Troop 74 Parent Letter

Troop 74 recently sent this letter to parents in their unit.  Just one example of Scouting continuing to thrive even in the midst of today’s issues.

2020-2021 Troop 74 Overview of the Direction Ahead

Hello Scout Families!!

Considering what is going on in the world, we hope all of you have had a good summer and enjoyed the warm weather.

As we kick off the next year of Scouting along with our constantly changing schedules, it might be a good time to give an update on where we are and where we want to head.

Personally, I have been trying to see the positive in all of this.  I like rolling out of bed grabbing a coffee from my personal barista (me) and throwing on my best t shirt and sitting in my office/bedroom.  Ahh, and those joyful and engaging happy and upbeat conversations with my children. (no fighting, yelling, or screaming here lol).  Finally, all that quality time with my wife is priceless. I am sure she feels the same way.

Mike Tyson once said, “Everybody’s got a plan until they get punched in the mouth!”

From work, schools, and sports there are all kinds of plans in your son’s world in which they will have to adapt to once those plans get punched.

As Scouts, parents of Scouts, and leaders of Scouts we are all going to have to be nimble, flexible, and adaptable to the changing environment.  From time to time, particular issues and obstacles will present themselves, with this in mind I ask that you be patient and help navigate this together.  The skills of be being flexible and understanding in a changing environment will be great lessons for the boys to learn.  Looking to make “Lemonade out of Lemons.”

All of us understand everyone has a different journey and needs to look out for the health and safety of their family.  Please know the leaders of Troop 74 are here to support your son in any way possible on their Scouting journey.  At the end of the day we are all volunteers trying to do what is best for the boys.

For all the boys looking to progress in Rank and on Merit badges, you can continue your hard work online.  All provided within the safety and convenience of your home.  All your son will need is a willingness to explore and communicate.  He will have to learn to reach out to his leaders so we can clarify, review, and document his accomplishments.

For those in compromised households, we would be glad to help figure out a way for your son to participate in interactive group activities as things change and progress.

For those who are not in compromised situations, we are going to adjust our meetings to outside. As the weather turns colder, meetings will be held on Zoom. The Zoom meeting will be shorter and more focused.  Nobody wants to be on a long call after a long day of school or work.  As leaders will make ourselves available by appointment for the boys to individually discuss their progress and to answer any questions.

Troop 74 has grown to over 22 Scouts in two plus years!  Things that were manageable with 8-10 boys are no longer manageable with this size group. What you are going to see is a transformation from adult led to boy led and a delegation of work to the boys and their patrols.  This is a process and will have its bumps for sure.  Additionally, this is probably the only activity that your son does where failure is OK as long as you are learning from it.  Lord Baden-Powell once said “Never do for a Scout what he can do for himself”.  I find myself muttering this over and over to myself at camp outs and at home.  With that in mind, the motto for this year is “Failure = Learning and Learning = Success”.  No mistake this will be harder for us as parents than the boys.  Your support of this will the key to success.

Last weekend you may have seen some new faces that you may or may not recognized.  At a proper distance please induce yourself.

I want to shout out Scott and Alex who have moved up with their sons to help with the Troop.  Last weekend would not have been as successful as it was without them.

Michael and Zack are two young men you should absolutely get to know!  They are both Eagle Scouts who are giving back to Scouting.  I could go on and on about these guys.  Do yourself a favor and get to know them.

A face you may not have seen is Brennan he helped led the Troop from its infancy.  I can tell you the whole story. He is a proud new Dad of Paige who is 15 months old, needless to say his priorities have shifted but he is still in the mix.

Our first camp out as a Troop was a success on many levels.  The troop camped out in two separate patrols, socially distanced and wore masks.  Collectively, the leaders observed how important this was for each of the boys to engage with their friends and feel like life was back to the way it was before the pandemic.

Our next campout is September 11-13, with the location and meeting time the same.  On Sunday the 13th, the boys will be participating in mountain biking. If you have a mountain bike bring it! If you do not there are bikes you can borrow.  Everyone must bring their own helmet.  There will be more information in later emails.

A schedule will be coming out that will have meetings and outings thru December.  There will be place holders for dates for the rest of the year, but they will be TBD depending on where things are at that time.  The Troop will be using Camp Sayre a lot! A lot can be accomplished as far as requirements and ranks without worrying about carpooling or everyone individually having to drive a great distance.  It gives us the opportunity to practice and perfect skills the boys will need to do the bigger more adventures trips in the future.  The goal will be to try and to change it up every time we go to Sayre.  Please encourage your boys to prepare and think about what they are packing and what they want to accomplish to get the most out of the outings.

One of the major goals for this year is to turn the Troop over to boy led.  Being in a Troop that is so young has presented challenges and opportunities.  When you have 8-10 eleven-year-old boys with no older Scouts to look up to its impossible to have them lead themselves. The older boys are now reaching the age and experience levels to do this.  They will be taking on the tasks of planning the activities, buying groceries, cleaning and storing the patrol boxes and everyone will have a turn.  So, if a black plastic tote ends up in your car at the end of a campout understand this is a bigger skill of responsibility and accountability they are learning.  For this to work we ask you to encourage your son to make sure the box is clean and organized, but please do not clean or organize the box for him.  This will be your son’s responsibility.  It’s OK if he does not clean or organize the box he will have to answer to his fellow scouts and learn a valuable lesson.

If they are The Grub Master for their patrol, they will need a ride to the grocery store to purchase food for patrol.  They should have a list and a budget that they have discussed in their patrol meeting. Please do not do this for them!  This is a great time to discuss life skills such as, how to do cost comparisons, brand names vs generic and sale items ect.  They will be reimbursed for the groceries they purchased once they arrive at the outing and present the receipt to the patrol leader and Scoutmaster. I know everyone can pay for the groceries but learning this process start to finish is the goal.  Please do not analyze what they have purchased you and I will not be eating it.  They will survive and any mistake will be a learning experience for the for the next time.

Participation in meetings and outings.  We would love for everyone to participate all the time.  We know that is impossible and conflicts in schedules come up.  We are asking everyone to respond to emails to let us know if you are attending or not, and if things change and you can attend let us know.  That way we can help the boys prepare.  If you have to leave early or come late to an outing that’s OK, but, we need to know ahead of time to let the boys plan properly.  Unless there is a true emergency, we ask that there are no surprise “I have to leave early” requests. The reason is it leaves the rest of the patrol to pick up the slack and additionally as leaders we are not always in a position to return that call or text promptly. Pick up is always kind of a loose estimation depending the activity.  We will do our best to communicate any changes.

Let me re-emphasis we have a No Electronics Policy on outings or events. (Yep, forgot that one at the last campout). If you son brings his phone or any other electronic device to a camp out or event, he will be asked to put it in a box that will be locked.  Best practice is not to bring anything electronic for various reasons. They can always go the Scout Master or designated leader if they need to make a call or text.  They will be given their devices at the end of the event to call or text to coordinate pick up.

I know this was long winded and for that I apologize.  I want to thank each and every one of you for the support and commitment to the program. Its growing getting better and the boys are having fun!  Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.

Thank you!


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