Re: Scout Letter
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Mon, 5 Feb 1996 02:07:02 -0500
Here's a sample "memo" to new Boy Scout parents from a Troop in our area:
MEMORANDUM FOR PROSPECTIVE AND CURRENT BOY SCOUTS OF TROOP 856
Subject: POLICIES AND ACTIVITIES OF TROOP 856
Welcome to Boy Scout Troop 856! We are a Scout Troop that has
been in continuous existence since 1956! We are a very proud troop,
especially proud of the more than 70 boys who have attained the highest
rank in Scouting, that of EAGLE SCOUT!
You are under no obligation to join our troop just because you
visited. Scouting is a completely voluntary organization. If you like
what you see and learn about the troop as a result of visiting us, you
are certainly welcome to join us.
Please take time to fully understand what Scouting is all about.
Scouting is FUN -- Outdoor Fun -- Indoor Fun -- Quiet Fun -- Noisy Fun!
We also can learn while having fun. We learn to be better American
Citizens, to develop the mental and physical skills we need for growth,
and to follow a set of Scouting principles which build character and
nurture personal values. In other words, the purpose of Scouting is to
develop mature and responsible young citizens through a program of fun
and personal advancement.
Troop 856 is an active troop with a year-round program. We meet
every Tuesday evening at 7:30 P.M. in the Social Hall of the Springfield
United Methodist Church. We are sponsored by the Church's Mens Club.
Meetings are scheduled 50 of the 52 weeks of the year. We do not meet
the week the troop is at summer camp (usually mid-July) and the week
between Christmas and New Year's. In the case of very bad weather, the
troop's leadership will call the adult and boy leaders to notify all
members, if a meeting is cancelled. As mentioned above, the troop
meetings begin at 7:30 P.M. sharp and end at 9:00 P.M. You are expected
to be on time and to wear your Scout Uniform. If you are involved in
another activity, such as sports, and time precludes you from putting on
your uniform, it is okay to appear in your sports etc. uniform. You
should attend meetings regularly because it is the primary means of
knowing what the troop is doing and of learning the skills needed to
advance in Scouting.
Camping and outdoor activities are an important part of our
program. We go camping at least ten times per year as a troop. This
includes one week at summer camp, two district camporees and seven other
weekend trips anyhwere in the Virginia and Maryland area. Most of our
camping trips are held at locations within 50 miles of Springfield,
except for summer camp which is located approximately four hours
Southwest of here in Goshen, Virginia.
The initial cost to join Troop 856 is $20.00. This pays for your
registration, Boy's Life Magazine, a Troop neckerchief, a 25 year patch,
and your first month's dues. After the first month, dues are $1.00 per
month, which should be paid to the Troop Scribe on the first Tuesday
meeting of each month. If you pay your dues and participate in the
Troop's money earning project, the annual Apple Pick, by picking apples
and/or selling at least 10 bags of apples, then no other fees for
reregistration will be collected. Your dues, the Apple Pick and other
donations permits the troop to pay for most troop activities, all awards,
camping equipment and troop reregistration each year.
Once you decide to join the troop, you will be given a
registration form to fill out with your parent's assistance and our help,
if necessary. You will be officially registered upon return of the form
to the troop along with the $20.00 fee (payable in cash or by check
payable to "Boy Scout Troop 856, BSA"). You will then be assigned to a
patrol of not more than eight Scouts, many new like you or some which may
already be your friends. Your parents are also invited to fill out a
troop resource form or an adult leader membership form.
EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES
As a Scout in Troop 856, you are required to have a Boy Scout
Handbook and a complete Scout Uniform. The handbook will serve as a
guide and the uniform should reflect your pride in being a Scout. Buy
the uniform large enough to allow for your growth during the next couple
of years. Take care of the uniform; they're durable, but also expensive.
Additionally, you'll need some personal equipment to go camping
with the troop. Major items like tents and stoves are provided by the
troop. However, each Scout needs the following:
* Back pack, preferrably one that can be adjusted as you grow.
* Sleeping bag, one that is comfortable in summer and with an
additional blanket, warm in the winter. Avoid a feather down bag, which
when wet provides no warmth.
* Ground pad and/or cloth.
* Folding knife (No sheath knives are allowed or needed).
* Poncho or rain gear.
* Water bottle or canteen.
* Mess kit, with cub, knife, fork, spoon, plate, etc.
* Toilet kit.
* A pair of boots for hiking.
The above list is the minimum equipment necessary for proper
camping. As you prepare for your outdoor adventures with the troop, you
will be instructed in the proper clothing to bring, food preparation,
equipment maintenance, and other hiking and camping skills.
Your parents are welcome to discuss equipment and uniform
purchases with the experienced adult leaders of the troop. Official Boy
Scout equipment is of the highest quality and can be purchased in the
boys department of the J.C. Penney store at Springfield Mall, Royson's on
King Street in Alexandria, or the Scout Shop at 9190 Wisconsin Avenue in
Bethesda. There are several other camping type stores at the mall and at
other locations throughout the area. New or expensive equipment is not
necessary for quality camping.
Troop activities are planned by Scouts, particularly the Scouts
in troop leadership positions, in coordination with the Scoutmaster and
the Troop Committee. The Troop Committee adds the resources to make the
activities happen. This is where your parents get involved. A troop
runs on volunteers who provide transportation, supervision and assistance
on campouts and other activities. Although, we are fortunate to have
many adults who already assist in troop activities, your parents are
invited to volunteer their services in any manner, small or large. These
activities include work on merit badges, advancement requirements, Courts
of Honor for recognition, leadership functions and special activities,
community service projects, sporting events, camping, and hikes.
Although we also have organized games or competitions at most
meetings and camping trips for your fun and enjoyment, there are times
when we must be serious. Usually these are times to learn about new
skills or to obtain information about the next troop activity. Scouts
are courteous and provide their full attention during such periods.
Horseplay will not be tolerated under any circumstances, because it could
lead to someone getting hurt, maybe you. Lastly, we have the privilege
of being able to meet in the Social Hall of the Springfield United
Methodist Church, one of the finest meeting facilities provided to any
troop. We will at all times respect the sanctity of the church and
protect its property. That means we must not run around the chuch alone,
wear our hats or make lots of noise.
This has been a short overview of our troop. It will probably
not answer all your questions. Feel free to ask questions of your Patrol
Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, the Scoutmaster, or any Troop Committee
members who are at the troop meetings. We hope to see you there too!
The adventure begins with you.
Committee Chairman, Troop 856
Scoutmaster, Troop 856
Speaking Only for Myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F. Bowman
a/k/a Professor Beaver (WB), ASTA #2566, OA Vigil Honor '71, Eagle
Scout '67, Serving as Deputy District Commissioner for Training,
G.W.Dist., Nat. Capital Area Council, BSA - firstname.lastname@example.org
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City