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Boy Scout Troop 387
(Overland Park, Kansas)
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Troop 387 Basics

Boy Scouting

The typical Webelos Scout has come from an adult-organized and led situation to one which appears to be a disorganized environment led by other youths.   He has a great deal more freedom, yet can be very concerned about making simple mistakes. The adult and youth leaders help the younger Scouts until their apprehension is reduced.

Boy Scouting is aimed at achievement and accomplishment - by the Scouts themselves.  As the parent of a new Scout, you must guard against doing too much for him. For the first few campouts, your help may be needed, but after that the Scout should be left to prepare for himself.  It is important for you to let the Scout experience the results of his mistakes.  It is the Scouting way to learn.  The adult leaders will counsel the Scout and make sure he is safe from harm.

Every month our Troop will conduct a planned event.  It may be an overnight campout or a visit to a special location of interest.  Your encouragement is very important, as the Scout should attend as many events as possible to develop his self-reliance.  However, you should let him prepare for the events himself.  For example, if the Troop is going on an overnight, let him follow the gear guide and pack his own gear.  He may forget something, but the next time he will remember.  That is a large part of the learning experience in Scouting.

Your encouragement and support are vital to help the Scout advance.  As he follows the trail to Eagle, using the Boy Scout Handbook, from a young inexperienced Scout into an active young man, the impact of Scouting will be a very positive influence on his growth.

The Boy Scout Handbook

What is the Boy Scout Handbook, and what is it for?

Each Scout joining Troop 387 receives a Boy Scout Handbook.  He will need that book throughout his years as a Scout.  The Handbook lists the requirements for advancement in each rank, as well as information needed to advance.  Often, most of the information which must be learned to advance is in the Handbook itself.  The Handbook is part of the Scout uniform, and should be brought to all meetings and campouts.

Additionally, the Scout's entire history will be recorded in the Handbook.  As he advances, each achievement is listed, with dates, as a permanent record.  Recording dates and achievements accurately is important, as that information will be necessary in completing the Scout's Eagle application.  Effort should be made to keep the Handbook and not to lose it, as the records contained therein are very important.  A book cover and spiral binding is highly encouraged.

Troop Activities

What are the regular Troop activities engaged in by Troop 387?

The activities of Troop 387 generally include:weekly meetings, monthly campouts, monthly meetings of the Patrol Leaders Council, annual attendance at the H.  Roe Bartle Scout Reservation and participation in honor camping organizations, The Order of The Arrow and the Tribe of Mic-O-Say.The Troop functions through the activities of the Scouts, with the guidance of the Patrol Leaders Council and the Troop Committee.

When are the weekly meetings, and what occurs there?

Meetings of Troop 387 take place each week, at a time determined at the beginning of the year by the Troop Committee with the advice and consent of the Scoutmaster, since the meetings must be set on an evening when the Scoutmaster can regularly attend.  At the time this Handbook is being published, the meetings take place every Monday night (except for the Monday immediately following a campout, at which time the Patrol Leaders Council meets).  The meetings begin at 7:00 p.m.  and adjourn at 8:30 p.m.

What are the attendance and behavior requirements at weekly meetings, and what are the consequences of not attending or not acting appropriately?

Regular attendance and participation in the meetings of the Troop are encouraged and expected.  In order to advance, each Scout must show Scout Spirit, and must actively participate in the activities of the Troop.  Additionally, there are participation requirements for admission and advancement in The Order of The Arrow and the Tribe of Mic-O-Say.  Each Scout should attend every meeting and activity of the Troop if at all possible, to get the full benefit of the Scouting program.

If a Scout's absences from meetings and activities become excessive, the Scout/parents should contact the Scoutmaster and explain the situation.  If he does not receive a call, the Scoutmaster may contact the Scouts parents  to inquire about his absences.

Conduct at Scout meetings is expected to comply with the Scout Oath and the Scout Law.  Therefore, respect and orderliness should be shown at all times.  While the Scouts have fun, no disrespect or violence of any kind will be tolerated.  Failure to act in this manner will result in counseling with the Scoutmaster or an Assistant Scoutmaster; recurring problems will result in the Scout being requested to leave the meeting, and ultimately, to leave the Troop.

Laser pointers will not be allowed at any Troop function.  If found, they will be taken by a leader and returned to the Scout's parents.

Should parents attend Troop meetings and activities?

Parents are strongly encouraged to attend the meetings.  This prevents the meetings from becoming free child-sitting for the parents, and allows more meaningful participation by the parents in the Scout's advancement in the Troop.  Parents who do not have official positions in the Troop are still requested to assist in keeping order in the meetings, so that all Scouts can have a meaningful experience from Scouting.

What happens at Troop meetings, how are they planned, and how are they run?

The meetings of the Troop are planned by the Patrol Leaders Council ("PLC") at semi-annual planning meetings and at the monthly PLC meetings.  The meetings generally revolve around a monthly theme, such as survival camping, railroading, etc., usually as it relates to the campout for that month.  Preparation includes the arranging and calling of speakers, any materials to be used, and possibly a game to conclude the meeting.  All Scouts are expected to participate in the planning of meetings and to volunteer for the various tasks necessary to plan and present the meetings.

The meetings of Troop 387 are generally presented and run by the Scouts, with guidance as needed by the Scoutmaster and the Troop Committee

What are Patrols and how are they organized?

Patrols are sub-groups of Scouts within the Troop.  Each Scout will belong to a patrol.  Each patrol has a name, a flag, and a patrol yell.  Usually, the Troop camps by Patrols, in order for each Scout to participate in each aspect of the camping adventure, including firebuilding, cooking, and cleanup.  The Patrols are organized by the Scoutmaster, the Troop Committee and the PLC.  This follows the training and recommendation of the Heart of America Council.

Troop Leadership

What is the Patrol Leaders Council, when does it meet, and who should attend?

The Patrol Leaders Council ("PLC") is officially comprised of the Senior Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Patrol Leaders of each Patrol, and Assistant Patrol Leaders.  All those who attend are entitled to vote onthe matters presented.  The Scoutmaster also attends these meetings.  All adults are also welcome to attend, to observe and participate in the sharing of ideas about meetings, campouts and the other activities of the Troop.

What is the Troop Committee, when does it meet, and who should attend?

The Troop Committee is comprised of all registered adult members of Troop 387.  It meets once each month, on a regular date selected at the beginning of the Scouting year (September).  The meetings run from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.  under the direction of the Troop Committee Chairman.

At the end of each year (May), the Troop Committee elects the chair persons for the next year, including Troop Committee Chairman, as well as the Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmasters, Camping Chair, Program Chair, Secretary, Finance Chair, Advancement Chair, Recruitment Chair, Eagle Coordinator and the assistants for each position.

The Scoutmaster is a member of the Troop Committee, and his activities and decisions can be reviewed, if necessary, by the Troop Committee.  However, the Troop's practice has always been to encourage Scoutmasters to volunteer and to support the Scoutmaster's actions and decisions as much as possible.  The Troop Committee hears reports from the Scoutmaster and other adult Troop leaders, considers matters involving the operation and funding of the Troop, and votes as necessary on the matters presented.  All parents are encouraged to attend and participate in the meetings of the Troop Committee.  Any matters of concern can and should be presented to the Troop Committee.  Additionally, all parents are encouraged to register and to become adult Scouters in Troop 387, and to take youth protection and any other BSA-required training.  This enhances the parents' understanding and feeling of participation in the Troop and is greatly appreciated by the Scouts; all of whom want their parents to participate and be a part of their Scouting adventure.

The Scout Uniform

What are the Scout uniforms and when are they worn?

The official Scout uniform is described in the Boy Scout Handbook.  It generally consists of official Boy Scout shirt, pants or shorts, socks, belt, Troop 387 neckerchief (supplied to all Scouts), and neckerchief slide.  Additionally, merit badge sashes, and indications of membership in the Order of the Arrow and the Tribe of Mic-O-Say are also part of the full uniform (as is the Boy Scout Handbook).  This is known as the Field uniform, and should be worn to all Troop meetings and Troop activities, such as fund raisers.  The Field uniform is also to be worn on the way to and from all campouts.  Because Scouts are always growing, clean blue jeans are acceptable as part of the Field uniform.

The informal Scout "uniform" is known as the "Class B." It is comprised of Scout pants or shorts, and aT-Shirt containing some Scout or Troop reference, such as Camp Naish, Camp Bartle, Troop 387, etc.  The Class B uniform is to be worn at campouts, at camp, and on workdays and other informal activities of the Troop.

Rank Advancement

What are the ranks through which the Scout advances, and when can they be earned?

The first three ranks --Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class -- have no time requirements: they each may be earned (in order) without any set amount of time in each rank.  These ranks teach basic Scouting skills, such as basic first aid, camping, cooking, knot tying, citizenship, Scout Spirit, etc.  Scouts should begin working on all three of these ranks as soon as they join the Troop.

The higher ranks -- Star, Life, and Eagle -- are based on leadership, merit badges, and Scout Spirit.  In each of these ranks, the Scout must spend a set number of months in a leadership position in the Troop, must earn a set number of merit badges, and must show Scout Spirit.

In order to achieve the rank of Eagle, the Scout must earn a total of 21 merit badges, 11 out of 14 on a required list, plus ten others selected by the Scout.  Eagle-required merit badges can, and should, be earned at any time during a Scout's career.  The Star and Life ranks require a specified number of Eagle-required, as well as elective, merit badges.  In addition to merit badges, leadership and Scout Spirit, an Eagle candidate must also plan, prepare and carry out a public service project which must be approved at each step, and then undergo an Eagle Board of Review.

Once earned, merit badges and rank badges are supplied by the Troop and presented to the Scouts at the semi-annual Courts of Honor.

How does a Scout receive rank advancement?

For Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class, each requirement is separately listed in the Boy Scout Handbook.  When the Scout accomplishes a required task, a parent or Scout leader can initial and date that requirement.  Parents can, and should, be closely involved in this process, helping the Scout by providing guidance as needed, but not doing the task for him.  Nothing is learned when someone else does the task.  Additionally, the Scout Law requires the Scout to be trustworthy; this means that he should represent that he has earned a requirement only when it is true that he, himself, has earned it.

On the Star, Life and Eagle ranks, the Scout can record in his Handbook the merit badges earned (some badges in each rank must include those required for the Eagle badge), and the dates of leadership positions.  The requirements for these ranks are stated in the Boy Scout Handbook.

Scoutmaster Conference
After all of the requirements for a rank are completed and signed, the Scout should request the Scoutmaster for a Scoutmaster conference.  This is anindividual meeting with the Scoutmaster, where the requirements for the rank are reviewed, and the Scout discusses what was learned for that rank.  The Scoutmaster conference is also a good opportunity for the Scout and Scoutmaster to discuss any other matters of concern, suggestions for improvement in the Troop or its activities, the Scout's goals and aspirations, and any other questions.

An Assistant Scoutmaster may hold a Scoutmasterconference at the request of the Scoutmaster. A Scoutmaster shall not hold a Scoutmaster conference for his own son.

Upon successful completion of the Scoutmasterconference, the Scoutmaster will initial the Handbook at the appropriate location.

Board of Review
After the Scoutmaster conference, the Scout should request the Advancement Chairman for a Board of Review.  This Board is comprised of three adult leaders of the Troop (which shall not include that boy's parents).  The Board of Review consists of a meeting with the Scout, including a review of the Scout's achievements toward the rank, questioning about what was learned, and other discussion about Scouting and about the Troop.

A Scout should not be concerned or worried about the Scoutmaster conference and the Board of Review.  They are not tests.  They are opportunities to discuss the Scout's advancement and goals in Scouting, and to ensure that the Scout has actually earned the requirements for advancement.

Court of Honor
After successful completion of the Board of Review, the Scout's rank advancement is announced to the entire Troop in open meeting.  The Scout is entitled to wear the badge of rank from that date forward.   However, a formal ceremony is held twice each year, called a Court of Honor.  At this Court, rank advancements and merit badges are distributed, for recognition of the Scout's achievements.

A special Court of Honor is held for those who achieve the rank of Eagle.

Merit Badges

What are merit badges?

Merit badges involve specialized activities and study in a particular field.  Over one hundred merit badges are available.  Twenty-one merit badges must be earned to achieve the rank of Eagle, eleven of which are specifically required.  All merit badges(including those required for Eagle) are listed and pictured in the Handbook.  In addition, the requirements for the Eagle-required merit badges are listed in the Handbook.  Work should begin on the Eagle-required badges as soon as the Scout starts with the Troop.

How does a Scout earn merit badges?

Counselors.  Unlike the rank requirements for the first three ranks, parents cannot sign approval of a Scout's achievements for a merit badge.  There are approved merit badge counselors who have special training in the field of the merit badge, and who have been trained as counselors by the Boy Scouts of America.  A list of approved merit badge counselors isavailable from the Advancement Chairman.  The Scout is expected to contact the merit badge counselor himself.

Additionally, many merit badges are earned at summer camp at Camp Naish and Camp Bartle each summer, at some Troop meetings and campouts, and at a special two-week merit badge forum conducted by the Council on Saturday mornings each January and February.  The merit badge forum is a good opportunity to earn two merit badges in a classroom setting.

Requirements.  There are specific requirements for each merit badge, and they are listed in the merit badge book for each badge.  There are alternative requirements, in case some are difficult for a particular Scout's situation.  After all requirements for a merit badge are earned, the counselor signs off on the merit badge card and returns it to the Scout, his Scoutmaster, or the Advancement Chairman; the card is given to the Advancement Chairman, who then submits it to the Council, and the merit badge is issued.

Merit Badge Books.  Merit badge books are contained in the Troop library, maintained by the Troop Librarian.  A Scout should request to check out a merit badge book from the Librarian and then return the book to the Librarian on completion of the badge.  Merit badge books are also available for purchase at the Scout office.  Many Scouts donate their books to the Troop library after they complete a merit badge.

Merit Badge Cards.  A merit badge card is a record of the Scout's achievement of each of the requirements for a merit badge.  Blank merit badge cards can be obtained from the Advancement Chairman, or from the Scoutmaster at summer camp.

Merit Badges.  Once earned, merit badges and cards are supplied by the Troop.  Merit badges should be worn on the merit badge sash.  The cards should be kept as a permanent record of earning the merit badges.

Campouts and Camping

What camping activities does Troop 387 have?

Troop 387 is an active outdoor Troop.  It provides at least ten outdoor camping experiences each year, in addition to camping at the H.  Roe Bartle Scout Reservation each summer.  The monthly campouts will be one or two-night activities, with the Scouts setting up the equipment, planning and preparing the meals, and cleaning up the campsite.  Other activities, such as rappelling, caving, railroading, trailing and mapping, and other enjoyable learning experiences are also carried out on the campouts. The Scouts will generally camp by patrols, and the adults will camp as the "Geezer" patrol.

Troop camping is different from family camping.  We generally have space limitations and different philosophies.  Our goal is not necessarily to do everything quick and easy, but to let the Scout practice independent thought and action.

What is the Troop 387 philosophy on campouts?

A Boy Scout campout is one of the few times when a boy is completely responsible for himself without the direction or parents or teachers.  We want him to learn self-reliance.  Eating prepared or canned food saves a lot of time and trouble, but planning and preparing a balanced meal is far more useful as a life lesson.

The adult Scout leaders on a campout will watch for behavior that is unsafe and will give advice as needed.  However, the adults will not do the work for the Scouts.  Most Scouts do not burn their dinners more than once or twice before they learn the pleasure of a well-cooked meal.  Scouts are at an age where they have to learn from their own mistakes.

Camping and Hiking Equipment

What Camping Gear Will a Scout Need?

Troop 387 provides much of the general camping gear that the boy will need, such as tents and cooking equipment.  Before you and your Scout buy anything, visit with the troop Camping Chairman or Scoutmaster.  The advice they have accumulated from years of safe camping will help you select the most effective equipment and often the least costly.

The best camping equipment to buy is something that has more than one use.  For example, a plastic cup is good for drinking but you can't cook in it like you can in a metal sierra cup.  A poncho can be used for many things while a raincoat can only be used to shed rain.  Selecting multi-use equipment can mean significant savings in "packed" weight.

The more things a piece of equipment can do means less weight to carry on a hike.  The more weight the Scout has to carry increases the fatigue experienced during the campout.  An additional "packed weight" of 5 pounds will require a lot of additional effort during a cross country hike.  In a successful camping experience, less is best! A Scout should make sure that he has everything he needs, but will not be able to take everything he wants.

What Gear is Supplied by Troop 387?

Troop 387 likes to camp and experience the unique rewards of interacting with nature.  The Troop supplies tents, Patrol cooking equipment, and much of the other heavy gear.  The Scout is required to request the equipment from the Quartermaster before the campout and return it in good condition afterwards.  The cooking gear must be cleaned and any traces of open fire removed after the last meal at the campsite.  Any tents or other gear that is exposed to moisture must be taken home, dried, repacked, and returned at the next meeting.  In this way, the equipment is kept in good working order and the Scout learns how to care for it.

Can Chemical Lanterns and Stoves be Taken on Campouts?

BSA National Policy allows chemical fuels to be used only with the supervision of an adult leader.  Therefore, Coleman and other propane fuelstoves, lanterns, etc.  should not be taken on campouts by the Scouts without the direct involvement and supervision of an adult.

Where Can Camping Equipment Be Purchased?

Good camping equipment can be purchased at many stores.  Watching the advertisements can result in significant savings.  In general, Boy Scout of America (BSA) equipment is always good because it has been constructed to meet BSA requirements and fits the smaller frames of the typical Scout.

A second source of equipment is Armed Forces surplus.  This equipment is designed to meet the rigors of war, is typically very durable, and is light enough to carry easily.

Another source of equipment is BSA surplus.  Often there will be an older Scout in the neighborhood that is not using his equipment (girls, cars and high schoolsports having taken priority).  This equipment, if it was properly selected, can be an extremely good buy.  If possible, bring the equipment to the next meeting.  Our Camping Chairperson will analyze it for you and make suggestions about the purchase.  A "good old Scout" will generally not mind this inspection and will like to see his equipment used again.

Remember to see the Quartermaster before purchasing anything.  They can save you money and help make the camping experience more enjoyable for the Scout.  In general, discount stores are not the best places to shop unless you are a gear expert.

How is food obtained and prepared on campouts?

As noted above, most of the necessary equipment is provided.  Each patrol prepares its own menus for all meals, and a grubmaster is appointed by the patrol to purchase the food and bring it to the campout.  Each Scout, of course, pays for his own food by paying the grubmaster (usually in advance) for the food.  If a Scout pays for food and does not come on the campout, there are no refunds, because the food had to be purchased anyway.  Since the grubmaster needs to buy all the patrol's food in advance, Scouts who do not sign up and pay for a campout in advance may not be permitted to attend the campout.  The menus must contain a hot meal prepared by the Scouts and the menu must be approved by the Scoutmaster or the Camping Chairman.  Each Scout needs to bring a sack lunch for the first day unless told otherwise. Remember, no soda and no junk food.  The typical cost for an overnight campout (for a dinner and breakfast) is around five – ten dollars.

Should parents come on campouts?

All parents are encouraged to attend every campout and Troop activity.  This allows the parents to see how their Scouts are advancing, and is actually fun for the parents as well.  The "Geezer Patrol" is renowned for its good outdoor cuisine: the parents do not eat the food prepared by the Scouts, no matter how much they may want to.

Fund Raising

Why does Troop 387 need fund raising activities?

The operation of a Boy Scout Troop - especially one which camps out ten to twelve times each year -- requires extensive equipment, including tents, cooking equipment, tent flies, Dutch ovens, etc.  One source of funds are the annual membership fees assessed to each Scout (of which the Council takes a healthy share).  In order to keep the cost to each Scout at a minimum, Troop 387 engages in one fund raising activity each year.  This is a Pancake Breakfast held in March or April (depending on other Church activities). 

Parents are encouraged to help with the cooking of the sausage and pancakes.  Along with the Pancake Breakfast, the scouts may hold a Bake Sale.  


What should a parent do if he or she has questions about the Troop?

Everyone is encouraged to ask questions; that is the only way to find out.  Although this Troop has been successful and thriving for many years, it does so only by adapting and changing as needed.  So feel free to ask questions or to raise suggestions for improvement.  Typically, questions should first be directed to the Troop Committee Chairman.  If that is not successful or appropriate, then the Scoutmaster is the person to contact.

Troop Philosophy / Goals

Our troop operates under the guidance of an adult committee.  We strictly follow the guidelines as established by the Heart of America Council of Boy Scouts of America (BSA).  Our committee members are made up of registered adult volunteers, typically parents of scouts in the troop.  All parents who can participate in the committee meetings are encouraged to get registered and participate.

The Scoutmaster is a committee member with an equal voice in the direction of the troop.  The troop committee members all share in the responsibility and accountability relative to the decisions made.  We have found that early and regular parental involvement means a better Scouting experience for the whole family.

Our Scouting program is directed toward achieving the basic Boy Scouts of America aims and to incorporate the proven methods established by Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the organization's founder.  Our overall objective is to allow the Scout to grow within the program by doing for himself.  This develops self-esteem and self-reliance within the boy.  It is very hard for most parents knowingly to allow the boy to make mistakes.  However, this method is the best teacher.  The adult Leaders will not allow any unsafe condition to exist that can harm the boy.

Each of the campouts or troop meetings is directed toward learning and practicing Scouting skills.  As the Scout achieves the skills, awards are given to reinforce individually paced growth within the program.  The Scout's team (patrol) aids in the advancement by teaching the new skills.  The Scout's communication skills are improved through working with his peers.

As the boy matures within the Scouting program, several avenues of extra service are available allowing him to join our Patrol Leader Council (PLC).  He can become the Senior Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader, Troop Librarian, Quartermaster, Scribe, Chaplain's Aide, or work at other leadership functions selected by the Scout and Scoutmaster.

Our troop is directed to provide opportunities for any Scout that wishes to lead.  We provide the chance, under adult leadership and guidance, for the Senior Patrol Leader and the Patrol Leaders to learn and practice their leadership skills.  In this way, they become a great resource forthe troop while increasing their own self worth and self-confidence.

The prime goal for our troop is to instill in each Scout a sense of independence and self-sufficiency within our society.  As they grow to become young men, we work to enhance their mental, moral, and physical development so they can become the best person possible.