New Scout Guide

Adult Leadership

Charter Organization (CO)

VFW 1177 is our Chartering Organization (CO); they agree annually to sponsor and support the Troop. The current Executive Officer (XO) is Jim McQuery and the former Treasurer and current CO Representative (COR) is Chris Houman. 

Troop Committee 

A collection of adult volunteers who perform the management and administrative duties of the Troop. This group is led by the Committee Chairman (CC). There are many positions of responsibility including but not limited to; Quartermaster (QM),Program Coordinator, Recruiting, Parent Liaison, Training, Fund raising, Secretary, Treasurer and Chaplain. All Adult volunteers must take Youth Protection Training (YPT) and the Committee members need to take Troop Committee Challenge, both are available on the Internet at myscouting.org and each can be completed in roughly a half an hour. Training not only benefits the Troop and the Scouts it is an important step in understanding the youth and learning more about Scouting and your part as an active adult. The Troop Committee meets once a month generally the first Monday at Rust Library (subject to change) to provide support and guidance, discuss improvements and approve the crazy Scoutmaster's ideas.

Scoutmaster

The Scoutmaster (SM) is the Adult delegated with the responsibilities of training and guiding the Scout leaders in developing their quality program. This individual (male or female) is directly involved with the Senior Patrol Leader and his Assistant and spends the majority of their time with those individuals. The Assistant Scoutmasters (ASM) are the other trained Adult volunteers who work with the scout Patrol Leaders and Officers to develop and maintain their part in ensuring the smooth operation of the Troop. There is a fine balance to be maintained in offering guidance and assistance while keeping a suitable distance that enables the Scouts to make their own decisions and take action. Often parents wonder why things get done or do not get done and are concerned about the chaos of a Troop meeting but adult leaders are balancing the need to advise with the essential precept of Scouting that is the Patrol Method.

Merit Badge Counselor (MBC)

Adults who indicate a skill, hobby or vocation for a subject that BSA promotes as a field of study important to offer to the youth of the program and are willing to share that knowledge and experience with the Youth. Once the Scouts have shown sufficient knowledge of the subject as defined in the subject they can earn a Merit Badge. Counselors ensure knowledge without adding or modifying any requirements as stated in the MB booklet. In order to perform this role, volunteers must complete a BSA Application, Youth Protection Training (YPT) and a District MB Counselor worksheet. 

MeritBadge (MB) 

Scout award for demonstrating knowledge and skill in a particular subject area. When a Scout desires to begin a MB subject, he needs to find a counselor from the Troop Track (TT) web site or from the District or Council web site and ask the counselor their availability. When a counselor has agreed to work with him, the Scout should ask the Scout Master for a "blue card"; cards are not valid without the signature of the unit leader. The Blue Card is the officialpermanent record for achievement of requirements for each MB. Scouts are responsible for their cards and no other copies are maintained. If a partially completed
blue card is lost all work must be redone.

Each subject is outlined in a MB booklet produced and updated at intervals by BSA which can be borrowed from the Troop Librarian or purchased at a Scout Shop or the local hobby store. MBs are patches awarded quarterly at a Court of Honor(CoH) and represent individual achievements by a Scout. There are currently 22 MBs required for the Rank of Eagle Scout (Cooking added in 2014); 15 of which are defined as Eagle required and 7 optional.Eagle required means the scout must earn this award to attain the Eagle rank. Some required badges have optional skill sets (i.e.a Scout must earn Hiking OR Swimming OR Bicycling as an Eagle but only one of the three may be counted in the "required" total). There are over 130 MBs offered by BSA and more are added and sometimes taken away each year.MBs are generally worn on a MB Sash which goes over one shoulder (I have not found an "official" statement on right or left); but do not have to be worn.Scouts may also wear a certain number MBs on the sleeve of a long sleeved shirt, but I have not seen this done myself. 


Scout Leadership

The Troop is run by the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL), Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (ASPL) and the Patrol Leader Council (PLC) which consists of the PLs and other Troop officers. The SPL is elected yearly and nominates his ASPL.It is the job of the SPL to direct the operations (Program, Activities, Service, Planning and Camping) of the Scouts; i.e. he runs everything. All other positions are elected bi-annually (Sep & Mar); PLs report to the SPL and everything else to the ASPL.Generally the ASPL runs for the office of SPL in the following year and attends the National Youth Leadership Training Course (NYLT aka
Impeesa in the NCAC) during the summer.

Patrol

Scouts form in groups of 5-8 called a Patrol.This group works together to achieve scouting goals, perform tasks, play games and bond as a group of friends. Every 6months each patrol elects a Patrol Leader (PL) who selects his Assistant Patrol Leader (APL). These scouts run the patrol and scouting program; they are the core of the Troop which everything else revolves around. 

Patrol Led 

Scouts form in Patrols and are led by their PL but that's only part ofa "boy led" Troop. The essence of the phrase means that the SPL manages the Troop, the PLs run the Program and Activities under his direction and the SM provides the guidance, training and resources which enable the SPL to operate. 

Introduction to Scout Leadership Training (ISLT) 

Scout leadership training is given every six months to officers (elected or nominated) explaining their role and responsibilities. Each leader is given the documents outlining the requirements and asked to complete a statement of understanding with their parents. Leadership roles are required to advance in the senior ranks (1st Class, Star, Life) but not required for junior ranks.


Troop Schedule 

The First meeting of the month is used to hold the PLC/Greenbar.Here the SPL, ASPL and PLs task is to plan the Service, Program and Activities for each meeting, Plan the camping trip for the month, look forward to coming events, address Training and Service Projects needs and other miscellaneous information. The Second and Third meetings are General Troop meetings at the VFW where the Program and Activities are held. The last week is a Patrol Meeting. Patrol meetings are just that... the Patrol (not the Troop) meets on a day of their choosing to engage in activities ranging from working on Scout requirements or Patrol requirements, bond and have fun. All meetings are subject to change and Scouts should watch their emails for scheduling decisions. Meetings are held year round but may be limited in July/August due to Summer Camp and family vacations.


The 3rd weekend of the month (generally) are camping trips and are posted on our TT calendar. We post the entire year schedule after the planning meeting but these are placeholders and circumstance may cause us to alter the date or related information.Court of Honor (CoH) is held quarterly in Mar, Jun, Sep and Dec for awards and recognition and usually includes a request for food or desserts; the event is planned and implemented by the Scouts. Summer camp is generally the 3rd week of July which gives the Troop families ample time to plan and arrange their summer break.


Regularly scheduled Troop meetings begin at 7PM and end at 8:30PM. PLs and the Service patrol are to be at the VFW by 6:45to discuss last minute details with the SPL and have time to gather their Patrol for the opening. Scouts should be in their patrol and ready for inspection and opening ceremony NLT 7:00.Meetings are scheduled to have a rotating assignment of Program (learn something), Activity (game or activity which utilizes the program) and Service (set up the VFW and clean up after the meeting). The meeting plan should include Patrol time and a SM challenge which is a game to challenge the Patrols utilizing their Scouting knowledge. Patrols are awarded points for: submitting their plan in advance and implementing it at the meeting, Patrol inspection, and SM challenge. Quarterly, the Patrol with the most points is awarded a gift certificate to purchase PATROL gear. This program is designed to improve the cohesiveness and participation of Patrols. Competition results and standings are posted on the TT internal website on the Patrol page. 

Camping or Events 

The SPL will hold our yearly planning meeting at the Wimp-o-Ree in January or February and propose 12-18 months of activities for the Scouts to approve. The actual detail of each month's camping trip or events is ideally planned by a Scout and Adult guide in combination with ample time to make reservations for sites and or events. The event is posted on TT and an invitation is sent to all members of the Troop approximately 30days before the event with a reminder set for 14days prior. It is imperative that scouts wishing to participate in events sign up prior to the 14 day deadline so that event planners have adequate time to secure sites and the grub master (s) can plan food. Scouts wishing to attend after the 14 day deadline may be permitted on a case by case basis but no scouts will be added within 7 days of the trip. Scouts wishing to be removed from the list after signing up and within the 14 day pre-trip window will be responsible for payment as reservations and food cannot be unpurchased. TT has the capability to produce a "permission form" for events and camping trips and we request this document with the fee 1-2 weeks prior to the event. The camping fee is determined by the actual cost of the campsite and event (canoes, rafts, program, etc.) and an estimated cost for food; these will be listed in the invitation broadcast by TT. 


Camping trips begin by meeting at the VFW on Friday at 6 pm, most frequently returning Sunday morning. Scouts travel to and from any event in the Class A Uniform shirt (but without the neckerchief). On many camping trips we are challenged by the need for drivers of Scouts and Equipment. Currently we only have three Adults with the capability to pull the Troop Trailer (own a Truck). There is a document on TT that explains Adultism; The Boy Scout program is designed for young men to develop skills and leadership abilities in the outdoors. We must provide the opportunity to allow Scouts to grow into their positions and as such Adults are requested to maintain a social and physical distance while camping with the Troop. When Scouts have questions about anything they should be directed to their PL >ASPL>SPL>ASM>SM in ascending order remembering that failure is an option as long as it does not put Scouts in imminent danger.Camping should occur as a Troop but segregated by Patrol again to promote the development of that relationship; in cases where there are not enough members of a single patrol to be effective, temporary camping patrol(s) will be formed. All adults who wish to participate in Camping or Events need to take the Youth Protection Training course offered on-line, free at myscouting.org.


Camping Beads are a program to promote the achievements and participation of scouts in our outdoor program. Beads are given for each night camped with colors representing the conditions for each night (blue = below freezing, white = snow, red = summer camp, green = good, etc). Further information is provided on the TT website. 


Advancement
Scout Handbook 

Every Scout should own a copy of the Scout Handbook. As the MB Blue Card is an official record of the Merit Badge the Scouts take, the Handbook "Rank Progress" pages, Camping Log and Service Log can be used in the absence of the Council record to prove achievement by a Scout. Once a Rank is completed and recognized. A photocopy of that section of the book is a good idea to "back up" the possible loss of pages or book.


There is a section at the back of the book to track progress in rank requirements, a camping log and a service log. Rank requirements should be presented to a senior Scout (Star, Life or Eagle) to get signed. Not all senior Scouts should be signing requirements for younger Scouts, he should be familiar with the requirement he is asked to sign. In the absence of any senior staff, younger scouts may present their skill or knowledge to an ASM\SM but the practice should be limited and predominately accomplished by the Scouts. The digital version of the Scout Handbook is collected in Troop Track (TT), Scouts are required to update their progress for rank and MBs but the TT camping record is administered by an ASM. A progress sheet can be printed by the administrator to track each scout and provide information for a SM conference and the Board of Review. 

Rank

Every Scout advances at their own pace; the BSA encourages new scouts to strive for the rank of "First Class Scout" within a year of joining the Troop but there is no set time period for one to achieve their goals. Some Scouts are content to work at a steady pace and some advance in bursts but this is an individual attribute. The SM and ASMs will encourage every scout to work diligently to learn and grow which in the course of time will result in increased rank and our Troop Guide will work directly with new Scouts to explain and practice requirements. Summer Camp is also a time when new Scouts will begin (and complete) requirements immersed in the outdoors, living the Scout spirit. When a Scout has completed all the requirements for his next rank he should contact the SM and request aSMConference. This is a short discussion about how he has progressed in Scouting, his goals and ambitions and what he thinks about the program. After the Scout competes the conference the Troop Committee will convene a Board of Review (BoR) consisting of several members but not including the Scouts parent or any of the Adult leaders (SM/ ASMs) who will ask rank/experience appropriate questions and advise the SM of the Scout's rank status upon completion. All parents are encouraged to participate in the BoR at some time first by observing then by serving on a Board thus providing a balance of opinions and diverse range of experience for the Scouts and sharing the duties with the other adults. Not every Scout that requests a SM conferencewill progress to the BoR and not every Scout will complete the process but most advance.

Resources

TheTroop has multiple resources which are available to Scouts. We maintain a library which houses over 100 MB booklets and other Scout literature, Scouts may check out any materials by speakingto theTroopLibrarian or SPL; please ensure relevant data is recorded on the check-out list.The Troop also ownsseveral boxes with cooking and cleaning gear which we call "patrol boxes"; these will be reorganized and each patrolwill/own' their gear and be more responsible for its maintenance.The Troop owns 20+ tents (Big Agnes Lynx Pass 2) which scouts are required to use and share until first class rank when they have the option to bring their own. Summer/Residence camps provide shelter; theTroop doesnot take tents. We also own a trailer which is sufficient to carry ample supplies and gear but must be pulled by a truck. 


Troop Track is the Troop's on-line/web presence, it's digital record tracking for Scout and Adult requirements and achievement, a training, equipment, funds and library database, a contact list with photos, a transportation list, permission forms, record output, document and photo sharing and so much more... I encourage every Scout and parent to log-in and look at the Support >User Guide to find out what they can do in the software and make suggestions to improve our ability to run more efficiently. Each Scout is encouraged to have an email address but whether they do or not all notes sent to Scouts will always go to Parents as well.


Personal Gear

The Troop does requires Scouts to have the BSA “field uniform” shirt (Class A), common sense dictates the purchase of a few items which the Scout will use often or items you may already own; use the items that work best for you. Please remember that we do not advocate any particular products or retailer and only make suggestions based on our personal experience. That said 'there are plenty of resources on the internet which suggest "essential items" for camping. If you look in the Scout Handbook at the section which covers packing your bag there is a list of 'essentials', but BSA recommends items not brands. Top on my list as SM are comfortable shoesand a quality sleeping bag. As you will spend a great deal of time on your feet, I believe that good fitting shoes appropriate for the outdoors are a necessary item. Waterproof or not is a tough question. Waterproof shoes are a little heavier and don't 'breath' as well but your feet stay dry in a downpour, at this point I would say it's not necessary. Having rain gear is a prudent decision because it is important to stay dry in the camping environment; this can either be a jacket (and? pants) or poncho but "breathable" is a consideration especially in warm climates. 


A rain jacket can also serve as a layer over a fleecejacketto provide warmth and wind blocking when a heavy coat is not called for. It's important to note that not all products serve equally well and doing some research, talking to experienced campers or people you trust and reading reviews can prevent repeated purchases. Clothing choice for scouting is best done in layers and using synthetics or wool.Synthetic or wool socksbreath and wick moisture away from your feet and will maintain your body heat even when wet where cotton will draw heat from you. "Base layers" of synthetic undergarments are appropriate for both heat and cold (i.e. long johns, long sleeve tops, UA underwear, T-shirts, Scout pants). The Troopdoes have a synthetic T-shirtwhich we can order and serves as our "class-B" or “activity” shirt which is worn from June to Sept/Oct. The Troop also has a light fleece jacket but I have not found it to be very warm. I also believe fleece gloves and a watch cap are valuable. A hat with a wide brim is suggested and sunscreen/chap stick is important for prolonged exposure and a whistle or other signaling device is important for emergency situations. 


The other really important purchase is a sleeping system. There are a multitude of sleeping bags available but basically fall into two categories: down or synthetic. Down is light-weight and very compactable but does not perform well when wet where Synthetic will keep you warm. I've never had a sleeping bag wet and have recently switched from Synthetic to down but keep both using the down for cold weather and the synthetic for warm. This is a major purchase and shouldn't be undertaken lightly, all 20° bags are not the same and a good bag will last you decades if properly maintained. In addition to the bag a sleeping pad is recommended to keep your bag and body off the ground (providing a layer of insulation or R-value). Most scouts carry a closed cell foam pad (egg-carton), some have a self-inflating and a few carry fully inflating pads. Each has their pros and cons and like the research done earlier for rain gear a few minutes on the internet can save you a lot in the long run. A nice bonus item to get is a sleep sack. There are many available types: silk, synthetic, fleece and cotton each serving a niche. I always use a sack to keep my body sweat and dirt out of the sleeping bag (which isn't easy to clean) and to provide a few degrees of extra warmth when the temperature plummets. I also use it in the summer as an alternative to the sleeping bag which I still bring and sleep on top (providing another layer of cushion). 


Other "Stuff" to get includes a mess kit andnet bag to hang it in (to dry after cleaning), a head lamp (flashlight) which allows the Scout two free hands, a water bottle or two (label-sticker), a pocket knife (once we work on the totin' chip),an inexpensive base-plate compass, some carabineers, a piece of 550 cord and a personal first aid kit. When we talk about fire-building you can add some tools to your kit (striker, petroleum soaked cotton balls, paraffin) and I recommend keeping some baggies and zip- lock bags in your kit for emergencies. I recommend getting a set of work gloves as well since we do some service projects where prolonged tool use may chafe hands and we're trying to start a pioneering program where gloves are necessary to pull enough tension on ropes. A watch is valuable to wear at summer camp to know when you need to be at events or meals but not required.


What do you carryall this stuff in? Many of the Scouts have backpacksbut some do not. We are mostly a car camping Troop which is defined as driving up to your camp site or relatively near and hiking only a short distance to the site, but we're trying to do more hiking will will eventually necessitate a pack. We have a trailer for all the big gear and personal things are usually in the Scout's bag. If you choose to invest in a backpack please seek advice (as mentioned above) and go to a reputable dealer. One recommendation for Scouts is to ALWAYS pack your bag the same way putting every item in the same pouch or zipped compartment so that you can get what you need blindfolded or in the middle of the night. Since we are trying to rekindle our hiking skills your scout may want to get a backpack in the future but for the interim it's not a necessity. There are two ways to keep gear dry, either a pack cover or waterproof bags placed in the pack.


Summer camp has its own requirements: a towel and flip-flops for showering, a toiletries bag with soap, tooth brush and paste (a Scout is Clean) and other essential personal items. 


Do and Don't

The Troop requires Scouts below first class to share a tent and to notify that buddy if they leave in the middle of the night (essential in winter camping). After obtaining 1stClass rank a scout may bring their own tent and may sleep alone if we have the space for the extra gear and the real estate to put it up. Scouts need to use the 'buddy system' and travel with another scout any time we're out of the camp-site (including summer camp). Scouts need to have their "Totin' Chip" to carry a knife and their "Fireman's Chit" to build or maintain a fire. Food should NEVERbe taken into tents and should be in sealed containers if carried in a pack (but removed if the pack is put into the tent) - The troop will maintain a 'food box' in a vehicle or trailer when car camping or at summer camp. Scouts need to be on-time to camping/events and need to be flexible on end times as a Troop or patrol discussions or activities(cleaning / storage) are often necessary afterward. Do let the Adults know if there is any activity happening which isn't in keeping with the Scout Oath or Law and certainly if there is anything dangerous happening.

New Scout Patrol 

The crossover Scouts will be assigned to the "new scout patrol" and will be led by two Troop Guides. It is the job of these experienced Senior Scouts to teach the new boys the in's and out's of the Troop, develop their sense of Scouting camaraderie, and to learn the essential skills necessary to perform and to have fun doing it. By having two Troop Guides we'll be able to maintain coverage when one may not beavailable and divide resources when teaching skills requires closer attention. After some amount of time (6 mos?) we will ask the patrol if they want to remain together as a Patrol or integrate into existing patrols.