Troop Organization and Rules
III.1 Troop Organization
Troop 4673 is a youth run organization. When a Scout joins our Troop, he is assigned to a "new Scout Patrol." The Patrol is comprised of 6 to 12 young men, generally the same age as your son, who are also new to the Troop. The Patrol is led by a Patrol Leader (PL) whom they elect. The Patrol also elects an Assistant Patrol Leader (APL) to aid the PL. The new Scout Patrol will be assigned an Assistant Scoutmaster (and possibly a Troop Guide) who will work almost exclusively with the Patrol as the new Scouts advance through the first few ranks. Once your son has been with the Troop about a year and/or is at or near the rank of First Class, he may be moved to another Patrol composed of more senior Scouts like himself, thus making room for the next round of new Scouts.
Patrols make up the Troop. The entire Troop elects their youth leaders, the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (ASPL). The SPL, ASPL, Scribe, PLs, APLs, Order of the Arrow Representative, and Troop Guide make up the Patrol Leaders Council (PLC). These Scouts are the central youth leaders of the Troop. The ASPL directs other junior leaders such as Instructor, Quartermaster, Librarian, Historian, Scribe, Chaplain Aide, and others. (See APPENDIX A, Table 2, Troop Organization). These Troop leaders still belong to Patrols but the SPL and ASPL do not.
Adult leaders provide guidance and support for the youth leaders. Adult leadership is comprised of the Scoutmaster (SM) and Assistant Scoutmaster (ASM). At times there may also be a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster (JASM), a youth sixteen years or older. Troop meetings are planned and carried out by the Patrol Leaders Council. The Patrol Leader assigns all duties for Patrol activities. Understanding the concepts of "leadership" and "followership" will help your young man more easily accept the leadership of others and teach him to grow into a more responsible adult.
Backing up the Scoutmaster is a Troop Committee, led by a Committee Chairperson. The Committee is in charge of approving the Troop program and ensuring the program is of the highest caliber. Above the Committee is the Charter Organization, which in our case is the American Legion Post 176 Springfield, 6520 Amherst Ave, Springfield, VA, 22150.
The Troop, including the Committee and Charter Organization are a part of the Old Dominion District (See APPENDIX A, Table 1, Council Organization). The District in turn belongs to the National Capital Area Council (NCAC), which in turn belongs to the North East Region. The North East Region is a part of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Finally, the BSA is a part of the World Organization of the Scouting Movement (WOSM) based in Switzerland.
- Scoutmaster: The Scoutmaster is the adult leader responsible for the program of the Troop. The Scoutmaster and his Assistant Scoutmasters work directly with your Scout. The general responsibilities of the Scoutmaster include training and guide youth leaders, working with adult leaders to bring Scouting to our youth, and using the methods of Scouting to achieve the aims of Scouting.
- Assistant Scoutmasters: Assistant Scoutmasters (ASM) are recruited by the Scoutmaster (SM), and approved by the Troop Committee, to assist the Scoutmaster in the operation of the Troop. Assistant Scoutmasters are assigned program tasks by the Scoutmaster and provide guidance to the youth leadership. The Assistant Scoutmaster also provides the required "two-deep" leadership (two adult leaders present at every Boy Scout activity).
- Junior Assistant Scoutmasters:Junior Assistant Scoutmasters (JASM) serve as a mentor to the he Senior Patrol Leader and provides an informal bridge between the Patrol Leader's Council (PLC) and the Scoutmasters. He is for all-intents-and-purposes an adult.
- Senior Patrol Leader: The Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) is the top youth leader in the Troop. He leads the Patrol Leaders' Council and, in consultation with the Scoutmaster, appoints other junior leaders, and assigns specific responsibilities and tasks as needed.
- Assistant Senior Patrol Leader: The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (ASPL) fills in for the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) in his absence. He is also responsible for training and giving direction to the Quartermaster, Scribe, Historian, Librarian, Instructors, and others.
- Patrol Leaders: The Patrol Leaders (PL) are responsible for giving leadership to the members of their Patrols. They represent the Patrol on the Patrol Leaders' Council. The Patrol Leader is also responsible for holding monthly Patrol meetings outside of the regular Troop meetings.
- Assistant Patrol Leaders: Assistant Patrol Leaders help the Patrol Leader run the Patrol and lead in his absence.
At times, it is difficult for our young men to work with each other on equal ground and you can imagine the difficulties of having one boy lead his peers or even boys older than him. Please, remind your Scout that age, rank, or tenure in Scouting do not dictate who listens to who. The Scouts are responsible to their Patrol Leader. Other youth leaders are also responsible to the Assistant Senior Patrol Leader. The Patrol Leaders and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader are responsible to the Senior Patrol Leader. The Senior Patrol Leader is responsible to the Scoutmaster.
Communication is a good thing. Your son will often receive a phone call from his Patrol Leader, or if he is a Patrol Leader, from the Senior Patrol Leader. At this time, your Scout will be made aware of news and upcoming events. If a message is left, make sure your Scout reads the full text of the message back to his leader to make certain the message was properly received. If your son is in a leadership position, be certain he calls those to whom he is responsible and ensures they too get the message properly.
You will also often receive e-mails and mailings from the Scoutmaster and members of the Committee with loads of useful information about upcoming events. Please read this information, respond in a timely manner when asked, and make your plans accordingly.
The Troop also is fortunate to have an official web site where upcoming events are listed along with other useful information, including this guide. Please visit our web site for updates and reminder often: http://www.troop4673.org. Although the Scoutmasters are available to all, please work through your young man and his chain-of-command. This teaches personal responsibility and will help keep confusion and misunderstanding to a minimum.
III.3 Troop Rules
Our rules are designed to make Scouting a safe, fun-filled, and enjoyable experience for all. Please take some time to familiarize yourself with these rules and discuss each with your son.
- Stealing, fighting, firearms, explosives (including fireworks), illegal drugs, and / or alcohol will not be tolerated at any time. Be on notice: In the case of possession of illegal drugs, the local authorities will be notified first and without the prior notification or consent of your parent(s) and / or guardians(s).
- A Scout may never carry a knife, ax, nor saw until he has earned his Totin' Chip. He must have it on his person any time he is in possession of a knife, ax, or saw.
- A Scout may not carry matches, light a fire, nor tend to one until he has earned his Firem'n Chit. He must have it on his person any time he is using fire (except when stove cooking).
- Any Scoutmaster or adult can demand the Firem'n Chit when he observes the Scout acting irresponsibly with fire, or demand the Totin' Chip when he observes the Scout doing the same with a knife, hatchet, axe, or saw. We have a zero tolerance with fire. If a Scout acts irresponsibly with fire he loses the Chit. The reason is pretty simply. With a careless match, you can destroy property and hurt people. Generally, if a Scout acts irresponsibly with a knife, hatchet, or axe, he losses a corner of his Totin' Chip. On the forth offense, he losses the card. If taken from a Scout, the Firem'n Chit and Totin' Chip must be earned again by reaccomplishing the training. Since we generally offer this training to our new Scouts in the Spring, a Scout who losses either card may have to wait up to a year before he earns the right to carry it again.
- Pocket butane lighters have little use in Scouting. Scouts will get hurt trying to light a stove, charcoal, or wood fire with one, and having one in your pocket creates too many temptations. They are not to be brought to any Scouting activity.
- In accordance with the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, Article X, Section 4; Clause 4 (b), the imitation or wear of articles of Army, Air Force, Navy, or Marine Corps uniforms is prohibited. Battle Dress Uniforms (camouflaged) are not permitted at any time.
- Scouting is a non-contact sport. We understand that "boys will be boys" but encourage you to remind your son. We will, too.
- We expect good discipline at all Troop functions. An ill-behaved Scout is a distraction to all, and worse still, in some situations a danger to himself and others. The Scoutmaster will handle situations that arise promptly and equitably, and will take appropriate action.
- Scout meetings are for Scout activities. No electronic equipment, CDs, toys, etc., should be brought to any Troop meeting, activity, or camp-out without prior consent of the Scoutmaster. If they are brought, the Scout will be asked to place it aside until Troop activities have ended. In some circumstances it may be confiscated by an adult and returned to a parent.
- Outings begin and end at the Giant Foods parking lot (8941 Ox Rd, Lorton, VA 22079) unless otherwise specified. Scouts will not departing this or the activity area without the express permission of an adult leader. In order to participate in the outdoor program Scouts must be registered with the Troop. The Scout must also complete and turn in a permission slip for each event, signed by his parent or guardian.
- No Scout will be pressured to remain. If it is your desire, we will counsel a youth about the virtues of staying in the program, but in the end the choice must be his. We ask that you respect and honor his decision.
- Financial challenges should not cause a young man to miss the wonderful opportunities the Scouting Movement has to offer. If a financial burden exists, please see or call the Committee Chairman. All assistance is kept private and confidential.
- Personal equipment is the responsibility of the individual Scout. The Troop, Committee, or it's members thereof assume no liability for a Scout's personal gear at anytime or under any circumstance. However, a Scout and / or his parents / guardian may be held liable for any Troop equipment damaged or lost as a result of the Scout's incapacity, carelessness, or neglect. The Troop Committee will determine the extent of the individual liability—if any—and direct reimbursement. In no case will the liability exceed replacement cost of the damaged or lost item.
- Fundraising is essential for Troop operation and is the responsibility of each Scout to contribute. Fund raising activities may also provide a means for Scouts to learn financial responsibility while providing a method to pay for Troop expenses.
- Our advancement policies are covered in Section IV, Advancement.
- Our uniform policies are covered in Section VIII, Uniform Rules.
- Youth Protection Policies are covered in Section IX, Youth Protection Policy.
III.4 Standards of Conduct
We also have a few standards of conduct. Please take some time to familiarize yourself with these standards and discuss each with your son.
- Be on time; it's just plain rude to be late.
- Keep your language clean (if you wouldn't say it in front of your mother…don't say it at all).
- Never walk past a mistake (Scouts who don't know any better may not realize it's wrong, but those that do will think less of you).
- Do what's right, even when nobody is watching (that's what character is all about…it reflects self-discipline, self-control, and self-motivation, and builds self-esteem).
- Look for opportunities to help others, including other Scouts (Cheerful service is the trademark of a Scout).
- Meet your obligations promptly (turn in permission slips and payments for outings early or on-time; pay for your share cost for meals on outings).
- Treat all scouts and scouters with respect and follow the instructions given by the leaders (unless it is unsafe). If you don't agree with what you've been told to do, do it anyway, discuss the matter afterward in private, and with an adult if necessary. You'll be a leader too someday and will appreciate the support!