April, 2014

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Parent Handbook

Troop 88 Information Guide
 
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Contents
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Welcome To The Troop
Welcome to Troop 88. This booklet will help you to learn about Scouting, help you to discover what makes our Troop special, and help you to find answers to many of your questions. Scoutmaster Phil Donovan will also be glad to address any concerns that you may have. Everyone is welcome to join us for any of our activities. Also, there is plenty of work to do, so roll up your sleeves and join the fun!
 
We have an especially active, challenging and far-ranging program. Active Scouts can count on staying busy camping, exploring, performing service projects and participating in service projects that benefit our community. They can expect to advance through the ranks of Scouting, and, hopefully, attain Scouting's most prestigious honor, the Eagle.
 
Scouting is a commitment, but we also recognize that boys are active in many other pursuits. We try to offer a program that complements sports, band and other commitments. We don't expect every boy to be able to participate in every one of our activities, but we strive to offer activities that will be fun and help to develop the skills that will stay with them throughout their lives.
 
How to Communicate With The Troop
We believe that it is vitally important that parents be fully informed of the Troop's operation. We also encourage you to bring any concerns to our attention. Please feel free to contact the Scoutmaster or Committee Chair at any time. 
 
            Scoutmaster: Phil Donovan
                                    42 Long Pond Road
                                    Concord
                                    225-5058 (home)
                                    225-2511 (office)
                                    scoutmaster@boyscouttroop88.org
 
            Committee Chair:  Eric Steinhauser             
                                               
 
Web Site   
The Troop maintains a web site at www.boyscouttroop88.org. Here you will find current information on upcoming events, as well as contact information and other useful information. We recommend that you refer to it often.
 
 
 
Troop Goals
Scouting in Troop 88 means adventure and challenge for your son. Scouting is fun with a purpose: to develop future leaders of strong character, good citizenship, and personal fitness. Scouting's seven methods make it unique:
o   Scouting Ideals (Law, Oath, Motto, Slogan)
o   Patrol Method
o   Advancement
o   Adult Role Models
o   Outdoor Program
o   Leadership Development
o   Personal Growth
Every activity we undertake is designed to teach boys the value of leadership, self-reliance, responsibility and respect. 
 
We work very hard to ensure that every boy stays in Scouts as long as possible.
 
Who Can Join?
Troop 88 welcomes any interested boy of Scout age (either 11 years old OR  have completed the fifth grade OR have earned the Arrow of light, whichever occurs first). A boy does NOT have to graduate from Cub Scouts or Webelos to become a Boy Scout. Financial aid is available for families who may need assistance.
 
Meetings
We meet weekly on Tuesdays at 7:00 to 8:15 at St. Paul's Church. We do not typically meet during school vacations or on days when there is no school. We recommend that a Scout attend as many meetings as possible, since that is when we do a lot of advancement work and provide information about upcoming activities.
 
New Scout Support
Troop 88 makes great effort to help new Scouts be successful. Typical is our New Scout Patrol in which new Scouts learn together about Scouting under the leadership of an Assistant Scoutmaster and an experienced Scout--our Troop Guide. New Scouts usually stay together until after summer camp, after which time they may be assigned to a regular patrol beginning in the Fall. The Scoutmaster keeps a close eye on each new Scout and will get to know him quickly. Any problems or concerns that you or your son have should be immediately brought to the attention of the Scoutmaster. Troop 88 encourages interaction with older Scouts, but does not tolerate any hazing or other harassing of new Scouts.
 
Uniform
Just as sports teams use uniforms that identify players with a team, the Scout uniform identifies a boy with the largest voluntary youth movement in the world. The Scout uniform tends to diminish the importance of a person's financial, social and ethnic background, while clearly showing each individual's Scouting accomplishments.
 
Troop 88 requires each Scout to wear a uniform, consisting of, at least, :
·         Scout Shirt
·         Pants (optional at this time)
·         Troop Neckerchief
·         Insignia
o   Red Shoulder Loops
o   Badge of Rank
o   Troop Number
o   Council Bar
The Scout Handbook has full-sized sewing templates on the inside of the cover. 
 
The uniform should be worn at all Troop meetings and service projects. We do not require that uniforms be worn during most outdoor activities. (A Troop T-Shirt is available for more casual activities.) However, there may be times at District or Council events, and at summer camp, when the uniform will be needed.
 
The nearest source for uniforms and Scout supplies is the Council Store at Camp Carpenter in Manchester.
 
The Troop also provides a Troop T-Shirt that can be worn at various times, such as outdoor activities and occasional weekly meetings. Scouts will be informed when wearing this "Class B" uniform is appropriate. Scouts are expected to take care of their "Class B" shirt. In case the shirt is lost or destroyed, Scouts will be able to purchase a new one through the Troop.
 
Dues
There are two forms of dues that each Scout is required to pay.
·         Troop Fees pay for such items as awards and other expenses that make the Troop run. In addition, the fee includes a subscription to Boys Life. Troop fees are billed on an annual basis in the amount of $50.  (No Scout will be denied membership in the Troop based on an inability to pay the Troop fee.)
·         Patrol Dues are paid weekly in the amount of 50 cents. This money stays with the Patrol and is for the boys to use. Any expenditure of this money must meet with the approval of the Scoutmaster. Dues are collected and tracked by the Patrol. The money is deposited in the Troop's bank account and tracked by the Troop's Treasurer.
 
How Boy Scouts is Different From Cub Scouts
 

We are often asked this question, especially by parents of Cub Scouts who are bridging over into the Troop.  You may be surprised to see how different Boy Scouting is from Cub Scouting.  But then, boys of Boy Scout age are very different from boys of Cub Scout age.  Here are some key contrasts:

The Cub Scout program is family-centered.  Adults plan all activities, and most activities lend themselves to full family participation.

The Boy Scout program is boy-centered.  Boys plan activities (with adult guidance) and participate with other Scouts within his patrol under boy leadership.

Adults (usually the boy's parents) conduct Cub Scout advancement.  Camping opportunities are limited, even for Webelos.

Older boys and adults other than a boy's parents conduct Boy Scout advancement.  Camping is a central component of the program.  A Scout advances at his own pace.

 
Advancement
Boy Scout advancement is much more challenging and difficult than Cub Scout advancement, and it requires much more individual effort and initiative. It also emphasizes leadership and service as much as badges and skills. 
There are six levels of rank in the advancement program"
·         Tenderfoot
·         Second Class
·         First Class
·         Star
·         Life
·         Eagle
 
The first three ranks focus on developing skills required for self-reliance, such as cooking, map and compass, camping and first aid, among other things. The last three focus on developing lifelong interests, leadership, service and required skills. While the first three ranks rely on demonstrating specific skills, the last three offer a Scout to customize his learning and explore different areas of interest through the earning of merit badges. Each merit badge has a number of different requirements to complete. A total of 21 merit badges are required for Eagle.
 
To advance, a Scout must be active, must do his best to live by the Scout Oath and Law, practice leadership, give service to others, learn Scout skills (mostly in the outdoors), and earn merit badges primarily with adult counselors other than his parents.
 
Advancement requirements for all ranks are shown in the Scout Handbook.   
 
After completing the requirements for a rank, a Scout meets with the Scoutmaster in a Scoutmaster Conference. Finally, he participates in a Board of Review with members of the Troop Committee.
 
Our Advancement Team Chairman monitors progress of each Scout. Together with his team of adults, ach boy is given the opportunity to advance at his own speed.  
 
Only 2-3% of all Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle. It is our goal to make every one of the Scouts in our Troop reach the top. You can help by offering encouragement and support. Be active in Scouting with him, and strongly encourage him to attend as many meetings and activities as possible, because only active Scouts advance.
 
Recognition
Individual achievement is recognized at a Court of Honor. Troop 88 holds three Courts of Honor each year in September, February and June. These formal ceremonies honor a Scout's leadership, advancement, and other significant accomplishments in fron of his family.
 
A special Court of Honor is held upon a Scout's attaining the Eagle rank that recognizes this special achievement.
 
Organization
There are two levels of leadership in our Troop. Adults provide guidance and overview, while the Scouts themselves provide leadership among their peers. 
 
Adult Leadership
It takes the active involvement of every family to make Troop 88 successful. There is a job to fit everyone's talent and time. It's fun, challenging work, and your son will benefit from your involvement. Adults are involved as either Committee members or uniformed adult Program Leaders. The Troop Committee sets the policy, while the Program Leaders provide day-to-day leadership. 
 
Committee opportunities are available in the areas of Advancement, Outdoor Program Support, Special Events, Fundraising and other support. The Committee Chairman is responsible for ensuring that each position is filled and that each family has an opportunity to participate.
 
The Program Leaders include the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters. The Scoutmaster serves at the pleasure of, and is appointed by, the Committee. These leaders work closely with the boy leadership.
 
Boy Leadership 
In Cub Scouts, adults provide all of the planning and leadership. On the other hand, the boys themselves provide the planning and leadership for Boy Scout activities (with adult guidance). The boys elect their Senior Patrol Leader and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader(s). Patrol Leaders may be either assigned by the Scoutmaster or may be elected by members of the Patrol. In addition, there are leadership positions, such as Librarian or Quartermaster, that offer opportunities to practice and demonstrate leadership skills.
 
The Patrol Leaders Council meets regularly (usually weekly) with the Scoutmaster to discuss issues and plan meetings and activities. A Junior Leader Training class is held annually for all current leaders and those expected to advance to leadership positions in the near future.
 
The Patrol Method
Troop 88 utilizes the Patrol Method to teach leadership, self reliance and respect. It is the foundation upon which the Scout program was originally based. We recognize that it is also the scariest part for the parents of new Scouts.
 
The Troop is separated into smaller units, called Patrols, with about six to eight Scouts in each Patrol. (An adult Patrol Advisor, who observes the Patrol from a distance, is assigned to each Patrol.) The Patrol is organized with a Patrol Leader, and Assistant Patrol Leader and other positions as the Patrol may find necessary. The Patrol members work together toward a common goal. For instance, the Patrol will set its own menu and duty roster for an upcoming camping trip. Members will do the grocery shopping and ensure that the proper equipment is rounded up. On the trip, they will prepare their food, clean up and do other necessary chores. Working together, they will learn about leading and following. The adults work together as their own separate Patrol at most outings to give the boys a chance to feel independent.   
 
The Patrol Method takes some getting used to, especially for us adults who think that we can run things more effectively than the boys can. But remember that it takes practice to learn anything, and the Patrol Method allows the boys to practice under the watchful eyes of responsible adults. The Patrol Method challenges the boys to do things that they never thought possible. While they may occasionally fail at a particular task, we view failure as a chance to explore new ways of doing things. It is important to understand that, while a meal may burn or another "disaster" might strike, adults are always present to ensure the safety and well-being of each Scout.
 
We are constantly amazed at how well the boys respond to challenges under the Patrol Method.
 
Outdoor Program
Troop 88 has a strong outdoor program. We offer at least one outdoor activity each month, including at least 12 nights of camping. We believe that a lot of learning takes place during outdoor activities, and they are a great way to get a lot of advancement done while having a ton of fun. District activities include the Spring and Fall Camporees and the Klondike Derby in February. During the winter, we offer opportunities to camp in tents and also in a rustic cabin heated with a wood stove. Special recognition is given when a Scout is inducted in the "100 Below Club", reserved for those hardy Scouts who accumulate enough nights with sub-freezing temperatures to add up too 100 degrees below freezing.
 
We attend a week of summer camp at Hidden Valley Scout Reservation. Attendance is open to all Scouts and is strongly encouraged. Under a structured framework, new Scouts get a chance to work on Scout skills and get used to being with other Scouts in the Troop. Our goal is to have at least 70% of the Troop attend summer camp.
 
The Big Trip is an opportunity for Scouts to participate in an exciting adventure that they help to plan. It is a week-long trip in the Spring as soon as school is over for the year. Requirements to participate in the Big Trip include:
·         Second Class Scout
·         At least 6 nights of camping with the Troop during the Scout year
·         Fundraising participation
·         Service project participation
·         Weekly meeting attendance.
Specific requirements are available upon request. The goals of the Big Trip are to encourage active participation in the Troop and to learn how to reach goals. A large part of the cost for the trip is covered by fundraising as it is expected that the boys will earn their own way. Due to the nature of this trip, it is not be appropriate for new Scouts.
 
 
 
Participation in Monthly Outdoor Activities
 
Registration fees and costs for facilities for the outdoor program generally will be paid by the Troop. Scouts will be required to pay only for food for the trip. There will be some exceptions to this, such as the Big Trip and snow sports events. 
 
In order to organize logistics for an outdoor event, we need to know in advance who will be attending. Therefore, at least two weekly meetings before a trip, Scouts will be expected to indicate their intent to participate. This will allow us to complete a Trip Report that is required by the Council for insurance purposes. At least one weekly meeting in advance of the trip, Scouts will need to pay for food for the trip. 
 
It is the policy of the Troop that if a Scout has not indicated his desire to participate and made payment for food by the deadlines above, he will not be allowed to attend the outing. If there are extenuating circumstances, please bring the situation to the Scoutmaster's attention, who has the sole authority to make an exception. Any exceptions will be made only in the case where suitable arrangements can be made and will not place an unnecessary hardship on trip organizers.
 
Any food money paid in advance and not used for purchase of food for that particular trip will be returned.
 
Suggested Equipment
In addition to a uniform and Handbook, each Scout should also have:
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Appropriate Outdoor Clothing
  • Bowl, Cup, Knife Fork, Spoon
  • Compass
  • Backpack
  • Hiking Boots
Stoves, tents and cooking gear are provided by the Troop.
 
See the website at www.boyscouttroop88.org for a complete list of suggested equipment
 
Parent Participation 
Troop 88 is run entirely by volunteers. There is no Troop without dedicated adults who give up countless hours of their time to have fun with the Scouts and help them to become good citizens. Therefore, it is expected that parents of each Scout will volunteer to help out at some time during the year. Volunteering can include being a Committee member, or simply volunteering and helping out with a single event.