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Boy Scout Troop 244
(New Palestine, Indiana)
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What is "Boy Scouting"?

Scouting is unlike anything your son has ever experienced before.

Unlike school, organized sports, or perhaps even in the home setting, in a Boy Scout troop the youth are the ones who are in charge. THEIR desires become our agenda. THEIR ideas for adventure, fun, and excitement are what the adults guide them to bring into reality. In Scouting, THEY speak and the adults listen.

By practicing representative democracy, they pick their own leaders who form the "Patrol Leader Council" that creates the yearly agenda. Scouts work together on every issue, from what to eat at camp, deciding who will wash dishes and shop for food, they learn and PUT INTO PRACTICE communication, public speaking, teamwork, conflict resolution, and leadership.

By taking advantage of any of the 130 possible merit badges, they gain exposure to areas of interest ranging from Rifle Shooting to Chemistry, from Small Boat Sailing to Aviation, and from Reading to Nuclear Science. Statistically, the Merit Badge program often leads to life-long hobbies and even career choices. At a minimum, Merit Badges help a young man try things he may never have had a chance to do if not for the Scouting experience, such as rifle shooting, archery, sailing, or camping.

While boys are busy "being Scouts" and having fun, they start to embody the virtues of Scouting defined in the Scout Oath and Law.

What is Scouting? It's "fun with a purpose".

What do you mean by "Boy Led"?

A Boy Scout troop leads itself. Adults are present to guide and ensure safety & compliance exists, but it is the YOUTH who make key decisions. The primary role of the Scoutmaster is to teach the Senior Patrol Leader how to run/lead his troop.

The Scouting program using The Patrol Method means the Troop members ELECT their own leaders; individual Patrol Leaders and a Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) who takes on "ownership" and hold the actual leadership position within the Troop. The SPL appoints an assistant scout (Assistant Senior Patrol Leader - ASPL) and various other leadership positions, all of whom serve at the Scoutmaster's discretion.

While serving as Senior Leaders, the SPL and ASPL cease to be members of their respective patrols and function as peers with the adult leadership. The SPL and ASP execute Program decisions, lead the meetings, plan agendas, pick camping destinations, and LEAD BY EXAMPLE when executing the agenda that the boys themselves created and agreed to follow.

Patrol Leaders are responsible for the well-being and actions of their individual patrol and will REPRESENT their patrol in the Patrol Leaders Council (PLC).

At the PLC meeting (chaired by the SPL and monitored by the Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmaster), Patrol Leaders plan future trips and troop meetings. Through a model of Representative Government, they CHOOSE the trips and activities THEY want to do, and appoint other scouts to serve as skill instructors, or lead games or other activities. Adult leadership keeps them on track with suggestions and advice, but the decisions are ultimately left to THE BOYS.

Once the future meetings/camping trips are planned, the SPL and Scoutmaster present the PLC's plans to the Troop Committee for review. The agenda is checked for issues such as necessary fund raising, unique equipment/skills, camp ground reservations, and is given an over-all inspection to confirm that trips are aligned with the purpose of the Scouting Program. If the plans are approved, and the weekly meetings are led by the boys (as designed) unless the skill instruction needed is currently beyond the skill set of the Scouts, or relates to merit badge requirements, then adults will render assistance.

ADULTS are a RESOURCE for guidance and ensuring that things are done the "BSA way" for safety, youth development and general direction setting.

"Boy Leadership" really means the Troop is doing the things the BOYS THEMSELVES want to do, and in doing so, will develop the leadership, communication, problem resolution, and organizational skills that underscore why Scouts excel in all other areas of their lives.

How do Scouts earn Merit Badges?

The day a boy signs his BSA application, he is eligible to start working on Merit Badges.

Completing a Merit Badge involves 4 people... The Scout, the Scoutmaster, the Merit Badge Councilor (MBC), and the troop's Advancement Chair.

The process:

1. Scout chooses a badge (or badges) that he'd like to work on (alone or with another Scout).

2 He informs the Scoutmaster of his intention to work on a badge, and is issued a "blue card" and given the contact information for a registered Merit Badge Councilor (MBC). A MBC can be ANY registered MBC in any Council. He is not obligated to work with councilors in his home unit or Council. CONTRARY TO URBAN MYTH, the Scoutmaster can NOT deny any Scout the opportunity to work on any badge, nor can he delay the badge being awarded once the MBC signs the "blue card" showing that it is complete. Judgment as to whether a Scout successfully completed the badge requirements rests solely with the MBC.

3. The Scout(s) contacts the MBC and makes arrangements to meet as often as necessary to complete the badge requirements (following Youth Protection guidelines at all times). Upon the first meeting, the Scout presents the MBC with the blue card, which the councilor keeps so that he can update completion dates and keep track of the Scout's progress.

4. Upon completion, the MBC will sign all 3 segments of the blue card, and return it back to the Scout who in turn, presents it to the Scoutmaster for final signature indicating final recognition that all work is complete. Again, the Scoutmaster does NOT have the authority to deny, "retest", or delay the formal completion of any MB work.

5. The Scoutmaster will pass the signed segments along to the troop's Advancement Chairperson who will record the work on the Troop and Council levels, and ensure the Scout is presented with his badge on the next possible opportunity. *

* While NOT mandatory that a badge be presented right away, the BSA strongly encourages "instant recognition" for effort. The typical model is to present the badge by the next meeting, and present the "pocket card" during a formal presentation at the next Court of Honor.

6. The Scout will be given 1 segment of his blue card which he must keep so that it can be produced when applying for his Eagle Rank. The Troop should also retain a segment for their records.

What is the minimum age to become an Eagle Scout?

The BSA does not list a minimum age before a Scout can earn his Eagle rank.

However, a boy must be at least 10 years old to join a Boy Scout troop, and then there is a 30 day requirement in Tenderfoot requirement 10b, at least 4 months between First Class and Star, 6 months between Star and Life, and then 6 more months between Life and Eagle.

So the minimum possible age, while NOT listed as a "REQUIREMENT", would be 12 years and 5 months.

The national average for those earning Eagle Scout: 15 years of age.

Can I keep working closely with my son?

If you mean "work with your son" like you did in Cub Scouts, the answer is NO. There is little 1-on-1 work as a Boy Scout.

Make no mistake... You are welcome, but Boy Scouting is a new phase of his personal development.

"Dads & Lads" was the Cub Scout model. Your presence helped to guide him, keep him under control, and reinforce the importance of "family", but as a Boy Scout, he needs to focus more on himself, and on working with peers.

He's becoming a young man and needs to start interacting with other adults like the Scout Master, Assistant Scout Masters, and various Merit Badge Councilors. He also needs to become comfortable with working without adults hovering over him as he works with his patrol.

Why do Scouts wear a Uniform?

Officially, the BSA has ONE uniform, and any historical version of it is acceptable (once official, always official). It is found in the front pages of every Scout Handbook.

The official BSA uniform is comprised of:
a troop-issued hat *
a troop neckerchief *
BSA tan shirt (with patches placed in the proper spots)
a Merit Badge Sash **
BSA olive pants
BSA web belt w/ buckle
BSA socks

This is THE official uniform, but in many pieces of BSA literature it may be referred to as the FIELD uniform, or commonly, the "Class A" (a military term the BSA prefers NOT to use as the BSA does not wish to be perceived as a paramilitary organization).

* Technically, hats and neckerchiefs (and how they are worn) are optional in the BSA Uniform Guide, but if the wearing of either is adopted by a troop, they are then considered official components of the uniform. We wear both. The hat is the "baseball cap" variety imprinted with our troop number, and the neckerchief bearing our logo is to be worn UNDER the collar with the top button of the shirt unbuttoned.

** The Merit Badge Sash, worn over the right shoulder, is impractical for most Scouting-related activities. It is therefore only worn at ceremonial events or select meetings such as a Court of Honor.

It is not always practical to wear the Field Uniform shirt every minute a Scout is involved in a scouting-related activity. The BSA offers a variety of polo-type shirts and tee shirts imprinted with BSA logos, and many troops (ours included) often opt to have custom printed shirts made.

It is customary practice that when a troop (as a whole) agrees on a standard shirt, they will opt to wear it INSTEAD of the BSA olive shirt, and in many items of BSA literature, this will be referred to as an ACTIVITY uniform, or sticking with military nomenclature, "Class B".

Historically, the BSA offers major redesigns to the uniform about every 20 years. This past year, the BSA announced the "Centennial Uniform" with "switchback" pants and some color changes to troop number decals and shoulder loops. This is the 5th major redesign in the BSA's 100 year history

What "age limits" exist in the Boy Scout program?

The ONLY age requirements established by the National Program are as follows:
  • 10 years old to join (If completed 5th grade or earned AOL, otherwise must be 11)
  • 12 years old by July 1st, to attend a National Jamboree contingent
  • 13 years old to participate in COPE (14 preferred, 13 with Scoutmaster's recommendation)
  • 13 years old to join a Venture Patrol
  • 14 years old to join a Varsity Team
  • 15 years old to join Sea Scouts or a Venture Crew
  • 16 years old to become a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
  • 16 years old to be Youth Staff at a camp or Jamboree
  • Day before 18th birthday - the last day you are a Boy Scout or Varsity Team member (includes Venture patrol). PRIOR to his birthday, all work (rank and badges) must be DONE. The Eagle Board of Review can occur after the 18th birthday, but work/project must be done PRIOR to the 18th birthday.
  • Day before 21st birthday - the last day you are a Sea Scout or Venture Crew member
There are NO age requirements for ANY merit badges or youth leadership positions (other than JASM and Camp Staff)
National publishes no "minimum age" for Eagle Scout Rank, but the earliest possible age a Scout could become eagle is 11 years and 5 months of age.

Can I attend camp with my son?

Other than high-adventure bases like Philmont or Sea Base, where adults are required to be BSA Registered Leaders, there is nothing in the BSA Program that prevents parents or legal guardians from attending camping trips with their sons. The Guide to Safe Scouting says, "There are NO 'secret societies' in Scouting. An adult may attend any scout function with their son".
THAT BEING SAID... there are some guidelines visiting parents are expected to follow.
1. Scouting’s "Youth Protection" guidelines MUST be followed. Registered leaders can explain these to you if you are not already familiar with them.
2. Part of what you son is supposed to be experiencing at camp is becoming a functioning member of his patrol. Therefore, he WILL sleep with his patrol, eat with his patrol, do KP (Kitchen Patrol) duties with his patrol, and perform campfire skits with his patrol. You may watch and advise... but LET HIM "do".
3. Attending parents will eat, tent, and in all other ways, "function" among the attending adults. Expect to be "put to work" over the weekend.
4. Smoking, chewing tobacco, alcohol, profanity and the like are NOT welcome in Scouting. We expect (and at BSA camp grounds it is required) that you do not smoke at Scouting events. If you feel that you "must" smoke, you are expected to not be in view of any Scouts (our troop or other).
5. Do not expect your son to sleep in your tent. While it is "technically" allowed under BSA Youth Protection, it impedes his development as a self-reliant Scout and the cohesion of his Patrol. We STRONGLY discourage any attempts to bunk with your son.
6. Siblings are not welcome to remain at overnight excursions, the only exception being 2nd Year WEBELOS scouts, who are actually encouraged to begin interacting with a Boy Scout troops (if our camping agenda is appropriate for WEBELOS-aged boys.).
7. Non-legal guardians (boy/girl friends of single parents) are not to remain over-night at camping excursions.
8. Adults who plan to attend camp MUST inform the Scout Master 1 week ahead of time (indicate attendance on the Permission Slip).

What is a Scoutmaster Conference?

The Scoutmaster wants to hear from the Scout exactly what he likes, doesn't like, might want to do different, etc. He wants to know what his ambitions are in Scouting and "life". The ultimate goal is to make sure the Scouting experience is of real benefit to the Scout's development.

Once the Scoutmaster is convinced the Scout is ready to move forward towards the next rank, the Scoutmaster will direct the Scout to meet with members of the Committee, where a similar meeting will take place. This is known as a Board of Review.

What is a Board of Review?

After a Scout completes his Scoutmaster Conference, he is to appear for a Board of Review.

Amazingly, its functions just like a job or private high school interview (this is not by accident) where the Scout will basically be addressing 2 specific topics:
• How is the Program (including adult leaders) running, and is there anything the Committee should/need to do to make the Program better?
• Why does the Scout feel as though he has earned his rank and is ready to move forward to the next rank?

There will be several questions put to the Scout by 3 to 5 Committee members comprising the Board, but ultimately, the 2 questions above are what are being addressed. For example, a Scout will not be asked to tie a square knot, but may be asked "which knot was the hardest, and how did you get yourself to finally learn it?"

Like a job interview, the Scout MUST come properly dressed; wearing the full (clean and presentable) BSA Field Uniform.

After meeting with the Scout, the Board will debate, and if they are in unanimous agreement, will allow the rank advancement to be recognized.

What is a Court of Honor?

A Court of Honor is a Boy Scouting awards ceremony, commonly held quarterly throughout the year.

At the Court of Honor, Scouts and their families gather for a formal recognition of advancement(s) and accomplishments that have been earned since the last Court of Honor. There are also periods for the Troop's Committee Chairperson to speak to the state of the Troop, or for some other event such as Scouting's annual Friends of Scouting campaign.

By ceremoniously recognizing the value of advancement and hard work, we hope to strengthen a boy's motivation to continue being active within the Troop. The Court of Honor also gives parents/guardians valuable insight to accomplishments or Program happenings they may not see due to their lack of presence at the weekly meetings.

As always, the goal is to ENCOURAGE, through positive reinforcement and praise.

How many merit badges can I work on?

There is no limit to the number of merit badges a Scout can have "open" at one time. He may start working on Merit Badges the day he signs his registration form and has until his 18th birthday to complete the work.

Some units impose their own limits, but that is NOT BSA policy, and therefore, we do not endorse such restrictions.

That being said, the idea is to LEARN about a particular topic through the Merit Badge Program. A boy will be best-served if he strives to complete the work for a badge in a short enough time frame that ALL the information/lessons remain relevant. Again, this is at the Scout's discretion.

What badges are "Eagle Required”?

There are a total of 21 Merit Badges required for the rank of Eagle.

12 of these badges are Eagle Required "White Bands" (merit badges with white/silver border stitching around the edges).

The remaining 9 (or more if you choose) may be any badges from among the remaining 109 non-Eagle required "Green Band" merit badges (badges with green stitching around the border).

While there are 15 possible Eagle Merit Badges, there are some that are "optional". Refer to the picture to clearly understand which badges qualify for Eagle, and which ones do not. Earning MORE THAN ONE of the optional badges will NOT afford you the choice to NOT earn other required badges, but "extra" Eagle badges can be counted towards the mandatory total of 21.

What kind of knives can Scouts carry?

Contrary to urban myth, the only regulation on this (other than earning the Toten Chip award) is the restriction that may exist at part of State/Local law. National BSA DOES allow Councils and Districts to set their own rules, so long as the rules result in a SAFER result.

As of today, neither Cross Roads of America the Pioneer District imposes regulations outside of BSA policy

While the BSA strongly encourages folding (preferably locking) pocket knives, those that are categorized as "fixed-blade" or "sheath" knives are allowed. In fact, the Guide to Safe Scouting specifically lists "fillet" knives as a prime example of a sheath knife that is appropriate for Scouting purposes (Fishing MB requirements). Fixed blade/sheath knives are big, bulky, heavy, and generally far more "knife" than a Scout needs.

Some BSA camps impose their own limitations, which visiting Scouts are obligated to respect, regardless of Troop or BSA/BAC policy.

Troop 244 respectfully asks that adults encourage their sons to carry the appropriate knives (small, folding pocket knife), as these are more than adequate for 99% of all scouting activities. In fact, "cheaper is better" because they may scar their blades by using flints to start fires, or may easily lose their knives in the course of daily activities.

Do all boys carry knives?

A knife of some type (typically folding pocket knife) is an integral part of the Scouting Program.

HOWEVER, all Scouts must pass instructional safety training to understand the STRICT provisions for using a knife safely, and at appropriate times, before he is allowed to possess or use a knife. The training covers the use of saws, hand axe, long axe, as well as knives.

This training is known as the Toten Chip and has a corresponding award of the same name. The award may be the pocket card (size of a business card) or if sold in the Council's Scout Store, a Toten Chip patch. The card is now considered a part of the official uniform. A scout is expected to have his "Toten Chip" with him if he is carrying his knife.

If a Scout falls short in his responsibility of safe knife handling, he may lose his Toten Chip privileges and it is up to the Scoutmaster's discretion as to how the privilege can be re-earned. In Troop 244, it is typical that a Scout who loses the privilege must repeat training, AND then TEACH the Toten Chip session to another scout.

What gear is required for camping?

Camping Essentials

The Troop Committee is charged with ensuring that enough equipment isprocured to support camping trips. Each patrol will have provided for them:
  • Tents with ground cloth

  • Cooking utensils

  • Cook stove w/ propane tank

  • Wash bins (for washing dishes)

  • Water jugs

Scouts will need to have the following personal gear:
1.Sleeping bag and extra blanket if sleep bag isnot too warm

2.Sleeping Pad (piece of foam works fine)

3.Mess kit:

  ·a plastic bowel with knife, fork and spoon andplastic cup/mug 

  ·Water bottle to carry during the day and refill

4.Proper clothing: Pack in accordance withweather!

  ·Boots - suggested when using an axe or saw

  ·Waterproof hiking boots are best

  ·Tennis shoes as an extra pair

  ·Long pants, shorts, gloves, cap, socks

  · Wool orsynthetics such as polypropylene are better than cotton. In cold and wet weather, they can keep youwarm even when wet; in warm weather, they wick sweat away.

  ·Pair of long underwear might not be a bad idea –We will not be inside much

5.Class A scout Shirt for campfire and Sunday AMVespers

6.Troop T-Shirt for daytime events (might need along sleeve underneath)

7.Sweatshirt or light jacket for evenings

8.Bring a change of clothes for Sunday (good ideato put these on before bed as you always want to remove what you wore duringthe day to improve body temp)

9.Extra socks are necessary:

  ·They need changed when wet and when going to bed

  ·Wool sock are preferred over cotton if you havethem.

10.Rain Gear / poncho – can also serve as a windbreaker

11.Personal first aid kit (described in detail inthe Handbook)

12.Flashlight (with working batteries)

13.Personal hygiene items (Toiletries):

  ·Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap & small towel

  ·Pack all of these together (Ziploc bag)

14.Footlocker, Backpack or duffle bag (whichever is preferred)

15.Great attitude

In addition to the required items above, the following items are veryhelpful:
1.Rescue whistle

2.Folding camp chair

3.“Travel-size" games or playing cards(non-electronic)

4.Pocket knife (if he has earned Toten' Chip)


6.Hiking stick or stave

7.Sunscreen & insect repellent as needed

8.Matches or matchless fire starter

9.Scout Handbook in case there are requirements wecan work on.

Do you sleep in tents, cabins, and open sky?

In the months of January, February, and March we have traditionally done "cabin camping". However, if the Patrol Leaders' Council decided to do something different, we would certainly respect that decision.

Cabins have double-decker bunk beds and wood burning stoves for heat. Most of the cabins also have some type of kitchen facility.

The remainder of the year, we experience "tent camping". The troop maintains an adequate supply of 4-man, "A-frame" tents. Despite their size/capacity, only 2 boys are assigned to each tent. This gives them plenty of space for gear and personal comfort.

If boys so choose (hopefully as a patrol), they can sleep under the open sky (no tent) or for those feeling even more adventurous (or working on their Wilderness Survival merit badge) may choose to build their own structure and sleep in it overnight.

What is the purpose of a "patrol"?

A significant part of the Scouting experience is to get plenty of HANDS ON activity. From knot tying, to cooking on a fire and stove, to learning how to use a pocket knife or axe... Scouts "DO".

In order to make sure everyone gets a chance to DO, boys are divided into smaller groups within the Troop so that everyone gets ample opportunity to participate. This is part of what the BSA calls, "The Patrol Method".

Within a patrol-sized group, boys do not get "lost among the crowd" or feel as though their opinions (and votes) don't matter. Each plays a critical and important role in the Patrol's success.

The definition of the "Patrol Method" from the National Council's website...
Patrols are the building blocks of a Boy Scout troop. A patrol is a small group of boys who are similar in age, development, and interests. Working together as a team, patrol members share the responsibility for the patrol's success. They gain confidence by serving in positions of patrol leadership. All patrol members enjoy the friendship, sense of belonging, and achievements of the patrol and of each of its members.

What is a "Scout Account"?

Along with managing the general fund needed to maintain the program (awards, equipment, camp ground fees, etc.) the Troop Treasurer also manages a virtual "account" for each Scout. This account can be used for ANY Scouting-related expense, from dues, summer camp fees, to equipment for a merit badge class (such as a fishing rod for Fishing MB).


When fund raising events are approved by the Committee, the purpose of fund raising will be stated (fund the Troop fund, fund an event, fund the boys accounts, or a combination thereof). In MOST events, some portion of fund raising will be designated for those who participate in fund raising effort. The idea is that the more a boy works, the more he reaps the reward for his labor. In doing so, he contributes to the overall good of the troop and pushes fund raising events to their maximum effectiveness. It is a win/win scenario.


The funds are paid out as a REIMBURSEMENT for a Scouting-related expense. Scouts are to inform the leader what they bought and how it related to Scouting, then present the sales receipt. By the following meeting, reimbursement in the form of check will be presented to the Scout. Scouts should clarify in advance, any expense that would seem "questionable".

What happens to the funds if a Scout transfers to another unit or quits Scouting?

By Committee decision, a boy who remains in Scouting, but decides to transfer to another unit, deserves the benefit of his labor. Upon confirmation of transfer paperwork, we'll distribute the balance in his Scout account to him.

Those who quit scouting forfeit the contents of their Scout Account and the funds will be rolled into the general Troop Fund. (see Note below to understand why we do not "refund" account balances)

NOTE: Per BSA Guidelines, all money and equipment held by a Scouting Unit is the lawful property of the Charter Organization (not the Troop or its members). Money does not "belong" to any 1 Scout, but rather exists to enrich his Scouting experience. A boy, who opts out of the Scouting Program, is no longer privy to money DESIGNATED specifically for Scouting purposes. He cannot claim "reimbursement" for it was never lawfully "his".

Will my son be intimidated by the older boys?

We follow a ZERO TOLORANCE policy for bullying or unruly behavior. By any and all measure, Scouting is (and should be) considered a "safe zone" where boys can come and GROW in a positive and supportive environment.

Upon joining Scouts, boys are placed into a smaller unit called a Patrol - we currently have 6 patrols in our Troop. Per BSA guidelines, a patrol is "a group of boys (no more than 10) of similar age, interests, and abilities."

BY DESIGN, your son will be among boys "like him" for most of his Scouting events. However, he will BENEFIT from the guidance and leadership examples of the older/larger boys who serve as Senior Leaders, Troop Guides, and skill instructors. Even in mixed-patrol competitions, we have only observed caring and supportive interactions... and we DO watch (just in case).

Scouting is a PRIVATE organization. Should any boy's behavior become intolerable, it is well within our right to "un-invite" him from being a Scout in this Troop.

What do I keep hearing about Scouting and Religion

Per the 12th point of the Scout Law, "a Scout is Reverent".

Scouting's founder, Lord Baden Powell, believed that it was crucial to the development of the "whole person" that we have a belief in, and love for God and that we should live by and embody His laws and teachings.

Scouting does NOT promote any 1 denomination above another and works with organized religions to offer awards (officially known as the Religious Emblem Program) to any boys choosing to farther explore their religious faith, from Catholic, to Muslim, to Judaism, to Buddhist. Again, Scouting proves itself to be SUPPORTIVE of diversity and religious differences.

However, as a Private organization, it is the right of the BSA to set a code of ethics and morals for its members to follow. Having a belief in God, is one of those criteria.

Those professing NO belief in God may find they would be better served in a different youth program than the BSA.

As we believe "being reverent" is such a critical part of Scouting, we openly pray during meals, at meetings, and during non-denominational "Scouts' Own" services which are held while we are away at camp.

How much does Scouting cost?

The Troop does not charge an annual "activity fee.” Instead, the Troop uses fund- raisers to offset most cost as needed to fund new equipment, more elaborate camping destinations, or to allow boys to fund their OWN "scout account".


The Activity Fee - helps to pay for annual registration, Boys Life Magazine subscription, numerous awards, badges, pins, camp ground fees, and more. It usually is NOT enough for all expenses (see fund rising below).


Camp fee (food fee) - Each patrol creates their own menu for the monthly camping trip and can decide to raise or lower this fee to be aligned with their menu choices. TYPICALLY, this is $5-$10 each month.


Summer Camp Fee - Week-long Summer Camp is a great experience, and we encourage Scouts to attend every year. The average fee is $300. Please start saving for this NOW so that Camp is not a "financial burden" when payment is due (usually May of each year).


Fund Raising - held as needed to supplement the cost of running the Troop. Covers new/replacment equipment (tents, stoves, cook gear, propane tanks, etc), or to cover the cost of more elaborate camping destinations. A portion is usually designated for Scout Accounts.


Scout Accounts - The Troop allocates a portion of fund raising to each participating boy's own "Scout Account". This encourages boys to actively participate in fund raising efforts. The harder a Scout works, the more he will earn for himself. Funds are held in escrow by the Troop Treasurer, and can be used to reimburse Scouts for ANY Scouting-related expense.

What happens at camping trips?

Camping trips usually follow the following format:

Scouts arrive at THE LIONS CLUB in full Field Uniform on a Friday evening, typically by 5:30 PM. Once all gear is packed and a final check for permission slips and medications is complete, we will depart for the selected camping destination. Upon arrival, the first order of business is to choose camp sites and set up tents. Once all tents are up, kitchen/cook areas are set up and all personal gear is stowed. Time permitting, the boys will have "Cracker Barrel" (snack) and the remainder of the night until 11 PM is "free time" for Scouts to unwind and burn off some energy.

Saturday mornings begin with the designated cooks waking up 1/2 hour before reveille and starting to prepare breakfast. At reveille, the rest of the camp will rise and patrols are encouraged to eat together. Each patrol will have their own dining area, or in the case of a shared pavilion, designated tables. Once KP is complete, there is a flag ceremony and then the Program portion of the day begins with a break for lunch around noon. Program (Scout-skill related activity, and/or the purpose of the camping trip) continues until 5 PM. After dinner, the flag is lowered ceremoniously and there is free time until the Council Fire (at dark). At the Council Fire, boys often perform skits, tell jokes…

We generally sleep a little longer on Sunday. Again, cooks are called to prepare breakfast 1/2 hour before their patrols. Cold breakfasts are encouraged, due to the faster KP time. After KP, all scouts are to gather personal gear and then start packing kitchen/dining areas. The tents are the last to be packed, as it is usually necessary to wait until the tents and ground cloths have dried completely. A tent put away wet will grow mildew and be ruined in a VERY short time. While waiting for tents to dry, the Troop is lead in a "Scouts' Own" prayer service, led by the Chaplain's Aid; a boy appointed by the SPL to lead religious events. Once all gear can be packed, camp is struck and we depart for home targeting a return to THE LIONS CLUB by 1 PM.

I wasn't a Scout as a boy, can I be a Scout Leader

All are welcome to contribute as much as they would like as a uniformed leader, Committee Member, or a Merit Badge Councilor (MBC).

As a Committee Member, you should be willing to attend the monthly Committee Meeting and get involved in as much/little upcoming activities as you wish.

As a Merit Badge Councilor, you choose to provide counseling from 1 to many of the available 121 Merit Badges. YOU DO NOT need to be an "expert" to be a counselor, as the $4.59 handbooks will cover ALL that you need to know to learn/teach each particular badge.

As a Merit Badge Councilor, your time is ONLY used "upon request" when a Scout decides he would like to work on a particular badge for which you've agreed to be a counselor. Merit Badges are earned OUTSIDE of the weekly meeting, so Scouts meet with you ON YOUR SCHEDULE of availability.

NOTE... all leaders MUST complete a BSA Adult Application, which requires you to provide your Social Security Number. A background check will be done by the Baltimore Area Council. WE (Troop) will NOT know of the particular details of anyone's record, but will simply be told "yes/no" regarding your eligibility. If you do not provide your SSN, you will not be accepted as a leader. This is National BSA policy, not an ad hoc policy of Troop 244.

Which political party does the BSA endorse?

By National policy, the BSA is APOLITICAL. We have no affiliation with any one political party, nor are Scouts (in uniform) permitted to act in ANY WAY that would be interpreted as giving support to any 1 political party or political issue.

Uniformed Boy Scouts may serve as the Color Guard at political events, but must exit the stage before any political speeches or grand-standing take place.

By Constitutional Charter, the President of the United States is the Honorary President of the BSA.

We're looking at troops. What should we look for?

WHAT should you look for when you visit a troop?
WHAT are some signs of a "good" unit?

Keep these questions in mind...
1. How is the attendance? (Low enrollment and/or attendance may indicate a troubled program.)
2. Were the boys AND leaders in the proper uniform? (RUN from any troop that allows the "blue jean brigade", where they are only in uniform from the waist up. If they don't promote the basic uniform, rest assured that OTHER THINGS are missing too.)
3. Are boys advancing at an individualized rate? Is there a mix of ranks among the Scouts, even in the same patrols? (Right answer is "yes")
4. How many EAGLES did they have last year? (BEWARE of "Eagle Farms". On average, only 2 per 100 boys in Scouting make it to Eagle. Rates higher than average demand scrutiny as they may be too lax about advancement requirements, or may indicate an "adult prepared" agenda. "EAGLE" is earned by the BOYS making the effort to achieve on their own initiatives, not by being "spoon fed" an agenda of merit badge coursework over a pre-defined schedule.)
5. Were YOU welcomed? Did they make you feel genuinely welcomed and wanted?
6. WHO is TEACHING? Boys or adults? (With the exception of "advanced" skill instruction, boys should be running the meeting, not adults.)
7. Are they having FUN? Do boys look interested, or bored?
8. Are there boys of various ages? (Big gaps in enrollment may indicate periods of a problem program or "issues" with the adult leadership.)
9. How long has the Scoutmaster been the Scoutmaster? (A "new guy" may be lacking experience, and "old timers" generally lack "updated program" changes.)
10. Is there room for you as a leader or on the Troop Committee? If you're told, "we're all full", that is NOT a good sign!
11. Are the boys well behaved? Do they respond to the "Scout Sign" or was someone screaming "SIGNS UP!!!"? Any screaming is a warning sign.
12. Ask what trips they've had, and what they have planned. Do they do the same thing every year, or are they always trying something new and exciting?
13. WATCH YOUR SON! Did he blend in? Did the boys make efforts to include him?
14. Watch for different "stages" of the Troop meeting. There should be distinct periods of Skill Instruction, Patrol time, Inter-patrol Activity, and some formal opening and closing ceremonies.

Finally, what are the facilities like? Is there adequate meeting space... storage to "do things"? (OK, we are a little biased since we have our own gun ranges, fish pond, archery range, stream, field, etc....)

The difference between Rank & Merit Badges?

Rank is an interesting word choice, clearly derived from Scouting's origin as a program modeled after a military structure.

Those holding a "higher rank" do not order around those of "lower rank". In Scouting, the term "rank" is a PERSONAL measure of his progress along the "Trail to Eagle"... or more appropriately thought of as his "trail to manhood".

When a boy joins Scouting, his first POSITION is one of "Scout".

He then works on the first 3 RANKS; Tenderfoot, 2nd Class, and 1st Class. Within the requirements of these ranks, a Scout learns the SAFETY aspects of Scouting; basic first aid, how to choose a safe camp spot, how to properly dress for an outing, how to find his way with map/compass, what to do if he gets lost, etc...

Now a demonstrated "safe" Scout... he is ready for his next period of personal development, which is LEADERSHIP. In the pursuit of Star, Life, and Eagle, a youth is learning (and then mastering) the skills of leadership. By holding leadership positions within the troop, he learns to lead, instruct, and inspire others. He learns to "give back" to others, and also learns his emerging place in Society as a citizen.

There are 121 various Merit Badges available (only 21 needed for Eagle). To ensure that the Scouts are getting a taste of the opportunities available, the higher badges of rank require a set number of merit badges be completed (including some designated as "Eagle required").

Merit Badges offer exposure to a diverse background of interests, adventures, and opportunities that Scouts may never experience IF NOT for the Scouting program (Aviation, Scuba, Reptile study, shooting sports, etc.). It is not uncommon that exposure to a topic via the Merit Badge Program leads to life-long hobbies and career choices, as well as "needed skills" like Home Repair, Auto Mechanics, and Public Speaking.

There is no limit on the number of Merit Badges a youth may earn.

Can a boy be "demoted" or have badges taken away?

Once a RANK or a Merit Badge has been earned, it can never be taken away. In addition, once a Merit Badge Councilor signs a "blue card" stating that the badge requirement has been completed, no one has the authority to overturn the decision or refuse to award the badge to the Scout. (BSA policy)

Firemen' Chit and Totten' Chip are safety badges and it is at the discretion of the Troop Leadership to revoke a Scouts PRIVILEGES for fire-starting or knife/axe use. Should this ever happen, the corrective process is usually retaking the instructional course. Until that happens, a Scout is not permitted to carry/use a knife, nor may he start or tend a fire.

What if my son is not advancing?

Advancement in Scouting is STRICTLY the responsibility of each individual Scout.

Through his Patrol Leader, he should voice his desire for trip destinations, activities, and opportunities to complete the various rank requirements and attend trips that HE finds exciting and thrilling.

HE is responsible for informing the Scoutmaster (in advance) of his choice to begin working on a Merit Badge; the completion of which is up to HIM and his Merit Badge Councilor. Through INDEPENDENT work (with a friend or family member - to comply with Youth Protection) he will work with his MBC to complete Merit Badge requirements at his own pace.

At meetings and on camping trips, AMPLE opportunity is made to complete work and FREQUENT reminders are made to encourage boys to "step up" to make the most of their opportunities.

Periodically, all boys will attend a Board of Review (BOR). Boys advancing to their next rank MUST attend the BOR as a requirement, but the Advancement Chair is also responsible for scheduling periodic BORs for boys who are NOT advancing to inquire as to the reason they are not progressing, or finding out what is "missing" in the Program.

AT ANY TIME, Scouts (with/without their parents) are free to inquire about advancement to the Scoutmaster or his Assistant Scoutmasters.

The SCOUT is ultimately responsible..... That’s what makes the "Eagle" rank so significant and valuable. Attaining "Eagle" tells the world, that this is a young man who is responsible and a leader.

Does the Troop have some "Bylaws" that I can read?

Bylaws are not necessary in Scouting units. Every aspect of how the Program should function is already laid out in clear detail in the Scoutmaster's Handbook, the boy's Scouting Handbook, Guide to Safe Scouting, and the National Council's training documentation for the Troop Committee and the various Committee positions.

Why would a unit try to recreate a 100 year old Program that is already perfected? Try getting some BSA training instead folks.....

SPL runs the Troop meetings and events
PLC makes the decisions
Adult leaders give the boys support
Committee members handle administration and funding
COR or Charter Organization hires/fires those who need to do their jobs correctly