Welcome to Troop 633!
Scouting is sure to be a rich experience of adventure and growth for your son. As parents, you'll enjoy the benefits of your Scout's increasing maturity, ability and responsibility. Your own level of participation depends on you. However, Scouting is not babysitting. A great deal of effort is required on the part of the Scout in his participation and subsequent advancement. This brief guide will explain the mechanics of advancement and the part parents must play.
The highest achievement in the Scouting program is attaining the rank of Eagle Scout, internationally recognized as a major accomplishment for a teenager and considered a mark of achievement throughout one's life. The trail to Eagle is divided into six steps after a youngster joins a troop and completes the minimum requirements for the rank of Scout.
The first three ranks are Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class. The specific requirements for these ranks are all spelled out in detail in the Scout Handbook and can also be viewed by going to the Rank Advancement link on our website. Active Scout participation and advancement go hand-in-hand. When a Scout participates in Troop activities, he will pick up most of the scout craft skills he needs to advance through these first three ranks. His patrol leadership and the Troop's Leadership Corps will provide a great deal of assistance and guidance in this. It should be noted that in order to advance from Scout through First Class a Scout does not have to earn any merit badges. This is noted so that undo pressure is not put on young Scouts to earn lots of merit badges during their first year or so in Scouting. Their primary emphasis should be on Scout skills and participation in our campouts and other activities where these skills are practiced. The next two ranks are Star and Life, and then the ultimate, Eagle.
The Scoutmaster Conference
When a scout is ready to advance in rank, the scout needs to request a scoutmaster conference with the scoutmaster or an assistant scoutmaster. During the conference, the Scoutmaster will confer individually with the Scout to go through the list of advancement requirements for the rank he is seeking to attain. The Scout needs to be fully prepared to display his knowledge and ability for each requirement of the rank sought.
The Board of Review
Following the Scoutmaster Conference the Scout must present himself before a Board of Review, which consists of three adults who ask some questions about what the Scout did to advance. The adults are advancement committee members which are usually parents but cannot be parents of the scout completing the board. The Board encourages the Scout to discuss his future desires in Scouting and reconfirm his commitment to the program.
The Court of Honor
Each year our Troop holds four regularly scheduled Courts of Honor at which rank advancement is formally conferred upon the Scout. The Courts are held in August, December, March and June. Merit badges, year pins and other notable achievements are also celebrated.
During the rank advancement portion of the Court of Honor, the Scout will be called to the front with his parents. The Scoutmaster will present him with his rank patch to be worn on his uniform, a large insignia pin to be worn at non-scouting events, such as church, and a small insignia pin for his mother.
The Merit Badge
A Scout may earn many Merit Badges at Boy Scout summer camp, at Merit Badge classes, or on his own initiative. Boy Scout summer camp is offered every year for a week at one of several locations. Most of the time, scouts need to sign up for the merit badges they want to earn prior to attending camp. The Scouts make their own schedule of courses. Various events are offered throughout the week that apply to that Badge to help complete the requirements. However, scouts sometimes need to work on certain requirements prior to camp or after in order to fulfill all the requirements. This has traditionally been the most common way for Scouts to earn Merit Badges. Parents will be given information about each year's summer camp before the troop meetings adjourn for the summer. A boy may also earn a Merit Badge on his own by contacting a Merit Badge counselor, who acts as both an examiner and a coach. The steps a boy must follow to earn a Merit Badge are outlined in the Boy Scout Handbook or Boy Scout Requirements. Sometimes, the Boy Scout leaders elect to work on merit badges during the scout meeting (which they decide during their monthly patrol leader council meetings). Please view the Merit Badges page on our site (see the left navigation).
The Merit Badge Challenge
Completing a Merit Badge requires effort and organization on the part of the Scout. It will often require that he take the initiative by contacting a merit badge counselor on his own and following through on meetings with the counselor. This is as much a part of his achievement as the completion of the requirements. For the younger Scouts, this does not always come naturally. However, they will most likely achieve a number of Merit Badges at camp or classes even in the early ranks. But they may begin some Badges only to find them too difficult at a younger age. It's the parent's job to support the Scout's choices but we can't do the work for them. Merit Badges are considered of secondary importance next to leadership and self-reliance. Merit Badges are not a required part of rank advancement until the upper ranks of Star, Life and Eagle. These required Badges are outlined in the Boy Scout Handbook or Boy Scout Requirements. Some boys like to get into some of these at the first opportunity. Take the time to look over your Scout's Boy Scout Handbook. You'll be impressed at the breadth of useful knowledge your son is to become acquainted with and you'll have a ton of respect for anyone who has earned the rank Eagle Scout.
A blue card is perforated in three sections: the application for Merit Badge, the applicant's record and the counselor's record. The Scout keeps the card intact. The counselor will fill out the requirement section as completed and when the Scout has completed the Merit Badge, the counselor will tear off his section and keep it. The Scout will separate the remaining two sections. The first section is to be delivered to the Troop's Advancement Committee member at the soonest opportunity. The center section of the blue card is retained by the Scout after it is completed and signed. The Scout must retain this section permanently. It will be needed when he is ready to submit his completed Eagle Scout application to the National Scout Office in Dallas, Texas. In making this application, the Scout must be able to prove the receipt of all the merit badges listed in the application. Carefully keeping and safeguarding these blue cards will substantially facilitate this whole Eagle Application process. The Advancement Committee member will enter the Merit Badge into the Troop record and, before the next Court of Honor, the district record. The Scout will receive the Merit Badge at the next Court of Honor.
One of the first principles of Scouting stressed in The Scoutmaster's Handbook is "An adult should never do anything that the Scouts can do for themselves." We believe that, as these Scouts enter the program and grow into young men, everything the Scout program requires of them they can do themselves. This creates a new role for many parents of former Cub Scouts. Encourage them...yes! Remind them and be a bit of nag...yes! Be supportive of their responsibilities to themselves and the troop...absolutely! But please let them grow and learn through the program of our Troop and the Scout movement. This concept of self-sufficiency is critically important. Although the road to this ideal may not always seem smooth, it is important for all Scouts and parents to understand this concept and to abide by it. The parents help to make this work by being aware of the Scouting schedule. Parents should know the Troop calendar and understand what the Scout should be doing to prepare for advancement and/or activities. Consequently, the parents can be supportive through encouragement and reminders. But the work must be done by the Scout. Preparatory work for merit badges, for advancement and for all campouts is to be done by the Scout and not the parents. Parents are never to pack their son's packs for campouts or backpacking trips, you can watch, you can hint, but make them do it. It doesn’t help a Scout when he says he doesn't know if he brought his toothbrush or where his flashlight is because his Mother packed it (or didn't pack it.)
The Troop is run by boy (Scout) leadership. The same is true for patrols. There will be some shortcomings in this leadership at times. And some of the Scouts will be better at it than others. Scouts learn by doing (and, sometimes, by goofing up.) The adults' job is to help them be the best leaders they can be, but not to take the job away from them in an effort to try to make sure everything is perfect. As hard as it may be to stand by and watch, we will gradually see an organized, responsible leader emerge. They'll be proud of themselves and so will you.
Parents are Welcome
Unlike many troops, our Troop has many activities that parents (fathers and mothers) are permitted to attend, including some of our most physically demanding backpacking and high adventure activities. This level of participation helps make the Scout program a true family affair, but it is not required. The Troop's policy of Scout self-sufficiency continues, which allows the sons to make some of their own decisions under the Troop leadership and allows the parents to enjoy themselves! Those parents who have suffered through some of our most arduous and spectacularly beautiful activities have come away with the great sense of personal accomplishment and appreciation for the wilderness that we hope to instill in the Scouts.
Parents Mandatory Training
The Troop recommends that one parent from each scout is required to take 3 online classes. Taking these classes will help you understand the way the troop operates. This keeps us all on the same page and will give you a working knowledge of the troop's functions. The classes needed are Youth Protection Training (YPT), Committee Challenge, and Boy Scout Fast Start. Each class is about 20 minutes. They do not need to be taken all at once, but should be taken during teh first 30 days of your child joining teh troop.
Start by going to www.scouting.org for all training. You need to create an account first. Click on myscouting to create an account and take the classess, you will be promped throughout the website. You will need to print out the cards reflecting your training. Please give a copy of the cards to the troop committee.
The Troop Charter and Troop Committee
Every Boy Scout Troop has a chartering organization. Troop 633 is chartered by The New Kirk Presbyterian Church. The decision-making body is known as The Troop 633 Committee. You may be asked to register as an Adult Leader, with the position of committee member. This makes you are a bonafide member of the committee. You will also then be able to fill in as an adult leader on outings should you choose to.
Troop 633 has active and experienced adult leadership at both the Scoutmaster and parent level. If you ever have any questions, do not hesitate to let us know. If you ever have any suggestions, pass them along! We always seek to be better and new ideas are encouraged.
Welcome to Troop 633!