SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ...

The troop calendar shows lots of activities on the weekends. Does my son have to attend all of the weekend events?

No. The activities are intended to assure that all scouts have opportunities to attend activities that they like; AND, that younger scouts have ample opportunities to have a time and place to do outside cooking and camping requirements.

Should my son go to Summer Camp? (even this upcoming summer?)

Absolutely YES (to both questions!!!!!). It is a great experience and it gives the new scout an opportunity to complete merit badge and swimming requirements needed to advance in ranks.

What about the Scout uniform?...won't just a shirt be enough?

It is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to provide the Boy Scout with his uniform.
Minimum uniform in Troop 391 is the appropriate Scout shirt with patches and neat pants or jeans and though this is the minimum we encourage each Scout to have a complete uniform as it is required by many functions such as Youth Leader Training and National Jamborees.
The Troop maintains a Uniform Bank to help any family for whom the cost of a uniform is prohibitive. All parents are encouraged to donate outgrown uniform parts to the Uniform Bank.
Uniform parts make great gifts or may be something that the boy would like to earn his own money to buy. Scouting is a uniformed organization and, like a sports uniform, the complete uniform is what gives a group its identity.
Please be aware that the BSA Uniform has a convertible long pants/shorts item.

What is my responsibility as a parent? Do I have to become a leader in order for my son to be a member of the Troop?

No but we do ask that, at the very least, each family have a least one (1) member to serve on the Troop Committee.
The Troop Committee supports the Program of the troop.
Also, we ask that families do their fair share" of driving, car-pooling, and patrol grocery shopping (Boys shopping, adults chaperoning).
We REQUIRE that families ACTIVELY participate in the Troop fund-raising events needed to keep yearly dues costs to a minimum.
The parents need to attend parent meetings and respond to mailings. If there are mailings sent or a parents' meeting is called, then it is for IMPORTANT matters.
If you want more involvement see the questions that follow. So NO, you don’t have to be a leader and a parent is NEVER REQUIRED (but always welcome) to go on trips and camp-out and hikes but the support of all the parents behind-the-scenes is critical. MOST important, we ask you to inquire and BE AWARE of your scout’s opportunities and motivate and urge him to go to events, achieve ranks and merit badges. The Troop is run by the boys but depends on parents to run special events, serve as Troop leaders and committee members and coordinate Troop activities.
Parents must read the supplement in their son’s Scout handbook. Please become familiar with the book and assist your son in working on his advancements
Parents are responsible for transporting their son to and from the Troop meetings.
One parent must attend each Court of Honor or arrange for another adult (aunt, uncle and grandparent) to be responsible for the Scout.
THE TROOP DOES NOT RUN TAXI OR CHILDCARE SERVICES. BSA does NOT stand for “Baby Sitters of America”.
Parents may be called to pick up their son from the meeting if he is unruly or be asked to attend all meetings if their child cannot behave, the alternative is the scout being asked to leave the Troop.
Please be aware that by signing your son up for Boy Scouting you are Volunteering your services to help make the Troop Go and Grow.
YOU WILL BE ASKED TO HELP
Smoking/Drinking-Alcohol and tobacco have no place at ANY Scout function either driving to or during a Scout activity. They are both strictly prohibited by both Troop 391 and BSA policy

How does the Troop communicate its program and events? How can I as a parent remain up-to-date on troop events and my scout’s progress?

Many ways:
1.) Your son will receive handouts, parents are asked to INQUIRE if the scout received any thing from the meeting.
2.) Your scout will receive phone calls from adult and boy leaders.
3.) You and your scout will receive, from time-to-time, mailings or post-cards on IMPORTANT events and financial matters.
4.) The Troop Committee meets periodically and reviews past and upcoming events.
5.) The Troop holds parent meetings 2-3 times a year to communicate IMPORTANT information such as summer camp.
6.) The troop maintains a WEBSITE http://Troop-391.org
7.) E-mail questions can be sent to the Scoutmaster and/or Assistant Scoutmaster, and the troop Committee Chairman.
8.) Make a telephone calls to the Scoutmaster and/or Asst. Scoutmaster assigned to your son’s patrol.
9) Look at you son’s Scout Handbook or ScoutTrax.com page to see where he is with respect to rank advancement.

What if an event is going on which I want my son to attend, but for whatever reason I cannot get the information needed?

For information on routine program, advancements, and meetings, scouts should first contact their Patrol Leader or Assistant Scoutmaster.
If the scout cannot obtain information, parents can call and or e-mail the Assistant Scoutmaster assigned to your son’s patrol. Or, if the Asst. Scoutmaster is not available, then the boy (or the parents) calls or e-mails the Scoutmaster.
If parents are still not able to ascertain information, then they should call or e-mail the Troop Committee Chairman
Usually Special events have one (1) leader assigned to coordinate the entire event. Special Events are activities such as Canoe Trips, Camp-O-Rees, Winter Camp, Overnight Backpacking hikes, Overnight/weekend camping, bike hikes, summer camp, etc.,
On a date, often about one (1) month prior to the special event, an information page will be given to the Scout with information about that event. This page will often list the Leader from the troop who is coordinating the efforts of the event.
If a parent has a question about a special event, the leader who is overseeing the event should be called first. This Information Page will also have specific times and dates (as may be known at the time) and other information. Also, this information may have a PERMISSION SLIP and some associated information such as an equipment checklist. This information is for BOTH the scout and the parents. Also, fee requirements must be met.

My son plays sports and will miss some/many scout meetings and weekend camping events. Can he still participate in Scouting?

Absolutely YES, he can participate in Scouting............BUT by missing many of the meetings and weekend events, his advancement through the ranks may be slowed down considerably. There MAY be a time(s) when the scout will have to choose between a sports event and a scouting event. The troop leaders can help (parents and) scouts choose which events are very important and can give the scout the greatest return for the time spent.
COMMENT: It is important to note that many boys don't do well in sports and are on 2nd or 3rd strings of sports teams--and spend a lot of time being upset while they sit on benches ....but, unlike sports, the Scouting Program permits the INDIVIDUAL to strive to compete, on an INDIVIDUAL basis, the various ranks and merit badges. There are no 1st strings or 2nd strings in scouting!!!!! Your son has an equal opportunity to participate in and succeed in any and all phases of scouting regardless of what the other scouts may be doing. The success in scouting might just be that needed self-confidence and pride that your son may need and not be able to achieve elsewhere. A scout's success in scouting will indeed be on individual basis, and can focus on his individual strengths and interests."

I want my scout to advance in the ranks. As I parent what is my role here? Is it different than Cub Scouts?

Yes. In Boy Scouts, the scout (not the parent) has the primary and overall responsibility to make contacts and arrangements. Thus it is VERY DIFFERENT FROM CUB SCOUTS.
The parent's primary role in Boy Scouts is to motivate their son to make the appropriate arrangements and phone calls. (And yes, for the younger scouts, this will or may be intimidating. thus, the parents need to give the necessary motivation and encouragement!!!!!)
Yes, this is indeed quite different and opposite from the Cub Scout program where in the Cub Scout program the parents managed all events.
Therefore, matters including Advancements, Scoutmaster Conferences, Boards of Reviews, or contacting Merit Badge counselors, is a scout/boy function that needs to be arranged for by the scout.
The requirements whereby the scout/boy makes arrangements, versus the parents, will be stressed and enforced.

Does the scout have to purchase only official BSA camping equipment and supplies?

No. There are many other brands of equipment, which are just as good and are less expensive. However, almost all scout brand equipment is quality and durable. That cannot be said of non-scout brands. So, one has to be a PRUDENT shopper!

As an adult I want attend camping and canoeing events and other outdoor events with my son in the troop. Can I do that because I was able to that in Cub Scouts?

The troop's policy remains that REGISTERED AND TRAINED adults can attend events when the program and resources permit. However, unlike Cub Scout events, almost ALL Boy Scout events ARE NOT neither designed for nor intended to be "Parent-Son" events. The carrying out of an event in a Boy Scout troop organization, comprised of patrol, as managed by boy leaders and supervised by the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters, does not have role for direct or individual parent participation --- other than being a leader. However, parents can be involved as leaders and, attend and participate in events provided certain responsibilities are met.
Other notes about adults attending events follow:
1.) A parent, when on a BSA event, will function primarily as leader of all scouts; not as a parent of one boy. As a leader, he/she will follow the authority of the ranking BSA leader present.
2.) Any adult attending any Troop 391 Boy Scout function must have the required BSA Youth Protection Training; and, be registered with National BSA This also requires that adult dues of $15.00 be paid annually to cover registration and insurance (EXCEPTION: Those events pre-planned as FAMILY events)
3). Parent(s) who desire to regularly (more than once a year) attend Boy Scout functions as a Boy Scout Leader on outdoor and or overnight events must be trained (usually within one year) in the Boy Scout methods (both indoor and outdoor course) so as to minimize confusion as to how a Boy Scout program is conducted; AND, have the appropriate complete Class A and Class B uniforms -- because the Boy Scouts of America, both for youth AND adults, is a uniformed organization.
4.) When resources are limited (such as canoes for a canoe trip; or tents at a camping event) the number of adults attending will be minimized to that number needed to maintain compliance to BSA rules. In those cases, the Scoutmaster and Assistants will have priority. If resources permit, then participation in the event may be open to registered adults on a priority based on training and experience. Adults attending events must also pay a registration fee for that event.
5.). Parents will NOT be sleeping with scouts on camp-outs--- scouts are to sleep with other scouts and adults sleep in an area where adults-only will sleep.
6.). Adults attending an outdoor event will be assigned specific duties and are not free to accompany their sons to activities as in Cub Scout Camp Activities.

I would like to be a leader and function as a leader on a regular basis. What do I need to do?

For adults who can make the commitment to being a leader he/she is agreeing to:
1.) Attend the meetings almost all weeks; and,
2.) Take the necessary Indoor and Outdoor Basic Training in one (1) year; and,
3.) Attend most events.
If you have said yes to all of the above, then you need to talk to the Scoutmaster and seek approval for an Assistant Scoutmaster position. If your degree of availability is less, then you might consider being a Troop Committee member. The minimal training for adults functioning as a Troop Committee member role who offer to supply leadership on various outdoor events is: Youth Protection and Fast Start before attending ANY event AND Basic Indoor and Outdoor Training completed within TWO (2) year of registering as an Adult. For adults who have a significant interest in Scout Leadership training after the Basic Indoor and Outdoor Training, the next phase or level of training is called Wood Badge, which is a capstone in adult scouting training. The Scoutmaster and/or the Committee Chairman can help you with these matters. All adults who function as Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster AND those Troop Committee members who attend Troop events on a regular basis are required to be in uniform.

My son sometimes does something for which I impose discipline whereby I prohibit him from attending scout events ---- any thoughts on that discipline?

Of course, parents are always free to discipline their son as they see fit....but unlike Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts often delegate work among its various troop and patrol members. In other words, the presence of your son at a troop or patrol event is often very much relied upon by the other scouts!
If your son is not present, it may hurt the group's efforts involving the other scouts.
Before such discipline is used, the Scoutmaster should be spoken to - so as to discuss the impact of your son not being present.
But perhaps better, maybe some alternative discipline might be considered versus withholding scouting.

I have heard of the Eagle Scout award. Is that something my son should strive for and if so, why?

The Eagle Scout rank is the highest rank of scouting. Since Troop 391 began we have helped over 50 young men attain the Eagle rank.
The Eagle rank requires leadership, merit badges in required important fields, and other merit badges in fields of interest to the scout.
The Eagle rank requires that the candidate plan, direct and show leadership by carrying out an "Eagle Project".
The Eagle rank involves a significant amount of work and thus it is an honor and distinction. It serves to tell the world that the scout (Eagle), in his youth, has shown that he has the ability to work as a team, the experience to complete a series of goals and objectives, show leadership, and master a body of knowledge in various areas including emergency, environmental, and outdoor skills.
The Eagle rank is one that only 5-7% of all scouts ever achieve.
The Eagle Rank remains a very, very important indication to colleges, military and employers that the scout is proven to be a team-player and leader with a high set of values.
The Eagle rank has been confirmed as often indeed being that one "extra" factor which has made the difference in job offers and college acceptances.
The military most often automatically promotes the scout one rank higher when he commences service if he is an Eagle Scout. But the scout must earn the Eagle rank.
The parent's best actions are to motivate the scout and to provide him with the resources to achieve the needed merit badges and ranks.
There will be some scouts who may not aspire to be an Eagle or for whatever reason(s) not be able to achieve that rank. These scouts will nonetheless learn very important skills and can very much enjoy the many scouting activities.
By no means will not attaining the Eagle award take away from the many positive experiences that Scouting has to offer. The troop does not strongly "push" any scout to become Eagle, but rather will strongly support the scout to attain such.

My son is still growing, should we be purchasing uniforms and shoes knowing he will outgrow such in a few months or years?

This is a tough one. Absolutely he needs sturdy hiking boots so it is recommended to buy "middle-of the-line boots" until he passes his growth spurt. For backpacks, it is advised to borrow such. When he is older and especially if he wants to go the Philmont Scout Ranch, then DEFINIITELY he needs good hiking boots and Backpacks that are durable AND fit him very well. As to uniforms, consider buying and trading off in the troop or with friends.

What type of camping gear will my son need?

He will need:
a 30º or better sleeping bag
Something to eat with (this does not mean a commercial mess kit. Most scouts and leaders eat off a plastic or metal plate, have a good cup for drinking, and old but serviceable flatware all in a mesh bag that can be dipped in hot water to sterilize and hung to dry. On backpacking trips we often take only a metal cup to act as both bowl and for drinking.)
Toiletries such as toothbrush and paste, toilet paper, comb, wash cloth, and towel.
Good quality but small pocket knife. (he will have to pass a safety test in order to be allowed to use it)

Will he need a tent?

No the Troop owns plenty of good quality tents that the patrols use. Adults may bring their own tents but MAY NOT bring any form of RV such as a pop up trailer. Most places we camp do not have electricity or other hook ups and where electricity is available it will only be used where Health and Safety dictate or to provide aids to training.

What about discipline within the Troop?

As much as possible this is handled by the Scouts themselves through the Youth Leadership. Whenever Adult intervention is needed it will proceed as follows:
Verbal warning on 1st offense
Sit in corner (time out) on 2nd offense
Parents will be called on 3rd offense
Restriction from next group activity on 4th offense
The parents of any Scout whose behavior endangers himself or other Scouts -- especially on an outing -- will be called and they will be required to pick up their son.

What about Troop T-Shirts?

The troop T-Shirt , sometimes referred to as a “class B uniform” Is used in more relaxed settings such as around camp and during summer time meetings. The Scout should always check with his leader as to the appropriate dress.

What about Medical Forms and permission slips?

Medical Information and Emergency Release Forms must be filled out and signed by Parents each year. Permission slips, when required, are to be turned in to the Troop Leadership.

What about meetings?

There are several different types of meetings
Troop Meeting - The Troop meeting is held weekly at the time and date set by the PLC and is the focal point of the Troop. The meeting includes Merit Badge work, games, and camp out planning.
Patrol Leaders Council Meeting - This meeting is used to plan all the activities of the Troop and to work issues of general concern. At least one Youth leader from each Patrol is expected to attend this meeting as well as the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters. The Senior Patrol Leader is responsible for conducting the PLC meeting.
Courts of Honor - Awards earned will be presented at a Court of Honor meeting held at least twice a year or as needed in a special ceremony . All scouts and at least one associated adult are expected to attend though everyone is welcome.
Troop Adult Leaders Meeting - This meeting, also known as the “Committee Meeting”, is held as needed to do overall Troop direction planning. All members of the Troop Committee are expected to attend and all parents are welcome. Minutes are produced at this meeting and distributed at the subsequent Committee meeting. This meeting is conducted by the Committee Chairman.
Roundtable - This is a district meeting of Scout Leaders at which information of general interest to Troop leaders is disseminated and discussed. One or more of our committee members attend this meeting on behalf of the Troop and report back at our committee meeting, although all leaders and parents are encouraged to attend.

Besides meetings what do the Scouts do?

Camping is the heart of the Boy Scout program. We do our best to camp at least once per month on average. This is done for several reasons including to let the boys learn and put into practice their camping and leadership skills. Here is a summary of our troop (and BSA) camping policies. There are exceptions, but these policies are in effect on most outings.
Scout Tenting & Meals - Scouts tent with their patrol in a patrol site separate from the other patrols. Patrols plan their own menus, and cook and eat together as a team. In general, adults do not eat or tent with a boy patrol.
Adult Tenting & Meals - Adults tent with the adult patrol in a patrol site separate from the other patrols. We plan our own menu, and cook and eat together as a team. In general, adults do not eat or tent with a boy patrol.
Adult/Boy Tenting - BSA youth protection policies forbid an adult and a boy sharing the same tent. While youth protection policies may not apply to a father and son tenting together, it is troop policy that boys tent with boys and adults with adults. If a father or mother tents with their son, it has been our experience that the boy will lose out on many opportunities to make decisions and be part of the patrol team! [Yes, you are probably the rare exception, but it wouldn't be fair to the other adults to single you out.]
Camping is done by the Webelos (Oldest Cub Scouts) several times per year as the guest of the Troop including a “Crossover Campout where these older Cub Scouts officially join the Troop. Webelos must have at least one parent or guardian attend each campout with them.
Outings - In addition to camping the troop will often have several other outings throughout the year. There are a few outing specific polices that we have created in order to continue providing low-cost events.
Improperly dressed Scouts will not be allowed to attend an event, even if they have already paid for the event. This includes not wearing the Scout shirt or t-shirt, or wearing inappropriate pants/shorts/shoes (open toed shoes are NEVER allowed).
Parents will be required to give written permission for their child(ren) to attend an event; the parent may sign a permission slip when they pay for the event or as they drop off the Scout at the departure point. Any Scout who does NOT have written permission to attend an event will be sent home or dropped off at the Terrell Police Department if the Scout’s parent is unreachable.
In order to attend any Scout Outing, the Scout must attend the meeting immediately prior to the outing/event or obtain the Scoutmaster’s prior approval for their absence at this meeting.
Each Scout (youth) and Scouter (adult) attending events must wear the khaki official Scout Shirt unless instructed to wear a Troop t-shirt
Scouts will not be allowed to cover their scout shirt with the following exception. If weather is a factor, the Scout should bring a light jacket or coat. No Scout will be allowed to wear a jacket in warm weather (+ 80 degrees F) to prevent heat illness.
Summer Camp - The Troop attends a week long Summer Camp each year at a site chosen by the PLC. It is usually the highlight of the year and is where the boys can demonstrate advanced scout skills, earn Merit Badges, take hikes. Etc… No scout should miss it.
Spring Break trip - During the boys spring break from school we usually plan a longer camp out or event such as the Battleship Texas Sleep over or a trip to a cavern or canoeing.

What about Troop Finances?

Finances break down as follows:
Registration Fees - The membership fee for Troop 391 is $15 per calendar year, payable at the first meeting in February. For new scouts joining at other times throughout the year, the membership fee will be pro rated to cover the remaining months of the year. This fee is for registration with the Boy Scouts of America and does not stay with the Troop. Help with the fee is sometimes available for families who cannot afford it.
Troop Fundraising - The Troop participates in fundraising programs such as Fish Fry, camp card tickets, etc., as well as car washes, bake sales and other fundraisers approved by the Troop committee and Circle 10 Council.
Troop Expenses - Out of the funds it collects, the Troop pays for the following items, amongst others:
* Registration fees for boys. (paid out of money collected in February)
* Transportation. (paid out of money collected for each event)
* Camping. (paid out of money collected for each event)
* Advancement and other awards for boys.(paid out of money earned at Fund raisers and placed into the General Fund)
Scout Account - Funds or portions of funds from some of the fundraisers are sometimes, at the Troop committees discretion, placed into Accounts that a boy may use to pay for Troop activities.
This is of course “on paper” only and ALL troop funds are the property of the Troop.
Should a boy leave the Troop for any reason all funds in his account will revert to the Troop general fund.
Under no circumstance will Troop money be given to a boy or parent.

How can these rules be amended or changed?

Troop 391 has adopted the following policy with regard to standing rules. That is, that anybody who feels a change is warranted may suggest a change/revision to the rules, the text of which shall be published in the newsletter, along with the date of the Committee Meeting when the proposed change is to be discussed and voted on. An affirmative vote of the Committee would put the change temporarily into effect. The temporary amendment shall be voted on at the next annual Parents' Meeting, and, if accepted, shall modify the Standing Rules.

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