FAQ's about Boy Scouts and Troop 81

1. How are Scouts structured? Scouts are assigned to a patrol of no more than 8. They elect a Patrol Leader who brings their ideas of what they would like to do to the Patrol Leaders Council. Ideally, patrols meet once a month outside of the Troop meeting.

2. What is the Patrol Leaders Council? The Council is comprised of all the Patrol Leaders, the Senior Patrol and other officers of the Troop. They meet once a month with the Scoutmasters to plan the next month's meetings and camping trips.

3. What is the Senior Patrol? The Senior Patrol is comprised of the Senior Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Troop Guide and the Junior Assistant Scoutmaster (when filled).

4. Who are the people in number 3? The Senior Patrol Leader is like the COO of the troop and like all troop officers, are elected by the Troop members once a year. He is responsible for running the Patrol Leaders Council as well as the Troop meeting. The Assistant Senior Patrol leader helps the Senior Patrol leader with his job. The Troop Guide is a senior Scout who is appointed by the Scoutmaster. His job is to guide new Scouts through their first year in the troop. He acts as their Patrol Leader until they elect one of their own. (usually 2 or 3 months). He helps them develop the skills needed to become a good patrol and good Scouts. The Junior Assistant Scoutmaster is a Scout who has obtained the rank of Eagle and has not turned 18. He also must have held the position of Senior Patrol Leader and Troop Guide and is appointed by the Scoutmaster. His job is to help the Scoutmasters with the Senior Patrol.

5. Are there adults helping the Scouts? Yes. Each Patrol has an Assistant Scoutmaster assigned to them as their Advisor. The Scoutmaster is the Advisor to the Senior Patrol.

6. How does a Scout advance towards Eagle? The first thing you need is a Boy Scout Handbook. This will be the only book he will need outside of Merit Badge books. The handbook has all the information the Scout needs for advancement from Tenderfoot though Eagle. When he completes an item, he needs to seek out his Scoutmaster Advisor and have him sign. Most requirements are done on camping trips therefore the more he goes on, the faster he advances. Merit badges are required for advancement after First Class. There are over 100 merit badges a Scout can select from. There are 21 total merit badges needed for Eagle of which 11 are required. A Scout can work on different ranks at the same time, however he must complete ranks in progression. (You can't get Second Class before Tenderfoot).

7. My son has all the requirements signed except for this Scoutmaster Conference and Board of Review. What are those? After the Scout has successfully completed the requirements for each rank, he then has his Scoutmaster Conference during which they talk about the Scouts likes and dislikes of Boy Scouts, what he would like to see happen in the troop, how he is doing in school, and what (at this stage of his life) his goals are. Then he goes before the Board of Review. At this time they generally will just be talking with the Scout about his experiences with Scouting. They are not there to grill the Scout on their requirements. Once his passes that then he is awarded the Rank at the next Court of Honor.

8. What is a Court of Honor? They are held about 3 times a year. This is where parents, relatives, friends and fellow scouts honor those who have advanced or earn merit badges since the last Court of Honor.

9. What do I need for camping trips? You should pack the Handbook, mess kit, two pairs of socks, a change of clothes, a flashlight with spare batteries, toothpaste and brush, rain gear (ponchos are good but please don't buy the dollar specials as they don't last. Spend the money to get a quality one that will last a long time) and sleeping bag. NO FOOD OF ANY TYPE OR SUGARY DRINKS ARE PERMITTED TO BE PACKED. If meds are needed, they MUST be given to the Scoutmaster prior to departing clearly labeled with instructions and the Scouts name. When cold weather comes, we will send a Cold Weather Packing list to all. We travel in our Class A uniforms with waterproof boots. NO SNEAKERS.

10. What is Class A uniform: Shirt, Boy Scout hat, Troop neckerchief, slide, Scout pants and Scout Belt. Class B uniform is without the neckerchief. Class C is Troop T Shirt.

11. How much do camping trips cost? Usually just $8.00 for food. On some trips (i.e. rafting) the cost is more to pay for the activity. We usually will camp at Boy Scout camps because the cost is lower, however when we do have to stay at a state park or a private camp, then the increased cost are shared by the Troop and the Scout.

12. What do I pay for my son joining Scouts? Our registration and dues are $75.00 a year due in December. This pays for insurance, Boys Life Magazine and Councils cut. The troop keeps $46.00 to help fund the troop. (Awards, camping fee's, etc.) If he is crossing over from Cub Scouts, there is only a $1.00 transfer fee for the first year.

13. What about fund raising? The Troop holds fund raisers throughout the year. Most of them go straight to the Scout. The more he sells, the more he has in his account to pay for Scout stuff and activities. If he has money in his account and needs a new sleeping bag, then all you do is buy it and turn the receipt into the treasurer, who will then cut you a check. He can use the money to cover the cost of summer camp or our special trips..

14. When are Troop meetings? Every Monday night in Fellowship Hall at the Lehman Memorial United Methodist Church in Hatboro. We meet from 7:30 to 9:00. Uniforms and handbooks are required.

15. How do I know what is going on? A newsletter called What's up is the Troop is sent every month with information that you and your Scout needs.

16. What if I need more info than is in this FAQ? Please email me at jswan1770@gmail.com

Thank You
James Swan
Scoutmaster Troop 81