Boy Scout Troop 157
Weston, Massachusetts
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About Troop 157

Information for New Scouts & Parents

This information handout contains some helpful, basic information for new scouts and parents. It will not answer all of your questions - so please do not hesitate to call or e-mail your questions to the Scoutmaster Len Brown; or one of our Assistant Scoutmasters: Craig Tanny, et al, or our troop committee members Paul Lualdi, or our troop committee chair Richard DeVito , Jr..  A list of our Adult Troop Leadership can be viewed at:  Adult Leaders.

Meetings

We meet nearly every week, on Tuesday nights, at 7:00 pm, at the Weston Scout House, School Street, across from the Weston Library. We typically do not hold a meeting on the Tuesday after an outing, as that night is reserved for Patrol leader Council* (PLC) meetings, but there are exceptions to that rule. Meetings end at 8:30PM. (*The PLC is the scout leadership team)

Fees

Each scout pays a registration fee of approximately $85 for the year (prorated for scouts joining midyear). This fee covers everything but the cost of outings, which is paid by those attending on a cost basis. At present, the troop does not engage in fund raising.

Registration Forms

There are two short forms we ask you to fill out. Our own troop's registration form (available at our meetings and here, and the official BSA New Scout form (available at our meetings).

Uniforms

Scouts wear uniforms to meetings but not on most outings. The uniform consists of an official scout shirt and the Troop 157 neckerchief, and ideally official BSA scout pants. We recommend that a short sleeve shirt be purchased, as it can be worn over a long sleeve, solid-color shirt in the winter. Required insignia on the uniform comprises: council patch, unit number, patrol patch, international scouting emblem (purple), red shoulder loops, and badge of rank (e.g., Scout, Tenderfoot). Consult the Boy Scout Handbook for placement of insignia. Uniforms can be purchased at the Scout Shop in Southboro, MA; Route 9 West (508-229-2396).

Outings

The troop goes on one outing per month during the school year. See the Troop Calendar for details. Reports and photos from past outings are found in the Outings & Photo Album. Few scouts can attend all of the outings, but we recommend that a scout attempt to attend as many as possible. It is on outings that scouts have the most fun and learn the most about outdoor skills. Advancement to Second Class requires attendance at five activities including outings; advancement to First Class, a total of ten outings including activities. See more below about Advancement.

Camping Gear

The troop does a lot of camping and other outdoor activities, and there is some essential equipment that each boy needs, including a backpack, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag. Take a look at the Troop Packing Lists. Each fall we teach the basics of backpacking in preparation for a backpacking trip. If you are not experienced in buying backpacks, sleeping bags, etc., go to a store like REI, EMS, or Hilton Tent City, to get advice. A good catalog and online source for camping gear is Campmor; sometimes they will have excellent bargains. And be sure to speak to the adult leaders. It would be best if the gear was appropriate for backpacking, i.e., lightweight. You are likely to have many questions concerning gear, so please consult with our troop leaders and look at these gear guidelines. We attach a detailed gear list for each outing, which should be followed carefully – remember the scout motto: Be Prepared!

Boy Leadership

One of the principal goals of boy scouting is providing an opportunity for boys to attain leadership and citizenship skills. The troop continuously works toward the goal of having the troop run by the boys. We have regular meetings of a Patrol Leadership Council (PLC), and continue to work toward having the boy leaders do the planning and much implementation of troop activities. The leader of the PLC is the Senior Patrol Leader, who is elected by the scouts every spring for the following year.

Service Projects

Service projects are an important part of scouting, and have always been emphasized by our troop, given the wealth of our community. Our annual major service project is held in the fall before Thanksgiving, when we rake leaves at the Scout House and pack food collected during Weston's Scouting for Food drive. To attain the rank of Eagle requires that a scout plans and executes a service project of his own; the project must involve other scouts from the troop under the leadership of the scout working on Eagle. We make a point of supporting each Eagle candidate, and ask that all boys in the troop turn out to work on these Eagle service projects.

Advancement to First Class

When a scout first joins the troop, he works on his Scout rank, which is easily attained. Typically, this can be done at his first meeting. If he has received Arrow of Light as a Webelos Scout, he has already met the requirements. After that, he works on Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class. Although these ranks must be received in order, the requirements for any of the ranks can be worked on at any time (e.g., a scout working on Tenderfoot could also pass requirements for Second and First Class). The troop encourages boys to complete First Class in their first year of scouting (e.g., 6th grade). To accomplish that, it is necessary, however, for the boy to be active, as one requirement of reaching First Class is that a boy participate in 10 troop activities other than troop meetings. See First Class in the first year.

Merit Badges & Blue Cards

After First Class, most of a boy's advancement effort will involve obtaining merit badges. Our troop offers merit badge classes at most (but not all) of our weekly meetings. Attaining Star requires completion of 6 merit badges, of which 4 must be from a required group. Life requires an additional 5 (total of 11), including 3 more from the required group. Attaining Eagle requires an additional 10 (total of 21), including 5 more from the required group (total of 12 required). Scouts can decide to work on a merit badge of their choice at any time. They should talk with the Scoutmaster about this, who will identify an appropriate adult counselor. Knox Trail Council runs a Merit Badge College on two Saturday mornings each March. In addition, Boy Scout summer camps provide great opportunities for earning merit badges. Typically our troop sends a sizeable contingent (10-20 boys) to a BSA summer camp in Bolton Mass the first week in July and a larger camp in Rhode Island in the 2-3rd week of August every summer, called Camp Yawgoog. Scouts can also attend Camp Resolute, on their own, and do a number of activities including earning merit badges.

Summer Activities

The Troop goes as a troop to Camp Yawgoog (Rhode Island) for a week in August each summer. The troop also does major treks during the summer. The past two summers (15 and 16) we had the opportunity to go the legendary Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, for 11 day backpacking trips that covered over 50 miles each. Normal troop meetings and outings are suspended during the summer.

Parent Involvement

We have no strict rules about parent support of the troop's program, but it is of vital importance that we have a large number of active mothers and fathers. Volunteers are needed as Assistant Scoutmasters, Troop Committee Members, volunteers on outings, community service leaders, merit badge counselors, etc. We strongly urge at least one parent of each scout to attend at least two activities each year. Any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated.

Troop Committee

Our Troop Committee is made up of the adult leaders and parents. It handles finances, provides support for the advancement, training, and outdoor programs of the troop, and is in charge of recruiting adult leaders and volunteers. Rich DeVito is the Chairman of the Committee. Tim Gavin serves as the Troop Treasurer. The committee is not directly involved in the planning of troop activities, as that is the function of the PLC and the Scoutmasters, but it provides adult support for activities as needed. The Committee meets four times a year, on dates listed in the Troop Calendar.