Parents

A quick overview for new Scouts and new parents!

Welcome to Troop 615!  Thank you for choosing our Troop.  We understand that there can be some adjustment from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts and there’s a lot to take in.  Please ask a Scout or a Scouter (an adult leader) if you have any questions.

Lord Baden Powell had a way with words.  He said, “Scouting is a game for boys under the leadership of boys under the direction of men.”  It’s true!  Providing boys with the opportunities to learn, have fun and demonstrate leadership is what Scouting is all about.  Along the way, boys learn and grow, develop mental, physical and emotional fitness, learn about good citizenship, and learn how to become independent and capable young men.

There is no “Scouting” without “outing”:   we base our program on monthly camping trips.  Much of the initial focus for new Scouts is on learning outdoor skills and the ability to take care of oneself.  It is a growth opportunity for both boys and parents… one that can only be achieved if the boys (and parents) are present to take advantage of those opportunities.  Regular participation in outings is critically important to overall success in Scouting.

Mission Statement: The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

Vision Statement: The Boy Scouts of America is the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership.

Meetings: Troop 615 meets every Wednesday, year-round at the Church of the Resurrection.  Meetings are scheduled to run from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Meetings normally consist of an opening ceremony, a skill instruction, Patrol corners, a game, and a closing.  Activities are often geared to preparing for the next outing or working on a specific merit badge or other accomplishments.

Typically the Troop has one camping trip each month (yes, even in winter!).  The Troop also usually participates in 12-14 Service projects each year.

Uniforms: Boys are required to be in full “Class A” or “field” uniforms at the weekly meetings, any Troop sponsored function and when we travel to and from outings.

NOTE:  Boys that are not in uniform will not be allowed to attend outings.

Wearing the Scout uniform provides an instant sense of belonging to the Troop.  Remarkably, the simple act of wearing the uniform can change attitudes and behaviors of Scouts.

Uniforms can be purchased at the Scout Shop in Baltimore, at the Scout shop in Hanover, or online.  While in Scouts, boys often grow and change a great deal.  Uniforms that no longer fit Scouts are often donated to the Troop.  The Troop maintains a closet of uniforms that Scouts and their parents are free to take for their Scouts use.  The Troop also uses Class B uniform for other occasions such as service projects and while at summer camp.

We understand that there can be financial obstacles in obtaining a full uniform.  Please consult the Committee Chair or the Scoutmaster in order to discuss potential remedies.

Scouting Ideals: The ideals of Scouting are expressed in the Scout Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan.

Patrol Method & Camping: Troop 615 uses the “Patrol Method.”  The Patrol method gives Boy Scouts an experience in successfully working with others, learning and teaching new skills as well as experience in citizenship.  The Patrol Method allows Scouts to act in small groups where they work cooperatively to accomplish goals, to learn teamwork, leadership, and basic camping skills.  The Scouts are the ones who make the decisions about where to go on outings and the activities that will occur on those outings.  Scouts are the ones who are responsible for tent pitching, meal planning, preparation and cleanup.  They receive guidance from adults when necessary.  Scouts take on a fair amount of responsibility.  Doing so allows the boys to grow, learn, and practice decision-making.

Differences Between Cubs and Boy Scouts:

Boy Scouts Differs GREATLY from Cub Scouts.  The transition from Cubs to Boy Scouts can be particularly challenging for parents.  Being boy-led means that Boy Scouts are actually making decisions, providing meeting structure, observing and responding to the needs of the Troop and more.  In the process, they are learning.  They’re figuring out how to work together with a wide range of individuals, they’re learning about their strengths and limitations, they’re pushing their comfort level and growing a great deal.  This process can appear to be chaotic, especially for new parents who are used to adults providing structure and control for their sons.

Advancement/Training:  In Cubs, the adults determine what’s done and where the Cubs go.  In Troop 615, the Scouts determine where we go on outings and what the activities will be.  The Scouts plan meetings, arrange the training and in many instances actually provide the training.  Boy Scouts (those that have achieved a rank of First Class AND have attended Youth Leadership Training) are eligible to sign off on requirements for advancement from Tenderfoot to First Class.  They are held accountable that the Scout they have signed off for has successfully completed the requirements.

Once the Scout has completed the necessary requirements for advancement, he will need to schedule a Scoutmaster conference with the Scoutmaster or one of the Assistant Scoutmasters.  The final step is to schedule a Board of Review (a meeting with a minimum of three Committee members that are trained in holding Boards of Review).  Upon successful completion of all requirements, Scoutmaster conference and Board of Review, the boy will advance in rank.

One major difference between Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts:  on outings, adults do not and cannot share tents with Boy Scouts.  In fact, in Boy Scouts, there are no moms and dads.  We require that adults be addressed formally by Scouts.  We do this to help boys learn how to be successful without relying on their parents and to learn how to interact with and communicate with adults.  To help reinforce these ideals during outings, we have adults drive other boys in the Troop that are not their sons.

Merit Badges:  Boys must seek the approval of the Scoutmaster or Advancement Chair and receive a “blue card” BEFORE starting any merit badge.  An individual boy or a group of boys will work with a registered Merit Badge Counselor to complete the merit badge and the counselor must be the one to sign off that the requirements have been completed.

The boys meet twice a year for a Semi Annual Planning Conference (PSC) to choose outings for the next 18 months (with adult support).  The boys decide what they want to do and they plan their own trips—within the guidelines and ideals of Scouting.

Parent Participation in Scouting: In order for the Scouting program to be successful, parents NEED to be involved.  It doesn’t matter whether your job is big or small, help is needed from every adult.  We require that all parents register with the Troop/BSA in order to go on trips so you will be covered by BSA insurance and other requirements.  Parents are also required by our sponsoring organization to take BSA Youth Protection Training (available online at www.baltimorebsa.org) and STAND training (http://www.res-ec.org/Home/ParishAtoZ/STAND.aspx).  We realize that every parent is busy.  If everyone participates, then no one individual is overly impacted.  Enclosed are a few of the opportunities open to every adult.

Program Staff (Scoutmasters): If you prefer to teach skills, work with the boys and go on campouts, you should indicate this interest to the Scoutmaster.

Merit Badge Counselor: Please volunteer to become a merit badge counselor to help teach the boys; the topic could be in your job discipline, hobby, or other interest Troop.   NOTE:  You do not need to be specifically trained or certified in the area of interest to become a Merit Badge Counselor.  To be considered as a Merit Badge Counselor, please fill out the Merit Badge Counselor application  and then submit the completed form to Patty Lizzo. 

Parent/Committee Member: Every adult is automatically a member of the Troop Parent/Committee.  The group meets once a month, on the second Wed of the month, during the regular Troop meeting to discuss Troop business.  The positions and responsibilities range from large too small.  You can be a member at large or hold office (Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, Advancement Coordinator, Membership Coordinator, Eagle Adviser, etc.).  Parents are encouraged to attend these meetings.

Transportation for Outings:  Help is often needed to transport boys to or from outings or to a service project.

Camping: Camping is at the very heart of boy Scouting.  Parents are encouraged to attend outings to provide support for the Troop and to enjoy the experience.  Scouts camp and participate with their Patrol and NOT with their parents. Remember:  there are no Moms and Dads in Scouts! If Scouts need assistance, boys are instructed to first go to their Patrol Leader or Senior Patrol Leader.  Adults are expected to intervene when there is an immediate health or safety issue.  If further assistance is needed, the boy should go to one of the Program Staff.  This does not mean that you cannot see or speak to your son.  You can!  However, please do not focus all of your attention on one specific Scout that happens to look a lot like you.  Adults are expected to provide support for the whole Troop, not just one or two Scouts.

Scouts are encouraged to address parents formally (as in, “Dr. Anderson” or “Mrs. Smith”). This helps reinforce that there are no Moms and Dads on outings and encourages Scouts to follow the structure for dealing with challenges (e.g., Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, Assistant Scoutmaster, Scoutmaster).

Troop Policies Regarding Camping: Following is a summary of the BSA and Troop policies followed by Troop 615.  There are exceptions, but these policies are in effect on most outings.

Scout Tenting and Meals: Scouts tent with their Patrol.  Patrols plan their own menus, cook their own meals, eat together as a team, and clean up together.  Duties are rotated so that at some point all boys will get a turn at each job.  Tents for the Scouts are provided by the Troop.  The boys need to have their personal gear, mess kits, and water bottle.

Adult Tenting and Meals: Adults tent and eat with the adult group in a separate (but nearby) area from the boys’ Patrols.  The adult group plans their own menu, and cooks and eats together as a Patrol.  Adults provide their own tents, personal gear, and water bottle.  The Troop provides eating utensils. If you are a coffee/tea drinker, we always have coffee and tea.  Please remember to pack your mug.

BSA youth protection policies forbid an adult and a boy to share the same tent. 

Boy Leadership: Adults should not interfere with the functioning of boy leaders, even if they make mistakes (we all learn best from our mistakes).  Step in only if it is a matter of immediate safety or if the mistake will be costly.  If available, involve a uniformed member of the Program Staff first.

Senior Patrol Leader: The SPL is responsible for running the Troop.  He is a Scout of First Class or higher rank and is elected to this post by the Scouts.  He works with his staff of Patrol Leaders and Assistant Patrol Leaders as well as the Program Staff to make the Troop work.

Patrol Leaders: The person responsible for a Boy Scout Patrol is the Patrol Leader.  This is not token leadership.  As an elected position from within the Patrol, the Patrol Leader is granted real authority and genuine responsibilities.  Much of the success, safety, and happiness of the rest of the Patrol depends directly on him.  Boy Scouts teaches leadership.  Boys learn leadership by practicing it, not by watching adults lead.

Adults:  Boy Scouts cannot be successful without direct involvement of parents.   This means providing assistance with transportation to and from outings, helping out with fund raising activities, providing support for service projects, assist as a Merit Badge Counselor, to work with Scouts to plan and support various events and celebrations and more.

Troop 615 offers these guidelines on the indirect, advisory role you now enjoy.  The underlying principle is to never do anything for a boy that he can do for himself.  We allow boys to grow by practicing leadership and by learning from their mistakes.

Scout skills are an important part of the program, but what ultimately matters when our Scouts become adults is not whether they can tie a specific knot or use a map properly, but whether they can be successful in challenging situations, whether they can chose to do the right thing without being told, whether they can become independent, responsible, honest, ethical and thoughtful citizens.

Non-Program Staff that attend outings: When a parent goes on a campout, the parent is automatically a member of adult Patrol.  One of the most important purposes is to provide an example that the boy Patrols can follow without telling them what to do.  Since every Patrol is expected to camp as a patrol, the adults do as well.

Adults at an outing are expected to follow the program that the boys establish with the Program Staff.  The adults (both Program Staff and non Program Staff) support the boys’ program and the Program Staff.   In addition, outings are a lot of fun!

The Scouting program at Troop 615 helps make Scouting a safe, enjoyable, and memorable journey.  Again, welcome to Troop 615!

Need info on the Troop?  Contact Bruce Anderson, Troop 615 Scoutmaster at:  sm@bsa615.com

Adult positions can be found here: http://www.bsa615.com/parents/adult-positions/