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Troop, Pack, Crew, Post, Unit By-LawsA number of units have felt a need to write bylaws and parent guides specifying and explaining *exactly* how the unit should be run - over and above the "rules and regs" established by their national organization. Contact your organization for guidelines.
In the BSA, you may write *any* rules you want - as long as they aren't *specifically* in violation of any BSA policy. BSA will bend to the desires of you as Charter Organization." A suggestion would be to write to the National Council in Irving, Texas and obtain a copy of the B.S.A. By-laws and Rules and Regulations. This would reduce or eliminate the need for an electronic template as you would only need to consider amendments. Each are $1.50 and they contain all the rules and laws you need to administrate your pack, including rules as "when does a Scout become inactive," uniforming rules, etc. It's all there. Any amendments need to be reviewed by your Chartered Organization and by your local council to ensure that you are not conflict with the B.S.A. or your Chartered Organization.
Almost all troops have rules on how they operate: How long is the term of office for the youth leaders? What are the requirements for youth leaders? What are the job descriptions for youth leaders? What is the troop hat, troop t-shirt, troop neckerchief? What are the rules for uniform wear in the troop. When does the troop meet? The PLC? What are the troop dues and when are they to be paid? What are troop dues used for? etc.etc.
However, for most troop these are unwritten, and that can cause problems.
The by-laws just puts this all into writting. Other groups in scouting have them. Most OA Lodges do. Venturing Crews are encouraged to have them (as noted in the new Venturing Leader Handbook, along with a sample). As pointed out, these in no way should supercede the BSA's rules and regulations.
A place where by-laws are very helpful is with regard to individual Scout savings accounts and other places where people want to make exceptions. Also, it may be good to require the Treasure be someone outside the Scoutmaster's family. This is a frequent source of perceived problems. What many have come up with are rules regarding the number of leaders they must have, what level of training they must have, and when they must get it, and so on. (BSA note: a lot of this is already in the BSA by-laws and Guide to Safe Scouting)
A word of caution: write them carefully. You do not want to put down on paper a rule which might need at some future point to be broken. Rules written down are rules which *might* be turned against your unit. It is also a good idea to include wording that addresses revisions to the bylaws/guides as needed.
for some ideas, see:
Troop By-Laws and Parent Guides:
Venturing Crew By-Laws:
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