Hopefully, this letter will answer most of your questions regarding our operations and your boy's participation in it as a Scout. If you have further questions, please don't hesitate to contact your boy's patrol leader or the Scoutmaster.
GENERAL INFORMATION: Boy Scout Troop 408 was first organized at the Trinity Lutheran Church of Roselle, IL, who sponsors the Troop. Adult leadership is provided through scoutmasters and a troop committee. We also rely upon parents as merit badge counselors and patrol advisors.
Boy Scout Troop 408 is "youth led" and organized into patrols of seven of eight scouts. Each patrol has a Patrol Leader, and a Senior Patrol Leader leads the entire troop, through the patrols. Our scoutmasters and committee members guide this youth leadership.
GETTING THE WORD OUT: The Troop published planning calendars each September and March. These calendars give a month-by-month breakdown of the upcoming meetings and activities. Please transfer these dates to your family calendar, but be aware the planning calendars are a "best guess" and are revised slightly as the year progresses. Please be alert to any date changes announced in the "Troop Scoop" newsletter.
The monthly "Troop Scoop" is published by Troop 408 to explain upcoming events and spread the word about important items.
Other handouts published from time to time include: Troop 408 Annual Plan detailing our outings, and PATROL PHONE ROSTERS, PERSONAL EQUIPMENT LISTS, etc.. Most of these publications are handed out at troop meetings, but often don't find their way home with the boys. Please purchase a three ring binder dedicated to scouts that can be used for these handouts and any partially completed merit badge work. Also look for and ask your scouts about these handouts.
MEETINGS: The Troop meets are held Monday nights between 7:00-8:30 pm at Trinity Lutheran Church. The church building is located at 408 Rush St, Roselle, IL. The boys should "Be Prepared" for the meeting by wearing their uniform (see “BE IN UNIFORM”), and bring (parents three-ring binder), a pen/pencil, and their Boy Scout Handbook. The opening ceremony begins promptly at 7:00 p.m. If a scout is part of the "honor patrol" he should arrive 10 minutes early to help set up the meeting room.Patrol Leader Council (PLC) meetings are held the first Monday of the month.
A "Court of Honor" is usually held quarterly. This prestigious event occurs when boys receive awards and recognition for recent accomplishments. All boys and parents should plan to attend these important occasions. A "Committee meeting" is held the second Tuesday of each month where troop business and upcoming events are discussed.
Scouts on the Patrol Leader's Council (Patrol Leaders, Senior Patrol Leader, Troop Guides and Scribe) have an additional meeting each month to program upcoming activities and meetings.
DUES: Every November all scouts and adult leaders are assessed an annual dues fee, the amount of which is determined by the Troop Committee. These dues help cover our administrative costs (awards & badges, publications, postage, etc.) as well as BSA registrations, subscriptions to "Boys Life" magazine and the Troop's insurance premiums. These fees will be prorated for those joining our Troop; however, since most of our expenses are for non-refundable items, we won't be able to refund fees to those leaving.
UNIFORM FEES: Each boy should have a few Troop 408 T-Shirts (see UNIFORMS). They can be obtained from the parent in charge of the Uniform Exchange. New T-Shirts will be ordered in the spring for Summer Camp.
FUND RAISERS: We try to earn most of our operating money through fundraisers but we may also require special donations from parents (this is rare) to pay for troop equipment or unforeseen special needs. All our boys should help in fund raising and we ask parents to encourage their scouts to actively participate.
ACTIVITY FEES: Scouts and adults who attend outings must help pay for food, gas, rental fees, use permits, etc. This payment is collected in advance and should be made in CASH. The cost for a local weekend trip usually totals $10 for groceries and an occasional activity fee. About three times a year we plan "super activities" which cost considerably more ($75 ), but are well worth the expense. If scouts lack money for upcoming events, fundraisers will be arranged to help them earn what is needed.
THE "SCOUT ACCOUNTS": Each scout, and adult leader has an account in our "Scout Bank" (not a real bank, just a name for the accounts). This bank keeps track of each person's fee assessments and money turned in or earned through fundraisers. Money earned and deposited may only be used for Troop activities or to help scout buy personal scouting equipment. A boy's positive bank balance cannot be refunded or "cashed out" if a boy leaves the Troop.
Being THRIFTY is part of the Scout Law, which every scout promises to obey. We expect every scout to earn and pay his own way. Parents, please encourage your boys to participate actively in our fundraisers. If you feel compelled to LOAN them money, please also provide them opportunities to EARN what they need by working around the house.
UNIFORMS: We use two "Classes" of uniform. The Class - A uniform consists of an official BSA short sleeve shirt, a pair of BSA pants with a BSA belt and a pair of green BSA socks. These Class - A's are worn to all meetings, official functions and outings. Merit badges must be worn on a BSA Merit Badge Sash, which then becomes part of the Class - A uniform. We do not require hats. NO OTHER TYPE HATS ARE WORN TO ANY SCOUT MEETING (i.e. Cubs, Hawks, etc.).
To save wear on the official uniform, while on campouts or at weekly meetings, boys may leave their merit badge sash at home and substitute dark blue denim jeans for BSA pants. (NOTE: jeans should be dark blue, regular cut, not designer jeans). The full Class - A uniform is required for Boards of Review, Courts of Honor, and public events.
Patches required for the Class - A shirt are: Three Fires Council shoulder patch, numbers 408, American Flag, Patrol Emblem patch, and red or green epaulet loops. Other patches and insignia are presented by the Troop. Proper placement of uniform patches is displayed on the inside covers of the Boy Scout Handbook.
The Board of Review for First Class Scout and above will not begin unless the scout presents himself in the complete and proper uniform; Class - A with all appropriate patches sewn on the appropriate place. Awards will not be presented at a Court of Honor unless the scout is in full Class - A uniform. There are several pair of smaller size shorts available in the Uniform Exchange.
The Class - B uniform is the same as the Class - A except we substitutes a Troop 408 T-Shirt for the official BSA shirt. Boys should wear a Class - B shirt under their Class - A's and should always bring at least one for each day of an outing.
UNIFORM SUMMARY: As a minimum, each scout should have at least;
1 - BSA shirt
1 - pair blue jeans OR BSA long pants
2 - pair BSA socks
| 1 - Merit Badge sash (when merit badges earned) |
3 - "Class - B" Troop 408 T-Shirt
1 - neckerchief & slide
| || |
Some hand-me-down uniforms can be obtained from our "Uniform Exchange". Official BSA items can be purchased by mail from the BSA catalog, or at BSA Scout Shops (Dickey), or retail outlets like AL’s Hobby Shop.
Patches should be sewn around the edges! (A great new skill for a young man). It is okay to sew patches directly through pockets. Using pins/tape or only the patch's heat glue is not sufficient to keep them in place during active wear.
SCOUT SPIRIT and COMMITMENT: We teach that scouting is a way of life, not merely another "extracurricular activity". When a boy joins scouting he promises to make a commitment to this way of life. This commitment is part of the LOYALTY referred to in the Scout Law. To help instill LOYALTY in our scouts we ask them to place scouting in a high position among their list of extracurricular activities.
Even though there is no "official" attendance percentage required, we expect our boys to try hard to attend all meetings and outings. Roll call is taken at each activity and only scouts who have shown their loyalty and "Scout Spirit" can be advanced to higher ranks or go on super-activities. We only provide the program, the scout must put forth the effort to advance and earn his recognition.
RANK ADVANCEMENT: To advance from rank to rank, scouts go before a Board of Review consisting of three adult committee members. We work hard to get a boy ready for his new rank, but if the Board finds him unprepared, even though his requirements are signed off, he may be given some homework and asked to return in a month or two to try again. He must prepare as if he were seeking employment in a job interview (Class - A uniform knowledgeable in his sought after position).
Without outside motivation many scouts find it difficult to focus on advancement requirements, however, some scouts become overly fixated and try to advance too quickly. We stress that rank advancement is not just "filling squares" but is part of a maturing process. A comfortable advancement timetable for a new scout would be as follows: Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class all within the first 12 to 16 months, then the last three ranks of Star, Life, and Eagle each completed about a year apart.
We highly recommend a boy not try to move too quickly through the last three ranks. Star, Life, and Eagle ranks are designed to develop youth leaders and it is rare for 12 or 13 year olds to exhibit the caliber of maturity, responsibility and leadership which often develops naturally by 14, 15 or 16 years of age.
Parents, if your boy is new to scouting, some added patience and cooperation is needed. Your encouragement and help (and willingness to let him stand or fail on his own) are vital to your boy's scouting career. Boy Scout activities are not like Cub Scouts. We will not "spoon feed" the boys to advance through ranks, nor will we provide all the planning and entertainment to ensure they have a great time on outings (although this is a primary goal).
We treat our boys as young adults and much of the decision-making is put upon the shoulders of our boy leaders. We ensure learning opportunities and encouragement is provided at every activity, but if a boy fails to produce sufficient effort and teamwork he will probably not have a good time nor advance. To enjoy scouting, a boy must learn to work as part of his patrol and try to master his basic camping skills quickly and enthusiastically.
CAMPOUTS AND OUTINGS: We plan one camping/outdoor event each month. These campouts center around a theme and are discussed at our weekly meetings and explained in the "Campfire Chronicle" and fact sheets sent home with the boys. These trips normally depart from the church Friday evening or early Saturday morning and return Sunday afternoon. Adult leaders with Vans/SUV’s provide transportation.
Our campouts are work-and-learn "fun" outings rather than "play" outings. As a general rule activities require the scout to be in Class - A uniform. This includes travel to and from campouts. An up-to-date medical form/release (renewed yearly) is required prior to participation in activities. If a scout is taking medications, has allergies, or has special needs of any kind, please let us know well in advance. All events will have at least two adults providing supervision and guidance (two deep leadership), Parents are always welcome to join us.
The boys are individually responsible for packing all necessary personal gear for their outings. Parents should help ensure good judgment is used, especially as seasons change, but the scouts should be encouraged to do their own packing. If you need help ask your patrol leader.
The PATROL METHOD is used to provide food and common equipment (tents, stoves, etc.). When a boy is selected as patrol cook or quartermaster, he takes on an important task. Parents should work with their scout to learn what these tasks are and ensure they are completed. This is very important with a cook because his tasks include purchasing all his patrol's food. Our patrol cooks will be taught how to break down a menu and shop for ingredients. A lot of money will be spent and a parent should be on hand at the grocery store to ensure good judgment is used.
12345NOTE: We do not allow parents to "loan" money to their boy's patrol then get reimbursed when food fees are collected. Patrol cooks are instructed to use only the cash collected in advance and purchase food only for scouts who have turned in their outing fee.
All scouts are expected to cook and eat food on their patrol menus. We discourage them from bringing snack food or candy unless it is part of the menu. The boys are also responsible for proper camp clean-up and personal hygiene. As in any other endeavor, practice at home will perfect the skill and provide a much more enjoyable campout. All boys need regular cooking and cleaning practice at home.
DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS: Our adult leaders are volunteers and none are qualified as child psychologists. They try very hard to teach our scouts how to become responsible adults, but they are not expected to deal with severe emotional or behavioral problems in children. If a boy has such problems, parents must inform us and expect to attend outings with their child. Please do not assume scouting will help a boy grow out of his problems.
When a boy joins scouting he promises to "do his best" to live by the Scout Oath and Law. Unfortunately, sometimes boys exercise bad judgment. When this occurs our adult leaders will stop the behavior and counsel the boy. This counseling will be attended by at least two adults and never involve more than talking with the boy. At no time will he be subject to physical punishment or isolation. If the boy won't respond to counseling, his parents will be called to pick him up as soon as possible, even during out-of-state outings. Also, if a boy requires too much effort to control (severe homesick, etc.) he may be sent home if the adult leader cannot provide the time and attention required.
Examples of behavior not tolerated: fighting, vandalism, foul language or actions, tantrums, hazing, use or possession of prohibited items, insubordination, etc.. If a scout's inappropriate behavior is severe or becomes habitual, he may be suspended or expelled.
WHAT WE EXPECT FROM OUR SCOUTS.
- An attempt to live by the Scout Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan.
- Willingness to participate in meetings, events and fund raisers.
- Willingness to help out his patrol and work as a team.
- Reasonable self-control when not under direct supervision.
- Respect for other people's property.
- Respect for adult leaders.
- Obedience when given a valid direct order by an adult leader.
- Reasonable respect and obedience toward his youth leaders.
- Unwillingness to tolerate bad behavior, by himself or others.
- But above all, to ENJOY SCOUTING!
12345NOTE: Most boys get homesick during their first long-term summer camp. This homesickness is made much worse by parents trying to comfort their boy over the phone or with a visit. A boy can create all sorts of reasons why he should go home, but parents, to preserve his self-respect, please show some "tough love" and encourage him to stick-it-out at camp (maybe even to the point of refusing his calls). We will let you know if he should go home.
BOOTS: Boots (or sturdy high-top cross-training shoes) are a necessity! Sneakers or running shoes are not adequate! Boots should be high top, lace up, and sturdy enough to provide support for the ankle. They also must fit and be broken-in adequately prior to any serious hiking. This can be done over several weeks by wearing the boots to school and around the yard doing chores. A couple pair of good hiking socks is also required. Proper hiking socks cost more, but are worth every penny in preventing blisters. They should be "rag-type" and made of wool or polypropylene so they won't mat when wet. A thin, inner sock should be worn inside the hiking sock to prevent blisters and provide a wicking action for sweat. When sizing boots, be sure to wear both inner and outer socks to get the correct fit.
BACKPACKS: A frame backpack with a sturdy hip belt is a necessity! The straps and hip belt should be adjustable and fitted correctly for the scout. It should also be able to carry all his personal gear strapped onto the frame or inside (with room to spare). Good packs have welded frames, adjustable fittings, and may cost $60 - $80 or more. He will also need nylon cord for lashing gear to the frame.
SLEEPING BAGS: A waterproof stuff sack is a necessity! A mummy type, stuffable sleeping bag rated down to at lease 25 degrees is highly recommended! The filling should be a synthetic fiber that will not mat when wet. Down filling is NOT recommended. A good sleeping bag will cost $60 to $150.
GROUND PADS: Some sort of ground pad is a necessity! A good ground pad assures a comfortable sleep as well as insulation from the ground. Get a pad made of closed-cell foam pliable enough to be tightly rolled. (Therm-A-Rest "Ridge-Rest" is a good buy for under $15). Open cell foam should not be used because it soaks up water like a sponge.
RAINWEAR: A proper fitting poncho made of waterproofed nylon is a necessity on every outing! Plastic ponchos rip very easily and will not last more than a campout or two. It may be difficult to find a good poncho small enough for some scouts, but a regular sized one can be tied up around the waist. A good fabric poncho can be found at an Army surplus store for about $20.
BUYING THE EQUIPMENT: Some good camping stores around (not an endorsement) at this time are: out Shop. Mail order companies include: BSA. Renting equipment is possible at ______________. If you have any questions about brands and styles please talk with the Scoutmaster or his assistants.
PROHIBITED ITEMS: Boys may not bring or use fireworks, firearms, bow/arrows, sheath knives, aerosols, or flammable liquids/gases. Propane and flammable liquids are used during campouts, but they are provided by the troop and used only under adult supervision. Radios, etc. are not allowed unless specifically authorized, and then only if used with earphones.
Again, Welcome and Happy Scouting!
Scoutmaster: Tom Strachan
New Scout Checklist:
- BSA APPLICATION & TROOP DUES
- BSA MEDICAL FORM (return before first outing, renew yearly)
- TRANSFER RECORD FROM PREVIOUS TROOP (if any)
- TROOP PLANNING CALENDAR
- PATROL ROSTER & PHONE LIST
- PERSONAL EQUIPMENT LISTS
- "CLASS - B" T-SHIRTS