Welcome to Boy Scouts of America
Troop 351, Madison, AL
Are You Ready For Adventure?
Scouting promises you the great outdoors. As a scout, you can learn how to camp and hike without leaving a trace and how to take care of the land. You’ll study wildlife up close and learn about nature all around you. There are plenty of skills for you to master, and you can teach others what you have learned.
Scouting promises you friendship. Members of Troop 351 might be some boys you already know, and you will meet many other scouts along the way. Some could be lifelong friends.
Scouting promises you opportunities to work toward the Eagle Scout rank. You will set positive goals for yourself and then follow clear routes to achieve them.
Scouting promises you tools to help you make the most of your family, your community, and your nation. The good deeds you perform every day will improve the lives of those around you. You will be prepared to help others in time of need.
Scouting promises you experiences and duties that will help you mature into a strong, wise adult. The Scout Oath, and Scout Law can guide you while you are a Scout and throughout your life.
Adventure, learning, challenge, responsibility – the promise of Scouting is all this and more.
Are you ready for the adventure to begin? Then let’s get started!
To become a member of Troop 351, please contact our Scoutmaster, Jeremy Gaertner.
What do we need to do to join?
- Complete a membership form (we will provide)
- Annual dues are currently $54, but bridging Webelos are only $35.
- write a check to “Troop 351” for $35. We can take cash, but checks are easier.
- Complete a medical form, parts A & B. This is sufficient for weekend campouts; Part C (to be completed by a doctor) will be needed for Summer Camp. Medical form is here.
- Download it, fill it in, save and print. We require an updated one each year, so save it electronically and you can just re-print it next year!
- Adults: To become a registered adult, you will need to complete 2 forms.
- BSA Adult leader form — bring the names/phone numbers of 3 references
- Asbury background check form — DL, SSN, addresses for the past 7 years
- Adult registration and dues are $24 per year.
Bridging — How does this work?
- At the Blue & Gold banquet, Boy Scouts from Troop 351 will attend to receive your son into our Troop.
- They will present him with a neckerchief and slide, green shoulder loops, and a “351” patch (if needed).
- If you can sew on the patch, please do so. If not, we have a “patch team” of dedicated moms that sew on patches every Monday night. Don’t lose the patch!
- Your son can start attending Troop meetings beginning the Monday night following the Bridging ceremony.
Communication — Various methods
- Website: troop351madison.org
- Scoutmaster: Jeremy Gaertner
- Weekly email newsletter — Subject line starts with “[Troop 351]”
- I will subscribe you soon to the Troop list. Please let me know if you want a different or additional email on the Troop list.
- We are a full uniform troop. Please get your son a complete uniform, including pants & socks.
- We wear neckerchiefs and sashes on “special occasions” — such as a Court of Honor or a Blue & Gold Banquet.
- We ALWAYS travel in uniform!
The BSA (and Troop 351’s) Mission: To prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath & Law.
Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts, called scouting “a game with a purpose.” If a boy doesn’t work on advancements, he misses “the purpose” of scouting.
The content of this email is for you and your son — go over it with him — we’ll also review it at the first meeting.
- Rank requirements; who signs off? Our Troop policy is: Any registered leader, any Eagle scout, or the current Senior Patrol Leader — not parents!
- Scout badge — your son did most of it for Arrow of Light — should be able to get in week or two
- First 3 ranks (Tenderfoot, 2nd Class, 1st Class) — about 12 reqs each (36 total); at one per week can easily finish in a year. Can work on in any order, but must complete ranks in order.
- Last 3 ranks (Star, Life & Eagle) about 1 year each, for a total of 4 years — and he has 7 years!
- We won’t ask a boy what he has completed — that’s the boy’s responsibility
- After 1st Class, a boy will need merit badges to advance. There are about 135 to pick from!
- Merit badges — who signs off? A registered merit badge counselor (not parents).
- Merit badges are broken in two categories — Eagle required, and electives.
- The Eagle required merit badges cover the three aims of scouting — character, citizenship & fitness
- The elective merit badges cover either a new hobby or potential career.
- Each merit badge has a book (Troop has a library) and there are worksheets at meritbadge.org
- We use “blue cards” to track progress on merit badges.
- Each rank is completed by a Scoutmaster’s conference & then a Board of Review (typically a week apart)
- To keep up with blue cards, worksheets, and other papers, we recommend to get a notebook (zippered binder) and bring it every week!
- Youth leaders are elected twice per year, and serve a 6-month term.
- Each patrol elects a Patrol Leader and an Asst. Patrol Leader
- The whole Troop elects the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) who then appoints most of the other leaders — scribe, quartermaster, librarian, historian, etc.
- All the youth leaders make up the Patrol Leader’s Council (PLC), They meet once per month to plan what the Troop will do for the next month’s meetings.
- We currently have five patrols.
- Our patrols are a mix of all ages. I will assign new boys evenly to all patrols soon after joining.
- Each patrol is a functional unit — they work on advancements during meetings within their patrol; for campouts they buy groceries, cook and eat as a patrol, and set up camp as a patrol.
We pride ourselves on being a “boy-led” and “boy-run” troop. What does that mean?
- Boy-led means that we train the boys to plan and lead, and then let them do it.
- Often inefficient, sometimes “messy”. That’s how they learn.
- Adults’ job is not to lead the Troop, and not to “jump in” and fix things.
- Adults provide resources — teaching, money, supplies and transportation — to help the boys succeed in learning how to create a plan and to be successful in executing their plan.
- The boys need to learn how to work through issues and problems.
- This is called “guided discovery.”
- Boys need to take ownership in their program — looking for and bringing in ideas for meetings, outings and campouts.
- Ideas are everywhere! Friends in other Troops, Boy’s Life magazine, and on the internet. Please encourage your son to seek, find and contribute ideas.
- We try to camp the 2nd or 3rd weekend of each month — depending on the school calendar and holidays
- Bring $19 (exact change please) to cover food and gas
- why the odd amount? When we need to re-imburse the grocery buyers, we can’t do that with an envelope full of $20 bills.
- Signed permission slip (new one every outing)
- Medical form on file (A & B; need C for Summer Camp)
- Meet at the scout shed (north end of Asbury parking lot) at 5:30 on Friday, packed & in full uniform
- Whoever bought groceries and/or gas, turns in receipts to the “collection person” for re-imbursement
- Try to hold to a food budget of $15 per person for food
- Gear — a good checklist for personal gear is in the Scout Handbook
- Most boys have: sleeping bag with pad, duffel bag or backpack, & 4-man tent
- A “4-man” tent means it holds 2 people with their gear
- The best way to learn about gear is to talk with our older scouts
- Make sure to “distinctively” mark your son’s gear somehow — think about tags, streamers, etc that you use on luggage at the airport.
- See our main website for calendar and plans.
- This year (2018) we are going to Camp Sequoyah, from June 17th – 23rd!
- This is a great way for new scouts to get started.
- Please make every effort for you son to attend.
- Great experience for adults, too! We will need all the adults that can go.
Parent Involvement — Registered Leaders
Being a leader in Boy Scouts is completely different from Cub Scouts. Our job is not to plan and run things, but to help teach, provide resources, and enable the boys to learn and to lead. When you help with our Troop, you are sending a message to your son that this is worthy of your time, too.
Three main types of Troop leaders — Asst. Scoutmaster (ASM), Committee Member (CM), and Merit Badge Counselor.
What do they do?
- ASM — helps the boys with advancements — adults who know or are willing to learn Scout Skills
- CM — the committee is the “business” side of the Troop — we recommend that adults start by being an ASM for a year before being on the committee
- Merit Badge Counselors — there are plenty to choose from! See the list at meritbadge.org
- Yes, we already have counselors for most merit badges, but with this year’s large influx of new boys, we will need more, and maybe several for the more popular merit badges.
- Training for each position — we’ll teach you what you need to know
- ASMs: we need at least 5 for meetings — one per patrol — to help boys get rank advancements completed and signed off
- Requirements sign-off: Work with the boys and make sure that they can explain/demonstrate the needed skill for requirements.
- Teaching: Share a skill, career, hobby, etc. that you a know about.
We need several adults to go camping with us. What do adults do on campouts?
- Adult leaders may not be around boys without another adult present — this is called “two-deep leadership.”
- So, on a campout, we need a minimum of 4 — in case we need to divide into two groups, then we’ll have two adults per group.
- Provide transportation — we have to transport the boys to and from the campsite.
- Trekmaster: Logistics planning before each campout — we need one or two per campout
- Long-term outing planning: there are several outings that I’d like for us to do, but are more than a simple campout
- I need adults that can develop more involved outings — for example, a multi-day canoe trip
Why go camping with us?
- It’s fun!
- You get to spend time outdoors, away from your office and email and phone.
- You get to sleep on extremely comfortable beds and eat exquisite gourmet food. Seriously! We have adult chefs that are second to none.
- You will be building memories with your son.
Parent Involvement — Other help
What if I don’t know any Scout Skills, and I don’t think I can learn them? Can I help in some way?
Absolutely! It takes many people to make this Troop work. Again, when you help with our Troop (in any way!), you are sending a message to your son that this is worthy of your time, too.
- Research corps
I have a group of parents that I can send a request to, such as “find the email address of all the school principals in Madison” and they are able to give me that list. If you are good at finding things, please consider being part of the research corps.
- Service Project coordinator
Part of our mission is to do service projects. I’d like for our boys to have a service project opportunity about once per month.
I need a parent who can find and collect service ideas, and schedule the project and track service hours for the Troop.
- Eagle Project Coach
Our Troop has about 15 Life scouts. About half of them are ready to start their Eagle Scout project. If you have Boy Scout experience and project management experience, we could use your help!
- Fund Raising Coordinator
We need to do some fund raising to replace/increase our camping gear. We do annual popcorn sales, but we need something else to augment our funds.
- Phone Tree
We need an up-to-date phone number list. Several boys have tried to create it for me, but it’s been difficult. I need someone to work with the boys and update our phone tree.
- Parent Talent Surveys
I have a survey that I ask parents to fill out. I need someone to collect and compile those results.
- Advancements and Merit Badges
We have an Advancement chair, but with this large influx of new boys we will need helpers.
- Gear Caretakers
Our camping gear gets some rough handling on camp-outs. Gear needs to be checked fairly regularly and repaired or replaced. We also need help looking at new gear that becomes available, in case we want to change what we have with something better. We have gear for: camping, backpacking, climbing, teaching and games.
- PR / Evangelism
Work with the Scribe and Historian to:
Get stories & pictures about our Troop into the paper, church newsletter, web sites, etc.
Be a liaison to Cub Scout Packs
Spread the word about our Troop!
What to bring to your first meeting:
- Leave your neckerchief and slide at home — these are only for “special” occasions
- Boy Scout book and a zippered, 3-ring binder.
- Medical form — with at least Parts A & B completed
Signatures: Boy, Part A; Parent, Parts A & B; Doctor, Part C
Medical form here
- Check made out to “Troop 351” — $35 for boys, $24 for adults
- Pen — We’ll have some forms for you to fill
- email address corrections & additions
Parent’s Social Gathering
We have a parent’s social gathering during the Troop meeting. It will give you a chance to:
- Get to know other parents
- Ask questions of other parents
- Get more involved with our Troop
- Be available if we need an “on the spot” instructor or Merit Badge counselor