Mission of the Boy Scouts of America 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.
Aims and Methods of the Scouting Program The Scouting program has three specific objectives, commonly referred to as the "Aims of Scouting." They are:
|Scout Oath |
| || || ||Scout Law |
|On my honor I will do my best |
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.
| || || ||A Scout is |
trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
- Character Development
- Citizenship Training
- Personal Fitness
The methods by which the aims are achieved are listed below in random order to emphasize the equal importance of each.
Ideals. The ideals of Boy Scouting are spelled out in the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Scout motto, and the Scout slogan. The Boy Scout measures himself against these ideals and continually tries to improve. The goals are high, and as he reaches for them, he has some control over what and who he becomes.
Patrols. The patrol method gives Boy Scouts an experience in group living and participating citizenship. It places responsibility on young shoulders and teaches boys how to accept it. The patrol method allows Scouts to interact in small groups where members can easily relate to each other. These small groups determine troop activities through elected representatives.
Outdoor Programs. Boy Scouting is designed to take place outdoors. It is in the outdoor setting that Scouts share responsibilities and learn to live with one another. In the outdoors the skills and activities practiced at troop meetings come alive with purpose. Being close to nature helps Boy Scouts gain an appreciation for the beauty of the world around us. The outdoors is the laboratory in which Boy Scouts learn ecology and practice conservation of nature's resources.
Advancement. Boy Scouting provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps in overcoming them through the advancement method. The Boy Scout plans his advancement and progresses at his own pace as he meets each challenge. The Boy Scout is rewarded for each achievement, which helps him gain self-confidence. The steps in the advancement system help a Boy Scout grow in self-reliance and in the ability to help others.
Associations With Adults. Boys learn a great deal by watching how adults conduct themselves. Scout leaders can be positive role models for the members of the troop. In many cases a Scoutmaster who is willing to listen to boys, encourage them, and take a sincere interest in them can make a profound difference in their lives.
Personal Growth. As Boy Scouts plan their activities and progress toward their goals, they experience personal growth. The Good Turn concept is a major part of the personal growth method of Boy Scouting. Boys grow as they participate in community service projects and do Good Turns for others. Probably no device is as successful in developing a basis for personal growth as the daily Good Turn. The religious emblems program also is a large part of the personal growth method. Frequent personal conferences with his Scoutmaster help each Boy Scout to determine his growth toward Scouting's aims.
Leadership Development. The Boy Scout program encourages boys to learn and practice leadership skills. Every Boy Scout has the opportunity to participate in both shared and total leadership situations. Understanding the concepts of leadership helps a boy accept the leadership role of others and guides him toward the citizenship aim of Scouting. The National Youth Leadership Training program is known as White Stag. There are age and rank requirements, as well as, a Scoutmaster recommendation that are necessary to participate in this program. Look under the Advancement section of the website to learn more about this program.
Uniform. The uniform makes the Boy Scout troop visible as a force for good and creates a positive youth image in the community. Boy Scouting is an action program, and wearing the uniform is an action that shows each Boy Scout's commitment to the aims and purposes of Scouting. The uniform gives the Boy Scout identity in a world brotherhood of youth who believe in the same ideals. The uniform is practical attire for Boy Scout activities and provides a way for Boy Scouts to wear the badges that show what they have accomplished.
|Q: || ||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 Counselor (MBC). |
As a Committee Member, you should be willing to attend the Committee Meetings and get involved in as much/little upcoming activities as you wish.
As a Merit Badge Counselor, you choose to provide counseling from 1 to many of the available Merit Badges. YOU DO NOT need to be an "expert" to be a counselor, but you should be knowledgeable in the subject area. (It does not have to be a vocation, it can be a hobby.)
As a Merit Badge Counselor, 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 counselor. 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. A background check will be done. WE (The 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 and not the policy of Troop 459.
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|Q: || ||How much does Scouting cost? |
|A: || ||Scouts pay weekly dues currently set at $3.00/week. We encourage the Scouts to earn their own dues. These monies cover numerous awards, badges, pins, event fees, camping gear (tents, stoves, etc), groceries for camp-outs, and more. |
National registration is $24 year and a subscription to Boy's Life (optional) is $12/year.
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 in May.
The Troop takes part in the Council's popcorn fundraiser each Fall. The Scout's participation is optional but the monies raised go into each boy's Individual Scout Account (ISA). The funds can go toward dues, summer camp, registration or other Scout related fees including personal gear.
Infrequently, the troop has held separate fundraisers in which we expect all boys to take part. These often are planned to support a specific activity or goal such as equipment replacement/upgrades.
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|Q: || ||Will my son be intimidated by the older boys? |
|A: || ||We follow a ZERO TOLERANCE policy for bullying. 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. |
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|Q: || ||What do boys do as "Boy Scouts"? |
|A: || ||The Boy Scout Of America Program is a 100 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 permanent 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.
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|Q: || ||What are some of the things THIS troop has done? |
|A: || ||... camp EVERY month |
... Klondike Derby
... week-long Summer Camp each year
... 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?
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|Q: || ||What "age limits" exist in the Boy Scout program? |
|A: || ||The ONLY age requirements are established by the National Program. |
To join, a boy must be 11 years old (unless he has earned the Arrow if Light as a Cub Scout).
The last day you are a Boy Scout is the day PRIOR your 18th birthday. All work (rank and badges) must be DONE by this day. The Eagle Board of Review can occur after the 18th birthday, but work/project must be done PRIOR to the 18th birthday.
There are no age requirements for any merit badges although the Scoutmaster may discuss whether a boy is ready (either mentally or physically) for the work some require.
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|Q: || ||What is the "official" uniform? |
|A: || ||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:
* 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.
- troop neckerchief
- BSA tan shirt (with patches placed in the proper spots)
- BSA olive pants
- BSA web belt w/ buckle
- BSA socks
- merit badge sash *
It is not always practical to wear the uniform shirt every minute a Scout is involved in a scouting-related activity. The troop has adopted a "Class B" t-shirt with the BSA logo and our troop number.
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|Q: || ||What is the difference between Rank & Merit Badges? |
|A: || ||Rank is the level of Scouting a boy has achieved. |
There are over 100 various merit badges available (only 21 needed for Eagle). To ensure that the Scouts are getting a taste of the opportunities available, the higher badges of rank require a set number of merit badges be completed (including some designated as "Eagle required").
- When a boy joins Scouting, his first POSITION is one of "Scout".
- He then works on the first 3 RANKS; Tenderfoot, 2nd Class, and 1st Class. Within the requirements of these ranks, a Scout learns the SAFETY aspects of Scouting; basic first aid, how to choose a safe camp spot, how to properly dress for an outing, how to find his way with map/compass, what to do if he gets lost, etc...
- Now a demonstrated "safe" Scout... he is ready for his next period of personal development, which is LEADERSHIP. In the pursuit of Star, Life, and Eagle, a youth is learning (and then mastering) the skills of leadership. By holding leadership positions within the troop, he learns to lead, instruct, and inspire others. He learns to "give back" to others, and also learns his emerging place in society as a citizen.
Merit badges offer exposure to a diverse background of interests, adventures, and opportunities that Scouts may never experience IF NOT for the Scouting program (aviation, scuba, reptile study, shooting sports, etc). It is not uncommon that exposure to a topic via the merit badge program leads to life-long hobbies and career choices, as well as "needed skills" like home repair, auto mechanics, and public speaking.
There is no limit on the number of merit badges a youth may earn.
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|Q: || ||Does my son have to come every week? |
|A: || ||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 "weekend fun" away from the kid sister. Scouting is a carefully crafted character-development program. |
A boy who shows up sporadically deprives himself of the chance to make key decisions within the troop; choose trip ideas and destinations, make menu selections, divvy out workload, and build close friendships. Meetings include a period of valuable skill instruction and fun competitions that may relate to the upcoming camping trip. If a boy 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.
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|Q: || ||Does the Troop have some "Bylaws" that I can read? |
|A: || ||Bylaws are not necessary 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 100 year old Program that is already perfected? Try getting some BSA training instead folks.....
- SPL runs the Troop meetings and events
- PLC makes the decisions
- Adult leaders give the boys support
- Committee members handle administration and funding
- COR or Charter Organization oversees the adults and program to be sure to is achieving the objectives.
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|Q: || ||What if my son is not advancing? |
|A: || ||Advancement in Scouting is STRICTLY 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 Counselor. 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, opportunities are made available to complete work and frequent reminders are made to encourage boys to "step up" to make the most of their opportunities.
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 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 and a leader.
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|Q: || ||Can a boy be "demoted" or have badges taken away? |
|A: || ||Once a rank or merit badge has been earned, it can never be taken away. In addition, once a Merit Badge Counselor 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 is usually retaking the instructional course. Until that happens, a Scout is not permitted to carry/use a knife, nor may he start or tend a fire.
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|Q: || ||What is a Court of Honor? |
|A: || ||A Court of Honor is a Boy Scouting awards ceremony, commonly held quarterly throughout the year. |
At the Court of Honor, Scouts and their families gather for a formal recognition of advancement(s) and accomplishments that have been earned since the last Court of Honor. There are also periods for the Troop's Committee Chairperson to speak to the state of the Troop, or for some other event such as Scouting's annual Friends of Scouting campaign.
By ceremoniously recognizing the value of advancement and hard work, we hope to strengthen a boy's motivation to continue being active within the Troop. The Court of Honor also gives parents/guardians valuable insight to accomplishments or program happenings they may not see due to their lack of presence at the weekly meetings.
As always, the goal is to ENCOURAGE, through positive reinforcement and praise.
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|Q: || ||How many merit badges can I work on? |
|A: || ||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. |
That being said, the idea is to LEARN about a particular topic through the merit badges 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.
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|Q: || ||Can I keep working closely with my son? |
|A: || ||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. |
Your presence at Cub Scouts 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 Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmasters, and various Merit Badge Counselors. He also needs to become comfortable with working without adults hovering over him as he works with his patrol.
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|Q: || ||What is the ONE bit of advice for a Scout? |
|A: || ||READ THE BOOK ! |
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 Wednesday night, but a regular and routine part of every day.
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|Q: || ||How do Scouts earn Merit Badges? |
|A: || ||The day a boy signs his BSA application, he is eligible to start working on merit badges. |
Completing a merit badge involves 4 people... The Scout, the Scoutmaster, the Merit Badge Counselor (MBC), and the troop's Advancement Chair.
- Scout chooses a badge (or badges) that he'd like to work on (alone or with another Scout).
- He informs the Scoutmaster of his intention to work on a badge, and is issued a "blue card" and given the contact information for a registered Merit Badge Counselor (MBC). A MBC can be ANY registered MBC in any Council. He is not obligated to work with counselors in his home unit or council.
- The Scout(s) contacts the MBC and make arrangements to meet as often as necessary to complete the badge requirements (following Youth Protection guidelines at all times). Upon the first meeting, the Scout presents the MBC with the blue card, which the counselor keeps so that he can update completion dates and keep track of the Scout's progress.
- Upon completion, the MBC will sign all 3 segments of the blue card, and return it back to the Scout who in turn, presents it to the Scoutmaster for final signature indicating final recognition that all work is complete.
- The Scoutmaster will pass the signed segments along to the troop's Advancement Chairperson who will record the work on the troop and council levels, and ensure the Scout is presented with his badge on the next possible opportunity.
- The Scout will be given 1 segment of his blue card which he must keep so that it can be produced when applying for his Eagle rank. The Troop should also retain a segment for their records.
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|Q: || ||What badges are "Eagle Required" ? |
|A: || ||There are a total of 21 merit badges required for the rank of Eagle. |
12 of these badges are Eagle required "silver bands" (merit badges with white/silver border stitching around the edges). The remaining 9 (or more if you choose) may be any of the remaining merit badges.
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|Q: || ||What kind of knives can Scouts carry? |
|A: || ||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. |
While the BSA strongly encourages folding (preferably locking) pocket knives; 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 knives are big, bulky, heavy, and generally far more "knife" than a Scout needs.
Troop 459 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.