May 11, 2017
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
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.
What do I wear and when?
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
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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)
Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (ASPL)
Patrol Leader (PL)
Troop 849 Organization Chart
As a member of Troop 849 some things are expected of you. Basically, you are expected to:
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.
Contents of this page provided by various members of the troop.
©2018 Boy Scout Troop 849, Manhattan Beach, CA. http://troop849.org/