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Boy Scout Troop 1310
(Chatham, Illinois)
 
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What do scouts do as "Scouts BSA"?



The Boy Scouts of America Program is a 100 year old, professionally crafted, program of education and character development. By using the "Outdoor Method" (camping, fishing, rock climbing, etc) scouts work together to do "the things scouts like to do". In the process, they learn the value of teamwork, honesty, communication, mutual respect, and more as they work toward their goal and overcome any obstacles they encounter.

By employing the Methods of Scouting, we reinforce the AIMS of Scouting, which are reflected in our Oath and Law. The goal is to see that they become permanent fixtures in the character of each Scout as we teach them to be Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrift, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.

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


The relevant 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)

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 BSA Scout. PRIOR to her 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.

There are NO age requirements for ANY merit badges or youth leadership positions (other than JASM and Camp Staff).

What do you mean by "Scout Led"?



A Scouts BSA troop leads itself.   Adults are present to guide and ensure safety & compliance exists, but it is the YOUTH who make key decisions.

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.

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 scouts 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 SCOUTS.

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 lead by the scouts (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.

"Scout Leadership" really means the Troop is doing the things the SCOUTS 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.

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, scouts 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, scouts 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 scouts 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.

How much does Scouting cost?


The Troop charges an annual membership fee.  At this time that is $61.50 for the National Membership Fees.

There will be modest "food charges" for each monthly camping trip or outing, and a charge each year if your son attends week-long Summer Camp (highly encouraged!).

Fund Raisers are held as needed to fund new equipment, and more elaborate camping destinations.

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The membership fee - helps to pay for annual registration. There is an optional Boy's Life Magazine subscription that a scout can subscribe to. Additional cost to both the troop and families may include numerous awards, badges, pins, camp ground fees, and more.

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"Camping fee" is typically $10 each trip.
"Food cost" Each patrol creates their own menu for monthly camping trips and can decide to raise or lower this charge to align with their menu choices. TYPICALLY, this should be $10-$15 each trip.

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Summer Camp Fee - Week-long Summer Camp is a great experience, and we encourage Scouts to attend every year. The average fee is $360.

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Fund Raising - held as needed to supplement the cost of running the Troop. Covers new/replacement equipment (tents, stoves, cook gear, fuel tanks, etc), or to cover the cost of more elaborate camping destinations.

Why do Scouts wear a Uniform?



Scouting's founder, Lord Baden Powell realized long ago, that when people look the same (uniform), they not only show they are members of an organization, but being dressed the same  ERASES all trace of "class" or "wealth" or "social status".  

In Scouting, all are equal and treat each other with respect.  In doing so, we learn to look past class, income, race, religion, nationality, and social status.

Despite the attacks from some of Scouting's detractors, there has never been a program so OPEN and SUPPORTIVE of diversity as Scouting.

Considering this was taken into account in 1907,  Lord Baden Powell was clearly a man ahead of his time.

Where can I buy uniforms and required patches



You may purchase the needed uniforms and patches at the Abraham Lincoln Council Scout Shop.

Abraham Lincoln Council
5231 Sixth Street Road
Springfield, IL 62703
(217) 529-2727

Office and Store hours:
Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 5:00 pm

At minimum, you will need a scout shirt, pants, Abraham Lincoln Council council patch, World Scouting Emblem, green shoulder loops and green troop numerals 1310. A Scout Handbook is also required to keep track of your advancements. 

You may order uniforms and other items from the Official BSA Scout Shop at https://www,scoutshop.org. Shipping fees may apply.

You may also be lucky enough to find scout uniforms at the local thrift stores or from family and friends who may have outgrown their uniforms. 

Is there any hazing in Scouting?


Absolutely not.  "Hazing" or similar types of practical jokes are simply not tolerated.

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 denomination above another and works with organized religions to offer awards (officially known as the Religious Emblem Program) to any scouts choosing to further explore their religious faith, from Catholic, to Muslim, to Judiasm, to Budist.  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 or 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.

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 scouts 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 scouts 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 scouts 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 SCOUTS 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?  Scouts, or adults?  (With the exception of  "advanced" skill instruction, scouts should be running the meeting, not adults.)
  7. Are they having FUN?  Do scouts look interested, or bored?
  8. Are there scouts 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. Are the scouts well behaved?  Do they respond to the "Scout Sign" or was someone screaming "SIGNS UP!!!"?  Any screaming is a warning sign.
  11. 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?
  12. WATCH YOUR SCOUT!   Did she blend in?  Did the scouts make efforts to include her?
  13. 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.

Our chartering organization has a pack and a troop


Do you need to crossover into the Troop where you are currently a Cub Scout?   Absolutely not!

Just because a charter organization has "their own" Cub Scout pack and a Boy Scout troop, a scout is NOT obligated at all to crossover into that Troop.  If you are given any pressure to do so.... that's probably a sign for you to run in the other direction!

While all Troops (should) follow the same BSA Program designed by the National Council of the BSA, you will find every troop has a program MUCH different than any other.  Some predominantly like to HIKE, others BIKE, some CAMP while others CANOE.  Some are "year round", and others take a summer break.

It's in your scout's best interests to shop around and make sure the place she is likely to spend the next 7 years of her Scouting career is going to be the best fit for her.

Does my scout have to come every week?


We won't send the "Scout Police" out to find you if you don't show up, but you miss out on a big part of the BSA Program if you don't attend regularly.

Scouting is NOT just playtime, or "Sally's weekend fun" away from her kid brother.  Scouting is a carefully crafted character-development program.  Each scout is a member of a PATROL, and as such, is part of a smaller group (as compared to the whole Troop of scouts) where she is given AMPLE opportunity to play an active and valuable "hands on" role in the patrol's success. 

A scout who shows up sporadically DEPRIVES herself of the chance to make key decisions within her patrol; choose trip ideas and destinations, make menu selections, divvy out workload, and build close friendships.  Every meeting includes a period of valuable skill instruction and fun inter-patrol competitions that relate to the upcoming camping trip. If a scout misses a meeting, she will find herself less prepared for the upcoming weekend in the outdoors.  The troop meetings are where we "learn", but the camping trip is where we reinforce the skills by putting them into practical use.

Scouts should make every effort to attend meetings on a regular basis.   Those who don't are missing out on the full experience of their limited Scouting years, and are causing their patrol members to do the same.

Do all scouts 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 she 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. A scout is expected to have her "Toten Chip" with her if she is carrying her knife.

If a Scout falls short in her responsibility of safe knife handling, she may lose her Toten Chip privileges and it is up to the Scoutmaster's discretion as to how the privilege can be re-earned.

What happens on camping trips?


The scouts of Troop 1310 learn to be prepared, self reliant, and learn how to work together as a team.  They do this through our camp outs and patrol activities.  The scouts have a camping weekend opportunity about once a month, with additional activities throughout the year.

What gear is required of camping?



The Troop Committee is charged with ensuring that enough equipment is procured to support camping trips.   Each patrol will have provided for them:
  • tents
  • cooking utensils
  • camp stove/fuel
  • wash bins (for washing dishes)
  • water jugs

Scouts will need to have the following personal gear:
  1. sleeping bag
  2. eating utensils (fork, knife, spoon, bowl, and reusable cup)
  3. proper clothing (including hat & footwear)
  4. rain poncho & rescue whistle
  5. personal first aid kit (described in detail in the Handbook)
  6. flashlight (and extra batteries)
  7. personal hygiene items (tooth brush, deodorant, etc)
  8. Backpack (preferred) or dufflebag

In addition to the required items above, the following items are very helpful:
  1. folding camp chair (summer camp only)
  2. "travel-size" games or playing cards (non-electronic)
  3. pocket knife (if she has earned Toten' Chip)
  4. compass
  5. sunscreen & insect repellent
  6. matchless fire starter

Can I attend camp with my scout?


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 scouts. The Guide to Safe Scouting says, "There are NO 'secret societies' in Scouting.  An adult may attend any scout function with their scout".

THAT BEING SAID...  there are some guidelines visiting parents are expected to follow.

1.  Scoutings "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 your scout is supposed to be experiencing at camp is becoming a functioning member of her patrol.  Therefore, she WILL sleep with her patrol, eat with her patrol, do KP (Kitchen Patrol) duties with her patrol, and perform campfire skits with her patrol.  You may watch and advise... but LET HER "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 scout to sleep in your tent.  While it is "technically" allowed under BSA Youth Protection, it impedes her development as a self-reliant Scout and the cohesion of her Patrol.  We STRONGLY discourage any attempts to bunk with your scout.

6. Siblings are not welcome to remain at over night excursions, the only exception being 2nd Year WEBELOS scouts, who are actually encouraged to begin interacting with a Boy Scout troop (if our camping agenda is appropriate for WEBELOS-aged scouts.).

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 Scoutmaster 1 week ahead of time (indicate attendance via email).

Can I keep working closely with my scout?


If you mean "work with your scout" 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 Scouts BSA is a new phase of her personal development. 

"Dads & Lads" was the Cub Scout model.  Your presence helped to guide her, keep her under control, and reinforce the importance of "family", but as a Scouts BSA, she needs to focus more on herself, and on working with peers. 

She's becoming a young woman and needs to start interacting with other adults like the Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmasters, and various Merit Badge Counselors.  She also needs to become comfortable with working without adults hovering over her as she works with her patrol.

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 scout joins Scouting, his first POSITION is "Scout". 

He then works on the first 3 RANKS; Tenderfoot2nd 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 StarLife, 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 I "sign off" on my scout's requirements?


Golly Toto... we're not in Cub Scouts any more.

This is one of our most common questions, and the answer is "no" (and should have been "no" when she was a WEBELOS Scout as well.)

In Scouts BSA, it's not enough that a Scout "did it once before" or was "there the night we talked about bla bla bla..".  A Scout must SHOW PROFICIENCY and UNDERSTANDING of the rank requirements in the presence of a registered adult leader. ONLY THEN can she get "signed off" on the requirements in the back of her Handbook. This can be done by a uniformed adult, or a Scout who has been entrusted with the job of skill instruction.

How do Scouts earn Merit Badges?



The day a scout signs her BSA application, she is eligible to start working on Merit Badges. 

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

The process:

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

2   She informs the Scoutmaster of her intention to work on a badge, and is issued a "blue card" and given the contact information for a registered Merit Badge Counselor (MBC).  A MBC can be ANY registered MBC in any Council.  She is not obligated to work with counselors in her home unit or Council.

3.  The Scout(s) contact the MBC and make 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. 

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 her badge on the next possible opportunity. 

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

How fast can my scout advance?


Advancement in Scouting is COMPLETELY under the control of the Scout herself.

As fast as she can learn the skills, she can get credit for them towards rank advancement.

TYPICALLY, it will take more than 1 year for her to make it from Scout, to Tenderfoot, to 2nd Class, and then to 1st Class.  A Scout can work on the requirements for rank IN ANY ORDER, but her actual progression through the ranks must be sequential.

Some of the rank requirements have SET TIMES that must be met before she can get credit for them and advance.  These are clearly outlined in the back pages of her Scout Handbook.

A scout has until her 18th birthday to reach Eagle and/or be a Scout in the Scouts BSA.  

Reaching Eagle is NOT an easy task and requires an abundance of effort and self-motivation.  Encouragement at home is CRUCIAL to a scout's success towards her Eagle Rank.

What if my scout is not advancing?


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

Through her Patrol Leader, she should voice her desire for trip destinations, activities, and opportunities to complete the various rank requirements and attend trips that SHE finds exciting and fulfilling.

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

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

Periodically, all scouts will attend a Board of Review (BOR).  Scouts advancing to their next rank MUST attend the BOR as a requirement, but the Scoutmaster or Advancement Chair may also schedule periodic BORs for scouts 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 her 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 woman who is responsible and a leader.

What is a Scoutmaster Conference?



After a Scout completes all the required tasks towards her next badge of rank, the next step is for the Scout to meet with the Scoutmaster for a "Scoutmaster's Conference".

The Scoutmaster's Conference SHOULD NEVER be a re-testing of any of her skills.  Certifying her skills is the responsibility of the leader who "signed off" on her Handbook.  Rather, the conference is a chance for the Scoutmaster to make sure all requirements are signed off, and then engage in a comfortable, yet detailed, discussion on how the Scout is feeling about the Program and how Scouting is fitting into her life as a whole.  (This IS a character building program, if you didn't know.)

The Scoutmaster wants to hear from the Scout exactly what she likes, doesn't like, might want to do different, etc.  The scoutmaster wants to know what her 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 toward 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 her Scoutmaster Conference, she is to appear for a Board of Review.

Amazingly, it 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 she has earned her 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 is 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 Scouts BSA awards ceremony, commonly held twice 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 on 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 scout'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.

Can a scout 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 Counselor 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 Toten' Chip are safety badges and it is at the discretion of the Troop Leadership to revoke a Scout's 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 she start or tend a fire.

What's so special about "Eagle Scouts"?



Becoming an Eagle Scout is no small achievement.  In fact, among adults who have gone on to become astronauts, doctors, politicians, or business leaders, most of them will say that earning their Eagle is clearly among the most important achievements in their lives.

Back to the question... WHY?

Look at it from this angle.... ADVANCEMENT is completely up to the individual Scout.   If she has no desire or sense of commitment to advance in rank, that is her choice.   IT IS POSSIBLE for a scout to attend EVERY meeting and EVERY camping trip, and never make it through 1/2 of the available ranks if she isn't motivated enough to take the extra step of demonstrating skills or earning merit badges.  Statistically speaking, only 2 out of 100 scouts in Scouting will push themselves to become Eagle Scouts.

The "Trail to Eagle" is one of persistence, dedication, well-rounded learning experiences by earning 21+ merit badges, strong attendance at meetings and camping trips, and hundreds of hours of community service.... all culminating with the planning and complete execution of her "Eagle Project" before her 18th birthday.

The "Eagle Project" is SO MUCH MORE than "giving something back to the community" (which it is, and let's not minimize the importance of community and charity).   It is actually her "final exam" in Scouting.  

SHE manages her Eagle Project.  She will put to use all of the lessons she learned as a Scouts BSA Scout;  communicating, organizing, recruiting, conceiving an idea, selling the idea, planning the work, assigning work details to those helping her, being the "accountant" that tracks the hours worked and the money spent, etc.  In every conceivable way, SHE is the "project leader".

THESE are the highly desirable skills and traits that make "Eagle Scouts" stand out on a job resume or college application, and the fact that such skills and moral foundations are learned/mastered before "society" recognizes her as an "adult"...  simply amazing!

What is the minimum age to become an Eagle Scout?


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

Having said that, you need to know that this is really the wrong question.  Scouting is not a destination.  It is a journey.  You can fly across the country in a plane, but you will not then experience the richness of our national culture as you would by driving.

If your sole goal is to fast-track your scout to an Eagle rank, do yourself (and us) a favor by taking your scout to a different troop.  Our goal is to help make successful, productive leaders out of our scouts.  It cannot be done quickly, and it cannot be done well with arbitrary deadlines.  The average scout will reach the rank of Eagle by age 14 or 15.  They have until age 17 + 364 days.

If you believe in the potential that the BSA (and our troop) has to help guide your scout, then please do not poison the effort by trying to get her to Eagle artificially at a young age.  Those who do it the hard (long) way know the difference - and there IS a difference.  Troops that produce young Eagles are generally viewed with suspicion and for good reason.

What badges are "Eagle Required"?


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

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

The remaining 8 (or more if you choose) may be any badges from among the remaining 115 non-Eagle required "Green Band" merit badges (badges with green stitching around the border).

While there are 136 plus possible Eagle Merit Badges, there are some that are "optional".  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.

Wouldn't it "run smoother" with adults in charge?



Yes... it probably would. But why would we want that?

This is SCOUTS BSA ... not "adults getting away for the weekend" Scouts... nor is it "WEBELOS 3" where adults are in the leadership role as in the Cub Scout program.

This is where scouts LEARN and DEVELOP their leadership skills so they can become capable young women. We DON'T EXPECT them to be the most efficient and organized leaders (and neither should you). 

This is their learning ground. Here is where we want the "mistakes" to happen, so they can learn from them. This is how we TEACH leadership skills instead of getting adults to "step in" because we could be "more efficient".

Remember... the program is NOT DESIGNED to run perfectly.

They may elect their "best friend" instead of the "most qualified"... and they will experience the consequences of casting a "careless vote". They may elect the Class Clown instead of the Class President... and NEED to "suffer" through a few months of a weaker or chaotic Program.

Remember, NOTHING happens here by accident. Trust us. Trust the 100 year old program. Have faith. Keep your scout coming ESPECIALLY if she comes home with a few "complaints" on how things are being done. Ask her what she would do differently or what she did to try to correct what appears to be a "screwed up" situation. HERE is where the Program really shows its value.

NOW you know...  "bigger things" are happening here at Troop 1310 than what may appear from the outside.