How can parents support their scout and the troop in general?
As an all volunteer organization, if there are no parents involved, there is no troop! But there are many levels of involvement that can fit any parent's schedule and interests.
First and foremost, just being there for your scout is the best way to ensure that they make it to the rank of Eagle. This means getting them to meetings and outings on time and prepared, helping them prepare for requirements (shopping, researching, answering questions, etc.), asking them questions about their activities, joining in on the activities with them and generally being interested in the things they're doing with the program. If you place scouting last on the family's priority list, so will they!
Second, we encourage all parents to help with advancement activities in three ways.
- Parents can have scouts demonstrate proficiency at rank requirements and then sign them off in their book. Read more about signing off advancement below.
- Parents can sign up to be a merit badge counselor. Read how below.
- Parents should make themselves available at meetings to sit on Board of Reviews for rank advancement. Read more about BOR's below.
Third, we encourage parents to attend and help organize outings - including Summer Camp and High Adventure. This is a fun way to help the troop and get out into nature with your scout! BSA registration is NOT required for parents to attend a weekend outing but IS required for Bartle or High Adventure (along with completed physical forms). Read more about joining your scout on an outing or attending Bartle.
Can parents attend the monthly outings? What's that like?
Yes! We encourage parents to join the troops on outings. Without parent participation, the outings don't happen!
For every weekend outing, two to three parents volunteer to handle logistics (schedule, rides, permission slips, money collection, reservations, adult meals (which can be quite good!) gear requirements, etc.). Other parents attend for support as needed - particularly to provide rides to-and-from the event. We also require that at least four adults attend all overnight outings to maintain two-deep leadership at all times. The activities themselves are mostly scout led, so once at the outing, parents get to watch, eat, camp and enjoy it! Adults coordinate their own meals and some have been epic so bring your appetite.
Can parents attend Summer Camp at Bartle?
Yes! We encourage parents to attend Bartle as a full-time or part-time camper. Bartle has great programs to keep scouts busy but parents are needed in camp to provide additional programming support and to maintain two-deep leadership. Day visits are discouraged except on the one visitors Sunday. Each age group of scouts also needs an adult from that age group to help monitor their camp experience. This is particularly important for first, second and third year scouts.
To attend Bartle, adults need to be a registered BSA Scouter and have a valid Youth Protection certificate, a valid BSA Health form and paid all fees to attend. Full details on Bartle will be available on our Summer Camp page.
Can parents sign off requirements for ranks or merit badges?
Yes, in fact it's encouraged!
Our troop requires that rank requirements (the items listed in the Scout Handbook) be signed off by an adult. Any adult at the meeting can approve rank requirements - with the exception that you may not approve requirements for your own child.
We have a one-page guide to help you navigate this but basically, scouts will approach you at the meeting and ask if you can help them with the requirement. These are for ranks Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class. If you're not familiar with the requirement, you can find all you need in the handbook. If the scout meets the requirements, sign them off with your name and date. If not, you can ask them to review the section of the handbook and come back and try again!
If it's an item that was completed at an outing and you did not see it done (eg Cooking a patrol meal on a campout), help the scout find someone who can sign them off.
The requirement's wording is very specific and will guide you by saying "show", "demonstrate" or "tell" so that you know what the scout is expected to do. For some requirements, like first aid or online safety, we'll do a group instruction first. So just ask the advancement chair if you have questions.
How do I become a Merit Badge Counselor?
To be a Merit Badge Counselor you need to be a registered member of the BSA, complete the online Youth Protection Training and attend a brief merit badge counselor training.
Training sessions are scheduled at the District Roundtable meeting that occurs the second Thursday of each month at Central Methodist Church on Oak and 53rd. You can check the schedule here: https://www.hoac-bsa.org/pioneer-trails-calendar
When you go to the meeting there should be a signup sheet for folks wanting to get the MB counselor training. Takes about 30 minutes. They will ask if you want to be listed as a counselor in specific merit badges and on a council-wide resource list for scouts to contact from troops other than 118. It's up to you what you put on the list and doesn't really matter for troop purposes. After you do the training, let the advancement chair know so they can add you to the troop's list. If there is a specific merit badge you'd like to teach, you can also advertise it to the troop! Just coordinate that with the scoutmaster so he can schedule the time.