We recently asked church leaders about the following situation:
Your church has decided to sponsor a Boy Scout Troop. Seeing it as another way to reach out to the community, the Pastor signed the charter. Now they meet in your building every week.
Most of us remember our Scouting days with great fondness. Those merit badges, campouts, hikes, meals cooked over the campfire are all great memories. Scouting also helps us learn responsibility, honesty, dependability, and other positive character traits.
When the Cub Scout or Boy Scout Troop leader asks your church to sponsor their Troop, as a church leader you are excited to be asked to help further these positive experiences for the young people in your church. This can also be a great way to reach out to the young people in the community.
When you sign that Boy/Cub Scout Charter, are you aware that you have made the Troop a ministry of your church? After signing that charter, the church takes ownership of the Troop. This means that the church now owns all of the Troops camping equipment and assets as well as its liabilities.
Here are some issues that need to be addressed so that the church, the Troop, and all involved are as safe and secure as we can make them!
Is your insurance company aware that you charter a Boy Scout Troop? If the trailer with all their equipment and camping gear inside is stolen or someone is hurt on a camping trip, the claim will be filed on the churchs insurance. Contacting your insurance agent should be one of the first calls you make after signing the charter (if not before to assure that the coverage is available).
The church needs to have control of the Troops funds.
Is the Troop doing background checks on their adult leaders? They need to be following the same policies and procedures as all other areas of the church that work with children/teens. Again, the church would be responsible if something happens in this area.
It's a good idea to have a church member on the Boy Scout Committee to assure that the churchs interests are being protected, and to be the communication liaison between the church and the Troop, and to help monitor the use of the building.
Boy Scouts are great! We are not trying to discourage you from sponsoring a Troop. But in our experience weve found that most churches dont understand what they took on when they signed that Charter. We want to be sure that the church is protected, as well as the Boy Scouts and their sponsors.
Girl Scouts are organized differently than Boy Scouts and do not ask for a chartering organization for their Troops. They might ask to use your building for their meetings, but that is as far as the connection goes!
Please Note: This information is provided with the understanding that Church Administrative Professionals is not rendering professional advice or service.