Joining the Troop

The troop promotes development of citizens who will have competence and self-reliance; personal, steadfast values; the desire and skills to help others; and knowledge about and pride in the collective heritage of our nation. They are citizens who will have respect for the basic rights of all people.

We are powered by many dedicated parents who help support in the background and on the Troop Committee to ensure that the programs are successful in achieving these goals, and are enriching experiences for all scouts.

We have meetings at Torvend Hall at Bethel Lutheran Church on Monday evenings from 7:00-8:00.

We welcome you to join us in building leaders in our communities.

1. Eligibility

The first step is to determine if your child is eligible. T400 and Scouts BSA accepts boys or girls who have either completed 5th grade or have turned 11 years old, and who have not yet reached 18 years of age. Cub Scout achieving the Arrow of Light can bridge to Scouts BSA prior to completing 5th grade and while they are 10 years of age. These scouts must be already registered in the council as Cubs and paperwork must be submitted to Council for Arrow-of-Light by the Pack and the advancement registered before we can process the application.

Cub Scouts Bridging to our Troop happens in the early Spring. This is done in a ceremony where Webelos walk across a symbolic bridge and cross over to the other side to be greeted by their new chosen Scout troop. If you are planning on bridging, please notify our Scoutmaster or Committee Chairperson and provide a specific date, time and location in advance. A group of scouts and adult leaders will arrange to be at your Scout's Bridging Ceremony to greet him or her on the other side and adorn them with a new neckerchief and slide. Following the Bridging, the newly inducted scout is expected to begin attending Troop meetings.

2. Complete an Application Form, Individual Scout Plan, and BSA Health Form

  1. Complete the Scout Youth Application Form. Forms are available paperless online (T400 Boys) (T2400 Girls) or PDF (print 2 copies), and also from the Scoutmaster, Committee Chair, or from the Council Offices at 970 W. Julian St., in San Jose. If you are transferring from another BSA Troop, also include a Transfer Form.

  2. Complete the Individual Scout Plan.

  3. Complete the Resource survey from each parent.

  4. Complete Parts A and Parts B of the BSA Health Form along with a copy of your health insurance (front and back). For campouts that last longer than 72 hours (e.g. summer camp), then Parts C must be completed by taking a Physical Exam with a licensed doctor. In Form B1, the Council Name is Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council, and for the Unit information:

Unit: Troop 400; Unit Leader: Corey Wong; Mobile # (408) 667-8290

Unit: Troop 2400; Unit Leader: Rena Takahashi; Mobile # (408) 420-5822

Parents joining the fun on campouts and events will also need to fill out their own forms.

Submit 2 copies of the health forms. We keep one on file, and one for event use.

3. Dues

Dues are $20/month and there is a $250 joining fee. $50 covers cost of council patch, world crest, Troop number patch, shoulder loops, hand book, water bottle, Class B T-shirt, subscription to Boy's Life. The remainder is placed in the Scout's account. (Fees are subject to change over time).

  • Check payable to T400. Memo: Scout’s name.

  • Or Paypal to accttroop400@gmail.com. Please select, "Send money to friends" option from a bank account. If you send the money to a business or using a credit card, a processing fee is deducted and the troop does not get the entire amount. In this case, the fee amount will be deducted from the amount credited to your account. Please include your scout's name in the memo of any payment.

Turn in your forms when you're ready at the next Troop meeting. We host Parent Meetings on the first Monday Troop meeting of each month in Rm 10 at Bethel Lutheran Church. (see Calendar for schedule).

4. Log in to TroopKit

After processing the forms, we will issue you an email to join Troop Kit, which is our main tool for event scheduling and Troop communications. Parents and scouts will receive separate codes to log in.

We want every parent and scout registered YES or NO for all events. Parents registering yes, can indicate how many scouts they can drive to the event (available for reimbursement). Use the following resources:

5. Create an account on my.Scouting

This is the national BSA account. A tutorial is found here.

Youth Protection Training is required for all registered adults and must be renewed every 2 years to maintain a valid registration.

BSA Youth Protection Mission Statement: True youth protection can be achieved only through the focused commitment of everyone in Scouting. It is the mission of Youth Protection volunteers and professionals to work within the Boy Scouts of America to maintain a culture of Youth Protection awareness and safety at the national, regional, area, council, district, and unit levels.

Resources:

You will receive an email with a link to join the Google group, which allows access to our troop community emails and our member website. If your email is not associated with a Google account, you can add additional emails that are Google-accessible by emailing bsat400cupertino+subscribe@googlegroups.com.

If you want to make your non-Google email to be Google accessible, create an account at https://accounts.google.com/signup/v2/webcreateaccount, and chose "Use my current email address instead."

8. Visit the Troop Member's Website: https://sites.google.com/site/bsat400/

With your bsat400cupertino Google Group access, please visit our member site.

9. Update profile and add your Scout to Scoutbook.com

ScoutBook is where Scouts keep track online of advancements, awards, camping, service, and hiking. Click on My Dashboard, click on your Scout, and edit Profile, do the same for the parent under My Account. This will only be available after the paperwork is processed with National. A tutorial can be found here.

10. Sign-up as an Adult Volunteer

Volunteering is fun, insightful (of own child), and mandatory to keep the troop running smoothly for all scouts. We expect at least one parent to take a participating role. You can help our Troop grow when you participate with your scout. Look over the Volunteer list, and notify the Committee Chair at cctroop400@gmail.com. See the Committee Corner for information about volunteer jobs in the troop.

Merit Badge Counselors

Merit Badge Counselors are an ongoing need and it's a fun way to impart your knowledge of areas of your interests. MB Counselors must submit an Adult Application form and a Merit Badge Counselor Information form.

Adult Leaders

Each scout needs qualified adult supervision and discipline on outings or any other advancement objective. If you can take on leadership roles and teach scouts in special skills, then you most likely can become an Adult Leader. Time commitments vary by role, and free or low cost training is also available. Please approach our Scoutmaster for more information.

Look here for more information on Adult Training. Most courses are offered online or in-person. Examples include: Safety, Outdoor Leader, University of Scouting, CPR, Wilderness First-Aid, Archery, Shooting Sports.

8. Uniforms

1. Parts of the Uniform

As mentioned previously, we expect our scouts to appear in full Class A uniform to meetings and to wear them while traveling to/from campouts as per BSA guidelines. The Joining Fee new parents pay the first time provides all the necessary patches, neckerchief, slide, shoulder loops and troop numbers for the scout. Parents should only need to purchase the following:

  • Official BSA Boy Scouts Khaki Shirt (long or short sleeve)

  • Official BSA Boy Scouts Green Pants (convertible with zippered leg segments)

  • Official BSA dark green belt

  • Official BSA socks (several pairs)

  • Official BSA cap (optional)

Most scouts prefer a short sleeve shirt because it provides more freedom of movement. They can still wear long sleeved undergarments with the shirt over the top. Both shirts and pants come in different materials. A soft synthetic BSA shirt and pants set is lighter and dries faster for trekking long distances in the wilderness. A heavier poplin material keeps its creases better and looks more formal for ceremonies and assemblies.

Patches should be sewn on in the designated places. If you, the parent, can teach your Scout to sew the patches on, that would be ideal. Stitching and mending clothing is a long held Scout skill. The provided Scout Handbook explains where badges are to be sewn onto the uniform.

2. Where to Buy

It's possible for the savvy shopper to get scout gear online, including at Auction sites. BIG savings can be had on such offerings. Some research may be needed, and there are even excellent deals on used items. Two traits practiced by scouts are conservation and frugality. It's always wise to save and reuse stuff whenever possible, and that includes uniforms. So if you can dig through listings and buy at the right opportunity, don't think you have to shop at the local Scout Shop.

But for many new parents, the experience can be intimidating. If you want a relaxed place that is likely to stock all the parts you need and offer good advice on what your new scout needs, then we recommend the Council Scout Shop. This is located inside the Council Offices at 970 W. Julian St., San Jose, CA. Contact information and hours of operation can be found at this link: South Bay Scout Shop.

3. Cost

Expect to pay about $75 - $100 for a new uniform. You can save 15% on a purchase over $75 at the Scout Shop sometimes if you have a coupon offered annually from Scout-o-Rama. Ask around to see if any other parents have coupons. These coupons are usually issued around the end of February and last through the year. The coupons are accompanied by a ticket ($10) for family admission to the Council's annual Scout-O-Rama mini Jamboree. The event itself is very worthwhile. The coupons however, nearly pay for themselves with just the first few uses, either at the Scout Shop or at merchants/sponsors like Safeway, sporting goods stores, and local restaurants.

You can also post a notice on the Gear Swap area of the Home page of this website to see if any parents have uniforms that their scouts have outgrown.

Typically purchase a uniform slightly larger that will allow the scout room to grow . Expect the uniform to get small about every 1.5 - 2 yrs until the scout turns about 15 yrs old.

4. Class B Uniforms

The Class A uniform is considered more formal attire. It is not appropriate for many types of scouting activities that require high physical exertion or in wet or dirty conditions(e.g. swimming, cycling, whitewater rafting, digging ditches at Service Projects, etc.) For these activities, scouts wear Class B uniforms. These are worn at Troop activities when appropriate. If you have a creative streak and have some designs, we often plan to run Class B shirts and other gear annually and look for a volunteer to lead that effort.

9. Get Ready for a Campout

1. Equipment & Gear

One of the first requirements for Tenderfoot Rank is to appear before a Scoutmaster with gear packed properly in a backpack ready for camp. New scouts who have not done a lot of camping will face some challenges at camp that they perhaps were not exposed to earlier in life, even if they have been Webelos in a Cub Pack. The Troop Quartermaster will provide a complete cooking system with stove and pots and utensils and fuel for each new Patrol, so that is something the individual scout need not worry about.

However, Scouts have the motto, "Be Prepared." As such, one of the first things they learn about packing is to get a good backpack and always pack the 10 essentials.

Scouts 10 Essentials:

In addition to the 10 Essentials, there will also be items such as

  • toiletries,

  • mess kit,

  • sleeping bag and pad,

  • a tent and ground tarp (may not always be necessary)

Tent Selection

All scouts are expected to share tents, so not every scout needs their own tent.

  • 2 - 3 person tents are recommended.

    • They have enough room for small scouts and their gear

    • Too many scouts in one tent makes it hard for them to find their gear at the end of the weekend.

    • Small tents are better for backpacking

Simple "Dome Tents" are the easiest to set up, will be sufficient and can be had for less than $50. Doesn't offer as good weather protection, notice how the door is exposed and how wind can blow under the rain cover.

Tent with vestibule. Often the poles are the same as a simple dome tent Rain fly comes down to the ground providing improved wind and rain protection. Should be sufficient for all scouting activities. Estimate paying $120 or more.

Four season tents are reinforced to withstand the weight of snow accumulation or extreme wind. Good if you are climbing Mt. Everest, but they are heavy, expensive and will be challenging for a new scout to set up.

Backpack Selection

We recommend Scouts purchase a backpack with a rigid frame (internal is most common, but some seasoned campers and hikers like external frame). Size should be 40L - 70L volume - approx 2500 cu.in. to 4300 cu.in. The bag should have a sturdy waste strap, at least one main compartment with a top flap zippered pouch, pull tie strings, side and back pouches and locations to strap on more items along the outside.

Sleeping Bag Selection

Sleeping bags should be synthetic, high-loft fiber-filled type, that can compress to the size of a watermelon so that it will fit in their backpack, but still keep a scout comfortable to about 25 deg F (about -4 deg C).

  • Natural goose down is a superior material for loft and warmth, but it loses most of its insulating properties once it gets wet; also, it requires greater care and must be stored between camps decompressed to maintain its loft.

  • We recommend synthetic, high loft fill, which may be somewhat heavier than down, but survives longer under the care (or neglect) of most youth.

  • Cotton fill is to be avoided. It is bulky, not suitable for backpacking, and will not perform if it gets wet.

Most bags have a temperature rating, which is the lowest "survivable" temperature using that bag. The comfort temperature limit is usually about 20 deg F higher than that. So a 25 deg F bag is comfortable down to about 45 deg F at night, and could help survive at 25 deg F. Layering, starting with thermal long underwear, extra clothing, and adding an optional sleeping bag liner will provide sufficient margin to be comfortable down to 25 deg F. We recommend that if your scout plans to get a sleeping bag, get one rated for 25 deg F. Optionally, some seasoned scouts have a spare bag that is heavier and thicker, rated down to 0 deg F or even -5 deg F. This would be the choice for a chilly winter snow camp, but will be more bulky and too warm for most other camps.

Sleeping Pad Selection

When searching for a sleeping pad, look for a balance between comfort, weight, durability, R-value, and price. Taller, thicker, higher inflation sleeping pads tend to be very comfortable, but they are very heavy, slow to inflate and deflate, and not always reliable/durable (e.g. when they get a puncture and leak). Lightweight inflating pads exist (e.g. Big Agnes or Thermarest), but are very expensive and still prone to durability issues. The simple closed-cell foam pads are fairly light and can be rolled up. They are more reliable, and they are less expensive, but they are less comfortable as well.

R-value indicates thermal resistance: the higher the number, the greater the insulating properties. An R-value of 4 or higher is recommended on most camps. For snow camping, the combined floor covering should have at least R-value of 6.

Getting More Info and Training on Camping

Where, What and How to score a good deal are all questions scouts and their parents should be asking. For adults who want even more training in outdoor skills, the Council and District provide Outdoor Leadership Skills, CPR/AED and Wilderness First Aid training that covers safety, preparation, gear, and Life Saving. Parents who are concerned and want to know about these items should consider taking that training which is offered usually quarterly or monthly. Training is also online at http://myscouting.scouting.org/. In addition, local stores like the Sports Basement and REI offer free or low-cost classes on their premises. Check their respective websites for announcements and schedules and sign-ups.

For more information on specific items to pack on types of camp outs, please click above on Gear Lists.

2. Types of Camp Outs and Equipment

There are several types of camping events and they require different equipment. These are the main ones:

  1. Overnight Car Camp Out – This is where the troop drives directly to the campsite and parks near the site. It is usually OK to bring a small ice chest

  2. Backpacking Camp Out – The troop drives to a trail head and then hikes several miles to the campsite. New scouts will normally go on several car camp outs before attempting a backpacking camp out.

  3. Snow Camp Out – The troop drives directly to the site, but the snow and cold weather require that special equipment is brought. Again, this is not usually the type of camp out that first-time scouts will go on.

  4. Summer Camp – This is a week-long camp with lots of different activities, so the list of items is longer.

The troop website has checklists for each type of camp out here.

3. Places to acquire equipment

It is usually not advisable to go buy the most expensive, top-of-the-line equipment or clothing. However, some care should be taken to make sure that the item is of good enough quality to stand a good amount of use.

Here are some local stores that have good camping equipment at reasonable prices:

  • Sports Basement - 1177 Kern Ave Sunnyvale, CA 94085 (408) 732-0300

  • REI - 400 El Paseo De Saratoga, San Jose CA 95130 (408) 871-8765

  • The Troop Quartermaster has some gear like Dutch Ovens that can be checked out – http://www.troopkit.com (Click on “Gear”)

Online Resources:

What not to bring

  • IMPORTANT: Scouts should not bring any electronics, card games (summer camp OK), sheath knives, or other weapons

4. Meeting place for camp outs and time

TroopKit will list the time and place of the meeting. Generally, two times are given.

1. The time to gather and exchange forms, count the number of scouts, etc.

2. The actual time of leaving. Please arrive on time.

The meeting place is usually at the parking lot of Dilworth Elementary School (1101 Strayer Dr. San Jose, CA 95129). IMPORTANT: This is different than the place where the Monday night meetings are held.

Upon arrival at Dilworth, scouts place packs on the lawn and line up with their patrols when called. Scouts receive their medical forms during roll call so they can their forms to the drivers who take them to the camp.

Camp out return time

  • This can vary, but a normal car camp out return time is generally between 12 noon and 1:30 pm on Sunday. Your scout will borrow the driver’s phone and call you approximately 15 minutes before arrival. Please be prompt for pickups.

Camp out travel clothing

  • A scout will travel to and from an event wearing Class A uniform

Joining Checklist

Joining Checklist

Next Steps: Troop Basics: So How Does Scouting Work?

Learn about how our troop operates and develops leadership in scouts. In the Troop Quickstart presentation, we will cover the following:

  • Meetings, Calendar, Troopkit, Internal Website, Google Shared Space

  • Troop Organization, SMs, Troop Committee

  • Explain the patrol method. Describe the types of patrols that are used in your troop. (Scout Requirement 3a)

  • Describe how the Scouts in the troop provide its leadership. (Scout 2a)

  • Describe the four steps of Scout advancement. (Scout 2b)

  • Describe what the Scouts BSA ranks are and how they are earned. (Scout 2c)

  • Describe what merit badges are and how they are earned. (Scout 2d)

  • Campout Planning & Safety, Duty Rosters, Pack Check, Buddy System. (Tenderfoot 5a)

  • Scouting Acronyms

  • Parent Participation

  • Adult Training