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Troop 849
Manhattan Beach, CA
Boy Scouts of America

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Last Updated:
  May 11, 2017

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General | Before You Join | Transitioning | Welcome Scout | Welcome Parent | Shopping List | Uniforms | Financial

Dear New Scout,

Welcome to Troop 849! The Boy Scout program has a lot to offer you during this exciting time of your life. Welcome to the adventure.

The Troop Leadership

Table of Contents

If you are looking for the printed packet that you were given when you joined the troop, you can find it here. (pdf, 504k)

New Scout Guide to Boy Scout Troop 849 (FAQ)

Whether you are transitioning from Cub Scouts or are getting involved in Scouting for the first time, this guide will briefly answer many common questions about Boy Scouting and about Troop 849.

How does Boy Scouting differ from Cub Scouts? The biggest difference you will notice right away is that unlike Cub Scouting, where adult leaders make most decisions for Cub Scouts and run the Pack, the core principle of Boy Scouting is empowering the boys themselves to become leaders. Therefore, a Boy Scout troop is a "boy led" organization with adult leaders providing supervision and guidance, as needed. The senior patrol leader will actually run the troop meeting. An organizational chart of a our troop and a description of each leadership position are provided at the end of this document.

So how does this Scouting thing work? Troop 849 meets every Tuesday evening from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm at the Manhattan Beach Scout House. Please plan to attend as many troop meetings as you can. This is where a lot of the "work" of Scouting (planning, preparation, learning skills, working on rank advancement, etc.) is done. This is also where a lot of information about upcoming activities is discussed and where you can sign up for them. Your parents are welcome, even encouraged, to come to meetings and observe, and should attempt to do so regularly, at least for part of the meetings. This way they too will know what is going on in the troop and can also get the information on upcoming events.

Troop 849 schedules at least one outdoor activity each month. Many months have multiple activities. Preparation for these activities usually happens at the regular troop meetings. Parents are always welcome (and usually needed) at these activities. Some activities are designed to benefit others. Those activities are call service projects and are a chance for a you to accumulate "service hours" which are needed for advancement to some ranks.

Scout in uniform What about the Boy Scout uniform? The official Boy Scout uniform pictured here, also called the "class A" uniform, consists of a short-sleeved Boy Scout shirt (with appropriate insignia), khaki colored long pants, and Boy Scout belt and buckle. The shirt is worn with the Troop 849 neckerchief and a slide of the your choice. The slide can be either purchased or hand made. One Troop 849 neckerchief will be given to you when you join the troop.

Class B uniforms are worn in less formal situations, such as on campouts or in work situations for service projects. A Class B uniform consists of either a Troop 849 activity t-shirt or a short-sleeved Boy Scout shirt and troop neckerchief. Any appropriate pants and footwear can be worn. Class B uniforms can be worn to all Scouting events except troop meetings and specifically designated class A events.

Official BSA uniforms and insignia can be purchased from various Scout supply stores. There is a detailed list of what you'll need and where to buy it at the end of this document. Most Scouts also buy a troop activity t-shirt which are available for sale by the troop. Email activityshirts@troop849.org to arrange a purchase. Sizes range from S to XL. The troop activity t-shirts are a light blue and have the troop logo on the back.

What do I wear and when?
Regular meetings - Official short-sleeved BSA shirt and troop neckerchief
Scoutmaster Conference - Full Class A uniform
Board of Review - Full Class A uniform
Court of Honor - Full Class A uniform
Car camping - Class B uniforms are recommended
Weekend backpacking hikes - Troop activity t-shirt recommended
Long term hikes - Class A uniforms are required while traveling and during the post-trip banquet.
Summer camp - Class B (troop activity shirt and Scout pants)

Which patrol am I in? You will initially become a member of the Dolphin patrol. This is a new patrol that will serve to transition you (and your parents) into the troop. The Dolphin patrol will attend meetings as designated by the Dolphin Patrol Advisor. You will be assigned to another patrol within a short period of time.

What about ranks and advancement? Ranks and advancement show your level of skill and experience in Scouting. When you join Troop 849, you must first complete the "Joining Requirements". You will then get a plain "fleur-de-lis" badge, the Scout Badge, to wear on the left pocket of your uniform. You can then begin working on the requirements for higher ranks and merit badges. Note that you are responsible for your own advancement. Look toward the various senior Scouts for help. Don't be bashful!

You can work on requirements for the first three ranks (Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class) all at the same time, but you must complete each rank in order. Due to limited time during the meetings, work on as many requirements at home as you can. You should set a goal of achieving Tenderfoot rank as soon as possible, then Second Class rank, and ideally First Class rank by the end of your first year. But it is not uncommon to take more than a year to reach First Class rank.

You can also work on merit badges which you will need for higher ranks. When you reach First Class rank, you will have learned and are expected to know (and be able to teach) all of the basic Scout skills and are eligible for troop leadership positions. The next three ranks; Star, Life, and finally Eagle, call for a Boy Scout to develop skill and knowledge in specialized areas by earning merit badges, and also require demonstration of leadership and service to others.

Who can signoff a requirement? As you complete each requirement for a rank, get it signed off in your Scout handbook. To do that, demonstrate your knowledge of the requirement to your Scoutmaster, any Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop Instructor, or Troop Guide and they will sign your book. Some First Class and above Scouts may also be authorized to sign off requirements. Your parents and siblings are not permitted to sign your book.

The way to First Class

  • Attend meetings regularly
  • Attend at least three overnight campouts
  • Exhibit good behavior

I'm ready to advance, exactly how do I do it? When all requirements for a rank are completed, you need to complete a "Blue Sheet" which is kept in the door of the Scout locker. Turn it in to the Advancement Chair. The same form is used for all ranks. Steps to apply for rank advancement:

  1. You (not your parent) fill out a blue sheet filling in each area on the front and back of the sheet.
  2. Notify your Scoutmaster that you are ready to start the process of rank advancement. Your Scoutmaster will designate a Senior Scout and Assistant Scoutmaster to review your knowledge for rank advancement. They will sign the form upon satisfactory completion.
  3. Notify your Scoutmaster and he will schedule a Scoutmaster conference with you.
  4. After the conference, tell the Advancement Chair that you are ready for a board of review and they will schedule one for you. Note: It takes time to setup a board of review so it will not occur on the same night that you request one.
  5. Wear your full class A uniform to your board of review. The board is a panel of three or more adults/Eagle Scouts who will privately discuss the rank requirements with you and determine if you have learned the current rank requirements well enough to advance to the next rank.
  6. As soon as you pass the board of review, turn in the blue sheet to the advancement chair.
  7. During the closing circle that night you will be awarded the rank advancement patch. Sew it onto the left shirt pocket.

How do I know what activities are coming up? The master troop calendar is kept online. It lists all troop meetings and activities. Both you and your parents can go on all activities. Sign up sheets for each activity are at the Tuesday night troop meetings just before the activity.

I want to get started backpacking. Which hike should I go on? There are many to choose from. Look at the troop calendar and find a hike with only one asterisk (*) after it. It will probably be called an "Easy Hike". Those hikes are designed for anyone that has never been backpacking before. Other hikes with two asterisks are more difficult and require significant backpacking experience.

How about backpacking equipment? Don't rush out and buy backpacking equipment. When you get into backpacking (and we hope you will), you will need a good sleeping bag, backpack, hiking boots, etc. We recommend good quality equipment that will last you a lifetime. Borrowing or renting equipment is a good way to get started. The troop has some equipment that you can borrow for free. Friends and relatives are another source of equipment. Or you can rent equipment from the local sporting good stores.

How do you know exactly what equipment you will need? The troop puts on a Backpack Equipment Orientation where we go over each piece of equipment and answer any questions that you may have. Look for it on the troop calendar. You and your parents need attend this orientation to ensure that you acquire the correct gear for your comfort and safety and also to insure the troop's safety. The troop also publishes an "Equipment Guide for Weekend Hikes" that describes everything that you will need. It is available online. Please attend the orientation and consult the equipment guide before buying any equipment. Don't rush into expensive equipment purchases. Having the right equipment will make backpacking much more fun for you.

What about merit badges? Merit badges can be very interesting and a lot of fun. You can learn about sports, crafts, science, trades, business, and future careers. There are more than 100 merit badges to choose from. But for now, concentrate on rank advancement and leave merit badges for later. When you are ready to tackle merit badges, come back and read what follows.

For each merit badge that you want to earn you'll work with a designated merit badge counselor. Our troop has many merit badge counselors and there are many in the South Bay area outside our troop. A list of counselors is kept in the Scout locker door at the Scout House. You may choose any counselor for any badge.

Merit badges require a merit badge card, called a "blue card". The blue cards are kept in the Scout locker and can be obtained through the Quartermaster. The same blue card form is used for all merit badges. Steps to apply for a merit badge:

  1. Before beginning work, completely fill out the front section of the blue card and have an adult leader sign it at the bottom.
  2. You (not your parents) contact the appropriate merit badge counselor and work with him/her to fulfill the requirements.
  3. After you complete the requirements the counselor will sign and date all three portions of the merit badge card. (The card is perforated into three separate sections). Ensure that all cards show the SAME completion date at the time it is signed.
  4. The merit badge counselor will keep the Counselor's Record portion of the blue card. You keep the Applicant's Record portion of the form and turn in the "Application for Merit Badge" portion to the Advancement Chair.
  5. All completed merit badges are awarded at the next court of honor. You will also be given a troop completion card at that time.
  6. You need to retain both the Applicant's Record of the blue card and the troop completion card. (Note: You will need them later so find a nice safe place to store them.)

Where do I get help? If you have any questions, ask your Patrol Leader, Troop Guide, Senior Patrol Leader, or Scoutmaster. They will be glad to help you. You can also ask any of the other uniformed adult leaders.


Scouting Terms

These are some of the terms you may hear. If you hear other terms that you don't understand, ask your patrol leader and he will be glad to explain them.

Merit Badge Card Blue cards - The blue card shown on the right is actually an application for a merit badge. These cards are used when you work on merit badges. Don't confuse them with blue sheets which are used for advancement. Ask the Quartermaster if you need one.

Blue sheets - These are the 8 1/2" x 11" Rank Advancement sheets. They are printed on blue paper and are kept in the door of the Scout locker. Help yourself.

Patrol Leaders' Council - The patrol leaders' council is made up of the senior patrol leader, who presides over the meetings; the assistant senior patrol leader, all patrol leaders, and the troop guide. The patrol leaders' council plans and runs the troop's program and activities and gives long-range direction. The patrol leaders' council meets each month to fine-tune upcoming troop meetings and outings. Patrol leaders and troop guides present the ideas and concerns of their patrols, then take the patrol leaders' council's decisions back to the rest of the troop members.

Scout locker - The troop's equipment and supplies are kept in the Scout locker. It is located to the left just before you enter the Scout House. To borrow or checkout equipment, ask the Quartermaster.

Forms and paperwork are kept in the locker door. Help yourself. The is also a photo board there to help you identify various adult volunteers.

Medical Authorization Form Yellow cards - Yellow cards are small (4"x4") medical authorization forms printed on yellow card stock. Blank forms are kept in the door of the Scout locker. Fill one out and have a parent sign it. They are to be carried by you on all outings at all times (unless your parent is present). If you show up for an outing and do not have a yellow card then you will not be allowed to go on the outing.


Scout Leadership Positions

All of these leadership positions are available to Scouts. A few like SPL and PL are elected. The others are appointed. Talk with your Scoutmaster if you are interested in one of these leadership positions.

Senior Patrol Leader (SPL)
The Scout with the most responsibility in the troop is the senior patrol leader. He is elected by all members of the troop. Senior patrol leaders are usually chosen at six--month intervals and can be re-elected. The senior patrol leader is often selected from among experienced Scouts of Star rank or above. Before an election, those in the running will be given an opportunity to make short presentations to the troop, explaining their qualifications and reasons for seeking the office. This provides good practice for the candidates and enables those who do not know them well, younger Scouts in particular, to gain a better sense of what they propose to do for the troop. The senior patrol leader is in charge of troop meetings from beginning to end. He chairs meetings as they plan troop activities and programs. In short, the senior patrol leader's job is to see that the troop runs in an orderly and timely manner. The relationship between a senior patrol leader and his Scoutmaster is often one of friendship and mutual admiration. During a Scout's tenure as senior patrol leader, he is not a member of a patrol

Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (ASPL)
With the approval of the Scoutmaster, one or more assistant senior patrol leaders are appointed by the senior patrol leader, serve as his assistant, and takes his place when the senior patrol leader is absent. Among the assistant senior patrol leaders specific responsibilities are training and providing direction for the troop quartermaster, scribe, historian, librarian, and instructors. During his tenure as assistant senior patrol leader, the Scout is not a member of a patrol.

Patrol Leader (PL)
One Scout patrol leader is elected by the members of each patrol. He takes responsibility for the patrol's activities and represents the patrol as a member of the patrol leaders' council. Each patrol leader appoints an assistant patrol leader to serve with him.

Troop Guide
The troop guide is both a leader and a "mentor" to the members of the troop. He is an older Scout, at least Life rank, who helps the patrols in much the same way that a Scoutmaster works with a senior patrol leader-providing direction, coaching, and support as determined by the skill level and morale of the patrol leader. The troop guide is usually not a member of another patrol.

The quartermaster is the supply and equipment boss. He keeps a current inventory of troop equipment and sees that it is in good condition. He works with members of the troop as they check out equipment and return it, and reports to the senior patrol leader on equipment in need of replacement or repair. In carrying out his responsibilities, he will work closely with the adult Quartermaster.

The scribe is the troop's secretary. He attends meetings of the patrol leaders' council and keeps a logbook of their discussions.

The historian collects and preserves troop photographs, news stories, trophies, flags, scrapbooks, awards, and other memorabilia. He might also collect and organize information about former Scouts and leaders and make materials available for Scouting activities, media contacts, and troop history projects.

The troop librarian oversees the care and use of troop books, pamphlets, magazines, audiovisuals, merit badge books, and merit badge counselor lists. He checks out these materials to Scouts and leaders and maintains records to ensure that everything is returned. He may also suggest the acquisition of new literature and report on the need to repair or replace any current holdings.

Each instructor is an older troop member proficient both in a Scouting skill and in the ability to teach that skill to others. First aid, camping, and backpacking - the subjects can encompass any of the areas that Scouts will want to master, especially those required for outdoor activities.

Den Chief
A den chief works with a den of Webelos Cub Scouts and with their adult den leader. A den chief meets each week with a Webelos den and helps their adult leader. He can plan and assist with den meetings and field activities, lead songs and skits, encourage Cub Scout advancement, serve as a role model for younger boys, and encourage Webelos Scouts to progress into the troop. Serving as den chief can be a great leadership experience for a Scout.

Troop 849 Organization Chart

Organization chart



As a member of Troop 849 some things are expected of you. Basically, you are expected to:

  • Have fun!
  • Attend most meetings
  • Participate in a majority of events
  • Make steady progress toward rank
  • Wear your Scout uniform at the appropriate times
  • Maintain self control and follow directions
  • Show Scout spirit
  • Live by the Scout Oath and Law


A Word on Behavior

When behavior problems occur during a troop meeting, they will be deal with according to a discipline plan that has been established by the ranking Scouts. By maintaining order during the meetings everyone gets more out of them. Just so you know ahead of time, here is the plan the Scouts have established.

Discipline Plan
Created by Scouts Quinn Ryan, Ryan Powell, and Aaron Blomquist

1st timeWarning - sent outside
2nd timeWrite a paragraph explaining what you were doing and how you are going to change your attitude. (8 sentences or 1/2 page.)
3rd timeTalk to the Scoutmaster
4th timeTalk to Scouts parents
5th timeYou are asked not to come to meetings until you will behave


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