What makes the backbone of a successful troop?

Answer: Communications

Communications are foundationally the most important component of a successful troop.  Without them, failure is eminent.  With them, failure is still possible yet less likely to happen.  So, what needs to be communicated with the troop to ensure it’s success?  Today I will focus on one form of communication that we are going to work on improving at Troop 73- Phone Calls.

Who to contact?

This one is easy.  Know your chain of command.  Scouts should contact their Patrol Leader.  Patrol Leader should contact the Assistant Sr. Patrol Leader.  Assistant Sr. Patrol Leader should contact the Sr. Patrol Leader.  Sr. Patrol Leader should make the call or contact the Scoutmaster for advice.  On the adult side, it’s just as easy.  Committee positions should contact the Committee Chair.  Assistant Scoutmasters should contact the Scoutmaster.

Why is it important to contact the right person?

If you want the right answer, you need to go to the right person.  If you are a Scout and you contact the Sr. Patrol Leader for information, there are numerous people in between that may not know and increase the volume of calls to this person.  Let’s take this scenario- Scout 1 has a question and calls the Sr. Patrol Leader instead of his Patrol Leader.  Scouts 2 & 3 do the same.  So, the SPL took three calls that he didn’t need to.  Imagine in our troop of 60 boys if each one contacted the SPL himself.  The SPL’s phone would be ringing off the hook!  Same scenario on the adult side- imagine if all 30 of the registered adults contacted the Scoutmaster with a question.  Ugh!   Add on top of that all the scout parents?  Somebody get me a straight jacket and a padded room!

Padded Room

Troop Meetings

Location, time, what to bring, what will be discussed, any research that needs to be done beforehand.  This information should be delivered to the last scout no later than 7PM the day before the troop meeting.  It should start with the SPL to ASPL to PL to Scouts.  Very simple.  If you don’t get a phone call, it is your job to reverse the call order (Scout to PL to ASPL to SPL).

Patrol Leader’s Council

The date, time,  location, and agenda should be given to the troop a week in advance.  This allows all members of the troop to get an idea of what their ELECTED representatives have coming up that they will be discussing and/or deciding upon.  Make sure your leadership knows what YOU want to do.

In Summary

Proper, timely communications with the right people are critical to keep things working well.

Know who to go to with questions and when it is appropriate to ask them.

Scoutmaster Weaverling