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Parents Guide and Policies

Joining the Troop

To join the troop, a boy needs to fill out a Boy Scout application form and pay the fees for registration. A full year of registration is $24.00 for national fees, $12.00 for “Boys Life” subscription. Adults may register as leaders by filling out an Adult Leader application. Fees are $24.00 a year which includes a subscription to “Scouting” magazine.

Other paperwork needed for joining the troop includes all parts of the physical form.

If your Scout has just crossed over with other Scouts from the Pack, they will be together in a “New Scout” patrol. If joining at any other time, he will be assigned to a patrol that fits his rank/age level, so that the patrol can work together on requirements. 

Uniforms

Uniforms should be worn to troop meetings, service projects, district, and council activities, driving to and from activities or outings, or “any time the Scoutmaster wants.” 

BSA Class-A uniforms (tan shirt with patches on it) can be purchased at JAX in Ames, the Scout Shop in Des Moines, or through the BSA catalog. Uniform shirts can also be found at Goodwill, Salvation Army stores, garage sales, or “hand me downs” from other Scouts. If you would like a “hand me down” uniform, ask the Scoutmaster and see if any are available. A Class-B shirt is any t-shirt that has to do with BSA. 

Scouts are encouraged, but not required, to wear Class-A Scout pants (the green ones) to all meetings and scout activities in the community, such as parades and fundraisers. There may be specific events that Class-A pants are required, at the request of the Scoutmaster. 

Scouts should strive to look their best while wearing their Class-A uniforms shirt, because you are representing your troop and your community when you wear it. While wearing your Class A or Class B uniform, you are expected to be on your best behavior and adhere to the values of the Scout Oath and Law. Please refrain from wearing your Class-A shirt with athletic pants and athletic shorts. The Class-A shirt may be worn with jeans or shorts that are in good repair. 

The basic patches to be added to the uniform are troop numerals (we do have single 163 patches), Council shoulder patch, patrol patch, and universal Scout symbol (the purple one.) Uniform shirts should always be properly patched and tucked in. The exact location of patches can be found in the BSA Handbook.

As a Scout advances, he will be awarded rank patches by the Scoutmaster.

Parent Dress

It is helpful, especially to the older scouts, if adults wear scout-related t-shirts on public outings as a show of support and respect for the scouts.

Troop Meetings

Troop meetings are held on Sunday evenings from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Slater unless otherwise noted. There are usually 2 troop meetings a month plus a camp out.

Patrol Leaders’ Council meetings (PLC) are held at 4:30 p.m. prior to the troop meeting. The purpose of the PLC is to have the Scoutmaster and Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) cover the business items with the patrol leaders and bring up any new items that should be discussed with the troop.

The SPL is in charge of the troop meeting. The PL (patrol leader) conveys information to his patrol members and helps the patrol to plan camp outs, activities, service projects, fund-raisers.

Communications

The Troop Scribe will send out the meeting notes shortly after the Troop meeting. Troop members who are unable to make meetings are responsible for checking their e-mail or contacting their patrol leaders after the troop meeting to keep in touch with troop or patrol plans. If the patrol leader has not heard form the absent patrol member, he should contact the SPL or the Scoutmaster.

Meeting agenda:

  1. Opening Flag Ceremony.
  2. The SPL opens the meeting.
  3. The Troop Scribe takes attendance and records minutes.
  4. The Troop Quartermaster reports on equipment.
  5. The “business” part of the troop meeting can include making plans for the next camp out, planning service projects, planning fund raisers.
  6. An activity part of the meeting might include games or patrol competitions. These are planned and executed by the assigned Program Patrol.
  7. Scoutmaster’s Minute might be words of encouragement, recognition, or vision.
  8. The SPL closes the meeting and dismisses the troop after the closing flag ceremony.
  9. Snacks and clean up are provided by the assigned Service Patrol.
  10. Merit badge or advancement work if planned takes place after the meeting.

Outdoor Experience

Being a parent on a camp-out is a watch and learn experience, led by the troop and only guided by adult help. Camping is one of the primary tools used by the Boy Scouts to develop and practice the “boy led” philosophy. The patrols learn to listen and respect elected patrol leaders and other scouts while working together in an outdoor setting. Many questions asked by the scouts should be referred to the senior patrol leader.

The boys in this way learn to build trust in each other.

The outdoors will provide opportunities to develop character building, patience and leadership for each other and the environment. The principles of “leave no trace” will be used at all times.

The principles of Leave No Trace are:
  •  Plan ahead and prepare
  •  Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  •  Dispose of Waste Properly
  •  Leave What You Find
  •  Minimize Campfire Impacts
  •  Respect Wildlife
  •  Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more detailed information on Leave No Trace, please visit: http://www.lnt.org/

Menu Planning

Before each campout, the patrols will plan their meals for the upcoming outing. That is also the time when all money will be collected for the meals, so the scout who is tasked with purchasing the food can go shopping before the outing. The scouts will fill out a meal planning worksheet to aid them in their preparation for the outing. (A copy of the Meal Planning Guide is included at the end of this section.) Typically the first-year scouts, will be joined for the menu planning meeting by their Troop Guide or an Assistant Scoutmaster. They will assist with meal planning, to assure proper nutritional balance, and to challenge the scouts to try new things. They will also help assure that the meals to be prepared, are at the appropriate skill level for the scouts because not all scouts have experience cooking. Each meal on an outing prepared by the Troop is $4.00.

Camp Out Etiquette and Rules

All Scouts should follow the Outdoor Code. Camp sites or places where Scout events have occurred should be left in better shape than they were found.

The camp site should also be kept clean during the camp out. Trash should be disposed of. Food and food preparation equipment (Patrol boxes) should be cleaned, dried, and stowed away after use.

Making Camp

The practice of “ideal campsite” is to be used by the patrol leader to create order for the boys and adults on camp-outs. The tents are set up under the leadership of the Senior Patrol Leader. 

Meals

Meals are prepared by patrols. Every scout shares the duties of cooking and clean-up. Senior Patrol Leader, Troop Guides and Assistant Scoutmasters may be assigned to help younger scouts.

Typical routine of camp outs:

Friday night:
  •  put up tents, tables, tarp
  •  campfire and cracker barrel
  •  lights out
Saturday:
  • wake up
  • breakfast preparation and eating
  • clean up, stow away food
  • morning activities
  • lunch preparation and eating
  • lunch clean up, stow away food
  • afternoon activities
  • supper preparation and eating
  • supper clean up, stow away food
  • campfire/ evening program/ chaplain’s service
  • lights out
Sunday:
  • wake up
  • breakfast preparation and eating
  • clean up
  • pack up all gear
  • clean up camp grounds
  • Scoutmaster’s minute or Scout’s Own Service
  • Dismissal

Buddy System

The buddy system will always be used at ALL troop activities and camp outs. Scouts will always go together by two’s (or more.) The purpose of the buddy system is to insure the safety of the Scouts. If leaving the troop activity or camp site, the Scouts need to let an adult leader or SPL know where they are going and when they will return.

Lights Out

Troop members should be considerate of each other at bedtime and refrain from talking after the “lights out” call by leaders. Lights out is usually 10:30.

Breaking Camp

Before departing a camp site, the Senior Patrol Leader will assist the Troop in a clean sweep of the area. Camp sites should be left in better shape than they were found.

Other Rules

  • You will be asked to fill out a parental permission slip for each outing. Please note that there may be outing-specific rules on each permission slip, please read through every permission slip carefully, before you and your scout sign it.
  • Ask permission before you use it.
  • No personal food or pop.
  • No food or drink allowed in tents except water bottles.
  • No electronics.
  • Scouts can wear Class B uniforms to camp outs unless Class A is more appropriate (as indicated by the SM or ASM). Class A should be worn during the trip to and from camp outs.
  • Food money will be paid prior to the camp out - $4.00 per person per meal – usually $16 per camp out. A scouts camp account can be used to pay for Grub fees.
  • Duty rosters shall be planned by the patrols
  • Camp out duties will be given out during the troop meeting before the camp out.

Care of Equipment

The troop owns kitchen equipment, fuel, tarps, table, and kitchen supplies. All equipment must be kept clean and in good repair. The patrol that uses the equipment is responsible for it. The patrol quartermaster inspects the camp kitchen after each meal clean up. The troop quartermaster inspects camp kitchen and all other equipment before it is loaded into the troop trailer at the end of the camp out. 

Merit Badges

Merit badges are patches that are earned after completing/learning a set of required activities. There are many different merit badges covering many interests. Certain merit badges are required for Eagle and are earned at each rank level.

Merit badges help a Scout to grow and learn according to his interests. He also learns to complete a series of requirements on his own with guidance from a merit badge counselor.

Procedure to work on a merit badge:
  • The Scout contacts the Scoutmaster to tell her which merit badge he wishes to work on.
  • The Scoutmaster will tell him who the merit badge counselor is and give him a blue card.
  • The Scout contacts the merit badge counselor and sets up a meeting to discuss requirements. Visits to merit badge counselor should follow the buddy system/ two deep leadership rules.
  • The Scout works on and completes requirements and contacts merit badge counselor for guidance as needed and signatures on the blue card when each requirement is completed.
  • The Scout forwards the blue card to the Scoutmaster for final signature and ordering the merit badge.
For complete details on Merit Badges and Merit Badge Counselors, please refer that the Merit Badge Counselor section of this Guide.

Merit badge books can be obtained from the Troop library, merit badge counselor, or Scout Shop.

Fundraisers

Money from fundraisers helps purchase camping supplies for the Troop such as dutch ovens, tents, trailer tires and other gear we use regularly. It also goes toward Merit Badge patches, Rank Advancement patches and Eagle Presentation Packets. Fundraisers are a chance for the scout to earn money for his “camp account” to help pay for summer camp and other outings. (Camp accounts are individual accounts where Scouts accumulate money.)

Troop 163 has traditionally sold wreaths for our annual fundraiser, but also does an annual pancake breakfast and popcorn sales to friends and family. Every scout is expected to participate in our annual fundraiser, if you don’t want to sell wreaths, you must pay a buy out of $70. The Troop does not have any other weekly or monthly dues, so this fundraiser is the Troop’s annual income.

Refund Policy

Each outing has a 2-week Sign-Up Deadline 

Scouts must be signed up for an event by a 2-week deadline and all Gas/Trip fees must be paid for by this deadline. If a Scout drops from the Outing after the 2-week deadline, there will be no refunds.

Scout "Camp" Accounts

Scouts must maintain a minimum balance of $50 in the account or they need to pay cash for every event. The Treasurer will notify families when a camp account gets close to $50 (similar to school lunch programs). The Treasurer will send mass emails quarterly with camp account balances. For situations where fees are due the Treasurer will contact families individually providing for privacy.

Camp accounts may be used for outing registration fees, gas for outings, grub costs, troop apparel, Order of the Arrow costs, summer camp, and council outings such as Jamborees or Philmont,  but not for reimbursement of purchases at retail shops or the council scout shop.

It shall be the policy of Troop 163 that left over funds in a Scout's camp account after he ages out or is no longer in Scouts can be:
  • Transferred to any other camp account
  • Designated to the Scout in Need account
  • Transferred to the Troop general fund
The family will have the opportunity to decide which of the of the options they choose after the Scout is no longer with the Troop and work with the Treasurer to complete the transaction.  Otherwise, left over funds will be discussed by the Committee once per year to determine which fund the monies will be transferred to.

Electronic Payments

Fees can be paid to the Troop Treasurer by means of Paypal or Dwola and sent to treasurer@troop163slater.org
For more information on this please review the Electronic Payments Guide.

Scout Assistance Program

The purpose of the program is to anonymously provide scouts and their families with a little
assistance from time to time to help with various needs. The Troop stands ready to provide
help with some uniform cost needs, help with outing cost needs, 10 essentials cost needs, and
other needs a scout and their families may face. The Troop would rather have a scout
participate without these barriers or burdens in the way than to not participate for the same
reason.

Please take the opportunity to review the Scout Assistance Program form and return it to the Troop Treasurer,
Scout Master or Committee Chair so that the Troop can provide assistance in a timely manner.

Scout Scholarship Program

The purpose of the program is to provide scouts and their families with financial assistance so a
scout can start or continue participation with the Troop. The Troop stands ready to provide
help from various sources of funding.

Please take the opportunity to review the  Scout Scholarship Program form and return it to the Troop Treasurer,
Scout Master or Committee

Service Hours Policy

Service hours policy regarding service hours on troop sponsored service projects and other service hours counting towards scouts ranks. It shall be the policy of Troop 163 Slater Iowa regarding service hours that a scout can obtain as many service hours towards rank on any Troop approved service project. The SM and Troop Committee have discretion on what an approved service project is and is not. A scout may participate on non-scout approved service project, but, may only apply one hour towards the scout’s current rank advancement.

Authorized Signatories Policy

Outdoor / Activities chair and Scout Master and position to be determined shall be signatories on our accounts and shall be issued troop debit cards from the bank. No other persons shall be signatories or possess a troop debit card until further action is taken by the committee.

Troopmaster Maintenance Policy

It shall be the policy of Troop 163 Slater Iowa regarding access to Troopmaster Web 2.0 software that the Advancement Chair and Scout Master shall be the only persons given access to edit the boy scout troop database regarding activities and advancements. The Scout Master may designate one other Assistant Scout Master the same authority given similar committee approval. All other registered members of Troop 163 shall be given read only access to the database via Troopmaster Web 2.0 regarding activities and advancements but will be given read/write access to update certain personal information such as phone numbers, addresses and contacts. The Advancement Chair shall administer the access rights, passwords and any software installations needed.
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