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Boy Scout Troop 68
(Farmington, Connecticut)
 
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Troop 68

Farmington, CT

Welcome!

Chartered in 1919, Troop 68 is Farmington's oldest Boy Scout troop and among the oldest continuously charted troops in Connecticut and in the country.  We are part of the Connecticut Rivers Council, Mark Twain District and our sponsoring organization is the Exchange Club of Farmington.  We are overseen by a Troop Committee consisting of parents and Scoutmasters.  We welcome anyone interested in joining Troop 68.  Please contact the Scoutmaster at troop68farmington@comcast.net.

 

The Basics

 

Membership in Troop 68 is open to all boys who are 11 years old, or have completed the fifth grade or earned the Arrow of Light Award and is at least 10 years old, but is not yet 18 years old.  See the Scout Handbook for specific joining requirements.   

 

Regular meetings during the school year are held on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 to 8:45 pm at St James Church at 3 Mountain Road in Farmington.  When school is not in session for any reason, meetings are not held.  Please check the Troop Calendar on the Website for scheduled meetings.

 

Annual dues are paid in October (a change from February).  The dues are at $75 per scout (subject to change), which includes camp out fees for most camping events during the year.  Special camp outs may have higher costs (for example, to Block Island where there is a fare to take the ferry).  The cost for summer camp for 2013 was $330.  The troop holds a variety of fundraising events through the year to raise money for equipment and troop expenses.  Some of the money is reserved for participating scouts for future high adventure trips, camp or other scout-related expenses.

 

What We Do

 

Weekly Meetings.  The weekly meetings are run by the Senior Patrol leader, an older accomplished scout elected by his peers.   Much is accomplished in the weekly meetings, including instruction in scout skills, instruction for Eagle-required and other merit badges, and planning and evaluation of trips, service, and fundraising projects.  Boy Scouts is different from Cub Scouts in that many of the activities involve scouts of all ages, and may even be scout-led.  

 

Camping.  Troop 68 plans and camps one weekend every month from September through May except December.  We also have a special family cam pout in the spring, go to summer camp in July, and, in years when we don't go on a High Adventure, have a mini-High Adventure for scouts aged 13 and up, usually in August.  The Troop has a large stock of equipment we use on our camp outs and other outings.  We provide: tents, ground cloths (tarps), cooking equipment, propane lanterns, cleaning supplies, first aid supplies & shelters.   

All scouts are responsible to “be prepared” for these outings.  Appropriate clothing and gear are to be planned for and brought to each campout.  A list is available in the Boy Scout Handbook. 

Flyers are made available for every campout.  This will contain all of the specifics of that outing.  Scouts (and parents planning to attend) MUST sign up for these outings in advance, so we can plan and provide the appropriate gear and food.  Signup should be done at the Troop Meetings or directly with the Leader listed on the flyer.

Who packs – Never let someone else pack for you, even your parents. You are the one going camping and in the middle of the night when your flashlight dies and you need your spare batteries, you are the one who needs to know in what pocket of the backpack they are in.

 

Summer Camp.  The troop attends camp for one week each summer at BSA Camp Workcoeman in New Hartford, CT or another Connecticut BSA Camp.  We usually go in the second week of July. This is a wonderful experience for every Scout and the Troop strongly encourages all Scouts to attend.   Scouts have the opportunity to earn 3-4 merit badges doing activities not possible to offer in the weekly meetings, like Small Boat Sailing, Metal Working, and Archery.   Parents often find camp a lot of fun too and are encouraged to come and stay from 1 to 7 days.


Events & Trips.  Troop 68 does a variety of fun events throughout the year, including several annual events.  Since the 80’s, the troop has held an eagerly anticipated Thanksgiving Turkey Cookout at which all the food is prepared outdoors by teams of scouts.  The dutch-oven cooked turkey is phenomenal!   The troop recently instituted a new & popular tradition - a Family Camp-out in late spring.

    

Community Service

Service to others has been a hallmark of the Boy Scouts of America since its beginning.  Service projects can take many forms – community clean up; repairing a church, a museum, or the home of an elderly person; improving wildlife habitat; volunteering at a hospital or with a public safety group; organizing a recycling effort; cleaning up a neighborhood lot or park; working on a food drive; Eagle Scout Projects; or any of thousands of other possibilities.

While rank advancement requirements ask for a minimum of service hours, you don’t have to limit yourself.  Service to others, to your community, and the environment can become a habit that you will want to practice often.  Service hours will be looked at as a sign of Scout Spirit.

 

Rank Advancement

 

Boy Scout Advancement is different from Cub Scouts.  Parents can no longer sign off completed requirements.   Leaders and authorized senior scouts sign off on rank advancement requirements

 

1st year Program (Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class) – The first year program, with the ranks of Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class is designed to teach the new Scout the camping, first aid, and safety skills needed to go camping.  Though called the 1st year program there is no time requirement on when the advancements must be completed. Some Scouts can do all of the requirements in less than a year, some will take longer. Unlike Cub Scouts there is no age determined advancements. All Scouts go through the same advancement program no matter how old they are or when they join. You may pass any of the requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class at any time.  You may not receive a rank until you have earned the one before it.  Many skills are taught on camping trips, so it is important to attend trips as well as the weekly meetings.


The Path to Eagle – Once a Scout has reached First Class and learned the basic skills of Scouting, he is ready for the challenge of becoming an Eagle Scout. The Path to Eagle has three ranks, Star Scout, Life Scout, and Eagle Scout. Here the requirements for advancement consist of earning merit badges, doing service projects to help the community, showing that you can lead other Scouts as a patrol leader or some other leadership position, and demonstrating to others that you have Scout spirit.

 

Scoutmaster Conference – One requirement that Boy Scouts have for rank advancement that Cub Scouting doesn’t have is that whenever you complete the requirements for a rank you need to have a Scoutmaster Conference. This is a formal meeting between a scout and the Scoutmaster (or his designee).  A Scoutmaster Conference is required prior to any rank advancement to review a Scout’s progress and records.  It may also occur when a Scout requests it, or if the Scoutmaster feels the Scout needs it.

 

Board of Review – Another difference in Boy Scout requirements is that all rank advancements (except the Joining Requirements) require a Board of Review. The members of a Board of Review can be any adult in the troop except for the Scoutmaster or any of his assistants.  As a requirement for each rank advancement a Scout must appear individually before the committee to ensure that the Scout has met the requirements for that rank.  A Board of Review takes place after a Scoutmaster Conference for rank advancement.

Court of Honor – Three or four times a year, the troop will hold a special meeting called a Court of Honor. This is a formal ceremony to recognize you and your fellow Scouts for rank advancement and other Scouting achievements. This event is held with an audience of family, friends, chartered organization officials, and troop leaders.

Merit Badges – A merit badge is an invitation to explore an exciting subject. With more than a hundred to choose from, some merit badges encourage you to increase your skill in subjects you already like, while others challenge you to learn about new areas of knowledge. Many of the merit badges are designed to help you increase your ability to be of service to others, to take part in outdoor adventures, to better understand the environment, and to play a valuable role in your family and community. Earning a merit badge can even lead you toward a lifelong hobby or set you on the way to a rewarding career. The requirements for each merit badge appear in the current BSA merit badge pamphlet for that award, and in the book Boy Scout Requirements, available at Scout shops and council service centers. See the Troop 68 Merit Badge procedure for more details.

Other Awards – There are two other Scout awards that are usually of interest to first year Scouts: The Totin’ Chip and the Firem’n Chit.  When a Scout demonstrates that he knows how to handle woods tools (knife, axe, and saw) he may be granted totin’ rights. Until a Scout has earned his Totin’ Chit he is not allowed to carry a pocketknife. If found handling wood tools incorrectly, a corner of the Totin’ Chip card is often cut off. When all four corners are gone, so is the Scouts totin’ rights. The owner of a Firem’n Chit has demonstrated knowledge of safety rules in building, maintaining, and putting out camp and cooking fires. Until a Scout has earned his Firem’n Chit he is not allowed to carry matches.

 

What You Will Need

 

Class A Uniform – This consists of the long or short-sleeved BSA field shirt, with all insignia placed in the appropriate locations, with merit badge sash.  The merit badge sash is usually worn only at formal occasions (Court of Honor).  All Scouts wear Troop neckerchief and slide. Special neckerchief (i.e. honor camper) may be worn instead. Official Boy Scout pants or long khaki pants may be worn. The Scout may wear Official Boy Scout shorts or khaki shorts.  The Scout may wear an official Troop or Boy Scout cap, but is optional.  All Scouts are expected to wear their Class “A” uniform to all Troop Meetings. Each Scout is presented with a Troop neckerchief and slide upon joining the Troop.  Class A uniform parts can be obtained at the Scout Store at CT Rivers Headquarters (60 Darlin St, EH) and at Amatos Toy & Hobby in New Britain.

 

Class B Uniform - Troop 68 has a red T-Shirt that is worn as our casual activities uniform.  Each scout is given one red t-shirt and additional shirts can be purchased from the troop.  Class “B” uniforms are needed for summer camp and other less formal events.

 

Handbook.  Every Scout MUST have his own copy of the Boy Scout Handbook (Note – Webelos II crossing over from Pack 68 will be given a handbook as a parting gift from the pack).  His name should be clearly marked on or in the book.  All rank advancements, as well as camping days and nights and service hours will be recorded in the book.  Every advancement requirement for the first three ranks is resourced in this handbook.  Scouts should bring their Scout Handbook to every meeting and campout.  It is the Scout’s responsibility to get his book updated by the Scout Master or Assistant Scout Master when a requirement has been met.

 

Camping Equipment.  Camping is an important part of the Boy Scout program.  Troop 68 camps for one or two nights nearly every month.  While the troop owns many of the basics, like tents and cooking equipment, there are some things that individuals must provide.  Go to a good outdoor supply store where you can get help selecting and fitting what you need.  REI and EMS, both in West Hartford, are two great stores that provide service. 

 

Your scout will need a backpack suitable for backpacking.  It can be internal or external frame and it must be sized to fit the individual.  Since your son is likely to grow over his scouting years, start out with a more modestly priced backpack, knowing that you will need to replace it at some point in the future.  In some families, mom’s backpack can work for the scout in his early years.  

 

Next on the list is a good quality sleeping bag suitable for backpacking.  Your scout will eventually be camping out in the winter, so bear that in mind when selecting a bag.  A fleece liner will allow the bag to be used in colder weather.

 

To go with the bag, he needs a sleeping pad that can be rolled or folded and carried in the backpack.  The thinner Thermarest type pads work well.  You can also get a Z folding foam pad that is light-weight and easy to deal with. 

 

Complete the basic camping gear with a sturdy pair of hiking boots (Bob’s is a good place for boots), a rain poncho, a mess kit (containing unbreakable cup, plate, bowl, knife, fork, spoon), and a flashlightZiploc bags of various sizes can be handy.  Check the Boy Scout Handbook for additional useful items.  A list of all items needed will be made available for each camp-out.

 

How Parents Can Help  

 

Parental involvement is an important part of the Scouting experience. All parents are strongly encouraged to become involved in the program in some way.  You need not have been a Scout or even have outdoor experience. We can find a role for you.   

 

Adults are involved in the troop in three basic ways: Assistant Scoutmasters, Merit badge counselors, and Troop Committee membersAssistant Scoutmasters (or ASM’s) help the Scoutmaster and do a lot of the teaching of scout skills and Eagle required merit badges.  They may also work closely in guiding a patrol of 6 to 8 scouts.  Their role requires their presence at the majority of weekly meetings.  Presence at camp-outs is highly desirable, as two or more leaders must be present for any group outing.  ASM’s all receive comprehensive training over the course of a training weekend.

 

There are more than 100 additional merit badges available.  Merit badge counselors are needed for any topics in which scouts might be interested.  Many of these topics relate to potential careers or life hobbies for the scout.  There are many merit badges and it is possible that one or more of them may fit skills you have.  Please consult the Boy Scout Requirements book (or http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Merit_Badges) for a listing of available merit badges and requirements.  The troop has a sheet for adult information that will let the troop know your areas of competence.

 

The Troop Committee supports the troop in many ways, from coordinating the finances to reviewing scouts for rank advancement to providing equipment and logistics for outings.  The committee meets once a month on Monday evening.

 

Whether or not one of these ways of helping the troop fits you, parents are generally needed and always welcome to participate in camp-outs as drivers and chaperones, as well as to join the troop for a period of time (1 to 7 days) at summer camp.  Camp and all outings must have two-deep leadership, with at least two ASMs or one ASM and a parent.  Please note that unrelated adults and scouts always sleep in separate tents on camp-outs, as per BSA policy. 

           

What a great way to spend time building memories with your son and know him better as a person!   Please join us for a most rewarding experience.

The more parents that are involved, the better the program, and the more fun the boys have.

   

Communication

Troop 68 uses the Troop’s Website: troop68farmington.scoutlander.com and e-mail messages to provide and distribute important information.  We need to have an active e-mail address for every Scout family. Please check the Website and your e-mail frequently for updates.  A wealth of important information is available on the Website.