I don’t think Troop meetings need to be an extension of a Scouts day at School with a classroom feel. If a Troop meeting is a little chaotic and appears out of control then I tend to think is successful. The Scouts running the program should be struggling a little to control the younger Scouts that aren’t paying attention or talking too much…it gives them a taste of what being a parent is all about. Adults only need to step in when some order needs to be established…I think one thing that new parents of Scouts that have just crossed over are uncomfortable with is getting used to a Scout at the head of the meeting rather than an adult “Den Leader” format and we have to deprogram them.
As far as what should be covered in a Troop meeting? I think for the most part Troop meetings should be to set up the next Camp Events. Unless there are special circumstances, Troop meetings need to steer as many boys or girls in your Troop to camp. I’m guessing many Troops have those Scouts that only come to Troop meetings and rarely camps. That’s being a baby sitting IMO. If you are camping every month to 6 weeks and have a PLC meeting after each Camp out to review the event and do your typical planning, you will usually have 2-4 meetings to go over what the theme of then next Camp out will be. Perhaps you can tailor a merit badge to a camping theme.
I would rather see Scout Skills, SM Conferences done at Camping events and not Troop meetings unless it’s a unique circumstance. Frankly, if a Scout doesn’t want to camp or the parents don’t want to support that aspect then Scouting may not be for them. So much more can be covered at camping.