Troop 88

Bridgewater, NJ

 

Parent’s Handbook

2006 draft

 

 


 

Introduction

 

Welcome to Boy Scout Troop 88 of Bridgewater.

 

Troop 88 is one of many Troops in the "Raritan Valley District", of the Patriots Path Council. A number of such Councils make up the Northeastern Region of The Boy Scouts of America (B.S.A.).  In all, there are four regions and about 400 councils making up the national B.S.A. organization.

 

Troop 88's sponsor, or chartering organization, is The Friends of Troop 88. Troop 88 is non-denominational and welcomes all interested boys, age 11 to 18, into Scouting.  A boy needs no prior experience to become a Boy Scout.

 

The purpose of The Boy Scouts of America (B.S.A.) is to build character, self-reliance, leadership, physical fitness and citizenship in boys, as they become young men.  To accomplish these purposes, the B.S.A. offer a program based upon outdoor activities and a patrol structure of troop organization.

 

Troop 88's goal is to offer its boys an enjoyable opportunity to participate in the B.S.A. program and to support its boys in their development of the community awareness and personal values embodied in the Scout Oath and Law (as set forth in THE BOY SCOUT HANDBOOK).

 

Troop 88 hopes that participation in the B.S.A. program will be a fun experience for each boy, help make him a better person, and give him fundamental tools he might not learn elsewhere to be successful in whatever path he chooses later on in his life.


                                   Troop Structure

 

Scout Patrols

 

Boy Scout Troops are organized and operated by the boys, using a patrol method.  The patrol method is boys leading boys.  Normally, a Patrol consists of six to ten Scouts, of the same age group or members of the same graduating Webloes den, with one Scout elected by the boys in the Patrol as the Patrol Leader and one Scout appointed by the Patrol Leader as the Assistant Patrol Leader.  Both positions have half-year terms.  All the boys in the Troop elect a Senior Patrol Leader, who appoints an Assistant Senior Patrol Leader.

 

Patrols operate independently as teams, with the boys responsible for planning and carrying out Patrol and Troop activities.  Patrol Leaders learn how to lead and manage Patrol activities by working under the direction of the Senior Patrol Leader and his Assistant.  Patrol Leaders meet bi-weekly to plan meetings and programs. The Senior Patrol Leader and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader learn how to lead and manage troop activities by giving directions to the Patrol Leaders and their Assistants.

 

The function of the Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmasters and other adults who participate in Troop 88 activities is to facilitate, counsel and guide rather than actually assisting the boys in performing their tasks.  This is a significant difference from the Cub Scout program, where parents are expected to help their sons with various projects and all pack leadership is by adults.

 

Patrol Leaders Council (PLC)

 

All Troop 88 activities are planned, organized and run by the boy leaders with the support of the adult leadership.  The adults act as advisors, counselors and facilitators for the boys.  They are responsible for providing the guidance to assure the experience the boys have is positive and fulfills the B.S.A. purposes and Troop 88 goals embodied in the Scout Oath and Law.  A Patrol Leaders Council (PLC) develops and implements an Annual Plan, with monthly themes, for Troop 88's activities.  The PLC consists of the Senior Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Scribe (Secretary), Quartermaster (Equipment), Troop Guide (Training) and the Patrol Leaders.

 

The PLC meets on the 2nd Tuesday of every month from September to June.


Troop Committee

 

The administrative needs of Troop 88 are supported by a Troop Committee consisting of adults who are primarily parents of Scouts in Troop 88.  They have responsibility for keeping financial records, organizing transportation, and raising funds for Troop activities.  They recruit a Scoutmaster and his Assistants.  They meet monthly with the Scoutmaster to help them make Troop 88 the best it can be each year.

 

Troop Committee meetings are generally held on the first Tuesday of each month (except July and August) at 7:30 p.m. at the Eisenhower Intermediate school.  All parents are urged to attend and participate whenever and however possible.

 

Scoutmasters

 

The Troop's uniformed adult leaders are a Scoutmaster and one or more Assistant Scoutmasters.  They are the adults who work most closely with the Scouts.  They attend and supervise the weekly meetings of Troop 88 and accompany the Scouts on trips and outings.  The Scoutmaster reports to the Committee monthly on the status of the Troop and seeks the support of the Committee to make Troop 88 the best it can be.

 

Roster and Calendar

 

The latest roster of Scouts, Scoutmasters and Troop Committee members and the latest Calendar of meetings and troop events are located on the Troop Web Site at http://www.troop88bsa.org. There are also links to other Scouting related sites.   


                                                     Troop Meetings

 

Weekly Meetings

 

Troop 88 holds regular weekly meetings on Thursday evenings from 7:30 to 9:00 in the General Purpose Room at the Eisenhower Intermediate School when school is open. The Troop meets at an alternate site (St. Bernard’s or The Bridgewater United Methodist Church) when school is closed. On the 3rd Thursday of each month, the Troop holds an Advancement Workshop. This is an informal meeting (no uniform required) where Scouts can work on Rank requirements or Merit Badges.

 

Each Scout is expected to attend each weekly meeting wearing a Scout Uniform (shirt, pants or shorts, belt, and socks) and carrying his own copy of THE BOY SCOUT HANDBOOK.  Uniforms and Handbooks can be purchased at the Patriots Path Council main office at 222 Columbia Turnpike in Florham Park, NJ 07932 or at 1130 Route 22 West in Mountainside and at other locations specified in the section titled "SCOUT UNIFORM."  Regular attendance at weekly meetings in full uniform is an important measure of participation in the activities of Troop 88 and a way to show “scout spirit” Scouts are expected to arrive on time and go directly to the General Purpose Room. After each meeting, Scouts should go directly home or be picked up at 9:00.  Whenever possible, parents are urged to attend weekly Troop 88 meetings to offer assistance to the Scoutmasters and members of the Advancement Committee.

 

Scout Conduct During Meetings

 

All Scouts are expected to cooperate with and follow the directions of Scoutmasters, Patrol Leaders and their fellow Scouts in maintaining good behavior at all Scout meetings.  During meetings, all Scouts must stay in designated areas of the meeting place, respect public and private property, and not disturb other groups using the meeting place at the same time.  Boy Scouts should also show respect for all people who are giving their time and talents to instruct and lead them, whether these people are Scoutmasters, parents, fellow Scouts or people from outside Troop 88.  Troop 88 asks parents to remind their Scouts of these rules of conduct before each meeting.

 

Troop 88 cannot be responsible for Scouts who leave the meeting area while meetings are in progress without permission from a Scoutmaster or other responsible adult.  Disciplinary action will be taken if boys insist on leaving the areas Troop 88 has permission to utilize.

 

Courts of Honor

 

Troop 88 conducts 3 Courts of Honor during the year, usually in October, February and June. A Court of Honor is a special meeting at which public recognition is shown for Scouts who have advanced in rank or earned merit badges.  Troop 88 asks the family of every Scout to attend all these Courts of Honor to show support for those Scouts who are advancing or being awarded merit badges whether or not a member of the family will be receiving an award.

 

The Court of Honor in February is a dinner meeting, when the Troop re-charters and the boys and adult leaders re-register with the Troop for another year.

 

Camping

 

Monthly Outings

 

The B.S.A. program offered by Troop 88 is based on the motto, "ScOUTing is OUTing."  For this reason, Troop 88 tries to schedule an outdoor event (weekend camping trips, 10 mile hikes, etc.) for each month of the year.  Parental support is needed in properly equipping each Scout for camping trips and hikes. Traditionally, several fathers go along with the Scoutmasters as chaperons on all the events, particularly any canoe trips or ski weekends.

 

The Troop meets at the Bridgewater United Methodist Church for outings. This is where Troop 88 has its equipment trailer.

 

Adult Participation

 

Parents of the Scouts, traditionally fathers, are encouraged to participate in all Troop outdoor activities, both to help the Scoutmasters make the trips enjoyable and to set a good role model for the Scouts.  The more outdoor activities parents attend, the more confident they become in their own outdoor skills and the more they are able to contribute in a meaningful way on subsequent activities.

 

Scouts are expected to use the patrol method to plan and run each outdoor activity on their own, to the extent of their abilities.  Scouts need to learn how to set up their own tents, purchase and prepare their own food, and work together as a Patrol.  The function of the adults is to facilitate, counsel and guide rather than actually performing or assisting the Scouts in performing their assigned tasks on outings.  Fathers of Scouts should not become part of their son's Patrol or share tents with their sons.  Troop 88 has enough tents for adults to sleep separately.

 

In preparation for outdoor activities, adults should become familiar with the Scout Oath and Law and other information about scouting in their son's copy of THE BOY SCOUT HANDBOOK. The B.S.A. have developed considerable expertise over the years in camping and hiking methods, and the Patriots Path Council offers training courses to enable adults to learn these skills quickly. When an adult does not know about a particular camping or hiking skill, it is best to ask the Scoutmaster or one of the Assistant Scoutmasters before instructing the Scouts. While the Scouts and their Patrol members are expected to learn by doing and occasionally making mistakes, there is no place in the Troop 88 program for either dangerous or un-Scoutlike behavior.  If any adult observes a Scout doing something which is obviously out of place on any Troop 88 activity, he or she should act immediately to put a stop to the behavior and then refer the matter to the Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmaster in charge at the first opportunity.

 

Summer Camp

 

Each year during the summer, often the last week of June, Troop 88 spends one week at a scout camp, such as Resica Falls Scout Reservation located in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.  The Cradle of Liberty Council operates the camp. Participation by every Scout is strongly encouraged and has been found to be a great experience for the boys and a decided asset for advancement to Eagle Scout.

 

The program at scout camp revolves around a program for first year Scouts and merit-badge-related activities that include waterfront, scoutcraft, ecology, rifle and shotgun shooting and archery.

 

 The First Year Scout program is a structured program that helps first year Scouts complete many of the requirements they need to advance to Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class ranks.

 

Each Scout can choose from various Merit Badges offered at camp. The Scout makes his own schedule and is responsible for completing the Merit Badge requirements.  The camp staff are qualified Merit Badge Counselors for the various Merit Badges offered at camp.

 

The Troop lives together at a campsite with platform tents provided by the camp. Meals are cooked and served at the Camp Commissary.  The boys are expected to help by serving as waiters during the week.

 

While most Scouts participate in the camp program, some experienced Scouts can enroll in a C.O.P.E program.

 

The cost per Scout has been about $275 for the week.

 

Other Activities

 

Philmont Scout Reservation

 

Every summer, the Patriots Path Council organizes a 12-day trip to Philmont, the B.S.A. high adventure reservation near Cimarron, New Mexico, for backpacking and trekking. Each Scout must be 14 years old by January 1 of the year he chooses to go to Philmont and reach the rank 1st Class Scout. Every couple of years the troop will organize a crew of 12 (9 scouts / 3 Adults), but scouts may also participate individually any year. The trip to Philmont generally costs about $1200, but costs vary from year to year due to airfare and other traveling expenses.

 

National Jamborees

 

Every fourth summer The Boy Scouts of America organize a National Jamboree, a gathering of about 30,000 Scouts from all over the U.S. and around the world.  Every so often an International Jamboree is organized and Scouts from all over the World participate.  There are no set locations for these Jamborees.  The Patriots Path Council coordinates our participation, and costs vary depending on location.

 

Totem Trail

 

Every winter, usually a Saturday in the latter part of February, the Raritan valley District sponsors a winter competition. Patrols pull sleds across a "Yukon Territory" to various "towns".  The competition involves different Scout skills at each town such as fire building and first aid.  Troop 88 Patrols have done well in recent years.  Scouts who participate receive recognition.


Troop Sponsored High Adventure Outings

 

Every summer the Troop also tries to sponsor a High Adventure campout for Scouts 13 and older. In addition to Philmont, we have gone to Florida Seabase, canoeing in Minnesota, white water rafting on the New River in West Virginia and many other places.

 

Advancement

 

Advancement in Rank

 

To build self-reliance, each Scout is supposed to be responsible for planning and completing his own advancement in scouting at his own pace.  Rank advancement is earned through passing specific requirements by demonstrating special knowledge or skills to the Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmasters or Troop Instructors, by showing scout spirit (participating regularly in the Troop 88 program, helping with fundraisers, and living up to the Scout Oath and Law) and, for the higher ranks, by earning merit badges, exhibiting leadership and serving others.  The ultimate in achievement for those scouts who are able is earning the rank of Eagle Scout, and being publicly recognized in a special ceremony at an Eagle Court of Honor.

 

While the responsibility for advancement is each Scout's alone, most Scouts need regular parental encouragement to advance.  Progress is supposed to be recorded in each boy's own copy of THE BOY SCOUT HANDBOOK, a parent should periodically ask him how he is progressing, what requirements he must satisfy to attain the next highest rank, and what his plans are for satisfying these requirements. Note that parents cannot sign-off the requirements for their scout.  Parents should also show support by attending meetings, going on trips and participating with their boys in other activities, which provide opportunities for advancement.

 

When a Scout has completed all the requirements for advancement in rank, he must ask for and have a conference with the Scoutmaster and a meeting with a Board of Review made up of adult members of Troop 88, to check and confirm that the Scout has satisfied all the requirements for the rank.

 

Badges or insignia of rank are usually awarded to a Scout at the next regular meeting of Troop 88 after he successfully passes a Board of Review.  Public recognition for advancement is given at the next Court of Honor held by Troop 88.


Merit Badges

 

Merit badge requirements are found in THE BOY SCOUT HANDBOOK and in special Merit Badge Pamphlets available where Scout Uniforms are sold.  Each Scout is responsible for deciding which merit badges to work for, and how to go about satisfying the applicable requirements.  Some merit badges are best or most easily worked on and earned in a group at summer camp.  Others can be earned at special Merit Badge Workshops conducted each February by the Patriots Path Council, where a Scout can work on up to three badges in one day.  Often merit badges, which a Scout may need to reach the Star, Life or Eagle rank, will require the help of an individual certified merit badge counselor.  In these cases, it is the responsibility of each Scout to contact and make arrangements to meet and work with the certified merit badge counselor at a mutually convenient place and time.  Troop 88 and the Raritan Valley District Advancement Committee maintain a list of current merit badge counselors.

 

Troop 88's Scoutmasters are always ready to advise a Scout or his parent about the best way to earn a merit badge of individual interest to a Scout

 

Fund Raising

 

Registration/Dues

 

Troop charges each Scout dues of $85.00 per year.  This includes a registration fee for enrolling each Scout with the B.S.A., plus a year's subscription to BOY'S LIFE.  It is a policy of the Troop that dues must be kept current in order for a Scout to receive advancement or participate in Troop events.  Registration fees are not refundable if a scout decides to leave the Troop.

 

Fund Raising Events

 

Troop 88 does not require its Scouts to sell items to raise money. We do participate in the Bridgewater Township Clean-Up and we try to organize two Car Washes per year.  We encourage the Scouts and their families to participate in these events to help Troop 88 raise money to help maintain Troop equipment.


Scout Uniform

 

The Scout uniform is Troop 88's symbol of membership in and commitment to Scouting.  It is a visible reminder of the spirit and ideals of Scouting and should be worn properly and neatly as described in THE BOY SCOUT HANDBOOK (which also illustrates how badges and insignia should be sewn on).

 

Requirements

 

"Class A" uniform is required for all Troop activities, including weekly Troop meetings, Courts of Honor, summer camp, camporees, travel on most Scout trips, and as otherwise specified by the Scoutmaster or Senior Patrol Leader.  It consists of:

 


q    Scout shirt with patches and shoulder loops

q    Scout pants or shorts, belt, and socks

q    For attendance at weekly Troop meetings, the Scout Uniform also includes each Scout's own copy of THE BOY SCOUT HANDBOOK.

 

 

Purchasing Uniforms and Handbook

 

What to get:

 

q    Scout shirt

q    Pants, belt, socks

q    Shorts (optional but requires knee socks)

q    Troop 88 numerals

q    Patriots Path Council patch

q    World Scouting patch

q    Patrol patch (Patrol name is decided by each new Patrol)

 

What not to get:

q    Rank patches and Merits Badges (awarded by the Troop)

q    Quality Unit patches

q    Special Achievement Knots


Where to get Uniform and Handbook:

 

Patriots Path Council Offices:

      1130 Route 22 West, Mountainside (908) 654-9191

      222 Columbia Turnpike, Florham Park, NJ 07932 (973) 765-9322 x233

 

Efinger Sporting Goods, 513 W Union Ave. Bound Brook

J.C. Penney & Co., catalog and stores

Troop 88 Uniform Exchange - during Courts of Honor or see the Scoutmaster

 

Camping Equipment

 

Buying camping equipment for a Scout does not need to be expensive.  Most of the camping done by Troop 88 is relatively light.  The Troop owns tents and a great deal of camping gear that is shared by all campers.  A parent who does not have camping experience should not let a salesman (at EMS on the Somerville Circle, Campmor on Route 17 in Paramus or a similar store) equip a Scout for an assault on the Himalayas!  Nevertheless, an investment in sturdy, functional camping equipment that will last the boy through college usually turns out to be a good decision in the long run. When in doubt, let the Scoutmaster or an Assistant advise you about what to buy.  For starters, here are some reliable suggestions:

 

Required Equipment

 

For Weekend Camping:

 

q    Sleeping bag - Avoid down-filled bags which are useless when wet.

q    Plate, bowl, cup, knife, fork and spoon - Many parents purchase an inexpensive "mess kit" and a snap together utensil set, but this is not required.

q    Rain gear - The poncho or hooded light jacket a Scout wears to school is usually adequate.

q    Shoes - Waterproof hiking boots or work boots<

q    Flashlight with fresh batteries

q    Duffel bag, to carry a Scout's gear in

q    Other personal items - Look in THE BOY SCOUT HANDBOOK for a useful checklist.

 

For Summer Camp:

 

q    Whether staying in camp or participating in a wilderness trek, the summer camp leader or trek leader will specify the equipment needed

q    Certain additional items may be needed for the particular merit badges that a Scout may wish to pursue

 

Desirable Equipment (optional):

 

q    Backpack - Alternative to duffel bag for camping,, which may be essential for some hiking trips.  Consult with a Scoutmaster before buying if your Scout is small or growing rapidly.

q    Boy Scout pocketknife - The B.S.A. do not allow non-folding sheath type knives (or personal hatchets).

q    Compass – certain activities require the use of a compass 

q    A foam mattress or ground pad, for use under a sleeping bag.

 

 

What to do if...

 

Your Scout wakes up ill the morning of a Troop trip or event...

          Call the event leader, the Scoutmaster or one of his Assistants.  If unable to reach anyone, go to the meeting place to inform the leader in charge of the situation.

 

Your Scout misses a weekly Troop meeting...

          Have him call his Patrol Leader to get any information that he might have missed.

 

You or your Scout cannot make it to a scheduled Troop event or organized activity...

          Let the Scoutmaster know as soon as possible.

 

Your Scout is awarded patches and you don't know where to sew them on his uniform...

          Consult THE BOY SCOUT HANDBOOK.

 

Your Scout is unsure of the requirements for his next rank...

          Have him look in THE BOY SCOUT HANDBOOK or consult his Patrol Leader, or review with him the Individual Scout Record attached to this Handbook.

 

Your Scout earns a rank or merit badge...

          Attend all Courts of Honors to show your support for the Troop and your pride in their achievements.

 

You wish to become more involved in your son's Scouting career...

          Start attending weekly Troop meetings, weekend camping trips and monthly Troop Committee meetings.

 

You have a question or concern about some aspect of the Troop 88 program...

          Contact the Scoutmaster, the Committee Chairperson or attend a Troop Committee meeting and bring up your concern for discussion.

 

Your Scout really enjoys Troop 88 and its activities...

          Show him and his Scoutmaster just how pleased you are... and urge him to recruit other boys to join Troop 88.