Organization of Scouting
The Cub Scouts is a year-around family program designed for boys ages 7-11. Many Cub Scout activities and achievements are similar to Boy Scout advancements but are at a lower intensity level appropriate for their younger age.
Boy Scouts is designed for young men age 11-17. Many organizations, like Second Presbyterian Church, sponsor both Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting and the transition can be very simple. The major difference, other than the age, is that Cub Scouting is “parent led,” and Boy Scouting is “scout led.”
Nationally, Boy Scouting is geographically divided into 278 Councils subdivided into Districts. Within each District there are many Troops, which are sponsored by a chartering organization, mostly churches. Troop 86 is in the Thunderbird District of the Chickasaw Council, and is sponsored by Second Presbyterian Church.
Within the Boy Scout Troop, there is adult leadership as well as youth leadership among the scouts. The sponsoring organization appoints the Scoutmaster who then assigns leadership positions to parents. Parents on troop committees must undergo specific safety and security training mandated by the Boy Scouts of America. Scouts, based on their seniority, rank, and experience, organize into Patrols and elect their own youth leadership. In Troop 86, adults facilitate the troop so that it is “Scout Led and Adult Directed,” meaning that scouts come up with activities and agendas, and adults refine the plan feasibility.
Joining is easy. We recommend that you visit some of the Scout Troops in your area and experience the personality of each troop. Some troops meet weekly and others less frequently. Some push for advancement while others strive for camaraderie. Some are more strict regarding uniforms, rituals, and protocols, while others are more relaxed. The core principles are the same, but the personality does vary from troop to troop.
Once you find a Boy Scout troop that you want to join, do the following:
1) Meet the age requirements
must be either: 11 years old, or
completed 5th grade, or
be 10 years old and earned the Cub Scout “Arrow of Light,”
but is not yet 18 years old
2) Complete an application (the scoutmaster will have one)
3) Repeat the Pledge of Allegience
4) Demonstrate the Scout salute, sign, and handshake
5) Agree to live by the Scout Law and Oath
6) Tie a Joining Knot (square knot) and describe the Scout Badge.
7) Meet with the Scoutmaster
Scout troops have yearly dues of around $150. Many troop excursions will have additional costs based on event admission or campout provisions. Many new scouts worry that they don’t have all the equipment needed for high adventure outdoor activities. Rest assured, Troop 86 has enough spare tents, stoves, backpacks, canoes, manuals, ropes, axes, saws, harnesses and lifejackets for anyone who wants to be a part of the adventure.
The Boy Scout “Class A” uniform in Troop 86 consists of Scout shirt, scout pants, scout belt and scout socks. The Class A uniform is worn at any official scout proceeding. We also wear Class A whenever we visit public places as a Scout Troop. Class B is considered any shirt with a Scout logo on it. In general, weekly troop meetings are in Class B.
Scouting and the School Year
Troop 86 encourages Scouts to be involved in as many outside activities as families can juggle. Because hands-on participation is a major part of Scouting, most troops have an attendance policy. We believe school responsibilities are a scout’s primary duty, and so we closely monitor various area school schedules and try not to compete with known school requirements. We also pay attention to major extracurricular programs so scouts can participate in other outside activities, like sports or music.
Troop 86 meets Tuesday nights from 7:00-8:30 at Second Presbyterian Church throughout the school year. We encourage fathers to attend the meetings with the scouts. Typical meetings involve learning outdoor skills, reviewing how equipment works, and planning upcoming events. We often teach part of a Merit Badge or a rank achievement that the scouts have selected. We keep a Troop calendar well in advance, and try to schedule adventure activities each month.
We expect Scouts to attend 60% of the year’s meetings and events in order to consider rank advancement. We acknowledge that sport seasons can be very busy, but hope that Scouting will be a priority outside that season. Scouts can attend any meeting or overnight event without necessarily having their parent there; we have plenty of adult supervision.