Can unit committee meetings be ‘closed’ from parents attending?

Joe and Susan heard the troop committee would be mulling over whether or not to have a fall fundraiser this year at the committee meeting tomorrow night. They have some ideas on what should be done. When they asked fellow parents if they also were planning on attending, they were informed parents couldn’t attend troop committee meetings. “Can they do that? I thought there aren’t any secret organizations in Scouting?” they ask.

We’ve addressed “closed” meetings before with a Patrol Leaders Council as an example. We’ve also answered whether or not troop meetings should be “closed” to parents. But what about meetings for adults?

We received several inquiries about this, so we asked Garfield Murden, Scouts BSA national director, and Anthony Berger, Cub Scouting national director.

While there shouldn’t be any secret organizations in Scouting, a “closed” meeting isn’t necessarily a “secret” one. The decision to have a “closed” meeting is up to the chartered organization. Like a PLC meeting, while the meetings can be “closed” to cut down on distractions, for example, it is encouraged that meetings be open.

“We recommend that you allow parents to be as active as possible,” Berger says. “Having ‘closed’ committee meetings may send a signal that the committee doesn’t need help or doesn’t want help.”

More questions, more answers

We received a few more questions about unit committees and chartered organizations that the national directors helped answer below. If you have more questions about committee meetings, you can refer to the Troop Committee Guidebook, available at your local Scout Shop.

Can someone be a committee chair for multiple units? Yes, this is possible as the chartered organization representative appoints the unit committee chair.

Can a chartered organization representative take two leadership roles (like den leader and pack treasurer, for example)? A chartered organization representative may also serve as either committee chair or member of the committee. That’s it; they may not also serve as a den leader. (For more on this, click here)

Can you be a committee chair and a chartered organization representative at the same time? Yes.

About Michael Freeman 104 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is associate editor of Boys’ Life, Scouting and Eagles’ Call magazines.