their events.

2 Likes

I have only ever seen SPLs present directly to the committee is as part of the annual planning process. Monthly activities and updates should be the SM.

And I quote from the Troop Committee Handbook.

At the monthly committee meeting, the Scoutmaster should be consulted as to what adult help and talents are needed for the coming month’s program.

5 Likes

2021 JTE Unit Scorecards
Planning and Budget Measures
The troop has a program plan and budget that is reviewed at all troop committee meetings, and the troop follows BSA policies relating to fundraising and fiscal management as found on the Unit Money-Earning Application form and any other publication that the council has developed for fundraising and fiscal management. A meeting is held with youth leaders where they are involved in developing the plan for the next program year. The troop’s program plan should be shared with the unit commissioner. Separate troops for males and females under the same chartered organization may have a shared unit committee.
https://i9peu1ikn3a16vg4e45rqi17-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/2021-JTE-Troop-Scorecard-7-31-20.xls

@LaurenceFoong I don’t understand the connection between this JTE specification and the subject at hand. When you break down the criteria by JTE award level, it is pretty clear that this does not require the SPL to report out on the program to the committee. Was this the point you were trying to make?

  • Bronze: Have an annual program plan and budget adopted by the troop committee.
  • Silver: Achieve Bronze, plus troop conducts a planning meeting involving youth leaders for the following program year.
  • Gold: Achieve Silver, plus troop committee meets at least six times during the year to review program plans and finances.
1 Like

Sigh. I can see both sides, but truly ideally the SPL does not report at all to the TC, the SM should. Unfortunately some SM’s are good about this, others not. I get a lot of grey hair due to one SM never telling me (as Comms Chair) what events happened on PLC and thus the calendar was for a while always a train smash, compared to when a different SM did a great job of keeping us informed. The SM not doing their job correctly also leads to other dysfunctions, like TC asking to see the PLC notes directly as a workaround.

1 Like

Yes. We do our annual planning workshop with the PLC and the affected committee members (COR, CC, treasurer, advancement and outdoor activity chairs). That has worked well for us in the past – the PLC has the ideas, and the adults can supplement their plan with data.

2 Likes

Just my $0.02, if the troop committee wants reports from the spl, are they willing to have the spl attend their meetings as well to return the favor?

1 Like

I think having the troop committee attend the PLC meetings would wipe out any idea that the Troop is “Scout-led”. That’s why we limit the committee participation to one annual planning workshop, and limited the committee attendance to members that have information needed for the Scouts to plan effectively.

2 Likes

according to the committee handbook and scoutmaster handbooks the SPL reports to the SM after the PLC meeting so the SM can relay the wishes of the PLC to the committee . i have been in multiple positions over 17 years and currently as a unit commissioner , when units start doing there own thing and do not follow the guidelines it creates more problems and undermines the program . the committees job is not to reinvent the wheel , theirs a 110 years of research that goes into the BSA programs . i would strongly suggest that all unit leaders complete there training and follow the program as its written . just my advice .

2 Likes

Having been an SPL in the past, I can tell you our troop never allowed SPL’s in attendance at our Committee Meetings. Typically the SPL would be running a separate PLC meeting. The pitfall of that is the Scoutmaster would end up missing out on stuff in both meetings, as they’d need to be in 2 places at once.

Eventually we solved with issue with a Junior Assistance Scoutmaster. The JASM would attend the PLC and relay information to the SM, maybe even attend a Committee Meeting to be able to better advise the PLC.

I do agree though, the SPL shouldn’t need to deal with committee politics. That’s not what they signed up to do, and it requires a special touch that unfortunately not every SPL has anyway. I will say however, having been a past SPL, I did want to attend committee meetings. The reason being I felt that the politics going on in the troop had been misguided and that we needed essential things that the Scoutmaster was not listening to. Some of these included new camp stoves or the purchasing of tent repairs. The QM brought those issues up and it never got beyond the Scoutmaster.

It depends on your troop and SPL though. If your SPL is older and more mature, they could probably handle attending a committee meeting. The only thing I would make clear is that the committee is simply hearing their report, not knit picking the program or micro managing. If you feel your SPL is a bit too young and probably not able to handle/understand the politics and bureaucracy of the committee meeting, it might be best to kindly explain that they could write you a report to present at the meeting instead.

Aside from the fact that you don’t have the official scorecard and their wording is different. Yours say “a meeting” which is 1.

The official wording for Silver is:

While I see nothing wrong with a committee member being involved at the youth level as well - that is simply not the time and place. If I were the SM I would politely ask them to refrain from grilling on specifics, and if that can’t be respected then the practice would stop.

1 Like

Same here, I’m the CC and we utilize our SM per the BSA guidelines. Our committee is really the support system, the SPL and PLC spearhead the program side and Scoutmaster is the tether between… doesn’t vote in the PLC nor Committee. Our Scoutmaster is pretty new too n tends to overstep my role sometimes such as saying when my committee needs to meet, time, etc lol. But it’s a learning process for everyone to work together. If the committee or I have questions, I bring it to the SM to get answers and if the Scouts need something, they let us know too, through the SM not the SPL. Lead by example and give those in position the respect of that position and time to do their job so to speak. The Scouts do see this and will learn…dont circumvent their PL or SPL and go to the SM. Micromanaging just makes people reluctant to take on those roles.

Our annual planning meeting begins with our PLC’s annual conference, where the Scouts come up with what they would like do… more like an outline. My troop committee meets and reviews that, takes a look at the finances, council events, school calendars, and make suggestions. We then send back to PLC with the SM including the documents so the Scouts can see for themselves… especially this year, we received our council calendar and school changes very late. Then they come back with it,etc. Absolutely still youth leader involvement in the planning process just not all in one meeting.

Overall I would say your troop is in very solid ground. In the ideal world the key three converse on a very regular basis. And really - if the CC and SM are on the same page and each take their role seriously the SM would have no need to attend most committee meetings. Of course in my near utopian version it would help to have various committee members regularly attending activities partly so they understand what is happening there, partly to help with the logistics of the day.

I will say that my older brother and I both look back fondly on our meetings with the Advancement chair. And she was kind of a non-mother mother in pushing us towards Eagle. Not nagging - but able to illicit the “I don’t want to let her down” response.

1 Like

Yes, we are working on getting there… first step as CC was every parent…every parent besides the SM and ASM is part of my committee, they all have a say and vote. These are OUR Scouts not just a few and need equal chance of representation. Again trying to set good example for the youth. I respect their time and understand that everyone has things outside scouting-- work, sports, other interests, other kids, etc. The reply I get from many is do I have to be at every meeting or is this full time and my answer is no! I ask them to give me what they can, when they can and I’ll do the same. Sometimes it will be 10% here, 10% there and sometimes 80% …we work as a unit than we’ll get that 100! Everyone has something to contribute, just need to figure out what that is…why I’m the chair lol. I’m pretty good and observing and the key is reaching out to the individual and not just a group-- que the deer in the headlights look. One of our biggest obstacles is mentioned above about SM not relaying the needs of the Scouts. Even we had this issue, SM parent n SPL son…she took over pretty much until I became CC . However our Scouts were so conditioned n defeated because they didn’t have anywhere to turn to for guidance. We are now trying to ensure that the Scout understand the hierarchy, if you have problem with SM or ASM etc…,go talk to Cc, etc. Also my husband is ASM and will never be SM if I am actively the CC. Not so much issue of SM n SPL but all 3 is not a good thing in my opinion. I’m the nagging previous den leader though lol

1 Like