Frequently Asked Questions
There is a Merit Badge Sash (Green) available at the Scout Shops in either West Chicago or St. Charles. The sash hangs across the body from right shoulder to left hip. Merit Badges are attached to the front of the sash in rows of three starting around the arm pit.
When a Scout earns a Rank (ie. Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, etc.) that patch/badge is attached to the left shirt pocket. Only the most current Rank Badge/patch is worn on the pocket. Some Scouts will attach their old Rank badges to the back of the sash. Other Scouts will attach them to a Scout Blanket which can also be purchased at the Scout Shops. The Boy Scout Blanket is traditionally red. This is what most Scouts will also attach the other patches they acquire to (such as Summer Camp patches, Polar Bear Camp-out patch, old patrol patches if they change patrols or any other miscellaneous patches they may earn, that don't have a place on the uniform).
The inside cover of the Boy Scout Handbook shows the location for placement of badges on the uniform. You can also check out this link
New Scouts & Parents (49)
Cub Scouts is more family oriented and parent driven. Most of the activities are planned and arranged by the parents and Den Leaders. Also in Cub Scouts most of the Achievements and Advancements are worked on by the Scout and Parent together and signed off by the Parent. Boy Scouts is boy oriented and boy driven. The boy is responsible for his own advancement. You will often hear "We're a boy run Troop." That means they are responsible for planning their activities and working on making them happen. This is the process of growing our sons into future Leaders. Also in Boy Scouts only the Scout Master, an Assistant Scout Master or one of our Eagle Scouts can sign-off on rank requirements for advancement and only a Merit Badge Counselor can sign-off on Merit Badge requirements.
In Boy Scouts there are seven "Ranks" that indicate where your son stands in Scouting. They are, in order, Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star Scout, Life Scout and the pinnacle of Scouting Eagle Scout. As your son completes the rank requirements he will get them signed-off by the Scout Master, an Assistant Scout Master or one of our Eagle Scouts. When he has finished all of the requirements for a rank, your son will request a Scout Master Conference from the Scout Master.
The Scout Master will either do this himself or assign one of the Assistant Scout Masters to do this. After completing the Scout Master Conference, your son will request a Board of Review from the Troop Advancement Chair. Upon completion of the Board of Review, your son will have earned that "Rank" and will be presented with the appropriate Badge as soon as possible.
Scouting should be an enjoyable experience and no your son does not have to advance in rank, but he should as it is one of the foundations of the Scouting method.
Scouting is all about the boys. They should make of it what they want, but rank advancement is a way of showing how much your son has learned in Scouting. It can also be a source of pride and accomplishment for him.
To answer your second question first, your son may not make Eagle Scout. Not all boys do. In fact there are statistics that show less than 2% of all boys who join Scouting will achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. As to how long it takes to advance through each rank. That varies by individual. Each Scout will advance at his own pace. Some Scouts are more driven than others and advance faster. The import thing is that your son keeps completing his requirements and gets them signed-off by the Scout Master, an Assistant Scout Master or one of the Eagle Scouts.
No, all rank advancements must be completed in order. That said, he can work on the requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class concurrently. But, he must finish Tenderfoot and have his Scout Master Conference and Board of Review, before he can have his Scout Master Conference and Board of Review for Second Class and the same goes for advancing from Second Class to First Class. But, there have been Scouts who have had a Board of Review for Tenderfoot or Second Class, and upon finishing have requested a Scout Master's Conference for Second Class or First Class, and then in the same night had another Board of Review and advanced two ranks in one night.
Not really. Rank advancement in the lower ranks can be accomplished rather quickly. For instance the Scout Badge is fairly easy to achieve and can literally be earned in two meetings, because half of the requirements are met just by joining the Troop. The requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class are a little bit more difficult, but can be earned in several months if a Scout is really motivated. Once a Scout reached First Class, there is a minimum wait of four months before he can move on to Star Scout, and that can be longer, because they have to serve in a Leadership position for four months between the rank advancement from First Class to Star, not to mention the other requirements they have to meet plus they need to start earning Merit Badges. In advancing from Star Scout to Life Scout there is a six month waiting period and again a leadership requirement and the same in going from Life Scout to Eagle Scout and again all of the other requirements they need to get signed-off by the Scout Master, an Assistant Scout Master or one of the Eagle Scouts.
No you cannot. Only the Scout Master, an Assistant Scout Master or one of our Eagle Scouts can sign-off on rank requirements. This is a check and balance in Boy Scouts. For instance, we have Adult Leaders who are Committee Members. They cannot sign-off on rank requirements either, because they will be the ones conducting the Board of Review. And conversely, the Scout Master and Assistant Scout Masters are not allowed to sit on a Board of Review.
Again, no you cannot. A Cub Scout Leader is not considered a Boy Scout Leader in the Troop. We would welcome you to sign on as an Assistant Scout Master in the Troop, but you still cannot sign your own son's rank requirements. It needs to be done by the Scout Master, another Assistant Scout Master or one of the Eagle Scouts.
Not true!! Even in the best run Boy run Troops there is always a need for Adult Volunteers. We can always use additional Assistant Scout Masters. There are positions available on the Troop Committee. There are many Merit Badge Counselor Positions available. And you don't need to take a Specific Position if you don't want to. We can always use help with different events, such as planning a fund raiser, planning a Court of Honor, planning a Service Project or helping one of our Committee Chairs. And you are always welcome to come on Campouts. Ideally we like to have a minimum of four Adult Leaders on any Campout. This allows us to always have two deep leadership.
The Scout Master and Assistant Scout Masters are the face of the Troop. They are the Adult Leaders working directly with the Scouts on a regular basis. They are the Leaders who take the Scouts on campouts. The Troop Committee works behind the scenes to keep the Troop functioning. It is their job to see that the Scout Master and Assistant Scout Masters have the tools they need to work with the Scouts. They keep track of Troop Finances and equipment, including our gear and trailers. They schedule the outing the Scouts have requested and keep track of Advancements. They plan the fund raisers, process paperwork for Council and interact with our Chartered Organization. Merit Badge Counselors work directly with the Scouts to complete the requirements and fill out the Blue Cards for the Merit Badges the Scouts will earn during their time in Scouting.
Merit Badges are specialized areas of interest outside of the requirements for rank advancement. Although the Scouts are required earn Merit Badges for advancement to Star Scout, Life Scout and Eagle Scout. Merit Badges are an opportunity for the Scout to learn about sports, crafts, sciences, trades, business and future careers. There are more than 120 merit badges. Any Boy Scout may earn any merit badge at any time. You don't need to have had rank advancement to earn Merit Badges. In some ways Merit Badges are similar to the Arrow Points your son earned in Cub Scouts, but they are more involved.
First he needs to pick a Merit Badge he is interested in. Meritbadge.org is a good resource or check in the Troop Library for the Merit Badge Books. Then he needs to talk to the Scout Master about it and get a signed Blue Card. The Scout Master can tell him who the Counselor is for that Merit Badge. He will need to contact the Merit Badge counselor and arrange a time to get together and work on the Badge. Your son should follow the Scout Buddy System and have another person with him at each meeting with the Merit Badge Counselor. Or the Counselor should have another Adult present at the meeting. There is some really good information available at Scouting.org about the whole process, the link is http://www.scouting.org/sitecore/content/Home/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAw.... Once your son completes all of the requirements and gets his Blue Card signed off the Merit Badge Counselor, he turns it in to our Advancement Chair and it will be awarded at the next Court of Honor.
Merit Badge Requirements vary by Badge. They all require knowledge of the Merit Badge Subject gained through reading the Merit Badge Book. Some require activities related to the merit badge, such as keeping track of personal finances for 90 days for the Personal Management Merit Badge. Again a great resource is Meritbadge.org, you can download a pdf file there of all of the current Merit Badge requirements by Badge or check out our Troop Library. You can also purchase the books at both Scout stores. Your son is expected to meet the requirements as they are stated in the Merit Badge Book—no more and no less. If he chooses to do more because of an interest he has developed in a Merit Badge Subject, he is certainly welcome to do so, but he can't be required to do so. Conversely, if he loses interest in the subject, he still must meet all requirements to earn the Merit Badge.
The Blue Card is your son's progress record for a Merit Badge. Typically they are three part perforated blue card stock. Before he starts working on a Merit Badge he needs to obtain a blank one from the Scout Master which has been signed. Your son will then fill in his name and other information, including the Merit Badge he got the card for and the Merit Badge Counselor's name, address and phone number. Each time he meets with the Merit Badge Counselor, the counselor will list, initial and date each requirement that is completed. When all requirements have been met, the Counselor will sign-off on the appropriate spot and remove one of the sections for his/her records. Your son will then have the Scout Master sign-off acknowledging the completion at which time your son will give the card to the Advancement Chair. It is important that you son keep not lose the card or let it go through the washer once he starts working on a Merit Badge, as that is his only record of the requirements he has completed.
I have heard that too, and it’s not true. According to BSA policy, the only time limit is your son's eighteenth birthday.
The Merit Badge Counselors are adult volunteers who have special knowledge in their merit badge subjects and are interested in helping your sons advance in Scouting. The Merit Badge Counselors knowledge comes from their careers, their hobbies or maybe it’s just an area of interest they themselves have. Many of our Merit Badge Counselors do double duty as they already hold another Volunteer Position in the Troop.
Yes, it is acceptable to use a Merit Badge Counselor from outside the Troop and even outside the District or Council. In fact when we go to Summer Camp, the Merit Badge Counselors are usually all outside of our Council. Make sure that the Council affiliation is fully filled out on the blue card when he or she signs the card, in case there is ever any question.
The Court of Honor is an Occasion of Celebration in the Troop. It’s when we have a special Ceremony to acknowledge the accomplishments of our Scouts since the previous Court of Honor. These accomplishments include Rank Advancements and Merit Badges, but can also include Mile Swim awards, 50 miler Hiking/Paddling Awards and various other awards. It is also an opportunity to recognize our Adult Leaders and Volunteers for the many things they do for our Scouts and any accomplishments they have achieved such as completion of Training or things like the Mile Swim, which Adults can also earn. We usually have four Courts of Honor a year, two minor ones usually in April/May and November/December which are held at a Troop meeting. We have two Major Courts of Honor usually in late August and at our Annual Dinner in late February. The one in August is timed to recognize the Accomplishments of our Scouts at Summer Camp. Typically at Summer Camp the Scouts as a Troop will earn a combined total of over a hundred Merit Badges and usually a significant number of Rank Advancements. Also this is when we usually see the Mile Swim and 50 miler awards as well as all of the Shooting Sports awards earned by both our Scouts and Adult Leaders.
Yes it is a very special Court of Honor. An Eagle Court of Honor is also an Occasion of Celebration in the Troop, but in this case it is solely for the purpose of Awarding Scouting's Highest Honor, the Eagle Scout Badge, to that special Scout who earned that very difficult to obtain rank. It is a very special Ceremony tailored to that special Scout. It is a ceremony that is well worth attending.
About two years ago we came up with the idea of using mailboxes to distribute printed information to the Scouts. Prior to that we used to have Adults stand the at the doorway at the end of meetings and hand out the information, but it never failed that a number of Scouts left without getting the information and then deadlines were missed. With the mailbox system, we know if a Scout has taken the information if his mailbox is empty. Now whether or not that gets home and into your hands is another matter. We also try to distribute information through email, including reminders about things that were distributed in the mailboxes and we are posting things on our Website, Troop98.org.
The Troop Scoop is our "weekly" news letter, which is distributed at regular meetings.
We try to use email as much as possible, but not everyone will provide us with their email address. Also some information is only provided to us in printed form, such as Fundraising information and flyers. In that case we really can't email it or post it on the website.
A lot of the announcements at meetings are to re-iterate the information that has been previously distributed in one form or another. There are also announcements made about subjects that have not been distributed in another form yet, kind of a heads up. You will also get Scouts who are working on their Eagle Scout Service Project making announcements about signing up to earn service hours by helping them with their project.
Part of Scouting is giving back to the Community. One way of doing this is through Service hours. Also some of the higher level rank advancements require the Scout perform Service hours. Service hours can be performed on an individual basis, such as volunteering at PADS or one of the local Food Banks, with prior approval of the Scout Master. If the Scout is going to perform individual hours they should get a yellow card for volunteer hours, which needs to be signed by the organization the hours are performed for and turned into the Advancement Chair. They can also be performed as part of a Troop Service project, such as Schick Road Clean-up, which the Project coordinator will turn into the Advancement Chair. Service hours can also be performed as part of an Eagle Scout Service project, which the Eagle Scout Candidate will turn into the Advancement Chair. The Eagle Scout Service project is usually a major undertaking by the Eagle Scout Candidate, which typically involves well over a hundred service hours by the Eagle Scout Candidate and the Scouts who volunteer to help him.
Also, once a year in late April, Our Savior Lutheran Church holds their Annual Garage Sale. We help them with setting up, by putting down cardboard on the Gym floor. Scouts can also help during collection, during the day of the sale and at clean-up. It’s a chance to give back to an organization that has been very generous to us in allowing us the use of the facilities. Service hours are not earned for this event, as this is giving back to an organization that gives generously to us.
Like most Scout Troops we sell Popcorn and Wreaths. We also sell cookie dough and in the past we have sold Flowers. We will be doing a Spaghetti Dinner in the fall. If you have ideas for fundraisers we are always open to new or better ways to raise funds. Contact our Fundraiser Chair. The profits earned on fundraisers are split between the Troop and the Scout. The Scouts split goes into his Scout Account, the Troop Split goes into our General Fund which is used for various expenses, replace equipment, like tents and cooking gear, etc. Are all Scouts required to fund raise? It shouldn't need to be a requirement. The Scouts should want to fund raise, to give back to the Troop and to earn funds for their Scout Accounts. Remember a Scout is Thrifty.
The split varies by fundraiser. It is reviewed by the Troop Committee and may be adjusted periodically. It can go from 50/50 to 80/20 in favor of the Scout. That is on fundraisers like Wreath or Popcorn Sales. Recycling, I am sure you have seen the bags of cans out front before meetings, is 100% towards the Scout Account. Spaghetti Dinner and Car Washes are 100% for the Troop.
The Scout account is a Bank Account so to speak that the Troop Maintains for your Scout. Funds your son earns from fundraisers go into his Scout Account. The funds are tracked by our Troop Treasurer. Funds in his Scout Account can be used to pay for Camping Trips, offset the cost of Summer Camp, be used for re-chartering, pretty much anything Scouting related. He can even use it to purchase Scout Gear. There is a disbursement form available on the private side of our Website.
All Scout Troops encourage participation in the religion of your choice. A Scout is Reverent. Before meals all Scouts should say a Grace. We typically recite the Philmont Grace (originating from the Philmont Scout Ranch). That Grace is:
For food, for raiment
For life, for opportunity
For friendship and fellowship
We thank thee, O Lord. Amen.
To get a login we need to have your email address on file. Login information was sent to all of the email addresses we had on file when we launched the new site. If you go to public side of the site and click on the contact us link you can request a login. We will verify your identity and email you login information. It contains important information for the Troop members, including upcoming events, forms, meeting information, and merit badge counselor lists. There are links to other scouting information, including rank advancements, merit badge worksheets, and other scouting cites. If you have not done so already, visit the website and make it one of your favorites!
Camping is an important part of the Scouting Program. It’s one of the factors in developing independence and leadership in the Scouts. It’s also where many of the Scouting skills are learned. A Scout cannot advance beyond a certain point if he doesn't go camping. We try to have some type of campout each month along with another Scout outing.
Absolutely yes. All parents are welcome to join us on camping trips, outings and at Summer Camp. But there are some requirements. All Adults who go on overnight camping trips need to create a myscouting.org account and take youth Protection Training. If you are going to Summer Camp, you must be a registered Leader and have a physical, signed by a Medical Professional on the BSA Medical form that is less than one year old at the time of Summer Camp. And if you are coming to a campout or Summer Camp we will feed you and quite well for the most part, but we will expect you to help out with transportation or with other activities.
Absolutely yes. All parents are welcome to join us on camping trips, outings and at Summer Camp. With the same requirements for Youth Protection.
No you cannot. Scout campouts are for Boy Scouts and Adult Leaders only. We try to have a family Campout once a year. You can bring your other children to that campout. The problem with the Family Campout is that planning it is a big undertaking and its hard to find someone willing to step up and plan it.
The Troop provides tents and cooking gear, including stove, pots & pans, utensils, etc.. Your Son will need a Sleeping Bag, some type of pack or duffel bag, a flashlight, a water bottle and a mess kit. We don't recommend the traditional Boy Scout or Army Style mess kit with fry pan and tin cup. They are not going to be cooking with them and they are impractical for eating. There are a lot of kits available that include a full size plate, cup, bowl and silverware in a mesh sack, which is very important when it comes time for clean-up.
Pretty much the same gear as your son. But, depending on the attendance you may need to provide your own tent. It’s best to check with the Outings Chair before each campout you might participate in as to whether or not you will need to provide you own tent. For Summer Camp all Adults are expected to provide their own tent.
Campouts obviously involve camping. Outings might be day trips to a Museum, or the Archery Range or an overnight like the Sports Lock In which we count as a Campout.
Also there are various Council activities we may participate in like a Wolves’ or Bull's game.
The Scouts are the ones who decide where we are going to camp, where we are going to Summer Camp and what activities they want to participate in. Each January the PLC and interested Scouts and some of the Adult Leaders get together on a Saturday Morning and have our Annual Planning Meeting. At that time they bring their ideas for what they want to do each month for the next eighteen months. They weed through those ideas, with some direction from the Adults and decide what campouts to go on and what activities to schedule. We compare that against what is already planned based on the schedule set at the prior year’s meeting. After the Scouts finish, later that same day the Troop Committee and any interested adults meet to review the schedule the Scouts have set. Determine the feasibility and then set the Troop's Calendar. Then the Outings Chair and Co-Chair begin the actual work of planning the logistics of the Outings and Campouts.
Summer Camp is usually decided on later in the year after that year's Summer Camp. That way they have the experience of Summer Camp in their minds when they decide where to go. We have a set week in mind when we want to go, so that it doesn't interfere with other activities. We then challenge the Scouts to find Summer Camps they are interested in and argue for their choice. Once all of the candidates are in a group of Adult Leaders get together and review the choices and pick the camp best suited to our Troop. We try to go to the same camp two years in a row and then somewhere different the third year, to give the Scouts a new experience.
The PLC is the Patrol Leaders Council. It is the Youth Leadership of the Troop. It is made up of the Senior Patrol Leader, the Members of the Green Bar Patrol (his Assistant Senior Patrol Leaders), The Patrol Leaders and/or the Assistant Patrol Leaders and any Troop Leadership position holders among the Scouts.
The Senior Patrol Leader is elected by the Troop members and he is the Youth Leader of the Troop. Then there is the Green Bar Patrol who are also elected and they are his Assistant Senior Patrol Leaders. Then there are the Patrol Leaders, who are elected by their Patrol and the Assistant Patrol Leaders who can be elected by the Patrol or can be assigned by the Patrol Leader. Then there are the other Troop Leadership positions including Scribe, Librarian, Historian, Chaplain Aide, Instructor, Leave No Trace Trainer, O/A Rep (must be an OA member), Bugler, Den Chief, Troop Guide and Junior Assistant Scout Master.
Each Troop handles the selection differently for those positions. For the positions that are not elected, we usually assign them to a Scout who shows an interest in filling the position, as long as they meet the requirements, which vary by position. And as far as the responsibilities of each position, the Senior Patrol Leader and the Green Bar Patrol run the Troop. They are responsible for conducting the weekly meetings and setting the agenda of future meetings at the PLC meeting the third Monday of the Month. The Patrol Leader runs his Patrol and works with the SPL (Senior Patrol Leader) and Green Bar at the PLC to set future agendas.
As for the rest of the positions, well that is a pretty in depth answer. We will be posting responsibilities by position on the Website.
A Patrol is a smaller group of Scouts, usually 6-8, that works together as unit of the Troop. Similar to a Den in Cub Scouts, but run by the Scouts, not an Adult Leader.
The Totin' chit is similar to the whittling chip in Cub Scouts. A Boy Scout must be trained in proper handling of a knife and other tools for cutting wood before he is allowed to carry his Scout Knife. That training is done by the Troop's Instructor. Once he receives his Totin’ chit he can carry his knife and use it properly. He must have his Totin' chit on him when he is using his knife. If he is observed using his knife or another wood tool improperly by an Adult Leader or an Eagle Scout, they can cut off a corner. If all four corners are cut off, he has to take training all over again. Similarly the Firem'n Chit applies to lighting and tending a Campfire and lighting the cooking stoves.
Yes we do. We observe two uniform dress codes. The Field uniform or what most Scout Troops refer to as a Class "A" Scout Uniform, which consists of an Official Beige/Tan Scout Shirt with all appropriate patches including current rank patch and shoulder loops, Black Neckerchief and Slide, Official Scout Pants or shorts (the troop permits black jeans or black jean shorts, if in good condition), Scout belt and socks and Scout Hat (Optional). We also consider the Scout Handbook part of the official uniform. This uniform is to be worn to all meetings from the 1st meeting after Labor Day to the last meeting before Memorial Day. It is also to be worn to all Courts of Honor, all Eagle Courts of Honor and in General to any occasion where the Scouts will be seen in Public Representing the Troop unless specified otherwise by the Scout Master or the Senior Patrol Leader. All travel is in Class "A" Scout Uniform, this means traveling to and from campouts or other outings and travel to and from Summer Camp. This is a Troop 98 rule.
Our other uniform dress code is the Activities uniform or what most Scout Troops refer to as a Class "B" Scout Uniform, which consists of a Scout appropriate Tee Shirt (Troop Tee-Shirt, or any other official Boy Scout shirt e.g., obtained from a Boy Scout camp or Scout Store or shirts from outings e.g., Air Force Museum, Air Zoo ,etc.), Official Scout Pants or shorts (the troop permits black jeans or black jean shorts, if in good condition), Scout belt and socks and Scout Hat (Optional). We also consider the Scout Handbook part of this uniform. This uniform can be worn to all meetings from the 1st meeting after Memorial Day to the last meeting before Labor Day, in other words over the Summer.
We don't have an official policy at this time, but in general be courteous. Have your son to the meetings and activities on time, it best actually that he get there a few minutes early. This is especially important when we are departing for a campout or other outing. Pick him up on-time. Better yet, come to the meetings 15 minutes before the end of the meeting and come in and listen to all of the announcements at the end of the meeting yourself, or feel free to stay for the whole meeting, and connect with the other parents and our Troop leaders.
Again, we don't have an official policy at this time, but in general be courteous. Call or email the Outings coordinator to confirm if the Scout and or parent will NOT be attending as soon as possible. Please do so if possible, with enough advance notice, so that we aren't calling from our departure point to find out where your son is and whether or not he is still going. In general, the costs for a given event as usually not refundable, as typically event tickets, reservations, food and other costs the troop incurrs have already been paid out based on the original commitment, and so can't be avoided.
We expect him to be an active participant in Scouting. We expect that he will be respectful of all adults and his fellow Scouts. We expect that he will conduct himself in a safe manner.
Most important, give your son support and encouragement. Get him to meetings and events on time and properly dressed in the appropriate uniform. Attend all Courts of Honor. Fill out the Troop Resource Form and when asked to help, please do so. All parents are asked to help with a minimum of one function per year. The commitment in time is minimal when viewed in light of all your son receives from the Scouting program. If you can do more, volunteer to be an Assistant Scout Master or take a position on our Troop Committee. We have a group of dedicated Adult volunteers who serve as the Scout Master, Assistant Scout Master and on the Troop Committee. They quite literally put in hundreds of hours annually to run the high quality program our Troop offers your son.
Again, Summer Camp is an important part of the Scouting Program. For the same reasons camping is, but also because of the opportunities your son will have to work on Rank Advancement and Merit Badges. If he doesn't go, it will put him behind the Scouts who do.
That is one of the Scout Master Benedictions. The one we say is:
May the great Scoutmaster of all Scouts be with us until we meet again. And may we follow the path that leads to Him.
Yes, requirements do change from time to time. Periodically the BSA will update the Merit Badge books and revise the requirements. And no, your son does not have to start over. Once a Scout has started working on a merit badge, if a new edition of the book is published with different requirements, he should continue to use the same merit badge book he started with and fulfill the requirements in it to earn the badge.