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Boy Scout Troop 1392
(McDonald, Pennsylvania)
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Use this section to find out about the BSA Program, and hopefully answer any questions you may have. If you still have questions please fell free to come down and observe a Scout meeting on any Tuesday night at Calvary Church in McDonald and we will be glad to talk with you. 

What is "Boy Scouting"?

Scouting is unlike anything your son has ever experienced before.  

Unlike school, organized sports, or perhaps even in the home setting, in a Boy Scout troop the youth are the ones who are in charge.  THEIR desires become our agenda.  THEIR ideas for adventure, fun, and excitement are what the adults guide them to bring into reality.  In Scouting, THEY speak and the adults listen. 

By practicing representative democracy, they pick their own leaders who form the "Patrol Leader Council" that creates the yearly agenda.  Scouts work together on every issue, from what to eat at camp, deciding who will wash dishes and shop for food, they learn and PUT INTO PRACTICE communication, public speaking, teamwork, conflict resolution, and leadership.

By taking advantage of any of the 130 possible merit badges, they gain exposure to areas of interest ranging from Rifle Shooting to Chemistry, from Small Boat Sailing to Aviation, and from Reading to Nuclear Science.  Statistically, the Merit Badge program often leads to life-long hobbies and even career choices.  At a minimum, Merit Badges help a young man try things he may never have had a chance to do if not for the Scouting experience, such as rifle shooting, archery, sailing, or camping. 

While boys are busy "being Scouts" and having fun, they start to embody the virtues of Scouting defined in the Scout Oath and Law.

What is Scouting?   It's "fun with a purpose".

What do boys do as "Boy Scouts"?

The Boy Scout Of America Program is a 103 year old, professionally crafted, program of education and character development.  By using the "Outdoor Method" (camping, fishing, rock climbing, etc)  boys work together to "do the things boys like to do".  In the process, they learn the value of teamwork, honesty, communication, mutual respect, and more as they work towards their goal and overcome any obstacles they encounter.

By employing the METHODS of Scouting, we reinforce the AIMS of Scouting, which are reflected in our Oath and Law.  The goal is to see that they become permanant fixtures in the character of each Boy Scout as we teach them to be Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrift, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.

Most boys get to do things and go places they would have never had the opportunity to do if not for being involved in Scouting.  

Ever spend 2 days hiking the Appalachian Trail and a two days kayaking on the Schuylkill River?
Ever rappel down a 40' climbing tower?
Ever climb the highest peak east of the Rockies? 
Ever swim under the largest waterfall in Maryland?  
Ever spend 5 days canoeing down the Missouri River?
Ever try shooting rifles, shot guns, and bow & arrows?
Ever try biking 50+ miles at a time along the C&O canal?
Ever try fishing?  How about fly-fishing?
Ever cook over an open fire?
Ever spend the night in a tent?  How about an "emergency shelter" you created in the woods?
Ever see the stars from parts of Maryland where there's no "light pollution"?... a sky so clear you can see the Milky Way?
Ever see the Crazy Horse monument or Mount Rushmore?
Ever hiker around the base of Devil's Tower in Wyoming?
Ever go SCUBA diving, Snorkeling, or take part in a simulated Navy Seal mission?


What is the ONE bit of advice for a Scout?


The Boy Scout Handbook does an EXCELLENT job explaining the BSA Program. 

It also provides valuable skill instruction and has the potential to IGNITE dreams of adventure, exploration, and fun for boys of all backgrounds and abilities.... all of which are POSSIBLE in this troop! 

"I'm bored" are the 2 words NO Scout has a right to say, as we are determined to help bring all their ideas into reality.

Spend time with your son each night (especially if he is new to Scouting).   Read the book with him.  Quiz him on a skill, or challenge him to a knot tying contest.  Ask him how he sees himself living up to the Scout Law.

Don't let Scouting be "1 hour a week" each Tuesday night, but a regular and routine part of every day.

What do you mean by "Boy Led"?

A Boy Scout troop leads itself.   Adults are present to guide and ensure safety & compliance exists, but it is the YOUTH who make key decisions.  The primary role of the Scoutmaster is to teach the Senior Patrol Leader how to run/lead his troop.

The Scouting program using The Patrol Method means the Troop members ELECT their own leaders; individual Patrol Leaders and a Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) who takes on "ownership" and hold the actual leadership position within the Troop.  The SPL appoints an assistant scout (Assistant Senior Patrol Leader - ASPL) and various other leadership positions, all of whom serve at the Scoutmaster's discretion.

While serving as Senior Leaders, the SPL and ASPL cease to be members of their respective patrols and function as peers with the adult leadership. The SPL and ASP execute Program decisions, lead the meetings, plan agendas, pick camping destinations, and LEAD BY EXAMPLE when executing the agenda that the boys themselves created and agreed to follow.

Patrol Leaders are responsible for the well being and actions of their individual patrol and will REPRESENT their patrol in the Patrol Leaders Council (PLC).

At the PLC meeting (chaired by the SPL and monitored by the Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmaster), Patrol Leaders plan future trips and troop meetings.  Through a model of Representative Government, they CHOOSE the trips and activities THEY want to do, and appoint other scouts to serve as skill instructors, or lead games or other activities.  Adult leadership keeps them on track with suggestions and advice, but the decisions are ultimately left to THE BOYS.

Once the future meetings/camping trips are planned, the SPL and Scoutmaster present the PLC's plans to the Troop Committee for review. The agenda is checked for issues such as necessary fund raising, unique equipment/skills, camp ground reservations, and is given an over-all inspection to confirm that trips are aligned with the purpose of the Scouting Program.   If the plans are approved, the SPL goes forward with leading the weekly meetings or delegating others who will lead all/part of the meeting.  The model is "boys leading boys" unless the skill instruction needed is currently beyond the skill set of the Scouts or relates to merit badge requirements, then adults will render assistance.

ADULTS are a RESOURCE for guidance and ensuring that things are done the "BSA way" for safety, youth development and general direction setting.

"Boy Leadership" really means the Troop is doing the things the BOYS THEMSELVES want to do, and in doing so, will develop the leadership, communication, problem resolution, and organizational skills that underscore why Scouts excel in all other areas of their lives.

If Scouting is "boy led", why have adult leaders?

A Boy Scout troop is "boy run", and the functioning boss is one of the Boy Scouts who serves as the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL).  He's elected to that position by all the Scouts in the troop and typically serves for a 6 month term (he is allowed to run for re-election).

However, just because a patch is sewn on your sleeve designating you as the "leader", it doesn't mean that you actually know HOW to lead.  That's where the adults come in.    

The Scoutmaster's job is to teach the boys how to lead their own unit.   That seems to be more of a "journey" than a "destination" because in 6 months, a new election is held.  The next Scout to be elected as the SPL may have strong leadership skills, or may be be starting to develop them for the first time so getting to a "100% boy run" status is difficult.

Sometimes we're able to be more "out of the way" than others, but our goal is to let the youth leaders "lead" and only step in when necessary, even if that means letting them make a few mistakes along the way. 

Where would I fit as an adult leader?

Boys are Scouts.   Adults are Scouters.

As a Scouter, you can serve in 3 capacities in a local Scout unit. Other positions exist at the District level, but we're focused on the Troop on this FAQ.

Scoutmaster (SM) / Assistant Scoutmaster (ASM)- these Scouters work closest with the Scouts and ensure the program is running as it should.  Their primary focus is to support the Senior Patrol Leader and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader by guiding them in leadership of the Troop while delivering the "Program".

Merit Badge Councilor (MBC) - a MBC works with Scouts on an individual basis to work on the specific badges (from 1 to 140) that the MBC is registered to teach.  A MBC works with the Scouts "on demand" when he is contacted by the Scouts requesting time to complete badge work.

Committee Member - the role of the committee is to provide the Scoutmaster with the support needed to deliver the program that the Patrol Leader Council chooses as the "Program".   The Committee provides the logistical support (funds/fund raisers, camping equipment, Treasury, camp site reservations, recording advancement, Boards of Review, registration/recharter, etc) needed to support the Troop.   The Committee also has the responsibility to ensure that the Scoutmaster and the PLC are delivering a program that is aligned with the BSA Charter.  If not, the Committee can recommend replacements.  The Committee Chair would report to the Charter Organization which has the authority to hire/fire adult leaders.

The Committee is headed by a Committee Chairman who functions as the "great organizer" to make sure that sub-committees are on-task in their roles within the troop, such as ensuring a Treasurer delivers a Treasurer's report... Outdoor Chair is making campsite reservations....  Quartermaster is maintaining the camping equipment.... webmaster(s) are updating the website... etc.     To avoid "power plays" the Committee Chair is more of an "organizer" than a "position of authority".   Committee decisions are made via parliamentary procedure and voting.  The Committee Chair does not get to cast a vote unless votes are tied.  By design, the Scoutmaster and assistants are NOT members of the Committee, and therefore cannot vote on committee decisions.  

There are a myriad of positions needed to staff a strong committee, so most adults in a troop are registered as Committee Members.

I wasn't a Scout as a boy, can I be a Scout Leader

All are welcome to contribute as much as they would like as a uniformed leader, Committee Member, or a Merit Badge Councilor (MBC).

As a Committee Member, you should be willing to attend the monthly Committee Meeting (4th or 5th Mon of each month, 7PM) and get involved in as much/little upcoming activities as you wish.  

As a Merit Badge Councilor, you choose to provide counseling from 1 to many of the available 130+ Merit Badges.  YOU DO NOT need to be an "expert" to be a councilor, as the $4.59 handbooks will cover ALL that you need to know to learn/teach each particular badge.   

As a Merit Badge Councilor, your time is ONLY used "upon request" when a Scout decides he would like to work on a particular badge for which you've agreed to be a councilor.  Merit Badges are earned OUTSIDE of the weekly meeting, so Scouts meet with you ON YOUR SCHEDULE of availability.

NOTE.. all leaders MUST complete a BSA Adult Application, which requires you to provide your Social Security Number, and to complete youth protection training online.   A background check will be done by the Laurel Highlands Area Council.  WE (Troop) will NOT know of the particular details of anyone's record, but will simply be told "yes/no" regarding your eligibility.   If you do not provide your SSN, you will not be accepted as a leader.   This is National BSA policy, not a policy of Troop 1392.

What's so special about "Eagle Scout"?

Becoming an Eagle Scout is no small achievement.  In fact, among adults who have gone on to become astronauts, doctors, politicians, or business leaders, most of them will say that earning their Eagle is clearly among the most important achievements in their lives.

Back to the question... WHY?

Look at it from this angle.... ADVANCEMENT is completely up to the individual Scout.   If he has no desire or sense of committment to advance in rank, that is his choice.   IT IS POSSIBLE for a boy to attend EVERY meeting and EVERY camping trip, and never make it through 1/2 of the available ranks if he isn't motivated enough to take the extra step of demonstrating skills or earning merit badges.  Statistically speaking, only 2 out of 100 boys in Scouting will push themselves to become Eagle Scouts.

The "Trail to Eagle" is one of persistance, dedication, well-rounded learning experiences by earning 21+ merit badges, strong attendance at meetings and camping trips, and hundreds of hours of community service.... all culminating with the planning and complete exectution of his "Eagle Project" before his 18th birthday.

The "Eagle Project" is SO MUCH MORE than "giving something back to the community" (which it is, and let's not minimize the importance of community and charity).   It is actually his "final exam" in Scouting.  

HE manages his Eagle Project.  He will put to use all of the lessons he learned as a Boy Scout;  communicating, organizing, recruiting, conceiving an idea, selling the idea, planning the work, assigning work details to those helping him, being the "accountant" that tracks the hours worked and the money spent, etc.   In every conceiveable way, HE is the "project leader".

THESE are the highly desirable skills and traits that makes "Eagle Scout" stand out on a job resume or college application, and the fact that such skills and moral foundations are learned/mastered before "society" recognizes him as an "adult"...  simply amazing!

What is an "Eagle Project"?

An "Eagle Project" is project that is ORGANIZED and MANAGED by a Life Scout who is working towards the Eagle rank.   There are  guidelines for Eagle Projects that will be described below, but in its most simple definition, it is a community service project where the Eagle Candidate shows of his LEADERSHIP ABILITY.    It is not for the candidate to "do" the work, but to provide the organization and leadership so the work can get done.

Does an Eagle Project need a certain number of "minimum hours"?
No.  There is no set minimum for a project, although most average more than 100 hours of combined service.   However, the length of work must be long enough that there is AMPLE OPPORTUNITY for a scout to show/demonstrate actual "leadership".

Does an Eagle Project have to be unique?
Yes & No.   An Eagle Project does NOT need to be "unique", but it should be unique FOR HIM.   A scout who simply repeats a project he worked on with another scout is NOT "leading".... he's "repeating" some one else.   Remember, PLANNING and THOUGHT are big parts of the project/process.

Does an Eagle Project require "building" something?
No.  An Eagle Project can be a SERVICE, but it cannot be "routine service"... such as raking leaves at his church, spreading mulch, or cutting the lawn.  An example of a non-routine service may be the planning/organizing/executing of a clothing drive or canned food drive.    By PERSONAL PREFERENCE, many scouts like "building" something that they can come back to years later and say "That was my Eagle project!".

Does an Eagle Project require all the Scouts of the troop to work on it?
No.  There must be some involvement of the Troop (leaders) so that those who will be sitting on a candidate's Board of Review can say they saw leadership qualities demonstrated, but that does not mean all the labor has to come from Scouts.   If the Candidate wants to call upon friends, family, or contract labor, that's up to him as the "foreman" to hire the right people to get the job done.   However, it is "healthy" for all the scouts when workers include the troop members as it gives all the Scouts a feeling of participation and the motivation for their own Eagle endeavors.

Does an Eagle Project have to cost a certain amount of money?
No.  If money is needed, it is up to the Candidate to raise it through donations, fund raiser, or it can be self-funded.  The stipulation is that there can be NO donated money left over.  Any leftover money must be returned to those who donated it.

Does an Eagle Project have to benefit Scouting?
It CAN'T.   Once again, the BSA shows its value to the surrounding community.   Eagle Projects are done for organizations OUTSIDE of The Boy Scouts of America.

Can an Eagle Project be done on Government property?
Yes.  Please note that the nature of "government" is slow and full of many "approval processes".   Doing any work on government land or for government agencies will require permits, approvals, board meetings, etc....that can take quite some time.  Scouts should ask these questions in the early stages of his project.   Government land projects are NOT a good idea for a boy who is facing the "timeout" of his 18th birthday as government delays may cause him to MISS his Eagle opportunity.

Can an Eagle Project be done after his 18th birthday?
No.   There is a 60 day time gap after a boy's 18th birthday to file his application for Eagle and have his Board of Review, but ALL WORK (Project, Leadership, Merit Badges, Rank) has to be done prior to his 18th birthday unless he has ALREADY been granted a waiver for medical/developmental purposes.

He's a really good kid, an A student, involved in sports, etc...  Is there ANY way to get an extension on time?
No.  All work for the Eagle Rank must be completed before a boy's 18th birthday. There are no exceptions unless his has been previously classified as a "Special Needs" scout.

Do adults help in the Eagle Project?
Absolutely!   Just because it's "his" project doesn't mean he's expected to magically have the knowledge of a structural engineer, electrician, or master carpenter.   An Eagle Candidate may reach out and solicit assistance from the RIGHT RESOURCES in order to plan/execute his Project.  Remember, his job is not to be the guy swinging the hammer or drawing the plans... but HIRING the right people and making sure work is done according to his plan.

Is there a special way for Eagle Projects to be done?
Yes.  Please reference the BSA Eagle Project Workbook for a step-by-step guide (and approvals!) needed to complete an Eagle Project.

WHAT IF a Scout didn't do exactly what he was supposed to?  Maybe he  allowed his dad to take over the Project, or he never invited the adult leaders to see him "in action"... you wouldn't "punish" the Scout by denying him Eagle, would you?
Yes, and so would District, and so would Council, and so would National... but we would not view it as a "punishment", but simply a situation where a Scout didn't do the REQUIRED work. If there was a mistake or some type of misunderstanding, that's something to be addressed on a case-by-case basis, but if a scout makes the conscious decision to not complete all of the requirements, then the troop leaders are left with no choice but to not award ANY rank advancements, including Eagle.  

Service Projects

Upon reaching the 1st Class rank, Scouts start to learn their place in the community, and more importantly, the citizenship lesson that despite being a young age, scouts have the POWER to IMPACT the community.    Community service hours are required for advancement to Star, Life, and Eagle ranks.

Requirements are to be done as stated in the Handbook; specifically done "while" holding the appropriate rank and "approved by the Scoutmaster".   This clearly implies that approval should be sought before conducting the work.  A scout should not expect to get "service hours" credit for work done without getting the Scoutmaster's approval.   Also, for Star Scouts working towards Life, a scout should be reaching out on his own to find service projects, just as a Life Scout will work to find an acceptable Eagle Project.  

What is the purpose of a "patrol"?

A significant part of the Scouting experience is to get plenty of  HANDS ON activity.  From knot tying, to cooking on a fire and stove, to learning how to use a pocket knife or axe...   Scouts "DO".

In order to make sure everyone gets a chance to DO, boys are divided into smaller groups within the Troop so that everyone gets ample opportunity to participate.  This is part of what the BSA calls, "The Patrol Method".

Within a patrol-sized group, boys do not get "lost among the crowd" or feel as though their opinions (and votes) don't matter. Each plays a critical and important role in the Patrol's success.

The definition of the "Patrol Method" from the National Council's website...

Patrols are the building blocks of a Boy Scout troop. A patrol is a small group of boys who are similar in age, development, and interests. Working together as a team, patrol members share the responsibility for the patrol's success. They gain confidence by serving in positions of patrol leadership. All patrol members enjoy the friendship, sense of belonging, and achievements of the patrol and of each of its members.

What happens at camping trips?

FUN, FUN, Learning, and More Fun!!

Camping trips usually follow the following format.

Scouts arrive at Calvary on Friday evening or a predetermined time and date, typically at 6 PM so we can depart by 6:30 PM.   Once all gear is packed and a final check for permission slips and medications is complete, we depart for our camping destination.   Upon arrival, the first order of business is to choose camp sites and set up tents.  Once all tents are up, kitchen/cook areas are set up and then all personal gear is stowed.   Time permitting, the boys will have "Cracker Barrel" (snack) and the remainder of the night until 11 PM is "free time" for Scouts to unwind and burn off some energy.

Saturday mornings begin with the designated cooks waking up 1/2 hour before reveille and starting to prepare breakfast.  At reveille, the rest of the camp will rise. Patrols are encouraged to eat together.  Each patrol will have their own dining area, or in the case of a shared pavilion, designated tables.   Once KP is complete, there is a flag ceremony and then the Program portion of the day begins with a break for lunch around noon.    Program (Scout-skill related activity, and/or the purpose of the camping trip) continues until 5 PM.  After dinner, the flag is lowered ceremoniously and there is free time until the Council Fire (at dark).  At the Council Fire, boys often perform skits, tell jokes, and enjoy Cracker Barrel.

We generally sleep a little longer on Sunday. Again, cooks are called to prepare breakfast 1/2 hour before their patrols.  Cold breakfasts are encouraged, due to the faster KP time.   After KP, all scouts are to gather personal gear and then start packing kitchen/dining areas.    The tents are the last to be packed, as it is usually necessary to wait until the tents and ground cloths have dried completely before stowing them.   A tent put away wet will grow mildew and be ruined in a VERY short time.     While waiting for tents to dry, the Troop is lead in a "Scouts' Own" prayer service by the Chaplain's Aid; a boy appointed by the SPL to lead religious events.   Once all gear can be packed, camp is struck and we depart for home by 11 AM.

How is the weekly/monthly agenda determined?

During the monthly Patrol Leader Council (PLC) meetings, each patrol leader participates in the discussion to plan upcoming camping trips and/or destinations.   His choices should be a reflection of the suggestions, ideas, and desires of his fellow patrol members whom he was elected to represent.   With the Scoutmaster's guidance, the PLC will debate among themselves which activity(s) are to be part of the Troop's upcoming agenda.

Planning Guidelines for the PLC should follow the basic guideline:
3.  Complete this phrase, "I joined Scouting so I could __________"  (fill in the blank)
4.  Gear each camping trip to relate to 1 or more Merit Badges and/or rank advancement needs
5.  Once the monthly destination is planned, start planning the weekly meetings that prepare for each camping trip.

NOTE:  It is not required that the entire troop do the SAME activity at camp!  We fully support the concept of "parallel program" where different groups of Scouts may be engaged in different activities.  Examples would be a "bike hike" where the boys who don't know or don't prefer to bicycle can opt for hiking or another activity that can be done at the same camp facilities.

The PLC is asked to plan no more than six months in advance.  While a longer time horizon would help in planning trips and reserving camp sites, we feel it is important that newly-elected patrol leaders actually get to "lead" on 1 or more trips that they planned entirely.   Patrol Leaders serve for terms of 6 months; hence the set time horizon.

Once the monthly destinations/activities are chosen, the PLC then plans the 3 to 4 weekly troop meeting that lead up to each trip, incorporating in each the skill training necessary to make the trip successful.  Planning should be very detailed including who will be the skill instructors and how much time of each meeting will be for each part of the nightly agenda.   Troop meetings are for "learning", the camping trip is for "doing".

This format ensures that EVERY Scout has exposure and OPPORTUNITY to work on Merit Badge requirements.   However, the monthly agenda may not be sufficient for Scouts to complete the entire MB requirements and the responsibility is shifted to THEM to engage the Scoutmaster for a blue card and be connected with a Merit Badge Councilor so they can get credit for the work they've done and find out what they need to do to complete the badge on their own.

What is a "Patrol Outing"?

While there is a planned agenda for the Troop as a whole, individual Patrols are encouraged to participate in their own activities aside from the weekly meeting.  For example, if a Patrol wants to hike or visit a zoo, they need not wait until the activity can be scheduled and incorporated into the Troop's annual or semi-annual plan.

Patrol members may plan & execute trips on their own.   In this age of Facebook and Twitter, nothing stops a patrol from having spontaneous plans or outings to add to their fun/excitement as Scouts.  

The only stipulations would be that any outing done as a "Scout unit" must comply with the Guideline To Safe Scouting, and we'd ask that Patrols NOT plan trips that are REPLACEMENTS for the scheduled Troop activities, but are done in ADDITION to troop-wide events.

Patrol Outings are a great way to build unity and teamwork in a patrol, and a great way to keep the program nimble and exciting.

What are some of the things a troop may do?

... camp or have a "big idea" occur EVERY month
... visited Gettysburg
... fishing and fly-fishing
... shoot rifles and shotguns
... archery
... pioneering projects
... orienteering with map & compass
... hiking
... "Wilderness Survival" weekends sleeping in shelters we built from scratch
... Klondike Derby
... week-long Summer Camp or other camping trips each year
... study mammals, reptiles & amphibians, nature
... study soil & water conservation, oceanography
... fossil hunting (and we have the shark teeth to prove it)
... cooking over open fire

And there is so much MORE.  We do not limit the level of "adventure" the boys want to have.  Scouting is a BOY LED program.   THE BOYS decide what we do, and strong, trained, committed adults help them achieve their goals. 

What do YOU want to do?

What is the Order or the Arrow?

The Order of the Arrow (OA) is the Honor Society of Scouting.  



As Scouting’s National Honor Society, our purpose is to: 


  • Recognize those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives and through that recognition cause others to conduct themselves in a way that warrants similar recognition.
  • Promote camping, responsible outdoor adventure, and environmental stewardship as essential components of every Scout’s experience, in the unit, year-round, and in summer camp.
  • Develop leaders with the willingness, character, spirit and ability to advance the activities of their units, our Brotherhood, Scouting, and ultimately our nation.
  • Crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.


The Order of the Arrow membership requirements are:

  • Be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America.
  • After registration with a troop or team, have experienced 15 days and nights of Boy Scout camping during the two-year period prior to the election. The 15 days and nights must include one, but no more than one, long-term camp consisting of six consecutive days and five nights of resident camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America. The balance of the camping must be overnight, weekend, or other short-term camps.
  • Youth must be under the age of 21, hold the BSA First Class rank or higher, and following approval by the Scoutmaster or Varsity team Coach, be elected by the youth members of their troop or team.
  • Adults (age 21 or older) who are registered in the BSA and meet the camping requirements may be selected following nomination to the lodge adult selection committee. Adult selection is based on their ability to perform the necessary functions to help the Order fulfill its purpose, and is not for recognition of service, including current or prior positions. Selected adults must be an asset to the Order because of demonstrated abilities, and must provide a positive example for the growth and development of the youth members of the lodge.

How / When do I wear the OA Sash?

When worn, the OA sash or Merit Badge sash is worn over the right shoulder.

The OA Sash is NOT an automatic addition to your Field Uniform (Class A).   Your membership in the OA is shown by the pocket flap patch on your right hand pocket.  Simply put,  the OA sash is only worn at OA events or when you are rendering service directly on behalf of the OA.    A scout never wears both sashes at the same time, nor should either of the sashes ever be worn hanging from the belt.

Per the OA Handbook:

The Flap Signifies a scout or scouter as a member of a Lodge (if their dues are paid)
The Members wear their sash at camp on Visitors night for the OA call out ceremony
Members of the Unit Election Team wear their sash when they come in to do a unit election. (This is also an appropriate time for the members of the troop to wear their sash.)
Members of the Dance team wear their sash while at a Function.

Remember, Scouts are expected to HONOR THE UNIFORM at all times, which includes wearing it correctly and keeping it clean and presentable.

How much does Scouting cost?

The Troop charges an annual "activity fee" that amounts to a little over $5 per month.  First time members pay an additional $25 fee for the initial sign-up fees imposed by National, a copy of the Scout Handbook, and customized Troop hat and neckerchief.

There is a modest "food fee" for each monthly camping trip, and a 1x per year fee if your son attends week-long Summer Camp (highly encouraged!).

Fund Raisers are held as needed to fund new equipment, more elaborate camping destinations, or to allow boys to fund their OWN "scout account".


The Activity Fee  - helps to pay for annual registration with the National Council, Boys Life Magazine subscription, liability insurance, numerous awards, badges, pins, camp ground fees, and more.  Our fee is usually NOT enough for all the expenses we incur (see fund raising below).


Monthly "camp fee" (food fee) - .   Each patrol creates their own menu for the monthly camping trip and can decide to raise or lower this fee to be aligned with their menu choices.   TYPICALLY, this is $15-$20 each trip.  In winter months, or for destinations that are far away, the monthly fee may include extra fees to cover camp ground expenses and help with other costs.


Summer Camp Fee - Week-long Summer Camp is a GREAT experience, and we encourage Scouts to attend every year.   The average fee is $330.   Please start saving for this NOW so that Camp is not a "financial burden" when payment is  due (usually by May 1 of each year).


Fund Raising - held as needed to supplement the cost of running the Troop.  Covers new/replacement equipment (tents, stoves, cook gear, propane tanks, etc), or to cover the cost of more elaborate camping destinations.  A portion of fund raising is usually designated for Scout Accounts to inspire strong participation.


Scout Accounts - The Troop allocates a portion of fund raising to each participating boy's own "Scout Account".  This encourages boys to actively participate in fund raising efforts.  The harder a Scout works, the more he will earn for himself.    Funds are held in escrow by the Troop Treasurer, and can be used to reimburse Scouts for ANY Scouting-related expense. 

Does my son have to come every week?

We certainly won't send the "Scout Police" out to find you if you don't show up, but you miss out on a big part of the BSA Program if you don't attend regularly.

Scouting is NOT just playtime, or "Billy's weekend fun" away from his kid sister.   Scouting is a carefully crafted character-development program where no aspect of this program exists by accident.

Each boy is a member of a PATROL, and as such, is part of a smaller group (as compared to the whole Troop of boys) so that he is given AMPLE opportunity to play an active and valuable "hands on" role in the patrol's success. 

A Scout who shows up only for the "fun trips" or shows up sporadically to the weekly meetings DEPRIVES himself of the chance to make key decisions within his patrol; choose trip ideas and destinations, make menu selections, divvy out workloads, and build close friendships.  Every meeting includes a period of valuable skill instruction and fun inter-patrol competitions that relate to the upcoming camping trip. If a boys misses a meeting, he will find himself less prepared for the upcoming weekend in the outdoors.  The troop meetings are where we "learn", but the camping trip is where we reinforce the skills by putting them into practical use.

Scouts should make every effort to attend meetings on a regular basis.   Those who don't are missing out on the full experience of their limited Scouting years, and are causing their fellow patrol members to do the same.  Patrols with members who do not attend regularly DO perform less efficiently than other patrols where their members attend each week.   The differences are noticeable and sometimes astounding when it comes to teamwork, food preparation, advancement, etc.

Scouts who hold LEADERSHIP POSITIONS are expected to show up at every meeting and camping trips as the leadership positions are "working" positions.  Scouts need to provide leadership service to their patrols and the troop as a whole in order to be credited for their time in leadership positions (often needed for rank advancement).

What is "Summer Camp"?

Summer camp is a week long experience in "Scout life", and a LOT of fun!  It's held at Council-run scout camps like Broadcreek, Hawk Mountain, or other BSA-owned properties.  It is staffed with some adult leaders, but the program areas (merit badge classes, and other skill areas) are run by other (older & experienced) Boy Scouts who spend the entire summer living at camp as councilors.

Troops from all over come to camp, and each troop stays in their own camp site.  We sleep and eat together, but beyond than that we are joining other scouts in merit badge classes, 1st Year program, or COPE or High Adventure.  You can think of Summer Camp as a week at "Scout College" where boys sign up for the classes that interest them, allowing the camping experience to be a personally satisfying experience.

Summer camp has up to 4 basic programs, "1st year", "Open Program", "COPE" (Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience), and High Adventure.

The "1st Year Program" is a dedicated program for boys who are typically new to Boy Scouts.  The agenda is focused on the outdoor and basic skills that relate to the first 3 ranks of Scouting.  Although they are focused on basic Scout skills, 1st Year Program attendees usually get the chance to earn 1 or 2 merit badges, get swim lessons or play in the pool during free swim, and after dinner, try out ALL of the program areas around camp during "open time", or join in with camp-wide games organized by the Camp.

"Open Program" is like going to college for a week.  Scouts typically choose to attend classes for up to 5 merit badges. It's a great way to get a LOT of advancement towards Eagle!  After dinner, the program areas throughout camp are opened to everyone so boys can sample every part of camp, even if they aren't working on specific merit badges.  There's also plenty of time for "free swim" in the pool, or time to join in with camp-wide games organized by the Camp councilors.

"COPE"  Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience - What a great way for older boys (13 and up) to challenge themselves physically as they engage in team building, trust building, and physically challenging activities and obstacles like the climbing wall, zip lines, overhead wire course, or the rappelling wall.  While generally open to boys as young as 13 years of age, the course does require a moderate amount of upper-body strength.  13 year old attendees usually require the approval of the Scoutmaster, as the "ideal" age for COPE is 14 and above.    If you're ready to challenge yourself and have a really great experience in personal growth and confidence, COPE is for you!

A "High Adventure" program may or may not be offered at every BSA camp.  Like COPE, high adventure programs are designed for the "experienced" Scouts (13/14 years or older) who feel like they've "done everything" offered by camp and are ready for something "new".   Some high adventure programs  include SCUBA, canoe trips, or other exciting excursions that take you away from the rest of the campers.  Check out the website for the summer camp we are attending in the coming year to see if there is a High Adventure program.


At summer camp, Scouts will be boarded in 8'x8' "wall tents" (large canvass tents with 2 cots, usually on pallets to keep them off of the ground).  Per BSA regulations, "long term camping" requires a set amount of "living space" per scout; hence the use of the BSA camp-supplied wall tents.  Despite their open exposure to the elements, the tents do a great job keeping out the elements and protecting camping gear from getting wet.

During the day, all Scouts from Troop 247 will wear matching Class B tee shirts.  It helps us look "uniform" and ensures the boys are in clean clothes (at least at the start of each day!)  All meals are served in the Camp Dining Hall.  Note that ALL camp attendees (adult and youth) MUST be in full Field (Class A) uniform for admittance into the dining hall for dinner.  After dinner, class B or plain clothes are allowed again.

During the day, scouts spend the day in "Program" areas learning the scout skills they selected before coming to camp.  However, there is plenty of "free time" for Scouts to relax, sample other program areas around camp, visit the shooting ranges, fishing ponds, or swimming pool.  There are often "camp-wide games" at each camp to make sure Scouts have plenty of FUN and entertaining activities for their entire time at camp.   There are usually opening and closing Council Fires and other ceremonies throughout the week, including OA "tap outs" and early morning "Polar Bear Plunges" for a brisk early morning dips in the pool!

What preparation is needed for Summer Camp?

There is much we do to prepare for summer camp;  fund raising, health forms, acclimation, Program selection & prerequisite work, and Swimming.

Fund Raising - Each year we conduct a Mulch Sale fund raiser.  While it is a lot of work, it is highly profitable and Scouts have the earning potential to fund their entire year of Scouting if they have strong participation in sales and delivery.   Summer Camp usually costs $340 each year, so scouting families should plan accordingly so that the annual camp fee is not a "surprise" or unattainable expense. 

Health Forms - Every year, we are required by the BSA to bring current/valid health forms for EVERY ATTENDEE (adult and youth) to camp.   EVERYONE must submit the BSA health forms in order to remain on BSA property.  It is best if the BSA health form is completed by the family doctor at the time of the annual "school physicals".   If a current form is not already on file, then families should engage their doctors to ensure the forms are complete and in the hands of the person coordinating troop registration ON TIME for a smooth registration.   PLEASE do not expect "special exceptions" when you are not handing paperwork in or time.   Registering/Administrating camp attendance is a huge undertaking, and we need/expect your full cooperation to help facilitate a smooth registration experience.

Acclimation - Every year (typically in April) the Troop conducts a weekend camping trip SPECIFICALLY for the benefit of our newest scouts (those bridging in from WEBELOS).  The goal is to get younger Scouts used to attending over-night camp without their parents.  This will give them (and moms!) a taste for being away from home, especially since Summer Camp is 6 nights from home.   New parents generally like to "tag along" with their "former cub scouts" on the first couple of camping trips, but this defeats the entire purpose of getting them used to being away from home.  Try to be supportive of your sons camping without you.

Program Selection & Pre-req work - Scouts should choose as early as possible which program area is right for them at camp; 1st Year, Merit Badges, COPE, or High Adventure.   1st Year and Merit Badge participants should select their merit badges early so they can start getting familiar with any prerequisite work that needs to be done before coming to camp.  Scouts should also take the time to purchase the respective Merit Badge Workbook from the Scout Shop and start reviewing the material (especially for Eagle-required badges).  These actions will ensure that Scouts come home with all badge work COMPLETE and will have the badges awarded as soon as possible.  Otherwise, Scouts will have to find other merit badge councilors to help them complete the tasks that were not completed at/before Summer Camp.

Swimming - Swimming is a big part of advancement and other activities in Scouting.   Scouts usually pursue the "Swimming Merit Badge" at a BSA camp due to the number of requirements to earn the Swimming MB and a daily chance to keep cool in the pool.  If your son wishes to attempt the Swimming merit badge, he must be a STRONG swimmer.  Please note that the BSA measures swimming capability by the ability to swim multiple 25 yard laps (no stopping allowed) in a strong, steady, and proficient stroke.  If this does not describe the swimming capabilities of your son, please do NOT sign him up for the Swimming merit badge, as he will NOT pass and will only feel defeated when he does not complete the badge and is surrounded by boys who are much more proficient in swimming ability.  Whether pursuing the Swimming merit badge or not, everyone attending Summer Camp will have AMPLE time to cool off and enjoy the swimming pool during "open swim" and/or "instructional swim" times.  Anyone needing basic swim lessons will have them provided at camp.  LIFEGUARD training is also available.

Will my son be intimidated by the older boys?

We follow a ZERO TOLORANCE policy for bullying or unruly behavior.   By any and all measure, Scouting is (and should be) considered a "safe zone" where boys can come and GROW in a positive and supportive environment.

Upon joining Scouts, boys are placed into a smaller unit called a Patrol - we currently have 2 patrols in our Troop.   Per BSA guidelines, a patrol is "a group of boys (no more than 10) of similiar age, interests, and abilities."

BY DESIGN, your son will be among boys "like him" for most of his Scouting events.  However, he will BENEFIT from the guidance and leadership examples of the older/larger boys who serve as Senior Leaders, Troop Guides, and skill instructors.  Even in mixed-patrol competitions, we have only observed caring and supportive interactions... and we DO watch (just in case).

Scouting is a PRIVATE organization.   Should any boy's behavior become intolorable, it is well within our right to "un-invite" him from being a Scout in this Troop.

Is there any hazing in Scouting?

Absolutely not.   "Hazing" or similar types of degrading practical jokes are simply not tolerated.  

While there is some truth to "boys will be boys" and there is some level of FRIENDLY "joshing around" that boys naturally do, the troop is VERY tuned into the fact that these types of jokes/behavior can easily go from goodhearted fun to being "insulting" or "degrading" in nature. 

Practical jokes and ANY type of physical contact among the boys or their personal property are TIGHTLY regulated and STRONGLY discouraged.  Guys can kid around with each other without the need to resort to hurting their feelings.   We look for this type of behavior and act accordingly when we become aware that instances have happened.

"Boys will be boys" is NOT justification for bad behavior.

Why do Scouts wear a Uniform?

Scouting's founder, Lord Baden Powell realized long ago, that when people look the same (uniform), they not only show they are members of an organization, but being dressed the same  ERASES all trace of "class" or "wealth" or "social status".  

In Scouting, all are equal and treat each other with respect.  In doing so, we learn to look past class, income, race, religion, nationality, and social status.

Despite the attacks from some of Scouting's detractors, there has never been a program so OPEN and SUPPORTIVE of diversity as Scouting.

Considering this was taken into account in 1907,  Lord Baden Powell was clearly a man ahead of his time.

Uniforms. What's "official"?

Officially, the BSA has ONE uniform, and any historical version of it is acceptable (once official, always official).  It is found in the front pages of every Scout Handbook.

The official BSA uniform is comprised of:
a troop-issued hat *
a troop neckerchief *
BSA tan shirt (with patches placed in the proper spots)
a Merit Badge Sash **
BSA olive pants
BSA web belt w/ buckle
BSA socks
(Note that blue jeans are not listed here!)

This is THE official uniform, but in many pieces of BSA literature it may be referred to as the FIELD uniform, or commonly, the "Class A" (a military term the BSA prefers NOT to use as the BSA does not wish to be perceived as a paramilitary organization).

*  Technically, hats and neckerchiefs (and how they are worn) are optional in the BSA Uniform Guide, but if the wearing of either is adopted by a troop, they are then considered official components of the uniform.  We wear both.  The hat is the "baseball cap" variety imprinted with our troop number, and the neckerchief bearing our logo is to be worn UNDER the collar with the top button of the shirt unbuttoned.

** The Merit Badge Sash, worn over the right shoulder, is impractical for most Scouting-related activities.  It is therefore only worn at ceremonial events or select meetings such as a Court of Honor.

It is not always practical to wear the Field Uniform shirt every minute a Scout is involved in a scouting-related activity.   The BSA offers a variety of polo-type shirts and tee shirts imprinted with BSA logos, and many troops (ours included) often opt to have custom printed shirts made. 

It is customary practice that when a troop (as a whole) agrees on a standard shirt, they will opt to wear it INSTEAD of the BSA olive shirt, and in many items of BSA literature, this will be referred to as an ACTIVITY uniform, or sticking with military nomenclature, "Class B".

Historically, the BSA offers major redesigns to the uniform about every 20 years.  This past year, the BSA announced the "Centennial Uniform" with "switchback" pants and some color changes to troop number decals and shoulder loops.   This is the 5th major redesign in the BSA's 100 year history.