Frequently Asked Questions
In an effort to help explain what goes on in the troop, the following questions and answers have been provided. Please feel free to contact the Scoutmaster or any other adult leader if you have any other questions.
1. What can my son expect to get out of Scouting?
Potentially a lifetime of activities and interests. The Scouting program is such that it is able to open some significant doors of opportunity. Not only are basic Scouting skills learned (camping, cooking, hiking, first aid, orienteering, etc.), but through the merit badge program, many advanced skills and vocations are there for the taking. Leadership and problem-solving skills are also taught, encouraged and developed.
2. How do the Scout meetings work?
They are on Monday nights and start at 7:00 pm and finish at 8:30 pm. The meetings are run by the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL). From a leadership point of view, the SPL is the highest ranking Scout in the troop. Through the help of his staff and other troop officers, he plans and carries out the meetings. Typically they begin with some quick announcements and are then followed by an instruction or presentation segment. Following this would be some sort of game or activity. More announcements may follow, along with some closing words from the Scoutmaster. The main idea is that the troop is run by the Scouts and not by the adults. The adult leaders are there to provide guidance and to encourage and develop the potential in each Scout.
3. Does my son have to be a Cub Scout or Webelos in order to join?
No. The minimum joining requirements are either: completion of the 5th grade, 11 years of age or crossing over from the Webelos Scouting program.
4. Can my son join with one (or more) of his friends?
Yes. In fact, he can even earn a special award (Recruiter) to wear on his uniform if he gets someone to join the troop. The more of his friends he gets to join, the better!
5. What camping equipment does he need?
As a minimum, a sleeping bag, some sort of pack and a foam sleeping pad. The rest of the equipment (mostly personal gear) is called out in detail in the Boy Scout Handbook. Cooking gear and tents are provided by the troop. Camping equipment for recently-joined Scouts makes for some great birthday presents!
6. Where can I get uniforms/patches/books?
Our local Council office (Burlington County) has these in its store in Rancocas and Harry's Army & Navy in Yardville has a large selection as well. These items are also available by mail-order through the official Boy Scout catalog.
7. What expenses are involved?
Just recently the Troop voted to begin charging annual dues. They are $50. per year & most, if not all of this can actually be covered through participation in our fund-raising activities. Some sample fund--raisers include the following : NORTH HANOVER PUMPKINFEST, CANDLE & CHEESE CAKE , FLOWER & CHRISTMAS WREATH SALES. By participating in these fund raising activates, each Scout builds up credit in his own Scout Account ". These accounts can be used to help pay for anything related to scouts ( BOY SCOUT HANDBOOK, UNIFORMS, CAMPING EQUIPMENT, SUMMER CAMP, ETC ) and can be a great help. With some of the camp-outs and other special activities ( MUSEUMS, SPORTING EVENTS, SWIM NIGHTS, ETC. ), Some fees will be collected.
8. Does he have to wear his uniform?
Yes, as it helps to build troop identity. It's a vital part of Scouting and something he should be proud of. It also comes in handy when we are traveling to and from camp-outs, as it's a great way to keep track of everyone.
9. Do you have some sort of schedule?
Yes, not only does the troop issue a yearly planning calendar, but weekly updates are also handed out on a periodic basis. The troop also has it's own website ( www.bsa.troop112.org ) where events are posted.
10. Who can help my son with his advancement?
Anyone can help, but it's up to the Scout to successfully demonstrate to the Scoutmaster or other adult leaders that he knows what is required of him. Active participation in camp-outs, summer camp and regular meetings will provide frequent opportunities to learn the various skills necessary for advancement. The Boy Scout Handbook is the perfect source to learn the basic skills and necessary knowledge. It's use cannot be emphasized enough.
11. Can I approve & sign off my son's advancement requirements in his handbook ?
No. This is up to the adult leaders within the Troop. You are certainly welcome to help & encourage your son, but to avoid problems it's best to let one of the adult leaders handle the final approval. This is even true with those adult leaders who have sons within the Troop. They fall under the same guidelines & are encouraged to have a different leader handle the approval so as to avoid any thoughts , or appearances of favoritism.
12. How does a Scout advance in rank?
By completing a set amount of requirements for each rank. The ranks in Scouting are as follows: Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle. The lower ranks start out with basic Scouting skills (knot tying, camping, cooking, first aid, etc.) and get progressively harder as they continue up to the highest rank. Rank advancement also includes earning a specified number of merit badges for the higher ranks.
13. How do merit badges work?
Merit badges are earned by completing a specified amount of requirements on a certain topic. There are over 100 merit badges and they cover a vast array of subjects. Some of them are required for Eagle Scout, the rest are just to encourage the Scout to learn something new. From Astronomy to Zoology, from Computers to Space Exploration, there will definitely be something that grabs the attention.
14. How tough is it to make Eagle Scout?
The national figures specify that less than 2% make it to Eagle. Our troop has had an excellent record regarding the number of Scouts who have made it. We will do all we can to help, but there will come a time when it's the Scout who has to finish the job.
15. What is a patrol?
A patrol is a group of Scouts (typically between 5-7) that works as a team. They would go on camp-outs or hikes together and are encouraged to have their own meetings. Many times a patrol will be selected to present or demonstrate a chosen topic during a troop meeting. The emphasis is on teamwork, taking the initiative and sharing responsibilities.
16. What are troop officers?
Troop officers are those Scouts that have specific jobs to do within the troop. The most obvious one is that of Senior Patrol Leader (SPL). There are many others: Quartermaster, Scribe, Historian, Librarian, Den Chief to name just a few. The troop cannot function without these officers and in order to advance in rank, each Scout has to hold one of these offices and successfully fulfill its duties.
17. Who runs the meetings?
The Scouts do. The Senior Patrol leader (SPL) plans and runs everything with help from his assistant(s) and other troop officers. The activities are planned in advance and are not only carried out by the SPL, but are also shared by the patrols and individual Scouts. This is where the leadership aspects of Scouting are put to the test. The Scoutmaster and other adults encourage the Scouts to take charge and are there as needed.
18. Who picks the activities?
The troop does through the PLC (Patrol Leaders Conference). The PLC is a forum where each patrol leader can cast his vote or suggestion. By gathering suggestions from his patrol, the patrol leader should have a good idea what his group wants to do. The SPL then takes a poll and the majority rules. There is also a yearly master planning session where the Troop calendar is determined. The more feedback that the Scouts can give their patrol leaders or SPL, the better it is for the troop. Boring meetings or activities should not be the fault of the Scoutmaster; it's up to the troop to determine it's path and up to the leadership to help make it happen!
19. Can my son get to choose some of the troop activities?
Definitely. He needs to talk to his patrol leader or senior patrol leader and let them know his desires. He should also gather the opinions of his patrol members and other Scouts and pass them on. The greater the involvement, the better it is for the troop.
20. How are camp-outs organized?
Camp-outs are decided upon months in advance and the entire troop is encouraged to participate. Scouts are also encouraged to attend as many as they can, as these events are perfect for picking up the necessary Scouting skills necessary for advancement. Each patrol would be assigned it's own camping equipment. A duty roster is used in order to prevent the same Scouts form doing all the work. We typically meet at the Scout building at 6:00 pm on Friday night and return around Noon the following Sunday. Parents are encouraged to attend.
21. Does the troop provide anything?
Yes. Each patrol is assigned a number of tents and is supplied with a full-scale amount of cooking gear. Tarps, gas lanterns, picnic tables, water jugs, saws and hatchets are all supplied by the troop.
22. Who gets the food for camp-outs?
Each patrol will decide what menu it wants and a Scout from within the patrol will be selected (on a rotating basis) to obtain the food. The menus first have to be approved by the Scoutmaster to ensure that not only are they going to actually cook something, but that they are also nutritious!
23. What is involved with summer camp?
The troop goes away for a week each summer. For the last six years we have been going to a Scout camp in Rhode Island. We leave on a Sunday and return the following Sunday. Everyone stays in big platform tents and eats in a dining hall. The week is spent having fun and working on advancement. The Scouts can choose from dozens of activities. The troop is also lucky enough to have around six or more adults going along to keep an eye on everything. The camp is fully accredited and has a doctor and nurse living on the premises.
24. What are the permission slips for?
These provide the Scoutmaster (or leader-in-charge) with permission to seek medical care and the necessary phone numbers should the need arise. They are used not only for camp-outs, but also for any other activities away from the Scout building.
25. How important is it to have a medical form?
Scouting requires a current medical form for every Scout and adult who participates in the program. They have to be renewed annually. The forms are free and are available from the Scoutmaster. They need to be taken and filled out by the family doctor.
26. What is a Court of Honor?
This is a formal meeting that takes place on a quarterly basis. This is where each Scout's achievements are recognized and awarded. Guest speakers are also brought in to enhance the evening's agenda. Parents and friends are strongly encouraged to attend. Refreshments are served at the closing of the ceremony.
27. What is a Totin' Chip?
This is a card that permits the use of a knife, saw and hatchet. It is earned by the Scout actively demonstrating the safe use and handling of these tools. Until this card is earned, the Scout is not allowed to handle these items. There is a heavy emphasis on safety and common sense. This card can also be taken from the Scout if he violates any of it's provisions.
28. What is a Firem'n Chit?
This is a card that permits a Scout to build, start and tend a fire. It is earned by having the Scout demonstrate how to safely conduct himself while handling fire. Just like the Totin' Chip, until this card is earned, the Scout is not allowed to handle any fire. Again, there is heavy emphasis on safety and common sense. This card can also be taken from the Scout if he violates any of it's provisions.
29. How does the adult supervision handle things?
They ensure that the Scouts are having a good time and let the troop officers handle as many of the details as possible. This is where advance planning comes in. As long as the Scouts have activities to keep them busy, the need for adult supervision is reduced to a minimum. At all times the two-deep leadership principle will be in effect. This means that there should always be at least two (or more) adults around to keep an eye on things.
30. Is there accident and liability insurance coverage?
Yes. This is provided at no cost by our Council.
31. What is the Youth Protection program about?
This program is in place for the protection of the Scouts. It was established to alert them to the dangers that certain situations can pose. Participation is mandatory and is part of basic advancement. A pamphlet explaining the entire program is included in the front of every Boy Scout Handbook.
32. How can I help?
By encouraging your son to join and have a good time. By helping him feel at home in a new situation. One way of doing this is by staying for the troop meetings until he gets to know some of the other Scouts. Parents are always welcome on all of our activities. Parents are encouraged to become part of Scouting. We would certainly love to have anyone help out any way they could. The troop is always in need of someone to drive, help with some of our activities, lend a hand with meetings - anything!
33. Do I have to join Scouting in order to help?
No, not at all.
34. What is the troop Committee?
The troop Committee consists of a group of adults who oversee the troop in general. The members are usually parents of Scouts within the troop and are responsible for certain aspects of the troop. The Committee Chairman runs the meetings and selects the necessary people to help the committee function. Some of the responsibilities include: Advancement, Publicity, Membership, Transportation, Finances and Equipment. Meetings are usually held on the 3rd Thursday of the month. Parents are encouraged to attend and to contribute!
Last up Dated 05/24/05