Troop Principles

We are an established troop with a  long and  proud history and we are glad that you have chosen to visit us.
The adult leadership has put together this section as a resource for scouts and parents.   It includes information on who we are, our  policies  and how  we administer the  scouting  program.  It also has information on advancement, Scout Skills,  gear  and  equipment  sources, trips,  schedules,  etc.   We hope that it will be helpful and that it will be a place where you can organize and store handouts, schedules and  other  information you will be receiving as you participate in our program.   
As Troop Committee Chairman I'd like to welcome you with  some information on the organization and responsibilities of our adult leadership.
Robert Baden-Powell insisted that education could be fun.   And it should be.  The Patrol System he founded is based on this principle.  Scouters have known for decades that Scouting is  nothing less than a revolution in education. While boys do not think of in in this way, a scout troop  is  a unique  educational  unit.  Look at some of the things it offers to prospective members. A boy can join if he wants to, but he doesn't have to.  If he's not  satisfied,  he  can  quit  anytime.  Or he can transfer to another troop if he thinks he can do better. He will have many chances to learn and improve himself.  He can accept  them  or  not;   it  will not be held against him if he turns them down.  He decides what he will learn and how fast.
As he improves himself,  he will be recognized.  Those  who  do the most get the most recognition.  Each boy sets his own goals for personal growth. The troop is governed by boys.  They make the  rules  and  plan the  program with the guidance of the scoutmaster and assistant scoutmasters.The will have chances to lead, and to learn how to lead. The adult leaders give their services to boys  without  charge.  What  they  do  is  of such value that if the boys were charged  accordingly, few could afford to belong.  So Scouting IS education.  And it looks like fun because it  is fun.   Thus,  you  have  two quick ways to judge your troop and everything it does.  
1. Is it fun for the boys?  If it's not, it's not Scouting.  
2. Is it educational?  Does it lead boys  to  one  or  more  of Scouting';s  aims? It may be fun, but if it lacks this    sense of purpose, it is not Scouting.  
Every Scouting activity and way of organizing and doing  things has  a purpose behind it.  Each has something to do with moving boys from where they are toward  some  basic  goals.   We  call these goals the aims of Scouting.  Here they are in general.
Scouting works toward three aims. 
One  is  character.   We  may define character as what the boy is himself: his personal qualities, his values, his outlook.
A second aim is citizenship.  Used broadly,  citizenship  means the  boy's  relationship  to  others.  He comes to learn of his obligations to other people, to the society he lives in, to the government that presides over that society.
A third aim of Scouting is fitness.  Fitness  shows  itself  in four  distinct  aspects:  of the body (well-tuned and healthy), the mind (able to think and solve problems), the "moral  fiber" (as  shown  by  courage, respect for others, etc.) and the emotions (self-control and self-respect. These aims are achieved in a Boy Scout Troop through the use of eight  methods;  The  Ideals of the Patrol Method, Advancement, Uniform, Outdoors, Leadership Development,
Boy Scouts of America was chartered by Congress in 1916 to work "...through  organizations, and in cooperation with other agencies, " in promoting the Scouting program.  Boy Scouts of Amer ica was thus chartered to provide the program of scouting, they cannot and do not operate a single  Scout  troop.   BSA  grants charters  to  community  organizations,  interested  in serving youth, to administer the  BSA  program  to  troops  that  these organizations own and operate.
 Troop 474 's Chartered Organization is the First Congregational Church  of  Guilford.  Our chartered organization's representa tive responsible for liasion with the troop, the Scouting Coor dinator,  is Mr. Richard Coe.  He is responsible for securing a Troop Committee Chairman, encouraging  adult  leader  training, helping  recruit adult leadership, encouraging service, assisting with rechartering, representing the interests of the  troop and of the  council  and district as well as acting as liason with the charter organization.
Troop 474 adult leadership is organized according to BSA guidelines,  into  two  basic  units; the administrative body or the Troop Committee and the "line officers" unit which is comprised of  the  Scoutmaster and the Assistant Scoutmasters.  The Troop Committee has the responsibility of meeting the  administrative needs of the troop.  There are eight positions  on a troop com-mittee that are responsible for approximately ninety functions. The  Scoutmaster/Assistant  Scoutmasters  are  responsible  for administering the BSA program.   In our troop, like many other Scout  troops,  there  is  not  a  clear distinction between troop committee members and assistant scoutmasters.  The Scoutmaster and assistant  scoutmasters,  as well  as  interested  parents   are  considered  part of  the  troop committee.  They  are welcome at  troop  committee  meetings  and t hey  help  cover the functions of the troop committee.  Although there are  some  adult leaders  that  are officially registered  as troop  committee  members,  all  adult leaders in the troop, at times, serve as assistant scoutmasters and work  directly  with the boys. The troop committee has far reaching responsibilities for feeling  the  needs  of  the  troop,  but it is not responsible for administering the program.  The program is administered by  the Scoutmaster.  His job description reads:  
  - Train and  guide  boy  leaders  to  run  their troop.
- Work with responsible adults to give  Scouting to boys.
- Help boys grow by encouraging  them  to  learn for themselves.
- Guide boy in planning the troop program.
  Notice the action words in this description  are  train,  help, work  with,  and  guide.  The troop program is actually planned and run by the scouts.   The  Scoutmaster  and  his  assistants train,  help, work with and guide Scouts, but they do not actually perform many  of  the  Scout  tasks  which  are  generally assigned  to  individual  Scouts.   Adult leaders are primarily responsible for controlling the environment only to the  extent that  a safe environment is maintained for all Scouts, while at the same time creating an environment which enables  Scouts  to excercize sufficient responsiblity to learn from mistakes.  Boy leadership and troop management are probably the most significant differences between the Boy Scouting and Cub Scouting pro- grams.  
As any parent knows, having kids do a job is usually not an efficient way to get the job done.  We believe, however, that having the Scouts plan and run the program is  the  only  way scouts will learn the leadership and organizational skills that are central to the scouting program.  
The positive side of this approach is that it works.   If  done correctly,  it  develops  a  troop  that attracts and keeps boy interested in scouting.  Perhaps the most difficult  aspect  of accomplishing  this  is that it requires adults to be cognizent of the goals of guiding, training and  teaching,  and  to  keep these  goals  in  the  forefront  of  their programs.  Guiding, rather than doing, is usually more work for the  adult  leadership.  Teaching boy leaders the skills of leadership while they are concurrently leading other scouts is not a  very  efficient way  to  run  an organization.  Consequently, there is always a certain level of confusion, miscommunication, and  inefficiency in  a  boy run Scout troop.  This is sometimes very frustrating for both parents and adult leaders. The boy run program also requires a lot of one on one  interaction between Scouts and adult leaders and the better troops are the ones who have committed leadership. We, who are responsible for both the administration and  safety of  troop  programs, feel very strongly that every Scout parent should make a commitment to the following:
First, make sure your Scout shows up on time for all events and that  he  is  properly  prepared  for the activity.  We do many things that can be dangerous if the Scouts are  not  adequately prepared  (  the  Boy Scout Motto - "Be Prepared").  We go many places where there is no shelter to get  dry  if  your  clothes become  wet,  or  to  warm up if you get cold.  There may be no food to eat if yours is forgotten or destroyed.  An  improperly or  poorly prepared Scout along a trip is a danger, not only to himself, but possibly for the remainder of the Troop.  Lack  of suitable  preparation can ruin a trip for all.  If you are uncertain about the scope of any scouting activity, have your  son find  out, through his patrol, what level of experience, training, equipment and preparation is required.  (Remember, its HIS responsibility  to find out, and we are trying to teach responsibility). If you are not comfortable with his answers, contact the Scoutmaster or one of the Assistant Scoutmasters.
  Second, read through  the  official  Boy  Scout  Handbook,  and become  familiar with the scout program.  Know the requirements for advancement and encourage your son to aspire  to  the  next rank.  This will let your scout know that Scouting is something you consider important and it will keep him focused on  working on  advancement. Boy Scout advancement requirements, unlike Cub Scout requirements, are not signed off by  parents  but  rather are  signed  off by the Scoutmaster or a qualified leader.  Boy Scouts are expected to take the initiative in their advancement and participation in troop activities.
Considering the boy-run environment of our troop, parents  need to make sure their Scouts are getting the information they need and are actively  participating  in  the  advancement  process. Advancement,  by the way, is not important for advancement sake only, it is how the boys learn the skills necessary to participate  in  many  of  our troop's more challenging outdoor adventures.  Advancement is one of the methods  we  use  to  develop character, citizenship and self-esteem.
Parents are strongly encouraged to participate  within  any  of the  troop's  activities  and at whatever level with which they are comfortable.  This may range from helping with fundraisers, to  becoming  and   Assistant  Scoutmaster  or  Troop Committee member.  Parents are always  welcome at outings and frequently, many family members camp with the troop.
 I think that many Scout parents,  when  they  are  new  to  the  troop, look at the adult uniformed leadership as belonging to a kind of "exclusive club" and that a prerequisite for  membership into  this "club"  requires a special kind of training or background.  There is a good sense of  comaradery,  that  has  come from  camping and working together, but leadership in our troop is not exclusive by any means.  We all got involved in scouting because  of our boys, and we came to scouting with various levels of scouting and outdoor experience; from  Eagle  Scouts  to people  with  little or no scouting or camping experience.  All of the jobs we have require little experience, long hours,  and the pay  stinks.   But  if you like kids and the outdoors, the rewards are without peer.  We all have and  continue  to  learn from  one  another  and  there  are  many adult leader training opportunities available through BSA.
 If you are new to Troop 474, I want to extend to you a  special welcome,  and  again  emphasize how glad we are that your chose our troop.  If you are a scout, we think you are going to  have an exciting time in our troop and we are confident that you are going to learn some things about yourself that you might  never have  known, and that you will accomplish things that you never thought possible.
Parents, we hope you will join our  troop  also.   Scouting  is something  that we get a great deal of pleasure from and we are eager to share it with others.  You too, like the  scouts,  may learn some things about yourself and accomplish some things you never thought possible!