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So you are new to the troop and not sure how the troop is organized and how it is run? You have come to the right place. The intent of this page is to provide you with all the basics of how to have your boy be successful in our troop.

Troop Philosophy

You may have heard the phrase that this is a "boy led troop" and wondered what exactly that means. Well, it means that in terms of determining what the troop will do and making it happen, it is up to the boys. The more senior scouts make up something called a Patrol Leaders Council and this council effectively decides how the troop will operate. They plan the meetings and run them. The adult leaders are responsible for the health and safety of the boys, and they provide advice to the PLC, offering ideas and possible solutions to problems that may arise. But unless there is a health and safety issue, the scouts are deciding for themselves how the troop runs.

Boy Scout Troops have an almost unique challenge in the world of youth organizations. We have boys that span the range of 11 - 18, 5th graders through high school seniors. The challenge is to keep them all engaged and we do this by empowering the older boys to act leaders and teachers for the younger boys. By doing this, we challenge the older scouts to learn to be leaders while at the same time providing activities that the younger scouts can activity partake in. It is our goal as a troop to give each scout as much responsibility as they are prepared to handle.

As with any group, we have rules the members are expected to abide by. For the troop, we have a troop code of conduct. Please review the code of conduct. Your son will be expected to abide by these rules.

Please see the Overview FAQ for more overview information about scouting and the troop.

The scouts in the troop have the following eneral organization:

Senior Patrol Leader (SPL): highest ranking scout (not necessarily the oldest), in charge of the troop has a whole.

Assistant Senior Patrol Leaders (ASPL): Assistants to the SPL

Patrol Leaders (PL): In charge of a patrol of 6 - 8 scouts. The patrol leader is the first person a scout should contact when they have any issues or questions.

Patrol members (PM): members of a particular patrol, they work as a group in many activities.

In general, we want the scouts to work with each other. When a scout has a question, they should contact their patrol leader to try to find out the answer. If the patrol leader does not know, either the patrol leader or the scout should then contact one of scouts in the senior patrol (SPL or ASPLs). If that all fails, then the adult leaders should be contacted.

For more information, see the organization FAQ.
Most likely your scout has come to Boy Scouts through the Cub Scout program. You are used to being intimately involved in all the activities outside of the den meetings (and perhaps the den meetings as well). That all changes as the boys enter Boy Scouts.

In Boy Scouts, the older scouts lead the younger scouts (with adult supervision) and the parents take a less active role. Does that mean that you should "drop your scout and run"? No, and we hope you won't do that. We are always in need of help in running the troop. That help can range from becoming a leader yourself (and wearing one of those great looking uniforms), to helping in the background to organize  some of the activities, keep records, etc.

While it is a boy led troop, there is still plenty of parental involvement. The list of adult jobs is not fixed in stone, but here is a list of jobs that we normally try to fill

One of the biggest differences between cub scouts and boy scouts is how the boys advance through the ranks. In cub scouts, the den did everything together. If you came to the meetings, you advanced at the same rate that everyone else did. In Boy Scouts, that is not true. Everyone advances at their own rate.

As the boys master skills required for a particular rank, they can get them signed off. Some skills are taught during troop meetings, but many are not and need to be learned outside of the regular troop meetings. This often happens at the campouts and at summer camp, or at special sessions for teaching scout skills. The scout can also learn the skills on their own.

So one of the consequences of this is that the scouts advance at their own pace. Advancement is not a race but it is definitely true that those that work harder at advancing will do so more quickly.

One of the most frequently asked questions is, who is allowed to sign off on requirements and how do I get that to happen? Any scout that is at least 1st class and at least one rank beyond the rank being worked on can sign off on a requirement. So, if you are trying to get a second class requirement done, a 1st class scout can test you and sign off if you successful demonstrate the skill. If you are working on a 1st class requirement, the testing scout must be at least star. And, of course, any of the adult leaders can also signoff.

When can this be done? In general, before meetings, on camping trips, during meetings, or you can ask to meet one of the leaders or scouts outside of normal meeting times to work on the requirements. Keep in mind that it is the responsibility of the older scouts to help teach the younger scouts, so don't be shy in asking for their time. For more information about advancement, see the advancement FAQ.

Merit badges are earned by scouts by working direcctly with a merit badge counselor. Merit badges can be earned starting as soon as the scout enters the program. They are not required for advancement until the Star rank. Scouts are expected to work directly with the merit badge counselor, including setting up meetings, etc. The parents should NOT arrange any of this for the scout. Part of the merit badge experience is having the scout take the responsibility of contacting the counselor. See the FAQ for merit badges for more information.

We want to teach the scouts to be self-sufficient, so if the question is about what the scout should be doing, the best solution is to have your scout call his patrol leader.

We also have a set of frequently asked questions. Check out the FAQs to see if you can find the answer you are looking for.

If the above does not work, please come and talk to the scoutmaster or one of the assistants. One of our jobs is to help the parents, so don't be shy, this is what we are here for. You can email a question to the scoutmaster at

scoutmaster@bsa-troop139.org