We developed organizational charts to explain the committee functions and responsibilities. Perhaps the first thing to notice is that the Scoutmaster/Coach/Advisor is not actually a member of the committee. I think we often do that wrong in the Church. Too many times the Scoutmaster/Coach/Advisor are the committee.
You'll also notice we have a separate committee for each group. The reason for that is that they are separate programs with different emphases and responsibilities; they deserve separate committees. I have never seen an LDS ward do this. We usually end up with two: one for cub scouts, and one for everything else. Part of that is probably because most wards I've seen ignore the varsity and venturing programs and just worry about the boy scouts. That's wrong, in my opinion.
I've been told by several people that having separate committees might be a good idea but would never work. "How could we ever get separate committees when we can't even get one?" That is a valid concern but not a reason not to try. It reminds me of a quote from one of our Wood Badge participants: "Just because that's the way you've always done it, doesn't mean it isn't incredibly stupid."
I think the real problem with Scout committees in the LDS church is in who we choose as the chair. If you get a good chairperson, they can make the committee work. And if you had three good committee chair persons you could get functioning committees for each of the older boy programs. The trick is in who you ask. As I was working on the organizational chart for Venturing, the thought I kept having was that the most practical choice, the obvious choice, of chairperson would be the Bishop.
Extend that out a bit further and have each member of the bishopric serve as the committee chair for each of the older boy programs. I've shared this idea with a few people and the response is always negative. "That would never work." "The bishopric are too busy, they have too many responsibilities already. You want to make them go to more meetings?"
I see it a little differently. Each member of the bishopric is already responsible for one of the quorums of the Aaronic priesthood. The bishop is president of the priests quorum. They should be intimately involved with the quorum anyway. Having the bishopric serve as the committee chair for that quorum's scout group would facilitate their existing responsibilities to that quorum and those young men. It would provide a framework for them to do what they should be doing anyway. The LDS church handbook on Scouting says that a member of the bishopric should serve on each Scout committee anyway--why not make them the chair?
Yes, Bishops and their counselors are busy. But they have responsibilities for the young men anyway. If we could get ward councils, Elder's quorum and Relief Society presidents, and High Priests group leaders to take over more responsibilities (like we've been asked) then the bishopric could be freed up to fulfill their responsibilities to the young men. And the committees could provide a framework for that.
I had one person tell me that this idea actually goes against what the church is trying to do. "The bishopric should be on the side of the boys--encouraging them--and the scout committee sometimes has to say 'no, you can't do that.' The bishopric shouldn't have to be in that position." My response is that the bishopric is already in that position. They review our activities in BYC and tell us when we can't do something. I also said that the committee should also be on the side of the boy--it isn't an antagonistic relationship. He tried to tell me
Having the Bishopric serve as committee chairs would also solve another problem I see with LDS scout committees. We usually call someone as committee chair who isn't already involved with the young men. They may or may not have a relationship with and/or interest in the boys, but they are coming from outside the young men's organization. And that often leaves them out of the loop.
As young mens president, I sit in on ward council and PEC meetings. We'll often get scouting information coming down through the stake by way of our high councilman. It gets handed directly to me. The committee chair never even sees it. They are out of the loop. Having the Bishopric serve as committee chairs eliminates that problem.
It also eliminates the problem I mentioned earlier. We often can't get one committee functioning because we can't get the committee chair to function. I believe if the bishopric members served as committee chairs, they would be able to get their committee to function. A good leader will create a good team.
There is another obvious choice for who could serve as the committee chairs--the young mens presidency. Generally, they are called either as the Scoutmaster/Coach/Advisor or assistants, but there isn't any reason I can see that would prevent them from being committee chairs instead.
Sure, these ways of doing things would create other issues but the more I think about it, the more obvious it seems. Have the bishopric serve as the committee chair for three separate Scout committees. It makes sense. I think it would work.
Of course, I say that having never been either a committee chair or a member of the bishopric....