Scout Troops are ideally “scout-run.” This means that the scouts run the troop. Of course the adults are there to supervise and make sure things go according to BSA Policy. Here at Troop 158, we like to say the troop is mostly “scout-run.” We have found this way works the best. So what we do is to allow the scouts to decide where they are going camping, what badges they are going to earn as a troop, and they plan the meetings and run them for the most part. We as adults step in when appropriate to give guidance, and to teach skills they don’t know. Of course, the newer the scouts, the more adult involvement until they can reach a level of competency. Also along with this, once they get older, they tend to run the troop more on their own. We stress Leadership. All of the scouts hold a leadership position at some point while in the troop. We also like the scouts to learn as much as they can or choose to. Between the adult leader’s, as well as the older scouts, we have a great amount of knowledge to share. Parents have a key role by helping with reminders and asking your scout for the latest troop news!
Troop Meetings Scouting is a scout-lead activity. The level of adult leader involvement can vary from troop to troop. That is probably the biggest difference you will see between Cub Scouts and a Scout Troop. Senior Scout leadership is composed of the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) plus at least one Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (ASPL). These Scouts are responsible for planning and running the meetings. Typically, the SPLs are responsible for managing the meeting plan for a month, with the support of the ASPL, the Scoutmaster, the Assistant Scoutmasters, and other supporting adults. By the way, troops would really like to get new Scout parents involved in this process – ask what you can do! The Scout leadership is also supported by the Patrol Leaders. Parents are encouraged, but not required, to stay around for meetings. During a typical meeting, the following activities may occur:
Opening flag ceremony
Meeting organizational announcements
Merit badge and general advancement activities
Campout planning (if necessary; it also may be held after the meeting)
Recognition of any advancement earned that evening
Closing flag ceremony
Rank Advancement Rank requirements for Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class are signed off in the Scout Handbook. Most of the information needed to pass these rank requirements can be found in the handbook. Taking the time to read and study a subject thoroughly is important and expected. When a Scout satisfactorily demonstrates that he or she has a complete knowledge of a skill or requirement, the requirement may to be signed off in the handbook by a troop leader. A Scout is expected to perform service work for advancement as well. Scouts must appear before a Board of Review (BOR) as the final step for rank advancement. Rank advancement is recognized at a formal ceremony called a Court of Honor (COH). It is meant to be a solemn occasion focusing on each Scout’s growth and achievements. All Scouts are expected to wear their full Class-A uniform, including merit badge sashes. Parents/guardians are expected to attend each Court of Honor and will be asked to join their scout in front of the Troop when he receives his patch and recognition for rank advancement. The typical steps in rank advancement include:
Scout completes requirements and obtains sign off from Senior Patrol Leader (SPL), his assistants (ASPL), Scoutmasters, or Assistant Scoutmasters.
Scout requests Scoutmaster Conference once all requirements met and signed off.
Scout notifies the Awards & Advancement Chair that he is ready for his Board of Review (BOR).
Awards & Advancement Chair schedules the BOR, targeting a weekly meeting, if possible. Parent Hint: parents must volunteer for BORs. You will be helped with questions to ask until you get the hang of it.
Scout presents signed book and be in Class-A uniform at the BOR.
After successfully completing the BOR, the scout is awarded rank as soon a possible Parent Hint: make a photocopy of the signed pages in the Scout Book and, when awarded, the Rank Advancement Card. Keep copies with Blue Card copies and originals with Blue Cards originals.
Merit Badges (MBs) Merit badges are required for rank advancement from First Class to Eagle. There are more than 130 merit badges in the Scouting program and they offer Scouts an opportunity to explore areas in which they may not have engaged otherwise. A list of merit badges can be found in the Scout Handbook. There are merit badges for many areas of interest, such as sports, hobbies, careers and Scouting skills. A scout must earn a total of 21 merit badges to achieve the rank of Eagle. Out of the 21 merit badges, there are 14 specifically required for the rank of Eagle and are trimmed in silver thread. Eagle-required merit badges include:
Citizenship in the Community
Citizenship in the Nation
Citizenship in the Society
Citizenship in the World
Emergency Preparedness -OR- Lifesaving
Environmental Science -OR- Sustainability
Swimming -OR- Hiking -OR- Cycling
The typical steps in earning a merit badge includes:
Scout requests a MB Counselor to work with from the Advancement Chair.
Scout meets with MB Counselor and works on requirements.
Counselor signs off on completed requirements.
Scout obtains sign off from Advancement Chair.
Safekeeping In Scouting, the Scout must prove he or she completed all the requirements. So, it is extremely important to safe-keep all your formal advancement records and supporting information. Please visit our Advancement page to learn more about safekeeping.
Medical Forms and Permission Slips Medical Forms: Two copies have to be turned in each year. Keep original. Medical conditions, vaccinations and insurance information are critical. If the Scout is going in for a physical or health assessment, take along a BSA medical form to be filled out. If any changes occur during the year, please inform Scoutmaster. Outside Activity Hints
Put clothes in Ziploc-type bags to keep clean and dry. Usually 1 day per bag. (Nice when they come back, know what is clean and what is not).
Regular tennis shoes don’t work for hiking, camping, and outdoor wet/cold weather activities. Pack extra dry socks (not cotton).
Select clothing that wicks away moisture. Cotton holds moisture and loses ability to insulate. Cotton t-shirts can work during the summer.
Scouts will create a food budget based on the number of scouts signed up in their patrol and the schedule from the Event Leader. General per scout guidelines is $15 per weekend (Friday night through Sunday morning).
Scouts will create an appropriate menu and grocery shopping list (including quantities and other details).
Scouts should participate and lead the food shopping activity but parents should guide as such:
Stay within budget.
Know what your storage and transportation limitations will be (weight, food safety, waste).
Don’t overbuy, especially just to get a better price (including condiments).
Packets to mix in water for drinks are preferred over premixed drinks.
Gear Guide The following is a Troop gear packing lists for a generic weekend campout with additional on-line resources for selecting gear below.
Personal Camp Pack List Note on Gear: Remember that it is best for new Scouts to borrow gear before buying, so that you can see what types of gear others are using to pick the best fit for you. Equipping Scouts can be quite expensive, but purchases can be spread out over time as your Scout gains more experience. The Troop does have limited emergency individual gear, which we lend out. New Scouts are encouraged to talk to the Scoutmaster or another leader buying new (unfamiliar) gear. Below are some online resources to purchase gear and to obtain gear advice:
Parent Fun and Participation – How you can support your scout and the Troop
Attend and participate in the Committee/Adult Meetings
Attend the Troop’s Court of Honor ceremonies for Recognition of our Scout’s Achievements. It is important to the Scouts.
Come on campouts and other activities but remember you are there only to guide, protect, and have fun. Let the scouts learn new skills on their own. Need minimum 2 adults (1 Trained Leader), prefer at least 4 adults.
Board of Reviews: 3 adults, other than Scoutmasters, are needed for review panel for rank advancements. Easy and great way to meet your scout’s friends and learn more about Scouting.
Be a Merit Badge Counselor. There are so many different merit badges that you should be able to find one. No cost to register.