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Boy Scout Troop 247
(Baltimore, Maryland)
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What if my son gets hurt at a BSA outing?

Before attending any Scout outing, Scouts are required to provide the Scoutmaster with a signed permission slip which authorizes Troop leaders to engage professional health care (and/or emergency services) as they deem necessary.   For the purpose of obtaining immediate care, the permission slip states that the parent(s) will provide insurance information on demand and/or otherwise be responsible for all health care costs.

There is BSA Liability Insurance:
Before taking any Troop-level trip (note this does NOT include "patrol outings"), the Troop's Outdoor Chair will submit a BSA Tour Permit, on which we disclose the destination, the program agenda, and the trained leaders who are leading the event.   With the Council's approval, as noted by a returned Tour Permit with appropriate signatures & stamps, the BSA scouting event and its attendees are covered under the BSA Liability Insurance.  

There are several categories of Insurance Coverage offered/monitored by the BSA.   The link below offers more details on BSA insurance.

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 "Scouts Own Service"?

A Scout is REVERENT.

Although they can be held at any time, we choose to hold a "Scouts Own Service" when we are overnight camping into a Sunday morning.   A "Scouts Own" service is a prayer service conducted by the Chaplain's Aid.  By design they are non-denominational, but being that our troop is 100% Christian, we hold Christian-centric services. 

We encourage the Chaplain Aid to meet the responsibilities of his position by creating HIS OWN prayer services with readings, stories, and songs of HIS CHOOSING so that he can impart his spiritual message on his peers.  [Many service ideas are available on the internet] If we are camping at a BSA Camp, there will tend to be a camp Chapel nearby which we will use.  If a chapel is available, we march to it in total silence to help the boys enter a reverent state of mind/spirit and reinforce the power of spiritual faith.

How fast can my son advance?

Advancment in Scouting is COMPLETELY under the control of the Scout himself.

As fast as he can learn the skills, he can get credit for them towards rank advancment.

TYPICALLY, it will take more than 1 year for him to make it from Scout, to Tenderfoot, to 2nd Class, and then to 1st Class.  We do use a "1st Class in the 1st Year" agenda to keep newer boys focussed (and soften the "culture shock" from coming from a Cub Pack to a Troop).    A Scout can work on the requirements for rank IN ANY ORDER, but his actual progression through the ranks must be sequencial.

Some of the rank requirements have SET TIMES that must be met before he can get credit for them and advance.  These are clearly outlined in the back pages of his Scout Handbook.

A boy has until his 18th birthday to reach Eagle and/or be a Boy Scout, but the typical age of an Eagle in the BSA is a surprisingly young 14 years of age.  

Reaching Eagle is NOT an easy task and requires an abundance of effort and self-motivation.  Encouragement at home is CRUCIAL to a boy's success towards his Eagle Rank.

How many merit badges can I work on?

There is no limit to the number of merit badges a Scout can have "open" at one time.   He may start working on Merit Badges the day he signs his registration form and has until his 18th birthday to complete the work.

Some units impose their own limits, but that is NOT BSA policy, and therefore, we do not endorse such restrictions.

That being said, the idea is to LEARN about a particular topic through the Merit Badge Program.  A boy will be best-served if he strives to complete the work for a badge in a short enough time frame that ALL the information/lessons remain relevant.  Again, this is at the Scout's discretion.

What is the minimum age to become an Eagle Scout?

The BSA does not list a minimum age before a Scout can earn his Eagle rank.  

However, a boy must be at least 10 years old to join a Boy Scout troop, then there is a 30 day requirement in Tenderfoot requirement 10b, at least 4 months between First Class and Star, 6 months between Star and Life, and then 6 more months between Life and Eagle.

So the minimum possible age, while NOT listed as a "REQUIREMENT", would be 11 years and 5 months.

The national average for those earning Eagle Scout: 15 years of age.

What if my son is not advancing?

We should first recognize that Scouting is a lot of FUN and some percentage of the youth are perfectly happy being involved without advancement as a personal goal. But we will monitor & interview scouts to see if they fit into this category.

For those interested in advancing through Scouting's ranks, we must keep in mind that Scouting is a "character development program".  The primary way to create responsible young adults, is to give them "responsibility".  One way to do that is to make advancement in Scouting the responsibility of each individual Scout

Through his Patrol Leader, he should voice his desire for trip destinations, activities, and opportunities to complete the various rank requirements and attend trips that he finds exciting and thrilling.

HE is responsible for informing the Scoutmaster (in advance) of his choice to begin working on a Merit Badge; the completion of which is up to HIM and his Merit Badge Councilor.  Through INDEPENDENT work (with a friend or family member - to comply with Youth Protection) he will work with his MBC to complete Merit Badge requirements at his own pace.

At meetings and on camping trips, AMPLE opportunity is made to complete work and FREQUENT reminders are made to encourage boys to "step up" to make the most of their opportunities.  Monthly camping trips are ALWAYS geared towards 1 or more merit badges, though our weekly agenda rarely covers the entire badge requirements...and this is not by mistake.  The "program" will offer OPPORTUNITIES for advancement, but we look to the Scout to "meet us half way" by stepping up to complete the rest of his requirements as a sign of his own initiative and work ethic.

Periodically, all boys will attend a Board of Review (BOR).   Boys advancing to their next rank MUST attend the BOR as a requirement, but the Advancement Chair is also responsible for scheduling periodic BORs for boys who are NOT advancing to inquire as to the reason they are not progressing, or finding out what is "missing" in the Program.

AT ANY TIME, Scouts (with/without their parents) are free to inquire about advancement to the Scoutmaster or his Assistant Scoutmasters.

The SCOUT is ultimately responsible..... that's what makes the "Eagle" rank so significant and valuable.  Attaining "Eagle" tells the world, that this is a young man who is responsible, motivated, and a leader.

Can a boy be "demoted" or have badges taken away?

Once a RANK or a Merit Badge has been earned, it can never be taken away.   In addition, once a requirement for rank advancement is signed off, or a Merit Badge Councilor signs a "blue card" stating that the badge requirement has been completed, no one has the authority to overturn the decision or refuse to award the badge to the Scout.  (BSA policy)

Firemen' Chit and Toten' Chip are safety badges and it is at the discretion of the Troop Leadership to revoke a Scouts PRIVILEGES for fire-starting or knife/axe use.    Should this ever happen, the corrective process within Troop 247 is usually retaking the instructional course and then having to teach the skills to others.  Until that happens, a Scout is not permitted to carry/use a knife, nor may he start or tend a fire.

Will my son be intimidated by the older boys?

We enforce a VERY STRICT 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.  If an event takes place, adult leaders will intervene and investigate the specific facts and affect a resolution immediately.

Upon joining Scouts, boys are placed into a smaller unit called a Patrol - we currently have 6 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 between older and younger scouts... and we DO watch (just in case).

Scouting is a PRIVATE organization.   Should any member's behavior (adult or youth) become intolerable, 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-in to 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 feelings.   We look for this type of behavior and act accordingly when we become aware that instances have happened.

"Boys will be boys" has some validity, but it is NOT justification for bad behavior.

My son is a Scout, can we use the BCGF gun ranges?

Baltimore County Game and Fish Protective Association is a private, members-only club.

While BCGF has generously chartered Scout Pack, Troop, and Crew #247, and often opens sections of the grounds to us for periodic use, the Scouting members are NOT granted the rights of BCGF club members.

Scouts and their families should NOT enter the BCGF grounds other than during officially scheduled Scout Events and at no time should attempt to use the gun or archery ranges, or the fish pond on their own accord.

Several of the Troop leadership happen to be members of BCGF and may choose to bring individuals onto the grounds as GUESTS under the provision of THEIR INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP.  During none of these times are you considered to be acting under the auspices or insurance protection of the BSA.

What is Scouting's view on Religion?

Per the 12th point of the Scout Law, "a Scout is Reverent".

Scouting's founder, Lord Baden Powell, believed that it was crucial to the development of the "whole person" that we have a belief in, and love for, God and that we should live by and embody His laws and teachings.

Scouting does not promote any 1 denomination above another and works with organized religions to offer awards (officially known as the Religious Emblem Program) to any boys who choose to farther explore their religious faith, whatever that faith may be.   Scouting  is SUPPORTIVE of diversity in faiths and religious differences.

As a Private organization, it is the right of the BSA to set a code or ethics and morals for its members to follow.  Having a belief in God, is one of those criteria.  Those professing NO belief in God may find they would be better served in a different youth program than the BSA.

As we believe that "being reverent" is such a critical part of the Scouting program, we openly pray during meals, at meetings, and during non-denominational "Scouts' Own" services which are held while we are away at camp.  The troop maintains a youth member in the leadership position of Chaplain's Aid who will lead us in prayer and reverent services. 

Which political party does the BSA endorse?

By National policy, the BSA is APOLITICAL.  We have no affiliation with any one political party, nor are Scouts (in uniform) permitted to act in ANY WAY that would be interpreted as giving support to any 1 political party or political issue.

Uniformed Boy Scouts may serve as the Color Guard at political events, but must exit the stage before any political speeches or grand-standing take place.

By Constitutional Charter, the President of the United States is the Honorary President of the BSA.

Does the Troop have some "Bylaws" that I can read?

Bylaws are not necessary or appropriate in Scouting units.   Every aspect of how the Program should function is already laid out in clear detail in the Scoutmaster's Handbook, the boy's Scouting Handbook, Guide to Safe Scouting, and the National Council's training documentation for the Troop Committee and the various Committee positions.

Why would a unit try to recreate a 105 year old Program that is already perfected?  If you think your unit needs to create by-laws, then the harsh reality is that your committee needs to get some BSA training instead!

SPL runs the Troop meetings and events
PLC makes the decisions (under SM guidance)
Adult leaders give the youth leadership lots of support
Committee members handle administration and funding (NOT Program ideas)
COR or Charter Organization hires/fires those who need to do their jobs correctly

Come on folks....   K.I.S.S. 

What is a "Scout Account"?

Along with managing the general fund needed to maintain the program (awards, equipment, camp ground fees, etc) the Troop Treasurer also manages a virtual "account" for each Scout.  This account can be used for ANY Scouting-related expense, from dues, summer camp fees, to equipment for a merit badge class (such as a fishing rod for Fishing MB).


When fund raising events are approved by the Committee, the purpose of fund raising will be stated (fund the Troop fund, fund an event, fund the boys accounts, or a combination thereof).   In MOST events, some portion of fund raising will be designated for those who participate in fund raising effort.   The idea is that the more a boy works, the more he reaps the reward for his labor.  In doing so, he contributes to the overall good of the troop and pushes fund raising events to their maximum effectiveness.  It is a win/win scenario.


The funds are paid out as a REIMBURSEMENT for a Scouting-related expense.  Scouts are to inform the leader what they bought and how it related to Scouting, then present the sales receipt.   By the following meeting, reinbursement in the form of check will be presented to the Scout.  Scouts should clarify in advance, any expense that would seem "questionable".

What happens to the funds if a Scout transfers to another unit or quits Scouting?

By Committee decision, a boy who remains in Scouting, but decides to transfer to another unit, deserves the benefit of his labor.   Upon confirmation of transfer paperwork, we'll distribute the balance in his Scout account to him.

Those who quit scouting forfeit the contents of their Scout Account and the funds will be rolled into the general Troop Fund.  (see Note below to understand why we do not "refund" account balances)

NOTE- Per BSA Guidelines, all money and equipment held by a Scouting Unit is the lawful property of the Charter Organization (not the Troop or its members).  Money does not "belong" to any 1 Scout, but rather exists to enrich his Scouting experience.  A boy who opts out of the Scouting Program, is no longer privy to money DESIGNATED specifically for Scouting purposes.  He can not claim "reimbursement" for it was never lawfully "his".

What "age limits" exist in the Boy Scout program?

The ONLY age requirements established by the National Program are as follows:

10 years old to join (If completed 5th grade or earned AOL, otherwise must be 11)

12 years old by July 1st, to attend a National Jamboree contingent

13 years old to participate in COPE  (14 preferred, 13 with Scoutmaster's recommendation)

13 years old to join a Venture Patrol

14 years old to join a Varsity Team

15 years old to join Sea Scouts or a Venture Crew

16 years old to become a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster

16 years old to be Youth Staff at a camp or Jamboree

Day before 18th birthday - the last day you are a Boy Scout or Varsity Team member (includes Venture patrol).  PRIOR to his birthday, all work (rank and badges) must be DONE.  The Eagle Board of Review can occur after the 18th birthday, but work/project must be done PRIOR to the 18th birthday.

Day before 21st birthday - the last day you are a Sea Scout or Venture Crew member

There are NO age requirements for ANY merit badges or youth leadership positions (other than JASM and Camp Staff)

National publishes no "minimum age" for Eagle Scout Rank, but the earliest possible age a Scout could become eagle is 11 years and 5 months of age.

Do all boys carry knives?

A knife of some type (typically folding pocket knife) is an integral part of the Scouting Program.  A knife serves many purposes from eating utensil to wilderness survival gear, and most boys do carry a knife when they go on a camping trip.

HOWEVER, all Scouts must pass instructional safety training to understand the STRICT provisions for using a knife safely, and at appropriate times, before he is allowed to possess or use a knife.  The training covers the use of saws, hand axe, long axe, log splitters, as well as pocket knives.

This training is known as the Toten Chip and has a corresponding award of the same name.   The award may be the pocket card (size of a business card) or if sold in the Council's Scout Store, a Toten Chip patch.  The patch is "official" in the BAC/Dulaney district.   The card is now considered a part of the official uniform.   A scout is expected to have his "Toten Chip" with him if he is carrying his knife.

If a Scout falls short in his responsibility of safe knife handling, he may lose his Toten Chip privileges and it is up to the Scoutmaster's discretion as to how the privilege can be re-earned.   In Troop 247, it is typical that a Scout who loses the privilege must repeat training, AND then TEACH the Toten Chip session to another scout.

Can I keep working closely with my son?

If you mean "work with your son" like you did in Cub Scouts, the answer is NO.   There is little 1-on-1 work as a Boy Scout.

Make no mistake... You are welcome, but Boy Scouting is a new phase of his personal development. 

"Dads & Lads" was the Cub Scout model.  Your presence helped to guide him, keep him under control, and reinforce the importance of "family", but as a Boy Scout, he needs to focus more on himself, and on working with peers. 

He's becoming a young man and needs to start interacting with other adults like the Scout Master, Assistant Scout Masters, and various Merit Badge Councilors.  He also needs to become comfortable with working without adults hovering over him as he works with his patrol.

What kind of knives can Scouts carry?

Contrary to urban myth, the only regulation on this (other than earning the Toten Chip award) is the restriction that may exist at part of State/Local law.  National BSA DOES allow Councils and Districts to set their own rules, so long as the rules result in a SAFER result than National policy.

As of today, neither the Baltimore Area Council or the Dulaney District impose limitations on knives beyond what already exists as Maryland/Baltimore law.

While the BSA strongly encourages folding (preferably locking) pocket knives, those that are categorized as "fixed-blade" or "sheath" knives are allowed.  In fact, the Guide to Safe Scouting specifically lists "fillet" knives as a prime example of a sheath knife that is appropriate for Scouting purposes (Fishing MB requirements).  Fixed blade/sheath knives are big, bulky, heavy, and generally far more "knife" than a Scout needs.   We have had Scouts carry large knives, and after 1 or 2 trips, realize these are best left at home and opt for smaller blades.

Some BSA camps impose their own limitations, which visiting Scouts are obligated to respect, regardless of Troop or BSA/BAC policy.

Troop 247 respectfully asks that adults encourage their sons to carry the appropriate knives (small, folding pocket knife), as these are more than adequate for 99% of all scouting activities.  In fact, "cheaper is better" because they may scar their blades by using flints to start fires, or may easily lose their knives in the course of daily activities. 

Do you sleep in tents, cabins, open sky?

In the months of January, February,and March we have traditionally done "cabin camping".  However, when Patrol Leaders' Council decides to tent camp in winter months, we respect that decision.

When in cabins, scouts sleep in  bunk beds and there is typically a wood burning stove(s) for heat.  Most of cabins tend to have some type of kitchen facility, though the size and quality vary widely.

The remainder of the year is typically "tent camping".   The troop maintains an adequate supply of 4-man, "A-frame" tents. 

If boys so choose (hopefully as a patrol), they can sleep under the open sky (no tent) or for those feeling even more adventurous, such as those working on their Wilderness Survival merit badge, they may choose to build their own structure and sleep in it overnight.

What gear should we need for camping?

The Troop Committee is charged with ensuring that enough equipment is procured to support camping trips.   Each patrol will have provided for them:
  • tents
  • cooking utensils
  • cook stove w/ propane tank
  • wash bins (for washing dishes)
  • water jugs
  • propane lanterns

Scouts will need to have the following personal gear, and may be prevented from attending a trip if they do not have proper gear.  Remember EVERYTHING should have your son's name on it!  The troop is not responsible for lost items.
  1. sleeping bag & ground pad (weather/temperature appropriate)
  2. eating utensils (fork, knife, spoon, bowl, cup, AND at least 1 water bottle) *
  3. proper clothing plus some spares (including hat & weather footwear)
  4. rain poncho & rescue whistle
  5. personal first aid kit (described in detail in the Boy Scout Handbook)
  6. flashlight (with extra batteries)
  7. personal hygiene items (Toilet Paper, tooth brush, deodorant, etc)
  8. Backpack (preferred) or duffel bag

*  Please do not buy "Personal Mess Kits" at camping stores that include individually sized pots/pans.  These kits include MANY pieces that are simply not necessary for the standard camp meals.  They become clutter and a mess at camp. 

In addition to the required items above, the following items are VERY helpful and strongly suggested:
  1. folding camp chair (to sit around campfire or camp)
  2. "travel-size" games or playing cards (non-electronic)
  3. pocket knife (if he has earned Toten' Chip)
  4. compass WITH a BASE PLATE
  5. hiking stick or stave
  6. sunscreen & insect repellent
  7. matches or matchless fire starter

Can I attend camp with my son?

Other than high-adventure bases like Philmont or Sea Base where adults are required to be BSA Registered Leaders, there is nothing in the BSA Program that prevents parents or legal guardians from attending camping trips with their sons. The Guide to Safe Scouting says, "There are NO 'secret societies' in Scouting.  An adult may attend any scout function with their son".

THAT BEING SAID...  there are some guidelines visiting parents are expected to follow.

1.  The "BSA Youth Protection" guidelines MUST be followed at all times.  Registered leaders can explain these to you if you are not already familiar with them.

2.  Part of you son's camp experience is to become a functioning member of his patrol, and this includes some trial & error experiences.  Therefore, he WILL sleep with his patrol, eat with his patrol, do KP (Kitchen Patrol) duties with his patrol, and perform campfire skits with his patrol.  You may watch and advise if needed... but you're expected to LET HIM "do".  If you find yourself holding a spatula, pot/pan, or matches in your hands... you're doing too much!!!

3.  Attending parents will eat, tent, and in all other ways, "function" among the attending adults.  Expect to be "put to work" over the weekend as an "adult leader", which means working with all troop members, not just your son. 

4.  Smoking, chewing tobacco, alcohol, profanity and the like are NOT welcome in Scouting.  We expect (and at BSA camp grounds it is required) that you do not smoke at Scouting events.  If you feel that you "must" smoke, you are expected to not be in view of any Scouts (our troop or other).  

5.  Do not expect your son to sleep in your tent.  While it is "technically" allowed under BSA Youth Protection, it impedes his development as a self-reliant Scout and slows his cohesion with the rest of his Patrol.  We STRONGLY discourage any excuses to bunk with your son.

6. Siblings are not welcome to remain at over night excursions, the only exception being 2nd Year WEBELOS scouts.  Although WEBELOS scouts are actually encouraged to begin interacting with a Boy Scout troops, please check in advance with the Scoutmaster to ensure that our camping agenda is appropriate for WEBELOS-aged boys.  If they are not, we must request that they not attend.

7. Non-legal guardians (boy/girl friends of single parents) are not to remain over-night at camping excursions.  

8.  Adults who plan to attend camp MUST inform the Scout Master 1 week ahead of time (indicate attendance on the Permission Slip) and contribute to the funding of meals and camp/cabin fees.

Please keep in mind that Boy Scouting is a pathway from "boyhood" to "manhood".  It is BY DESIGN that your son start working WITHOUT your assistance and involvement.   We all want to see our sons be the perfect fire-starter, perfect cook, etc... but making mistakes and "finding his own way" is part of what happens here. You'll be surprised what he's capable of doing on his own.  :-)

How big is the Troop?

As of January 2015, BSA Troop 247 has grown to 51 Scouts ranging in age from 11 to 17.   We are constantly receiving new & transfer scouts throughout the year and are poised (through brother Cub packs) to be adding many boys in the next year and beyond.

There are 10 uniformed leaders (4 of which are Eagle Scouts) who are regular attendees at the weekly troop meetings, and numerous other adults registered as committee members and/or merit badge councilors, each committed to the well-being and growth of the Scouts, and the spirit of the Scouting Program as designed by the National Council.


Are women allowed to be Boy Scout leaders?

Absolutely.  There are no restrictions towards a leader based on gender, race, age, religion, or physical handicap.

Can women attend camping trips?

Absolutely (besides, the men aren't going to stop and ask for directions when we get lost, so somebody has to!)

OK,  seriously... we'd love to have you join us on a camping trip as a "parent" or as a "registered leader".    As with any other parent/guardian who attends, you will work among the other adults and let your son work with his Patrol.   You stop being "mom" and are just another adult who is there to help the Scouts run their program for the weekend.

There are special camping guidelines we must follow when women are present relating to bathroom, shower, sleeping and privacy issues, but yes women are welcome at camping events.

Can I "sign off" on my son's requirements?

Golly Toto... we're not in Cub Scouts any more.

This is one of our most common questions, and the answer is "no" (and should have been "no" when he was a WEBELOS Scout as well.)

In Boy Scouts, it's not enough that a Scout "did it once before" or was "there the night we talked about bla bla bla.."    A Scout must SHOW PROFICIENCY and UNDERSTANDING of the rank requirements in the presence of a registered adult leader.  ONLY THEN can he get "signed off" on the requirements in the back of his Handbook.  This can be done by a uniformed adult, or a Scout who has been entrusted with the job of skill instruction.

What is Venturing?

Despite its 100 year old heritage, Scouting is a constantly evolving program finding new ways to appeal to and educate young people. 

National BSA realized over the last few years is the need to offer "High Adventure" activities to retain older boys who find high school, jobs, girls, sports, etc. competing for their time.  It also reinvigorates or invites girls who have lost interest in their Girl Scout troops and/or are seeking higher adventure.

"High Adventure" Venture PATROLS are SPECIFICALLY AIMED at catering to older boys  who are grouped together forming their own patrol within the Troop so they can take on the "high adventure" activities while maintaining patrol unity.  [again, supporting the idea that Patrols should not have mixed-ages of boys]

High Adventure groups also exist as "Venturing Crews" (age 14 to 20).  Crews can be co-ed, providing both male and female leaders are registered and present.  Unlike a Venture Patrol (in a troop) a Crew has its own charter, its own uniform, and is a separate entity aside from BS or GS Troops.  Youth can be dual-registered in a Troop and Crew if they choose, and can continue, as Venturers, to work towards BS and GS ranks.  The expectation for Crews is that the members have the skills and maturity to be COMPLETELY member-led with only minimal adult involvement.

What if our Cub Pack has a brother Troop?

Do you need to bridge into the Troop where you are currently a Cub Scout?   Absolutely not!

Just because a charter organization has both a Cub Scout pack and a Boy Scout troop, a boy bridging into Boy Scouts is NOT obligated to bridge into that particular Troop.  If you are given pressure to do so.... that's probably a sign for you to look around!  A unit with a good Program doesn't need to "recruit" or pressure boys to join.

While all Troops (should) follow the same BSA Program designed by the National Council of the BSA, you will find every troop has a program that has a LOT of differences from other units.  Some predominantly like to HIKE, others BIKE, some CAMP while others CANOE.  Some are "year round" (we are), and others take a summer break.  Some mix boys of various ages in patrols, others don't. 

It's in your son's best interests to shop around and make sure the place he is likely to spend the next 7 years of his Scouting career is going to be the best fit for him.

Troop 247 does have a "feeder" Cub Pack... and YES, we encourage them to shop around as well.  A boy should have NO pressure placed on him as to which troop to join.

We draw boys from packs and troops all over the area.  Our Program is strong, our facilities are BETTER than most scout camps, and (sadly) you will find our dedication to doing things "by the book" is more rare than it should be.

Please shop around.  If you'd give us the honor of your consideration, we'd love for you to be our guests one night.

Wouldn't it "run smoother" with adults in charge?

Yup... it probably would.  But why would we want that?

This is BOY SCOUTS... not "fathers getting away for the weekend" Scouts... nor is it "WEBELOS 3" where adults are in the leadership role as in the Cub Scout program.

This is where boys LEARN and DEVELOP their leadership skills so they can become capable young men.   We DON'T EXPECT them to be the most efficient and organized leaders (and neither should you). 

This is their learning ground.  Here is where we want the "mistakes" to happen, so they can learn from them.   This is how we TEACH leadership skills instead of getting adults to "step in" because we could be "more efficient".

Remember... the program is NOT DESIGNED to run perfectly.

They may elect their "best friend" instead of the "most qualified"... and they will experience the consequences of casting a "careless vote".  They may elect the Class Clown instead of the Class President... and NEED to "suffer" through a few months of a weaker or chaotic Program.

Remember, NOTHING happens here by accident.  Trust us. Trust the 100 year old program. Have faith.   Keep your boy coming ESPECIALLY if he comes home with a few "complaints" on how things are being done.  Ask him what he would do differently or what he did to try to correct what appears to be a "screwed up" situtation.  HERE is where the Program really shows its value.

NOW you know...  "bigger things" are happening here than meets the eye.    :-)