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Frequently Asked Questions

QUESTIONS:

  1. What is Troop 76?
  2. When and where does Troop 76 meet?
  3. What kind of activities does Troop 76 do?
  4. What about advancement?
  5. Is there opportunity for community service?
  6. Where do I get a Scout Uniform and other Official Scouting  stuff ?
  7. When do I wear my Scout Uniform?
  8. What equipment should a new Scout buy?
  9. How do I know what Patrol I will be in and who else will be in it?
  10. What happens if I miss a meeting or a campout?
  11. How many times a year does Troop 76 campout?
  12. What if it rains or snows?
  13. How do I know what to bring to a campout?
  14. Does a Scout have to have his own e-mail address?
  15. My family doesn't go to Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church. Can I still join Troop 76?
  16. My son is a very picky eater. Will he starve on a campout?
  17. My son has medical or other considerations. How does the Troop handle this?
  18. What is a Scouter?
  19. Court of Honor & Other Uniform Tips.
  20. Where can I get more information?

Answers:

  1. Troop 76 is one of four Boy Scout Troops here in Ridgefield.  We meet every Tuesday evening at Jesse Lee UMC (who is also our sponsoring organization) from 7:30-8:45 pm. We like to refer to our Troop as “boy led, adult supported”.  We believe by placing decision-making and execution in the hands of our Scouts, they learn invaluable life skills such as: responsibility, leadership, independence, mentoring, and teamwork. These are lessons learned both through successes and challenges. We may be best known around Ridgefield for our holiday wreath sale, which has been a Troop 76 tradition (and our only fund raiser) for over a decade!
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  2. Troop 76 meets every Tuesday from September through early June. There is a full calendar on the website which is regularly updated with meeting and activities information at Troop 76 Calendar.  The Tuesday meetings are held in Martin Hall, a large meeting hall in the lower level of main church at Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church, 207 Main Street in Ridgefield.  The entrance to Martin Hall is off the parking lot on Kings Lane on the north side of the church property.  If a Scout's patrol is listed as being the Setup Patrol, they should come 15 minutes early at 7:15 to help set up the meeting room.  Generally, scouts are released by 9:00 PM, after the room is cleaned.

    For troop meetings, the general guideline is that if there is no school (for vacation, holiday or snow day reasons), there's no troop meeting however there are exceptions.  So please check the troop website at www.troop76.org.

    Several times during the year a meeting will be at another location for some special activity like model rocket launches, a night hike or merit badge work, but these are announced well in advance, highlighted on the Troop Calendar and reinforced by e-mails.  There are no formal meetings during the summer school break, although occasionally there may be one or two planning sessions for optional summer activities and for Adult Scouter and youth Scout Leaders in preparation for the next Scouting year.
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  3. Because our activities are decided on, and planned by, our Scouts, they reflect the variety of interests of our members (there’s something for everyone!). We have at least one outing a month, which in the past have included: hikes, back-packing trips, beach camping, trips to historical sites, an annual ski-trip to Vermont, winter and spring “camporees” with other area troops, orienteering, and a multi-night “big trip” to celebrate the end of the school year. Many of our Scouts also participate in sleep-away summer camp at Camp Sequassen here in Connecticut, as well as traveling out west to attend Philmont Scout Ranch, a BSA-run national camp of over 100,000 acres.
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  4. Advancement is also an integral part of our Troop program, both indoors and outdoors. The requirement for badges of rank entails plenty of Troop meetings, hikes, and camp activities.  As Scouts take part in our Troop programs they learn skills and so are helped to advance. Ultimately, advancement is a personal and individual thing, with each boy advancing according to his own interests, abilities, and participation.  Troop 76 is very proud that a majority of our high-school aged scouts earn the rank of Eagle Scout.
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  5. Service to the community is at the essence of the BSA and Troop 76. At any given time, our Scouts are involved in a number of community focused projects including; food drives, open space improvement projects, and providing set-up and take-down help for church and charity events. There is no shortage for opportunity to volunteer!
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  6. Click HERE for information on locations where Scout Uniforms and other Official Scouting  stuff can be found.  The BSA National organization has opened a webstore at ScoutStuff.org
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  7. The Scout uniform is an important part of scouting. It signifies who we are as an organization, and what each of our roles is within the Troop. For this reason, the Troop requires that each boy have a full uniform and wear it correctly. If a family cannot afford a uniform, scholarships are available from the Troop Committee. Speak with the Scoutmaster or Troop Committee Chairman.

    Additionally, the Troop maintains a Uniform Recycling Program, where we make used uniforms available to any Scout family. As your son outgrows his uniform parts, if they’re in reasonably good shape (as they often are), we ask that you turn the parts into the Scoutmaster at any Troop meeting, for recycling.

    A full Scout Uniform (Scout shirt, pants, neckerchief & slide, belt) is worn to all "formal" Scout meetings (Board of Review, Court of Honor) and when the Troop travels to Scouting activities like campouts. For routine Scout Meetings, recent changes require you only wear a Scout Shirt and Neckerchief although, of course, you're welcome to wear the full uniform as well. Sometimes the Scout Uniform is required for Service Projects - generally, those that have high visibility. Note that BSA introduced a new design for uniform Scout pants in September 2006.  These new "Switchback" pants are much more comfortable, stylish and functional than the old cotton trousers and well worth the extra $2.  See Switchback or Trousers to view the two alternatives.

    If an activity requires a full Scout Uniform, any Scout showing up inappropriately dressed will either have to return home and change or will not be allowed to participate in the activity. Exceptions to this will be rare!

    Finally, the Troop now has an imprinted "Class B" T-shirt which doubles as a very comfortable wicking, outdoor performance shirt. They're available in a variety of sized from the Troop for $13.  There will be instance where this shirt will be allowed as an alternative to the "informal" Class A uniform. 
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  8. New Scouts are encouraged to shop sparingly until they learn a bit more about Scouting and their needs. Other than a Scout Uniform and a Scout Handbook, the primary needs are those associated with camping.
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  9. New Scouts are put into existing or new 6-8 boy "Scout Patrols" headed by an elected leader and guided by an older, experienced Scouts in Senior Patrol Leader (SPL), Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) and Troop Guide leadership roles . This way, a batch of new Scouts all are exposed to the basic Camping and other Scouting skills and information together and it builds not only a sense of belonging and friendship amongst boys with similar needs as beginners, but also provides the SPL, APL and Troop Guide experience in guiding and teaching new Scouts the skills they have mastered since their days as "New Scouts."
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  10. Although attendance at meetings may be taken and for sure attendance at campouts is carefully tracked, it is understood that few scouts make all meetings and even fewer Scouts make every campout the Troop may have in the course of a Scouting or Calendar year.  We understand that Ridgefield youth have tremendous opportunities and often conflicting demands on their time.  We work to make sure Troop activities are the kind that our Scouts want to attend, but understand and accept their not making a meeting or other activity. Campout attendance is carefully tracked because some awards and merit badges have various camping requirements. One of the harder and more coveted awards, for example, is the Year Round Camper award earned when a Scout participates in a Campout for 12 successive months, including those during the Summer Break.
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  11. The Troop tries to plan a weekend campout every month during the September to May...the scouting year.  And scouts may attend a week of summer camp, typically the 3rd or 4th week in July.  Most weekend campouts are 1 night, Saturday through Sunday, although occasionally there will be a 2 night (Friday night to Sunday morning) activity.  One of these is the Annual Ski Trip which is a motor coach bus trip with a stay in a motel for a skiing weekend in February.  There is also often a special BIG TRIP in the summer.  The BIG TRIP and Ski Trip are special activities whose costs are significantly underwritten by Wreath Sales and are reserved for Scouts who meet or exceed their sales quota in Wreath Sales. There is also a requirement for the special outings of 6 hours of community service work in the 6 months leading up to the event. Of these 6 hours, at least 4 have to be in Troop sponsored service projects or in Troop Eagle projects.
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  12. Campouts and other Troop activities typically take place rain or shine, however Adult Leaders carefully monitor weather and other conditions and would never hold an event that would risk any participant's safety or health.  The law of averages almost guarantees a number of rainy or snowy activities so an investment in quality rain gear and warm clothes and boots and quality sleeping bag is an investment in comfort.
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  13. At the Troop meeting immediately before a campout, both a Permission Slip and an Equipment List specifically made up for that particular campout will be available.  The Permission Slip must be completed and signed by a Parent and turned in to an Adult Leader, preferably the Leader running the activity, prior to departure. For insurance reasons, no scout may go on an outing requiring a Permission Slip without one, fully and properly completed and signed.
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  14. We ask that each family provide, if at all possible, at least one e-mail address that is regularly (preferably daily) checked that the Troop can use for timely communications with both the Scout and his Family. We understand that many Scouts, especially the younger ones will not have personal e-mail addresses and that's quite ok, but the availability of an e-mail address the Troop and its adult Scouter and youth Scout Leaders can use for fast communications about Troop 76 matters greatly facilitates our ability to communicate with our Scouts.  The Troop emphasizes Patrol calling chains and telephone trees in its communications planning to make sure needed information gets to the Scout and his Parents in a timely fashion. Even so, a regularly checked e-mail connection is a very useful part of the communications mix and is often much more effective and accurate than lots of telephone tag and chains of answering machine messages.
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  15. Although the Boy Scouts of America emphasizes a belief in God, scouting is non-denominational so there is no requirement that a Scout be affiliated with any particular church for that matter even any church.  Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church is Troop 76's Charter Organization, but that is more a role of providing the Troop access to their facilities for meetings and gear storage and performing certain oversight functions to insure the Troops Leaders are properly selected and trained and the Troop is well managed than any specific religious affiliation.
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  16. For campouts, each Patrol designs its own menus with adult Scouter and youth Scout Leader review to make sure certain basic requirements are met. Thus, the Scouts themselves are responsible to select foods all Patrol members will eat.

    If a Scout has special dietary requirements, the Troop will help in any reasonable way it can, but there are limits in what can be done. Any Scout can bring his own meal and do his own personal meal preparation if that is required, but Scouts with special needs should review them first with the Scoutmaster or other Adult Leader to be sure those needs can be reasonably met. Camping is, after all, usually inherently "rustic."
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  17. It is very important that the parents of any Scout with special medical needs or considerations discuss them with the Scoutmaster or Troop Committee Chair. Such information will be treated confidentially and shared only to the extent that it is essential to the affected Scout's safety and that of his fellow Troop members. At campouts, a Scout requiring medication must give that medication to the Scoutmaster or other designated Adult Leader who will keep the medication and will insure it is properly administered in a timely fashion. Each case is different so early consultation is important.
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  18. A "Scouter" is the term used to differentiate a youth Scout from Adult Scout. In general, the age of 18 is the dividing line between Scout and Scouter. Scouter refers to any adult in a Scouting activity, not just to Adult in Scout Program Leadership roles like Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmaster.
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  19. COURT OF HONOR UNIFORM TIPS: Full Uniforms are required at the Court of Honor.  A "Full Uniform" comprises a "Class A/official BSA" Shirt (long or short sleeved), official BSA uniform Pants or Shorts (and official uniform BSA socks with shorts), BSA Belt, Neckerchief, Neckerchief clasp. If you would like to see what might be available in our used uniform supply area - please contact Mrs. Johnson (894 1626) to make arrangements to get into our Quartermaster Room.  The Troop typically has quite a few smaller sizes.  All Scouts are encouraged to take advantage of this inventory.  Uniform pieces can be also purchased at the Joy of Movement  in and a variety of locations around Ridgefield (see Question 6). Neckerchiefs and Neckerchief clasps will be made available from the Scoutmaster at the Court of Honor for new scouts who have not yet received them.  These are provided by Troop 76 directly and are not purchased.  Replacement Troop 76 green neckerchiefs are $10 and replacement clasps can be purchased at the Joy of Movement etc if you've lost yours.  USED UNIFORM COLLECTION: If you have uniform pieces your scout has outgrown - please bring them to a Troop meeting or Court of Honor for collection and redistribution.
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  20. An abbreviated version of the important highlights can be found in the Troop 76 Parents Guide.

    You can also phone or e-mail questions to any of the Troop's Adult and Youth Scout Leaders. You'll find contact information at: Troop Contacts.
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