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An Informational and Discussion Guide for Parents
Troop 25 Parents’ Guide
There is perhaps no greater experience for a boy than the adventure which Scouting has to offer. When you look at all the activities that you get involved with as a youth, and as parents of a youth, few can claim that they offer such a wide variety of experiences, from the fun of camping out during all four seasons, to the challenges of trekking across an open mountain ridge, to canoeing silently across a peaceful lake, the satisfaction of having helped others in our community and reaching personal goals, to the pride in being part of an organization that helps boys grow and teaches them to make good and sound decisions in life. There are certainly too many experiences to list here, but all of them together make up a recipe for success...a plan to help boys grow into responsible adults, and have a lot of fun along the way.
It is often said that Scouting is almost nothing without the "outing", and this is true. To really see Scouting in action, look closely at our activities and trips, where the boys get the opportunity to live, play, work, and learn with each other. Life-long friendships are built here, as well as are valuable skills which will serve them forever. Many adults can attribute the success they enjoy in life to the simple ideals and training they learned as Scouts, and very often are proud to pass those experiences on to their children.
Scouting is definitely a family-based organization, and really works best when every Scout's parents get involved. Far too often we see families who want their son to be in Scouting, but do not make an effort to learn what our program is all about, or understand that it really takes the efforts of committed parents to make Scouting come alive. If you look back on all the boys who have achieved the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout, you'll see a group of parents who have taken the time to be there for their sons. So when you are asked to volunteer your time on outings, activities, or as a member of the Troop Committee, remember that the time spent for your son is truly quality time.
Reaching Scouting's highest rank is a hallmark event in a boy's life, and one that only two percent of all Scouts ever achieve. Nevertheless, every Scout is capable of setting Eagle as his goal, and working towards that goal. The adventure is in the "working", not in the "achieving". And pride comes from aiming high, doing your best, learning from your mistakes, and helping others along the way.
The purpose of this policy guide is to outline for all parents in the Troop the mission being pursued by the Troop Committee and uniformed leaders, as well as provide information on important policies adopted by the Committee and/or the boy leaders of the Troop. It is our hope that by setting out this information in one place for all Troop parents to read and consider, we will bring all parents to a better understanding of how the Troop works, their role in the Troop and eliminate misunderstandings about specific questions.
Mission: The Committee’s mission is to deliver a program that promotes the aims and methods of Scouting.
Scouting works towards three aims:
(1) Growth in character.
(2) Developing good citizens.
(3) Maintaining good emotional and physical fitness.
The methods used in the Scouting program to accomplish these aims include
(1) Promoting the Scouting ideals as set out in the Scout Oath and Law.
(2) The patrol method.
(3) Having an active outdoor program.
(4) An advancement program to teach and challenge the boys.
(5) Having adult leaders to act as role models and mentors to the boys.
(6) Personal growth, through the planning and work involved as scouts set and advance towards their goals. The Scout Oath and Law act as guides towards personal growth.
The Committee and uniformed leaders, together with the boy leaders of the Troop, attempt to produce a program that is both fun for the boys and that advances the aims discussed above.
Allocation of Responsibility among the Committee, Adult Leaders and the PLC
The Committee is the highest authority in the Troop, and is responsible for setting the overall Troop agenda, selecting and overseeing the adult leaders. The Committee is principally responsible for the administrative aspects of the Troop – taking care of paperwork, finances, organization and the like. The uniformed leaders – both adults and boys – are responsible for designing and delivering the scout program to the Troop. The boy leaders, through the Patrol Leaders’ Council (PLC), are in charge of planning meetings, camping trips and the like, then leading the meetings, events, etc. The adult leaders’ main job is to teach the boy leaders how to lead and to be mentors for the boys.
A more detailed description of the various Committee roles is attached as Appendix A. A more detailed description of the PLC and the various leadership roles is attached as Appendix B.
Specific Policy Issues
- Safety. All of the Troop’s activities are planned and managed to be safe. All of the uniformed leaders have received a variety of training designed to help make the program as safe as possible, and safety practices and first aid are taught to the Scouts at every level. However, with a program that also emphasizes challenging physical experiences, there is always the possibility of accidents. To minimize the chances of problems it is important that parents keep the Troop advised of any medical conditions that could affect a Scout’s ability to safely participate in Troop activities. Parents must also advise the uniformed leaders of a Troop event of any medications that their son needs to take and resolve with the leaders whether the Scout will be allowed to self-medicate or will get his medication from the trip leaders. We will ask for updates during the year, but the principal responsibility is on the parents to make sure that a Scout’s medications are in order. In order to assure that we have reasonably current information, the Troop will periodically ask parents to sign updated permission forms.
- Boy Leadership.
One of the most important aspects of the scout program is the concept of boy leadership. The boys are supposed to be given the opportunity to learn and grow by exercising leadership. The Senior Patrol Leader is elected by the scouts to be the main day-to-day leader of the Troop. The Senior Patrol Leader and the Patrol Leaders Council should plan and run Troop meetings, trips and other events. The principal responsibility of the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters is to help teach the scouts to lead the Troop and to act as a mentor for the Senior Patrol Leader. The Committee supports the uniformed adult and boy leaders by assisting with a variety of administrative tasks.
There are a variety of leadership positions for the boys, including Senior Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader and Assistant Patrol Leader, Troop Guide, Scribe, Quartermaster, Instructor, OA Representative, Librarian and Historian. Parents can support their sons in their leadership roles by trying to understand what the boys’ responsibilities are, encouraging them and helping them learn from inevitable mistakes!
Once a boy reaches First Class, an essential element of his further advancement is to hold one or more leadership positions in the Troop.
A key element of the Scout program that we try to deliver to the boys is the advancement through ranks. There are several ranks, reflecting the increasing knowledge, experience and maturity gained by a Scout as he participates and learns. The ranks, Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle, as well some of the steps required to reach each rank, are described in your Scout Handbook and in Appendix C.
The Troop tries to provide a program that addresses the needs of Scouts at all ranks (this is one of the PLC’s biggest challenges!) At each Troop meeting, there should be some training, educational or other advancement activity for the younger scouts, as well as something meaningful (often as a trainer) for the more experienced Scouts. For our more experienced Scouts, we will try to make some special activities available depending on their preferences, in order to have fun challenges for them as ell.
- Financial policies.
The Troop is financially supported through two major sources: (1) annual dues paid by the Scouts and (2) fundraising activities. Annual dues are $60 per Scout. We try to hold one major fundraiser each year. What is the money spent on? There are three major categories of expenses: (1) the costs of registering the Scouts and Leaders with the BSA; this includes subscriptions to Boys Life; (2) the cost of the various awards and other recognition earned by the Scouts throughout the year; (3) the cost of equipment used by the Troop in its various activities, especially camping. Additional details on expenditures are available through the Committee.
When Scouts participate in Troop fundraising efforts, a portion of the money each Scout earns for the Troop is set aside in an Individual Scout Account for that boy and can be used to pay for Troop events and other Scouting activities. More detailed rules on the scout accounts are found in Appendix D.
- Discipline issues.
Maintaining good order and discipline within the Troop are important for safety, to assure fair treatment of all the boys and to promote an atmosphere that is both fun and supports learning. The key disciplinary rules applied within the Troop are contained in the Scout Law, which provides that A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Following the Scout Law, as all Scouts should do, takes care of most discipline issues. When scouts need reminders and direction, it is the job of the boy leaders to give that direction; if necessary, adult leaders will intervene and in extreme circumstances, a Scout’s parents will be called. The boy leaders have considered a “three strikes and you’re out” rule, but have opted to avoid a rigid system like that if possible. Parents can help us maintain good discipline by reminding their sons of the good manners called for under the Scout Law.
- Trips and events.
The Troop maintains an active schedule. We have Troop meetings most Monday nights through the school year, and try to have at least one outdoor activity per month. These outdoor activities can range from a short hike or bike trip on an afternoon to a winter campout at which we work on survival skills to a three or four day trip to a major city. At the start of each school year the Troop puts out the anticipated schedule for the year. Parents are always welcome to join us on trips or other events, and we rely on parents to help drive to/from events when necessary.
Troop events range in cost. Some cost essentially nothing, while others can be moderately expensive if we have to rent facilities or equipment. We try to have each event be self-supporting financially, and charge accordingly. As noted above, Scouts can use money in their Individual Scout Account to help pay the costs of Troop trips.
- Troop equipment.
To support our activities, the Troop maintains a supply of equipment such as tents, stoves, cooking equipment, camp tools, tarps, lights and the like. As noted above, the costs of keeping a proper supply of equipment is a major element of our budget each year. Parents can help us in a number of ways. Keep the Troop in mind before you discard something that might be of use; cooking utensils are a perfect example. If you have something that you think might be of use, tell the Senior Patrol Leader. Also, after camping trips your son might be asked to bring home some equipment to clean; please help your son to make sure the equipment is properly cleaned and returned on time.
Although we try to have the boys run the Troop as much as possible, there are a great many ways in which adults support the Troop. The uniformed leaders put in a substantial amount of time to work with the boys, in Troop meetings, on events and in between. The Committee members perform a wide variety of roles that make sure that the Troop is organized and run safely and effectively to deliver the Scout program to the boys. The Troop Committee is an open body that welcomes any parent that is willing to lend a hand. Even without being on the Committee in any formal way, parents can help; by joining us at events, driving when necessary and encouraging their sons in the program. Another way parents can help – not just our troop but other Scouts in the area – is to sign up to be a counselor for a merit badge. Scout merit badge cover a wide array of subjects, and a parent knowledgeable in a particular subject can help by being a counselor in that subject. This does not require much time but can be a big help as the boys advance to higher ranks and need merit badges for advancement.
- Helping with Schedule Conflicts.
We know that many Scouts have important activities other than Scouting that need to be fit into their busy schedules. Even boys with busy schedules can have a rewarding Scouting experience – with help from their parents. Please help your sons balance their priorities to keep a place for Scouts. Many schedule conflicts can arise from sports, and many sports coaches demand that kids make every practice or every game in order to stay in good standing. Sometimes that’s reasonable, sometimes not. For example, a football player whose team has only 6 or 8 games in a season is in a very different situation than a soccer player that may have 20 games in a season. If your son would like to participate in a Scouting event that conflicts with a sport, help support him in that choice. School is obviously a very high priority. Most of our weekend trips are over by mid-day on Sunday, so the boys do have time to work when they get back. Help them to get into the habit of doing their Monday homework right after school if possible so that they don’t get into a bind with our meetings Monday night.
With your help, your son can get a lot out of Scouting even if he is also very busy with other activities.
We are always looking for ways to improve communications within the Troop. Most day-to-day communications should take place among the boys. The boy leaders initiate notices within the Troop that are then relayed by phone calls to the boys. It is easy for those messages to be lost or forgotten. Please try help your son be organized – have a message board to post these on, keep our schedule on your refrigerator, remember to put scout stuff on your family calendar, etc. We will try to provide better advance notice of events through individual flyers and through a monthly newsletter. We are also collecting e-mail addresses so that we can communicate that way. Lastly, we will try to make the Troop’s website a more meaningful source of information. The website can be found at: www.rosenet.org/troop25. The Website will have copies of any current Troop notices, a copy of the Troop calendar and newsletter, as well as downloadable files with any forms that scouts or parents may need, such as Troop permission slips. In using the website to communicate within the Troop, we may also include occasional pictures of the scouts in their activities. If we do use pictures, we will not identify the scouts in the pictures, and we will not include any information on the website that would allow direct contact with any scout. If any parent has a preference that their son not be pictured on the website, please tell one of the Committee Chairs or the Webmaster.
Adult Leadership & the Troop Committee; Training for Adult Leaders
Behind the scenes, working to support the Scouts and Scoutmaster is the Troop Committee. This is a group of adults, at least 21 years old, who meet monthly to deal with many of the administrative issues of running the Troop. Among their many responsibilities is the approval of the Troop's annual program, planned by the PLC. Several key people in the Troop Committee are described below.
The Committee Co-Chairman for Administration is responsible for running the committee, presiding over all monthly meetings, delegating certain administrative tasks to other committee members, and, above all, appointing a Scoutmaster. As of September 2001, this role is filled by Joe Hunoval.
The Committee Co-Chairman for Programming is responsible for working with the PLC and Scoutmaster to design and deliver the Scout program to the Troop. As of September 2001, this role is filled by Jim Foster.
The Advancement Chairman maintains all the advancement records for every Scout. Periodically, this person files the advancement reports with the council and purchases the awards and certificates. When a Scout is ready to advance in rank, the Advancement Chair arranges for a Board of Review. As of September 2001, this role is filled by Joe Hennessy.
The Treasurer is responsible for accepting Dues and income from fund raisers, making payments as needed for equipment, program, etc, and maintaining all Troop accounts. The Treasurer reports periodically to the committee on the status of available funds, and aids in the development of an annual Troop budget. The Treasurer is also responsible for keeping track of Individual Scout Accounts, and advises scouts on the amount in their accounts. As of September 2001, this role is filled by Becky Dieckmann.
The Committee Secretary records the minutes of what takes place at Committee meetings and helps with other paperwork needs as requested by the Committee Chairman. As of September 2001, this role is filled by Howard Chang.
The Fund Raising Chair is responsible for operating several fund raisers during the year to finance the Troop's program. These tasks involve promoting the fund raisers, not only to the community, but to the Scouts and their parents in order to enlist everyone's cooperation. Fund raising may also be the responsibility of a group of people, and directed by the chairperson. As of September 2001, this role is filled by Eloise Muvihill and Victoria Dew.
The Scoutmaster is chosen by the Committee Chairman, and on the recommendation of other committee members, to be the key adult role model in the Troop. The Scoutmaster's jobs are many, but some of them include advising, guiding, and training the Senior Patrol Leader and the rest of the PLC, reviewing each Scout's advancement progress, enlisting the aid of other adults to serve as Assistant Scoutmasters, and to appear to all Scouts as a trusted friend and a teacher. The Scoutmaster understands the importance of making such a commitment of time and effort in order to make the Scouting experience come alive for all youth. As of September 2001, this role is filled by John Dew.
Our Chartered Organization, the Madison Baptist Church, holds the ownership of Troop 25. Their responsibility is to see that the Scouting program is conducted appropriately and effectively in our community. The Church appoints a Chartered Organization Representative (COR), who assumes the ultimate responsibility for the Troop, and who is a vital link between the Troop, the Church, and the local council. The COR's responsibilities are few, but very crucial nevertheless, and include the authority to approve or deny the application of the Scoutmaster, and all other adult leaders. Once a leader is appointed, the COR has the authority to also remove any adult leader should the need arise. Finally, the COR reports back to his organization on the status of the Troop. As of September 2001, this role is filled by Ron Fromm.
The Hospitality Chair takes care of arrangements for refreshments at Troop events such as Courts of Honor and the holiday party in December. As of September 2001, this role is filled by Ann Eibling.
The Publicity Chair attempts to get local publicity for the Troop by placing in the local newspapers pictures of recent events, etc. The publicity chair also helps with recruiting-related publicity As of September 2001, this role is filled by Rekha Kapadia.
The Equipment Coordinator works with the SPL and Quartermaster to make sure that Troop equipment is accounted for and in good shape. When new equipment is needed the Equipment Coordinator takes part in deciding what to buy and helps do the purchasing. As of September 2001, this role is open.
The Training Coordinator keeps track of the training opportunities available to adults in the Troop and helps coordinate attendance at and recognition for such training. As of September 2001, this role is filled by Ed Berryman.
The Troop Webmaster maintains the Troop website. As of September 2001, this role is filled by Sanjai Narain.
The Committee also needs help in Event Planning. Event planners work with the Committee and PLC in deciding what logistical elements of Troop events needs to be planned, then take care of the administrative aspects of planning, including getting reservations, handling paperwork, etc. Ideally we have more than one person in this role to share the workload. As of September 2001, this position is currently open.
Adult Leader Training
One of the Troop Committee’s goals is for all adult leaders in the troop, especially the Scoutmaster and Assistants, to have as much formal BSA training as possible. This is important for a number of reasons: (1) certain types of training are central to our goal of keeping Troop activities safe, (2) certain types of training is required for the Troop to get “tour permits” for its activities, and (3) the more people who have this training, the better the Committee and Troop can function because more people will understand the goals and methods of Scouting. The Troop encourages all adults to consider the training opportunities available to them by the council, including:
- Fast Start Training This is very brief introductory training that gives an overview of the Scout program.
- Basic Leader Training Not just for Scoutmasters, this program covers and describes many different aspects of the Boy Scout program, from the importance of junior leadership and the patrol method, to advancement, scout skills, the outdoor program, the troop committee role, delegating responsibilities, and working with scout-aged boys as an effective role model. SM Fundamentals is required for the Scoutmaster, and at least one Assistant Scoutmaster in order for the troop to qualify for Quality Unit status, which is an annual expectation in Troop 25. This level of training is divided into three formal sections:
- New Leader Essentials: This covers the overall mission, values, methods and age appropriateness of BSA programs.
- Leader Specific Training: This consists of separate courses for leaders of different aspects of the BSA program, including a section for Scoutmasters.
- Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills: This is a new outdoor training program for Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters.
- Youth Protection This is a 60-minute class, recommended for all adults (leaders, committee, and parents too) directed by the council or district training committee, that directly addresses the difficult subject of child abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, and neglect), how to spot evidence that abuse has occurred, or might be occurring, how to prevent it from happening, and how to properly report instances of suspected abuse. In addition, Youth Protection seeks to protect all adult leaders by stressing the importance of two-deep adult leadership at all troop functions (minimum of 2 adults must be present at all times). This certification must be renewed every three years.
- Risk Zone This is part of the safety training and emphasizes safety practices on Troop events. This certification must be renewed every two years.
- Safe Swim/Safety Afloat These two courses focus on safety practices in events involving watersports. This certification must be renewed every two years
- Wood Badge This is an advanced course for adult leaders to focus on the essentials of a boy-run Troop and the Patrol Method. It is administered either over a six day period or two three-day periods. Often this course is offered by other Councils.
- CPR Training is a four hour class run by the Red Cross and American Heart Association. This certification must be renewed every two years.
- BSA Lifeguard is a 30-hour course administered during one week of Boy Scout summer camp. This certification must be renewed every three years and is valid for Tour Permits in place of Safe Swim/Safety Afloat certifications.
Youth Leadership & The Patrol Method
Our Troop is divided into several patrols, which are ideally 6 to 8 scouts each. Building a structure with the patrol as the basic unit of organization allows for multiple programs to be run at the same time to meet various scouts' interests. It is also a lot more sensible to organize outings and campouts as patrols, or to have each patrol on a campout address their own needs (equipment, food, etc). In a large Troop, it becomes difficult, and intimidating, for a new scout to meet others, learn everyone's name, and shed the feeling of "getting lost in the crowd". In a patrol, a scout is likely with friends he already knows, and can quickly grow comfortable with that, allowing him to reach out to make new friends. Our Patrols are generally made up of Scouts that are the same age and about the same rank.
Patrol Leaders' Council (PLC)
The PLC is the backbone of any Troop. It is chaired by the SPL and meets monthly, or as needed, to plan, develop, and execute the Troop's program. Patrol Leaders bring the interests of the scouts in their patrols to the discussion table at the PLC meetings. Here they receive guidance from the Scoutmaster and his assistants.
The Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) is the one scout who is ultimately in charge of the Troop and carries the most responsibility. He is typically an older scout, more mature, elected by a majority of the boys in the Troop, and, with the help of his appointed Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (ASPL), presides over the PLC. To be an SPL, a scout must be at least the rank of First Class, have 2 years' tenure in the Troop, and have served in the past as a Patrol Leader, or ASPL. The ASPL is chosen by the newly elected SPL from the same list of Scouts who meet the above requirements.
Each Patrol Leader is elected by the Scouts in his patrol for a term of at least half a year. The Patrol Leader, and his appointed Assistant Patrol Leader, have the responsibility of seeing that every scout in the patrol has the opportunity to participate in the Troop's programs. He makes sure that all scouts are treated equally, and receive the same amount of responsibilities during outings. He also represents the boys in his patrol at the Patrol Leaders' Council and is the principal communications link between the PLC and Scouts in passing along information, getting sign-ups for trips, collecting money, etc.. When he is unable to carry out his responsibilities, he relies on his appointed assistant to fill in.
Other youth positions, appointed by the SPL in consultation with the Scoutmaster:
The Quartermaster keeps track of all Troop equipment and is responsible for checking it out to patrols, and checking it back in. The Quartermaster periodically looks over the equipment and determines when new tents, stoves, cooking pots, etc are needed.
The Troop Guide typically is an experienced scout who is given the responsibility of helping out the new scouts when they join. The Troop Guide tries to be a friend to all new scouts, shows them how the Troop works, and teaches them some skills.
The Librarian maintains a volume of Troop literature including copies of all current merit badge books, Scout Handbooks, etc. The Librarian makes these resources available to Scouts and Scouters, and is responsible for checking them in and out. Like the Quartermaster, he also determines when certain books may be discarded and must be replaced.
An Instructor is a position that gives a scout a chance to teach certain skills to a group of scouts. This position can overlap with the Troop Guide position.
The Historian maintains the Troop records including a log of past members (including alumni directories), past activities, and a photo album of Troop and patrol events.
A Troop Scribe takes notes at the PLC’s monthly meeting and writes up the meeting plans so that all members of the PLC have a copy. The Scribe also works on designing and preparing the Troop’s monthly Newsletter.
A Junior Assistant Scoutmaster (JASM) is a Scout who is 16 or 17 years old, and who, having demonstrated past leadership to the Troop (usually as SPL or ASPL), is ready to handle greater responsibilities that would be assumed by an adult leader, such as the coordination of Troop outings (making phone calls, arranging for transportation, advising the SPL, etc). JASM is not a position that anyone should expect as a result of having served. Rather, it is a recognizing that a youth is capable of handling more responsibilities, and that he should be entrusted with them.Junior Leader Training
A common element that all youth leaders should share is the understanding of their responsibilities as leaders, and the knowledge of how to execute their duties. And although some of this may be obtained by observing other successful leaders before them, effective training is the key to producing effective leaders. It is the goal of the Troop to get Junior Leader Training for all boy leaders. Candidates for attendance at JLTC should be identified as early in the year as possible to make sure that they do not have schedule conflicts, with final selection made after the Spring Troop elections.
Junior Leader Training is accomplished in one of two ways:
- Specific training activities within the Troop. These are conducted at least once a year, if possible, and are directed by the Scoutmaster.
- A week-long Junior Leader training program, directed by the council, usually following the last week of Summer Camp in August.
The system for advancement in Boy Scouting is designed to teach basic outdoor skills, physical fitness, citizenship, and encourage participation from the very beginning, while providing a system of fast recognition and gratification. After joining and satisfying a few simple requirements for the Scout badge, the first three ranks, Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class, can be earned in a short period of time. Although there is no requirement for Scouts to advance in rank within a certain time frame, Scouts are encouraged to attain the rank of First Class within the first year. This achievement serves to encourage a Scout to seek higher ranks.
When achieving the requirements for these first three ranks, a leader must initial each requirement in the Scout's handbook. The Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmasters, and any youth members of the Troop approved by the Scoutmaster can sign off requirements for these ranks. To be fair, parents should not initial requirements for their own children.
After First Class, the advancement to Star, Life, and Eagle present new challenges and opportunities that require demonstrating leadership skills and serving others. By taking on the responsibility of a leader, boys acquire valuable life-lasting interpersonal skills, and earn the respect of their fellow Scouts. Through the merit badge program, Scouts can learn vital survival skills, participate in sports, challenge themselves with high adventure events, delve deep into a personal hobby, or find new interests that may even lead to a career choice. Requirements for these ranks are signed off by the Scoutmaster, or his assistants, as evidenced by completion of merit badge work, tenure, or time served as a leader.
The highest rank in Scouting, that of Eagle, requires a Scout to plan, develop, and execute a service project to benefit his school, church, or community. The project must be of significant merit, and approved by the Troop Committee, and Council Advancement Committee before beginning. He must give leadership to other Scouts in doing the work, and he should draw from his previous Scouting experience to see that the work is done, and done well.
Before advancing to each rank, a Scout must meet with the Scoutmaster to review his progress. This is an opportunity for the Scoutmaster to communicate directly with each boy, give advice, and encourage him along. It is also an opportunity for the Scout to express himself, comment on his progress, and voice any questions or concerns that may arise.Boards of Review
Following the Scoutmaster Conference, the Scout goes before a Board of Review. The Board consists of at least three adult Troop committee members who know the Scout well, and who review his progress again. The Board of Review is not a "test" to see if the Scout has remembered all that he has learned for the rank. Rather, it's an opportunity to focus the Scout to reflect on how he has gotten here, and to set goals for himself in the future. Communication with adults is also an important aspect of the Board of Review. A Scout is hopefully convinced to dispel the myth that adults "just don't understand" him. By interacting regularly with his Scoutmaster, Assistants, committee, and, of course, his parents, he gains the confidence to face other personal challenges.Merit Badges
Merit badges are earned by satisfying a prescribed set of requirements for the badge, and demonstrating that those requirements have been met. Each merit badge must be earned by getting the approval of a counselor who has been certified by the BSA to teach that badge. The counselor will request that the Scout fill out a merit badge application (a "blue card"), and have his Scoutmaster sign the first part of it, before beginning the work. The Scout then meets with the counselor at least once (perhaps many times) to present work, discuss the topic of the merit badge, or to ask questions. When all the requirements are satisfied, the counselor will sign the blue card and keep a portion of it for his records. The Scout then returns the remainder of the card to his Scoutmaster to sign it again, who keeps another section of the card for the Troop records. The final section is retained by the Scout, and may serve as proof that the badge was earned, should any records get lost. For this reason, Scouts are requested to keep all their completed blue cards in a safe place.
Shortly after turning in the card, the merit badge will be presented to the Scout, and a certificate (also proof that the badge was earned---the patch itself is NOT proof) will be presented at a Court of Honor.
The Troop maintains a list of all certified merit badge counselors, some of which are members of our own Troop. The majority of them come from other Troops. Any counselor certified for the appropriate badge may be used, and Scouts are expected to pick up the phone and make contact with them.
Individual Scout Accounts (ISA)
The purpose of the ISA is to give a Scout the ability to decide for himself how the money he helps raise is used, and also to impart some degree of financial planning and responsibility to each Scout.
For every Scout that enters the Troop, a separate account is set up in his name, into which goes a percentage of the funds raised by that Scout. The "percentage" is typically 25% of the amount raised by the Scout, although the Troop committee may determine this amount for each fund raiser, as the needs and goals of the Troop change over time. When a fund raiser is run by a group of Scouts in common, there may be no fair way to determine that one has earned more than another. In this case, the percentage allotted to the ISAs will be distributed evenly across the accounts of each participating Scout.
Money in a Scout's ISA still belongs to the Troop, although each Scout may use his allotted funds at any time under the following conditions:
- The money may be used towards payment of a Scouting event...either a Troop trip, Summer Camp, or other Boy Scout council or national event.
- The money can be used towards the purchase of Scouting supplies, such as a uniform, Scout Handbook, merit badge books, or other BSA literature.
- The money may be used to reimburse the purchase of personal camping equipment to be used in Scouting activities.
- The money cannot be used for patch collecting, or for any other item or activity not approved by the Troop Committee.
To use funds in his ISA, a Scout must contact the Troop Treasurer, or other committee member, and request that some (or all) of his ISA money be released, and for what purpose. We have a simple form for this, which requires a parent's signature, to ensure that both Scout and parent are making the request. All requests must be approved by the Troop Committee.
When a Scout leaves or graduates out of the Troop (turns 18), any remaining funds in his ISA are returned to the Troop's general fund. Adult members of Troop 58 (18 and older) will not have ISAs, and Scouts' ISAs will not accrue interest. If a Scout transfers to another Troop, the money is his ISA is not transferable to another Troop's account.
The Troop Treasurer, or appointed designee, will be responsible for maintaining an accurate accounting of ISA funds, and report to each Scout, at least once a year, on their balances.