Scouting, Volume 21, Number 3, March 1933 Page: 4
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I THE TROOP COMMITTEE
THREE WISE MEN
By FLOYD C. FISCHER, Bay City, Mich.
ROOP Committees are funny
things," said Scoutmaster Bebb.
"You never know what to expect
"Right you are!" agreed his compan-
ion. "I'd rather have a group of older
boys to work with."
But Hank, a short, rudy-faced man
turning to gaze at the two men, scowled
his look of disapproval, but held his peace.
"Sure thing," conceded Bebb. "Give
me older lads who have gone through the
mill; they don't sit around with opened
mouths marveling at the amount of diffi-
cult signaling a kid can do."
"That's true, but my Committeemen
are harder to handle than that," ejacu-
lated the second critic. "They either
don't appear at all for a month or they
want to run things their own way and
get credit for everything the Troop does."
HANK had heard enough of this dis-
cussion to convince him of one
thing. So he turned upon the two men,
both slight acquaintances through these
Scouting functions, and demanded rather
abruptly, "Do either of you fellows
know what a Committee is for? Do you
really know how to handle one?"
"Sure, if we ever had a good one,"
"Well, I don't believe you know when
you do have a good Committee," replied
Hank flatly. "Don't mistake me, how-
ever, for I'm not aiming criticism at you
—still I contend that most of the blam-
ing of Troop Committeemen is errone-
ous. The trouble in most cases leads
right back home. It's we Scoutmasters
who are to blame more than anyone else."
"I don't see it that way at all," argued
"Neither did I until two months ago.
But I've learned my lesson and I'd just
like to pass my experience along.
"I've had the same trouble with Com-
mittees as you are having—always did
have, I guess. The men would come
late, sit around and watch, then get up
and travel on home. They might come
back the next week—or perhaps they
wouldn't show up for a month or more.
"Until I found how really invaluable
a group of Committeemen can. become I
struggled on alone. Then I made a
resolution that if I didn't get more sup-
port I would quietly abdicate in favor of
some one more successful.
"My Assistant caught me up on some
of my revolting statements and I'm not
ashamed to admit that he really did the
reconstructing. This lad is a Veteran
Eagle Scout and a former staff member
in a Local Council's summer camp. He
pointed to the reason of my decline as not
alloting enough responsibility to the vari-
ous members—hence the loss of interest
and cooperation on the part of those
"Openly accepting this initiative on
the part of my Assistant, who was in
reality my superior, we started to decen-
tralize the Troop organization—as he
termed it—with a meeting of all Troop
Officer^, including Patrol Leaders.
"My Assistant led the discussion; how
he could be so frank and straight-for-
ward in his way was astounding to me.
He patted the Troop Committee on the
back for being interested enough in youth
and citizenship training to take the job
that they held in the Troop. But he
turned right around and pointed to the
Troop's weaknesses and the lack of as-
sistance from the Committee. He showed
them that the lack of knowledge concern-
ing their duties did not excuse them from
making an effort to find out. Finally
he soothed the hurt by assuming that the
reason the Committee didn't function was
the absence of proper opportunity. He
told them that we acknowledged our
weakness and shortcomings in this respect
and that he hoped that all the problems
of the Troop would be ironed out.
"A long, frank discussion followed this
opening and there was plenty action too.
"Well, men, when that meeting ended
each Committeeman knew he had a job
to perform and things began to look up.
"X/'OU should see that Committee to-
I day! It is the only one in town
which has 100% attendance at each Troop
meeting. You can't keep them away from
one meeting and you can't find them idle
during the attendance. This proves the
statement that the only sure method of
securing a person's interest in anything
is to give him some active part in it
which involves some responsibility.
"The Chairman of the Committee has
soared to new heights of importance. He
helps in program planning. He gets to-
gether with the Troop's leaders and sees
what he can do to work out special pro-
grams such as industrial hikes, day and
overnight hikes, or getting special Speak-
ers for a meeting period. Each meeting
would find him Johnny-on-the-spot, help-
ing with the program,
"Another Committeeman is interested
in Scout advancement. This gentleman
has, in addition to the large wall size
Troop advancement chart, his own per-
sonal record of each boy in a special little
notebook, and follows carefully the pass-
ing of requirements in the Troop. He
knows which boys are doing the push-
ing and which drift along aimlessly.
Through his invaluable assistance this
same Committeeman has developed some
latent characteristics so that he now pre-
sents an entirely different personality to
us. Even the older boys of the Troop
make it a point to attend more regularly
than they had been because they now
work together with this "connoisseur of
advancement" and act as the examiners.
"The third Committeeman conducts
our inter-Patrol contests. These cover
not only advancement that ranges from
Tenderfoot to Eagle, but also attendance
at Troop and Patrol meeting, inspections,
dues, the bringing in of recruits, and fin-
ally, hikes. But in spite of the demand
upon this loyal worker, he finds time to
draw graphs and charts which picture for
the boys the relative position of each
Patrol and their total number of points."
HANK shook his head as he paused
for breath. Neither of his listeners
had breathed a word during this last long
speech or even attempted an interruption.
"Of course you understand that that
is a great deal to expect from any Com-
mittee, but I am telling you what my
bunch did themselves simply upon the
recommendation of the Assistant and my-
self. They never were of any use before
because we never permitted any of them
to be. Now they are indispensible.
"We have risen from a mediocre
Troop to one of distinction because of
this extra adult leadership. We have
had more advancement than ever before.
Does that not speak for itself?
"And the beauty of it all is," Hank
whispered confidentially, "this Commit-
tee-helped-Troop doesn't overtax the
Scoutmaster. I merely take the execu-
tive position and just oil up the dry spots
and fill in the empty places which arise.
"Try it in your own Troop right away
and I'll guarantee that your Committee
will show its true colors."
Strengthen the Troop Committee now, the Troop will benefit later SCOUTING
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Boy Scouts of America. Scouting, Volume 21, Number 3, March 1933, periodical, March 1933; New York, New York. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth312982/m1/4/: accessed May 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Boy Scouts of America National Scouting Museum.