QUICK STARTUP GUIDE TO TROOP
Most of the information on this page is available on other pages on the website. It is condensed here, in the hopes that we can answer your questions quickly. If you want more information on a topic, please look through the website. If you would like to download the Parent Orientation of Troop 31 and Introduction to Merit Badges, Please Click Here.
A fundamental principle of Scouting is that troops be “Boy Led”. However, this does not mean that parents cannot have fun too. There are many different roles to fill and ways to contribute. If you get involved you will quickly learn that adults in scouting share in the fellowship, participate in activities, have access to some of the best leadership training available anywhere and develop many wonderful new friends. We need your help: supporting an activity, teaching a skill and helping with advancement. Your involvement can be as expansive or as limited as your schedule allows - but we encourage you to get involved. Please take the time to speak with one of our leaders to learn more.
The “Boy Led” Troop
In Boy Scouts, leaders and parents provide support. The Scouts plan the meetings and events. We help with guidance, resources and support. It is very tempting to jump in when your son or another boy is struggling. Our leaders are trained in coaching and in providing enough support so the struggle turns into a learning experience. Our objective is to teach them teamwork and leadership. The Senior Patrol Leader, his assistants and the individual Patrol Leaders lead the troop. The troop operates “The Patrol Method” using the patrol of 3-8 boys as the core operational element. If your son has questions, they are first directed to the Patrol Leader and then the Senior Patrol Leader. If you are patient and just sit back and watch you will see an amazing transformation.
Youth Protection and Safety
The Boy Scouts of America has developed a series of programs and guidelines to help make Scouting as safe an experience as is possible. Each year the adults in the troop and the scouts will be trained in the principles of Youth Protection, to prevent abuse. It outlines guidelines for “Two-deep Leadership”, respect of privacy, and no one-on-one contact, among others. All parents are welcome to participate in the training and if you are involved in Troop activities you will be requested to participate. You will actually find it very helpful for other youth activities with which you are involved. BSA Guide to Safe Scouting, a 60-page guide to safe conduct of a wide variety of scouting activities is now available online at www.scouting.org.
The Scout Handbook
The Scout Handbook is a wonderful source of information for your scout and you. All the rank requirements are described as well as most of the information to achieve those ranks. It also includes information to prepare your scout to participate in hikes and camping trips. Encourage your son to read it. When he has questions about scouting, refer him to the book to see if it provides an answer. It is an exceptional resource and one he should get used to using. It is also a helpful resource for you. By reviewing pertinent sections, you can guide your son when questions arise.
Advancement is essential for giving a scout a sense of accomplishment and feeling like an integrated part of the troop. Unlike Cub Scouts, parents do not sign off on requirements. Scouts take responsibility for working on requirements, seeking out someone at the scout meeting to provide guidance and approve their work when it is completed. Simply participating in meetings, hikes, camping trips and summer camp will ensure that a scout has the opportunity to achieve the first 4 of the 7 ranks of scouting (Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class) as the program plans incorporate specific rank requirements. Parents should become familiar with the requirements and provide support and encouragement for the scout. If you need guidance in how you can help your son, please do not hesitate to contact one of the troop leaders.
Uniforms and Equipment
Scouts will need a “Class A” and “Class B” uniform. Class A is a complete uniform including scout shirt with appropriate badges and insignia (see the Handbook), neckerchief and slide, web belt, pants/shorts and socks. We will supply each scout with a Troop tee shirt, which replaces the scout shirt and neckerchief in the Class B uniform. Scout supplies can be purchased at the Scout Store. The most convenient location for most families is the BSA store at 474 East Avenue or on-line at scoutstuff.org or by phone at 1-800-323-0732. Your son will need some equipment for hiking and camping: particularly a good, rugged pair of hiking boots, rain gear and a sleeping bag. We will discuss what equipment is necessary during meetings prior to each outing. You need not purchase official Boy Scout equipment. See the section of this website on Equipment for more information on what your scout will need. Renting backpacks, tents, or sleeping bags at camping supply stores such as REI or EMS is also an option.
There are many things to be done and many ways to participate. We expect every family to help out in the troop. It is because of the many volunteers the troop has that we offer some many opportunities for the Scouts. Included in this document is a brief survey of your skills and interests. A few of the ways you can help are listed below:
· Driving for activities and events
· Helping out with food or setup at a Court of Awards
· Running a Merit Badge Class
Please contact our Administration Chair if you would like to volunteer. Please pitch in!
All drivers must be registered with the troop and Boy Scout policy recommends liability limits of at least $50,000/$100,000/$50,000. As scouts register, we will ask for your pertinent information so we will have it on file.
As a boy-led troop, relying on the patrol method, direct communication about events, activities, etc. will be passed on directly to your son. Through e-mail, newsletters, Courts of Awards and our web site, we will do our best to keep everyone informed. E-mail is the most effective and fastest form of communication for most people. Please keep us up to date on your e-mail address. We use the domain name Troop31bsa.org which will allow for broad distribution of information.
Medications on camping trips are dispensed at the appropriate time by the Scoutmaster or his designee. Scouts and parents should provide meds in an original prescription labeled bottle with the scout’s name and directions for administration to the Scoutmaster prior to departing for the trip. Please provide only the amount of medication required for the duration of the trip. At summer camp, medications are controlled and dispensed by the camp nurse. At no time may scouts retain and dispense their own medication, except for inhalers and epipens.
Knives and Matches
Knives and matches are very useful and often essential tools for Scouts participating on camping trips. Carrying a knife or matches is privilege and scouts must have earned their Totin’ Chip Card (Knives, Axes and Saws) and Firem’n Chit Card (Matches and Fires) in order to take advantage of this privilege. For a minor violation of usage guidelines, a corner is clipped from a Scout’s card. If all four corners are clipped, the card and privilege is revoked and the scout must meet with the Scoutmaster to earn their card privilege once again. Knives and matches may be removed by an adult leader at any time. Major infractions will result in immediate revocation of the privilege and may also lead to disciplinary action under the Scout Law Policy.
For all scouting and camping purposes, one folding pocket knife is adequate as are standard book-type or wooden matches (in a water-proof container). Boy Scouts of America bans all sheath knives greater than 4” in blade length. Troop 31 believes there is no need for a sheath knife of any length. Likewise, butane lighters are not necessary and highly discouraged. Troop leaders or the Quartermaster generally supply trigger-style butane lighters for safe lighting of stoves on camping trips. Cigarette lighters are not appropriate.
Our Troop Committee feels strongly that financial constraints should not prevent a boy from owning a uniform, from having the opportunity to participate in all scouting events or accessing the necessary equipment. Several events during the year, particularly summer camp, require a financial commitment. Troop 31 is prepared to find ways to assist any scout with a financial need. If you have such a need or are aware of others who do, please refer to the section of this guide describing our Campership Program or contact our Scoutmaster, for a confidential discussion.
If you wish to make a donation to help us purchase equipment, please make the check payable to: Boy Scout Troop 31 and pass it to the Scoutmaster or one of the Committee Members. Your donation is tax deductible. A receipt suitable for filing with the IRS will be returned to you. We appreciate your support.
Christmas Tree Fundraiser
In order for the Troop to purchase, replace and repair tents, stoves and other camping equipment, to subsidize the cost of many events and to provide funds for our Campership Program, the Troop must generate funds beyond those provided by dues. We hold one fundraiser each year. We expect that all scouts will participate in this fundraiser and do their best to support the Troop. We recognize that not all of our scouts celebrate Christmas, but have found that selling Christmas Trees is an effective way to raise funds. If you have any questions regarding the tree sale, please contact the Administration Dept. at email@example.com.
100 Degrees of Frost – An award given to scouts and adults who have accumulated 100 degrees F camping in below freezing temperatures.
APL – Assistant Patrol Leader. Scout appointed by the Patrol Leader, who stands in for the Patrol Leader when needed.
ASM – Assistant Scoutmaster. An adult leader, appointed by the Scoutmaster to assist at meetings and on camping trips.
ASPL – Assistant Senior Patrol Leader. Scout appointed by the Senior Patrol Leader. In our Troop, the Senior Patrol Leader usually appoints two Assistant Senior Patrol Leaders – one in charge of programs, and one in charge of trips.
Bear Bag – Tarp rigged to hold food items overnight, generally tied to a tree and elevated where bears and minibears can’t get at it.
Blue Card – Card on which the merit badge counselor records progress on a merit badge. There are three portions – when you are finished, the counselor gets one part, the scout gets one part and the Advancement Chair gets the third part. See the information about merit badges on the Advancement page.
BOR – Board of Review. All rank advancements, except for the Scout badge, require a Board of Review. The members of a Board of Review are adult leaders (generally Committee Members) in the troop except for the Scoutmaster or any of his Assistant Scoutmasters. The main purpose of the Board of Review is not to retest the skills a Scout has learned, but to see what the Scout’s spirit is and how the troop is doing is helping the Scout along and meeting Boy Scout objectives.
Breakout – To dissolve into smaller groups for a meeting, e.g. patrols.
Buddy System – To have another Scout with you at all times.
Camporee – A District campout with many troops. Generally patrols compete in various events, testing Scouting skills and knowledge.
Class A’s – Tan BSA uniform shirt, troop neckerchief and slide. At some events, we don’t wear the neckerchief. (See "Uniform" under SCOUT area.)
Class B’s – Troop 31 t-shirt. Worn on service projects and other events that could lead to mud or other forms of dirt.
COA – Court of Awards. A formal ceremony, held two times a year, to recognize you and your fellow Scouts for rank advancement and other Scouting achievements. This event is held with an audience of family, friends, chartered organization officials, and troop leaders.
COH – Court of Honor. A formal ceremony, held to recognize a Scout who has earned their Eagle. This event is held with an audience of family, friends, chartered organization officials, troop leaders and honored local political representatives.
Cracker Barrel – An informal meeting for leaders with snacks held during a campout.
Den Chief – A scout approved by the Scoutmaster and the Cubmaster to assist in a Cub Scout den. The Scout is generally a First Class Scout or above. The Den Chief Training given by the council is recommended for scouts interested in being a Den Chief.
Fall In – A call by the Senior Patrol Leader or one of his Assistant Senior Patrol Leaders to gather. Scouts usually stand in patrols.
Firem’n Chit – A card showing that the Scout has earned the right to use matches and build cooking fires and campfires. Usually, a Scout will earn this on his first camping trip. If a scout is found behaving unsafely, a corner of the Firem'n Chit card is often cut off. When all four corners are gone, so are the Scout’s right to use matches and build cooking fires and campfires. If a scout loses these rights, he may get them back by taking the lesson again.
FOS – Friends of Scouting. An organization that supports Scouting at the council level. The Seneca Waterways Council does not collect membership fees and is supported by the efforts of Friends of Scouting fundraising and individual contributions. Friends of Scouting also runs many council events. Annually, Friends of Scouting is invited to conduct a fundraising appeal at one of the Troop’s Court of Honor ceremonies.
Greenlee – A bear-proof metal locker that is used at camp for storing food.
Grubmaster – The person responsible for buying food for a campout. The grubmaster should know how many scouts he is buying food for, and the menu for the trip. He should remember “A Scout is Thrifty” when he makes his choices at the supermarket.
Instructors – Scouts appointed by the Senior Patrol Leader who are responsible for teaching Scouting skills and knowledge to the other Scouts.
Klondike Derby – A district sponsored event during the winter. Patrols compete in various Scouting activities, with the ultimate activity being a race to haul a patrol-built sled around a designated course.Librarian – A Scout appointed by the Senior Patrol Leader to keep track of the Troop’s collection of merit badge pamphlets.
MBD – Merit Badge Day. An Alpha Phi Omega national service fraternity sponsored event at Syraucse University, held on a Saturday generally in March. Merit badge counselors from the fraternity, university and Syracuse Longhouse Council volunteer to run classes for various merit badges. Prerequisites are generally outlined and must be completed prior to attending the MBD.
MBU – Merit Badge University. A Council sponsored event at St. John Fisher College, held on a Saturday in either January or Februray. Merit badge counselors from the council volunteer to run classes for various merit badges. Prerequisites are generally outlined and must be completed prior to attending the MBU.
Merit Badge Counselor – An adult who helps a Scout earn a merit badge. Interested adults should consult the information about merit badges on the Advancement page.
Minibears – Critters of the woodlands and plains who like to eat your meals and snack on your candy. (NO FOOD IN TENTS!)
NYLT – National Youth Leadership Training. An exciting, action-packed six-day program offered by the Boy Scouts of America and designed for councils to provide youth members with leadership skills and experience they can use in their home troops and in other situations demanding leadership of self and others. The NYLT course is presented in an outdoor setting and centers around the concepts of what a leader must BE, what he must KNOW, and what he must DO. The key elements are then taught with a clear focus on HOW TO. The skills come alive during the week as the patrol goes on a Quest for the Meaning of Leadership. Through a wide range of activities, games, and adventures, participants work and play together as they put into action the best Scouting has to offer.
OA – Order of the Arrow. A national honor society for Scouts.
PL – Patrol Leader. A Scout elected by his patrol to lead them at troop meetings and on camping trips, and to represent them on the Patrol Leader’s Council.
PLC – Patrol Leaders' Council. A Patrol Leaders' Council is made up of the Senior Patrol Leader, the Assistant Senior Patrol Leaders, the Patrol Leaders, and other youth leaders. The PLC meets at least once a month to plan meetings and outings.
PLT – Patrol Leader Training. Training conducted by Troop 31 for the Scouts who hold a position of leadership. Sometimes called the JLT, Junior Leader Training, this training is held once a year, before SPL elections and the patrol reshuffle, to train Scouts in their new positions and to plan meetings and events for the upcoming year. PLT is normally held in August over a weekend in Webester Park.
QM – Quartermaster. The person in charge of equipment – packing it for each camping trip and at the end of each trip, issuing equipment to scouts to be cleaned or dried at home.
SC – Scoutmaster Conference. A meeting with the Scoutmaster. At this meeting, the Scoutmaster will review the requirements for rank with the Scout to make sure that they have been learned correctly, help the scout set up the goals for the next advancement, and ask the scout to share ideas about the troop (how it’s going from your viewpoint, what you would like the troop to do more of, problems you see occurring, etc.). A Scoutmaster may request a conference with Scouts at any time, but for the most part the conference is part of rank advancement.
Scribe – The Scout who takes notes for meetings, appointed by the Senior Patrol Leader.
Service Hours – Hours of community service. Most rank advancements include a required number of service hours. For service projects not sponsored by the Troop, Scouts should get a letter from the sponsor, specifying the organization, the date of the service and the number of hours. Service projects sponsored by the Troop may also qualify for hours of community service at the Scout's school.
Signoffs – Signatures on advancement requirements. To sign off on a requirement, a Scout must be two ranks above that requirement. For example, a Second Class Scout may sign off on Scout rank requirements, a First Class Scout may sign off on Tenderfoot requirements, etc.
SM – Scoutmaster. The main adult leader of your troop. He is responsible for training the Senior Patrol Leader, advising the Patrol Leaders' Council, meeting with each boy as they are ready for advancement (Scoutmaster Conference), and directing the activities of the various Assistant Scoutmasters.
SPL – Senior Patrol Leader. The top Scout leader of the troop, elected by all of the Scouts. With guidance from the Scoutmaster, the Senior Patrol Leader is in charge of Troop Meetings and the Patrol Leaders' Council. The SPL does all he can to see that the patrols succeed. To qualify for consideration as SPL, the Scout must have completed NYLT training.
Totin’ Chip – A card showing that the Scout has earned the right to use a knife, ax, and saw. Usually a Scout earns this on his first camping trip. If a scout is found handling wood tools incorrectly, a corner of the Totin’ Chip card is often cut off. When all four corners are gone, so are the Scout’s totin’ rights. If a scout loses his "Totin' Rights" he may get them back by taking the lesson again.
Troop Guide – A Scout designated by the Senior Patrol Leader to help new Scouts with their advancement.
YPT – Youth Protection Training. Also known as “A Time to Tell”. Refers both to the guidelines given by BSA to insure youth protection (always have a buddy with you), and Youth Protection night, where the Scouts view the BSA video, “A Time to Tell” and talk about how to deal with situations of abuse. Parents are invited to attend Youth Protection night, and should be aware that their Scouts may or may not want to talk about it later. It is held during an April Troop Meeting.