Our Meetings Are Held Thursday Nights at 7:00PM at the Thurmont Scouting, Inc. Building, 26 Elm Street

Scouting differs from Cub Scouting in a number of ways. One is that in Cub Scouts, the adults are the leaders, while in Scouts, the Scouts are the leaders.  Another is that in Scouts, parents don't have to attend camp outs. While we encourage parents to be involved with the Troop, and you are invited to attend any camp outs, please make sure that you stay home for one or two of your scout's first few camp outs. They need to adjust to the idea that when they need help, they should get that help from their patrol leader, not from Mom or Dad. And they need to start developing independence and being responsible for their own advancement, which will happen faster if they find themselves in situations where they have to depend on themselves and the Patrol/Troop infrastructure.  Your Scout will tend to come to you and ask things like "when are we going to eat?" or "how do I set up my tent?" The appropriate response from a parent (and the response he'll get from any of the adult leaders) is "Why are you asking me that? Go ask your patrol leader."

For the first few ranks (Scout to First Class), most advancement happens on camp outs. It is imperative that Scouts bring their Scout handbooks along, so that advancement achievements can be signed off. Please make sure your scout's book has their name in it, so when it gets misplaced we can see that it is returned to them! In Cub Scouting, parents sign off for many advancement requirements. In Scouts, parents can't sign for anything (except for merit badge requirements, and then only if you are a registered and trained merit badge counselor for that merit badge, even then it is frowned upon unless there are no other counselors for that merit badge or the badge is being done in a group setting). In Troop 270, the older Scouts are supposed to teach scout skills to the younger Scouts and ensure that the skills have been learned by testing them. Once that happens, then a scout can have the skill signed off by a qualified and approved scout or adult leader. The patrol leader is ultimately responsible for advancement within the patrol, but can and should delegate to any qualified Scout to teach skills. Qualified means that the Scout signing off must already have the rank being worked on, and in fact should be a Star scout or higher rank. Thus, a Star Scout could sign off on a requirement for a Tenderfoot Scout working on his 2nd Class rank. This is an important responsibility, and one that represents a beginning of the Scout's leadership career.

New Scouts should begin immediately working on their Scout rank. It isn't hard, but will require them to participate in at least a couple of outings, and it will give them an idea of how the advancement system works. Once they have completed the requirements, they will need to arrange for a Scoutmaster conference. There is no Board of Review for the Scout Rank. Once achieved, the Scout should start on the Tenderfoot rank. With the Tenderfoot rank and there-after, the Scout will need to get a Scoutmaster conference and a  Board of Review after completing the ranks requirements, although the Scoutmaster conference may be done before completing all requirements. The board is not an ordeal, rather, it is a chance for the adult leadership of the troop to get to know the Scout, help him set goals for his Scouting career, and generally to make sure that things are working well for him within the troop.  Boards of Review are scheduled as requested, but usually need a week's notice to arrange for 3 committee members to sit for it. Boards of review can also be convened on camp outs when appropriate.  The Scout should be in uniform for both the Scoutmaster conference and board of review.

It is important to know and understand that the Scout can and should begin working on 2nd Class and 1st Class requirements immediately - there is no need to wait until achieving Tenderfoot. The scout should be looking ahead and taking advantage of opportunities to do things like cooking over an open fire or other requirements for which opportunities may not be frequent. The scout can also begin working on merit badges at any time - summer camp is a great opportunity to get started on this. We find that once Scouts reach Tenderfoot, they understand the system and will advance on to Second Class and First Class without problems, but occasional parental encouragement and reminders are always good.

Back to the camp out. You already know they'll need their handbook, and will need to think a little before they go about what requirements they might be able to achieve on the trip. They'll need a few basic items as mentioned before (sierra cup, spoon, mug, flashlight, toothbrush).  Of course, they'll need clothes.  Scouts are required to wear their class A uniforms during the travel phase of any trip. Usually, when we reach the camp or trail head, the Scouts will change into something more trip appropriate, like a troop t-shirt, and will leave the khaki shirt in the car. Typically, for Friday evening travel, they'll need to bring a sack dinner that can be eaten in the car or on arrival - the troop typically does not attempt to cook on Friday nights, although most times snacks ("cracker barrel") will be served.  Other than this, they should not bring along any personal food or drink (other than water) of any kind unless specifically told to do so. Scouts are supposed to participate in their patrol's meal planning process (which is the time to speak up about any special food needs or preferences), and are expected to cook and eat with their patrol. There is an old Scouting saying "No Scout ever starved to death on a weekend camp out" although probably many thought they would. Of course, if a Scout has special dietary needs they should speak to the Scoutmaster about accommodations - this should be done well in advance of the camp out. Such requests made after food has been purchased for the trip probably cannot be accommodated.

They'll need at least one change of clothes. Possibly, they won't use them. Despite Mother's best wishes, they don't change clothes on outings very often. Clothes should be packed in waterproof bags - the sturdy large size Ziploc bags are ideal. Pack a day's change per bag, so that the Scout can grab one bag and have clean underwear, t-shirt, and socks.  If you pack all the socks in one bag, all the shirts in another they'll all end up dumped on the floor of the tent while they search for a complete outfit.  Don't forget to pack some kind of sleepwear (pajamas, gym shorts, or whatever they prefer, and if it is winter, extra dry socks in case they get wet and for sleeping).  They'll probably want a small pillow too. The Ziploc thing is important - even in a properly set up tent there will frequently be condensation and wet places, and clothes will get wet if not protected.  Pack the clothes in a duffle bag, a Rubbermaid "Action Packer" or anything else that is sturdy and will hold them all.  A backpack is fine too but isn't required. Make sure your scout doesn't take too much stuff - it is common for new Scouts to overdose on the "be prepared" thing and to try to bring everything they own, just in case.  Do make sure they bring warm clothing if there is any chance they could need it, and be certain that they bring rain gear (at least a poncho) on every trip, no matter what the forecast says.  After a few trips, they'll probably know pretty much what they require and can be responsible for their own packing, but it is helpful for a parent to supervise packing or at least inspect the results for the first few trips. Please DO NOT pack for them!

We are blessed with a variety of good camping spots that are not very far away; so most troop travel is relatively short.  Scouts are expected to be able to entertain themselves during longer travel, and the ideal mechanism is with a good book.  Handheld electronic games are permitted as long as the Scout turns the sound off or uses headphones, but they must be left in the car.  A deck of cards or a magnetic chess or checkerboard can also be a good choice if other Scouts in the car share the same interest.

All Scouts are expected to pitch in and help with camp chores - in fact; each patrol will have a duty roster with specific assignments for cooking, cleanup, and other camp work.  The Scouts need to understand that this cooperation is what enables everyone to have free time for hiking, playing, fishing, and working on advancements.  Your Scout will likely come home and talk about all the work they had to do, but hopefully they'll also talk about how much fun it was and how much they learned.  If you get one without the other, please bring it to the attention of one of the adult leaders, so we can make sure all is well.

There are lots of good references available about camping skills and equipment. The Scout Handbook, which your Scout should already have, is a great starting place. See also the Scout Field Book and of course this Troop 270 Handbook.

That should be enough to help you be ready for his first trip.  One last piece of advice: remind them to keep track of their camping trips with the troop AND sign up for the camping merit badge (get a "blue card") right now.  The Camping merit badge requires 20 nights of camping, and is an Eagle-required badge.  In about a year, they'll be trying to put together a list of his camping nights, and having some notes will help!  As an additional note, a scout needs to be signed up for a merit badge to get credit for doing its requirements.

Go to top