Scouting is unlike anything your son has ever experienced before. Unlike school, organized sports, or perhaps even in the home setting, in a Boy Scout troop the youth are the ones who are in charge. THEIR desires become our agenda. THEIR ideas for adventure, fun, and excitement are what the adults guide them to bring into reality. In Scouting, THEY speak and the adults listen.
By practicing representative democracy, they pick their own leaders who form the "Patrol Leader Council" which creates the monthly/yearly agenda. Scouts work together on every issue, from what to eat at camp to deciding who will wash dishes and shop for food. They learn and PUT INTO PRACTICE communication, public speaking, teamwork, conflict resolution, and leadership... all the skills they will need to excel in the"real world".
By taking advantage of any of the 136 (as of April 2015)possible merit badges, they gain exposure to areas of interest ranging from Rifle Shooting to Chemistry, from Small Boat Sailing to Aviation, and from Reading to Nuclear Science, and more. Statistically, the Merit Badge program often leads to life-long hobbies and even career choices. At a minimum, Merit Badges help a young man try things he may never have had a chance to do if not for the Scouting experience, such as rifle shooting, archery, sailing, or camping.
While boys are busy "being Scouts" and having fun,they start to embody the virtues of Scouting defined in the Scout Oath and Law. It's "fun with a purpose".
- What is the ONE bit of advice for a Scout?
READ THE BOOK! The Boy Scout Handbook does an EXCELLENT job explaining the BSA Program. It also provides valuable skill instruction and has the potential to IGNITE dreams of adventure, exploration, and fun for boys of all backgrounds and abilities.... all of which are POSSIBLE in this troop!
"I'm bored" are the 2 words NO Scout has a right to say, as we are determined to help bring all their ideas into reality. Spend time with your son each night (especially if he is new to Scouting). Read the book with him. Quiz him on a skill, or challenge him to a knot tying contest. Ask him how he sees himself living up to the Scout Law.
Don't let Scouting be "1 hour a week", but a regular and routine part of every day.
- What do you mean by "Boy Led"?
A Boy Scout troop leads itself. Adults are present to guide and ensure safety & compliance exists, but it is the YOUTH who make key decisions. The primary role of the Scoutmasteris to teach the Senior Patrol Leader how to run/lead his troop.
The Scouting program using The Patrol Method means the Troop members ELECT their own leaders; individual Patrol Leaders and a Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) who takes on "ownership" and holds the actual leadership position within the Troop. The SPL appoints an assistant scout (Assistant Senior Patrol Leader - ASPL) and various other leadership positions, all of whom serve at the Scoutmaster's discretion.
While serving as Senior Leaders, the SPL and ASPL cease to be members of their respective patrols and function as peers with the adult leadership. The SPL and ASP execute Program decisions, lead the meetings, plan agendas, pick camping destinations, and LEAD BY EXAMPLE when executing the agenda that the boys themselves created and agreed to follow.
Patrol Leaders are responsible for the well being and actions of their individual patrol and will REPRESENT their patrol in the Patrol Leaders Council (PLC). At the PLC meeting (chaired by the SPL and monitored by the Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmaster), Patrol Leaders plan future trips and troop meetings. Through a model of Representative Government, THEY choose the trips and activities THEY want to do, and appoint other scouts to serve as skill instructors, or lead games & other activities. Adult leadership keeps them on track with suggestions and advice, but the decisions are ultimately left to THE YOUTH.
Once the future meetings/camping trips are planned, the SPL and Scoutmaster present the PLC's plans to the Troop Committee for review. The agenda is checked for issues such as necessary fund raising, unique equipment/skills, camp ground reservations, and is given an over-all inspection to confirm that trips are aligned with the purpose of the Scouting Program. If the plans are approved, the SPL goes forward with leading the weekly meetings or delegating others who will lead all/part of the meeting. The model is "boys leading boys" unless the skill instruction needed is currently beyond the skill set of the Scouts or relates to merit badge requirements, then adults will render assistance.
ADULTS are a RESOURCE for guidance and ensuring that things are done the "BSA way" for safety, youth development and general direction setting.
"Boy Leadership" really means the Troop is doing the things the BOYS want to do, and in doing so, they will develop the leadership, communication, problem resolution, and organizational skills that underscore why Scouts excel in all other areas of their lives.
- If Scouting is "boy led", why have adult leaders?
A Boy Scout troop is "boy run", and the functioning boss is one of the Boy Scouts who serves as the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL). He's elected to that position by all the Scouts in the troop and typically serves for a 6-month term (he is allowed to run for re-election).
However, just because a patch is sewn on your sleeve designating you as the "leader", it doesn't mean that you actually know HOW to lead. That's where the adults come in.
The Scoutmaster's job is to teach the boys how to lead their own unit. That seems to be more of a "journey" than a "destination" because in 6 months, a new election is held. The next Scout to be elected as the SPL may have strong leadership skills, or may be starting to develop them for the first time so getting to a "100% boy run" status is difficult.
Sometimes we're able to be more "out of the way" than others, but our goal is to let the youth leaders "lead" and only step in when necessary, even if that means letting them make a few mistakes along the way.
- Where would I fit as an adult leader?
Boys are Scouts. Adults are Scouters.
As a Scouter, you can volunteer in 3 capacities in a local Scout unit. Other positions exist at the District level, but we're focused on the Troop on this FAQ.
Scoutmaster (SM) /Assistant Scoutmaster (ASM)- these Scouters work closest with the Scouts and ensure the program is running as it should. Their primary focus is to support the Senior Patrol Leader and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader by guiding them in leadership of the Troop while delivering the "Program".
Merit Badge Counselor (MBC) - a MBC works with Scouts on an individual basis to work on the specific badges (from 1 to 140) that the MBC is registered to teach. A MBC works with the Scouts "on demand" when he is contacted by the Scouts requesting time to complete badge work.
Committee Member - the role of the committee is to provide the Scoutmaster with the support needed to deliver the program that the Patrol Leader Council chooses as the "Program". The Committee provides the logistical support (funds/fund raisers, camping equipment, Treasury, camp site reservations, recording advancement, Boards of Review, registration/recharter, etc) needed to support the Troop. The Committee also has the responsibility to ensure that the Scoutmaster and the PLC are delivering a program that is aligned with the BSA Charter. If not, the Committee can recommend replacements. The Committee Chair would report to the Charter Organization which has the authority to "hire/fire" adult leaders.
The Committee is headed by a Committee Chairman who functions as the "great organizer" to make sure that sub-committees are on-task in their roles within the troop, such as ensuring a Treasurer delivers a Treasurer's report... Activities Chair is making campsite reservations....Equipment Chair is maintaining the camping equipment.... webmaster(s) are updating the website... etc. To avoid "power plays" the Committee Chair is more of an "organizer" than a "position of authority". Committee decisions are made via parliamentary procedure and voting. By design, the Scoutmaster and assistants are NOT members of the Committee, and therefore cannot vote on committee decisions.
There are a myriad of positions needed to staff a strong committee, so most adults in a troop are registered as Committee Members.
- I wasn't a Scout as a boy, can I be a Scout Leader?
All are welcome to contribute as much as they would like as a uniformed leader, Committee Member, or a Merit Badge Counselor (MBC).
As a Committee Member, you should be willing to attend the monthly Committee Meeting (1st or 2nd Mon. of each month, 7PM) and get involved in as much/little with upcoming activities as you wish.
As a Merit Badge Counselor, you choose to provide counseling from 1 to many of the available 130+ Merit Badges. YOU DO NOT need to be an "expert" to be a counselor, as the handbooks will cover ALL that you need to know to learn/teach each particular badge.
As a Merit Badge Counselor, your time is ONLY used "upon request" when a Scout decides he would like to work on a particular badge for which you've agreed to be a counselor. Merit Badges are intended to be earned OUTSIDE of the weekly meeting, so Scouts meet with you ON YOUR SCHEDULE of availability.
NOTE… all leaders MUST complete a BSA Adult Application, which requires you to provide your Social Security Number. A background check will be done by the Golden Empire Council. WE (the Troop) will NOT know of the particular details of anyone's record, but will simply be told "yes/no" regarding your eligibility. If you do not provide your SSN, you will not be accepted as a leader. This is National BSA policy, not an ad hoc policy of Troop 66.
- Can women be a Scout Leader?
Absolutely! There are no restrictions towards a leader based on gender, race, age, religion, or physical handicap. There have been many women Scoutmasters in our district.
- Can women attend camping trips?
Absolutely! we'd love to have you join us on a camping trip as a "parent" or as a "registered leader". As with any other parent/guardian who attends, you will work among the other adults and let your son work with his Patrol. You stop being "mom" and are just another adult who is there to help the Scouts run their program for the weekend.
There are special camping guidelines we must follow when women are present relating to bathroom, shower, sleeping and privacy issues, but yes, women are welcome at camping events.
- How fast can my son advance?
Advancement in Scouting is COMPLETELY under the control of the Scout himself. As fast as he can learn the skills, he can get credit for them towards rank advancement.
TYPICALLY, it will take more than 1 year for him to make it from Scout, to Tenderfoot, to 2nd Class, and then to 1st Class. We do use a "1st Class in the 1st Year" agenda to keep newer boys focused (and soften the "culture shock" from coming from a Cub Pack to a Troop). This can happen if a Scout is motivated, attends meeting and trips and goes to summer camp.
A Scout can work on the requirements for rank IN ANY ORDER, but his actual progression through the ranks must be sequential. Some of the rank requirements have SET TIMES that must be met before he can get credit for them and advance. These are clearly outlined in the back pages of his Scout Handbook.
A boy has until his 18th birthday to reach Eagle and/or be a Boy Scout, but the typical age of an Eagle in the BSA is a surprisingly young14 years of age. Most of Troop 66 Scouts have been making Eagle between 16-18 years old. Reaching Eagle is NOT an easy task and requires an abundance of effort and self-motivation. Encouragement at home is CRUCIAL to a boy's success towards his Eagle Rank.
- What if my son is not advancing?
We should first recognize that Scouting is a lot of FUN and some percentage of the youth are perfectly happy being involved without advancement as a personal goal. But, we will monitor & interview scouts to see if they fit into this category.
For those interested in advancing through Scouting's ranks, we must keep in mind that Scouting is a "character development program". The primary way to create responsible young adults, is to give them "responsibility". One way to do that is to make advancement in Scouting the responsibility of each individual Scout.
Through his Patrol Leader, he should voice his desire for trip destinations, activities, and opportunities to complete the various rank requirements and attend trips that he finds exciting and thrilling.
HE is responsible for informing the Scoutmaster (in advance) of his choice to begin working on a Merit Badge; the completion of which is up to HIM and his Merit Badge Councelor. Through INDEPENDENT work (with a friend or family member - to comply with Youth Protection) he will work with his MBC to complete Merit Badge requirements at his own pace.
At meetings and on camping trips, ample opportunity is made to complete work and FREQUENT reminders are made to encourage boys to"step up" to make the most of their opportunities. Monthly camping trips are usually geared towards 1 or more merit badges and/or rank advancement, though our weekly agenda rarely covers the entire badge requirements...and this is not by mistake. The "program" will offer OPPORTUNITIES for advancement, but we look to the Scout to "meet us half way" by stepping up to complete the rest of his requirements as asign of his own initiative and work ethic.
AT ANY TIME, Scouts (with/without their parents) are free to inquire about advancement to the Scoutmaster or his Assistant Scoutmasters. The SCOUT is ultimately responsible.....that's what makes the "Eagle" rank so significant and valuable. Attaining "Eagle" tells the world,that this is a young man who is responsible, motivated, and a leader.
- Can a boy be "demoted" or have badges taken away?
Once a RANK or a Merit Badge has been earned, it can never be taken away. In addition, once a requirement for rank advancement is signed off, or a Merit Badge Counselor signs a "blue card" stating that the badge requirement has been completed, no one has the authority to overturn the decision or refuse to award the badge to the Scout. (BSA policy)
Firemen' Chit and Toten' Chip are safety badges and it is at the discretion of the Troop Leadership to revoke a Scouts PRIVILEGES for fire-starting or knife/axe use. Should this ever happen, the corrective process within Troop 66 is usually retaking the instructional course. Until that happens, a Scout is not permitted to carry/use a knife, nor may he start or tend a fire.
- What's so special about "Eagle Scout"?
Becoming an Eagle Scout is no small achievement. In fact, among adults who have gone on to become astronauts, doctors, politicians, or business leaders, most of them will say that earning their Eagle is clearly among the most important achievements in their lives.
Back to the question... WHY?
Look at it from this angle.... ADVANCEMENT is completely up to the individual Scout. If he has no desire or sense of commitment to advance in rank, that is his choice. IT IS POSSIBLE for a boy to attend EVERY meeting and EVERY camping trip, and never make it through 1/2 of the available ranks if he isn't motivated enough to take the extra step of demonstrating skills or earning merit badges.Statistically speaking, only 2 out of 100 boys in Scouting will push themselves to become Eagle Scouts.
The "Trail to Eagle" is one of persistence, dedication, well-rounded learning experiences by earning 21+ merit badges, strong attendance at meetings and camping trips, and hundreds of hours of community service.... all culminating with the planning and complete executionof his "Eagle Project" before his 18th birthday.
The "Eagle Project" is SO MUCH MORE than "giving something back to the community" (which it is, and let's not minimize the importance of community and charity). It is actually his "final exam" in Scouting.
HE manages his Eagle Project. He will put to use all of the lessons he learned as a Boy Scout; communicating, organizing, recruiting, conceiving an idea, selling the idea, planning the work, assigning work details to those helping him, being the "accountant" that tracks the hours worked and the money spent, etc. In every conceivable way, HE is the "project leader".
THESE are the highly desirable skills and traits that makes "Eagle Scout" stand out on a job resume or college application, and the fact that such skills and moral foundations are learned/mastered before "society" recognizes him as an "adult"...simply amazing!
- What is the Order or the Arrow?
The Order of the Arrow (OA) is the Honor Society of Scouting.
As Scouting’s National Honor Society, our purpose is to:
Recognize those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives and through that recognition cause others to conduct themselves in a way that warrants similar recognition.
Promote camping, responsible outdoor adventure, and environmental stewardship as essential components of every Scout’s experience, in the unit, year-round, and in summer camp.
Develop leaders with the willingness, character, spirit and ability to advance the activities of their units, our Brotherhood, Scouting,and ultimately our nation.
Crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.
The Order of the Arrow membership requirements are:
- Be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America.
- After registration with a troop or team, have experienced 15 days and nights of Boy Scout camping during the two-year period prior to the election. The 15 days and nights must include one, but no more than one, long-term camp consisting of six consecutive days and five nights of resident camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America. The balance of the camping must be overnight, weekend, or other short-term camps.
- Youth must be under the age of 21, hold the BSA First Class rank or higher, and following approval by the Scoutmaster or Varsity Team Coach, be elected by the youth members of their troop or team.
- Adults (age 21 or older) who are registered in the BSA and meet the camping requirements may be selected following nomination to the lodge adult selection committee. Adult selection is based on their ability to perform the necessary functions to help the Order fulfill its purpose, and is not for recognition of service, including current or prior positions. Selected adults must be an asset to the Order because of demonstrated abilities, and must provide a positive example for the growth and development of the youth members of the lodge.
- Does my son have to come every week?
We certainly won't send the "Scout Police" out to find you if you don't show up, but you miss out on a big part of the BSA Program if you don't attend regularly. Scouting is NOT just playtime, or "Billy's weekend fun" away from his kid sister. Scouting is a carefully crafted character-development program where no aspect of this program exists by accident.
Scouts should make every effort to attend meetings on a regular basis. Those who don't are missing out on the full experience of their limited Scouting years, and are causing their fellow patrol members to do the same. Patrols with members who do not attend regularly DO perform less efficiently than other patrols where their members attend each week. The differences are noticeable and sometimes astounding when it comes to teamwork, food preparation, advancement, etc.
Each boy is a member of a PATROL, and as such, is part of a smaller group (as compared to the whole Troop of boys) so that he is given AMPLE opportunity to play an active and valuable "hands on" role in the patrol's success.
A Scout who shows up only for the "fun trips" or shows up sporadically to the weekly meetings DEPRIVES himself of the chance to make key decisions within his patrol; choose trip ideas and destinations, make menu selections, divvy out workloads, and build close friendships. Most meetings include a period of valuable skill instruction and fun inter-patrol competitions. If a boy misses a meeting,he will find himself less prepared for the upcoming weekend in the outdoors. The troop meetings are where we "learn", but the camping trip is where we reinforce the skills by putting them into practical use.
Scouts who hold LEADERSHIP POSITIONS are expected to show up at every meeting and camping trips as the leadership positions are "working" positions. Scouts need to provide leadership service to their patrols and the troop as a whole in order to be credited for their time in leadership positions (often needed for rank advancement).
Summer camp is a week long experience in "Scout life", and a LOT of fun! It's held at Council-run scout camps like Winton, Lassen, or other BSA-owned properties. We also try to attend Camp Cherry Valley on beautiful Catalina Island every other year. All BSA camps are staffed with adult leaders, but the program areas (merit badge classes, and other skill areas) are run by other (older & experienced) Boy Scouts who spend the entire summer living at camp as counselors.
Troops from all over come to camp, and each troop stays in their own camp site. We sleep and eat together, but beyond than that we are joining other scouts in merit badge classes, 1st Year program, or COPE or High Adventure. You can think of Summer Camp as a week at "Scout College" where boys sign up for the classes that interest them, allowing the camping experience to be a personally satisfying experience.
LIFE AT CAMP...At summer camp, Scouts will either be boarded in 8'x8' "wall tents" (large canvass tents with 2 cots, usually on pallets to keep them off of the ground) or in Troop provided tents where they sleep on their own mats.
Scouts are provided two Class B t-shirts that we design specifically for that year's camp. It helps us look "uniform" and ensures the boys are in clean clothes (at least at the start of each day!) All meals are served in the Camp Dining Hall. Note that ALL camp attendees (adult and youth) MUST be in full Field (Class A) uniform for admittance into the dining hall for dinner. After dinner, class B or plain clothes are allowed again.
During the day, scouts spend the day in "Program" areas learning the scout skills they selected before coming to camp. However, there is plenty of "freetime" for Scouts to relax, sample other program areas around camp, visit the shooting ranges, fishing ponds, or swimming pool. There are often "camp-wide games" at each camp to make sure Scouts have plenty of FUN and entertaining activities for their entire time at camp. There are usually opening and closing Council Fires and other ceremonies throughout the week.
- What preparation is needed for Summer Camp?
There is much we do to prepare for summer camp; fundraising, health forms, acclimation, Program selection & prerequisite work, and Swimming.
Fund Raising -Each year we conduct a Christmas Tree Sale. While it is a lot of work, it is highly profitable and Scouts have the earning potential to fund much of the cost of Summer Camp and/or other Troop activities. Scouts can also participate in Camp Card and Popcorn sales. Summer Camp usually cost between $350 - $650 each year depending on the camp, so scouting families should plan accordingly so that the annual camp fee is not a"surprise" or unattainable expense. In-Council scholarships are available if needed. Speak to the Committee Chair if this is something you would be interested in.
Health Forms -Every year, we are required by the BSA to bring current/valid health forms for EVERY ATTENDEE (adult and youth) to camp. EVERYONE must submit the BSA health forms in order to remain on BSA property. It is best if the BSA health form is completed by the family doctor at the time of the annual "school physicals". If a current form is not already on file, then families should engage their doctors to ensure the forms are complete and in the hands of the person coordinating troop registration ON TIME for a smooth registration. PLEASE do not expect "special exceptions" when you are not handing paperwork in or time. Registering/Administrating camp attendance is a huge undertaking, and we need/expect your full cooperation to help facilitatea smooth registration experience.
Acclimation -Every year (typically in April) the Troop conducts a weekend camping trip SPECIFICALLY for the benefit of our newest scouts (those bridging in from WEBELOS). The goal is to get younger Scouts used to attending over-night camp, ideally, 1st year boys should attend camp without their parent(s). This will give them a taste for being away from home, especially since Summer Camp is 6 nights away from home. New parents generally like to "tag along" with their "former cubscouts" on the first couple of camping trips, but this defeats the purpose of getting them used to being away from home. Try to be supportive of the idea of your sons camping without you.
Program Selection & Pre-req work - Scouts should choose as early as possible which program area is right for them at camp; 1st Year, Merit Badges, COPE, or High Adventure. 1st Year and Merit Badge participants should select their merit badges early so they can start getting familiar with any prerequisite work that needs to be done before coming to camp. Scouts should also take the time to check out the respective Merit Badge Workbook from the Troop library and start reviewing the material (especially for Eagle-required badges). These actions will ensure that Scouts come home with all badge work COMPLETE and will have the badges awarded at the next Court of Honor. Otherwise, Scouts will have to find other merit badge councilors to help them complete the tasks that were not completed at/before Summer Camp.
Swimming -Swimming is a big part of advancement and other activities in Scouting. Scouts usually pursue the "Swimming Merit Badge" at a BSA camp due to the number of requirements to earn the Swimming MB and a daily chance to keep cool in the water. Please note that the BSA measures swimming capability by the ability to jump into water that is over his head, surface and swim multiple (3) 25-yard laps (no stopping allowed) in a strong, steady, and proficient forward stroke, the 4th 25-yard lap is made on his back (a "gliding back stroke"), and then 30 seconds of rest/emergency floating. Whether pursuing the Swimming merit badge or not, everyone attending Summer Camp will have AMPLE time to cool off and enjoy the water during "open swim" and/or "instructional swim" times. Anyone needing basic swim lessons will have them provided at camp. LIFEGUARD training is also available.
- Why do Scouts wear a Uniform?
The Uniform is a specific item listed in the"Methods" of Scouting. Wearing a uniform publicly identifies the boy as a member of an organization and underscores that certain behavior is expected from him through the Scouting Oath, Law, and Motto. To those who understand the Program, wearing the uniform is an essential aspect of the Scouting Movement.
FIELD uniform ("ClassA"). Officially, the BSA has ONE uniform, and any historical version of it is acceptable (once official, always official). It is found in the front pages of every Scout Handbook.
The official BSA uniform is comprised of:
- a troop-issued hat *
- a troop neckerchief *
- BSA tan shirt (with patches placed in the proper spots)
- a Merit Badge Sash **
- BSA olive pants
- BSA web belt w/ buckle
- BSA socks
This is THE official uniform, but in many pieces of BSA literature it may be referred to as the FIELD uniform, or commonly, the"Class A". While Troop 66 only requires the shirt, hat & neckerchief, it is HIGHLY recommended that the entire uniform is purchased. Most scouts wear the full uniform at BSA camps and it is required at NYLT and other trainings.
*Technically, hats and neckerchiefs (and how they are worn) are optional in the BSA Uniform Guide, but if the wearing of either is adopted by a troop, they are then considered official components of the uniform. We wear both. The hat is the "baseball cap" variety imprinted with our troop number, and the red and blue neckerchief is to be worn UNDER the collar.
** The Merit Badge Sash, worn over the right shoulder, is only worn at ceremonial events or select meetings such as a Court of Honor.
Activity Uniform(Class B) – Troop 66 wears the troop t-shirt (or other camp issued t-shirts) at outdoor camping activities, some day trips and Troop meeting during the summer (beginning of June to end of August). Any camp shirt is acceptable. The acceptable uniform will be communicated prior to each activity.
- The difference between Rank & Merit Badges?
Rank is an interesting word choice, clearly derived from Scouting's origin as a program modeled after a military structure.
Those holding a "higher rank" do not order around those of "lower rank". In Scouting, the term "rank" is a PERSONAL measure of his progress along the "Trail to Eagle"... or more appropriately thought of as his "trail to manhood".
When a boy joins Scouting, his first RANK is "Scout".
He then works on the next 3 RANKS; Tenderfoot, 2nd Class, and 1st Class. Within the requirements of these ranks, a Scout learns the SAFETY aspects of Scouting; basic first aid, how to choose a safe camp spot, how to properly dress for an outing, how to find his way with map/compass, what to do if he gets lost, etc...
Now a demonstrated "safe" Scout... he is ready for his next period of personal development, which is LEADERSHIP. In the pursuit of Star, Life, and Eagle, a youth is learning (and then mastering) the skills of leadership. By holding leadership positions within the troop, he learns to lead, instruct, and inspire others. He learns to "give back" to others, and also learns his emerging place in Society as a citizen.
There are 130+ various Merit Badges available (only 21 needed for Eagle). To ensure that the Scouts are getting a taste of the opportunities available, the higher badges of rank require a set number of merit badges be completed (including some designated as"Eagle required").
Merit Badges offer exposure to a diverse background of interests, adventures, and opportunities that Scouts may never experience IF NOT for the Scouting program (Aviation, Scuba, Reptile study, shooting sports, etc). It is not uncommon that exposureto a topic via the Merit Badge Program leads to life-long hobbies and career choices, as well as "needed skills" like Home Repair, Auto Mechanics, and Public Speaking.
There is no limit on the number of Merit Badges a youth may earn.
FOR DETAILED INFO ABOUT MERIT BADGES, SEE THAT SECTION IN SCOUTLANDER
- What is a Scoutmaster Conference?
After a Scout completes all the required tasks towards his next badge of rank, the next step is for the Scout to meet with the Scoutmaster for a "Scoutmaster's Conference". The Scout should request in person or via email to the Scoutmaster to arrange for a Scoutmaster Conference. It can usually be done the same night he requests it but it's not guaranteed. Like in life, an appointment should be asked for in advance and will be at the convenience of the leader.
IMPORTANT: The Scout must present his book at the time of the conference. AND, if he is any rank above First Class, he must also provide a copy of his Internet Advancement sheet. This is obtained from the Advancement Chair and does require an email request.
The Scoutmaster's Conference SHOULD NEVER be a re-testing of any of his skills. Certifying his skills is the responsibility of the leader who "signed off" on his Handbook. Rather, the conference is a chance for the Scoutmaster to make sure all requirements are signed off, and then engage in a comfortable, yet detailed, discussion on how the Scout is feeling about the Program and how Scouting is fitting into his life as a whole.
The Scoutmaster wants to hear from the Scout exactly what he likes, doesn't like, might want to do different, etc. He wants to know what his ambitions are in Scouting and "life". The ultimate goal is to make sure the Scouting experience is of real benefit to the Scout's development.
Once the Scoutmaster is convinced the Scout is ready to move forward towards the next rank, the Scoutmaster will direct the Scout to meet with members of the Committee, where a similar meeting will take place. This is known as a Board of Review.
- What is a Board of Review (BOR)?
After a Scout completes his Scoutmaster Conference, he is to appear for a Board of Review. This may be the same night as his Scoutmaster Conference, but only if pre-arranged with the Advancement Chair. He should email the Advancement Chair to request a BOR at the earliest convenience (usually the next Troop meeting).
Amazingly, it functions just like a job or private high school interview (this is not by accident) where the Scout will basically be addressing 2 specific topics:
- How is the Program (including adult leaders) running, and is there anything the Committee should/need to do to make the Program better?
- Why does the Scout feel as though he has earned his rank and is ready to move forward to the next rank?
There will be several questions put to the Scout by 3 to 5 Committee members comprising the Board, but ultimately, the 2 questions above are what is being addressed. For example, a Scout will not be asked to tie a square knot, but may be asked "which knot was the hardest, and how did you get yourself to finally learn it?"
Like a job interview, the Scout MUST come properly dressed;wearing the full (clean and presentable) BSA Field Uniform (“Class A”). Per BSA policy a Scout should be in "as much of the uniform as possible" for a Board of Review. Since it "is possible" to be in full uniform, we prefer that Scouts be appropriately dressed as to help them realize that advancement is something "special". He must also provide his Scout book for review.
After meeting with the Scout, the Board will debate and if they are in unanimous agreement, will allow rank advancement to be recognized. If approved, the Scout will have earned his next rank.
- What is a Court of Honor (COH)?
A Court of Honor is an awards ceremony, commonly held quarterly throughout the year. At the COH, Scouts and their families gather for a formal recognition of advancement(s) and accomplishments that have been earned since the last Court of Honor. There are also periods for the Troop's Committee Chairperson to speak to the state of the Troop, or for some other event such as Scouting's annual Friends of Scouting campaign, updates on fund raising, etc. Lots of information is presented, but the focus is always on the Scouts' accomplishments first and foremost. Awards for adults or other troop business is downplayed so the focus stays on the Scouts themselves.
By ceremoniously recognizing the value of advancement and hard work, we hope to strengthen a boy's motivation to continue being active within the Troop and reach for the next rank.The COH also gives parents/guardians valuable insight to accomplishments or Program happenings they may not see due to their lack of presence at the weekly meetings.
As always, the goal is to ENCOURAGE through positive reinforcement and praise. Please join us WHENEVER the possibility exists, to accentuate accomplishments and achievements!
- What is Scouting's view on Religion?
Per the 12th point of the Scout Law, "a Scout is Reverent".
Scouting's founder, Lord Baden Powell, believed that it was crucial to the development of the "whole person" that we have a belief in, and love for, God and that we should live by and embody His laws and teachings.
Scouting does not promote any 1 denomination above another and works with organized religions to offer awards (officially known as the Religious Emblem Program) to any boys who choose to farther explore the irreligious faith, whatever that faith may be. Scouting is SUPPORTIVE of diversity in faiths and religious differences.
As we believe that "being reverent" is such a critical part of the Scouting program, we openly pray during meals, at meetings, and during non-denominational "Scouts' Own" services which are held while we are away at camp. The troop maintains a youth member in the leadership position of Chaplain's Aid who will lead us in prayer and reverent services.
- Which political party does the BSA endorse?
By National policy, the BSA is APOLITICAL. We have no affiliation with any one political party, nor are Scouts (in uniform) permitted to act in ANY WAY that would be interpreted as giving support to any 1 political party or political issue.
Uniformed Boy Scouts may serve as the Color Guard at political events, but must exit the stage before any political speeches or grand-standing take place.
By Constitutional Charter, the President of the United States is the Honorary President of the BSA.
- Do all boys carry knives?
A knife of some type (typically folding pocket knife) is an integral part of the Scouting Program. A knife serves many purposes from eating utensil to wilderness survival gear, and most boys do carry a knife when they go on a camping trip.
HOWEVER, all Scouts must pass instructional safety training to understand the STRICT provisions for using a knife safely, and at appropriate times, before he is allowed to possess or use a knife. The training covers the use of saws, hand axe, long axe, log splitters, as well as pocket knives.
This training is known as the Toten Chip and has a corresponding award of the same name. The award may be the pocket card (size of a business card) or a Toten Chip patch. The card is now considered a part of the official uniform. A scoutis expected to have his "Toten Chip" with him if he is carrying his knife.
If a Scout falls short in his responsibility of safe knife handling, he may lose his Toten Chip privileges and it is up to the Scoutmaster's discretion as to how the privilege can be re-earned. In Troop 66, it is typical that a Scout who loses the privilege must repeat training.
- What gear should we need for camping?
The Troop Committee is charged with ensuring that enough equipment is procured to support camping trips. Each patrol will have provided for them:
- cooking utensils
- cook stove w/ propane tank
- wash bins (for washing dishes)
- water jugs
- propane lanterns
Scouts will need to have the following personal gear. Remember EVERYTHING should have your son's name on it! The troop is not responsible for lost items.
- sleeping bag & ground pad (weather/temperature appropriate)
- eating utensils (fork, knife, spoon, bowl, cup, AND at least 1 water bottle) *
- proper clothing plus some spares (including hat & weather footwear)
- rain poncho & rescue whistle
- personal first aid kit (described in detail in the Boy Scout Handbook)
- flashlight (with extra batteries)
- personal hygiene items (Toilet Paper, tooth brush, deodorant, etc)
- Backpack (preferred) or duffel bag
* Please do not buy "Personal Mess Kits" at camping stores that include individually sized pots/pans. These kits include MANY pieces that are simply not necessary for the standard camp meals. They become clutter and a mess at camp.
In addition to the required items above, the following items are VERY helpful and strongly suggested: