Let me start by addressing the grubmaster thing. Yes, shopping for 18 can be a challenge. Ideally there would be two GMs, but there weren't. If the problem is with finances, you were right to speak up. If not, then what is the problem? You said "My son needs to learn to shop with a budget and keep track of how much each item on the list is. He will not learn this if Mom or Dad writes the check or swipes the Debit/Credit card through the machine." Hogwash!!! He can do everything in that budget and that list right up to the processing at the check-out stand. What does swiping the credit card have to do with learning to shop with a budget and track each item? Nothing other than means of payment. He still gets an itemized receipt, he still managed his costs, just give him a calculator has he's shopping and he can track his budget as he goes along.
What does spending $420 this month have to do with anything in your rant? Welcome to an active Scouting program!! If you stay with it until your sons turn 18, you'll be spending way more than that. I've got a 16 y/o son and we both do a High Adventure trip every summer. Guess what... that's freakin' expensive. In 2010 it was Jamboree to the tune of $3000 just for admission. In 2011 it was Northern Tier, another $3000. This year it was Alaska, there went $4000. And none of those figures included gear or clothing. Then there were the regular monthly events and Scout camp. Scouting, when done right, is not cheap. That's why my son had sold popcorn every year. He does well enough to cover his side of the expenses.
When is it appropriate to give the PLC a set of rules to follow when planning camping trips?
That is for the SM and the SPL/PLC to work out, not you. As a committee member, you can discuss this with the committee and discuss AS A COMMITTEE with the SM, but it is not your role to drive this bus with the youth.
Now, I've been sitting for the past few months reading the ongoing saga of your troop(s), biting my lip and holding my tongue. Since everyone has been really nice and danced around, I'm going to poke the elephant in the room.
KC, if I didn't know better, I would swear you were my darling wife. There have been SOOOO many similar discussions in my home. That said, you have a PEBCAK issue. This is a Scout troop. They are going to do things differently. They are not going to be finely-tuned in organization, especially if the boys are in charge. The boys are going to mess up. The Scoutmaster is going to let the boys mess up so long as the mistake is not life-threatening or injury-provoking. That includes menus that are not USDA-compliant. Are the issues life-threatening? Will they put the boys in harm's way? Or are they merely annoyances to the way we would do them as adults and will provide learning experiences for the boys?
Please stop trying to micro-manage this troop, your sons will appreciate it. Take it from a parent/ASM who has been there, done that. If you can't sit back and enjoy the ride, get out of the car. You've already left one troop that didn't meet your expectations, and you were supposedly looking to leave this one as well. Maybe you need to look internally and figure out why you're expecting perfection from an organization that is run by volunteers for a group of teenaged boys who are supposed to be given the leeway to lead themselves. It's fine to make a suggestion here or there, but you've been pinging on these folks since day one. Try stepping back and watching without commenting. Take a few notes, then ask yourself "Is it really important that this be changed? Will it make a real difference in the end result of this event?" If not, let it go.
It's obvious you care, both for your sons and for the program. But you've got to let loose on the reigns. The more you tighten up, the more you're going to choke the fun out of it... for you, for your sons, for the troop. Like I said, I've been there, done that, and I now have the reputation that's hard to get rid of. Your sons will appreciate it.