Parents Guide

Parents’ Guide to Boy Scout Troop 684

Introduction

The purpose of this guide is to introduce both the Scouting Program and Troop 684 to the parents of prospective Scouts.  The guide gives an overview of the Scouting program and of Troop 684.

The Boy Scout Handbook gives further information on the Scouting Program.  If, after reading this guide, you have any questions, please stop by at a Troop Meeting (most Wednesday nights) or call one of the adults listed at the back of this guide.

Welcome to the Scouting Family!

 

Contents

Introduction
What is Scouting?
What About Troop 684?
What is the Structure of Troop 684?
Who Runs the Troop?
Who are the Troop Leaders?
The Troop Committee
The Troop’s Program
Troop Meetings
Troop Communications
Outdoor Activities
Medical Forms
Equipment for Outdoor Activities
Pocket Knives, Axes and Saws
Advancement
Merit Badges
Scoutmaster’s Conference
Board of Review
Recognition and Courts of Honor
Joining Troop 684
Adult Registration
Dues
Funding
Boys’ Life
Friends of Scouting
Uniforms
Discipline
Troop Policies

 

What is Scouting?

The Boy Scouts of America was founded on February 8th, 1910.  The Scouting movement is now international with worldwide membership estimated as well in excess of ten million.

The Scouting Program was developed by Lord Robert Baden-Powell in 1907, following the Boer War, during which he had become a national hero in the United Kingdom.  Baden-Powell used his fame to start an organization for boys which would prepare them for later life, teach them good citizenship and ensure that they had fun while doing it.

The Boy Scouts of America has three aims, to foster citizenship, provide growth in moral strength and character, and to encourage development in physical, emotional and mental fitness.   The present U.S. Scouting program is built around these aims.  Eight Scouting methods have been developed to meet these aims: ideals, patrols, outdoor activities, advancement, personal growth, adult association, leadership development and uniforms.

The Scouting Program is mostly run by volunteers, supported by a professional staff at the Transatlantic Council.  The Boy Scouts of America is chartered by Congress and each individual unit (troop or pack) is chartered by a responsible organization such as a church, school, company or military organization.  The chartered organization is responsible for the establishment and maintenance of a troop.

 

What About Troop 684?

Troop 684 was chartered by the International Protestant Church in Zurich in 2002.  Membership in the Troop is available to any boy meeting the Boy Scouts of America joining requirements.

 

What is the Structure of Troop 684?

Troop 684 is part of the Transatlantic Council, Boy Scouts of America. The Troop has a number of patrols.  These patrols are made up of up to ten Scouts who work together to advance and plan for scouting activities.  Each patrol is led by an elected patrol leader and Scouts are placed in patrols with a goal to maintaining a balance between advanced and newer scouts, a variety of personality types, Scout preferences, a mix of schools and to achieve patrols which function as effective teams.  The Troop has one Scoutmaster, a number of Assistant Scoutmasters (both referred to as Scouters) and a Troop Committee.

 

Who Runs the Troop? 

The Troop itself is run, as much as possible, by the elected junior leaders through the Patrol Leaders’ Council, which is chaired by the Senior Patrol Leader.  The elected junior leaders are the Senior Patrol Leader and the Patrol Leaders.  The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Quartermaster and Scribe also sit on the Council but are not permitted to vote as they are appointed by the Assistant Senior Patrol Leader in consultation with the Scoutmaster. Assistant Patrol Leaders do not sit on the Patrol Leaders Council unless the Patrol Leader cannot attend.  The Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters also attend Patrol Leaders’ Council meetings to give guidance and to make suggestions.

The Senior Patrol Leader is in charge of the day to day running of the troop and is advised by the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters.  The Troop’s other junior leaders are also advised by Scouters.  The Scoutmaster is responsible to the Troop Committee for the Troop and represents the Troop to the Troop Committee.

 

Who are the Troop Leaders? 

The Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) – in charge of the day to day running of the troop and chairs the Patrol Leaders’ Council.  The SPL is elected by the Scouts.  Must be at least Star rank and have been a troop member for a minimum of twelve months.

The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader – assists the Senior Patrol Leader as necessary, supervises the non-elected junior leaders of the troop and is a non-voting member of the Patrol Leaders’ Council.  Appointed by the Senior Patrol Leader.

The Patrol Leader – responsible for the successful running of the patrol and a member of the Patrol Leader’ Council.  Elected by the Scouts.  Must be at least First Class and have been a troop member for a minimum of six months (except in the case of the new Scout patrol).

The Assistant Patrol Leader – assists his Patrol Leader where necessary.  Appointed by a Patrol Leader.

The Quartermaster – responsible for the issue and maintenance of all of the Troop’s outdoor equipment.  Attends Patrol Leaders Council meetings as a non-voting member to advise on equipment and to ask for new equipment to be purchased.  Appointed by the Assistant Senior Patrol Leader.

The Scribe – responsible for taking attendance at meetings and taking notes at Patrol Leaders’ Council meetings.  A non-voting member of the Patrol Leader Council.

The Troop Guide – responsible for the advancement of all Scouts up to the rank of First Class.  Appointed by the Assistant Senior Patrol Leader and a non-voting member of the Patrol Leaders’ Council.  Must be at least First Class.

The Den Chief – assists Cub Scout Den Leaders in running Den meetings and encourages Cub Scouts to join Scouts.  Appointed by the Senior Patrol Leader.

The Junior Assistant Scoutmasters – are generally Eagle Scouts between the age of 16 and 18 who provide support to both the adult leaders and junior leaders of the troop – particularly in the teaching of skills and supporting specific junior leadership positions.  Appointed by the Scoutmaster.

The Scoutmaster – the adult responsible for the successful running of the Troop.  The Scoutmaster advises all of the junior leaders and gives guidance where necessary.  The Scoutmaster may ask any junior leader to resign his position.  The Scoutmaster is responsible to the Chartered Organization and the Troop Committee, acting as the link between the Troop and the Committee.  The Scoutmaster is selected by the Committee and approved by the Chartered Organization.  Referred to as a Scouter.

The Assistant Scoutmasters – assist the Scoutmaster where necessary and may have specific areas of responsibility. Assistant Scoutmasters are selected by the Troop Committee and the Scoutmaster.  Referred to as Scouters.

Elections for patrol leader positions are usually held twice a year, in December (for terms of office beginning January 1) and June (for terms of office beginning July 1) and are conducted by secret ballot.  Senior Patrol Leader elections are held each January.  All appointed leaders are appointed by the Senior Patrol Leader or Patrol Leader in consultation with the Scoutmaster.

 

The Troop Committee

The Troop Committee is responsible for providing all of the support the Troop needs and is made up of concerned parents and volunteers from the public at large.  The Troop Committee is chaired by the Committee Chair.  Other members include the Secretary, Treasurer, Outdoor Activities Coordinator, Training Coordinator, Advancement Chair, Membership Chair, Equipment Coordinator, Merit Badge Coordinator, and the Chartered Organization Representative, who represents the International Protestant Church.  There are also numerous other Committee Members who sit on various subcommittees.  Troop Committee Meetings are held every month during school terms and the dates of the meetings are published on the Troop’s Annual Calendar. New Committee members are always welcome.

 

The Troop’s Program

The Troop holds an Annual Planning Conference at the beginning of each year to plan the monthly themes and activities for the following program year.  After the planning is completed the plan is presented to the Troop Committee for approval.  Service projects for the chartered organization and the community, as well as Troop fund-raisers, are also planned.  The Troop usually attends District and Council activities each year which may include Camporees and the Klondike Derby in order to take part in competitions with other units.

 

Troop Meetings

Troop meetings are held most Wednesday nights at the French Church basement, 6:30 – 8:00 PM. The meetings are run by the Patrol Leaders Council with patrol members participating in set-up, openings and closings, Merit badge work, guest speakers, patrol meetings, announcements and advancements, games and clean-up.

 

Troop Communications 

Successful execution of the Troop’s program requires a significant amount of coordination among the Scouts themselves and also among the Scouts and Troop parents. This coordination is also an opportunity for the Scouts in Troop 684 to learn and practice good planning and communication skills which will serve them well as they grow into adulthood. This coordination activity can also give rise to a lot of e-mail and, consequently, Troop 684 has several policies regarding e-mail communications in order to limit their volume and avoid confusion:

  • Troop 684 maintains “bounce” e-mail lists for Scouts and parents (bounce lists automatically forward e-mails to the e-mail addresses registered on the bounce list). As you join, please ask to have your son’s e-mail address added to the Scout bounce list and please have your e-mail address added to the parents’ bounce list;
  • The primary source of e-mail to the Scouts and their parents is the Troop’s Senior Patrol Leader. We ask that all adults wishing to communicate with the Troop on a prompt basis send their communications to the SPL for him to answer directly or forward further. The Scoutmaster and Troop Committee Chairperson may also use the bounce lists from time-to-time and at their discretion. We ask that other Scouts and parents refrain from using the bounce lists if at all possible;
  • For announcements to the Troop about coming events or other “non-urgent” communications, Troop 684 publishes an electronic newsletter (“Smoke Signals”) on a monthly basis. Please forward any such communications for inclusion in Smoke Signals to the adult volunteer editor.Please also note the Troop maintains an updated calendar of Troop activities on its website (www.Troop684.ch).   Please check the website regularly for general communications and details about specific events.

 

Outdoor Activities 

The troop strives to plan at least one activity per month, usually a camping trip or hike.  The camping trips and hikes are often from a late Friday afternoon to Sunday.  Once a year the troop attends Scout Summer Camp, usually from the fourth week of July or the first week of August.  Summer camp provides an excellent opportunity for Scouts to achieve personal growth and work on their advancement.

Camping and hiking are covered in the Boy Scout Handbook.  Outdoor activities usually cost a minimum of CHF 40 or 50 per Scout which is payable by the Scout or parent.  Some outings may cost substantially more depending on their location and the nature of the activities involved. For more expensive activities, the Troop Committee may decide to subsidize the costs from Troop funds.  Any parent who has difficulty in paying for such activities should talk to the Scoutmaster, Troop Committee Chair or Troop Treasurer so that no Scout is prevented from participating in activities due to financial considerations.

For troop activities, each patrol usually develops its own menu and buys its own food.  The menu, a food list and the number of people to buy food for will all be given to a Scout assigned to purchase the food by the patrol leader.  Parents should retain their receipts and submit them together with a troop reimbursement form (available on the website) to the Troop Treasurer.

Parents are always welcome on Troop activities but unfortunately families are not permitted under Boy Scouts of America regulations unless the campout is designated as family camping.  Parents who drive Scouts to Troop activities can submit a claim for gasoline reimbursement.

 

Medical Forms 

Scout physicals and medication requirements will be kept on file, must be updated by parents as necessary and will be brought by a Leader on every campout.

Permission slips must be signed by a parent for every campout.

 

Equipment for Outdoor Activities

The Troop has camping gear including tents, ground cloths, tools, lanterns, cooking gear, stoves, etc.  Each patrol is assigned a box containing most of their patrol gear (cooking utensils, pots and pans, and stoves).  The patrol is responsible for keeping its assigned gear clean and in good condition.  Additionally, each scout does his share to keep the general troop gear and the patrol gear in good condition.

Each scout brings his own personal gear to the campout, which includes his own sleeping bag, mess kit, and personal hygiene kit. A suggested list of personal equipment can be found in the Boy Scout Handbook.  Proper wet weather gear is essential for camping.

 

Pocket Knives, Axes and Saws 

Before a Scout is able to use any pocketknife, axe or saw he must have completed the requirements for the Totin’ Chip, which covers basic safety and maintenance.  Sheath knives and flick knives are not permitted on any troop activity.  The use of any other axe apart from a hand axe is also not permitted.  Any knife, axe, or saw being used improperly will be taken away by a Scouter for the duration of the campout.

 

Advancement 

As part of the Scouting Program a Scout learns skills designed to help him in later life.  The learning of these skills is recognized by badges of rank.  There are seven ranks: Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle. For each rank a Scout must have a Scoutmaster’s Conference and pass a Board of Review.

The requirements for the Scout rank are found in the Boy Scout Handbook, as are requirements for the remaining ranks (Tenderfoot, Second, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle).  It should be noted that of any one hundred Scouts, less than four will make Eagle.

Although the troop provides opportunities for learning required skills and merit badges in and outside of troop meetings, it is expected that each Scout will pursue his own advancement.  In addition the Troop Guide or the Scout’s Patrol Leader will regularly check each Scout’s Handbook to review his progress.  Shortly after joining the Troop, the Scout will sit down with a Scouter and plan out his advancement to First Class.  Rank requirements may only be signed off by selected adult leaders, generally including the Scoutmaster and the Troop Committee Chairperson.  Parents may not sign off any requirements for their own sons.

As part of the requirements for Scout rank a Scout has to complete the exercises in the pamphlet “How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide” found in the front of the Boy Scout Handbook.  This is the first of many requirements that a Scout has to discuss with his family.  We ask that you sign the front cover of the pamphlet so that we know you have completed the exercises with your son.

 

Merit Badges

For the ranks from Star to Eagle, Scouts need to earn merit badges.  There is a choice of over one hundred and twenty merit badges and a Scout must earn twenty-one of these in order to attain the rank of Eagle.  Twelve of these merit badges must be from the required list for Eagle (shown in the Eagle Rank Requirements); the remaining nine merit badges can be chosen from any of the merit badges available.  There is a list of all the merit badges available in the Boy Scout Handbook.  Requirements for the merit badges can be found on the official BSA website at http://www.scouting.org/meritbadges.aspx.  Merit Badges are taught by Merit Badge Counselors who are not necessarily Scouters from the Troop but must be registered with the Council.  The Troop maintains a list of Merit Badge Counselors and a library of Merit Badge Pamphlets.

 

Scoutmaster’s Conference 

After a Scout completes all of the requirements for a rank he has a Scoutmaster’s Conference with the Scoutmaster.  During the conference the Scout’s progress is reviewed and goals are set both for the next rank and for general Scout development.

 

Board of Review 

After the Scoutmaster’s Conference the Scout has to pass a Board of Review, conducted by a minimum of three members of the Troop Committee.  The questions asked are of a general nature and are not a re-test of the Scout’s achievements.  It is a Scout’s responsibility to set up a Board of Review by contacting the Advancement Chair of the Troop Committee.

 

Recognition and Courts of Honor

Courts of Honor are generally held twice a year to recognize Scouts who have advanced in rank, completed merit badges or earned any of the special recognition awards.  Parents and family members are actively encouraged to attend these Courts of Honor as an award means more to a Scout if his parents are there to see the presentation.  Please note that the Rank Advancement Cards presented during Courts of Honor or Troop Committee Meetings constitute the official record of the Scout and should be kept in a safe place for future reference.

 

Joining Troop 684 

For your son to join the Troop all you need to do is fill out the registration form and personal health history and bring it in to a Troop meeting with payment for the registration fee.  We also ask parents to complete a Troop Resource Survey and request that at least one parent joins the Troop as a Scouter or Committee Member.  The Troop can only offer an effective program with parent involvement.

 

Adult Registration 

Troop 684 is run entirely by volunteer adults.  To make the Troop run successfully we depend on adult support both for your Scout and for the Troop as a whole.  If you are interested in bringing the Scouting program to our youth then please stop by at a meeting and talk to us.

Troop 684 also depends on registered adult volunteers to “chaperone” the Scouts on their weekend outings. In appreciation of the free time they devote to Troop 684 on these outings, the troop covers all of the expenses of adult volunteers to attend troop outings.

 

Dues 

Annual dues are paid at registration, before January 31 each year.  The dues include the annual Boy Scouts of America Registration Fee, Transatlantic Council Membership Fee, and Boys Life Subscription.  Adults do not pay dues.  Please note that the Troop is unable to make any refunds of dues.

 

Funding 

Troop 684 has three sources of income: dues, donations, and fund-raising.  It is therefore important for the Troop that all monies owed to the Troop are paid promptly.  The Troop also tries to carry out a number of fund-raisers each year in order to ensure that the Troop has sufficient funds to operate.  All of the Troop’s funds are spent on the Scouts in the Troop.  Money is not given to any external sources other than in payment for equipment or activities, in support of the Transatlantic Council, or donations that benefit Boy Scouts directly.

 

Boys’ Life

Boys’ Life magazine is published by the Boy Scouts of America and circulated to over two million Scouts.  The magazine is intended to compliment the Scouting Program.  Boys Life subscriptions are included in the Troop’s annual registration fee.

 

Friends of Scouting 

Each year the Transatlantic Council conducts a Friends of Scouting campaign to encourage parents, the general public and corporate organizations to donate money to Scouting.  The donations help to cover the operating costs of the Council.

 

Uniforms 

The Troop encourages proper uniforms for both Scouts and Scouters.  For normal troop meetings, Scouts should wear the Class A Uniforms to all meetings. The Class A Uniform must be worn for all Courts of Honor, Scoutmaster Conferences, Boards of Review and other events as decided upon by the PLC.  The Class B uniform may be worn on some troop activities.  Wearing the proper uniform is part of being a member of the Boy Scouts of America.

All badges are provided by the Troop at no extra cost unless the Scout needs a replacement badge or he needs badges for a spare uniform.  The Troop uses the standard Boy Scout Uniform with a neckerchief.  The Troop would like to maintain a supply of second hand uniforms and requests that Scouts donate their old uniforms to the Troop when they buy new uniforms.

 

Discipline 

It is hoped that the need for discipline will be minimal since Scouts should live by, and follow, the Scout Oath and Law.  In circumstances where disciplinary action is necessary the actions listed below will be taken.

  1. The Scout is counseled by his own Patrol Leader or the Senior Patrol Leader for the campout.
  2. If there is a further need for disciplinary action the Scout is referred to the Senior Patrol Leader who will then counsel with the Scout and then detail the Scout for some type of extra duty.
  3. If the problem continues the Scout is referred to one of the adult Scouters who again counsels with the Scout and then refers him back to the Senior Patrol Leader for further extra duties.
  4. If a further need for disciplinary action arises an adult Scouter will telephone the Scout’s parents and ask them to come and collect their son.

 

Troop Policies 

  • Active participation, for the purposes of rank advancement, is defined as attending at least 50% of meetings and 50% of activities in either the previous twelve months or since receiving the last rank.
  • No knife, axe, or saw is to be used by a Scout who does not have Totin’ Chip.
  • The Troop follows the Boy Scouts of America Leave No Trace camping rules and expects all Scouts to do the same.
  • No flammable liquids are to be used by Scouts except the liquid gas stoves and lanterns.  Lighting of stoves and lanterns must be supervised by an adult.
  • Radios, personal stereos, iPods, CD players, electronic games, etc., are not permitted on troop activities except during travel to and from activities and only if sanctioned by the Patrol Leaders Council.  Such equipment used during activities will be confiscated.
  • Cell phones are not to be used during troop meetings and during most troop activities. Scouts may carry cell phones on their person while traveling to or from troop outings.
  • All Scouts are to follow any reasonable request made by a senior Scout or a Scouter.  If a Scout does not believe a request is reasonable he should discuss the matter with his Patrol Leader.
  • All Scouts are expected to do a fair share of the work during any troop activity.
  • All Scouts are to live by the Scout Oath and Law and follow the Scout Motto and Slogan.
  • Proper respect is to be shown to adults at all times, no matter what troop or organization they are from. Adults are to be addressed as Mr./Mrs./Ms., etc.
  • Uniform is to be worn to and during all Scout activities unless it is specifically indicated otherwise.
  • There will be no hazing or other demeaning activities at any troop function or event.

Boy Scouts of America, Transatlantic Council